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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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44 Responses

  1. annajcook
    annajcook February 19, 2008 at 9:27 pm |

    Yes, yes, and again yes.

    I always love it when what seems to me like a healthy dose of simple reality (don’t we all know this already?) is presented as this mind-blowing alternative theory:

    a fascinating new report suggests that boys are motivated more by love and a desire to form real relationships with the girls they date.

    Ohmigod! Like, maybe oppositional gender is a myth?

    Still, I’m glad someone’s going to the trouble of actually proving it by encouraging boys to speak up about their personal experiences.

    Thanks for this post Jill!

  2. Cara
    Cara February 19, 2008 at 9:29 pm |

    Fathers had to “protect” their daughters from boys who might disgrace them.

    Wait, those days are over? I wish that someone had told my dad that about 7 or 8 years ago.

    But yes, you’re absolutely right. I file this under “desire to control women so strong that it doesn’t matter how much we have to insult men in the process.” Does anyone actually believe that the crap about teenage boys as sexual predators (when very few are, even if I was unfortunate enough to date one of them) is about genuine fear and disdain for young men? I sure as hell don’t. It’s about teaching teenage girls to lives their lives under the constant fear of sexual attack and/or disgrace and that sexuality is something to guard, not explore, and upholding the idea that men have some sort of innate right to sexual dominance, and by extension, rape.

  3. Dating Advice - Anything ‘08 : Blog Archive : Shocker of the Day: Boys Are People, Too

    [...] learn for love wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt“Inside the Mind of the Boy Dating Your Daughter.” Perhaps I’m being nitpicky, but this kind of language about dating always creeps me… [...]

  4. Chaz
    Chaz February 19, 2008 at 10:25 pm |

    As one who was once one of those adolescent boys I’m glad to see a depiction of the reality I, and those around me, lived. Further, I find it heartening that there are many in my generation (of both “sexes”) who realize just how much misogyny has and is poisoning our world. What we have now is a world out of balance and so often it isn’t even the “real” world, its a constructed “normative” reality we’re being told we live in. Maybe one day it will be “ok,” with the world at large, for young men and women to be open not only about the love they want, but also the sex they want as complex beings. But that’s a story for another day…

    As for the rest. I know that of all those men close to me (between the ages of 21 and 25) all would like the opportunity (if economically feasible) to stay home with the children they look forward to having. We’ve a long way to go, but I think part of my generation knows what beauty equality can bring and we want it in our lives. So, I’d like to thank parents who taught me what love, equality, and feminism can look like in action. But, just as their parents were involved in a struggle for civil rights that is still not over I fully expect that we’ve got a long road ahead, but at least we’re moving.

  5. Cara
    Cara February 19, 2008 at 10:27 pm |

    Okay. They get stuck in moderation sometimes, but when that happens I can still see the comment and it will say that it has to be approved . . . thus the confusion. I did use some form of the word “sexual” four times in that comment, though. That’s a possible explanation. *shrugs*

  6. Marissa
    Marissa February 20, 2008 at 12:21 am |

    This is an excellent post!

  7. Jamie
    Jamie February 20, 2008 at 12:28 am |

    Wow, that was so AWESOME to read! I know that we often read much of… bad and not so good news here on this website, so this bit was a bright ray of sunshine to read.

  8. Rosehiptea
    Rosehiptea February 20, 2008 at 1:24 am |

    It’s not feminists who argue that boys are mindless animals only interested in sex; no, that argument comes from your anti-feminist social conservatives

    Exactly! I was thinking about that today because someone mentioned “take back the date” to me. So it’s conservatives who want me to believe that men will only date if it’s their only route into a woman’s pants… and they want to say feminists are anti-male?

  9. Holly
    Holly February 20, 2008 at 1:26 am |

    “While a man needs little or no preparation for sex, a woman often needs hours of emotional and mental preparation.

    HOURS???

    I mean, I need foreplay, but we don’t have to do two hours of in-depth relationship processing before I have a quick good-nighter with my boyfriend. I happen to like him, so it’s not an overwhelming emotional trauma.

    (I’m picking on a tiny part of a big, interesting, and outraging post, but it’s the bit that got me. Just as men have emotions, women don’t have cripplingly delicate emotions, nor is sex always a gigantic emotional journey for us.)

  10. exholt
    exholt February 20, 2008 at 2:11 am |

    Ha. Yeah, I didn’t mean to infer that they’re over, simply that they’ve been challenged. I look at my family, and my grandpa used to rarely let my aunt out of the house. When he did let her socialize, he’d follow her with his huge German shepherd. She ended up eloping at 18 just to get away from his “protection.”

    By contrast, my dad — her brother — never did the “you’re my daughters and my property” thing. Both of my parents were a bit conservative when it came to my dating life, but I never heard anything about “those boys dating my daughter.” I don’t think that would have flown in my house.

    Among my older cousins, the only difference I noticed in regards to dating was that my female cousins were bombarded more frequently with the same refrain given to all of us:

    “Your primary purpose in high school/college is to study/work hard so you can graduate with flying colors and so the parental investment in your education is not squandered.”*

    Though they do not explicitly SAY dating is discouraged in high school/college….the tone with which it is said makes it quite clear…especially if the grades started slipping.

    * Though I got the same speech as all my older cousins…it was far easier for me to ignore as the near-full college scholarship, small loan I took out on my own, and my freelancing meant a key component of their argument was fatally undermined.

  11. Mnemosyne
    Mnemosyne February 20, 2008 at 3:04 am |

    “Your primary purpose in high school/college is to study/work hard so you can graduate with flying colors and so the parental investment in your education is not squandered.”

    Interestingly, my dad, who’s otherwise a Rush Limbaugh Republican, told me the same thing. In fact, he told me multiple times when I was a teenager and in my early twenties that he didn’t care if I ever got married.

    But, then, he has five very accomplished sisters (two with PhDs) and a very accomplished wife (my mother), so he was kinda pre-brainwashed.

    (My grandfather immigrated here from Italy when he was two years old, so technically my dad is a second-generation immigrant, at least on the paternal side. Don’t know if that has a whole lot to do with it.)

  12. Libertarianchick
    Libertarianchick February 20, 2008 at 7:45 am |

    I could have told you this…As a woman who (sometimes) wants no strings sex, I was shocked when I got out into the world and found out how many guys did not just want to fuck with no love. Here these conservatives and Christians had set me up a great sexual fantasy and it wasn’t true.

  13. Doug
    Doug February 20, 2008 at 9:37 am |

    Interestingly, my dad, who’s otherwise a Rush Limbaugh Republican, told me the same thing. In fact, he told me multiple times when I was a teenager and in my early twenties that he didn’t care if I ever got married.

    My parents never said it quite that explicitly, but it was always understood in our house that they would rather my sister and I not get married at all than leap into a marriage where we’d be miserable. This was borne out a few years ago when my sister was engaged to a guy she realized she just couldn’t spend the rest of her life with, and my parents both told her she had to do what would make her happy in the long run. My sister broke off the engagement and is much the better for it.

    I think those kinds of wise decisions are the natural product of parents putting more emphasis on their kids having meaningful relationships and less on cramming their kids’ square pegs into the round holes of moldy social mores. In my family’s case, they had to square off against the decrepit mores of both the deep South (where every “little lady” is supposed to find themselves a husband by 25 or die trying) and the Catholic church (where women are supposed to get married, pop out a dozen kids, and never even think of divorce no matter how miserable they are). But again, they trusted my sister to know on her own what was right for her, and as tough as it was, she made the right decision.

  14. Astraea
    Astraea February 20, 2008 at 9:37 am |

    I’m continually disgusted by random jokes my brother in law makes about my niece never dating, meeting her dates with a shotgun, etc. She’s just a toddler now and she’s going to be growing up with this disgusting view of boys and men as usurpers of her daddy’s property.

  15. SnowdropExplodes
    SnowdropExplodes February 20, 2008 at 10:50 am |

    Yes, yes, yes!

    But also, “hang on a minute”.

    While this post definitely describes how I see feminism being helpful to me, and to other men, I have a couple of quibbles:

    I agree with this statement in theory:

    The idea that boys just want sex (and girls don’t) is at its heart conservative and essentialist … It’s not feminists who argue that boys are mindless animals only interested in sex; no, that argument comes from your anti-feminist social conservatives

    But I can tell you that as a male growing up in the 1980s and 1990s, I heard that message coming loud and clear from most feminists I encountered, and it just happened to fit well with the agenda of the conservative press as well. It seems to underpin a huge element of 2nd-wave feminism’s approach to sexuality, and that was what I was hearing as I grew up. I wrote about my experiences on my blog.

    My second quibble is with the last paragraph:

    There is still lots of feminist work to be done with men and boys.

    Forgive me if I have misinterpreted that remark, but it comes across as rather patronising, and actually seems to me to key back into the stereotype of men and boys as being somehow untamed animals that need to be “broken in” to make them amenable to what women want them to be, rather than seeing us as people and individuals in our own right.

    I hope what you actually meant was, “There is still a lot of work for feminists to do alongside a gender-liberating men’s and boys’ movement”.

    Masculine stereotypes still do all kinds of harm to men and women and girls and boys alike, …

    Agreed, but there seems to be a disconnect here with how feminists see it when men want to deal with these issues for themselves (as a recent thread about “mocking manhood” seemed to show!)

    …and there’s a good argument to be made for the idea that men are much further behind women when it comes to embracing feminist ideals.

    Again, this comes across as a colonialist type of remark – almost akin to “Arabs are much further behind when it comes to embracing Western ideals”. I’m hazarding a guess here, but I would say that most men, and even most feminist or pro-feminist men, DON’T want to “embrace feminist ideals” as such; rather, we want (and need) to develop our own ideals and gender-liberation theory, that I would expect to end up being complementary and enhancing of feminist ideals and theory.

    For all the pretensions I have seen by feminists to have an all-encompassing world-view that explains all of gender, feminism still does not speak to me fully; the ideals and philosophy of feminism are not designed to explain my experience or my world in the way that they can a woman’s.

    For that, we need an approach that is formed by male thinkers and doers who are informed by, but not necessarily followers of, feminist ideas. I would like to think I am one such person (but I have to leave that determination to others), Figleaf of Real Adult Sex I would definitely count in that category.

    …who is solely dedicated to a dogma that doesn’t fit into most peoples’ realities or ideals.

    Forgive me again, but I could certainly apply that description to many women who self-identify as feminist, and even some who view themselves (and indeed, are viewed by others) as feminist leaders. And I’m not just talking about not fitting into men’s realities, either, but also other women’s.

  16. Ashley
    Ashley February 20, 2008 at 11:40 am |

    Astraea: My husband has made a few of those comments as well, and our “kids” have never got past embryo stage.

    Random aside, does anyone have any advice for weeding out the misogynistic programing in a man? My husband is a great guy, and for the most part a feminist. Problem is he lives in the real world and has internalized a lot of the stereotypes that we’re trying to dismantle. For instance, the idea that an extremely underaged girl can consent to sex. Or upon hearing about a rape immediately wondering if she’s lying (got that one gone). Or most recently, that Hillary Clinton is a power hungry bitch.

    Just, ugh.

  17. sirriamnis
    sirriamnis February 20, 2008 at 11:54 am |

    Libertarianchick, I agree. While I was going through my predatory phase in my early 20′s, I was astounded by how many guys might SAY they wanted no strings sex, but who would then try to convince me that what I really wanted with them was a relationship.

  18. Yes, let’s talk more about the fact that men and boys want love

    [...] Great long post by Jill at Feministe, talking about a new study that reveals, and I know this will blow your mind, teenage boys are looking for love and relationships, not just sex. That this is some how contrary to the conventional wisdom in this country (see the post a couple down about abstinence-only education and really, just read the Feministe post which is much more thorough than I have time for today) makes me very sad. [...]

  19. Hugo
    Hugo February 20, 2008 at 12:26 pm |

    Ashley, that’s worth a post, and I’ll see if I can come up with something helpful.
    And Jill is right — to the extent that we are witnessing a real change in how young men speak about their feelings and give themselves permission to have feelings, feminism deserves a substantial amount of the credit.

  20. Rika
    Rika February 20, 2008 at 1:01 pm |

    I agree with Jill. I don’t understand why you think there needs to be a separate theory for men. Feminism isn’t all about women… Men can certainly contribute and leave their mark.

    Honestly, your post kind of seemed to me like you were saying that feminism isn’t good enough for men, or men can do it better. Or maybe its just because feminism is associated with women. I’m not sure, your post just rubbed me the wrong way.

  21. lizriz
    lizriz February 20, 2008 at 1:07 pm |

    “a woman often needs hours of emotional and mental preparation.”

    ROTFLMAO

  22. Mickle
    Mickle February 20, 2008 at 1:22 pm |

    “But I can tell you that as a male growing up in the 1980s and 1990s, I heard that message coming loud and clear from most feminists I encountered…”

    I’m guessing, however, that most of the feminists you encountered – especially the ones saying such things – were the ones that, like me, were your age. Which means that they likely didn’t know all that much more about feminist theory than you did, they just knew that something was wrong and yet had still internalized a lot of the same crap that you had.

    I know that I said a lot of stuff at that age that I cringe to think of now, and I said it simply because I didn’t have the right tools and words to describe what I saw. While this is a problem that needs to be addressed, it’s a rather different problem than the one you are suggesting.

    re: men and feminism

    While we obviously need more men doing gender deconstruction – for the same reasons that feminism lead only be men is counterproductive – I would caution you against thinking that just because something speaks to you, it’s more true than what doesn’t. Figleaf’s got some great stuff, but a lot of it doesn’t speak to women (er, me) the way that you are saying feminism doesn’t speak to men. We don’t just need gender deconstruction from both sides, what we also need is something that bridges that gap and speaks to everyone.

  23. Astraea
    Astraea February 20, 2008 at 1:36 pm |

    I had slightly better sex ed since it was a few years before the whole abstinence-only craze was accepted by the mainstream. But we still got the message that boys were obsessed with sex and girls were obsessed with romance. The every 7 seconds thing was a big deal at the time. I remember it made me feel like a freak because I thought about sex so much in high school.

  24. bunny214
    bunny214 February 20, 2008 at 1:44 pm |

    90 percent of dads are present in the delivery room (compared to 10 percent in 1970) HOLY CRAP!! Where were they in the 70s!?!?!? How can you not be there for that? What assholes! I’d kill my guy if he wasn’t there! That’s so serious and stressful…

  25. Nellis
    Nellis February 20, 2008 at 2:32 pm |

    “So it’s conservatives who want me to believe that men will only date if it’s their only route into a woman’s pants…”

    I wished that was true, lol… every guy I’ve met seems to think that way. Would be nice if one really wanted a relationship.

  26. harlemjd
    harlemjd February 20, 2008 at 2:54 pm |

    Bunny – I’d guess that they were in the hospital but not in the room. Fathers used to be discouraged from being in the room because they’d get in the way, or get upset/faint and then the staff would have to take care of them too. (my mother kicked my dad out of the room when he suggested a game of mastermind to pass the time while she was in labor)

    I can’t believe only 79% of dads tell their kids they’re loved on at least a weekly basis! WTF! My dad is not the most sensitive guy (clearly, see above) but we heard I love you everyday growing up.

  27. My Daughter Has a Hand Mirror, and Other Signs That the Sky is Falling : The Curvature

    [...] just so happens that yesterday, Jill covered this one brilliantly. It’s perpetually amazing how the myth persists that feminists are the ones who think that [...]

  28. exholt
    exholt February 20, 2008 at 4:38 pm |

    Regarding this post’s topic, maybe I was a freak in high school/college. As a dude, however, I was far too busy keeping my head above academic water, doing extracurriculars, attending afterschool tutoring, and working an afterschool/weekend job to even think about dating/sex/romantic relationships. In many ways, my behavior in high school and to some extent, college was more typical of high school/college students in 1950′s/60′s era Republic of China (Taiwan) according to accounts presented by older relatives and parents.

    Interestingly, my dad, who’s otherwise a Rush Limbaugh Republican, told me the same thing. In fact, he told me multiple times when I was a teenager and in my early twenties that he didn’t care if I ever got married.

    The odd thing was that they would say that….and then miraculously yet expect my older cousins to then find a compatible person to marry and then have kids a few years out from college. It is a common complaint I keep hearing from children of immigrants, especially fellow Asian-American and some more conservative Jewish classmates.

    Fortunately, my older aunts became more flexible after seeing how counterproductive badgering was when an older cousin married before he was ready at 26 and divorced less than two years later.*

    While those of us who are single still get badgered, the fact we can immediately cite that cousin as a good example of what rushing someone into marriage can do tends to shut my older relatives up good. :)

    * Though he has stated recently he is now ready to be married to someone he has been dating, the older relatives and his parents are trying their best to avoid pushing him so they do not get a repeat of what happened with his first marriage 20 years ago.

  29. SnowdropExplodes
    SnowdropExplodes February 20, 2008 at 5:15 pm |

    This is more akin to anti-colonialist or anti-racist movements telling powerful countries or white people to please listen to us; please recognize your privilege; please realize that our values and our views are valid.

    Okay, this is the problem, right here. Women seem to want to be the ones saying that, about everything (including what men do, and think, and experience). I’m saying that men need to be saying this right back at you.

    Women have privilege. The existence of feminism, an intellectual and practical approach to dealing with gender issues that has been developed from a female perspective, means you have something we don’t. It makes you privileged. You’re talking down to us all the time, and ignoring our views of the world. This is what I experience a lot of the time even now when I intersect with feminist writing.

    There are many areas of life and politics and thinking and activism, where feminism is precisely about anti-colonialism. However, when it comes to men figuring out that the patriarchal structures are damaging to us, we can’t have it dictated to us just because you ladies have it all figured out already from your side of the divide.

    This is the frustration that was behind my original interpretation of your “feminist work” remark.

    I don’t understand why you think there needs to be a separate theory for men. Feminism isn’t all about women… Men can certainly contribute and leave their mark.

    The reasons I think it needs to be distinct and developed for men and by men (I don’t think it can be separate, we need to borrow some of the tools that feminism has developed over the past century or so) are twofold. One, because if men start our debate within feminism, then it will be perceived by many as being colonialism and men trying to tell women how to do feminism. That’s not helpful to anyone. Two, because men need to figure it out for ourselves as much as possible, and however well-meant it may be, women trying to tell men how to solve the problems men experience with gender, is just as bad as men trying to tell women how to do feminism.

    Honestly, your post kind of seemed to me like you were saying that feminism isn’t good enough for men, or men can do it better. Or maybe its just because feminism is associated with women. I’m not sure, your post just rubbed me the wrong way.

    Well, to me that sounds a bit like saying that a hammer isn’t good enough for fastening screws, or a screwdriver isn’t good enough for hammering in nails. I wouldn’t say “men can do it better” but rather, that it will be better once men and women are debating on genuinely equal terms (and that’s a long way off for now).

    I would caution you against thinking that just because something speaks to you, it’s more true than what doesn’t.

    Oh, I wonder what feminists would make of that sort of line if a MRA came out with such a justification of his point of view!? Please, think carefully and if the thing you’re going to say would sound wrong if a man said it about feminist thinking, then perhaps you should consider it in more depth.

    I would answer your caution by saying that what I experience seems more real to me than something that someone else’s theory says I experience. And if someone else comes along with a theory that says something closer to what I experience, then yes – I’m going to say that that’s a better theory.

    Figleaf’s got some great stuff, but a lot of it doesn’t speak to women (er, me) the way that you are saying feminism doesn’t speak to men. We don’t just need gender deconstruction from both sides, what we also need is something that bridges that gap and speaks to everyone.

    I agree with this. I just don’t think we have the necessary pieces in place to construct that bridge yet. Men are playing catch-up right now, and your remark, “didn’t have the right tools and words to describe” I think accurately represents where men are at (in general) regarding our own situations. I think that feminism has a lot of those tools and words, but men are still going to have to construct the descriptions and conclusions for ourselves, using those tools in our own way, before we are in a position to take a look at what we’ve got, and how to create a “Grand Theory of Everyone”.

    I absolutely don’t think that the male side should be separate from feminism, I would like to think that there would be a lot of flow of ideas between the two (especially since feminism has so many tools we need).

  30. SnowdropExplodes
    SnowdropExplodes February 20, 2008 at 5:18 pm |

    Bunny – I know that at least in some communities, it was actually considered extremely bad form for a man to be there. The James Herriot books, for example, explain how he was severely told off by the midwife for turning up during labour rather than waiting until the baby was born.

  31. Feminist Avatar
    Feminist Avatar February 20, 2008 at 6:01 pm |

    There’s been a paradigm shift. Men want involvement with kids. Even with infants, they get up at night. It was NEVER like this before.

    The historian in me takes issue with this. The role of fathers in their children’s lives has not always been about absence. This is a relatively new phenomenon. There have been long periods in history in the West where fathers were seen as central care-givers. Even in the 19th cent, advice writers such as William Cobbett recommended that men take there share of getting up in the night to care for babies. It was only a hundred years ago that women got the legal right to their children in a separation or divorce , which were previously by default the property of their fathers.

  32. the fshk blog » feminism round-up
    the fshk blog » feminism round-up February 20, 2008 at 10:12 pm |

    [...] sixteen-year-old boys are actually interested in girls for their personalities. (Although, as Jill at Feministe points out, forcing boys into the “teenage boys are sex-crazed beasts” box is pretty darned [...]

  33. leta
    leta February 21, 2008 at 1:09 am |

    Patriarchy benefits women too…

  34. sophonisba
    sophonisba February 21, 2008 at 3:01 am |

    j

    ust because you ladies have it all figured out already from your side of the divide.

    Please, think carefully and if the thing you’re going to say would sound wrong if a man said it about feminist thinking, then perhaps you should consider it in more depth.

    Tell us more about how women are talking down to men, you creepy, patronizing person.

    However, when it comes to men figuring out that the patriarchal structures are damaging to us, we can’t have it dictated to us just because you ladies have it all figured out already from your side of the divide.

    Wow, deja vu. Didn’t we just have the thread mocking those school officials who think men shouldn’t ever have to learn anything from a woman?

  35. sophonisba
    sophonisba February 21, 2008 at 5:00 am |

    Agreed, but there seems to be a disconnect here with how feminists see it when men want to deal with these issues for themselves (as a recent thread about “mocking manhood” seemed to show!)

    No, that’s not what happened, as anyone can verify. Thomas, a man, and JackGoff, a man, to name a few, were dealing with those issues quite handily on the thread in question, despite your objections. One way to deal with them is through self-aware light-heartedness. Feminist men mock manhood sometimes, and it’s good for all of us. Cope.

    This is what I experience a lot of the time even now when I intersect with feminist writing.

    It’s just you. Reasonable feminist men, who exist in great numbers and whom you do not speak for, don’t have these problems.

  36. SnowdropExplodes
    SnowdropExplodes February 21, 2008 at 8:06 am |

    Well, some women are more privileged than others, but I think it’s hard to argue that feminism is prove that women as a class are privileged. Is critical race studies proof that people of color are privileged? Anti-colonialist activism proof that people in colonized countries are privileged? The existence of an ideology is not necessarily a mark of privilege.

    There’s a lot of theory that needs to be worked out on these issues, that I don’t have the tools yet to manage all of it.

    However, I think the short version is that, while male privilege is granted by men’s social attitudes, female privilege is granted also by men’s attitudes, and that makes a big difference in the nature and types of privilege that each side get. It also certainly means that male privilege is much greater and more certain than female privilege.

    In particular, the privilege that feminism gives, is not something that I see as comparable to other movements, and it exists basically in a particular statement. I’ve heard it said that “the oppressed understand the oppressor better than the oppressor does themselves” and seen that used as a means by which to silence male involvement in a debate, which concept I feel ignores that the majority of men are tools of oppression rather than oppressors themselves, and are thus oppressed to some degree as well.

    This is what I mean when I say that women in general, and feminists specifically, do not see the world view that men have. The “world view” that women cannot ignore is one that is imposed from without, it is not (in general) the world view that men share; and just as women cannot ignore it, for different reasons men cannot ignore it either. It might be a “malekind” world view as opposed to individual men’s world view, and it is just as inescapable for men as it is for women.

    …men certainly have the right (and the burden) of parsing through that. But that said, patriarchy also benefits men in a lot of ways, and that’s what I worry is being lost in your vision of gender liberation theory.

    I think it’s impossible to recognize [male class privilege] unless men are willing to step back in certain spaces, listen to women and believe our experiences.

    That doesn’t mean that men shouldn’t also have their own spaces to work through these issues; they should. I understand your point when you say that men want to be able to tell women to listen and learn as well, but I’m hoping that you see the significant power imbalance inherent to that request

    I definitely agree with all of this: as I said before, I think that any male movement will need to take on board a lot of what feminism has already worked out. I think that it is impossible for us to take a realistic look at our own circumstances until we have done exactly as you suggest – “step back in certain spaces, listen to women and believe [women's] experiences”. I can only see its harm to me because of listening to women and questioning my own experiences.

    As far as the power imbalance goes, I think it cuts both ways, but in different ways and on different levels. On a social and personal level, in fact, on every level except one, I agree that men have the power to create such spaces for themselves and to exclude women. That men have the social ability also to drown out women’s contributions if they wish. Obviously, none of this would be very helpful if we did it.

    But on an intellectual level, women have a power advantage, because feminism has been working at gender issues for a long time, and is now very advanced; when it comes to debating and considering these issues for ourselves, men are still in our infancy. I think the point I was making is that we need feminists to be teachers, not mothers – that is, I think our need is to be able to ask for advice, rather than be given answers.

  37. SnowdropExplodes
    SnowdropExplodes February 21, 2008 at 8:37 am |

    sophonisba:

    Didn’t we just have the thread mocking those school officials who think men shouldn’t ever have to learn anything from a woman?

    I said several times that men have things to learn from feminism. But for the same reasons that men cannot lead feminism, feminists cannot lead men to answers that are relevant to us.

    But never let the truth get in the way of a good snark, huh?

    Reasonable feminist men, who exist in great numbers and whom you do not speak for, don’t have these problems.

    Okay, whenever I see a phrase like that, previous experience of the context tells me that very often the person writing it means, “obedient feminist men who agree with me and do what I say”. That may or may not be what you mean, but let me reflect your words back to you:

    “Reasonable women, who exist in great numbers and whom you do not speak for, don’t have these problems”.

    Do you see how that sounds? Do you get my point now?

    I’m not responsible for the opinions of other men, and I don’t have agree with them. I can have different opinions and not be in the wrong. I believe that mocking “manhood” is harmful and not “good for all of us”, and I’m willing to stand up and say so. You have a tokenist approach to assessing the views of men.

  38. Jeff
    Jeff February 21, 2008 at 5:21 pm |

    Boo Hoo for the Obamas. What do they think, the right wing is going to continue to embrace and support them as they have until now because Obama is challenging their biggest fear,(Hillary Clinton) ? If your going to step up to the plate then step up to it. This is dirty pool and its not new. Just ask the Clinton’s.

  39. sleepstudent101
    sleepstudent101 February 22, 2008 at 12:25 am |

    Wow. This was pretty enlightening and quite a relief. So it’s those who are overly conservative telling me I’m a sexually obessed demon, with no greater function but to want sex? While my sister thankfully has taught me much good truth about feminism, it was usually female P.E. teachers teaching me I was a subhuman for being male and teaching the girls good, lessons for avoiding pigs. As a seventh grader, it was very difficult for me to discriminate between the one face of a demonizing P.E. teacher and the other face of the loving feminist seeking to teach protective behavior, just because it was the same person.

    But I wouldn’t mind an e-mail about my next question. It is pretty demoralizing and hurtful when all I hear from my sister’s feminist friends, is how to hurt their future male rapists. In front of me, I hear about how they suggest how to properly taser, kick in the balls, hurt, kill, and do other forms of damage to other humans (males – generally). I treat everyone 50/50, but I don’t see why people should talk about how to hurt other people. Yes, rapists should be tasered, hurt, properly fended off and punished, but this whole prevention thing seems to be turning into an overbearing topic. It’s hard to go a day without hearing how my gender is made of “chauvinists pigs,” and so-forth. Even if they aren’t talking about you, it’s hard not to feel the victim of sexism.

  40. episcopophagous - del.icio.us links for 2008.02.23

    [...] Feministe » Shocker of the Day: Boys Are People, Too [...]

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