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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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83 Responses

  1. Lisa
    Lisa October 3, 2007 at 4:33 pm |

    It’s been a while… most of these things are probably already on your list, but:

    I had awesome Brazilian food in Lisbon, in the Bairro Alto neighborhood (also many Fado cafes there). Try to avoid the more touristy restaurants in that area. Castelo de Sao Jorge was worth it for the view. Bring your umbrella, practice your Portuguese and enjoy the gorgeous ceramic tile.

  2. FashionablyEvil
    FashionablyEvil October 3, 2007 at 4:46 pm |

    Ooh, pasteis de nata (the “national dessert” of Portugal)! They’re little custard tarts.

    You should definitely head over to Belem–fun neighborhood, a little bit of a nuisance to get to, but otherwise great. The Alfama is also worth hiking around (though less so after dark)–great views of the waterfront. Gulbekian Museum=good, especially if you’re a history buff (great back story on Gulbekian and how his collection ended up in Lisbon). Have a great time!

  3. SarahMC
    SarahMC October 3, 2007 at 5:00 pm |

    Tell him that “humanism” already means something. And while feminism does help everyone, men included, it began with the advancement of women. Men are still considered the default human beings while women are the “other.” If he can’t get on board with feminism because he feels left out due to it’s name, then he’s nothing more than a fair-weather ally, if that.
    Maybe he needs to start at the Feminism 101 blog.

  4. OhioBoy
    OhioBoy October 3, 2007 at 5:09 pm |

    I think the key insight for me (a privileged white male) was to realize that, if the system is imbalanced in my favor, then creating a balanced system will result in negative consequences for me, and, most importantly, that doesn’t mean I did anything wrong. That is, justice for society sometimes results in outcomes, that, on an individual level, seem unjust.

    If you want to convince him, make sure to use examples that are removed from his actual life, to make it easier for him to get outside his preconceptions. For example, we just had the 50th anniversary of the school integration in Little Rock. In the segregated school system, white children received a disproportionately high amount of the state’s educational resources; better books, better facilities, etc. Therefore, when the schools were integrated, white children really were harmed to a certain extent. Some money that would have gone to a white child’s textbooks, teacher’s salary, etc., was now going to black children. Which, from a narrow perspective, seems unjust! Why should little Suzie Johnson, a first-grader who never even met a black person, let alone oppressed one, have to be punished? What about her rights?

    I think it’s safe to assume this guy isn’t in favor of resegregation, so it shouldn’t be too hard for him to see the point of the analogy. Suzie Johnson did not, in fact, do anything wrong, and neither did this guy, but the cause of justice requires him to lose his place at the top of the heap. Not because he needs to be punished, but because others are being undeservedly punished, every day, and that punishment needs to end.

  5. Elaine Vigneault
    Elaine Vigneault October 3, 2007 at 5:13 pm |

    Tell him to read one of the feminist blogs every day for a month.

  6. MB in YYC
    MB in YYC October 3, 2007 at 5:30 pm |

    De-lurking in response to the request for Lisbon tips….
    I don’t know what your living arrangements will be while you’re there, but if you’re staying in hotels/hostels and eating out, it’s good to know that while the servers will put bread and toppings on your table prior to the meal, you’ll also be charged for them when you get your bill. If you don’t want surprise charges, it’s best to (firmly) ask the servers to remove them from the table. This is particularly true in the touristy parts of the city near the water.

    What else…the Cathedral in Alfama is beautiful, Barrio Alto and Chiado are interesting neigbourhoods, the monastary alone is worth a trip to Belem, and if you want to get out of the city, Cascais has beaches. Also an interesting casino. It had a, shall we say, Vegas-inspired show a few years ago. (For example, women dressed up as carrots with strategic holes in the costume.)
    Just bring a camera and good walking shoes (remarkably good public transit). The city is amazing!! Oh, don’t forget to try the green wine and the port.

    And can I just say, I love love love this blog and read it obsessively.. :)

  7. Betsy
    Betsy October 3, 2007 at 5:30 pm |

    OhioBoy, nicely said. I would also add – explain that the idea of patriarchy doesn’t imply that it’s a conspiracy. It doesn’t have to be “on purpose” to exist and have real consequences. I think a lot of men get hung up on that. “Bu…buhh but I don’t want to hurt/disadvantage/pay less to women! And neither do my Nice Guy friends! Therefore this patriarchy that you speak of must not exist!” But it has little to do with individual intentions; it is a systematic phenomenon. (I wouldn’t try, yet, to point out all the ways in which many people DO intentionally support the patriarchy; his brain might not be ready for that yet. OTOH, maybe putting it in terms of his own privilege would be the only way to break through. I’m not really sure what would be best for him specifically.) Also, feminism 101 blog.

  8. Betsy
    Betsy October 3, 2007 at 5:33 pm |

    Also, since he says he agrees with the goals of feminism, ask him to elaborate. Which does he agree with? Which doesn’t he? Which tactics does he think should be pursued to reach those goals? Perhaps this will illuminate some things for him or for you. If he really does agree with the “goals” of feminism, as you see them, then perhaps it’s worth letting the name go. If not, you can point out to him that what he calls “humanism” is coming at the expense of women’s rights, equality, and justice.

  9. mandi
    mandi October 3, 2007 at 5:33 pm |

    re: lisbon:

    jeronimos monastery (in belem, which is about 15 minutes away from the center by bus) = wonderful time. there’s also a park across the street that’s really lovely for people-watching.

    take a trolley! if you can get a seat, it’s really fun and a great way to take some good pictures.

    if you want to hear fado, try clube de fado (http://www.clube-de-fado.com/) around 11 pm. it’s pricey, but really not that unreasonable as long as you don’t have dinner (which is mediocre anyway). it’s recommended in a lot of tourist guides, but it wasn’t that touristy.

    i know everyone says this about every city, but it’s nice to wander around and get lost. i got on a trolley going in the opposite direction i wanted to go in, and ended up just sitting outside a church for about an hour because the whole area around it smelled like lilacs. so enjoyable!

  10. Cola Johnson
    Cola Johnson October 3, 2007 at 5:47 pm |

    I’m making a bumper sticker that says, “Feminist AND Humanist”

    With fine print that says something like, “learn the difference” or “feminism IS a humanist philosophy.”

    Considering I actually took a class in philosophy and, I don’t know, paid attention, I can’t help but slap my forehead and think less of the idiots who want to appropriate the name of an established philosophy because “Feminism” has the “fem-” in it, which is too gendered a term for their self righteous fixation on “Real” gender equality.

    I have had so many frustrating arguments in which I explained Humanism and told people that they couldn’t just change the meaning of a word to make themselves look like they care about “equality” (“humanists” don’t usually, uh… talk about actual issues, just pay lip service to the idea that people are and should be treated as equals). Usually, after I’ve explained it, people just call me a man hating feminazi. Way to not sound sexist, dudes.

  11. MB in YYC
    MB in YYC October 3, 2007 at 6:01 pm |

    Oh, and how could I forget? Pork and seafood figure prominently on most menus….not so much with the vegetables.

  12. Megan
    Megan October 3, 2007 at 6:11 pm |

    Have him google “Peggy McIntosh”… her article on White Privilege might just open his eyes to his daily privilege as a White person… hopefully he can transfer that to being a White Male.

  13. Thlayli
    Thlayli October 3, 2007 at 6:16 pm |

    Say hello to Freddy Adu for us.

  14. lt
    lt October 3, 2007 at 6:41 pm |

    Re: the friend. I think a lot of times this is about defensiveness. It might help to point out that being privlidged does not mean being a bad person; it’s just a fact. Think of it as meaning you have the luck of the draw; as a good person you then have a responsibility to try to understand and have empathy for those less lucky.

    It may just take time for him to grow up. Young folks tend to have a harder time realizing it’s not all about them.

  15. SarahMC
    SarahMC October 3, 2007 at 6:52 pm |

    I would also be sure to inform him that feminism is not a movement or ideology that seeks to elevate women above men (a common misconception). That could not be further from the truth.
    Rather, it seeks to dismantle patriarchy (a concept some others have expanded upon) and as a result, free people from rigid gender roles. I suppose he’ll need to be reminded that patriarchy hurts men too. It hurts women more, but maybe if you can appeal to his self-interest he’ll become aware of how it oppresses and stifles women.
    Even reading through Feministing’s list of double-standards would be beneficial. The double-standards that harm men are not a result of feminism but patriarchy!

  16. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte October 3, 2007 at 6:56 pm |

    Ask him if there’s any way in hell a female equivalent of David Vitter could exist. Ask him to imagine that a congresswoman gets outed as someone who frequents a sex club, pays men to tie her up and fuck her up the ass, and when she addresses the accusations in public, tacitly admits they’re true while her husband nods sadly, but nobly next to her, devoted until the end. And then imagine that there’s no chance she loses her job.

    If he says he can see it happening, quit being his friend. That sort of self-delusion will bite you on the ass one day.

  17. r@d@r
    r@d@r October 3, 2007 at 6:58 pm |

    i had the unfair advantage of having a feminist intellectual for a mom, and a father involved in the civil rights movement, to warp my mind sufficiently to be able to examine myself and observe the extent of my white male privilege, and accept the fact that i will never be “cured” of it – it has to be rooted out and dealt with daily, like any addiction. if you weren’t brought up right it can be a bear to surmount. i don’t know how to advise the friend of the clueless one, other than to say, “if you really care about him, don’t let him off the hook” – however, for any dudes out there, i would say these are some of the things that helped keep me on track over the years:

    1. have as many strong-willed feminist women as close friends and confidants as is possible. if they have any respect for you at all, they won’t condescend to or coddle you as a “typically clueless dude” but will actually call you on your bullshit regularly – which is the act of a true friend. how does one make friends with strong-willed feminist women, you ask? the same way you make friends with other dudes: share interests. “men are from mars etc.” is a bunch of crap. we all want the same things – to be respected, to be loved, to be seen and heard, to make a difference.

    2. practice listening with your mouth closed. not everything is about you. in fact – most of the events that occur in the known universe are not about you in the slightest.

    3. along with the humility, acquire a sense of humor. when you f?!k up – deal with it by laughing at yourself.

    4. listen to the stories and advice of older women – grandmothers, great aunts, female bosses, teachers, etc.

    5. realize that women are not responsible for your emotional well-being. having your heart broken isn’t a license to become bitter. it’s the battle scars of the kind of warrior who loves without fear. courage isn’t just about facing danger, it’s also about facing yourself, and being willing to open up to other people.

    and now we return to our regularly scheduled shutting up and listening – thanks.

  18. Tim
    Tim October 3, 2007 at 7:13 pm |

    First, I don’t think it will help him if you speak in generalities or about abstractions. I think you need to show him how women’s lives differ from his in real, concrete terms. For example (and you know better than me, I’m a guy) — about how women are bombarded with images of models that most women can never look like on TV, magazines, and everywhere; about how women are wary of males, even the good guys, when they’re walking on empty streets because some men rape women; about comments made by men that treat women as sexual objects who exist for their pleasure. There are many, many examples. You need to raise his awarenss with real life examples, because he doesn’t notice inequality as you do (nor would you, if you hadn’t experienced or learned about it).

    Second, I don’t totally agree with a statement above:”[C]reating a balanced system will result in negative consequences for” him. That certainly applies in Title IX-type situations and everywhere where equality is achieved by redistributing finite resources, but I dare say that many of the concepts that will help bring about equality don’t depend on redistrubuting a finite pie. They depend on raising awareness, on human decency, on demanding that both women and men not be confined to rigid social strictures that dictate how they should act, what job they should hold, how they should dress based on their sex. It depends on treating everyone with dignity.

    I wouldn’t bother describing the “patriarchy.” While it is a legitimate concept to study, it means nothing to most men who’ve never taken a gender studies class, and since it connotes a male-centered social system about which you are ascribing a negative meaning, he’s going to assume you’re attacking “maleness,” and “maleness” goes to his core. Some feminists may say that’s too bad that his fragile male ego is damaged, but really, what good would that do at this stage? Most men are not familiar with the inequalities you are familiar with, and to hit him with, “Oh, by the way, your gender has historically sponsored an oppressive system that subjugates women” — well, that’s fine if you really don’t care about making an ally.

    And good luck!

  19. SarahMC
    SarahMC October 3, 2007 at 7:15 pm |

    Point out that when people say “sex sells” what they really mean is “women’s sexualized bodies sell.” There are a million indications out there that women are the sex class.

  20. cycles
    cycles October 3, 2007 at 7:40 pm |

    Don’t take criticisms of the patriarchy personally. It’s not all about you. Sometimes feminist discussions will use “men” as a short form of “patriarchy.” Feminists in these discussions know this already, but it can be off-putting to male outsiders. Lower your hackles and listen to what is being said, rather than taking personal offense.

  21. Bruce
    Bruce October 3, 2007 at 7:46 pm |

    Point out that the overwhelming bulk of institutions of power are not only run by men but either implicitly or explicitly place women in grossly subordinated roles, subject to male whim and willful disregard of women’s interests, dignity, rights and welfare.

    Point out to him that Congress has never been 100% female or even 85% female, but in the low single digits and teens at high water mark.

    Ask him how many times he has feared rape in his life – meaning getting raped himself. Ask him whether the presence of a woman or women on the street has ever made him wish he had a dog or a weapon for self-defense.

    Ask him to identify two religions with at least 25 members each in the United States that either demand, practice or condone the subordination of men to women. When he stammers, make him buy himself an almanac. Then ask him to explain why the Christian Bible and Christian tradition (since that’s his religion) have exhibited such outrageous categorical hatred and suppression against women for 2000 years, from Paul to Augustine to Chrysostom to Pope after Pople after Pope to Aquinas to Luther and Calvin to the modern-day embarrassments who hammer home the submission of wives to their husbands. Then ask him what a morally just liberation movement against such hatred and subjugation of women would look like. Tell him that the technical term for that liberation movement is feminism.

    Ask him how he would feel if he learned that his 9 year-old daughter wanted to play softball and with trucks. (He will say he is cool with it.) Then ask him how cool he would be with his 9 year-old son playing with dolls and serving tea. When he stammers, explain that his reaction is an embarrassed response – i.e. cognitive dissonance – to the crash between his common sense fairness and the sexism and patriarchy which drench the vast majority of this society.

    Ask him what he has done to fight the most egregious human rights violation in his community. When he says he doesn’t know, tell him that men are systematically targeting women and girls (and, in fairness, boys and men also in much lower numbers) for sexual abuse. Ask him whether his “not knowing” is not the result of the comfortable position of his rear end on the cushion of male privilege, since he gets to “not know” by avoiding being a target as a result of maleness.

    There are a lot better examples than these but these are a suggested start.

  22. Hector B.
    Hector B. October 3, 2007 at 7:54 pm |

    Whenever he says shit like that, just giggle and say “You’re so cute. You really believe that.” Then pat his head and ask what he’s making for dinner. While he cooks and cleans up, sip a cosmo and watch SATC.

    Having him walk through the worst neigborhood in town after dark will help, too.

  23. Burton
    Burton October 3, 2007 at 7:58 pm |

    You might point out some of the privileges that men have:

    1) The draft. Only men can be drafted for combat, not women. If a young man does not sign up for Selective Service, he can be jailed and by law he will lose his financial support for college. This is a clear male privilege.

    2) Protection from violence. Domestic violence is defined in many states as violence against women. We just had the male dominated Congress re-authorize VAWA. Clearly, men are privileged because the government considers violence against men to be unworthy of criminal action.

    3) Job related deaths. A real male privilege is that the vast majority of work related deaths and injuries are given to men. Women are woefully under-represented in such male dominated jobs as coal miners, hazardous waste disposal, and infantrymen.

    4) Government services. A real sign of male privilege is that taxpayer supported services, such as shelters for battered women, far outnumber the shelters for battered men. Obviously, men are so privileged they do not require such services.

    5) Paternity fraud. Another real sign of male privilege is that women can lie about who the father of her child is, thereby causing an innocent man to be deprived of his wealth and professional licenses unless he pays for her child. And to make the male privilege all the more, when a woman is caught lying about paternity fraud, she is rarely arrested.

    6) Lying about rape. As the recent Duke U case demonstrates, privileged men can have their lives, freedom and reputations destroyed by a woman lying about rape — and the woman making the false charge will not have to spend a day in jail. This is a real sign of male privelege.

    7) Segregation. You made a very good point about comparing the situation of women today with that of African-Americans under segregation. For example: during segregation, white women on buses were required to give their seats to black men, weren’t they?

    Just bring up these facts to your friend and I am sure that he will understand the nature of male privilege in this country.

  24. William
    William October 3, 2007 at 8:12 pm |

    As someone who has had to work through his own perceptions of privilege (hell, I doubt Ill ever be “done”) I can tell you that there isn’t going to be a magic word that will help the guy suddenly become aware of the world around him. He will have to have, on some basic level, a eureka moment when everything just clicks. The best you can do is set up enough pieces that the likelihood of such a moment increases. Here are a few of the things that I think helped contribute to me having that moment

    -Challenge him on his language (how does he gender inanimate objects? Does he substitute the word balls for courage? What gendered insults and expletives does he use?)

    -Point out privilege as a matter of effect. That is, point out the things he can do which someone else might not. Would he be uncomfortable walking down an alley at night? What are the most likely negative consequences of that? Are there restaurants where he feels his skin color would make him a target? How much fear does he have in his daily life? One of the moments that cemented the idea for me was when I realized that because I was a large white male I could do things, say things, and go places without having to worry. If I was a 100 pound woman, even with the same life experiences and upbringing, I’d have a very different personality simply because of the options I would have for interacting with the world and dealing with negative consequences.

    -The concept of patriarchy is something you won’t show him, his peers will. If you get him thinking about issues of feminism and privilege (even if you don’t call them that) he’ll pick up on a lot when he isn’t around you. An afternoon at the bar with your guy friends or 20 minutes in the locker room can bring the theory into experience far better than any discussion.

    -As for the “humanism,” I went through a similar period of idiocy. I guess what cured me of that was coming to the realization that, although the basic ideas of human rights effect everyone, some people are more effected than others. Explain to him that feminism is feminism because some issues effect women disproportionately. Use abortion as an example (personal sovereignty is important to everyone, but only women have wombs)

  25. Henry
    Henry October 3, 2007 at 8:15 pm |

    I’m curious as to why you start crying when trying to explain your position regarding the patriarchy. I guess what I’m saying is, so what if he doesn’t? If he’s “pretty awesome”, if he believes in equality for women (and the whole idea of referring to feminism as humanism makes some sense if you consider the many arguments offered on this blog about how feminism benefits men as well), if he just generally isn’t an asshole, then what’s the crisis? Maybe you just won’t agree on this one.

    Don’t get me wrong, I can certainly understand soliciting advice on how to more effectively persuade those who disagree with you. But the tone of the question suggests that if you can’t bring him around to the “right direction” then you can’t be friends with him anymore, which is kind of unnecessary and dramatic, no?

    I’ve got friends that believe what I consider to be some completely outlandish shit. I’ve got friends that think that the CIA genetically engineered AIDS, that aliens built the pyramids, that eating meat is morally wrong, and that we should drastically reduce the earth’s population and return to an agrarian society. I’m a big fan of free-market capitalism, but I’ve got communist friends. Communists, for the love of God. I’ve got friends that say racist stuff now and then (both black and white), just like I have friends that say sexist stuff sometimes (both male and female). But there’s no malice there, and they’re all decent people at heart. Individuals are more than just the sum of their opinions, and it’s okay to not agree about everything.

  26. Cadence
    Cadence October 3, 2007 at 9:34 pm |

    “It’s not a conspiracy” is important. I was having a similar conversation with a friend a few weeks ago – he’d made a blog post complaining about his company’s code of conduct. His particular complaint was being banned from using the words “whitelist” and “blacklist.” If, he said, someone deliberately made up these words to bring back the policy that black people were inferior, then he’d stop using them, but since that obviously wasn’t true complaints were just silly.

    I had to explain that just because something isn’t intentional doesn’t mean it’s not harmful – what if, I asked, I was paid 3/4 as much as a man, but no one was doing it maliciously? Does that make it okay? The conversation continued to the idea of systematic harm, and I think things got though a little eventually.

    Also, and this may sound odd – or maybe not, considering the context – but consider having the conversations online, if you can. The above conversation was conducted on LJ, and it made it much easier to a) keep from getting too emotional or intimidated, and b) think “I know I read a blog post addressing this exact issue about this… *google* aha!” *link* IM would probably work almost as well. Just something to give you a chance to organize your thoughts, because it can be pretty intimidating to challenge so many assumptions in person.

  27. Laurie
    Laurie October 3, 2007 at 9:34 pm |

    Having him read Dr. Confused’s thread “Sexism in our everyday professional lives” would be a place to start. Also, explain that “humanism” already means: any system or mode of thought or action in which human interests, values, and dignity are taken to be of primary importance, as in moral judgments. This system, you might point, does not in fact exist at this point in time, because approximately 50% of all humans are not *counted* in the system. The default is always male.

    Every other suggestion here sounds good too. Mostly, challenge him to think about the whole thing from a totally different angle. Yours.

    Maybe more later. I’ve had to point a few things out to my husband on occasion. The man is sort of gender blind — HE doesn’t really see any reason to treat women any differently than men (assuming they are in fact intelligent/competent) so he doesn’t see it when OTHER people do. *sigh* He’s learning.

  28. Tapetum
    Tapetum October 3, 2007 at 10:00 pm |

    Yep Burton, isn’t it just awesome how men successfully kept women out of the armed forces for ages, and even still don’t want them in combat – and then blame the women because they’re not getting drafted into the army and dying in combat. Like the women went and set that up.

  29. Bruce
    Bruce October 3, 2007 at 10:50 pm |

    Burton – cite the “many” statutes that identify domestic violence as violence against women and not men.

  30. Mike
    Mike October 3, 2007 at 11:21 pm |

    Bruce, I’m not going to get into the whole Femisim vs. MRA thing because that’s a discussion that would end up getting heated by a lot of people. However, I will relate to you a project that I and some friends did in college… we were discussing domestic violence in a sociology class.

    We called a number of domestic violence numbers and pretended to be men with children who needed assistance. You know what we were told by EVERY SINGLE ONE? Sorry, can’t help you… one even told us that men can’t be victims… only women and children are victims. And boys over a certain age aren’t considered victims either.

    While I don’t necessarily agree with everything MRAs say, they, like feminism, do have some true points. If the 2 could ever get together and work together, things would be much better but for right now, everybody only sees things from their point of view.

  31. Laurie
    Laurie October 3, 2007 at 11:41 pm |

    Henry:
    A common reaction to strong emotions of any sort can be tears. This seems to be more common amongst women than men. ;) I’ll refrain from speculating on how much of this is inborn vs. socialization. ;) Seriously, women do cry from happiness, frustration, and anger as well as sadness/pain. It can be really, really irritating sometimes.

    Example:
    Me in high school/college having a disagreement with my parents. My step-mother was always right — just ask her! Nothing I said would change her position on things, and her position often seemed quite unfair to me. I’d get so frustrated because I couldn’t get my position across to my parents that I’d start to cry, which of course didn’t help my case any. *sigh* I did “outgrow” that to an extent, but extreme frustration or anger can still bring it on.

    And really, there are some viewpoints that are incompatible with friendship in my point of view. There is, in my opinion, a subtle but real difference between making the occasional thoughtless* sexist or racist remark **occasionally** and being sexist/racist. The first can be an example of upbringing and not examining your life/viewpoints very carefully. It can usually be changed by having the viewpoint pointed out. (For example, due to my upbringing, there were a few embarrassing phrases lodged in my vocabulary. The moment I started to *think* about them, I stopped using them. I’m still working on overcoming some early programming.) The second involves a deep belief that has never been challenged, and even if it was challenged, the belief would remain. (I tried challenging my 80+ year old father’s views on occasion — sometimes it worked, sometimes it did NOT.)

    My point being that I would think long and hard about staying friends with someone whose viewpoints were truly morally/ethically repugnant to me. I don’t think that’s what is going on with this young woman, though. I think she is just frustrated with trying to get ideas that are very important to her across to someone who is very important to her who literally cannot see what she is trying to get across. I just hope he is young enough that some life experience and open minded reading will help him see the validity of her points.

    Oooo. Long and rambling thoughts. Stopping now.

    * and the key here is that it is truly *without thought* — using phrases like “jewed him down” to mean negotiating a price reduction, for example. That was the one that stopped me cold sometime waaaaay later in life than it should have. Once I really analyzed the phrase, I just *stopped* using it. It was something my parents said and I picked it up the same way I picked up the rest of the English language from them. Embarrassing that it took as long as it did for me to pick up on what I was saying. Eeeeeeesh.

  32. octogalore
    octogalore October 4, 2007 at 12:08 am |

    Honestly? I’ve tried talking to folks who appear well-meaning about why feminism should not morph into humanism and why feminist concerns aren’t paralleled by MRA concerns. My experience is that it’s a waste of time. But if you feel this friend has real potential, try some of the great suggestions above for time-limited period and then toss it in. My experience with privileged white guys (my husband, for example) is that if they haven’t been living under a rock, they get why feminism is needed, and mostly need refinements rather than reincarnation. That said, best of luck!

  33. mythago
    mythago October 4, 2007 at 12:47 am |

    If he says he can see it happening, quit being his friend.

    I think you really can just start with the “quit being his friend”. This does not sound like somebody who is genuinely interested in exploring the issues. He’s convinced (like Burton) that he’s the REAL victim. No matter what evidence you offer, he’ll yes-but or pull something out of his ass (again, like Burton).

    The world is full of people who aren’t assholes. They can be your friends instead.

  34. Cyan
    Cyan October 4, 2007 at 1:01 am |

    re humanist:

    Get him to read the comment thread on the immediately preceding blog post “Sexism in our everyday lives”. It’s done wonders for my comprehension of one aspect of my male privilege.

  35. Henry
    Henry October 4, 2007 at 1:02 am |

    My point being that I would think long and hard about staying friends with someone whose viewpoints were truly morally/ethically repugnant to me.

    It’s a weird issue for me. When I mentioned I had friends who said racist/sexist things, I wasn’t referring to unconsciously racist phrases. I was referring to jokes or actual prejudiced statements, and again, this is true of both whites and blacks, male and female. I don’t have any friends that are misogynists or misandrists (?), but I do have some that are chauvinists. I don’t have any friends that are out-and-out racists, but I have plenty that have no problem bringing up an unflattering stereotype or two. Their racism/sexism is all in the abstract, in theory. On an individual basis everyone’s cool. There’s no teeth to it. That doesn’t make it okay, but it tempers my reaction to it.
    To my knowledge, none of these guys or girls have ever mistreated anyone because of race. It’s not that they have hatred in their nature, it’s just that they’re busy living their lives and not really interested in working on becoming enlightened about some stuff. It’s just PC nonsense to them (and again, this is definitely true for both races/sexes in my experience).

    What I’m getting at is that people can still be worth it even if they think or say things sometimes that seem messed up. Laurie, with your 80+ year old father, did you ever stop loving the man because of his opinion? Believe me, I can relate, all my grandparents were/are old school. It’s what people do and what’s in their heart that matters (corny I know, but I’m not a writer and can’t think of another way to phrase it).

  36. Justin Ellis
    Justin Ellis October 4, 2007 at 1:35 am |

    hm, it seems like mostly male commentary here so I suppose I’ll pipe in too. I’m a white male military veteran who really never gave a damn about feminism until I met an amazing young female friend who was studying at law school and had a conversation about abortion with her. At the time It seemed to me like feminists where a group of bitter women who where out to get men, saying some very destructive things and operating on the presumption that men and women where the same. She pointed out that as a feminist she doesn’t think that men and women are the same and that she sees the world in a very different way than a man ever will, and shes proud of that. She thinks that the female viewpoint should be represented in the society she lives, the legal system she is protected by, and the political organization that governs us. That being said, it makes perfect sense to me that a legal system and government constructed by men could not possibly express, or be representative of, the views of women. Thats pretty simple right? A man (male) made system can not possibly represent a womens perspective. I would go further and say that our government is severely lacking and has cheated itself in not in having the diversity or wholeness brought about by having both genders equally represented. So only by men and women working together with equal status can a system be created that truly represents us as a society and in the end would make us a stronger nation. I’m not sure how to more simply illustrate that a patriarchy exists or why it is harmful…. hope that helps a little with your friend.

  37. Cola Johnson
    Cola Johnson October 4, 2007 at 1:56 am |

    Oh, Burton, you’re so funny!

    See, that’s why we silly feminists so often say, “Sexism hurts men, too!” by making them the ones responsible for stuff like dying. I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, being comfortably couched in your self important bullshit world view, but feminists who aren’t totally anti-war kind of advocate for including women in the draft.

  38. Cola Johnson
    Cola Johnson October 4, 2007 at 2:01 am |

    Mike, there’s a centre for battered and abused men in my city, but most of the men are escaping abusive relationships with other men.

  39. Burton
    Burton October 4, 2007 at 2:09 am |

    First, I want to say “thanks” to the system admin for allowing me to make contrary remarks here. Good to see free speech is active online.

    Yep Burton, isn’t it just awesome how men successfully kept women out of the armed forces for ages, and even still don’t want them in combat – and then blame the women because they’re not getting drafted into the army and dying in combat. Like the women went and set that up.

    What men today keep women out of the military? As a woman, you can walk down to any recruiting station (I assume you are in the USA) and join the military and do any job that a man can do, other than direct combat arms. And if you do want to get into combat, in insurgencies like Iraq there are no front lines. When I was in the military police corps, we had men and women in the same units, and both were trained to conduct counter-insurgent combat operations.

    Why do you blame men for keeping women out of the military? The reason that we do not have “equal representation” of women in the US armed forces is because women have chosen to not serve. We do have a democracy, after all, and if women really wanted equal access to combat “jobs,” I guarantee your that the Congress would push through legislation for it tomorrow. I know the Pentagon would favor it, they are very hungry for recruits.

    One the things that killed the ERA was when President Carter brought back draft registration. Women — led by Phyllis Schafly — rose up against the ERA in large part because had the ERA gone through, women also would be drafted. Remember, the ERA was supported by the male power structure, from the President of the USA on down.

    Given the proliferation of weaponry on this planet, there is nothing to stop women from arming themselves and forming their own armies. And there are some women who do arm themselves. But the vast majority of women choose to not do so. One reason that men have privilege is that this is a function of men’s willingness to engage in war. Of course, there is a price for all that privilege, which is usually a shallow grave.

  40. Burton
    Burton October 4, 2007 at 2:14 am |

    I realize this is two posts in a row, but someone asked me to cite a statute that identifies domestic violence as violence against women and not men. Here is one. The men posting on this blog might consider how they feel now that the state believes they are second class citizens, not worthy of the same protections as women.

    CALIFORNIA HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE SECTION 124250-124251

    http://law.justia.com/california/codes/hsc/124250-124251.html

    124250. (a) The following definitions shall apply for purposes of
    this section:
    (1) “Domestic violence” means the infliction or threat of physical
    harm against past or present adult or adolescent female intimate
    partners, and shall include physical, sexual, and psychological abuse against the woman, and is a part of a pattern of assaultive,
    coercive, and controlling behaviors directed at achieving compliance

    from or control over, that woman.

    [Giant cut and paste deleted. It’s at the link, so no need to reproduce the entire thing here — zuzu]

  41. Meena
    Meena October 4, 2007 at 3:56 am |

    re Lisboa

    Torre de Belem and Belem in general was beautiful

    If you’re in Bairro Alto check out the bars and the botellon in the plaza….its basically a large outdoor drinking party (BYOB or just bring your drinks from the bars outside) Its a big sloppy drunk mess but it was def worth experiencing and its a great way to meet people.

    castelo s. jorge was amazing at sunset

    I was not a fan of Portugese food but thats just me I guess

  42. chris y
    chris y October 4, 2007 at 4:54 am |

    Lisbon: Have a glass of port from the menu of 100s of options in the Solar do Vinho do Porto at the top of the funicular on the north side of Av. Pombal. Then go eat somewhere up there and come back for another.

    Take a day trip to Cintra (about an hour by train).

    Also, what everybody else has said about Belem, pasteis de nata, Cascais, etc. If you eat fish, you should love Portuguese food, but it’s all a matter of taste.

  43. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie October 4, 2007 at 6:35 am |

    We need another internet law that says, “In a matter of 5-10 comments, every internet discussion will turn into ‘What about the menz’?”

    Bruce, you’re smokin’.

    Burton, you’re an asshole.

    And, subject of the post? Your friend is NOT “pretty awesome.”

  44. SarahMC
    SarahMC October 4, 2007 at 7:54 am |

    Mike (and Burton… you should probably read this too) –
    Has it not occured to you that domestic violence shelters that serve women (and their children) turn men away for the women’s emotional and mental benefit? I volunteered at a shelter here in NOVA for a while and they explained that while it’s important that men set up domestic violence shelters for themselves (which is exactly what women did), it is not appropriate to invite battered men to live with battered women. A lot of times, female victims need to be AWAY from men when they’re in shelters and possibly fleeing from dangerous men in their lives.
    And if you’d actually done your research you’d have found that a lot of men-specific shelters/houses/services DO exist. Where do you live?
    Finally, it’s not up to advocates for battered women to set up shelters/programs for battered men. Women did that for themselves because they saw a need. If men truly see a need, they should do the same.

  45. tekanji
    tekanji October 4, 2007 at 8:03 am |

    Point him to the Finally, A Feminism 101 Blog, it sounds like he is in dire need of it.

    In terms of his “humanism” claim, here’s the relevant FAQ page and I would suggest that you both read my article Why “feminism”? as well.

  46. 10millionin3years.com » Help a Humanist

    […] Punknews.org wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptHelp a Humanist A million thanks to Dr. Confused for guest-blogging while I’m on vacation* and, in a few days, studying for exams. I won’t be posting for the next few days, but perhaps I’ll drop in occasionally next week. In the meantime, we have a reader request for assistence, and I thought I&#8… Read the full post from Feministe Tags: feminism via Blogdigger blog search for christian products. […]

  47. RKMK
    RKMK October 4, 2007 at 9:49 am |

    Just ’cause I hadn’t seen it yet: The Ever-Handy Male-Privilege Checklist

    (And, also? I got BINGO.)

  48. Bruce
    Bruce October 4, 2007 at 10:20 am |

    HAT TIP to Burton for providing the cite. I do not view this as evidence of female privilege or a counterexample to the thesis of male privilege. The statutory definition here is not a criminal one but rather administrative, i.e. defining domestic violence for purposes of funding and planning a program already addressing maternal and child health as its targets. The definition fits within that specific context. The issue in my view is whether the program itself as a whole, rather than the working definition within that statute for that program, is invidiously discriminatory.

    THESE statutes are the actual California civil domestic violence statutes, as opposed to agency funding statutes aimed at agencies specifically for women/mothers and their children, using a definition reflecting that funding target.

    If domestic violence by women against men necessitating shelters for protection of men (with or without children) were in the same order of magnitude of frequency as the converse, a pretty decent case could be made that this statute is discriminatory. It doesn’t bother me or strike me as discriminatory that public breast cancer treatments and funding are aimed 100% at women even though men do have breasts and do – very rarely – get breast cancer.

    But if men are facing domestic violence such that an unmet need for emergency shelter exists, certainly I would favor funding to aid those men and provide them physical protection, and would be happy for those authorizing statutes to define domestic violence as something that would occur to the clients of such programs i.e. men. I don’t think there exists a need among men for such emergency shelter, or at least one large enough to keep a shelter going with even remotely routine business. But if I am wrong, let there be funding.

  49. Mike
    Mike October 4, 2007 at 10:55 am |

    SarahMC… I understand what you are saying. Now I ask you this… where’s the funding? Womens shelters have loads of federal funding and I don’t see much of that funding going to mens shelters.

    Trust me, and I’m speaking from experience, women DO abuse men and their children and there are NOT many places to go.

  50. SarahMC
    SarahMC October 4, 2007 at 11:58 am |

    Womens shelters have loads of federal funding

    O rly? I think not. Most women’s shelters are only able to serve about 1/3 of the clients who actually seek shelter & services in the area.

    If there is an honest need for men’s shelters, men must advocate for that funding. And like someone else said, most male victims of DV are in homosexual relationshiops; they’re not being victimized by women (I said “most”).

  51. Mike
    Mike October 4, 2007 at 12:19 pm |

    SarahMC, thanks for adding that MOST on the end. Having been on the receiving end of abuse for a woman, I take offense to anybody that says women are always victims and never aggressors.

    The VAWA made a token effort to become gender neutral but the original intent, which is to fund womens only programs, is still there. It’s not about stopping domestic violence, it’s about perpetuating the myth that only women are victims.

    I think it best to not hijack this thread and turn it into a discussion about DV, however.

    My advice to the original poster is to a) listen to her friend. What specific misandry is he talking about? He may be mistaken or he may have a point, it just depends. b) Try and point out how feminism is helping everybody.. he may not completely understand. c) try to get him to go to the feminism 101 blog and d) have patience. Try not to get so emotional when DISCUSSING the subject with him, most men will shut down once you get emotional. Don’t talk AT him about it, engage in a dicsussion and find out his thoughts and feelings about it. Don’t take the “I’m right and you’re wrong” approach.

  52. RKMK
    RKMK October 4, 2007 at 12:34 pm |

    I think it best to not hijack this thread and turn it into a discussion about DV, however…

    Not to parrot above, but… o rly? A little late, no?

    Try not to get so emotional when DISCUSSING the subject with him, most men will shut down once you get emotional.

    Men won’t listen to a woman, only a robot! And of course, any emotion at all indicates that you are an irrational hysterical harridan, even if you’re provoked by “there there little lady” pats on the head, and/or “I know what life is like for women much more than you do, dear. Go take your lady brain into the kitchen, and make me some pie!” An emotional response to such provocation only serves to accentuate your inferior brain and status! Get with the program!

    Don’t talk AT him about it, engage in a dicsussion and find out his thoughts and feelings about it.

    Oh, yes, absolutely: having a conversation like an (overentitled) man is the absolute worst way of getting through to an (overentitled) man, definitely.

    Dear Mike: Stuff it.

  53. Laurie
    Laurie October 4, 2007 at 12:36 pm |

    Henry:
    I never stopped loving my dad, but he did embarrass me on occasion. I did *start* calling him on bigoted remarks as I got older/in my 30s. I think it surprised him. :)

    To give the man his due credit, while he had the very old school view of immigrants*, he was less sexist than you might expect — he certainly didn’t seem to treat me “like a girl” in as many ways as you might expect. For example, I was one of the few women in my theatre department in college who was as comfortable building flats and platforms as I was sewing costumes. And that’s because my dad was a carpenter and passed some of those skills on. (As a matter of fact, I was the only costumer who wasn’t afraid of the grinder. So I got to shorten the metal bones for corsets. Yaay!)

    I suspect that if any of your friends/colleagues *really* stepped over a line, you’d let them know about it. And it’s kind of cool that you all get along and function and work together with the kind of low level racist/sexist stuff that it sounds like might be going on. But even the low level stuff does do damage, and is worth examining. (I say this from the perspective of a woman who has encountered discrimination in school. Those offhand remarks can be irritating at the least, and can do surprising amounts of damage at the worst.)

    Thanks for your perspective, Henry. I know we hardly ever agree, but at least you always express yourself in a civilized manner. I appreciate that.

    * Immigrants. *sigh* My dad grew up during the Depression, so his idea of ethnic issues involved the refugees from Europe who came over here after WWII, and before that, *European* ethnicities other than his own, i.e., the Poles. My dad was a first generation American of Norwegian descent — his parents literally came over on the boat not speaking the language. I found his objections to other ethnicities really ironic. He did expand those prejudices as more people from elsewhere showed up in our rather insular Midwest suburb. While I certainly cut him some slack given his age and upbringing, I did point out that he was being prejudiced. As I said, I think my perspective surprised him.

  54. Sidewriter
    Sidewriter October 4, 2007 at 12:44 pm |

    I run into kids like your friend pretty frequently in the college writing classes I teach. Like many commenters have already pointed out, there’s no magic example that gives them that eureka moment, but one thing I’ve found useful is to point out that privilege isn’t just an advantage over others, it’s a lack of obstacles. When I realize I’m out of milk, I check the clock to decide if I’m going to walk, drive, or wait until daytime to go get more. Your friend doesn’t check the clock, and he doesn’t note that as particular because he doesn’t know/believe that billions of people who aren’t like him check the clock as a matter of course. Privilege is absence; that’s precisely why it’s hard to see.

  55. mythago
    mythago October 4, 2007 at 12:49 pm |

    Mike, if you don’t want to hijack a thread, “let me spout about my pet issue OMG NO TAGBACKS!” is, shall we say, a little disingenuous.’

    Burton, if you think the draft law–which was written and passed into law by men–is unfair, by all means, lobby to change it. NOW’s official position on the draft is that there shouldn’t be one, but if there is, it should include women as well as men. I know that back when Selective Service refused to allow me to register, I never did get an MRA organization to take up my offer to be a test case.

  56. Bunny
    Bunny October 4, 2007 at 1:39 pm |

    RKMK, while I agree that it’s REALLY annoying to be told to be an emotionless robot in order to get through to men…

    In this case, I don’t think Mike was saying that this is how women should always act if they want to be taken seriously…

    Since the subject of this post is “how can I get through to my friend”, mentioning voice tone, attitude and method of discussion is valid. I agree that women shouldn’t have to put up with condescending shit, but if your aim is to get through to someone, no matter what, then doesn’t that include temporarily overlooking annoying issues until afterwards?

    Oh yeah and, Burton?

    1) The draft. Only men can be drafted for combat, not women. If a young man does not sign up for Selective Service, he can be jailed and by law he will lose his financial support for college. This is a clear male privilege.

    I think other people here have already pointed out that the whole “women can’t be drafted” thing was set up by men in the military, not women. I support a gender-neutral draft, although I’d prefer no draft altogether.

    2) Protection from violence. Domestic violence is defined in many states as violence against women. We just had the male dominated Congress re-authorize VAWA. Clearly, men are privileged because the government considers violence against men to be unworthy of criminal action.

    Seeing as how Feminists, generally, support neutralising the gendered aspects of society, supporting feminists would work in your favour here.

    3) Job related deaths. A real male privilege is that the vast majority of work related deaths and injuries are given to men. Women are woefully under-represented in such male dominated jobs as coal miners, hazardous waste disposal, and infantrymen.

    Why do you think that is? I know plenty of women who work in contruction, engineering, watse disposal, etc, but they generally don’t stay in the job long if they can help it due to the rampant and overt sexism they have to put up with in the workplace. If women weren’t steered away from jobs like this from oooh… birth… perhaps you’d get to giggle gleefully as lots of women died in industry-related accidents, too!

    4) Government services. A real sign of male privilege is that taxpayer supported services, such as shelters for battered women, far outnumber the shelters for battered men. Obviously, men are so privileged they do not require such services.

    What percentage of men experience physical/sexual/mental assault and abuse? For women, it’s around 25%. I’m guessing the numbers are much smaller for men so, whilst men are victims of violence and do need and deserve protecting, the demand isn’t there as strongly.

    5) Paternity fraud. Another real sign of male privilege is that women can lie about who the father of her child is, thereby causing an innocent man to be deprived of his wealth and professional licenses unless he pays for her child. And to make the male privilege all the more, when a woman is caught lying about paternity fraud, she is rarely arrested.

    DNA tests, anyone? Okay, honestly I’d not heard of this happening before, and will definitely check it out.

    6) Lying about rape. As the recent Duke U case demonstrates, privileged men can have their lives, freedom and reputations destroyed by a woman lying about rape — and the woman making the false charge will not have to spend a day in jail. This is a real sign of male privelege.

    Ah yes! The old “women who cry rape are just sluts that changed their mind in the morning” idea. How many women do you really think lie about being raped? Have you ever tried going to the police/family/friends and telling them you were raped? The experience isn’t exactly fun and full of attention and cuddles.

    7) Segregation. You made a very good point about comparing the situation of women today with that of African-Americans under segregation. For example: during segregation, white women on buses were required to give their seats to black men, weren’t they?

    When did anyone start saying “women were more priveleged than black people during segregation”? Segregation and institutionalised racism was abhorrent, (and still is, by the way). That doesn’t mean sexism never existed.

    Mmmm… fresh Troll…

  57. SarahMC
    SarahMC October 4, 2007 at 2:08 pm |

    That list of “female privileges” really has my skin crawling at this point. Most of these greivances are a result of PATRIARCHY, not FEMINISM. In fact, many of them are grievances of feminism.

    More women would go into traditionally “male” professions if
    a.) they were not socialized from birth to have “girly” interests and aspirations, and
    b.) if the MEN in those professions didn’t make life a living HELL for the pioneering women. Go read the thread on sexism in the workplace if you want to know why more women aren’t willing to risk their lives in mines. Pfft! Then make a decision; will you welcome and accept women in traditionally-male fields or will you harass them and kick them around?

    The same applies to the thing about the draft. Feminism is about eradicating gender roles!!! For the love of dog! Did you read the other frickin’ posts in this thread? That means that both women and men should be drafted if there’s a draft.

    Finally, to address #6…
    You sick fuck. Pity the poor, albeit RARE man who’s life is ruined by a false rape claim. Are the Duke boys in jail right now, hmmmmm? Has their community not rallied around them and supported them? They weren’t CONVICTED of anything. They can go on with their disgusting lives, taking advantage of the privilege they’ve always had and enjoy to this day.

    Oh, and wanna hear my grievance? Men rape. Period. To use your words, “Women can have their lives, freedom and reputations destroyed by a men who rape — and the men will not have to spend a day in jail. Meanwhile, as long as they avoid prison, men do not live their lives in fear of being raped. This is a real sign of male privelege.”

  58. Bruce
    Bruce October 4, 2007 at 2:28 pm |

    An ancedote from the late 1970’s to give Burton some perspective. An attorney friend of mine – she no liberal, mind you – worked as a truck driver before starting her own business and then later going to law school. She was the first female Teamster that drove over the road for the largest grocery store chain in Maryland, one of Maryland’s top 10 employers then and now.

    She came out to her truck one day to discover that someone had slashed her fuel lines – could have killed her.

    For Burton, this sort of work environment is an example of female privilege.

  59. Laurie
    Laurie October 4, 2007 at 2:36 pm |

    1) The draft. Only men can be drafted for combat, not women. If a young man does not sign up for Selective Service, he can be jailed and by law he will lose his financial support for college. This is a clear male privilege.

    I think other people here have already pointed out that the whole “women can’t be drafted” thing was set up by men in the military, not women. I support a gender-neutral draft, although I’d prefer no draft altogether.

    Not to mention the teeny little fact that… (wait for it!) …there IS NO DRAFT CURRENTLY!!! So at the moment, this is a bit of a non-issue. And yes, I *do* support a gender neutral/inclusive draft should the country/government ever decide we need to draft soldiers again. Honestly, I don’t think it was the WOMENZ who protested that when the ERA was actually up for ratification; I think it was Phyllis Schlafly and some nervous old white boy congress members. (They also had a hissy fit over unisex bathrooms. ‘Cause goodness knows, you can’t possibly share bathroom facilities with a member of the opposite sex. Oh, wait. Most families don’t have segregated bathrooms, do they? /snark)

    And BTW, even though there “are no front lines” in Iraq, as I understand it, women are barred from “combat” units. And even though they are IN combat (due to there being “no front lines” and everyone over there getting shot at), they are **ineligible** for combat pay. This is equal how?

    Going to go beat my head on a brick wall, now, just for something different.

  60. Sina
    Sina October 4, 2007 at 2:57 pm |

    According to this website, in 2001 women counted for 85% of reported DV abuse cases, while men accounted for 15%. Women are 8 times more likely than men to be the victim of violence from an intimate partner. The leading cause of death for pregnant women is still homicide by intimate partners.

    Funding domestic violence shelters that serve women is not evidence that women demand to continue being seen as victims, but evidence that women will do what it takes to ensure that women who have been abused to not end up dead because they left.

    Of course we know all these things. This is why I still can’t believe that I am required to defend my feminism, and that if I even mention these things, I am a misandrist (whatever that means). Feminism is not humanism, because even if feminism does benefit men (and it does), its purpose is not to benefit men, but to benefit women. If men care about women, then what’s the fucking problem?

  61. Mike
    Mike October 4, 2007 at 3:13 pm |

    Bunny, thanks for your post, I was actually referring to getting through to this particular friend, not as a general way to talk to men.

    Also, according to the CDC website, “In the United States every year, about 1.5 million women and more than 800,000 men are raped or physically assaulted by an intimate partner,” and 24 percent of intimate partner homicide victims were male.”

  62. Mike
    Mike October 4, 2007 at 3:18 pm |

    As for the draft thing… if men are required to register, so should women. Either that or get rid of the thing altogether.

    Sina, you make an interesting point when you say “is not humanism, because even if feminism does benefit men (and it does), its purpose is not to benefit men, but to benefit women.”

    I agree that that is what feminism is about. I also think that, sometimes, laws meant to further the goals of feminism overshoot the mark. That happens because feminists don’t see things from mens perspectives and men don’t see things from womens’ perspectives. That’s why I think a partnership would work better than the adversarial attitude on both sides that seems to be in effect right now.

  63. RKMK
    RKMK October 4, 2007 at 4:12 pm |

    RKMK, while I agree that it’s REALLY annoying to be told to be an emotionless robot in order to get through to men…in this case, I don’t think Mike was saying that this is how women should always act if they want to be taken seriously…

    With all respect, a quick glance of Mike’s cumulative posts causes me to think that you’re giving Mike here far too much credit.

    In fact, why don’t we refer to Dizzy again, eh?

    Funny thing. I’ve noticed that the men who come on to feminist blogs to argue about how men have rights too and how feminists are woefully misguided about the true nature of women – these men very often have obviously male names. They make it clear, if not within their comments, then with their handles, that they’re men.

    I wonder, if these guys want to actually engage in meaningful dialogue about feminist ideas, as they claim they do, why do they feel the need to make it clear from the get go that they’re men?

    Could it be that they assume from a lifetime of male privilege that they have a right, an obligation even, to interrupt women, announce their manhood, and expect full attention? That any discussion among women is not legitimate until a man is there to guide the conversational journey? That what they say has more weight and is inherently more important that anything a woman has to say? That women joyfully welcome the wisdom of the male perspective on whatever topic is at hand?

    Or are they hoping that the feminists will quickly see that one of the “enemy” is in their midst and then attack whatever he says (because he’s a man, of course, and not because he’s saying ridiculous and ignorant things), thereby giving him all the proof he needs to support his argument that feminists are a bunch of hateful irrational hags that viciously slander the kind-hearted men who only want to help them become better people?

    Just wondering.

  64. anna
    anna October 4, 2007 at 4:37 pm |

    As for the draft: At the Democratic debate, some of the Democratic presidential candidates were asked if the draft (Selective Service Act) should include women, and they said yes (including Hillary.)

    Someone better at the Interwebs than I am can give a link maybe?

  65. anna
    anna October 4, 2007 at 4:38 pm |

    And the Hunter-McHugh Amendment was a recent attempt to keep women out of combat, as noted by Feministe.

  66. Sina
    Sina October 4, 2007 at 4:43 pm |

    And, as we well know, Newt Gingrich himself said that women can’t be in combat situations because men are hard-wired to go out and hunt giraffes.

  67. SarahMC
    SarahMC October 4, 2007 at 5:01 pm |

    It’s ANTI-feminists who want to keep women out of the military. I wish MRA’s would get their enemies straight.

  68. RKMK
    RKMK October 4, 2007 at 5:41 pm |

    It’s ANTI-feminists who want to keep women out of the military. I wish MRA’s would get their enemies straight.

    But, but… SarahMC! Taking a realistic analysis of the structural imbalances that create the situations they’re unhappy about would only get in the way of their reflexive instinct to hate women and blame them for everything!

    (Don’t be making irrational statements like that with your silly ladybrain! It’s dangerous! Or, at least, lilt your voice a little? At the end? So as to not threaten them?)

  69. Hector B.
    Hector B. October 4, 2007 at 6:58 pm |

    One of the factoids I gleaned from “The War” is that only 14% of servicemen fought in combat. So even if a total ban on women in combat were to be sustained, that leaves a lot of roles for women.

  70. Cola Johnson
    Cola Johnson October 4, 2007 at 7:06 pm |

    I love how men like Burton talk about people becoming individually powerful or influential on the basis of their ability to inflict harm and violence. Yes, women can buy guns, but they are as much a product of their culture as men, and unlike ethnic/economic groups, they can’t all remove themselves from society to show the impact of their absence. We can’t all organise and put pressure on the system because we’re diffused. We all absorb different cultural messages from our families and most of us want different things.

    That’s why it’s stupid to assert that women could just arm themselves if they really wanted to get what they desired. It’s just founded on such insidious ignorance that I can’t even begin to deconstruct it.

  71. Cola Johnson
    Cola Johnson October 4, 2007 at 7:12 pm |

    You know what else bothers me?

    Trust me, and I’m speaking from experience, women DO abuse men and their children and there are NOT many places to go.

    I know I must not be, like, at all important or something, but as I pointed out, the male victims of physical domestic abuse are overwhelmingly abused by other men. Programs protecting them from women get so little funding because it doesn’t happen often enough to warrant it. Not to diminish male sufferers of domestic violence, because I’ve found myself on the side of men I knew who suffered from it, but it sounds sexist and petty when you disparage abused women because helping them somehow leaves men feeling left in the cold.

  72. Cola Johnson
    Cola Johnson October 4, 2007 at 7:14 pm |

    Sorry, didn’t see post 50. Feel free to delete or not approve my last comment.

  73. William
    William October 4, 2007 at 7:25 pm |

    Sigh…You know, this thread has really become a microcosm of why discussion of feminism tends to break down once you expand it. On the one hand, you have a bunch of feminists and feminist allies who have read up on an issue they care deeply about and assume that the other side has more knowledge than it does. On the other hand, you have a couple of men who hijack a discussion about feminism (look at the word, it should tell you something about the focus, guys) and begin muddying the waters about all the ways men have it rough. A few comments later, and everyone is either hurling insults or talking past each other.

    Really, though, you can’t blame the feminist side for assuming the other side has more information than it does (I mean, you’re here, you presumably read the blog, and you’re throwing your hat into an advanced discussion.) The big problem is that guys like Bruce and Burton aren’t paying attention to the discussion. Yes, the patriarchy hurts men. Yes, there are a few limited cases in which men are at a disadvantage. Hell, I’ll even concede that perhaps men are more harmed than they otherwise would be because feminism focuses on women (and, to a lesser extent, GLBTQ.) Even so, saying “what about the men!?” in a feminist discussion is like complaining about a cold in a tuberculosis ward.

  74. Sina
    Sina October 4, 2007 at 11:28 pm |

    Exactly. Thus the frustration and the boredom.

    This is why I am increasingly suspicious that humanism = “but what about teh menz?! What about me?! Women must pay attention to me!1!!” and thereby stay trapped in the frustrating and boring gender roles that patriarchy (haha!yes) has created for everybody.

    Bo-Ring.

    If saying “what about the men?” in a feminist discussion is like complaining about a cold in the tuberculosis ward, then feminists engaging in said discussions are like being forced to prove that tuberculosis actually exists, but only after they kiss this boo-boo and make it better.

  75. Blunderbuss
    Blunderbuss October 5, 2007 at 3:35 am |

    I would really recommend steering him to posts about personal experiences, or even ask him to join a forum/blog where he can debate the topic. Those were the two things that gave me a clue about my own privilage; you can read essays and articles all day, but reading someone’s personal experiences is a sobering eye-opener that’s a lot harder to refute. That, and getting totally PWNT* in a debate really does shmack you with a clue-bat like nothing else will. That’s what flipped me from pro-life to pro-choice almost in an instant.

    (* To the non-gamers out there; to be completely and totally defeated in a spectacular fashion.)

  76. William
    William October 5, 2007 at 8:21 am |

    If saying “what about the men?” in a feminist discussion is like complaining about a cold in the tuberculosis ward, then feminists engaging in said discussions are like being forced to prove that tuberculosis actually exists, but only after they kiss this boo-boo and make it better.

    I wouldn’t quite go that far, though I can definitely see where you’re coming from. I think public discussions like this, even if they’re with people who are seemingly determined not to get it, are good. The way I see it, even if you never get through to the person asking “what about the men?” your argument has been heard by others who might not be actively involved in the discussion. How many lurkers do you think have rolled through this thread? How many people have read the suggestions posted by commenters and went to sleep just a little more thoughtful than they’d woken up? When dealing with ridiculous opponents it can be tempting to dismiss them, to throw up your hands and say “why bother?” The problem with that, however, is that often times other people will only realize how foolish an idea is if it is challenged, dragged out into the light of day.

  77. Mike
    Mike October 5, 2007 at 10:51 am |

    Laurie, everybody in a combat zone gets combat pay, officially called Imminent Danger pay. See this link for more information:

    http://usmilitary.about.com/od/fy2005paycharts/a/combatpay.htm

    Most of the Middle East is considered a combat zone for pay purposes. However, if you have a link stating that women are not getting IDP, I’d like to see it because that is a problem.

  78. XtinaS
    XtinaS October 5, 2007 at 1:07 pm |

    William:

    The way I see it, even if you never get through to the person asking “what about the men?” your argument has been heard by others who might not be actively involved in the discussion.

    I naturally can’t speak for others, but oftentimes I’d really prefer to discuss the topic at hand (or read others discussing the topic at hand, which is more likely) than to have someone come in and ask a basic question, or do a “But, menz!” thing, and derail everything.

    It’s one thing if someone just straight-up doesn’t understand (which I have seen happen), and another when it happens a million times, and goddamn can’t we just have a discussion without someone coming in and jumping up and down to get attention?

    The only other comparison I can think of is the diff. between a child asking a question that deserves an answer, and a child saying “Why?” to every answer because they can.

    *finishes coffee*

  79. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte October 5, 2007 at 1:28 pm |

    Bruce, if you want more equality in domestic violence, help convince men not to hit women. Once we have a severe reduction in men hitting women, there might be the parity you desire.

  80. Peter
    Peter October 5, 2007 at 1:32 pm |

    I agree completely with the points about emphasizing that it isn’t a conspiracy and about using personal examples.

    I’d add another tactic, one that made a huge difference for me.

    It crystallized for me in the area of race, when I got a genuinely unjustified reaction from a black person based on a total misunderstanding of the situation. What hit me, with a giant “Duh” that has never gone away, is that his experience of white men was based on the way every white man treated him, while my experience of black men was based on the way I treat black men. There is no reason whatsoever to assume the two have anything in common. And I was able to see why, even though he happened to be wrong about my motivations, it made perfect sense for him to interpret it the way he did.

    Duh.

    It is seductive to ignore the grievances of a member of another group, whether race, gender, orientation, religion, etc, etc, because you don’t (or don’t think you) treat them the way they are complaining about.

    I know a lot of straight people who truly don’t believe I face any discrimination or hostility because they feel they treat me equally.

    Chances are that anyone with whom you are even willing to try to have a discussion about this sort of topic (and especially one whose not getting it is so frustrating) has, for whatever reason, developed a pretty decent approach to women. So he’s likely to assume that most other men pretty much treat women the way he does. And he may tend to see women’s grievances about other men the way he would see a similar issue raised with him – as primarily a misinterpretation or overreaction.

    And that’s ignoring the inevitable blind spots he has because he doesn’t see any reason to look at them.

  81. William
    William October 5, 2007 at 6:32 pm |

    I naturally can’t speak for others, but oftentimes I’d really prefer to discuss the topic at hand (or read others discussing the topic at hand, which is more likely) than to have someone come in and ask a basic question, or do a “But, menz!” thing, and derail everything.

    It’s one thing if someone just straight-up doesn’t understand (which I have seen happen), and another when it happens a million times, and goddamn can’t we just have a discussion without someone coming in and jumping up and down to get attention?

    XtinaS: Yeah, reading back over the post you were responding to, I should have been a little bit more specific. I didn’t mean any discussion of feminism or feminist theory. In any of the more advanced conversation you see on blogs like this, you’re totally right. People derail far too often and they should just be spoken around. Advanced discussions aren’t really the place for basic questions.

    I was referring more to the specific topic of this thread (how to deal with the basic topics). The whole “what about the men” question comes up a lot when you’re having very early discussions with men. I can see how my post might have been read as saying that basic questions should be dealt with in every discussion, which wasn’t what I meant. My apologies.

  82. Burton
    Burton October 7, 2007 at 4:19 pm |

    There are a ton of comments being made here, mostly well thought out. Yes, I have another long posting, but I think there are a lot of people who want responses. Hopefully, we can continue with what passes for rational discourse on the internet.

    Take the statement, “Yes, the patriarchy hurts men.” Let me pose an ideological question: let’s assume there is such a thing as “the patriarchy.” As a man, would it not make more sense to support patriarchy since it would represent your own class?

    One poster mentioned a female lawyer friend who said that women’s view of the law is not the same as men’s. This is an interesting statement, since it confirms the “sexist” position that there are inherent differences between men and women. Please bear in mind that the president of Harvard was driven out of office for making a similar statement.

    But the statement is true enough, as demonstrated by the feminist position on such patriarchical legal concepts as due process and presumption of innocence of the accused. Again, look at the Duke U case — and the fact that one of the posters on this blog seems to think it of no account that three men had their lives destroyed by a woman lying about rape.

    Don’t the male feminists here see that they too could have their lives destroyed by this sort of thing? Don’t the women here realize that the men they care for could have their lives also destroyed?

    RE “the patriarchy”: men in power have pushed a feminist political line in the USA since the 1970s: the US Congress and President supported the ERA (which, again, was killed by a woman’s organization, Schlafly’s Eagle Forum). The US government and its university-corporate allies have pushed through the entire feminist agenda on ending pay discrimination (really, a result of the Civil Rights Act of 1964), affirmative action, Title IX, “sexual harassment”, spousal rape laws, VAWA, rape shield laws, establishing women’s commissions and women’s centers, etc. At the same time, women’s traditional privileges, such as not being drafted, have been retained by the “male-dominated” Congress.

    If “the patriarchy” represents men’s interests, then please explain why it has continually pushed the feminist party line. The answer is that there is no “patriarchy”, we live in a democracy, and the politicians respond to what the majority of women and men want, which for whatever reasons includes the feminist political program.

    Re the draft: please name for me any female politician who is currently calling for women to be included in draft registration. Have they initiated legislation on this? Come to think of it, shouldn’t there be an affirmative action draft for women? Is this one of Hillary Clinton’s campaign promises? And can a woman president really order men to be drafted while giving her daughter the privilege of being excluded from the draft?

    While there is no draft per se, young men must register for Selective Service. Failure to do so will mean loss of privileges such as university financial assistance and in some states, driver’s licenses (driver’s licenses, I am informed, are no longer a right in this country–they can be pulled for any number of reasons). A young friend of mine who, on principle, refused to register for the draft, had to drop out of college when the government pulled his financial assistance. What would women do in this case? But of course, being privileged, women do not have to make this choice.

    As for NOW supporting women being drafted, that’s a cheap shot. I do not see NOW sponsoring a million woman march on DC to demand that they be drafted. I do know of a case or two where individual feminists have challenged the female exclusion from the draft, and good for them! I wish there were more such equity feminists.

    Re rape: I reach criminal justice every now and then at a major university. The stats for false charges of rape vary depending on the study, from a low of 11% to a high of 60%. You also have to figure in all the cases where innocent men and women are charged with rape (and child molestation) owing to frame-ups, malicious prosecutions and mass hysteria (like the McMartin Pre-School case–grim).

    Re the woman whose truck got attacked: she is facing exactly the same challenge that men face when taking on the trucking industry. I know — I used to be in the Teamsters (and I can sympathize with her). If you can’t face that kind of a challenge, you’ll never be able to function outside the ivory tower.

    Same thing for women trying to get into engineering, coal mining, etc. These are incredibly competitive career fields. Hazing is part of it. If you can not compete, you will be out the door. Let me note that women have the privilege of being protected by sexual harassment law, while men have had to face the same challenges without such legal protection.

    RE:

    That’s why it’s stupid to assert that women could just arm themselves if they really wanted to get what they desired.

    Come on. What bugs me about this statement is that it presumes that women are so weak and helpless that they can not take any direct action. If you are in the USA, there are numerous gun stores in every city. And I happen to know many women who do arm themselves. For that matter, you can march on down to your local armed forces recruiting station, sign up, and get to play with the really big guns.

    If women weren’t steered away from jobs like this from oooh… birth… perhaps you’d get to giggle gleefully as lots of women died in industry-related accidents, too!

    I find this as odd statement. What do you mean “steered away from jobs” — are you saying that women simply respond to what they are told, that they have no independent initiative? Or that they can not form their own engineering companies?

    OSHA rarely enforces on the job safety standards–and is one reason because it is men who are the primary victims of workplace death and injury?

    What percentage of men experience physical/sexual/mental assault and abuse?

    This is an example of “bait and switch.” Domestic violence now includes “mental assault and abuse.” Would this include men who have been the victims (perhaps I should say “victims”) of such abusive female behavior as flirting and teasing, or lying about using birth control in order to entrap a man into marriage?

    In any event, check the CDC stats, linked below in this missive.

    DNA tests, anyone? Okay, honestly I’d not heard of this happening before, and will definitely check it out.

    Check out the Tony Pierce and Taron James cases for examples of paternity fraud abuse.

    http://www.reason.com/news/show/29035.html

    More men are having DNA tests. One friend runs just such a clinic and reports that in up to one third of the cases, the woman has lied about the father (this may not be a representative sample, though). An interesting thing is that even though these women are defrauding men, these women rarely go to jail. And the men often do not get their money back from the women who defrauded them. Clearly, another example of female privilege.

    Again, I must ask the male feminists here how they would feel if they were a victim of paternity fraud? Or if you are a feminist woman, how would you feel if your intimate male partner were raked over by a case of paternity fraud?

    Ah yes! The old “women who cry rape are just sluts that changed their mind in the morning” idea.

    I never made such a statement. The reasons for women lying about rape are stated at:

    http://home.earthlink.net/~jamiranda/whyLie.htm

    How many women do you really think lie about being raped?

    As stated, scientific studies demonstrate that between 11% and 60% of women who claim that they were raped were lying.

    Have you ever tried going to the police/family/friends and telling them you were raped? The experience isn’t exactly fun and full of attention and cuddles.

    But then why do between 11% and 60% of women who claim they are raped lie about it? This is the old feminist ploy of “Why would a woman lie about rape?” The reasons are well known. Again, check the website.

    RE domestic violence: Here is the CDC website:

    http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/factsheets/ipvfacts.htm

    Please bear in mind that women’s violence against men and boys is an under-reported crime since many men are loathe to report being abused by a women. Or men and boys fear being arrested as the “primary aggressor” even when defending themselves from a female “intimate partner” (a much over-abused term, by the way).

    Re the website: http://www.endabuse.org/resources/facts/

    This is a blatantly sexist website. It refers only to women as victims, and ignores men. So we see how once again the domestic violence industry wants privileges for women, not men. Don’t feminists see the discrimination here?

    I’ve worked with MRA groups on such issues as domestic violence law, and we find that most feminists do in fact advocate them as “violence against women and girls” statutes. It has only been due to intensive lobbying by MRAs and a few non-sexist feminists that sex-neutral language has been included.

    Re shelters: the point is this — if the government is going to offer a service, then it ought to provide it to both men and women equally. Women, being privileged, receive services from which men are excluded.

    All this seems to be the same old story, women playing the victim and men in power riding to the rescue. That is the real “patriarchy.”

    When did anyone start saying “women were more priveleged than black people during segregation”? Segregation and institutionalised racism was abhorrent, (and still is, by the way).

    The statement I continually hear is that “under patriarchy, men are privileged over women.” Not “white men”. Women had the vote since, what, 1920 in the USA? Why did they not vote to end segregation? One reason was that white women wanted to maintain their privileges over black men. Take a look at Emmet Till. A woman had the privilege of having a black kid murdered because he dared ask her for a date. And then whistled at her (a capital offense!). And since she was a woman, did not spend a day in jail. Now that is privilege.

    OK. I have gone on long enough. If you have gotten this far, I do have a question:

    What exactly do you want? Please give me a vision of “non-sexist” society.

    Thanks.

  83. Fred Webster
    Fred Webster October 15, 2007 at 7:08 pm |

    Kick him in the balls several times.

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