Wackaloon Male Feminist Sex Criminal

Well, I guess I lied about not having enough energy to post anything substantive today, because I just re-read a bunch of the shitstorm surrounding convicted sex criminal and self-described feminist blogger Kyle Payne. I’ve got a couple thoughts on this skeevy motherfucker.

First, what the fuck is up with men calling themselves feminists?

I don’t call myself a feminist, because it’s not my call whether I am or not. It’s women’s call. I try not to be a fucking misogynist asshole and do what I can to reduce gender inequity in my professional and personal life, which includes trying to call out myself and other men on misogynist shit.

Making a big melodramatic display of tagging oneself with the “feminist” label seems like transparent male cookie-seeking at best, and cover for some seriously nefarious wackaloon shit at worst, as in the case of our male feminist sex criminal friend Payne. (Of course, maybe tagging myself with the “I don’t call myself a feminist” label is just more subtle cookie-seeking! HAHAHAH!)

Second, what the fuck is up with this sick-fuck convicted sex criminal making a big melodramatic display about how he never gets angry?

That’s some scary shit in and of itself! Anyone who claims he never gets angry is either lying, suppressing, or incapable of properly recognizing his own emotions. None of those things lead anywhere good. So regardless of which is the case, people claiming they never get angry are definitely worth staying the fuck away from.

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102 Responses

  1. RumTumTugger
    RumTumTugger July 13, 2008 at 5:04 pm |

    I’d say it’s important for men to call themselves feminists, even if just to promote what feminism is all about. Perhaps not parading it, but if I asked a man whether he was a feminist, I’d hope to hear a ‘yes’, as opposed to ‘well, I believe men and women should be equal, but feminism’s a bit much…’, which usually means that they’re totally blind to the ways women are oppressed in society.

    Although, of course, the best way to be a feminist is to SHOW it by your actions.

  2. Posted at Feministe: Wackaloon Male Feminist Sex Criminal « PhysioProf

    [...] 13, 2008 Here is a taste of my first substantive post at Feministe: [W]hat the fuck is up with men calling themselves [...]

  3. Hysterical Woman
    Hysterical Woman July 13, 2008 at 5:14 pm |

    I agree that it is incredibly important for anyone who is a feminist to call themselves such, proudly. It’s what helps remove the stigma from the word.

    On another note, though I am more of a lurker than a commenter, and I really love the guest bloggers, this post really rubs me the wrong way. My favorite thing about Feministe is the safe space environment here. I can read curse-riddled, angry rants from men pretty much Everywhere Else On teh Internetz. Feministe is better than that.

  4. Jill
    Jill July 13, 2008 at 5:43 pm | *

    Hysterical Woman-

    I totally hear what you’re saying, and no, the curse-filled posts are not Feministe’s style (or at least, they aren’t my usual style, although I certainly have a potty-mouth on me). That said, we purposely invited guest-bloggers who write in a variety of styles and who cover a variety of issues. Not all the guest-bloggers are going to fit with the usual Feministe format; most commenters will probably love some of them and hate some of them. We’re trying to use our platform to promote a diversity of voices, and that means that not everyone writing here this summer is going to appeal to our regular readers. But I personally think that everyone we’ve invited this summer has something important to say, and we picked contributors who are smart and passionate and talented, regardless of stylistic differences.

    So I don’t mean this in a dismissive way, but if you read a few more of PhysioProf’s posts and they aren’t your bag, maybe just skip them and check out the other content. The regular Feministe bloggers will still be writing, and we’ll have other guest-bloggers as well. I know there are people who read Feministe and skip my posts because they don’t like my style, but read Holly’s or Cara’s or Jack’s or Piny’s or Kactus’s. That’s how it goes sometimes. I personally think that PhysioProf is great, and I love his style, which is why we invited him. But the point of the summer is to introduce a bunch of new bloggers, and readers can pick and choose which new blogs they want to start reading, or which posts they want to follow. I know it can be frustrating to have a space you like featuring content you don’t like; hopefully this comment will be taken as a recognition of that fact and a validation of that frustration. But I also do think that PhysioProf has a lot of awesome commentary and information to bring to this site, and I’m glad he’s here. Making the choice to skip posts from authors who rub you the wrong way may be the best way to go.

  5. Michelle
    Michelle July 13, 2008 at 6:06 pm |

    A couple of thoughts:

    (1) There’s no reason a man cannot be a feminist that I can see. If a man happens to understand and sympathize with the feminist politic, then there’s no reason for him not to adopt the feminist tag. (A misogynist feminist would be better known to the world as a hypocrite)

    (2) I have to agree with Hysterical Woman about PhysioProf’s writing style. The profanity does not add to the message, in fact it weakens the persuasiveness of the argument being presented by distracting the reader from the point. (Being angry and expressing it is valid, but not every second sentence needs to be filled with profanity)

    {I have a rule at work – if I hear myself starting to swear too much when I’m talking then I’m getting stressed out for no good reason)

  6. The Grim Business of Kyle Payne « Natalia Antonova

    [...] fact that male feminists cannot exist. I’ve known many male feminists, though most of them don’t call themselves feminists. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, it’s just a thing. Sometimes [...]

  7. Yuri K.
    Yuri K. July 13, 2008 at 6:09 pm |

    First, what the fuck is up with men calling themselves feminists?

    You really make it sound appalling that any male who agrees with feminist arguments would dare call himself a feminist. I understand that there are some good reasons why the label ‘feminist’ shouldn’t be applied to men, by themselves, but I don’t really think that a single, demented sex criminal should be held up as an example of why men shouldn’t call themselves feminists, which is what it sounds like you’re doing here.

    Obviously, I agree with the part about a big melodramatic display – nobody make a big melodramatic display about how they have never, EVER burned a cross an somebody’s lawn.

  8. jayinchicago
    jayinchicago July 13, 2008 at 6:17 pm |

    I don’t see why a man who is a feminist (such as myself, for instance) shouldn’t call himself a feminist. What’s the problem with it?
    I also am not sure that “motherfucking” is really feminist language. Most cursing, whatever, I don’t care if people want to use shit or fuck with impunity.

  9. Lottie
    Lottie July 13, 2008 at 6:17 pm |

    While I don’t agree with PhysioProf on this particular point (men calling themselves feminists) I absolutely love his style and was delighted to see that he will be guest blogging here. Just my two cents, for what it’s worth.

    So, PhysioProf, please keep the “curse-riddled angry rants” coming. They make my fucking day, even when I don’t agree with every fucking point. ;-)

  10. annaham
    annaham July 13, 2008 at 6:19 pm |

    Honestly, I do not see any reason why men can’t call themselves feminists. It is certainly unfortunate that guys such as Kyle Payne use the label to their own nefarious advantage, but as Yuri pointed out, Payne’s abhorrent behavior shouldn’t cause pro-feminist or possibly pro-feminist men to disown the label altogether. As awful as the whole situation is, I don’t think *all* male feminists or pro-feminist men can be painted with such a broad brush.

  11. Natalia
    Natalia July 13, 2008 at 6:22 pm |

    I’m a fuckin’ fan of the profanity myself.

  12. Dr. Confused
    Dr. Confused July 13, 2008 at 6:23 pm |

    The friend who raped me was (is? don’t talk to him anymore) feminist, progressive, politically active in the right circles, etc. He was in many ways a nice guy and a good friend. He was in other ways flawed. In other words, he was human.

    I’m somewhat uncomfortable with this processs the feminist blogosphere is going through, reading this guy’s posts looking for evidence of skeeviness, asking if men can be feminists, etc. I know you’re not intending to go anywhere close to victim-blaming, and maybe I’m over-sensitive because I hear it so often in our culture, but this seems to be skirting awfully close to “she should have known.” Which are the ones to watch out for? The ones who call themselves feminist! The ones who claim to have never felt anger! Or is it the ones who would never call themselves feminism? The ones who react with anger? Watch out for all these red flags, ladies, or one of these days you’re gonna get yourself raped!

    The sign that my friend was a rapist, what makes him a rapist, was that he raped me. There was nothing I should have seen to tell me that being alone with him, drinking with him, watching a video with him, was a bad idea. I could concoct all sorts of things in retrospect that should have warned me away from him, but that would be me taking responsibility for his behaviour.

  13. figleaf
    figleaf July 13, 2008 at 6:23 pm |

    I don’t always feel comfortable calling myself a feminist but, based on the excellent that classical radical feminism is about a) equality of power (as opposed to just equality of opportunity or cultural equality) and b) recognizing gender as a social construction I’m usually pretty cheerful about calling myself a classical radical feminist.

    I’m also pretty comfortable saying I’m a feminist based on who’s got my back and who’s trying to drag me (as a man) down and/or keep me down. Feminism has higher expectations of men than anti-feminism, and far more generosity. So if you’re uncomfortable saying I’m feminist I’m at least anti-anti-feminist.

    One last thing? I also got comfortable thinking in terms of being *some* kind of feminist, instead of just a “feminist ally” or “friend of feminism” when it finally percolated through my pointy little head that feminism isn’t just about creating more opportunities for the women in my life (my partner, my daughter, my many friends.) It does that, sure, but it’s a pretty “Galahad” sort of reason to get into it, which makes it only a slightly *nicer* way for men to put people on pedestals, be protectors, to be “on the look out for the ladies.” Instead I like what’s in it for me. I take a look at the bleak, narrow, fear-filled roles anti-feminist tradition prepares for men and… just want to head for the exits on all that. And the people who are heading for the same exits are feminists so… what the heck?

  14. Lottie
    Lottie July 13, 2008 at 6:24 pm |

    I don’t think PhysioProf is saying that men shouldn’t call themselves feminists, and here’s why. I think he was making two separate points. At least that’s the way I read it. But I’m sure he’s better qualified to answer that, so I’ll just shut up now. :-p

  15. Ian
    Ian July 13, 2008 at 6:25 pm |

    Least successful debut post ever.

    Shorter this post: “Men shouldn’t call themselves feminists, because that label is insufficiently profane. HAHAHAH!”

  16. Hugo
    Hugo July 13, 2008 at 6:34 pm |

    I came of age in an era where men tended to use the term “pro-feminist” almost exclusively, out of an effort to make it clear that we couldn’t appropriate a term that not only focused on women’s liberation but also on women’s experience (which, by definition, we couldn’t share.) Certainly, the men’s movement of the 1980s (the real men’s movement, not MRAs) used the term pro-feminist almost exclusively.

    When I first started blogging, I called myself a pro-feminist (which is also what I called male feminists when the subject came up in the classes I taught). A lot of younger folks questioned the use of the prefix, which they saw as unnecessary and, in some cases, as a distancing technique. I still go back and forth between calling myself a “feminist” (something I do in casual speech) and a “pro-feminist” (which I tend to do when being more thoughtful.)

  17. Hysterical Woman
    Hysterical Woman July 13, 2008 at 6:45 pm |

    Jill,

    Thank you for your reply. I agree that it would be a good idea for me to avoid his posts in the future. However, I just wanted to voice my concern over the style/language because my first inclination was NOT to do so. I didn’t think I’d be the only one to find it off-putting, and wanted to make it easier for others who were thinking the same thing to speak out.

    I have also loved how you have added new, otherwise [likely] marginalized voices to the blog through your guest bloggers. It’s awesome! I am just having a hard time seeing how an angry male voice is marginalized – especially on the internet. This may be a personal issue with just me, but when I read posts like that, I can almost hear the yelling in my head.

    Okay, going back to lurker mode now. :)

  18. Ryan Hamilton
    Ryan Hamilton July 13, 2008 at 6:54 pm |

    Ok, but there’s a difference between a sort of self-aggrandizing and defensive statement of feminism and saying that you are if asked.

    Saying I’m not would feel like a betrayal. And giving that speech could easily get one accused of seeking an even bigger cookie. Which I’m not accusing you of, just tired of so many people with any progressive point of view ever spending the majority of their energies doubting the motives of people trying to do the best they can (not Kyle Payne).

    But in fact, it’s these kind of arguments that are the way that “well-intentioned” men make everything about themseves.

  19. Lottie
    Lottie July 13, 2008 at 6:55 pm |

    Browbeating them with your stature as a “feminist” is a waste of their fucking time and effort, and is just another way that men, even the well-intentioned, if not careful turn everything into being about them.

    But, PhysioProf, how can you argue that only women should be allowed to decide which men are feminists, and then try to decide for us what constitutes a waste of our time and effort. Shouldn’t that be our call as well?

  20. Mike
    Mike July 13, 2008 at 6:56 pm |

    Women created feminism, and women who consider themselves feminist use the term to identify themselves as such. Feminism is by and about women. Why the fuck should men appropriate this word to themselves and their own purposes, and thereby force women to have to concern themselves with what the fuck men are going on about when they use it?

    I’m sure that John Stuart Mill would thank you for acting as a gatekeeper to keep him out of feminism.

    Feminism is not only by and for women, because it’s an idea, first and foremost, that women should not be disadvantaged for being women. That means it’s about women and how they are treated, and that is an idea that spans gender boundaries.

    It’s no more incorrect than calling a white person a civil rights activist.

  21. Ben
    Ben July 13, 2008 at 6:59 pm |

    Maybe men who call themselves feminists are really up to…feminism The thing is, you have to define your term. Is a feminist someone who opposes the exploitation of women by men? Fine. Then what about what’s sometimes called “feminist porn?”

    Can a man never relate to a woman, or a woman to a man (in this context, I mean “relate” as “have a sympathetic relationship with”?

    For a man to be a feminist, must he hate himself for all the hurt that his sex has inflicted upon women?

    Do you have to worship Joss Whedon?

    Do you have to buy one of those classic “This is what a feminist looks like” t-shirts?

    Are you allowed to critisize women, or only ever other men?

    Is it ok to be feminist, but still like the idea of having sex with women?

    The point I’m trying to make–and no, I’m not serious about some or maybe even all of those questions–is this: *You* don’t get to define what I think *I* am. (Meant to a general “you,” not a specific person).

    Personally, I think I’m a feminist. You may disagree, but so long as no one’s handing out official badges, what you think does no harm to my sense of myself. Nor should what I think necessarily change yours.

  22. Margalis
    Margalis July 13, 2008 at 7:02 pm |

    I don’t call myself a feminist, because it’s not my call whether I am or not. It’s women’s call.

    Little known fact: they actually all get together on Thursday nights to discuss which men can be called feminists.

    Count me as not a fan of PhysioProf. Take out the swearing and you enough subtance for two sentences — it’s performance art. And I’m not sure how “BLOGGER Sucks My Dick” and “Baseball Players Need To Sack The Fuck Up” are examples of “trying to call out myself and other men on misogynist shit.”

    This Kyle Payne stuff has gotten out of control. He’s one guy. Just like Obama doesn’t have to address the remarks of every black man on earth I’m not sure why what Kyle Payne did needs to be addressed by feminist (or feminist-leaning) men everywhere. Why is what he did a statement about men, or feminist men, rather than simply a statement about Kyle Payne?

  23. Lottie
    Lottie July 13, 2008 at 7:06 pm |

    Least successful debut post ever.

    Define success.

    If it gets people thinking and talking (which it has) I’d call it a success.

  24. Thomas
    Thomas July 13, 2008 at 7:17 pm |

    You know what I think is a terrible idea? Men posting in feminist spaces about the Kyle Payne situation and asking what it means for men in the women’s movement. Just sayin’.

  25. grapeshot
    grapeshot July 13, 2008 at 7:30 pm |

    Agree with Lottie in #20. Admirable that you don’t want men co-opting the women’s movement, PhysioProf, but women are capable themselves of deciding which part of the feminist movement men comprise.

  26. purpleshinycrafter
    purpleshinycrafter July 13, 2008 at 7:31 pm |

    I’m trying to figure out my feelings surrounding the whole “Should men call themselves feminists?” thing. See, I’m a woman who for a very long time functioned socially more like a man. Now, I don’t mean in terms of gender or sexuality, but in terms of not seeing myself as personally affected by society’s views on women. I idealized the possibility of being “one of the guys”; especially as a geek, I wanted to be in that space and (since I was fat and therefor not “attractive” and thus not Full Of Teh Threatening Sexy) saw no reason I couldn’t be. I thought of myself a smart, geeky, “exceptional” woman, more of a person than a woman, really, and viewing myself as superior to “most women” (stereotyped as shallow, dieting, Cosmo-reading, etc) was pretty important to my self-image. Fast forward to now, when I’m learning more and more about feminism and trying to be more open-minded towards other women, rooting out all my internalized sexism, etc etc etc. “Go away men” still feels like it applies to me too (especially when it’s presented as “all women have experienced X, and men haven’t, so they can’t be feminists”), and I have to wonder how a movement/ideal/whatever-the-heck-feminism-is can have room for me, but not for men who are further along in self-examination and resisting sexism than I am. Then again, my desire to Protect The Awesome Menz is probably a part of my internalized sexism. So who knows.

  27. Charity
    Charity July 13, 2008 at 7:34 pm |

    I’m torn – I do actually appreciate the impassioned nature of the post, but i can see how others might not. I do think whether men can claim the ‘feminist’ label is an interesting question, far from a non-issue. The post reminded me of a recent one of Ilyka’s, which did raise the issue of appropriation and got me thinking about alternative labels for men, like “pro-feminist” and “feminist ally”. I’d actually like to hear from more men (we know they are already a part of the Feministe community and comment on other threads), in the interest of understanding why they use or don’t use the label, and allow for a conversation about that, about the meaning of the term and whether “gatekeeping” / ownership are relevant concepts when it comes to the label of “feminist”. There are some men who call themselves “feminist” whose behavior completely undermines this claim, just as there are women who fall into this category.

  28. Lottie
    Lottie July 13, 2008 at 7:58 pm |

    Maybe it’s the circles I travel in, but I hear a lot more women wishing that men would engage in less misogynist asshole behavior and impose less inequity in professional and social situations than I do wishing that more men would comprise part of the feminist movement.

    But isn’t the former just one specific aspect of the latter? I tend to think that by making a of point of engaging in less misogynistic behavior, one becomes part of the feminist movement. Because, isn’t that kind of the point of feminism, really – not being misogynistic?

  29. romham
    romham July 13, 2008 at 8:02 pm |

    Hugo said in #16:
    “I came of age in an era where men tended to use the term “pro-feminist” almost exclusively, out of an effort to make it clear that we couldn’t appropriate a term that not only focused on women’s liberation but also on women’s experience (which, by definition, we couldn’t share.)”
    i do get what youre saying here, but just to toss this in there—there are plenty of us trans folks who either get read as men or ID that way, running around these days who arent co-opting but *do* know that experience in our own lives. the definitions have shifted for many folks, and one of the awesome things about feminism is that its really dynamic.

  30. jed
    jed July 13, 2008 at 8:05 pm |

    “if you read a few more of PhysioProf’s posts and they aren’t your bag, maybe just skip them and check out the other content.”

    I have read enough already, and I am a decorated veteran of the United States Marine Corps. To me, such diatribes read like someone waving his manhood around for all to admire.

  31. Hugo
    Hugo July 13, 2008 at 8:20 pm |

    Romham, that’s perhaps one of the reasons why we’re less likely to use “pro-feminist” and more likely to use “feminist” today.

  32. Brandon
    Brandon July 13, 2008 at 8:21 pm |

    Hm, I guess the “feminist” label thing has never been an issue for me, simply because of my natural habit of phrasing things – I’ve always just said that “I subscribe to many feminist concepts”. Is there something that sentence doesn’t convey that “I am a feminist” would convey?

  33. Brandon
    Brandon July 13, 2008 at 8:23 pm |

    “I have read enough already, and I am a decorated veteran of the United States Marine Corps.”

    Um…how is that really relevant to your criticism of his post?

  34. shah8
    shah8 July 13, 2008 at 8:34 pm |

    Well, my feminism isn’t really woman centered.

    It’s more about thinning and lensing Maya than being pro-anything. I’m the customer of my own feminism, and I’m the only one that my feminism is relevant to. I want to not play the patriarchy game. I want to see people for who they are, and I want fulfilling relationships. I also love beauty, and I want access to beautiful things and do fun things without fear of gender based reactions.

    I still call myself a feminist because my attitude nevertheless fits the definition, even if it’s only as a byproduct of a global attitude. It just *is*, you know?

    So I view Physioprof’s post as somewhat silly. Feminism’s just a word, silly wabbit. Nobody can claim dispensing rights. Whether women or men want to join up for any common purpose like a feminist movement requires women to talk to each other, requires men to talk to each other, and women to talk to men. Building up to a zeitgeist is about conversations, and cooperative actions that reinforce the beliefs of that time, even if said belief of an individual does not match up to the theme.

    As with most things, take up the spirit of seeking indirection to claim ultimate goals. Talking about claiming feminism labels, figuring out what pro-feminist or feminist ally means, they do not add up to a hill of beans. The Patriarchy is a gestalt. Something better will be just as much something that is greater than the sum of its parts. That means many individuals, self-described or labeled by others, or completely other will play a role.

    So… knowing this, my feminism is selfish

  35. jed
    jed July 13, 2008 at 8:35 pm |

    I am responding to you, Brandon, only because I refreshed this page to see if my comment posted.

    That is relevant because I was in the Marines long enough to know that such swagger is usually covering up for some deficiency. In this case, I would not at all be surprised if someday we hear of PhysioProf in a similar position as Kyle Payne.

  36. Jill
    Jill July 13, 2008 at 8:46 pm | *

    Ok, too far.

    You are all welcome to criticize the ideas PhysioProf has presented. He has shown that he’s more than willing to accept criticism and exchange ideas. But personal attacks on him — or implying that he could be a rapist like Kyle Payne — are totally inappropriate and out of line, and I will ban commenters who go there.

  37. Charity
    Charity July 13, 2008 at 8:47 pm |

    “Well, my feminism isn’t really woman centered.”

    Yeah, see, this is why I think many people would agree we DO need conversations about what labels mean.

  38. Nombrilisme Vide
    Nombrilisme Vide July 13, 2008 at 8:57 pm |

    Women created feminism, and women who consider themselves feminist use the term to identify themselves as such. Feminism is by and about women. Why the fuck should men appropriate this word to themselves and their own purposes, and thereby force women to have to concern themselves with what the fuck men are going on about when they use it?

    The biggest problem I see with this is the last sentence. As was alluded to upthread, “feminist” is not a clear and fixed term. So… why should women have to be concerned about what it means when applied to a man? For exactly the same reason they should be concerned about what it means when applied to a woman. I see no reason to assume that a man self-applying it should be suspected of “[appropriating] this word to themselves and their own purposes” more than a woman self-applying it… unless he’s applying it in bad faith, but in that case there’d be problems regardless of what label the man put upon himself.

    Hmm. Actually, I suppose there’s another problem in that quote. If “feminism is by and about women”, then men have no place in the movement per se, and it doesn’t impact on them. The latter is plainly wrong; patriarchy hurts everyone. The former makes it look like we’re just playing pedantic semantic games: “a woman who supports gender equality [or however we succinctly abbreviate feminism] is a ‘feminist'; a man who supports gender equality is a ‘feminist ally'”. If you want to go down this path, it’d be better to actually make an argument that feminism inherently includes “having lived the female experience* in society”, rather than both arguing that it’s worth getting worked up about not labeling men feminists and that the label is an unimportant distraction from the actual cause.

    *Exact female experience may vary; only one per customer.

  39. Panopticon
    Panopticon July 13, 2008 at 9:00 pm |

    PhysioProf, I have no problem with men calling themselves feminists, that said, I have heard some women object to it. I can understand why some feminist minded men would be hesitant to claim the term.

    I think a lot of it gets back to the ongoing discussion of whether the label in and of itself is useful and/or necessary. I do think the word in and of itself is important, but I don’t really care what other people to call themselves, and I do think that everyone should get to define themselves. I do care about whether or not people *act* in a manner that is feminist.

    In this case, I would not at all be surprised if someday we hear of PhysioProf in a similar position as Kyle Payne.

    Wow.

    That seems really unnecessary and unhelpful.

  40. Andy
    Andy July 13, 2008 at 9:06 pm |

    I think Dr. Confused (#12) had a really good point about all this.

    I mean, if you had read Payne’s stuff without knowing anything else about him, what would you think? Would you think, “Well there’s a rapist” or “Hey, that guy’s really dedicated”? Obviously, you can’t really answer that now, but at least think about it.

  41. wiggles
    wiggles July 13, 2008 at 9:06 pm |

    Well I agree with PhysioProf about men calling themselves feminists. Anyone can call themselves feminists. I’ve heard Maureen Down be referred to as a feminist. The proof is in the pudding and men have more to prove when it comes to feminism. I’ve met lots of guys who say they’re feminist for the cookies and then turn around and make a bunch of stupid ev psych arguments.

    “Well, my feminism isn’t really woman centered.”

    Spot the irony^

    My feminism is totally woman-centered.

    — —————————————————

    As far as Payne claiming he never gets angry, I believe him. He probably doesn’t feel sadness or compassion or joy either. Sociopaths don’t really have emotions.

  42. Bee
    Bee July 13, 2008 at 9:40 pm |

    I want to just add in here that I’m not entirely down with PhysioProf’s style. A little too harsh for my tastes, perhaps. But that doesn’t mean I’m not excited about his guest blogs.

    To engage with the post, I’ll all about men who are truely feminist using that label. (Truely feminist for me includes being respectful to women who disagree.) I don’t see it as cookie-seeking, but rather a statement of support in the fight against patriarchy.

    That being said, I’ve been following the Kyle Payne story and it makes me really sick to my stomach. What an abuse of his power as a male, an RA and a feminist “ally.”

    Other than that, I do want to comment on this “wackaloon” business. For me this choice word really moved the post from “a little loud for my tastes” to “do I feel a little threatened?” A word derived from “wacky” and “loony” being used to describe a sex criminal and his really scary, dangerous behavior raises my red “Ableism” flags (quite nice flags, I recommend you get some). As discussed in the recent abelist language post (link), these terms are (still) used to stigmatize people with mental illness. Discussions about new group homes or halfway houses for people with mental illness can come with a chorus of “Those wackos will rape our children” from the neighborhood. Because of that I wish PhysioProf hadn’t used it to describe Payne’s disgusting behavior.

    I don’t think this was PhysioProf’s intent (which is kinda my point) and I know a lot of people will disagree but I just wanted to put this out there.

  43. squirrel
    squirrel July 13, 2008 at 9:44 pm |

    I call myself a feminist because I came to feminism through transgender issues, and that continues to shape how I understand feminism and how I relate to it. I’m male-assigned and genderqueer. I have heaping tons of male privilege as a result of presenting unambiguously masculine. I am very aware of this, and I’m also very cautious when it comes to intruding on spaces where the feminism is female-centered. But not all feminism is such, and much of the discourse that passes under the aegis of female-centered feminism is just as useful in broader forms. My feminism is about fighting the patriarchy and fighting mainstream ideas about gender. There’s no other name for this besides feminism, so that’s the name I use.

    And yeah, like shah8, my feminism is about me. I hate the patriarchy, it traps me, hurts me and the people I care about, and I want it dead so I, and everyone else, can be free. Being feminist identified is the best way to communicate that.

    That depends on context though. Being feminist-identified is a way of communicating these things about myself to other people. If those people have a feminism in which this identification would instead communicate something else, I am perfectly happy to identify otherwise to them and within the context of their discourse. I am a feminist. I can also be a male feminist because that reflects best the privilege I have and how the patriarchy relates to me, or a feminist ally because I sure as hell am that too. They each communicate different things, and sometimes that different thing is what should be communicated.

    But in my own understanding and in my own discourse, I am a feminist.

  44. Daniel
    Daniel July 13, 2008 at 9:51 pm |

    Can you make an effort to get throught a post without saying “fuck” or some derivaitve or cognate of such? Please.

  45. Margalis
    Margalis July 13, 2008 at 9:55 pm |


    But personal attacks on him — or implying that he could be a rapist like Kyle Payne — are totally inappropriate and out of line, and I will ban commenters who go there.

    Given the nature of PhysioProf and his blog personal attacks seem highly appropriate. When in Rome?

    If he’s going to claim that calling oneself feminist is cookie-seeking *at best* and “cover for some seriously nefarious wackaloon shit at worst” similar to Payne, it seems fair to claim that his own writing is at worst an indicator of that same “seriously nefarious wackaloon shit.”

    The implication of his post is that we should be suspicious of all men who call themselves feminists. Seems fair to counter with we should be suspicious of men like Physio.

    If he’s going to ask “what the fuck is up with men calling themselves feminists” I’d counter with “what the fuck is up with men engaging in juvenile macho posturing?”

  46. cy
    cy July 13, 2008 at 10:03 pm |

    “Well I agree with PhysioProf about men calling themselves feminists. Anyone can call themselves feminists. I’ve heard Maureen Down be referred to as a feminist. The proof is in the pudding and men have more to prove when it comes to feminism.”

    wiggles, how does thinking that what one does is more important than one’s label necessarily lead you to agree with PP in that men shouldn’t call themselves feminists? One can certainly be ok with men claiming to be feminists while also expecting them to believe and act accordingly.

  47. Anna
    Anna July 13, 2008 at 10:20 pm |

    I think when a bunch of feminist-men, feminist-allied men, pro-feminist men, whatever the men involved would like to identify themselves as, begin to talk about how Kyle Payne’s actions affect them, it gives further weight to the idea that Each Individual Feminist Represents All Feminists, and that’s why I need to answer for “that thing that someone said to my mother 30 years ago” or “someone who said she was a feminist when I was in first year uni”.

    I’ve seen Hugo and Jeff post about this, as well as a few other feminist-allied men, and I wonder why they feel the need to defend themselves from this jackass being called a feminist, but not from any of the so-called feminists who are actually anti-feminist – but are women.

    You are not tarred in some way because of this guy. You don’t represent him, and he doesn’t represent you.

    Tom has posted in a few places now that it would be nice if y’all would stop talking about this like it’s about you.

    I might be a little more accepting of the outraged expressed if there were more indications from the men responding to this that they had ever heard of Kyle Payne before Belledame, RenEv, Ilyka, or Cara had written about him.

  48. shah8
    shah8 July 13, 2008 at 10:21 pm |

    Profanity used as a space keeper is not:

    profanity elegantly used
    or
    profanity that conveys emotion

  49. Anna
    Anna July 13, 2008 at 10:23 pm |

    PhysioProf, one reason I’d like you to not (which is just me saying – I’m not terribly fussed one way or the other) is because I’m afraid my work-filters will prevent me from reading Feministe at work if there’s a lot of use of the word “fuck” on the main page.

    But I can always read it at home. I’m just suggesting it as a reason to consider, not because I think you now must do so. ;)

  50. Jill
    Jill July 13, 2008 at 10:28 pm | *

    Given the nature of PhysioProf and his blog personal attacks seem highly appropriate. When in Rome?

    No. PhysioProf curses and he’s aggressive, but he hasn’t gone after anyone personally in this space (except Kyle Payne, I suppose, but that was more of an illustrative example, and he wasn’t making wild, unsubstantiated accusations). He’s not implying that other people are rapists because he disagrees with them. Feel free to curse and to write aggressively and to argue, but personally attacking our guest-bloggers will get you banned, just like attacking one of our regular bloggers will get you banned. You are all smart people, and I’m sure you can understand when that line is being crossed.

    I don’t want to de-rail PhysioProf’s thread with an argument over what is ban-worthy, and whether we can all attack PhysioProf. Argue. Debate. Discuss. He raised some really interesting and controversial points — hash ‘em out. But the basic rule is, Do not talk to PhysioProf in a way that you wouldn’t talk to me or any of the other Feministe bloggers. Remember that this is our house, and our guest-bloggers have been given a seat at the head of the table. We expect them to be treated with the same respect that you all show us.

    And I wouldn’t say this if I thought you were all jerks (like the commenters at other sites). I think the Feministe commenters are some of the best on the nets. So I want to make sure that the rules are clear from the get-go, so that we can continue the kinds of conversations we’re used to having here while also respecting the guest-bloggers and appropriately dealing with new voices, perspectives and styles in this space.

  51. Suki T
    Suki T July 13, 2008 at 10:36 pm |

    Well fuck all if I didn’t absolutly love this post!!

    I’m definatly on the fence about men who have to prove how feminist they are. Don’t tell me how much of a good person you are, show me! I also have issues with people who make a big production about how not racist they are, so…

    But I love PhysioProf’s style and tone. I’m glad he’s mad enough to cuss about this. I know I am. Kyle Payne is shithead, and I want more men to be cussing and angry about this. I want more men cussing and angry about the rape and degredation of women who aren’t relatives. We all need to be cussing and causing a fuss.

    oh and also, new favorite word: Whackaloon!!!

    Fuck Yeah!!!

  52. RenegadeEvolution
    RenegadeEvolution July 13, 2008 at 10:51 pm |

    if they think Prof swears a lot…

    And sure, I’ve said it a million times now, but…

    the kyle payne situation? Male feminists? It’s not, after all, all about you and him making you look bad.

    How about that whole, oh, he attacked someone thing?

  53. Lottie
    Lottie July 13, 2008 at 10:54 pm |

    I’m definatly on the fence about men who have to prove how feminist they are. Don’t tell me how much of a good person you are, show me!I understand what you’re saying, but I’m wondering how they should go about showing it, without telling it, via this particular medium. That’s what we all do here – talk about it.

  54. Lottie
    Lottie July 13, 2008 at 10:55 pm |

    Oops! Forgot the quote thingies there… I’ll repost for clarity. Maybe Jill or someone can delete the other one.

    I’m definatly on the fence about men who have to prove how feminist they are. Don’t tell me how much of a good person you are, show me!

    I understand what you’re saying, but I’m wondering how they should go about showing it, without telling it, via this particular medium. That’s what we all do here – talk about it.

  55. Peter
    Peter July 13, 2008 at 11:23 pm |

    I’m not too hung up on labels. People are going to judge you, ultimately, by your actions. However, the word “feminist” has been so demonized by Rush Limbaugh and the rightwing, that I think there is some utility in having more people (including men) self-identifying as pro-feminist, or whatever the acceptable label is.

  56. Dana
    Dana July 13, 2008 at 11:52 pm |

    lol @ Ren’s comment… that’s kinda what I was thinking. Not too bothered by the cussing myself, though the NSFW aspect is a good point.

    I can’t say I necessarily have a problem with men identifying as feminists, but I get your point and certainly most men who feel the need to talk long and loud about how feminist they are make me suspicious. Nonetheless there are some men I’m 100% comfortable with calling themselves feminists.

    There’s my 2c, nice to meet you ;)

  57. Lauren O
    Lauren O July 14, 2008 at 12:03 am |

    Wow! I have never seen people get so worked up about cussing in the feminist blogosphere! I would say it is impossible to describe Kyle Payne without resorting to cussing. “Skeevy motherfucker” is really the most accurate phrase then English language can come up with for that guy.

    Anyway, as a woman, I do not have a problem with men calling themselves feminists, largely because, as Peter says, the term has been stigmatized, and it helps to break the stigma down. Obviously, though, actions are more important than labels. You can call yourself whatever the hell you want as long as you are fighting for women’s rights.

  58. Mandolin
    Mandolin July 14, 2008 at 12:17 am |

    “First, what the fuck is up with men calling themselves feminists?”

    Because it refers to a number of political positions they hold, and actions they try to uphold in their everyday lives?

    Look, I think that men who refuse to call themselves feminists because they agree with the objections raised by some female feminists — or, if not agreeing, at least they respect those objections — is fine, is enlightened, is great, etc. But the wholesale dismissal of men who do identify with a feminist label sucks, even if it’s coming from a man who would probably be identified as a feminist by the bulk of the American population.

  59. eli bishop
    eli bishop July 14, 2008 at 3:50 am |

    erm, why -is- motherfucker an appropriate term in a feminist forum?

  60. Maggie Jochild
    Maggie Jochild July 14, 2008 at 5:53 am |

    My default definition of feminism is: The radical idea that males are not the only/best/more worthy human beings. It did, indeed, begin with the definitions and consciousness-raising of women, and it continues to live in the world overwhelmingly because of the efforts of women and girls. However, from the First Wave (“The rising of the women means the rising of us all”) through the Second Wave to now, it’s never been reserved for women and girls only. The goal has always been to successfully assist every human to understand how gender roles are artificial, non-biology-based cultural constructs, which vary so widely according to geography, era and culture as to reverse themselves (thus disproving any definitive biological origin), so that we all gleefully toss them aside and come up with more honest, interesting, non-restrictive ways of categorizing our community, family and affectional choices and roles.

    There is a persistent idea that men are not as invested in overthrowing the false boxes of gender because they are “privileged” by it and have more to lose. In terms of economic survival, this is accurate: Whoever is non-target for the main institutionalized forms of oppression (males, whites, upper class, adults, able-bodied, christian) definitely have better odds of living and being healthy. But it is misleading to call this privilege in an emotional, intellectual or spiritual sense. Men do NOT run anywhere near the same risk of violence, rape, poverty, etc. that non-men face. However, if they “felt” privileged, it would show up in their behavior more often (unless you believe they are morally flawed, which I reject as a theory).

    The pressure exerted to keep non-target group members from forming effective alliances with target group members is as extreme (though critically different) as the pressure exerted to keep target group members silent and compliant. Guilt and fear are completely useless motivators for change.

    Ridding the world of gender, race and class boxes is in everybody’s long-term best interest. Thus, I think anyone who rejects all the trappings of woman-hating (and, in terms of the oppression, “woman” means anyone “not-straight-male by behavior and appearance”) is, by definition, a feminist. Whether they are engaging in effective feminist struggle is another question.

    Regarding the profanity issue — disapproval of cursing frequently arises from class conditioning. But welcoming profanity is not the way around the class issue. I personally love profanity, and I try to make it work for me. If someone doesn’t have that skill, I agree we should just not read him/her.

    However, profanity used to maintain a tone of anger throughout a piece is problematic to me. If the writer is male, I immediately have doubts about how much he has addressed/overcome the vile aspect of male conditioning which allows boys and men only anger or stoicism as emotion (no grief, no fear, no joy because those are reserved for “not-men”.) Because male domination of discourse runs so deep, expressions of anger are absolutely ubiquitous — men and boys cannot even celebrate a win at sports without contorting their faces into an expression that anyone from another place would read as rage and violently jabbing their fists into the air, as if looking for something to hit. It’s BORING. I’m ravenous for a greater range of emotion coming from males, just as I’m ravenous for female expressions of strong emotion that DO carry anger. (Though, please, not the grimaces and fist pumping, I hope we can lose that permanently.)

    And yeah, motherfucker is womanhating. Just like cocksucker is homophobic. Making fun of someone’s mental stability is also playing into the hands of the patriarchy. You can question how someone is using their intelligence MORE effectively if you stay away from insinuations that they are mentally ill — unless you really mean to say they are mentally ill (Like Dubya our Resident Sociopath), in which instance, make your case without disparaging humor, please. If you’re old enough to have not voted for Reagan, you’ll know that he and his cohorts are who introduced to American discourse the “permission” to ridicule those with whom we stringently disagreed — not argument, but condescension and questioning their patriotism, sanity, family values, etc. It’s gotten us nowhere to mimic their tactics. Let them live in that kind of negativity. We can make our case forcefully, in working class plainspeech and with profanity used to illustrate rather than bellow “all I can feel is mad!”, and we’ll feel better for it. In my fucking opinion.

  61. Mikeb302000
    Mikeb302000 July 14, 2008 at 9:11 am |

    Wonderful post. Wonderful comments. Thank you.

  62. Cara
    Cara July 14, 2008 at 9:55 am |

    Yeah, I disagree with PhysioProf on whether or not men can/should call themselves feminists, and I’ve never actually read the guy’s writing before. But like Lauren O, I’ve never seen anyone in the feminist blogosphere get so worked up over cursing. I don’t know how (if?) those same people read some of my posts. I agree that there are more and less effective ways of swearing, but come on now. The only complaints I’ve ever gotten about my swearing on any blog have been from obvious trolls there to tell me that I’m a stupid woman who is laughable because she has thoughts and stuff. Now clearly, Physio Prof is not a woman, and I’m not saying that you all are trolls (since I know that at least a few of you comment regularly). I’m just saying that it’s really fucking weird. I also think that there’s a big difference between using aggressive profanity in attempt to bully people out of discussion, and using aggressive profanity to express outrage at a particular anti-feminist scumbag fuck. I’m missing the part where PhysioProf did the former.

  63. jfpbookworm
    jfpbookworm July 14, 2008 at 10:14 am |

    I don’t call myself a feminist, because it’s not my call whether I am or not. It’s women’s call.

    I *do* call myself a feminist, but honestly it doesn’t make much difference to me if someone wants to say I’m not. The reason for adopting the label is not to say to other feminists “I’m a feminist too!” but to say to non-feminists “Why aren’t you?”

    Part of this is that my usage of “feminism” is more about philosophy than activism; it’s what I believe rather than what organizations I belong to.

  64. Lisa
    Lisa July 14, 2008 at 10:26 am |

    I’m on the fence about whether or not it’s appropriate for men to call themselves feminists, but I have to say, the number of men popping up and going on about “How dare you say I can’t call myself a feminist, it’s not up to you or women to decide that” is pretty much textbook male privilege.

  65. Lauren
    Lauren July 14, 2008 at 10:42 am |

    We can get into the semantics of cursing — I, for one, heart crass language — but that’s an aside to the topic at hand, which IMO PhysioProf clarifies here:

    Maybe it’s the circles I travel in, but I hear a lot more women wishing that men would engage in less misogynist asshole behavior and impose less inequity in professional and social situations than I do wishing that more men would comprise part of the feminist movement.

    Maybe it’s the circles I travel in too. Granted, I live in a conservative college town where it’s “radical” for young men to take up a anti-racist and anti-sexist banner — but more often than not when I’ve attempted to take part in organized activism here it’s been those dudes squashing me down with their so-called feminist kudos IN THE NAME OF FEMINISM. I am a little wary of the self-labeled feminist man because my experience shows this over-eager kind to be manipulative and often abusive in his tactics. I am generalizing, of course, but that’s my experience.

    But isn’t the former just one specific aspect of the latter? I tend to think that by making a of point of engaging in less misogynistic behavior, one becomes part of the feminist movement. Because, isn’t that kind of the point of feminism, really – not being misogynistic?

    Sure, but I also think part of the territory is being educated on the historical movements and language that surround the feminist movements, and a lot of what I get from the feminist ultra-het dudeliness I mentioned above is “Why wouldn’t I be a feminist? I love women!” And not much more.

  66. Ashley
    Ashley July 14, 2008 at 11:46 am |

    First, Physioprof, I wouldn’t fucking worry about the fucking swearing. That’s just the way you express yourself and you shouldn’t sing another song just because some people don’t like the bad words. You can’t please everyone.

    Second, on your substantive point:

    Maybe it’s the circles I travel in, but I hear a lot more women wishing that men would engage in less misogynist asshole behavior and impose less inequity in professional and social situations than I do wishing that more men would comprise part of the feminist movement.

    Well, you obviously don’t travel in my circle!

    There are different strands within feminism. I would say that most people involved do consciousness raising work, or maybe volunteer work. They don’t actually do a lot of work on strategizing and organizing to make specific changes to institutions. As someone whose work has generally focused on making specific, concrete changes to institutions rather than moving people intellectually toward my version of feminist thought (i.e. “Mr. College President, we want a sexual assault prevention program instituted at this college, and it should have at least two full-time employees” rather than “Mr. College President, you should personally think that sexual assault is bad”), I can say that getting these kinds of changes made is way easier when men are involved. Their male privilege becomes a tool that can be used in the service of making that institutional change. It’s easier to get a bigger group of people to pressure powerholders when you include a larger population, and it’s easier to get more recruits when you are “‘legitimized” by male members.

    Now, do I personally find the guys I’ve met through this activism to be less misogynistic than average? Eh. It’s about fifty-fifty. But as long as their misogyny doesn’t get in the way of winning our goals, I want guys involved. When they get in the way I get pissed. Otherwise I’m happy to give them a stack of posters to put up.

    I also think that, when they’re legit, men are better at talking to other men about not sexually assaulting women and being good bystanders, because the guys who are the problem don’t give a shit what women have to say to them.

  67. Bushfire
    Bushfire July 14, 2008 at 12:08 pm |

    jfpbookworm said: “The reason for adopting the label is not to say to other feminists “I’m a feminist too!” but to say to non-feminists “Why aren’t you?””

    I really like this comment. Two of my male friends identify as feminists and it’s not so they can meet girls, it’s to challenge other people who are not feminists. I’m guessing there are men out there calling themselves feminists to meet girls. I think that anyone, female or male, can tell if another person is a “feminist”, whether it be a female or male one, by their actions. The word ‘feminist” means different things to different people, and it is the beliefs and actions that are important, not the labelling. When my male friends refuse to buy porn, challenge the rape jokes in our university newspaper, read feminist theory, support women’s groups and attend the Vagina Monologues, to me they are feminists, because those are the same reasons I call myself one. If those things aren’t enough to warrant the term ‘feminist’ then maybe I’m not one either.

  68. jeffliveshere
    jeffliveshere July 14, 2008 at 1:22 pm |

    Note: I don’t mind the language at all, though I would like to hear what PhysioProf says to the claims, above, that “motherfucker,” in particular, may not be appropriate here (or the claims that it is totally appropriate!). I think, however, that this sentence is disingenuous:
    “It is absolutely clear from my post that the Kyle Payne situation is not taken as a reason or justification for my conclusion that men should not apply the feminist label to themselves.” It’s not absolutely clear to me, when you follow this sentence:
    “I’ve got a couple thoughts on this skeevy motherfucker.”
    with this sentence:
    First, what the fuck is up with men calling themselves feminists?

    I mean, you say that you have a couple of things to say about Kyle Payne (don’t we all!), and then you go on to say a couple of things, denoting these things with “First…” and “Second…”. I can read what you’re saying with lots of room for interpretation, but you have to know that setting things up that way is bound to make people think *you think* that there is some important relationship between men calling themselves feminists and men like Kyle Payne.

  69. Lottie
    Lottie July 14, 2008 at 1:55 pm |

    Sure, but I also think part of the territory is being educated on the historical movements and language that surround the feminist movements, and a lot of what I get from the feminist ultra-het dudeliness I mentioned above is “Why wouldn’t I be a feminist? I love women!” And not much more.

    [emphasis mine]

    I guess it goes back to running in different circles…

  70. Dreamwalker
    Dreamwalker July 14, 2008 at 3:20 pm |

    I am not a feminist; in fact, in my personal relationships I would best describe myself as a male chauvinist.

    I don’t call myself a feminist simply because I haven’t earned the right. I have done nothing to forward women’s issues. All I have done is to stand at the side-lines, watching.

    I love and appreciate women and believe that they deserve every social advancement they have carved out for themselves. It hasn’t been free: they have met resistance at every turn. If that hasn’t earned them the admiration of their men, what would? They have penetrated enough glass ceilings that it is time that Man nods his head in respect and a with smile of begrudging respect offers his hand to his formidable ally, Woman, to stand by his side to greet the future together.

    However, my position tends to be less noble. I want women to feel able to contribute in every aspect of society without having to emulate men to gain respect, simply because we need them. Every day women show that they can play men’s games just as well as men.

    Emotional athletes and experts in relating, women are on the track of mastering male values and approaches to get ahead in our culture. Before long, the glass ceiling will be shattered by individuals exhibiting male aspects better than most men.

    I suppose I could call myself a pro-feminist, but in all honesty, my motives are purely selfish. The unencumbered female perspective is a resource that we have been discarding for too long. I dearly hope that we start appreciate and utilize this treasure sooner than later.

    We don’t need more men. We need our women; our wives, our mothers, our sisters, and our daughters. Suppressing the unique feminine contributions of women destroys the very resource that nobody but our women can provide. We need them. We are stagnating and we sorely need an infusion of feminine pragmatism, compassion, nurture, and communication. We need them. In my mind, it’s a purely selfish–chauvinistic, if you will–motive.

    Ladies, we need you. We need your deep, dark femaleness. We need your grace, your beauty, your softness, your strength, your flexibility, your generational perspective. We need your organic humanity.

    We are sitting on the single largest natural resource in the world and we aren’t taking advantage of it. I see this mindless waste and how it is hurting us.

    I am male and selfish, and I say that we need more women in leadership positions simply because they are our ticket to the future.

    I’m a chauvinist, not stupid.

  71. annalouise
    annalouise July 14, 2008 at 3:41 pm |

    I really fucking like this post and the questions it asks. I’m still turning over in my head what I exactly think about Kyle Payne’s behavior and what it may or may not illustrate about men who make a lot of noise about being feminists and I”ve yet to reach anything coherent but here’s some thoughts:

    * a friend of mine knew a guy who used to wear a pin that said, “this is what a male feminist looks like”. She said that everytime she saw that pin she wanted to punch him in the face a little. I agree.

    *the particular kind of “feminist activist” that Kyle Payne was/pretended to be is at issue too. His form of “feminist activism” was to present himself as the “voice” of sexual assault survivorsm, implying that sexual assualt survivors are less than capable of telling their own stories. He also like other radical feminist male writers, many of whom I respect deeply and feel kind of guilty about implying that they are anything like this douchebag, presents himself as “explaining what.feminism.is” to men, and ignores the diversity within feminist thought and legitimate disagreements that feminist women have with eachother.
    *there was so much subtext in his writings that he wanted to save women from the evils of misogyny.
    *there is so much intense and explicit focus in his writings on the “gory details” of sexual violence. I have known few women feminists who focus so consistently and so unflinchingly on specific, horrible examples of sexual violence. There is such a fine line between wanting to make people aware of exactly what sexual violence is and reveling in the horriblness of it in a voyueristic, SVU kind of a way.
    * It’s moderately easy for a self-identified “male feminist” to achieve a moderate amount of fame and money by talking to other men about feminisms. It is, I would argue, easier than for a self-identified woman feminist to do so.
    *”by their fruits you shall know them”. The men in my life who I count as a feminists don’t constantly announce their feminist allegiance but I know by their actions that they have women’s backs.

  72. PhysioProf
    PhysioProf July 14, 2008 at 3:46 pm |

    We don’t need more men. We need our women; our wives, our mothers, our sisters, and our daughters. Suppressing the unique feminine contributions of women destroys the very resource that nobody but our women can provide. We need them. We are stagnating and we sorely need an infusion of feminine pragmatism, compassion, nurture, and communication. We need them. In my mind, it’s a purely selfish–chauvinistic, if you will–motive.

    Ladies, we need you. We need your deep, dark femaleness. We need your grace, your beauty, your softness, your strength, your flexibility, your generational perspective. We need your organic humanity.

    Dude, that’s some fucked up shit.

  73. Bushfire
    Bushfire July 14, 2008 at 4:10 pm |

    Where did this guy come from? He comes in saying he’s not a feminist, then says a whole bunch of anti-feminist stuff, maybe to prove his point that he’s not a feminist… and I’m not sure what his point even was. I really liked this line: “The unencumbered female perspective is a resource that we have been discarding for too long. I dearly hope that we start appreciate and utilize this treasure sooner than later.” It’s got women-as-a-natural-resource (rather than group of humans), it’s got a singular “women’s perspective” (as if we are all one person) and it’s got a weird “using this treasure” idea that is partly an attempt to put women on a pedestal and partly a realization that we women have stuff that men need, therefore they should extract what they need from us like miners digging for gold. I’m actually impressed at the number of anti-feminist ideas he managed to squeeze into such a short text. This dude makes it seem, on the surface, that he cares about women by putting them on this goddess-like pedestal, but his only purpose in putting them on this pedestal is to keep them out of the realm of “people” (i.e. men). I wonder what this means: “Suppressing the unique feminine contributions of women destroys the very resource that nobody but our women can provide.” Why would women’s contributions all be “feminine”? What resources can be provided only by women? Perhaps the laundry and the dishes? Perhaps this dude doesn’t think a man can be compassionate or nurturing? What does he mean by the possessive “our”? Which women belong to him, exactly? I don’t.

    This text is really fun because it sonds like the “Women Are Goddesses, Not People” Manifesto that randomly landed here after being springboarded off an anti-feminist forum somewhere.

  74. Cedar
    Cedar July 14, 2008 at 6:54 pm |

    i can’t read all the comments, because i have seriously overdosed on coverage of this, but i want to point to Margalis’s comment, where she summed up my feelings on how the feminist blogs are covering this:

    “Why is what he did a statement about men, or feminist men, rather than simply a statement about Kyle Payne?”

    more to the point: can we PLEASE stop using the word feminist when we talk about this guy? he *presented himself* as a feminist ally, he wasn’t actually one. even scare quotes around “feminist” don’t help.

    apologies if someone already said this, because i really can’t deal with another full post of comments.

  75. Rev. Bob
    Rev. Bob July 14, 2008 at 6:57 pm |

    Us men need to take the whole Kyle Payne thing on and be clear to ourselves and transparent to others about who our words and actions are really empowering. I don’t want to take the label”feminist” or “ally” or get any other kind of cookie. I want to do what’s right. And I don’t wan a cookie for saying this either. That’s kind of inner-directed for this outer-directed world. So, fellow guys, deal with it: tough it out.

  76. Trinifar
    Trinifar July 14, 2008 at 6:59 pm |

    Can’t help it: When I read this post all I can think of is yet another deranged poor soul on the street in some big city ranting away at the world. I come to this blog to find the opposite of that. So I’ll take Jill’s advice and avoid PhysioProf in the future.

  77. Abel Pharmboy
    Abel Pharmboy July 14, 2008 at 8:01 pm |

    I really resonate with Ashley #69 because I’ve asked many of my feminist friends how best I can exploit my white male privilege to support women in my little part of the world. Along those lines, I’d like to draw your attention to a lovely post by PhysioProf’s science blogging partner, DrugMonkey, entitled, “It Doesn’t Hurt a Bit to Be ‘That Guy.'” While the suggestions may be specific to the academic research environment, the spirit of the topic can be applied to business, etc.

  78. Jezebella
    Jezebella July 14, 2008 at 9:31 pm |

    Oh, dear god, what about the men? Bless their hearts, their little feelings are hurt that we might not believe them when they call themselves feminist. Tough titties, boys. Man up and shut up and listen to the fucking women for once. You can call yourself anything you want, and there is absolutely no reason for any woman to believe anything you say. Period.

    And who was it who said “My feminism is not woman-centered”? You, whoever said that: your “feminism” is not feminism. You have a serious lack of understanding of the English language.

    Finally, might I offer a translation of Dreamwalker’s long-winded epistle above, which I zoned out of after the second sentence: “BLAH BLAH BLAH MY WANG MY PRECIOUS WANG BLEEP BLORP BLAH BLAH BLAH.”

  79. Peter
    Peter July 14, 2008 at 10:41 pm |

    The one thing that bugs me about this Kyle Payne guy, is his (evidently) singular “commitment” to feminism. I think it can be kind of weird when a dude is investing so much energy into one element of civil rights issues – in this case, women’s civil rights. Its kind of weird that a male would single out feminism as “his” issue.

    I think the appropriate role of enlightened men is to support all the progressive civil rights groups. Hispanics, gays, people of color, women, etc. I guess the best I can do is to ally myself with the goals of all disenfranchised people. I can’t really decide what’s important to african-americans, anymore than I can decide what’s important to women. All I can try to do is understand them, support them, and try not to be a racist, a sexist or a homophobe. I don’t really know, or care what labels would apply. It doesn’t really matter I guess. All you can really do is try to be consistent and and hopefully support the goals of all disenfranchised groups and communities.

  80. Big-Headed Woman « feminism + fandom = attitude problem

    [...] certain if I like PhysicsProf’s guestblogging at Feministe (sorta strikes me as overcompensating), but the ‘I’m not going to make any pretenses of [...]

  81. Aerin
    Aerin July 15, 2008 at 1:21 am |

    Thanks, Jezebella. You pretty much nailed it. Reading the article and the comments, all I could think was ‘dear god, what about the men?’

  82. Sweary « Off Our Pedestals
    Sweary « Off Our Pedestals July 15, 2008 at 1:35 am |

    [...] promised the esteemed professor of physiology that I would comment on this guest-post by him at Feministe. Well, promises schmomises: When I finally peeked in, I realized right away that [...]

  83. Stentor
    Stentor July 15, 2008 at 2:41 am |

    I’m a little dubious both about men who go around proclaiming that they’re feminists (and that they have a right to that label) as well as men who go around disclaiming the label because it would be anti-feminist to use it. My preference is to wait for someone to ask if I’m a feminist, then reply “Define what you mean by ‘feminist,’ and I’ll tell you if I meet the criteria.” Because there are some definitions of feminism that I’d fit, and some that I wouldn’t.

    It’s interesting to me that PhysioProf’s second point about never getting angry. While there’s something suspicious about making a big deal out of your non-anger, and never-ever-not-even-once being angry is pretty extreme, I feel like there’s a questionable implication (in this comment and other similar ones I’ve seen) that there’s a certain narrow normative model of acceptable emotion, and people who fall outside of that — for example by rarely becoming angry — are suspect.

  84. Becca
    Becca July 15, 2008 at 10:58 am |

    Yeah, it’s probably already been said better but…
    If “feminist” is still viewed as a dirty word, or a non-inclusive concept, something isn’t quite right. For you, PP, I’d recommend “wannabefeminist”. That makes it sound (quite properly) like being a feminist is desirable, but you aren’t sure you have the street cred.
    Personally, I have a vaguely similar issue with the GLBT labels. I’m non-heteronormative, but in a practically invisible way since I’m currently in a long term committed relationship with an opposite gendered partner. Perhaps I should say I’m a member of the GLBT(and ally) community?
    Labels can be oddly important in some ways, I think the commentary on this post does a good job of demonstrating that. At the same time, I think PP’s post does a good job pointing out that ultimately, it takes more than just a label to identify like-minded individuals. There are skeezy people who call themselves “feminists”. But I don’t think we should allow that to make calling yourself a feminist skeezy!

    *gives PP a chocolate chip cookie*

  85. Nombrilisme Vide
    Nombrilisme Vide July 15, 2008 at 11:26 am |

    Its kind of weird that a male would single out feminism as “his” issue.

    This depends a lot on how feminism is being defined. If it is conceived as decoupling social roles from gender, destigmatizing gender roles, and/or the elimination of gender as a social construct, it’s not at all weird that a male might be primarily focused on it. And all of this assumes that we’re assuming a certain “proper” selfish in said male’s motivation. If we don’t feel it necessary to assume that self-interest need be a primary motivation, we could view it as non-weird simply by assuming that the individual has concluded that it is the most pressing civil rights issue where they can make a difference.

  86. roses
    roses July 15, 2008 at 12:01 pm |

    Can’t help it: When I read this post all I can think of is yet another deranged poor soul on the street in some big city ranting away at the world. I come to this blog to find the opposite of that. So I’ll take Jill’s advice and avoid PhysioProf in the future.

    Well no, you didn’t take Jill’s advice. Part of Jill’s advice was not to fucking attack the guest bloggers. Let me ask you this – if you and Physioprof were both guests in Jill’s home, would you call him deranged to his face? If not, why the fuck do you think it’s appropriate to do so here? I know I keep saying this but I cannot fucking believe how the guest bloggers are being treated. Have some fucking respect for this space and the posters here.

  87. Robin
    Robin July 15, 2008 at 12:10 pm |

    Physioprof: “people claiming they never get angry are definitely worth staying the fuck away from.”

    Yes, that Dalai Lama guy is one sick perv, and you should stay clear of him.

    Seriously though, I’d also be suspicious of anyone who claimed they never got angry, but in the same way that I’d be suspicious of anyone who claimed they were never stupid. It doesn’t mean that it’s good to be angry; still less does it mean your argument becomes more convincing when it’s peppered with expressions of anger.

    Ben : “Do you have to worship Joss Whedon?”
    Yes, but that’s nothing to do with being a femnist. Joss Whedon should be worshipped anyway.

  88. Ashley
    Ashley July 15, 2008 at 1:16 pm |

    Robin, I think your comments (particularly regarding Joss Whedon) are spot on. However, I think it’s also important to remember how common it is for people to dismiss others, particularly those pointing out injustice, by calling them “angry.” Audre Lorde writes about the topic in this essay.

    I think there’s a balancing act between recognizing how harmful anger can be (especially to the person experiencing it), and not giving ammunition to those who would use intentionally dismissive and contentless attacks to silence progressives.

  89. Ashley
    Ashley July 15, 2008 at 1:18 pm |

    Arg. Stupid html. I meant to include this too.

  90. Mandolin
    Mandolin July 15, 2008 at 3:56 pm |

    Women created feminism, and women who consider themselves feminist use the term to identify themselves as such. Feminism is by and about women. Why the fuck should men appropriate this word to themselves and their own purposes, and thereby force women to have to concern themselves with what the fuck men are going on about when they use it?

    …I don’t really understand this argument, coming from a man, frankly.

    I’m a woman who supports the ability of men to be feminists, and who is totally fine with men calling themselves feminists. If feminism is by and about women, then why are you as a man dictating who can and cannot be in the class feminism?

  91. ilyka
    ilyka July 15, 2008 at 4:07 pm |

    I’m a woman who supports the ability of men to be feminists, and who is totally fine with men calling themselves feminists. If feminism is by and about women, then why are you as a man dictating who can and cannot be in the class feminism?

    I think I read PP a little differently on this one–more like he’s saying it’s not any man’s place to just slap that label on himself like a bumper sticker, not like he’s appointing himself guardian of the class feminism.

    Just as some women support the ability of men to be feminists, well, frankly, some of us don’t. Probably because I’m one who doesn’t, I’m inclined to appreciate men taking a hands-off-that-identity approach to “feminist.”

  92. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub July 15, 2008 at 8:09 pm |

    PP, I fucking second your whole fucking post. I’m not really a fan of men calling themselves feminists. I’ve seen too many men co-opt the term and try to take things over.

  93. Monika
    Monika July 15, 2008 at 8:43 pm |

    I am biased because I am in agreement with what I believe is the core of this argument:

    It is less important what men call themselves. It is more important what they do.

    Yes, men should speak in support of feminism. But I see this as fundamentally different than the “I’m a feminist” self-identification I see from men who are really just wanting cookies, or to get laid – or both.

    A man who is truly supportive of feminism is respectful of the women who ask men not to be called feminists, as well as those that are okay with it. (For the record, I am in the latter category although I would likely only consider “feminist” a quarter of the men I have met who call themselves “feminists”). He is less concerned about this label than he is about the privilege and power he experiences as a man.

    And while Kyle Payne is disgusting, I wish I could say that this was the first time I had heard something like this. This is the second time in only a few months.

  94. shah8
    shah8 July 15, 2008 at 8:54 pm |

    You know, somebody oughta do some digging into the label use of abolitionist. Who identified themselves as abolitionist, who used it as sheep’s clothing, who used way out there definition of the term…

    It could tell us alot about our current struggles with the term “feminism”.

  95. Mandolin
    Mandolin July 16, 2008 at 1:27 am |

    Just as some women support the ability of men to be feminists, well, frankly, some of us don’t. Probably because I’m one who doesn’t, I’m inclined to appreciate men taking a hands-off-that-identity approach to “feminist.”

    Sure, I get that, and that’s fine. I appreciate Physioprof being hands off for himself. I appreciate it when men are willing to call themselves pro-feminists, or eschew the label, out of respect for female feminists who are uncomfortable with men claiming the label feminist. It costs them little, and benefits those female feminists much.

    However, there are multidimensional issues here, and I feel like PhysioProf’s post came off as reductive, and as contemptuous toward men who do claim a feminist label. I appreciate PhysioProf being hands off for himself, as I said. However, I don’t like PhysioProf dictating the hands-off approach as the right one for everyone else.

  96. sailorman
    sailorman July 17, 2008 at 8:02 pm |

    I agree with Mandolin here.

    In terms of self identifying, it seems clear that within one’s own head we can all think of ourselves as we want (I am occasionally Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, at least when I’m drunk enough. Heh.)

    But feminism is on a scale, ya? A scale which runs from, perhaps, “not antifeminist” on the low end all the way up to “superfeminist” (and BTW, what do you want to bet that everyone reading this is using different definitions for “not antifeminist” and “superfeminist?”)

    As to why I identify as feminist in public: in the real non-feminist-blog world, I think it’s safe to say that many people I meet (and almost all the men) are less feminist than I. That statement holds true no matter where I fall on your own internal feminist scale. Identifying as feminist to people who are my peers serves to help move them towards the right end of the scale. That’s a relative benefit, even if the absolute effect is small.

  97. hysperia
    hysperia July 20, 2008 at 1:33 am |

    I suppose the word “feminist” doesn’t, by definition, exclude men. I do have problems with men who claim to be feminists, however. I do question their motives, fairly or otherwise. I think it’s as odd as wanting to be a member of a black anti-racist group. In this way: I definitely, and perhaps obviously, think that white people can and should be anti-racist. And perhaps blacks and whites and people of all races and colours will work together in some ways, on some things, at some times. But just as Mohamma Ghandi finally requested that a friend, advocate and white Christian minister name Charles Andrews leave his work with the Master to the people of India and go attend to his own affairs with white Britons, I really want men to be feminist advocates amongst themselves and each other primarily. That’s where they can do the most effective work. That’s the work that takes the most courage for them. And it’s women and feminists who must define women’s oppression for themselves and who must also design the theories and practices they will adopt for their liberation. I don’t want any male “feminist” telling me what feminism means. I’m prepared to listen to women about what feminism means, even if I disagree.

    There is a certain element to our conversation that is semantic, but an important element that is not. Because of that element, I would much prefer it if men called themselves feminist allies or advocates of feminism or something like that. When I hear that, I feel that there is respect for the issues I’ve raised here rather than assumptions about men’s place in my (and other women’s) movement.

    I sure do consider PhysioProf a feminist ally no matter what he calls himself, but I rather appreciate that he doesn’t call himself a feminist.

    Reading Kyle Payne’s blog, I have to say that I truly think I would have been REALLY suspicious and untrusting of the guy before all this horrible stuff came out. But then, whenever I say that these days, I’m accused of being a man-hating bitch. Wev.

  98. hysperia
    hysperia July 20, 2008 at 1:35 am |

    Sorry for misspelling “Mohatma”

  99. Men, Feminism, and the Curious Case of Kyle Payne « Kittywampus

    [...] what this means for men in feminism. And frankly, I think it matters not a hoot. Guest-blogging at Feministe, PhysioProf writes: First, what the fuck is up with men calling themselves [...]

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