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  1. Chris Clarke
    Chris Clarke March 27, 2006 at 5:30 pm |

    correction: I do refer to myself as “pro-feminist.” Just not “feminist.”

    Thanks for the link!

  2. Jill
    Jill March 27, 2006 at 5:43 pm | *

    What an awesome post. I’m still not sure how I feel about the “feminist men” thing. I’m inclined to agree with Dr. V’s first comment:

    Hm. I think you are a feminist, Chris. Leaving aside the whole “gender and sex are culturally contructed” argument, and assuming that there are definable identities such as “man” and “woman,” and accepting your claim that you are indeed a “man,” I still think you’re a feminist. There were white people who were abolitionists and civil rights activist, despite being neither slaves nor black; there are white collar labor activists (and indeed, lawyers especially are pretty necessary to the modern labor movement); there are straight people working tirelessly for gay rights; and so on. These political activities don’t make these activists black, working class, or gay, but they’re still activists.

    Feminism is a political position that can be held by anyone. “Woman” is (perhaps) an identity that only some can claim. You are not a woman, but you are a feminist, given your political claims above.

    If one argues or implies, as you have, that only women can be feminists, then in this liberal feminist’s opinion, one runs the risk of damning feminism to a permanent “minority” position (if not in numbers then in status, like women themselves). Such an argument also reinforces the ‘strawfeminist’ canard that ‘feminists hate men,’ when what feminists hate is patriarchy, the system, which can be equally upheld by women (as you point out). Thus feminism and its ideals should be equally open to men to support and to work for. You are not “a member of the class against which feminism is aimed” if you actively part of the solution and not the problem of patriarchy. Being part of that solution, not falling back on patriarchal conventions, is hard work even for self-proclaimed feminist women; it’s not a ‘natural’ state.

    I understand, though, why you would say the label feminist is “not mine to claim.” I understand your hesitation. Lord knows I’ve know many a condescending white het guy who claimed to be feminist only to seem cool and get laid. And there is something seemingly or potentially presumptive about a man saying he’s a feminist. But let this virago say it then: you’re a feminist, Chris.

    (PS—If I have completely missed some Modest Proposal style irony here, shoot me. I believe that you were sincere throughout.)

    Personally, the idea of a feminist man makes sense to me, since I see feminism as working against a system that hurts everyone (it hurts women substantially more, of course). The person I dated all through college never shied away from calling himself a feminist, but also recognized that there were some things that he just didn’t understand. I identify as an ally to the queer community and an anti-racist, but I also recognize that there are a lot of things that, being white and heterosexual, I just don’t get. I find greater solidarity in men feeling like they have a place in the feminist movement — in being committed activists in the feminist movement — than I do in men saying, “I support feminism, but I’m not a feminist.” I suppose this comes from so often hearing the word “feminist” used as if it’s dirty, with people asserting feminist positions and then following with, “…but I’m not a feminist.” I think we need as many feminists associating themselves with feminism as possible, and not being afraid to define themselves as active members of the community, not tacit supporters.

    That said, Chris Clarke’s essay makes good sense. And I don’t mean any of what I just wrote as criticism of him. I’m still trying to sort through this myself, and much of what he said made a lot of sense.

  3. KnifeGhost
    KnifeGhost March 27, 2006 at 5:47 pm |

    The link doesn’t work for me, but that might be a problem on my end.

    I’ve always been a bit on the fence as to whether I felt comfortable calling myself a feminist, mainly because I feel like it’s not my place to decide if I have ny right to the label. It’s important to note that it’s not because I feel that I don’t have the right to it, but that I might have the right to it but don’t feel that it’s might place to decide.

    I’m fairly comfortable calling myself a feminist, though, because whenever I’ve brought this up with my feminist friends (some queer, some Women’s Studies majors, some serious activists) they invariably say that I have a right to the the label. Now, I don’t pretend that they’re representative of feminism as a whole, but there you go.

    I guess my general point is that, even though I don’t claim an inherent right to call myself a feminist, enough women that have as inherent a right as anyone can to call themselves feminists have extanded the label to me. And inasmuch as I think they have more right than me to make that call, I respectfully accept it.

  4. KnifeGhost
    KnifeGhost March 27, 2006 at 5:57 pm |

    Hm. Given Jill’s comments (posted simultaneously), I should clarify that, if I felt it was my unequivocal right to do so, I would proudly claim the label “feminist”. Precisely because of the frustration I (and many of my feminist friends) feel when we hear “I’m not a feminist, but…” Partly, too, because “pro-feminist” can be a bit of a hedge. By, given the choice, declining to claim the label “feminist”, you dodge a bit of anti-feminist sentiment. You can shrug off the association when the heat is on. I don’t for a second suggest that Chris does so, but you get the idea.

    I guess the clarification I’m getting at is that given the choice, I would call myself a feminist every time. I’m just not sure it’s my choice to make.

  5. Chris Clarke
    Chris Clarke March 27, 2006 at 5:58 pm |

    I suppose this comes from so often hearing the word “feminist” used as if it’s dirty, with people asserting feminist positions and then following with, “…but I’m not a feminist.” I think we need as many feminists associating themselves with feminism as possible, and not being afraid to define themselves as active members of the community, not tacit supporters.

    That is a very good point.

  6. Bitch | Lab
    Bitch | Lab March 27, 2006 at 6:06 pm |

    I’m with Jill.

    Feminist is a political category in the sense that it’s a political movement. Racial and ethnic categories are political, but they don’t point at political movements.

    I personally don’t care if men call themselves feminists. If they are using feminism as a symbolic pivotbabe for the circle jerk (the trafficking in women/feminism problem), then they’re just in need of a little enlightenment. :)

    I think that, as I wrote last week, being a feminist is a process and, as such, even if a man thinks he’s not quite as enlightened as his feminist models and mentors, whoever they are, well, his feminist models and mentors are not sprung from the head of erm Zeus either.

    I have an issue with the notion that experience gives you some sort of edge. Feminism — as a political movement — starts with experience, but it doesn’t end there.

    An interesting discussion of this problem is Iris Marion Young’s _Justice and the Politics of Difference_. I’ll probably try to find time to scan the chapter later this week/weekend.

  7. Hugo
    Hugo March 27, 2006 at 6:07 pm |

    Chris and I have had some substantive disagreements in a thread or two, but I’m with him completely. Pro-feminist, always; to call myself a “feminist” seems dangerously presumptuous.

  8. Chris Clarke
    Chris Clarke March 27, 2006 at 6:14 pm |

    Chris and I have had some substantive disagreements in a thread or two.

    Heh. Thank you, Hugo.

  9. Tex
    Tex March 27, 2006 at 6:26 pm |

    I get kinda suspicious if people-otherwise-known-as-straight call themselves queer activists

    How do you feel about Eve Sedgwick?

    I think she’s done enough important work that she can call herself a queer activist if she wants. I’m more upset by people calling themselves activists when they do nothing than I am by being calling themselves queer when they’re otherwise known as straight.

  10. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 27, 2006 at 6:27 pm |

    to call myself a “feminist” seems dangerously presumptuous.

    Why? Feminism is supposed to mean valuing equality between the sexes. The only reason that ‘feminine’ shows up in the base of it is because in most aspects of western society it was women who got the short end of the stick. They were the ones who needed to be brought ‘up’ to equality. Just as Gay Rights movement is about equality of sexual orientation, but because gays are the oppressed minority the movement gets named after them.

    The goal should be to as inclusive as possible, not to fight over the labels and who is more equal than whom.

  11. KnifeGhost
    KnifeGhost March 27, 2006 at 7:08 pm |

    I get kinda suspicious if people-otherwise-known-as-straight call themselves queer activists; there’s a disturbing subsequent tendency on their part to arrogate the right to speak to my problems and my needs.

    I think this is a _very_ important point. People with privilege who claim a fighting-on-behalf-of-a-non-priviledged-group identity can more often that I’d like to see appoint themselves as leaders or whatever. DarkDaughta made that point recently.

    That’s a major problem. I posit that it’s a manifestation of the same problem that led to the “White Man’s Burden” half of colonialism (as opposed to the raw exploitation it operated with simultaneously). That is, it represents the tendency for people with power to feel them have the right (or in some case the responsibility) to waltz into movements of people with less privilege and start running things.

  12. andy
    andy March 27, 2006 at 7:17 pm |

    I always found this debate interesting each time it came up in my gender studies classes, particularly since I was generally the only male in the room. Having been introduced to feminist theory through bell hooks – who gladly welcomes men to the struggle – I have generally have seen little problem with applying the title to men (or more specifically, myself); except that:

    1) Each time I say “I’m a feminist” it feels like I’m saying “Hey, I’m not an Asshole.” Being a guy calling themselves feminist seems rather self congratulating.

    2) I get privileged over my female comrades by those outside the feminist movement – I have often seen people ignore female feminists as easily stereotyped but then interested why I, as a guy, am a feminist. (Ok, so that also happens from people IN the feminist movement).

    3) Understand the need for there to be some women only spaces – and I have often had the feeling of being a jerk ruining that various feminist spaces.

    4) The whole standpoint theory thing. But, given my socially defined perspective the necessity of trying to see the world from the feminist perspective while harder (yes, granted, impossible really) becomes in my opinion even more of a moral imperative.

    So besides those, ahhhh… minor, problematic areas – no problem really.

  13. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 27, 2006 at 8:00 pm |

    “I get privileged over my female comrades by those outside the feminist movement”

    You are seeing it as a bad thing when it isn’t. WHat they are saying is “Whoa, you mean you get nothing out of this and yet you’re for it?” Which is in and of itself an oversimplification because the truth is that feminist guys do get something out of it, but because that something is far more intangible it gets glossed over.

    Feminist women can easily be discounted as simply being power hungry. They are the ones with the direct benefit. By being a feminist guy you show that there is an underlying ideology that is worth embracing even if it means “you lose so that can we win” (the definition of altruism).

  14. Joe
    Joe March 27, 2006 at 8:01 pm |

    fem·i·nism Pronunciation Key (fm-nzm)
    n.

    1. Belief in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.
    2. The movement organized around this belief.

    I surely think that number 1 applies to me and my beliefs, therefore I am a feminist.

  15. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 27, 2006 at 8:21 pm |

    When you as a feminist dude are complacent in the misogyny that, ironically enough, turns you into a more powerful spokesperson on behalf of these women than the women themselves, are you still being altruistic?

    Who said anything about being complacent? But regardless yes if the person is legitimately for equality of the sexes despite that they are in the position of being the one to “lose” then yeah that is altruism, by it’s most basic definition.

  16. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 27, 2006 at 8:24 pm |

    Yes, but…what difference does it make whether you think you qualify?

    Gosh, do we have to show our papers at the feminism checkpoint? Did the central comittee stamp mine?

  17. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 27, 2006 at 8:36 pm |

    If you get involved in a movement or a community ostensibly to help those people but are perfectly happy either to use or benefit from your extant privilege in order to dominate that movement or community, does that count as activist work?

    Are you saying this is the case for all feminist men? ‘Cause if not it really doesn’t apply to the discussion. Nobody has claimed that every guy who calls himself a feminist really is. But the claim that no man is really a feminist has been challenged.

  18. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 27, 2006 at 8:39 pm |

    But it’s pretty insulting, to say the least, to believe that members of a minority do not have the right to identify their own best interests.

    Sure, but feminism isn’t about your best interests now is it? No, it is about equality. If feminism is to be simply about pushing women as hard as possible i think a lot of people will drop out of it.

    In fact in a lot of ways this is precisely why I can’t identify myself as a feminist. The cause has changed. It’s now fine for ‘feminists’ to tell a man that what he thinks doesn’t matter because he has a penis. It’s gone from promoting equality to promoting sexism.

  19. Linnaeus
    Linnaeus March 27, 2006 at 8:47 pm |

    I’m a fence-sitter on the proper label, too.

    I tend not to ascribe the label of feminist to myself, for the same reasons that other men have articulated here. Usually, I offer my position on particular issues that have some relationship to gender or sex and I let those with whom I’m talking draw their own conclusions. If I were to be pressed on the issue of what I label myself, I’d say that I am a feminist, but a flawed one. Maybe that’s weasely, but it’s honestly how I feel.

  20. KnifeGhost
    KnifeGhost March 27, 2006 at 9:12 pm |

    It’s now fine for ‘feminists’ to tell a man that what he thinks doesn’t matter because he has a penis.

    With all due respect, Tlaloc, you’re full of shit. To simplify the debate as to who has a legitimate claim on what labels into “reverse sexism” is, well, either disingenous or bullshit.

    Most of the women on here have affirmed that men can be feminists, and most of the people on here uncomfortable with saying that men unequivocally have access to the label have been (more or less feminist) men. I’m too lazy to read back, but I don’t remember anyone saying that men don’t and can never claim the label. piny’s point, and I think it’s an essential one, is that groups have the right to define terms of membership, and that if men are included as feminists, it’s because women want them in. And in my experience women overwhelmingly want (legitimately feminist) men in feminism.

  21. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 27, 2006 at 9:21 pm |

    With all due respect, Tlaloc, you’re full of shit. To simplify the debate as to who has a legitimate claim on what labels into “reverse sexism” is, well, either disingenous or bullshit.

    I’m not talking about the debate. I’m talking about Piny directly telling Joe that what he thinks doesn’t matter. Why? Because he’s a guy.

  22. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 27, 2006 at 9:22 pm |

    I’m too lazy to read back, but I don’t remember anyone saying that men don’t and can never claim the label.

    A pity you didn’t bother to read the thread before defending actions you claim didn’t happen.

  23. Chris Clarke
    Chris Clarke March 27, 2006 at 9:24 pm |

    The cause has changed. It’s now fine for ‘feminists’ to tell a man that what he thinks doesn’t matter because he has a penis. It’s gone from promoting equality to promoting sexism.

    That”s funny: that’s not been my experience at all. Go look at the thread my post spurred and you will find a lot of very diverse feminist women saying rather pointedly that what I think does matter.

    Have you considered the possibility that feminist women might not care what you think for reasons other than your gender?

  24. Joe
    Joe March 27, 2006 at 9:31 pm |

    I’m just curious, was piny required to go around and ask women if it was okay for her to consider herself a woman? How many signatures or affirmations were necessary for her to make that claim?

  25. zuzu
    zuzu March 27, 2006 at 9:32 pm |

    “Her”?

  26. Joe
    Joe March 27, 2006 at 9:35 pm |

    Well I made an ass out of myself while pissed off, I apologize for the error.

  27. Joe
    Joe March 27, 2006 at 9:37 pm |

    But basically, this is the kind of shit that gets the people believing the right’s constant claims about liberal elitism. It doesn’t do any good to be an exclusive club that just says “fuck you, you’re not good enough to be one of us.” It’s bullshit, and completely counterproductive to any idea of progress. If someone really cares about fixing issues, petty shit like this doesn’t need to get in the way.

  28. KnifeGhost
    KnifeGhost March 27, 2006 at 9:38 pm |

    (piny, I recognize the presumption in fielding this question, and apologize if I’m stepping on your toes. If I am, just deck me.)

    Joe, piny didn’t have to solicit support before identifying as a woman. It was a decision made for him, and he has since corrected it.

  29. KnifeGhost
    KnifeGhost March 27, 2006 at 9:43 pm |

    Joe, you’ve just proven a point for us. Earlier on you claimed to be a feminist, and now you’re telling us everything that’s wrong with feminism. I mean this with all due respect, but who the fuck do you think you are?

    And seriously. Most of the women on here have said that men are within their rights to call themselves feminism (while recognizing that some douchebag guys claim the label without justification), and most of the (legitimately feminst) men on here have said that they’re iffy about it.

    That’s not a case of “you’re not good enough to be one of us”, but of “c’mon on, guys, there’s room for all of us” and, in response “are you sure? I don’t want to step on any toes.”

  30. Joe
    Joe March 27, 2006 at 9:43 pm |

    I apologize for the error.

    I apologize for the error.

    I apologize for the error.

    Thanks for owning me or whatever knifeghost, it was real clever.

  31. Joe
    Joe March 27, 2006 at 9:47 pm |

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with “feminism”, because I don’t treat it as some kind of club that you are or aren’t a member of. It’s not a religion, it’s an idea.

  32. randomliberal/Robert
    randomliberal/Robert March 27, 2006 at 9:59 pm |

    Try again, Joe.

    Allow me to add my voice to the chorus of men who call ourselves feminists, but with a small amount of hesitation. I believe that men who call themselves feminists give some additional credibility (fairly or unfairly) to the feminist movement, but women should be the leaders of the movement because of their experience. Men should lend our voices, but we should be willing to submit to women (to turn the tables for once) within the movement.

  33. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 27, 2006 at 10:19 pm |

    That’’s funny: that’s not been my experience at all.

    YMMV.

    Go look at the thread my post spurred and you will find a lot of very diverse feminist women saying rather pointedly that what I think does matter.

    Good. So how does it make you feel when Piny tells Joe what he thinks doesn’t matter becasue of his gender? I think that’s kind of the point.

  34. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 27, 2006 at 10:23 pm |

    Try again, Joe.

    Why? So far he’s the one to get it right. Feminism isn’t a club where those who happen to have a uterus get to play bouncer.

    I believe that men who call themselves feminists give some additional credibility (fairly or unfairly) to the feminist movement, but women should be the leaders of the movement because of their experience.

    Lets break that down:
    In the quest for equality between sexes it is important that only one sex play the lead.

    Uh….. no.

    Feminism is not about enabling women. In fact this bears saying rather loudly.

    FEMINISM IS NOT ABOUT ENABLING WOMEN.

    It is about equality. Naturally when it comes to enacting, promoting, and exemplifying EQUALITY it is self defeating to claim that one sex is inferior.

    Is that perfectly clear?

    It is about equality. Period.

  35. KnifeGhost
    KnifeGhost March 27, 2006 at 10:35 pm |

    Joe Says:
    March 27th, 2006 at 9:35 pm

    KnifeGhost Says:
    March 27th, 2006 at 9:38 pm

    An honest cross-posting. Self-righteous defensiveness not necessary.

    Oh, and hey guys, check it out! Looks like all you feminist women on here don’t know what feminism is! Good thing Tlaloc is here to set us straight!

    Good. So how does it make you feel when Piny tells Joe what he thinks doesn’t matter becasue of his gender? I think that’s kind of the point.

    Ignoring the irony that piny would then be discounting anything that he himself says, please please please quote a specific example of when piny’s made that case.

  36. zuzu
    zuzu March 27, 2006 at 10:40 pm |

    Tlaloc, that’s a nice goal for when men and women are actually fully equal.

    But right now, they aren’t, so there are sound reasons for preferring that the leadership of feminism be filled with those who have the greater interest in fighting for equality because they don’t have it.

  37. Nomie
    Nomie March 27, 2006 at 10:47 pm |

    Tlaloc, did you read the second quote you posted?

    It says that women should be the leaders “in the quest for equality.” Not that women should be privileged in society in general – just that since women are the ones whose rights are less, they are the ones who should be in charge of the rabble-rousing.

    Sigh. I personally think that since so few people are willing to use the word “feminist” as part of their self-definition, we should welcome anybody who does. But that’s my opinion.

  38. Bitch | Lab
    Bitch | Lab March 27, 2006 at 10:49 pm |

    oooo boy. On the topic of whether someone’s a feminist, check this out: The Anti-Feminist Left.

    He points to Lakshimi Chaundry’s article, Can Blogs Revolutionize Progressive Politics?, and sympathizes with her analysis. Bitchlab’s, though, made him feel sorry for Kos. :)

    I don’t know, I guess I wouldn’t consider Kos a feminist if he doesn’t care whether his own community — Blogoliciousville — advances feminist politics.

  39. Nomie
    Nomie March 27, 2006 at 10:50 pm |

    Oops, and I basically said exactly what zuzu said – that’ll teach me to reply before I refresh the page!

  40. Joe
    Joe March 27, 2006 at 10:52 pm |

    Tlaloc, that’s a nice goal for when men and women are actually fully equal.

    But right now, they aren’t, so there are sound reasons for preferring that the leadership of feminism be filled with those who have the greater interest in fighting for equality because they don’t have it.

    So you’re saying that feminists can only be motivated by self interest, and not desire for a greater good?

  41. randomliberal/Robert
    randomliberal/Robert March 27, 2006 at 10:53 pm |

    What zuzu said. And where did I say that men are inferior? I merely submit that our experience is not really conducive to leading a gender-equality movement, because men are (for the most part) beneficiaries of gender inequality.

    And also, I believe that feminism is about enabling women. So clearly we kind of differ there.

  42. Joe
    Joe March 27, 2006 at 10:57 pm |

    Whoops, screwed up the quote formatting. Second box is my words.

  43. zuzu
    zuzu March 27, 2006 at 11:14 pm |

    Actually, feminism empowers women. Enabling sounds so Al-Anony.

    So you’re saying that feminists can only be motivated by self interest, and not desire for a greater good?

    What are you defining as the greater good — for men to be put in positions of leadership in the feminist movement at a time when they still enjoy the benefits of privilege?

    The greater good is served by attaining equality, full equality, with men. Men have a role in the struggle to attain equality, but it’s not at the head of the struggle.

    Men are already at the top of the ladder; women are on their way up. What women need are for men to keep the ladder from being pulled up behind them, not for men to show women the way to the top.

  44. randomliberal/Robert
    randomliberal/Robert March 27, 2006 at 11:22 pm |

    Zuzu, you’re right of course. I was just using the word Tlaloc gave me. A mistake, I know.

  45. Chris Clarke
    Chris Clarke March 27, 2006 at 11:38 pm |

    So how does it make you feel when Piny tells Joe what he thinks doesn’t matter becasue of his gender? I think that’s kind of the point.

    It makes me think that Piny agrees with the sentiments of my blog post.

    And your asking your question persuades me that you did not comprehend that post.

  46. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 27, 2006 at 11:52 pm |

    Ignoring the irony that piny would then be discounting anything that he himself says, please please please quote a specific example of when piny’s made that case.

    Still haven’t bothered to read the thread? Hint: comment 17.

  47. ballgame
    ballgame March 27, 2006 at 11:54 pm |

    zuzu: I think you are validating Tlaloc’s point. You may both be feminists, but have quite different definitions of the word. You may both aspire to gender equality, but you, zuzu, seem to see gender as completely one-sided, with all unjust privilege accruing exclusively to men.

    Though he doesn’t say so, I suspect Tlaloc doesn’t agree. I know I don’t. I think gender offers penalties and privileges to both men and women in highly asymmetric ways. To the extent that feminism is about struggling against gender injustice and against imposing stereotypical patriarchal definitions on each other so that both men and women can be whole, valued, and respected beings, I’m most adamantly a feminist. That definition does not require a genitalia check.

  48. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 27, 2006 at 11:56 pm |

    Tlaloc, that’s a nice goal for when men and women are actually fully equal.

    But right now, they aren’t, so there are sound reasons for preferring that the leadership of feminism be filled with those who have the greater interest in fighting for equality because they don’t have it.

    First of all equality isn’t a single thing, Zuzu. Across the board women certainly have the harder part in western society, bith there are still places where men are the underclass. Look at child custody if you don’t believe me.

    Second of all, it’s not good enough to say “well we’ll try to actually care about equality later.” Do it now. If you want to claim that equality is the goal then make it the damn goal. No buts. Otherwise all you do is perpetuate the inequalities. Witness this thread: by trying to put women in the lead (making them more equal) you end up simply creating a new layer of sexism.

  49. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 27, 2006 at 11:58 pm |

    Tlaloc, did you read the second quote you posted?

    Yes, it was someone else above who chose to comment without reading.

    It says that women should be the leaders “in the quest for equality.”

    And you really don’t understand how self defeating that is? Equality of the sexes movement that only allows women to lead it? Hello!

    I personally think that since so few people are willing to use the word “feminist” as part of their self-definition, we should welcome anybody who does.

    Makes sense to me.

  50. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 28, 2006 at 12:00 am |

    And also, I believe that feminism is about enabling women. So clearly we kind of differ there.

    Comment #15 has a definition. Equality plays a prominent part.

  51. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 28, 2006 at 12:03 am |

    What are you defining as the greater good — for men to be put in positions of leadership in the feminist movement at a time when they still enjoy the benefits of privilege?

    Here’s a wacky idea: how about letting people become the leaders naturally, you know, by virtue of their leadership qualities and ignoring the shape of the flesh between their legs?

    If they all end up being women that’s fine, because it’s a product of who they are and not their gender. If they all end up being men that’s fine too. More likely they’ll end up being a mixture of the sexes.

    Is that really so hard?

  52. sophonisba
    sophonisba March 28, 2006 at 1:59 am |

    I have a really hard time taking seriously men who call themselves pro-feminist, although some of them are clearly intelligent and so forth. I respect men who have the basic sense to stand up and say, yes, I’m a feminist, not an auxiliary or a hobbyist or a spectator. This isn’t a pet issue, this is everyone’s life. Feminist authority or feminist leadership for men is a different issue and a more fraught one, and men who claim to speak for feminists are always galling, but just being a feminist? If anyone, man or woman, isn’t a feminist, I want to know why the hell not.

    I have also never found that self-identified pro-feminists are more reluctant to tell women what’s good for them than self-identified feminists. The opposite, if anything.

    So my labelling preferences are not about patting men on the head and validating their every minor effort. It is about not letting them off as “supporters” or “friends” of a philosophy and a movement that every decent, ethical human is obliged to be a fully committed part of.

  53. Jill
    Jill March 28, 2006 at 7:44 am | *

    This conversation has made me think that perhaps the men who don’t call themselves feminist, and who instead identify as pro-feminist, “get it” a little more than a lot of the guys who are quick to jump up and say, “I’m a feminist.” Example:

    Here’s a wacky idea: how about letting people become the leaders naturally, you know, by virtue of their leadership qualities and ignoring the shape of the flesh between their legs?

    If they all end up being women that’s fine, because it’s a product of who they are and not their gender. If they all end up being men that’s fine too. More likely they’ll end up being a mixture of the sexes.

    I’m all for men taking a part in the feminist movement. But if you can’t recognize that the current state of things hurts women significantly more than it hurts men — that the current state of things indeed privileges men — then no, you don’t get it, and you’re a pretty fairweather feminist. It’s like arguing that whites should take leadership roles in Black Power and civil rights movements — sure, it’s good for whites to support racial equality, but part of that support is recognition that there are things that we just don’t get. Having not been a racially oppressed class, there are things that people of color experience in their day to day lives that I will never understand. What I can do instead is listen to them, support their goals, and recognize that their experience is valid, that it’s theirs, and that I cannot speak for them. Racism affects white people too, but it’s not even comparable — and it privileges white people. Making the conversation about white people, or insisting that white people have just as great a stake in fighting racism, or placing white people front and center in the anti-racism movement may have some strategic value, but at its heart it further oppresses people of color.

    The same is true of feminism. Men have a place, but that place is not to co-opt women’s experience, or to insist that, despite the fact that we live in a profoundly unequal world that priviliges men over women, the leadership of the feminist movement should be “equal.” If men are really feminists, then they recognize that feminism gives deference to women’s experiences. They don’t purport to speak for women. The listen, they support, and they work along side us, but they don’t attempt to reinstate oppressive gender structures within the movement itself.

  54. ballgame
    ballgame March 28, 2006 at 9:09 am |

    I submit that an avowedly egalitarian movement which privileges one gender’s experiences over another’s, and which displays a continued, willful obliviousness to the ways patriarchy is instilled in, and is destructive to the humanity of, men, will ultimately end up reinforcing patriarchy instead of destroying it.

  55. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 28, 2006 at 10:35 am |

    I’m all for men taking a part in the feminist movement. But if you can’t recognize that the current state of things hurts women significantly more than it hurts men — that the current state of things indeed privileges men — then no, you don’t get it,

    I certainly do get it, in fact I’ve explicitly said it myself at least twice in this thread. The point is that by saying only women need apply you aren’t really helping now are you?

    It’s precisely like Affirmative Action. It is addressing a real problem: minorities do tend to get screwed in our society. But it is addressing it in a stupid counterproductive way. You don’t end racism by creating a new layer of institutionalized racism.

    You don’t end sexism by being sexist yourself. All you do is become a bigot. A bigot who favors the underclass is no better than one who favors the overclass. Louis Farrakhan is no better than David Duke. Both should STFU.

    It’s like arguing that whites should take leadership roles in Black Power and civil rights movements — sure, it’s good for whites to support racial equality, but part of that support is recognition that there are things that we just don’t get.

    Oh so we are equal but we also need to be separate. I get it. Makes perfect sense. Separate but equal.

    Making the conversation about white people, or insisting that white people have just as great a stake in fighting racism, or placing white people front and center in the anti-racism movement may have some strategic value, but at its heart it further oppresses people of color.

    Bull. The argument isn’t about just black or just whites, or just inuit lesbian NRA members. It is about ALL people. Or it is worthless. You can’t strive toward equality without having two or more things you are trying to make equal. The term ‘black equality’ has no meaning unless you are implicitly saying they are equal to some other race. Or more importantly ALL other races.

    Working with whites does not opress black people more. Insisting that only blacks can lead a civil rights movements is racist in and of itself and does great harm to the movement because it belies an enormous hypocrisy.

    The listen, they support, and they work along side us, but they don’t attempt to reinstate oppressive gender structures within the movement itself.

    How can you say that? You are saying up is down. Being equal is imposing an oppresive gender structure but imposing an oppresive gender structure is being equal?

    Look I read Piny’s little bio after our last thread. It says Piny’s transgendered. Honestly after reading it I wasn’t clear if Piny was born male or female. And you know what? I couldn’t care less. It makes absolutely no difference to me in how I relate to Piny. The only time that a person’s gender or sexual orientation matters in the slightest is if you are thinking of pursuing a romantic relationship with them. Period.

    It doesn’t matter when applying for a job. It doesn’t matter when being evaluated as a potential adoptive parent. It doesn’t matter when moving into a neighborhood. And it sure as hell does not matter when leading a movement based on the very idea that gender doesn’t matter.

  56. Luckynkl
    Luckynkl March 28, 2006 at 10:40 am |

    Those that think feminism is about equality between the sexes are underachievers. It is not about equality. Feminism is about women’s *liberation* from men, their values and their system. Not just mere equality in a system that was created by men, for men, for the benefit of men. If women just settle for equality, all that means is that both women and men will work for the benefit of men.

    As for those that think it’s “reverse sexism,” please stop using big words you don’t know the meaning of and don’t have any understanding of. Sexism, racism, classism, homophobia, etc… are about power differentials between classes of people. Power differentials which enables one class of people to oppress another. So who holds the power politically/economically/socially/culturally in America? Women? People of color? Poor people? Gay people? Not!

    IOWs, those folks that have African American, Native American, Hispanic, Asian, heritage cannot be racist. At least not in America. Because they are not the ones that hold the power politically, economically, socially, and culturally and therefore, cannot oppress others. The same holds true for women. They cannot be sexist because of the same reason.

    Yeah, I know, I know, you white boys thought you’d be all slick and conflate the word “prejudice” with the above mentioned -isms. Sure, anyone can be prejudiced. But not everyone can oppress. And THAT’s the meaning of these words. Otherwise, you’d have Nazis claiming they were oppressed by the Jews and slave owners claiming they were oppressed by their slaves if these oppressed groups dared to say anything negative about their oppressors. Which is just the way all too many of you white boys like things, no? Now tell the truth and shame the devil. Because this is precisely the game you white boys are playing these days.

    So what happens when we dole out equality to unequals? Well think of a grotesquely lopsided scale. What happens when you add equal weight on both sides of a lopsided scale? It remains grotesquely lopsided of course.

    Now have a seat, white boys. You’ve never been oppressed a day in your life and don’t have the foggiest clue what it means to be.

    Basically what you white boys are complaining about and what you consider soooo unfair is what? That you only have 85% of the power instead of 100%? That you left a few rocks uncovered? Are boo hooing that the rest of us that are left scrambling for those 15% of scraps you white boys forgot and left behind aren’t sharing with you? While you continue to bogart your 85%?

    All I can say is, there are few things more disgusting and revolting than kings whining about being kings.

    That said, feminism is more than just a political movement. It is a political/economic/social/cultural movement. It is to the left of the left. It is the only system that was created by women, for women and is led by women. How’s that for a nice radical change?

    Chris had it right the first time around. While a man can be pro-feminist, he cannot be feminist. The word “feminist” comes from the french word “femme.” Which means “woman.” So if you call him a feminist, you are in essence calling him a girlie man. Pro-feminist, on the other hand, means that he supports the Women’s Liberation Movement.

    I’m not interested in men co-opting Feminism and women, and once again, being colonized and devoured whole. Women’s Studies is a good example of this. It’s no longer called “Women’s Studies.” It’s called “Gender Studies.” Any time men and women are placed together, men feel entitled to take over and expect women to take a back seat to them.

    Less we forget, you were the whole problem to begin with, dudes.

  57. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 28, 2006 at 10:41 am |

    Oh, nice.

    I’m sorry, Piny, but you were a jerk to Joe.

    Yeah, God knows why anyone would ever accuse you of being disingenuous.

    If you feel I’ve lied about something by all means call me on it. I haven’t. Nor do I think you’ve lied about anything. I think you are being very earnest in your sexism which is what bothers me greatly. And honestly I hope that if you are confronted with it you may learn to outgrow it. I don’t really know you so I may easily be wrong, but I’d like to think that people who consider themselves part of feminism are more likely to try and give up their own personal prejudices.

  58. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 28, 2006 at 10:42 am |

    I submit that an avowedly egalitarian movement which privileges one gender’s experiences over another’s, and which displays a continued, willful obliviousness to the ways patriarchy is instilled in, and is destructive to the humanity of, men, will ultimately end up reinforcing patriarchy instead of destroying it.

    Exactly.

  59. zuzu
    zuzu March 28, 2006 at 11:05 am |

    Working with whites does not opress black people more.

    With is one thing.

    For is another.

    You dig?

  60. Jill
    Jill March 28, 2006 at 11:16 am | *

    Thank you, Zuzu.

    I thought I was pretty clear on that point, wasn’t I? I think that whites have a place in anti-racist movements, heterosexual people have a place in LGBT movements, men have a place in women’s movements — but that place isn’t to be in control of the movement. It isn’t to speak for others. It isn’t to claim that oppression hurts all people equally.

  61. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 28, 2006 at 11:29 am |

    With is one thing.
    For is another.
    You dig?

    Certainly. Female feminist leaders can work with male feminist leaders. Female feminist followers can work with male feminist followers and both can work for male and female feminist leaders.

    Capice?

  62. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 28, 2006 at 11:34 am |

    I thought I was pretty clear on that point, wasn’t I?

    The problem isn’t you being unclear, it’s that you are wrong.

    Excluding men at any level of the organization is sexist. You are making a decision based on the sex of the person when that sex has absolutely no effect on the decision itself. That is the textbook definition of sexism.

    It isn’t to speak for others.

    You are right, it isn’t to speak for others. It is to speak for themselves because equality is about all of us. And if your movement isn’t about equality (as at least Luckynkl openly admits) then a lot of people are not going to give a damn about it. A lot of people are interested in promoting equality. A pretty small bunch care about creating some separate-but-equal fantasy land.

    It isn’t to claim that oppression hurts all people equally.

    And who has made that claim? No one. It’s a strawman.

  63. zuzu
    zuzu March 28, 2006 at 11:35 am |

    I thought I was pretty clear on that point, wasn’t I?

    There are none so blind as those who will not see.

  64. zuzu
    zuzu March 28, 2006 at 11:43 am |

    Tlaloc, why should feminists want to work for those who belong to the class that oppresses them and/or benefits from their oppression?

    One thing feminism does is challenge the ideas of the patriarchy. One of those ideas is that men are natural leaders. Another is that it is the place of men to lead women, whether in government, employment, organizations, movements or the family.

    So you’ll pardon me if I don’t get all misty when you cry about being oppressed because feminists don’t want to bow to patriarchal dictates that men should be allowed to be leaders of any organization.

  65. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 28, 2006 at 11:45 am |

    read Luckynkl’s post (#62).

    It exemplifies everything that is wrong with feminism today. As I’ve said repeatedly (and I have to thank Lucknkl for making my point so much better that I have) feminism has changed from being abot equality to being about attacking men as petty revenge.

    Or maybe it was always that way and I’m being naive but I hope not. I hope it started out as something useful, something noble.

    But it isn’t now.

    Now it’s just a big greek tragedy acted out in slow motion. The original meaning of tragedy is a story in which the characters suffer from an overabundance of virtue. Antigone wants to see equality in the treatment of her dead brothers. Creon values loyalty above all else. And because they are so inflexible and so sure of themselves they destroy everything around them. They are fanatics: a person who redoubles their efforst while losing sight of their goal.

    That’s exactly what is happening here. You are caught up in a cause that is just and you;ve let it blind you and give you such a sense of entitlement that you’ll stampede over your own goals rather than tone down the rhetoric. Do you think Luckynkl realizes, or cares, that they are damaging the movement they profess to follow? No. Feminism to a person like that is a club. A process. Not a result. Not something that is ever reached or even tried to reach, merely a status symbol. a way of putting themselves above others and justifying their prejudices.

    example:

    Less we forget, you were the whole problem to begin with, dudes.

    No, we weren’t. We were part of the problem. And we should own up to that and try to fix it. But we were never all of the problem, and insisting that we were is nothing more than bigotry.

    Not all feminists are a lost cause. There have been a few in this thread who have understood and gotten it. But the movement as a whole is compromised in my opinion. Reversing that would require an incredible amount of hard work. Hard work that cannot begin until you stop doing more harm.

  66. zuzu
    zuzu March 28, 2006 at 11:47 am |

    Sigh.

    How did this thread get derailed so quickly into a discussion about how feminists are bad to men, who are the truly oppressed ones?

  67. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 28, 2006 at 11:50 am |

    Tlaloc, why should feminists want to work for those who belong to the class that oppresses them and/or benefits from their oppression?

    Because seeing every man as an oppressor is just as sexist as seeing every woman as a receptacle. It isn’t about the gender it’s about the person. If you can’t see a man as simply another human being then you have no place and a movement dedicated to sexual equality.

    One thing feminism does is challenge the ideas of the patriarchy. One of those ideas is that men are natural leaders. Another is that it is the place of men to lead women, whether in government, employment, organizations, movements or the family.

    I don’t disagree with any of that. But if in the course of challenging “men are natural leaders” you accept “women are natural leaders” then it is a zero sum game. You win nothing for your efforts.

    So you’ll pardon me if I don’t get all misty when you cry about being oppressed because feminists don’t want to bow to patriarchal dictates that men should be allowed to be leaders of any organization.

    What should have you choked up is your own obvious prejudices which are so damn glaring in this light. You can’t talk about just people, you have to always reduce it to male or female, which makes you no better than the worst chauvinist.

    Answer this question: should any capable and dedicated person be allowed to be a feminist leader?
    sub -question: why not?

  68. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 28, 2006 at 11:51 am |

    How did this thread get derailed so quickly into a discussion about how feminists are bad to men, who are the truly oppressed ones?

    Strawman. Nobody said anything of the kind. The topic is still whether men can be feminists with the sub question of whether they can be feminist leaders.

  69. Shannon W.
    Shannon W. March 28, 2006 at 12:12 pm |

    Dude, if someone doesn’t respect you, no amount of kowtowing will make them respect you. To have rights, you have to demand them. To tiptoe around, begging for your rights, hoping that some man on a white horse will give them to you- well, that’s not going to get you anywhere- because the second it becomes inconvienant for those who need you to bend over backwards for them, they are out, and you have wasted time and energy. It’s oppression 101. If you listen, you can learn.

  70. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 28, 2006 at 12:20 pm |

    Dude, if someone doesn’t respect you, no amount of kowtowing will make them respect you. To have rights, you have to demand them. To tiptoe around, begging for your rights, hoping that some man on a white horse will give them to you- well, that’s not going to get you anywhere- because the second it becomes inconvienant for those who need you to bend over backwards for them, they are out, and you have wasted time and energy. It’s oppression 101.

    No one has said anything of the kind. No one has said “Men should run the feminist movement.” Nor “Women should just be happy with what men give them.” Nor anything else that remotely resembles what you are railing against here.

    What we are talking about is working together toward a common goal. There are men who want women to have equality, real meaningful equality. They can be part of the movement. Some of them may be gifted so that they would make good leaders of the movement. Denying them that opportunity is contrary to the very spirit of the movement.

    It’s not about kowtowing or begging anyone for anything. It;s about not being xenophobic. It’s about working together as equals.

  71. jm
    jm March 28, 2006 at 1:05 pm |

    the feminist movement is not based only on ideas, it is also based on experience. although patriarchy negatively affects everyone, women are the ones who have traditionally had the most experience with sexist oppression; they are made to be aware of it more than men; they perceive and are negatively affected by men’s privilege more than men are.

    this makes women uniquely qualified to lead the movement away from that. women know what the issues are- they live them every day. they are the experts. the experts should be leading the group.

    in this same vein, when all other things are equal (education, experience, etc) when i have a “female” problem, i like to see female gynecologists. women have the education, but they also have experiential knowledge about menstrual cycles and pregnancy that men cannot have. therefore, they are more likely to understand what i’m talking about when i’ve got problems. this is why leaders of AA are also alcoholics; why previously abused people lead organizations that help others out of abuse. no-one’s saying other people can’t understand aspects of alcoholism, but alcoholics understand it better. there are separate wings of AA for children of alcoholics, spouses, etc. maybe, tlaloc, you need your own wing.

    feminism is about sex/gender equality at the end, but until equality happens, it’s about helping the oppressed group (women) up. that’s why it’s called feminism.

  72. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 28, 2006 at 1:16 pm |

    this makes women uniquely qualified to lead the movement away from that. women know what the issues are- they live them every day. they are the experts. the experts should be leading the group.

    So by virtue of having a uterus every woman is an expert on sexism. Even, say, Ann Coulter?

    See how ridiculous that argument is? Yes women do bear a greater burden of the weight of sexism in this culture. And that might give some of them a unique insight. Certainly treasure that. But don’t pretend that only women have a unique insight.

    in this same vein, when all other things are equal (education, experience, etc) when i have a “female” problem, i like to see female gynecologists. women have the education, but they also have experiential knowledge about menstrual cycles and pregnancy that men cannot have. therefore, they are more likely to understand what i’m talking about when i’ve got problems.

    Funny, my doctor is a woman. I go to her because she seems competent and I like her attitude. I figure after med school I’ll trust my body in her care even though she doesn’t have a penis. I guess I sort of thought that was slightly more open minded than basing who can care for me on the gender of the person.

    feminism is about sex/gender equality at the end, but until equality happens, it’s about helping the oppressed group (women) up.

    If it isn’t about equality at the start it never will be. You cannot find equality by being sexist. This isn’t an equation where if your side is sexist just as much as the other side but in the opposite direction it will all come out even.

    If Feminism is not about equality- first, last, and always- then it is useless. In fact it is worse than useless, it is a major part of the problem.

  73. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 28, 2006 at 1:18 pm |

    sorry for the screwed up tagging. Last box is my words.

  74. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 28, 2006 at 1:48 pm |

    learn from the master:

    The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.

    We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead.

    I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.

    I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

    I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor’s lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers.

    When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

    To get going the civil rights movement needed both a King and a Malcolm X. The concilliator and the militant. And it’s fair to say that feminism had need of militants too. But that time passes and eventually further militantism for it’s own sake is detrimental to the cause as a whole.

    First you need the carrot and the stick but after the initial gains the carrot continues to help and the stick comes to retard progress.

  75. Norah
    Norah March 28, 2006 at 3:06 pm |

    Says Tlaloc:

    “There are men who want women to have equality, real menaingful equality. They can be part of the movement. Some of them may be gifted so that they would make good leaders of the movement. Denying them that opportunity is contrary to the very spirt of the movement.”

    You guys have gone back and forth on this point, but tell me something,Tlaloc. I want to know what exactly a male leader of the feminist movement would do, in your envisionment of his leadership role? What concrete actions would he take to further this cause? What would he have to say to women who strive to do away with patriarchy? What examples of his own would he be able to offer, on how his life has been adversely affected by some total stranger’s notion of how his life should be lived and what would be best for him? What would he say to reassure women who have gone through this and are tired of it?

    Tlaloc, do you know what it’s like to be treated like a child or a mental incompetant? To be humored and petted and otherwise ignored? To be told repeatedly, “this isn’t what you want/mean.” To have every single fucking discussion about women get hijacked and turned into what would be best for men? Well, let me tell you something. As a feminist woman, I don’t give a shit what’s best for men. I’m concerned with the advancement of women. That’s why I identify as a feminist. If that hurts your feelings, sorry, but too bad.

    I’ve been reading along, and wondering why nobody’s asked the obvious question. Why do you have such an interest in male leadership of feminism? I am extremely curious.

  76. A
    A March 28, 2006 at 3:12 pm |

    If I may ask, how, if at all, is the feminist monicker informed by any number of trans identities and issues? Is a transguy still capable of being a legitimate feminist due to the experience living as assigned female? Does passing as male in any way dilute one’s claim to the label? Are transwomen eligible to be feminists at any point? Is the legitimacy of the claim based on self-definition, on socially assigned definitions, some combination of the two, or something else entirely?

  77. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 28, 2006 at 3:16 pm |

    I think that if you cannot accept as a premise the idea that an oppressive system creates a categorical difference between the oppressed group and the privileged group, you will never be able to identify, let alone attack, the effects of oppression.

    But Piny with that reasoning you are already giving up the war as lost. If there is already a “categorical” difference between men and women you are never going to get equality. The premise of feminism is that the differences between men and women are not categorical, in fact they aren’t even important differences. They should be completely ignored. The content of character is what matters.

    You are losing the war to win the battle.

    There is nothing misogynistic about identifying misogyny as something that uniquely affects women, nor about saying that since women have been hated as women, they should be defered to in describing the effects of woman-hating.

    I agree with these statements but you keep implying that feminism is solely about mysogyny, and it is not. Mysogyny is only one form of gender equality that feminism is trying to do away with. There is a bigger picture.

    And stop, just stop, with the PHMT.

    I’m not familiar with the acronym, can you spell it out?

    This is an excellent example of the disparity you refuse to see! Someone from the transgendered community would have read my bio and understood who and what I was. Terms like “gender identity,” and “ftm,” are not opaque to insiders, nor are the rationales that create the terms. What I said was perfectly clear; the only reason you didn’t understand it was that you have no personal contact with transgendered people and no particular affiliation with the transgendered community.

    I don’t disagree, nor did I mean to imply that those terms were somehow irrational, only that I don’t know them and I don’t need to know them because your sexual identity doesn’t matter to me.

    That is precisely what you want, remember?!

    You want to be treated as a human being first and a man/woman/trangendered-man/transgendered-woman/gay/straight/bi-/polyamorous/whatever a distant distant second.

    I am embodying the end result you want and you don’t like it for some reason.

    Do you think that someone like you is as capable of evaluating, say, respectful vs. disrespectful terminology as someone who is transgendered?

    I think any terminology is fine so long as it is meant respectfully. And any terminology is not fine if it is meant disrespectfully. Witness the terms ‘nigger’ and ‘bitch’ which while once used in a very disdainful and disrespectful way have now been adopted by their relative populations as symbols of pride.

    I emphatically reject the PC notion that what someone hears is more important than what the speaker meant.

    The transgendered movement argues that gender, assigned history, and gender identity should not disenfranchise anyone. It does not argue that lived experience is irrelevant to understanding.

    Again I don’t disgaree with either of those statements but you are going another step and saying that “yes, lived experience DOES disenfranchise a person if they don’t look/fell/act like me.”

    Understanding isn’t always best done from within the group. Sometimes an outside perspective is very very valuable. Having both is an enormous asset. One you are quick to throw away.

    It is not racist to say that black people suffer more from racism than white people. It is racist to negate their insight for the benefit of imposing equality on two sets of experiences that institutional racism separates.

    Again agree with both. But as soon as you say “and white people have no place leading a civil rights movement” I get off the bus. Because you just pulled it onto the prejudice highway, next stop bigot town.

    No one- NO ONE- has said women don’t bear the major burden of sexism in our culture. No one -NO ONE- has said women should play a role in the leadership of the feminist movement. What has been disputed is that ONLY women should play a role. That is wrong, it is counter productive, it is folly.

    Let me ask you this Piny: what does your end goal look like? What do you want in society where you;d feel like the movement had accomplished it’s goals?

  78. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 28, 2006 at 3:25 pm |

    You guys have gone back and forth on this point, but tell me something,Tlaloc. I want to know what exactly a male leader of the feminist movement would do, in your envisionment of his leadership role?

    The same things a female leader would do, because their gender doesn’t matter. If you are asking what are my plans then I couldn’t say. I’m certainly not angling to be a leader of a movement I think has become corrupt.

    What would he have to say to women who strive to do away with patriarchy? What examples of his own would he be able to offer, on how his life has been adversely affected by some total stranger’s notion of how his life should be lived and what would be best for him? What would he say to reassure women who have gone through this and are tired of it?

    Don’t know. And neither will you if you gag him before he ever has a chance to speak. hat’s kind of the point. What could a feminist man say to you? What insight would he bring? Would it be any different than a woman’s insights? Maybe, maybe not. In either case if he is capable and dedicated he should not be excluded simply for having a penis.

    Tlaloc, do you know what it’s like to be treated like a child or a mental incompetant?

    I’ll have to show you some of my earlier arguments with Piny/Zuzu.

    As a feminist woman, I don’t give a shit what’s best for men. I’m concerned with the advancement of women. That’s why I identify as a feminist. If that hurts your feelings, sorry, but too bad.

    It has nothing to do with my feelings, it has to do with the movement and whether you are really a feminist. You aren’t. You’re a female supremacist. Which is no better than a white supremacist, or a black supremacist, or a male supremacist (chauvinist).

    Or maybe down deep you do care about men too because we should all give a shit about each other. I like to hope so. I like to hope there is a spark of decency left in the movement.

    You tell me.

    Why do you have such an interest in male leadership of feminism? I am extremely curious.

    I have an interest in the movement getting back on track. It isn’t going to do that so long as it’s prejudices are allowed to fester. You might find it painful to recognize the way you’ve become the monster you hate, but you need it if you are to overcome it and get back to the good work. And it is good work. I do want sexual equality.

    Contrarian that I am I try to help by ridiculing and pointing out the ways the movement goes wrong. I do that in the hopes that people will fix it.

  79. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 28, 2006 at 3:29 pm |

    gah! couple typos that screw up the meaning of my post to Piny.

    Should be that mysogyny is a form of gender INequality, not equality.

    And at the end should say no on has said women shouldN’T play a role in the leadership.

    Stupid total lack of typing and proof reading skills.

  80. Chris Clarke
    Chris Clarke March 28, 2006 at 3:32 pm |

    Well, thank god this thread got down to the important business of being all about Tlaloc’s need to be patted on the head.

  81. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 28, 2006 at 3:39 pm |

    Well, thank god this thread got down to the important business of being all about Tlaloc’s need to be patted on the head.

    Sorry to interrupt your self flagellation.

  82. A
    A March 28, 2006 at 4:15 pm |

    Tlaloc:

    I emphatically reject the PC notion that what someone hears is more important than what the speaker meant.

    Thank you for thoughtfully embodying the concept of privilege.

  83. KnifeGhost
    KnifeGhost March 28, 2006 at 4:38 pm |

    The premise of feminism is that the differences between men and women are not categorical, in fact they aren’t even important differences.

    Tlaloc, I’m good at fucking tired of you being the self-appointed arbiter of what is and is not feminism. Which is EXACTLY the issue at hand. Despite your unwillingness to recognize this consensus, most people here agree that men have every right to become feminists. The exceptions, and I think this is the third fucking time I’ve made this point, are MEN. It’s not an issue of who can be a feminist. The more interesting question is who gets to decide what feminism is? Do men have the right to take the label and then start setting the agenda? Frankly I think they have as much right as another to do so, but they’ll look like fucking assholes.

    Men _can_ become leaders in the feminist, or white people in anti-racist or ethnic pride movements. But they have to prove _serious_ fucking cred. They have to demonstrate that they’re totally legit, that they have no desire to hijack the agenda of the group, and so on. Now, there are, for lack of a better term, “natural constituent” of movements that will try to hijack the movement for their own agenda, and they tend to get told to fuck off pretty quickly. To use an example you brought up before, Ann Coulter would get a pretty clear and unambiguous fuck off if she tried to tell feminists what feminism is and isn’t. People interested in taking over and telling everybody what’s what tend not to be very welcome. For some reason (and I have a pretty good idea of what some of those reasons are) a disproportionate amount of men in the feminist movement (or any privilege holders in non-privilege holder movements) tend to feel they have the right to set the agenda.

    Tlaloc, I know you’re not listening, and I know you’re almost inveterately disingenuous, but think it over.

  84. KnifeGhost
    KnifeGhost March 28, 2006 at 4:42 pm |

    I emphatically reject the PC notion that what someone hears is more important than what the speaker meant.

    And yet you insist on arguing points you _heard_ rather than ones the poster meant.

  85. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 28, 2006 at 4:42 pm |

    Feminism has never said that there are no differences between a life lived as a woman and a life lived as a man in a sexist society.

    We aren’t talking about ‘life lived’ we are talking about their essence. Is there a real meaningful difference between what a man is and what a woman is, or are we all equal human beings?

    I do not want my gender identity and those experiences it has allowed me to be divorced from your understanding or acknowledgement of my humanity.

    I think you are going to be very disapointed then. I have no interest in fighting for some percieved right you think you have to inform everyone about how you live. Not interested. Nor I suspect is anyone else outside of your skull. I am interested in fighting for you to be treated as a human being, equally with the rest of us.

    Equality doesn’t entail any special right for you to force me into an education camp about your life choices, it just means both of make sure not to interfere with the other’s life choices.

    Refusing to listen is in and of itself profoundly disrespectful.

    I don’t agree. Gagging you is disrespectful. Free speech is never compelled listening, it is only free speech. You can say whatever you want, I won’t interfere. I also may not listen if I am not interested, just as you aren’t required to listen to me. That is equality and it is supremely respectful.

    You are not objective. You are not an outsider to the system.

    I wasn’t saying an outsider to the system, I was saying an outsider to the gender (women). Several people have argued that women are in a unique position to evaluate gender equality in the US, and they are right of course, but men are in a unique place too. And just as women can criticize (in the constructive sense) male actions from an outside view, men can do the same for women.

    Both sides have value. In fact if I might be so daring both sides have equal value.

    You have been sheltered from one of its aspects;

    I’m sure I have. I’m drastically less likely to be raped or sexualy assaulted and that certainly changes my view in one regard. But on the other hand I’ve also been catagorically treated as a rapist simply because of my gender. That’s an experience few if any women will know. And there is value in it because there is a lesson in it to learn. One that will be ignored by an ‘equality’ movement that insists on homogeneity.

    There is nothing counterproductive about telling people they have the right to lead their own damn revolution.

    There in lies the fallacy. It is not theirs. It is all of ours.

    It is counterproductive to attempt to end inequality by pretending it currently does not exist.

    Who is that directed at because I know damn well I said nothing of the kind. For people who rail against strawfeminists you certainly enjoy attacking a lot of strawmen.

  86. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 28, 2006 at 4:44 pm |

    And yet you insist on arguing points you _heard_ rather than ones the poster meant.

    Example? I haven’t seen anyone so far claim I misrepresented them. Disagreement, yes; misrepresentation, no.

  87. Stacy
    Stacy March 28, 2006 at 4:49 pm |

    No one has said anything of the kind. No one has said “Men should run the feminist movement.” Nor “Women should just be happy with what men give them.” Nor anything else that remotely resembles what you are railing against here.

    Actually, you made this argument early on in this thread:

    Feminist women can easily be discounted as simply being power hungry. They are the ones with the direct benefit. By being a feminist guy you show that there is an underlying ideology that is worth embracing even if it means “you lose so that can we win” (the definition of altruism).

    This to me statement indicates that women actually need men in the movement to give the movement credibility. Feminist men are actually the only ones we can count on to be more sincere in the cause (as opposed to those power-hungry women), as evidenced by the fact that men are not the ones “with the direct benefit”.

    How did this thread get derailed so quickly into a discussion about how feminists are bad to men, who are the truly oppressed ones?

    Strawman. Nobody said anything of the kind. The topic is still whether men can be feminists with the sub question of whether they can be feminist leaders.

    Bullshit. You still pushing the same “gotcha, feminists!” agenda that you usually are. The topic may change, it always comes back to “See? This is a great example of why feminists don’t really believe in equality!” rhetoric that you love dishing out. It’s absurd that you would say garbage like this:

    In fact in a lot of ways this is precisely why I can’t identify myself as a feminist. The cause has changed. It’s now fine for ‘feminists’ to tell a man that what he thinks doesn’t matter because he has a penis. It’s gone from promoting equality to promoting sexism.

    It exemplifies everything that is wrong with feminism today. As I’ve said repeatedly (and I have to thank Lucknkl for making my point so much better that I have) feminism has changed from being abot equality to being about attacking men as petty revenge.

    Then fall back on:

    The topic is still whether men can be feminists with the sub question of whether they can be feminist leaders

    To get out of defending your strawfeminist viewpoint.

    Look buddy, if you want to stay “on topic”, don’t embellish your rhetoric with snide swipes at the feminist movement then whine when someone calls you out on it. Once your agenda becomes this prevalent, I think it’s times to go start your own blog. There, you can talk about how evil the feminists are every day without rudely hijacking every thread you come across.

    As for your argument, you are twisting people’s words. Personally, I believe with what Dr Virago said. But I can easily see where the opposite argument is coming from. And as far as leaders go, I agree with them. You, however, are missing it completely. Your outrage would be justified if everyone was saying “Well, men are just plain bad at being leaders because they naturally lack organizational skills” or “Men are all inherently evil because of testosterone, and cannot be trusted to lead feminists movements”. As desperately as you want people to say this, so it fits in with your “feminist gotcha” agenda, this is not what is being said. What is being said is that the experience is different.

    The point is that your experience, as a man, no matter who you are and what you do, is never going to be the same as mine, as a woman. Your experience is heavily affected by how you are perceived by others, not by how you are.

    You can read as many books, attend as many discussions, and watch as many documentaries as you want, but it doesn’t change the fact that the environment that surrounded and impacted you is very different from the environment that surrounded and impacted me, for a variety of reasons, gender included. The concern is that if you cannot fully understand the experience, you run the risk of failing to address certain concerns within the movement out of your your lack of knowledge and experience on the subject. And it’s a legitimate concern.

    For instance, take MRAs that argue for Roe v Wade for Men. They wear this cause like a badge of honor because they believe it’s for equality. So since they “believe” in gender equality, they should be perfect candidates for leaders of the feminist movement, no? No. Because their experience is not that of a womans, they fail to see that not only is their solution completely premature (as in, women in this country are denied access to their own reproductive rights fairly frequently), it is also not the same thing (comparing writing out a check to pregnancy or abortion).

    As another example, look at opinions regarding affirmative action sometime.

    70% of Blacks, 63% of Hispanics agree with AA, as opposed to 44% of Whites. The groups that are hurt the most by racial discrimination are the ones most supportive of actions that will ease this discrimination. Do you think this is coincidence?

    Anyway, I don’t walk around and trivialize your experiences by claiming that I “understand” them just as well as you do. I don’t read Jack London and judge that I know all there is to know about white dudes. I don’t rent “Do the Right Thing” and tell every black person I see on the street that I totally understand racism. I never would. I think it’s insulting.

  88. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 28, 2006 at 4:57 pm |

    Tlaloc, I’m good at fucking tired of you being the self-appointed arbiter of what is and is not feminism.

    I’m sorry that I use the dictionary and historical meaning of feminism. I know that must really rub you the wrong way. WHo would have thought that simple equality was such a horrible thing to embrace?

    Tlaloc, I know you’re not listening, and I know you’re almost inveterately disingenuous, but think it over.

    Your problem is that I am listening and I’m pointing out that what you are serving up is a steaming pile of horseshit. You personally may not care about equality. Scratch that, obvious you don’t. You apparently buy into the idea of feminism as some women’s revolution.

    For the rest of us that’s right when Feminism jumped the shark. The only way for it to recover and be both meaningful and actually successful again is for it to get back to its roots.

    Big E
    small Q
    small U
    small A
    small L
    small I
    small T
    small Y
    Period.

  89. zuzu
    zuzu March 28, 2006 at 5:09 pm |

    God, now he’s a cheerleader.

  90. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 28, 2006 at 5:09 pm |

    This to me statement indicates that women actually need men in the movement to give the movement credibility. Feminist men are actually the only ones we can count on to be more sincere in the cause (as opposed to those power-hungry women), as evidenced by the fact that men are not the ones “with the direct benefit”.

    Okay I understand how you reached that conclusion, but no that’s not what I meant. Sorry it was unclear. Here’s what I meant: yes the movement does need guys to give it legitimacy from outside perspectives. No that doesn’t mean that you can only count on guys, nor that guys should run the movement. It merely means they should be part of the movement as equals.

    Bullshit. You still pushing the same “gotcha, feminists!” agenda that you usually are. The topic may change, it always comes back to “See? This is a great example of why feminists don’t really believe in equality!” rhetoric that you love dishing out.

    Love dishing out? God no. I was hoping this thread would go a lot nicer than the last one but I wasn’t going to let Piny slide on bashing Joe for no good reason. Then the thread turned course. I don’t enjoy this kind of confrontation. I love a nice cerebral debate, and there are aspects of theat here but frankly i could do without all the emotion on all sides.

    Look buddy, if you want to stay “on topic”, don’t embellish your rhetoric with snide swipes at the feminist movement then whine when someone calls you out on it.

    Look if two quotes by just me constitute “thread jacking” I think maybe the criteria for that is a tad low. Yes I think feminism has become corrupt. And when confronted with a mountain of evidence of said corruption like this thread I do tend to say the occasionaly “I told you so.” Not terribly mature, but well deserved.
    Ultimately if you want me to quit “whining” about corrupt feminists you are better off fixing the corruption in feminism.

    The point is that your experience, as a man, no matter who you are and what you do, is never going to be the same as mine, as a woman. Your experience is heavily affected by how you are perceived by others, not by how you are.

    Which I agree with. However that difference does not mean you are a better leader for feminism than I am automatically because feminism is not just about women. How long is going to take you guys to internalize that you are operating under a fallacy.

    Feminism is not a women’s revolution. It is not FOR women. It is about raising women. It is about fighting all forms of gender inequality. If it has to raise woment to do so then fine, but it is a consquence not the goal.

    70% of Blacks, 63% of Hispanics agree with AA, as opposed to 44% of Whites. The groups that are hurt the most by racial discrimination are the ones most supportive of actions that will ease this discrimination. Do you think this is coincidence?

    Of course not, but that doesn’t change the situation which is that Affirmative Action is the wrong solution. It treats a symptom at the cost of making the disease worse.

    Anyway, I don’t walk around and trivialize your experiences by claiming that I “understand” them just as well as you do.

    Then why do you assume that someone like me would be a bad leader in the movment (keeping in mind for the umpteenth million time that feminism is not just about women)?

  91. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 28, 2006 at 5:16 pm |

    No, we are in fact talking about ‘life lived.’ You might or might not be trying to jack the conversation off the rails into a completely different, completely irrelevant question. Is that the problem? Can you just not read? Have you just not been paying attention?

    Our argument has been widely ranging but let’s take it back a step. How do you personally define feminism? To me that’s what my quote that you respond to above was addressing.

    No, that is neutrality towards two situations that are profoundly unequal. For example, people’s knowledge of and respect for your gender identity and their knowledge of and respect for a transperson’s.

    How exactly do you figure that equality means that everyone must know as much about transgendered people as they do about non transgendered people? I’ve never given any credence to the stupid “no special rights” arguments but you really are starting to prove their point. What you are demanding is equal air time, not equality in general.

    You aren’t going to get equal air time because you are part of a tiny minority. I’m sorry that that sucks for you but it is the way it is. I’m all for making sure you don’t get oppressed due to your minority status but I’m not about to give you a lot of extra resources just because you are part of a tiny minority.

    Women criticize sexism from the point of view of people oppressed by sexism. There’s no outsider value to that viewpoint.

    You really think there is no sexual prejudice against men in society? I’m not saying more than against women, but some?

    PHMT. Google, remember?

    Sorry, no. If you want to tell me what it means go ahead. But if you can’t be bothered I’m not going to waste my time looking it up.
    Back to that whole equality means getting to talk, not getting to be listend to thing.

  92. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 28, 2006 at 5:19 pm |

    God, now he’s a cheerleader.

    No actually I was thinking Dennis Leary from The Ref.

    “Then you too are a Liar. Big L, small i, small a, small r. Period.”

  93. Norah
    Norah March 28, 2006 at 5:26 pm |

    Me, comment #82:

    Tlaloc, do you know what it’s like to be treated like a child or a mental incompetant? To be humored and petted and otherwise ignored? To be told repeatedly, “this isn’t what you want/mean.”

    Tlaloc’s reply:

    I have an interest in the movement getting back on track. It isn’t going to do that so long as it’s prejudices are allowed to fester. You might find it painful to recognize the way you’ve become the monster you hate, but you need it if you are to overcome it and get back to the good work.

    Yeah, thanks for proving my point. Also, I asked you for specific examples of what, if anything, a male “leader” of the feminist movement could bring to the table.

    Don’t know. And neither will you if you gag him before he ever has a chance to speak. hat’s kind of the point. What could a feminist man say to you? What insight would he bring? Would it be any different than a woman’s insights? Maybe, maybe not. In either case if he is capable and dedicated he should not be excluded simply for having a penis.

    That ain’t gonna cut it. I offered you a chance to speak, and you had nothing to contribute. Who do you think you are, to tell me men know what it’s like to be a woman in a male-dominated society, and then turn around and hand me this vague, whiny, lame-ass bullshit when I call you on it? If you have something to say, say it, or shut up.

  94. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 28, 2006 at 5:43 pm |

    Yeah, thanks for proving my point.

    Welcome!

    Who do you think you are, to tell me men know what it’s like to be a woman in a male-dominated society,

    Who am I? I’m somebody who never said anything of the kind. Saying men have something to contribute does not somehow mean they know what it is to be a woman.

    Really, you don’t have to make up arguments for me to have said. I’m sure i’m pissing you off enough with the things I really do say and believe.

    If you have something to say, say it, or shut up.

    That is a genuinely new experience: the only time anyone has accused me of not being vocal enough about my opinions.

  95. KnifeGhost
    KnifeGhost March 28, 2006 at 5:47 pm |

    Tlaloc, I know you’re not listening, and I know you’re almost inveterately disingenuous, but think it over.

    Your problem is that I am listening and I’m pointing out that what you are serving up is a steaming pile of horseshit. You personally may not care about equality. Scratch that, obvious you don’t. You apparently buy into the idea of feminism as some women’s revolution.

    QED.

    (I’m so proud. That’s the first time I’ve ever been able to use that.)

    And you seem to be hung up on this quote from piny.

    Yes, but…what difference does it make whether you think you qualify?

    To me, I read that as piny questioning whether you have the credentials to make that decision yourself. You seem to read that as piny questioning whether you have the credentials to make that decision yourself because you have a penis. (I use the between-the-legs term because it parallels Tlaloc’s earlier use of that language.) That’s a jump totally unjustified in piny’s words. There are lots of reasons why you may fall short on feminist cred that have nothing to do with your sex or gender or reproductive organs or whatever. You’ve chosen to assume piny was talking about dink. You have… How shall I put it? You’ve taken something you’ve “hear[d] [as] more important than what the speaker meant.”

    Norah, I would suggest that a male leader in the feminist movmeent could provide more or less what a female leader int he feminist movement could, depending on his individual talents. The only caveat is that he’d have to be a really really exceptionally good feminist to be taken seriously and to be sure not to bank on his privilege. There are very few really really exceptionally good male feminists. As you suggest, we shouldn’t be all that baffled by the overwhelmingly female feminist leadership.

  96. Chris Clarke
    Chris Clarke March 28, 2006 at 5:54 pm |

    Sorry to interrupt your self flagellation.

    Hey, the obligatory accusation of self-flagellation right on schedule!

    Let’s see… what’s next on the sexist fuckwit talking point list? Oh, cool! we’re almost to the end. Lemme just speed us along.

    “Chris, why don’t you be a man and get your balls back out of your mother’s purse!”

    “Gee Tlaloc, that’s the first time I’ve heard a guy refer to his forehead as “your mother’s purse.”

    “Well, if all you can do is engage in ad hominems, Chris, then it’s clear I’m wasting my time.”

    “Yeah, Tlaloc? Well, fuck off and die, you fucking fuck!”

    “Typical, Chris. Have fun donating your manhood to these castrating vagina-denata-sporting harpies. I have better things to do.”

    (Stomp stomp stomp stomp slam.)

    Whew, glad that’s over.

  97. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 28, 2006 at 5:56 pm |

    To me, I read that as piny questioning whether you have the credentials to make that decision yourself. You seem to read that as piny questioning whether you have the credentials to make that decision yourself because you have a penis. (I use the between-the-legs term because it parallels Tlaloc’s earlier use of that language.) That’s a jump totally unjustified in piny’s words.

    Okay, that’s fair. Lets look at the argument. Read a couple posts down and you find this by Piny:

    But it’s pretty insulting, to say the least, to believe that members of a minority do not have the right to identify their own best interests.

    There is no doubt that the “minority” in question here is refering to women. Now this was from Piny’s post replying to me bitching him out over his comment. It was on the topic and it’s pretty obvious that Piny is saying “women get to choose who qualifies a feminist.” That said then the meaining of his original statement is equally obvious and it matches my interpretation.

    You have… How shall I put it? You’ve taken something you’ve “hear[d] [as] more important than what the speaker meant.”

    Would you like to revise that statement in the light of further evidence?

  98. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 28, 2006 at 6:10 pm |

    You said you read my intro, but didn’t recognize any of the terms I used. Did you look any of them up? Of course not. Do you understand what that tells people about you?

    If they’re smart they’ll figure out that it means that I consider your sexual orientation none of my business. I’m fine with you doing anything you want (consensually) sexually. I’m fine with you having whatever sexual identity and orientation you want. Doesn’t affect me in the least. I’ll even work to protect your right to have that freedom, because you are a human being and you deserve it.

    But that in no way obligates me to have to care about your choice of practices. And I don’t. To be clear I’m not saying i disapporve. I’m saying I don’t care.

    That is equality. I am not afterall requiring you to become intimate with my sex habits either, nor should I. The reason you know a fair amount about heterosexuals is because that is the most common behavior and hence forms the vast majority of the culture. And there is nothing wrong with that so long as straights don’t try to oppress non-straights.

    in other words you have every right to be who you are. And I have every right to be who I am. That’s where the guarantees stop. You don’t have a right to make me know who you are. Andy Warhol was wrong, not everyone gets 15 minutes of fame.

    Do you understand what that tells people about the value of your perspective? Because you’ve got none.

    Well lets say that we don’t see eye to eye on which of us has credibility. However as a sub-question let me ask you this: which of our perspectives do you think has a shot of acceptance by the masses?

  99. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 28, 2006 at 6:14 pm |

    Hey, the obligatory accusation of self-flagellation right on schedule!

    Look Chris, I deal with people the way they deal with me. If they want to play nice, I’ll play nice. If they want to ratchet up the rhetoric, I can do that to. If they want to go vulgar… well I cut my teeth at GNN where ‘fuctard’ was a term of endearment and the fights got ugly.

    You wanted to be patronizing to me, so I gave it right back to you. Feel free to decide how you want any of our interactions to proceed and use an appropriate voice.

  100. A
    A March 28, 2006 at 6:18 pm |

    Well lets say that we don’t see eye to eye on which of us has credibility. However as a sub-question let me ask you this: which of our perspectives do you think has a shot of acceptance by the masses?

    Really, no more demonstrations are necessary; we know what privilege looks like. The question is, do you?

  101. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 28, 2006 at 6:40 pm |

    So you think you can fight for my freedom without learning anything about me?

    Yes. Because these freedoms are universal. They don’t depend one whit on who you are.

    First, you didn’t know how to address me, or what gender I was, or what gender I started out as. Then, just now, you conflated “sexual orientation” with “gender identity,” even though they’re two completely different things. And you still insist that your ignorance doesn’t affect the value of your contribution in any way whatsoever.

    Indeed. None of that matters in the slightest in fighting for you to have the right to be who you are.

    You, obviously. You’re the privileged one

    Right answer, wrong reason. Because I’m selling something people want to buy. Universal equality. That’s something that pretty much everyone can eventually like. Sure it takes a while to make the bigits come around but they will. Their base of support is eroding continually and rapidly frankly. Gay marriage went from a pipe dream to being nearly legal in the course of a decade. There’ll be a push back but we won’t lose as much ground as we gained and the next sweep forward may well settle that issue.

    I’m offering what people want in the vast majority. It doesn’t matter then if I’m white straight male or not. What matters is that they want the product. What you are offering is something pretty much nobody wants: replacing one oppressive system with another. naturally you think you should be the king. I don’t blame you for think that is a sweet deal. In a lot of ways it is, but at the end of the day it isn’t worth it. Equality is more stable, more fair, and more tolerable.

    That’s why my view will win with the crowd and yours won’t.

    The question is why your view even wins with you. Why exactly is it fair for you to push your identity on others but not fair for them to do it to you?

  102. KnifeGhost
    KnifeGhost March 28, 2006 at 6:49 pm |

    There is no doubt that the “minority” in question here is refering to women. Now this was from Piny’s post replying to me bitching him out over his comment. It was on the topic and it’s pretty obvious that Piny is saying “women get to choose who qualifies a feminist.”

    Sorry, that’s another jump. I’ll quote piny again.

    But it’s pretty insulting, to say the least, to believe that members of a minority do not have the right to identify their own best interests.

    Members of a minority have the right to define their best interests. In this case women. Women get to define their own best interests. Do you have a problem with that? Maybe, but I’ll proceed assuming you’re cool with it.

    If we decide “defin[ing] their own best interests” includes getting to decide who is and isn’t a feminist, well, I think that’s a bit if a stretch, but I’ll grant the premise. That doesn’t mean _all_ women have the right to decide who is or isn’t a feminist – it means feminists (in aggregate) do. Historically, feminist women have consistently shown over and over that they’re at least willing, if not more than happy, to extend the term “feminist” to deserving men.

    You seem to think piny means “men can’t be feminists” when all he’s saying is that those women working as feminists to better womens’ status “have the right to identify their own best interests.”

  103. KnifeGhost
    KnifeGhost March 28, 2006 at 6:50 pm |

    Frankly, I’m tired of this. We aren’t going to change Tlaloc’s mind. He’s the font of all wisdom, and we just don’t get it. We’re the real sexists.

    I’m done here.

  104. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 28, 2006 at 7:03 pm |

    Members of a minority have the right to define their best interests. In this case women. Women get to define their own best interests. Do you have a problem with that?

    Not at all as long as they don’t confound “their best interest” with “feminism.”

    However the point was that this was Piny’s reply to me on the very topic of if men could decide for themselves they were feminists.

    If we decide “defin[ing] their own best interests” includes getting to decide who is and isn’t a feminist, well, I think that’s a bit if a stretch, but I’ll grant the premise.

    It is not a stretch since that was the context and the topic of the quote. It is the logical conclusion.

    That doesn’t mean _all_ women have the right to decide who is or isn’t a feminist – it means feminists (in aggregate) do.

    A distinction of no worth since you are still saying only women are feminists implicitly.

    Historically, feminist women have consistently shown over and over that they’re at least willing, if not more than happy, to extend the term “feminist” to deserving men.

    Great, but which point are we debating here? Piny’s statement (which was not about historical feminists)? Or the issue of men leading feminist movements (in which case simply allowing them in the club isn’t the point)? In either case your point is irrelevent…

    You seem to think piny means “men can’t be feminists” when all he’s saying is that those women working as feminists to better womens’ status “have the right to identify their own best interests.”

    No what he was saying would seem to be, “you can be a feminist, but only if we say so.” Hence why he said Joe’s opinion on the matter didn’t, well, matter.

  105. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 28, 2006 at 7:56 pm |

    “We?”

    Speaking of that you never did answer the question above by another poster about where exactly the transgendered fit in this dichotomy of women are okay feminist leaders but men are not.

    I’d love to hear your explanation. And it would help me know whether to put you in the “we.”

  106. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 28, 2006 at 8:48 pm |

    I’m gonna post about it. Not that it’ll make a damn bit of difference as far as illuminating these issues for you.

    Sorry you feel that way.

    And you just said that you didn’t have to hear anything from transgendered people to make decisions on transgendered issues, remember?

    Slightly misstating my position but alright. The point however wasn’t to learn about “transgender people” the point was just to learn how your frame of reference is constructed. You’ve established a neat dichotomy based on sex when you yourself exemplify how neat dichotomies based on sex don’t reflect real life.

    Call me a connoisseur of cognitive dissonance.

    Just so we’re clear in advance: my answer won’t solve your problem with “we” assumptions.

    Pity. I thought we might actually resolve one matter.

  107. Chris Clarke
    Chris Clarke March 28, 2006 at 9:03 pm |

    You wanted to be patronizing to me, so I gave it right back to you. Feel free to decide how you want any of our interactions to proceed and use an appropriate voice.

    Passive-aggressive much?

  108. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 28, 2006 at 9:05 pm |

    You haven’t paid attention to a single thing I’ve said about my frame of reference.

    You keep mistaking lack of agreement for misunderstanding.

    I argued that experience is vital. Transgendered people, unlike virtually everyone else, actually have lived experience as people assigned to both genders.

    I’d tend to disagree with that assessment personally, which I’m sure you’ll chalk up to ignorance. I’d think there would be a pretty clear deliniation between women who were born and raised women, and women who were born and raised as men. I don’t see how you can claim the two would possibly be identical when you are so quick to burden every man with such heaping amounts of privelege that we can’t even see around the burden.

    Don’t argue that this exception is proof against the general rule.

    Seems a pretty glaring exception to me. Of course I haven’t heard your argument yet. Maybe I’ll change my mind.

  109. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 28, 2006 at 9:05 pm |

    Passive-aggressive much?

    I call it Karma, personally.

  110. zuzu
    zuzu March 28, 2006 at 9:19 pm |

    The entire day has been one big Tlaloc derail, in this and other threads.

  111. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 28, 2006 at 9:21 pm |

    Have I ever argued here or elsewhere that the experiences of transwomen and cisgendered women are identical?

    well you just said:

    I argued that experience is vital. Transgendered people, unlike virtually everyone else, actually have lived experience as people assigned to both genders.

    What precisely did you mean by that if not “I’ve experienced life as a man and a woman”? That would seem to be the pretty obvious interpretation. Hence: identical. Also hence: my disagrement.

  112. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 28, 2006 at 9:23 pm |

    The entire day has been one big Tlaloc derail, in this and other threads.

    I’ve posted in exactly two threads, Zuzu. And my posts in the other one have been quite limited. In fact most of them have been responding to your incessant hostility toward me. Don’t blame me for that.

    As for this thread, well frankly it hardly seems derailed to me: the original topic was about the nature of feminism and men’s relation to it. It still is.

    It’s the net. Threads don’t go where you maybe want them to. It is part of blogging. Deal with it.

  113. zuzu
    zuzu March 28, 2006 at 9:33 pm |

    I could have been seeing how many binder clips I can fit into my mouth at a time.

    Which size?

  114. Shannon W.
    Shannon W. March 28, 2006 at 9:37 pm |

    Yea, he’s not going to learn. But hey, I get to say a movie line I have wanted to say “We who, paleface?:” from Daughters of the Wind so it’s not a complete waste.

  115. zuzu
    zuzu March 28, 2006 at 9:38 pm |

    Sometimes I like to put the really big ones in my hair or on my nose.

  116. Lauren
    Lauren March 28, 2006 at 9:46 pm |

    I call it Karma, personally.

    Karma: When Tlaloc gets his feelings hurt and lashes out.

    Don’t blame me for that.

    Blame: Tlaloc is never responsible for his actions and/or his words.

  117. Lauren
    Lauren March 28, 2006 at 9:47 pm |

    Ten bucks says Tlaloc os obsessively refreshing exactly two posts on Feministe. Guess which ones!

  118. Jill
    Jill March 28, 2006 at 9:48 pm | *

    Blogging etiquette rule #22: If you look at a thread and see that you’ve accounted for more than a quarter of the comments, you’ve probably hijacked it. This probably makes people angry, or at least irritated.

  119. zuzu
    zuzu March 28, 2006 at 9:59 pm |

    Hostile, even.

  120. Dharmadyke
    Dharmadyke March 28, 2006 at 10:17 pm |

    It seems to me that Tlaloc is quite clearly a ‘counterfeit egalitarian’, a term I take from Andrea Dworkin’s “Right Wing Women”. Under the guise of being a contrarian, or a libertarian, or logical or rational, or a semantics quibbler, he will go around and around and around essentially questioning whether or not this Vast Inequity of which you speak exists; this vast inequity between men and women; this vast inequity between whites and people of color, and, no doubt almost all other inequities on which you (and I) may base most of (y)our ideological beliefs. I doubt whether discussing whether or not he’s a ‘feminist’ is remotely useful. He will criticize the way you argue, he will change the terms of the argument, and will go on forever.

    I think one of the key “data points” to borrow from the vocabulary of these cherry-picking mediocre statisticians is when he writes about the inequities in child custody laws. There’s the emotional seed of the posts, I wager.

    But I thought you guys went through this with Tangoman? Majikthise suggested ‘tame trolls’ , is that what you’ve decided on? Following these threads and others on other blogs make me wonder about the utility of such counterfeit egalitarians. I suppose it hones arguing skills, but, but, but I don’t think they further the discussion in any real way. They’re passive aggressive, they gaslight you and derail the thread. Isn’t there some kind of you-post-too-much-methinks room they could be sent to for a limited amount of time? Like, no more posts for today, come back tomorrow or next week? Just a suggestion.

    But otherwise? Joy to you all and thanks for the good work.
    Yours, dharmadyke

  121. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 28, 2006 at 10:22 pm |

    Karma: When Tlaloc gets his feelings hurt and lashes out.

    You had me at hello.

    Blame: Tlaloc is never responsible for his actions and/or his words.

    The voices tell me what to say.

  122. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 28, 2006 at 10:24 pm |

    Blogging etiquette rule #22: If you look at a thread and see that you’ve accounted for more than a quarter of the comments, you’ve probably hijacked it. This probably makes people angry, or at least irritated.

    Jill, look, I respond to people. Look through the post and see how many of my posts are not responses to what someone else has said. I think it’s three. So a real simple answer: you don’t want me to talk then stop talking to me. It’s not like I’m having a conversation with myself. Zuzu and Piny were my co-conspirators in this “thread jacking.”

  123. KnifeGhost
    KnifeGhost March 28, 2006 at 10:24 pm |

    Shannon W, we’ve both gotten to use phrases we’ve been saving on this thread. As such, it’s not a total waste.

    piny: High five. Fuck that guy. Wanna go watch football and drink cold ones or what it is guys do when they’re not trying to tell feminism how to do it right?

  124. zuzu
    zuzu March 28, 2006 at 10:29 pm |

    But I thought you guys went through this with Tangoman? Majikthise suggested ‘tame trolls’ , is that what you’ve decided on? Following these threads and others on other blogs make me wonder about the utility of such counterfeit egalitarians. I suppose it hones arguing skills, but, but, but I don’t think they further the discussion in any real way. They’re passive aggressive, they gaslight you and derail the thread. Isn’t there some kind of you-post-too-much-methinks room they could be sent to for a limited amount of time? Like, no more posts for today, come back tomorrow or next week? Just a suggestion.

    I’m not particularly enamored of this kind of trolling, but this isn’t my thread.

  125. The Amazing Kim
    The Amazing Kim March 28, 2006 at 10:31 pm |

    The same things a female leader would do, because their gender doesn’t matter.

    The point is that gender does matter. Hopefully in the future it won’t, but it does now.

    I’ve always liked the argument by bell hooks (I think it was by bell hooks) who preferred it said that she advocated feminism, as it implied a choice.

    (It’s early in the morning and my coherenceness isn’t all that good, so forgive any tpyos: or grammar.)

  126. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 28, 2006 at 10:33 pm |

    Karma: When Tlaloc gets his feelings hurt and lashes out.

    You had me at hello.

    Blame: Tlaloc is never responsible for his actions and/or his words.

    The voices tell me what to say.

  127. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 28, 2006 at 10:37 pm |

    Under the guise of being a contrarian, or a libertarian, or logical or rational, or a semantics quibbler, he will go around and around and around essentially questioning whether or not this Vast Inequity of which you speak exists; this vast inequity between men and women;

    I’ve explicitly stated that women bear by far the greater share of sexism in western civ. Should I write in all caps? Bold it? What exactly will it take for that message to penetrate?

    I think one of the key “data points” to borrow from the vocabulary of these cherry-picking mediocre statisticians is when he writes about the inequities in child custody laws. There’s the emotional seed of the posts, I wager.

    Remind me not to take you to vegas any time soon.

    My ex and I have a very amiable divorce. We worked out our custody issues, support, and so one personally without lawyers and without acrimony. My current wife frequents a message board about step families (because we are one) and from there the horror stories of child custody laws are legion.

  128. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 28, 2006 at 10:39 pm |

    sorry for the double post in my response to lauren. Not sure what happened there.

  129. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 28, 2006 at 10:43 pm |

    Ten bucks says Tlaloc os obsessively refreshing exactly two posts on Feministe. Guess which ones!

    Now be fair, I was strongly tempted to join the “posted without comment” thread, but eventuially decided to let it pass.

  130. Chris Clarke
    Chris Clarke March 28, 2006 at 10:47 pm |

    I call it Karma, personally.

    Megalomaniacal much?

  131. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 28, 2006 at 10:49 pm |

    Megalomaniacal much?

    I tried it in college but I hated the cotton mouth so now I’m clean.

  132. raging red
    raging red March 29, 2006 at 12:01 am |

    Tlaloc thinks he hasn’t derailed the thread, but in fact, all of the shit he’s been spewing has exactly nothing to do with Chris Clarke’s post, which is, after all, the topic at hand. I was under the impression that the specific topic was whether men who hold genuinely pro-feminist views and who are genuinely interested in seeing the cause of feminism furthered should or should not append to themselves the label of “feminist.” I think Tlaloc has made it pretty clear that he’s hostile to feminism (I believe he said something about not wanting to participate in what he deems a “corrupt” movement, but frankly I’m too tired to find the exact quote to cut & paste it), so why the fuck should anyone listen to what he’s saying on this subject? I’d much rather hear from people with sincere feminist beliefs rather than people who are just using this topic as an exuse to stir shit up.

  133. Stacy
    Stacy March 29, 2006 at 12:42 pm |

    I’ve explicitly stated that women bear by far the greater share of sexism in western civ. Should I write in all caps? Bold it? What exactly will it take for that message to penetrate?

    To actually argue from that viewpoint. All I’ve seen you do is cower behind this statement while presenting an argument that puts men as the victims to the women’s movement.

    It’s kind of like “actions speak louder than words”. Someone can say they are a nice guy until they are blue in the face, but if they go around kicking puppies all the day long, we know they are full of shit. Same thing here. You prattle pretty lines like “women bear by far the greater share of sexism in western civ” all you wish, but it appears that you are more interested in launching an attack on the people and the movement that seeks to correct this inequality. At this point, I feel this is your only goal here.

    Hey, if you like to argue, that’s all fine and well. But it doesn’t appear that you are nit-picking for the love of arguing, like some people on here do. You are consistently pushing an anti-feminist agenda, and you twist the debate in all of the threads you post in to suit this one argument. Everything I’ve seen you post all comes back to “See, you don’t really want equality!” and in most cases, you’ve made that assumption after twisting someone’s words, taking them out of context, or interpreting them to suit your agenda. After a while, it gets tiresome. Instead of being an engaging debate partner, you become a bother.

    Maybe try debating on threads that you don’t take so personally?

  134. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 29, 2006 at 4:00 pm |

    I was under the impression that the specific topic was whether men who hold genuinely pro-feminist views and who are genuinely interested in seeing the cause of feminism furthered should or should not append to themselves the label of “feminist.”

    I took a slightly larger scale view of the topic.

    I think Tlaloc has made it pretty clear that he’s hostile to feminism (I believe he said something about not wanting to participate in what he deems a “corrupt” movement, but frankly I’m too tired to find the exact quote to cut & paste it),

    Indeed, I am hostile to the corruption of the feminist movement because it interferes with the uncorrupt feminist ideal.

    I’d much rather hear from people with sincere feminist beliefs rather than people who are just using this topic as an exuse to stir shit up.

    The problem for you is that I do have sincere feminist beliefs which is exactly why I am hiostile to the ugly monster the movement has become. The fact that you haven’t figured this out is the answer to your question of why you should listen to me: I know something you don’t.

  135. Tlaloc
    Tlaloc March 29, 2006 at 4:07 pm |

    You prattle pretty lines like “women bear by far the greater share of sexism in western civ” all you wish, but it appears that you are more interested in launching an attack on the people and the movement that seeks to correct this inequality. At this point, I feel this is your only goal here.

    That’s because in your estimation the movement exists “to correct this inequality.” I think you are dead wrong. The movement used to be dedicated to that. Now it only wants to create new inequalities. One that are more favorable to the leaders of the movement. They want to be the bosses rather than getting rid of the boss system altogether. This thread is perfect proof of that. Supposed feminists fighting bitterly for their right to exclude men only because of their gender, the very antithesis of what the movement is supposed to be.

    In other words I am the one living up to my stated claims, its the other side that wallows in hypocrisy on this issue.

    You are consistently pushing an anti-feminist agenda

    The opposite actually.

    Everything I’ve seen you post all comes back to “See, you don’t really want equality!”

    It does tend because that is a huge problem with the movement. When that ceases to be an issue I’ll no longer be able to say that and back it up so easily.

    After a while, it gets tiresome. Instead of being an engaging debate partner, you become a bother.

    I’m sure I do. Reformers are always bothers. The Catholics hated Martin Luthor. White bigots hated MLK. Bigots posing as feminists will certainly hate people like me because we don’t intend to let them slide on the matter.

  136. Lauren
    Lauren March 30, 2006 at 12:15 am |

    Reformers are always bothers. The Catholics hated Martin Luthor. White bigots hated MLK. Bigots posing as feminists will certainly hate people like me because we don’t intend to let them slide on the matter.

    Blah, blah blah, blah blah.

  137. culturekitchen
    culturekitchen March 30, 2006 at 12:51 am |

    I am not hating. I am just challenging.

    Sometime yesterday or the day before I wrote a post called Cry me a river, a megarant that overtook me like a volcanic eruption and ended up after I read black Blackademic : I am this close, in particular, this bit :
    we are being linked and and that is g

  138. Lux Fiat
    Lux Fiat March 30, 2006 at 2:51 am |

    The problem for you is that I do have sincere feminist beliefs which is exactly why I am hiostile to the ugly monster the movement has become. The fact that you haven’t figured this out is the answer to your question of why you should listen to me: I know something you don’t.

    Man, that shit would be unbelievable if it weren’t so commonplace.

    Anyway, contra Chris’s post, which I find convincing and well-reasoned, I do nonetheless call myself a feminist, mostly for reasons like the ones Jill spoke of waaaaaaaay up top there. In my own case, anyway, I consider it important to look people straight in the eye and use the word “feminist” to describe myself, because I know hardly any other people who do, women included (and I live deep in the heart of Blue Country, in Boston). So believing as I do that anyone with a conscience must advocate feminism, and knowing that I would draw less attention to myself if I didn’t claim the title (and the less attention I draw, the more comfortable I am), I’ve decided that in my own case calling myself a feminist without apology is not only not inappropriate, but actively right. I’m sure as hell not getting any street cred, undeserved or otherwise, out of it that I know of.

  139. sophonisba
    sophonisba March 30, 2006 at 4:53 am |

    I’ve decided that in my own case calling myself a feminist without apology is not only not inappropriate, but actively right.

    I think that is terrific. I really dislike it when men will only self-identify as feminist if they get permission – not because they shouldn’t respect women’s authority, but because feminism is an ethical and philosphical issue as well as a political one, and the rightness of feminism can be figured out by anyone with some worldly experience and time to think; right feminist choices should never be taken on authority: that is, if a guy listens to me on what to call himself today, because I say I’m a feminist, what’s to stop him from listening to Camille Paglia on what women want tomorrow?

    I want to expect the same things from all feminists, not to have a two-tiered system with easy, special standards for the men, who can only be pro-feminists. Fuck that. Men who are feminists can still be challenged on every bit of sexism they express. It makes it easier to call them on it, too, because they’ve committed themselves.

    And no, this is not going to lead to people like Tlaloc delaring themselves feminists and stealing our authority. He’s a feminist like I’m Marie of Roumania, and everyone can see that.

  140. Alas, a blog  » Blog Archive   » Should men be called feminists?

    […] feminist: the label is not mine to claim. The discussion in Chris’ comments – and also on Feministe and Reclusive Leftist – is fascinating (although the comments at Femin […]

  141. Alas, a blog  » Blog Archive   » Should men be called feminists?

    […] You are not a woman, but you are a feminist, given your political claims above. And from Jill, in the comments at Feministe: Personally, the idea of a fem […]

  142. Chris Clarke
    Chris Clarke March 30, 2006 at 7:51 pm |

    that is, if a guy listens to me on what to call himself today, because I say I’m a feminist, what’s to stop him from listening to Camille Paglia on what women want tomorrow

    A conscience, historical awareness, and a set of political ethics?

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