Why Blame the Feminists?

I’m always amazed when someone says that women hate housework because of feminism. You’ve seen those articles or heard those opinions: everything was just fine until those libbers came along and mucked it all up. Women were happy doing the cooking and cleaning and raising the children. Now they’re trying to have it all – and no one can have it all – and it’s all the feminists’ fault.

I’m amazed partly because I’m pretty sure I just hate cleaning toilets on my own, without any guidance from Gloria Steinem on the subject. And partly because I lived through the 1960s and 1970s, and I remember when women couldn’t get credit cards in their own name. I know that as late as 1974 in New York State, doctors couldn’t perform a tubal ligation unless they had two independent physicians sign a statement agreeing that another pregnancy would render the woman insane. I watched my mother’s friends willingly desert the kitchen and the laundry room for paying jobs.

And then I’m reminded that people did indeed know that housework felt like drudgery to some women before the second wave crested and broke. Advertisers knew it, at least.

vintage ad for Anacin to relieve "housewive's headache"

33 comments for “Why Blame the Feminists?

  1. Pockysmama
    August 10, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    God this resonates. I am in the middle of separating from my SO of 25 years and one of the biggest reasons was housework. He is of the mind, though he won’t admit it, that women do that sort of thing. So while I got grudging help when I nagged, he felt that I should do it. And what was so surreal is we dated for 6 years before I got pregnant and we moved in together and he is a neat freak! But the minute we lived together it was somehow all my responsibility. And given that the man didn’t even know I could cook until we lived together I found that astonishing.

    Through the years we became entrenched in a siege. I reasoned that if cleaning the house AND keeping it clean was my responsibility then it would get done in MY time. And since I worked full time, raised a child, was the breadwinner, spending hours cleaning at night on on the weekends was not on my priority list. It is a family joke that I just missed getting hit in the housing bubble because I sold my last home about 15 months before the meltdown. I sold that house because it was a 4 br/3 ba, 2200 sq. ft. behemoth and I was tired of CLEANING it. With no help, unless it was “cool” as defined by DIY shows. Any suggestions to bring in a cleaning service were met with utter disbelief and withering scorn (REAL WOMEN CLEAN THEIR OWN HOUSE, and the insistence that we clean BEFORE the service came). I sold and downsized to a 950 sq. ft. apartment. And it continued you, even when I worked full time while attending college full time and homeschooling our daughter through high school.

    I don’t have a problem with cleaning and though I will never be super neat, I simply don’t like feeling as though my possession of a uterus means I do it better, or in Wacky World, LOVE doing it. Or that I’m OBLIGATED to do it for anyone. Even with my kid, I started delegating those responsibilities when she was 9. Mind you, it took a week for her to realize her clothes weren’t getting washed and ironed before she took the responsibility upon herself. Him, well, like I said, we broke up.

  2. August 10, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    I have quite an interest in vintage advertisements precisely because they offer such an interesting commentary on society of the times. I have a collection of such vintage (and sexist) ads, and its amazing the picture they can paint of what has been expected of women over the years. Yikes.

  3. Josephine E
    August 10, 2010 at 9:30 pm

    wow. except for the ironing, i do all those things. sadly, the ad actually resonated with me. i looked up anacin … asprin and caffeine. i prefer ibeprofin with my redbull and a strong drink around 5pm. …

    in a household of queer identifying feminist twenty somethings in a heterosexual domestic partnership, i find it really disturbing that i’m plagued with the same weight that mainstream america was plagued with forty and fifty years ago. i’m thankful that i have the good fortune to have a partner that is actively participating in negotiating and unpacking all of this, but i’m amazed that we even need to. we’ve been together for six years and just this year do i actually feel like one day we will reach equanimity.

    thank you, jay, for reiterating to me that the second wave is still relevant today. i often get so sidetracked with other concerns (which are still VERY important to me) … but i sometimes forget the basics (which might indicate why i let five years go by before my partner cleaned his first toilet).

  4. August 11, 2010 at 7:44 am

    My boyfriend does some housework especially when I am gone all day. If we ever decide to marry he told me that he would love to be my house-husband. I said, yea, right and play all of your video games? Pish!

  5. Kaija
    August 11, 2010 at 8:09 am

    Amelia, have you seen these resources? A collection of vintage consumer ads (http://library.duke.edu/digitalcollections/adaccess/) and vintage TV commercials (http://library.duke.edu/digitalcollections/adviews/). I find them alternately horrifying and amusing…

    I don’t know where this “blame the feminists” attitude comes from, but I suspect it’s from those who oppose feminism or those in moral panic looking for someone to blame. Another classic example is that feminists get blamed for the hookup culture or “girls gone wild” behavior…liberation =/= everyone go out and fuck like crazy! Having sex that you really don’t want just because someone told you to is no different than not having sex that you want because someone told you not to. The whole POINT of feminism is that every individual should be free to choose for his or herself without barriers, constraints, or expectations from outside sources…self-determination rather than being shuttled into a role by virtue of gender (or race or ethnicity or whatever).

    I hate housework, always have and always will. It seems so pointless…you do all this work knowing that it’ll just have to be done again in the near future…ugh. I don’t need feminism or any other agency to tell me that I REALLY don’t want to clean up after other people.

  6. August 11, 2010 at 10:05 am

    I don’t need Gloria Steinem or even Andrea Dworkin to tell me that housework and tidying up is fucking pointless and mind-numbing. I figured that out all on my own.

  7. Randomosity
    August 11, 2010 at 10:41 am

    Another thing that bugs me is: “I did (pick a chore) for you.”

    Lose the “for you”. You did it, and no you don’t get a cookie. Doing these chores is everyone’s job, not just mine, even though I’m the one getting negatively judged for having less than Good Housekeeping standards.

    As a kid, mowing the lawn and shoveling the driveway was paid as a bonus to your allowance. Helping with housework was not. Guess which jobs I volunteered for.

  8. anna
    August 11, 2010 at 10:48 am

    The problem is that most people still see housework and childcare as womens work. If the house is dirty or the children have problems, she still faces the blame and scorn. So he can sit on his ass and say Your standards are so much higher than mine, I think the house and children are fine, if you want things even better you should do the work. He doesn’t have to lift a finger because nobody blames him for the mess, and if he helps in the slightest he expects gushing praise and probably a blowjob for the trouble.

  9. Jim
    August 11, 2010 at 11:25 am

    “I said, yea, right and play all of your video games? Pish! Heather Aurelia”

    Busted! Of course that is the inverse of the old “sit home and eat bon-bons all day in front of the TV” jibe.

    “I have quite an interest in vintage advertisements precisely because they offer such an interesting commentary on society of the times. ”

    Yes and generally they are based on very solid research too, since products sold or failed to sell on the strength of these advertsiments. Big money was involved. So you can usually exptrapolate pretty confidently from the advertizing climate as to what is going on in the general culture.

  10. Alara Rogers
    August 11, 2010 at 11:48 am

    Another thing that bugs me is: “I did (pick a chore) for you.”

    Lose the “for you”. You did it, and no you don’t get a cookie. Doing these chores is everyone’s job, not just mine, even though I’m the one getting negatively judged for having less than Good Housekeeping standards.

    Oh my fucking God so much yes.

    Just two days ago, my husband emptied the dishwasher and then said something to the effect of, “Look, I emptied the dishwasher for you!” I knew he was fishing for a compliment and thanks, and I knew that if I didn’t give him something he would most likely not empty the dishwasher again anytime soon, so I said, “Cool.” He said, “Well, some people might have said thank you.” I started to explain why I was not going to say thank you, and he laughed it off and said it was fine… but, of course, it’s not fine, because he’s secretly resentful that I didn’t say “thank you” (or else he wouldn’t have brought it up) and I am (not so secretly — except that he interrupted me before I could explain, so I strongly suspect he pretends he doesn’t know) resentful that he would even ask to be thanked.

    To be fair, he thanks me for things he perceives as my job — thanks me for making dinner, for instance — and I have a very, very hard time thanking anyone for anything unless it’s a favor I specifically asked for. So from his perspective, the problem is I never say thank you. From my perspective, the problem is that he doesn’t just expect to be thanked for doing a job we share, or even a job that’s his — I get slightly annoyed when he wants thanks for things like fixing a problem with the computer network, but it’s nowhere *near* as mad as I get when he uses the construction “I did {this chore} for you”. He doesn’t need clean dishes to eat off! He doesn’t need them put away where he can find them! He’s just magnanimously doing the chore for *me* because *I* need those things!

    And it would also be different if he did the jobs in question every day, or as often as I do, or even close to as often as I do. Then, at least, it would come across the same way as his soliciting thanks for computer work, or thanks for landing a big client, or other things that are “his job” — then I’d feel like the “for you” construction was more about “Everything I accomplish in my life I do for you because I love you” (the way my son declares that every picture he draws is for me), which is romantic and sappy and therefore annoying to me but at *least* expresses love and does not express inequality, rather than “I do your job for you as a favor.” But when he does it approximately three times a year and solicits a cookie for it when he does it, the meaning couldn’t be clearer: “I did this great favor for you! Thank me!” And, uh… thanks for not once again dumping all the shit work on me? Thanks for remembering that you married an equal, not a servant? Thanks for very very briefly being the guy I met and fell in love with before reverting back to the entitled dude you’ve become? While I’m at it, do you want me to thank you for not hitting me, not stealing all the money I put in the bank and running off, and not secretly photographing me nude and posting it to the Internet? Because you could start thanking me for not divorcing your ass, if you want to go there. I mean, at what point is behavior supposed to be the normal baseline that it’s insulting to be thanked for because it implies that you were expected to do something worse than you did?

    There are a lot of things I love about that guy, but if I ever do divorce him it will be over shit like this.

  11. norbizness
    August 11, 2010 at 11:53 am

    Gee, Your Forehead Smells Terrific!

  12. mightydoll
    August 11, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    Alara – your anger resonates with me, in regards to my ex (who also, as stated by someone up thread wanted blow jobs in exchange for housework) but it DOES remind me, as well, of something I DO do. I’ll occasionally look at my partner and tell him he should love me more because I didn’t just (insert mischievous practical joke here) because I love him, and that made me giggle.

  13. naomi
    August 11, 2010 at 11:21 pm

    An interesting exercise is to track your hours throughout the day. I’ve been feeling like I spend an awful lot of time on house and family responsibilities, so I fired up my spreadsheet. That particular day I worked 8.0 hours at my job, 8.7 hours at childcare/housework/planning, and two more hours doing both at the same time. Second shift? Second, third, fourth….

    I don’t know if presenting this data to my DH will help, but at least I know I’m not imagining my overwhelming schedule. I guess that’s something.

  14. Alara Rogers
    August 12, 2010 at 10:29 am

    Busted! Of course that is the inverse of the old “sit home and eat bon-bons all day in front of the TV” jibe.

    Absolutely… although empirical data tends to back it up.

    There have been studies shown that when women are laid off, their rate of performing household chores goes up (which makes sense; more time to do it.) But when men are laid off, their rate actually goes down! The theory is that they already feel emasculated because our social construction of masculinity says that you’re not a man without a job, so if they take on “women’s work” the feelings of being “unmanned” worsen. It’s also possible that, because of the intense pressure put on men to have jobs, and also the pressure put on men not to show any emotions but excitement, anger, lust, and romantic love toward a woman they’re alone with, men get easily depressed when they lose their jobs and feel worthless, and have no outlet for these emotions, so they don’t do housework because they are depressed (or because they are self-medicating for depression with video games, alcohol, television or other distractions.)

    I don’t know if studies have been done on the performance of voluntary househusbands, though. I would think that if a man agrees that he’s going to stay at home, do the chores, and take care of the kids, not because he was laid off at his job but because he and his wife/female partner have agreed that that’s what’s best for them and their circumstance, that he would be just as good at it as the woman would have been. It’s the involuntary nature of becoming housebound when you had your identity and self-worth tied up in having a job that I think keeps the guys who are laid off from being particularly helpful.

  15. Jim
    August 12, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    “men get easily depressed when they lose their jobs and feel worthless,”

    Yes. Undiagnosed male depression – if you’re not strong and silent, you’re a worthless “whiner” and a “wanker”.
    The whole rest of your comment is right on rtarget.
    This is also one reason for the high early death rate among men who retire, and who knows, maybe even getting divorced – the sense of being out of a job and the resulting worthlessness.

    This is one face of male disposablibilty. I am sure it varies greatly by culture. There will be commenters here who have never seen this because in their family cultures it doesn’t happen. That’s valid. But this is real in our society.

  16. August 12, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    Randomosity: Another thing that bugs me is: “I did (pick a chore) for you.”
    Lose the “for you”. You did it, and no you don’t get a cookie. Doing these chores is everyone’s job, not just mine, even though I’m the one getting negatively judged for having less than Good Housekeeping standards.As a kid, mowing the lawn and shoveling the driveway was paid as a bonus to your allowance. Helping with housework was not. Guess which jobs I volunteered for.  

    There’s an exception to that: if you already have an established and fair division of the labor, and one person does extra on occasion. For instance, I do 99% of the cooking and grocery shopping, 95% of the dishes, 90% of the non-bathroom house cleaning, and 100% of the yard work and general maintenance. My wife does 99% of the laundry and cleans the bathrooms, and handles my appointments and what-not. It seems more than fair: I’m a full-time student and she works full time, so I usually have more time at home than she does.

    So, when I do laundry, I’m doing it FOR HER, so that she doesn’t have to deal with it. When she does the dishes, she’s doing ME a huge favor and it feels like a bit of a treat.

  17. August 12, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    True indeed Jim.

    According to the script those men “failed” to do what they are “supposed to”. Nearly every person in most cultures, because of some characteristic, has some expectation that they are expected to embody, embrace, and fulfiil. Failure to meet this expectation pretty equates to not existing.

  18. Alara Rogers
    August 13, 2010 at 11:57 am

    According to the script those men “failed” to do what they are “supposed to”. Nearly every person in most cultures, because of some characteristic, has some expectation that they are expected to embody, embrace, and fulfiil. Failure to meet this expectation pretty equates to not existing.

    There’s an interesting difference between men and women in this regard.

    Women are expected to do so, so many things, and in fact *no* human can do everything women are expected to do (no superhuman could do them either; some of them are mutally contradictory.) And women will get plenty of shit for what they don’t do. But there’s always a way out for women. There’s always a product someone will sell you that promises to fix your life so you can do everything you’re supposed to, and then you will be perfect. The fact that this never happens doesn’t change the fact that the culture completely embraces the idea that women can fix everything about themselves that doesn’t work.

    Men are held to very few expectations… but when they fail at them they are perceived to be complete failures, worthy only of mockery. There are very, very few problems men have that someone is trying to sell them a product to fix — advertising is trying to work on that, stepping up its game, and for older men at least there are a lot of medication advertisements based on “you have a problem, take this pill and it will fix you”, but in general advertisers seem to try to sell to men by emphasizing how fun or cool the thing they’re selling is, not how it will fix your life. Women are always being given second chances to do it over and this time do it right (although they never can); men don’t get second chances unless they’re strong enough to fight and claw their way into grabbing them.

    Of course, our culture’s notions of what constitutes “failure” for men are ridiculous. Don’t have a job that pays money, don’t have lots of regular sex, and/or don’t conform to rigid gender stereotypes, and you are “not a man”… but kill, rape, beat your wife or kids, do something at your job that harms or kills others, be completely absent from your children’s lives… those things just make you a bad man, they don’t make you *not* a man, and if you are a bad man society will either fall all over itself to make excuses for you (if you’re privileged) or just drop you in an oubliette (if you are not privileged).

    I do really feel that male privilege obscures a lot of ways in which men are seriously harmed by the existing system… but unfortunately, the two groups that are willing to notice consist of men’s rights activists, who observe the ways that the system hurts men and then blame that on *women*, and feminists, whose mandate is to concentrate on fixing women’s problems, so if a way that patriarchy harms men does not actually create a problem for women, feminists are unlikely to address it very strongly.

    What I feel that men need is a true counterpart to the feminist movement — a movement that recognizes that the patriarchal society we live in is inherently harmful to the majority of men, that men derive privilege from this system but that it comes at a high price, and that the main way to free men from the burdens society places them under is to work toward genuinely equalizing men and women, without losing sight of the fact that in most dimensions this will necessitate men giving up power. Also, recognizing that the binary dynamic of most anti-oppression movements where the group identity is primarily oppressed by a different group does not *work* for a men’s movement, because the binary opposite of men is the group being oppressed by men, not the oppressors of men; to free themselves, men need to dismantle a system, and most of the power in that system is held by men. A *lot* of patriarchy is men oppressing men, and women’s opinions are considered not to count.

  19. August 13, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    Alara:
    There are very, very few problems men have that someone is trying to sell them a product to fix — advertising is trying to work on that…
    Because of the way the script is setup. The reason its been that like for a long time is because while women/girls are being told they must smell like flowers and fruit (or something associated with cleanliness) in order to matter men/boys are being told that they must smell like gun power and must (or something associated with being dirty) in order to matter. And its not helping that the advertising that is stepping up its game is pretty much swinging the pendulum in the other direction by telling men/boys that the only way for women/girls to like them is to smell like….

    I do really feel that male privilege obscures a lot of ways in which men are seriously harmed by the existing system…
    I don’t think its the male privilege itself that obsucures the conversation on damage but rather the conversation about male privilege that does it. People (or at least the two groups you mention) are either so concentrating on trying to prove it doesn’t exist (some MRAs) they don’t really think about the damages the system does to men or they are so concentrating on the benefits of male privilege (some feminists) they pretend the damage isn’t happening.

    …to free themselves, men need to dismantle a system, and most of the power in that system is held by men.
    I think what will count a lot towards that goal is for people to realize that most of the power in that system is held by some men. There are men out there that want to help themselves but it doesn’t help when they are found guilty by gender association because they share gender with those at the top.

  20. Sheelzebub
    August 13, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    Oh, FFS. Look, I’m White, and I don’t get all offended when someone points out that I have racial privilege. I don’t try to blur the issue by saying that some white people have power, but not all and that you’re finding me guilty because I’m white. Same goes for sexism.

    Men have privilege. Yes, some men are more powerful than other men but it does not negate the fact that culturally, economically, and socially, men are have more power, more credibility, and more wealth than women. Men benefit from the sexual double standard. Men benefit from rape culture. Men benefit from the double-standards around housework and working outside of the home. Being uncomfortable with a few commercials ain’t the same when you have that kind of privilege. It just isn’t. You can split hairs all you goddamn well want to but as a group, men have privilege.

  21. August 13, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Men have privilege. Yes, some men are more powerful than other men but it does not negate the fact that culturally, economically, and socially, men are have more power, more credibility, and more wealth than women. Men benefit from the sexual double standard. Men benefit from rape culture. Men benefit from the double-standards around housework and working outside of the home. Being uncomfortable with a few commercials ain’t the same when you have that kind of privilege. It just isn’t. You can split hairs all you goddamn well want to but as a group, men have privilege.

    And this kinda leads to what I was saying here (“they are so concentrating on the benefits of male privilege (some feminists) they pretend the damage isn’t happening.
    “). It is nice that you recognize all those male privieleges while acting like “getting uncomfortable with a few commercials” is represents the damages.

    I’m not splitting hairs but you’re the one that’s trying to throw the baby out with the bath water by pretending that men have nothing but privilege going for them.

    Look, I’m White, and I don’t get all offended when someone points out that I have racial privilege. I don’t try to blur the issue by saying that some white people have power, but not all and that you’re finding me guilty because I’m white.
    Good that you don’t and at the same time I also don’t like the idea of trying paint up your entire existence around the white privileges you have. Yeah you benefit from some white privielges but there’s more to you than that just like there’s more to me than my male privileges.

  22. Alara Rogers
    August 13, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    Men benefit from rape culture.

    Absolutely agreed that men have privilege, in general, and men who are less powerful than other men do not *lack* male privilege, they just lack status privilege vis-a-vis other men. And your other examples of benefits that men derive from male privilege whether they exercise those benefits or not is spot-on.

    But I have a hard time seeing how all men benefit from rape culture. *Rapists* benefit from rape culture, a lot, but as nearly as I can see, the primary effect of rape culture on non-rapist men is that women are more likely to fear them, women are more likely to be wary of them, women are less likely to choose to have casual sex with them, and women are less likely to want to talk to them or interact with them on an initial encounter. None of this begins to approach the damage caused to women by rape culture, but it’s not a benefit, either.

    There’s also the emotional effect of having loved ones raped, which, again, is not *nearly* as bad as being raped or living in fear of being raped, but is still harmful — and the fact that rape culture is often about raping women that “belong” to other men in order to hurt the *men* demonstrates that this aspect of rape culture is a feature, not a bug. Rape culture is designed to cause harm to men who care about women. Not nearly as much harm as the harm it does to the *women*, but harm nonetheless.

    What benefits were you envisioning that men as a whole get out of rape culture, rather than benefits that *rapist* men specifically derive?

  23. Q Grrl
    August 13, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    “What benefits were you envisioning that men as a whole get out of rape culture, rather than benefits that *rapist* men specifically derive?” Alara Rogers

    Access to public space. Oh, and the defining of “public”.

  24. Sheelzebub
    August 13, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    @Alara: But I have a hard time seeing how all men benefit from rape culture.

    Well, let’s see. Women’s movement is restricted. Our actions are restricted. We are damned if we do and damned if we don’t. If we treat men with suspicion, we are uptight. If we don’t and something happens to us, we showed bad judgment. Whereas men can move freeley about, get terribly offended when we don’t see how nice and non-rapey they are, and wag their fingers as they lecture us about our terrible judgment if we are raped.

    In fact, mention rape culture when men complain that women don’t trust them, and you don’t hear them saying “Yeah, you’re right, we have to fight that.” No. All too often, it’s about them and their feelings and how these women are too uptight. It’s about women having the gall to draw boundaries. Again, privilege–we aren’t supposed to do that.

    Rape culture propagates the myth that rapists are creepy dudes hiding in the bushes, not your friend, boyfriend, husband, or coworker. So “nice guys” don’t rape, and since Joe/Nigel/Steve is a nice guy, he couldn’t have raped you, you see. And it bleeds over into other areas: so-and-so is a “nice” guy and didn’t mean it when he groped you, harassed you, or was so inappropriate. And besides which, you’re just uptight! And are probably reading too much into it. Or were leading him on. Or something. Because women aren’t allowed to have boundaries.

    Even if a man doesn’t rape (and the vast majority of men don’t)–the bystander effect is still in play. His friends would never do that. She’s probably lying. And so even if he would never rape, he has the freedom to do just that and get away with it. He can laugh along if his friend is being inappropriate, or threatening, or creepy. And it’s just fine because she’s being hypersensitive and his friend is really a nice guy deep down. And if he calls his friend on it, instead of people regarding it as something that should be par for the course, we are to give him cookies because dammit, he did us a favor.

    @Danny: Good that you don’t and at the same time I also don’t like the idea of trying paint up your entire existence around the white privileges you have.

    I’m not painting up my “entire existence around the white privileges” I have. I am pointing out that the discomfort someone with power feels is nothing compared to lack of privilege. I wouldn’t go into a WOC’s blog and go on and on about how racism hurts Whites too and what about the Whites and BTW you’re judging me based on mean white people who have more power than me. Yet you feel free to do this in a feminist space. And you know, I am really tired of the what about the menz complaint.

    I’m not summing you up as a person, I’m pointing out that as a man, you have male privilege (not “some” men, men have male privilege), and that you’ve got some damn gall coming into a space of people who get the short end of that particular stick and try to minimize that fact. Here’s a newsflash: the playing field ain’t level when it comes to sexism. So you’ll just have to forgive me if I look askance at your assertion that only some men have privilege and that all men are unjustly grouped with this supposedly small group of privileged men.

  25. August 13, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    I am pointing out that the discomfort someone with power feels is nothing compared to lack of privilege.
    So just so we’re clear. You’re the one trying to make comparisons. I never tried to say who had it worse or who was better off then who.

    So you’ll just have to forgive me if I look askance at your assertion that only some men have privilege and that all men are unjustly grouped with this supposedly small group of privileged men.
    No need to ask for forgiveness. You just like trying to speak on the lives of all men and don’t like the idea that you don’t have it all figured out.

  26. Sheelzebub
    August 13, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    You’re the one trying to make comparisons. I never tried to say who had it worse or who was better off then who.

    Just so we’re clear–you were trying to derail the conversation and dismiss male privilege when you said:

    I think what will count a lot towards that goal is for people to realize that most of the power in that system is held by some men. There are men out there that want to help themselves but it doesn’t help when they are found guilty by gender association because they share gender with those at the top.

    Indeed! Only some men have power, and it’s cruel to point out that men as a group have privilege because it hurts men who want to help themselves.

    But thanks, Danny, for making it about the menz. We never get that. Ever.

  27. August 13, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    Funny that you’re the only going to lengths with a derailment that I supposedly caused.

    Alara:
    What I feel that men need is a true counterpart to the feminist movement — a movement that recognizes that the patriarchal society we live in is inherently harmful to the majority of men…
    Sounds like a good idea.

  28. Q Grrl
    August 13, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    “I never tried to say who had it worse or who was better off then who.”

    Sure you did. Right there when you said that it was unfair to make global/class statements about men based on our current gendered social hierarchy. You wanted to make it very clear that only *some* men (and which ones would they be, Danny?) benefit from sexism. You don’t like that whole guilt by association thing. Which is nice. Really. We all want our dream worlds where we don’t have to struggle with social issues larger than black socks with shorts or the fact that *some* people really *do* like Snuggies.

    What I would suggest, though, if you are earnest about wanting to dismantle yourself of the unearned male privilege you carry, is for you to read some feminist theory (say the past 40 years worth). Then you might be able to carry on a legitimate debate about how to dismantle privilege, rather than dribbling on about how privilege is selective and obvious and how it’s totes unfair for women to suggest that men, even the nice men, have social, economic, political, and religious privilege over women.

    [I’ll lob you an easy ball though — you can even do this kind of homework over the weekend. Why don’t you go around the town you are living in and check out how easy it is to buy condoms. You could also check out affordability of condoms, selection of condoms, hours of the day when your access to condoms is restricted by business needs, etc. Then you can compare the relative ease of procuring male contraceptives to the current political backlash against women’s access to birth control. If you can’t spot the privilege during your escapades, your lot in life is truly hopeless.]

  29. Sheelzebub
    August 13, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    Funny that you’re the only going to lengths with a derailment that I supposedly caused.

    No, I pointed out that your comment about me was disingenuous. I am deeply touched, however, that a man who wrote a long screed about the unjust treatment of men is now so concerned about derailing on a feminist blog.

    My point still stands–you were dismissing the privilege that men as a group have over women by asserting that only “some” men have it and that it’s not fair to peg all men that way. You were trying to hand-wave it way. Don’t come into a feminist space and lecture us about how mean we are for not thinking about the menz. It’s been done, oh, about a hundred times, and it pretty much goes over like a fart in a spacesuit every time, mainly because it comes off as entitled and dismissive.

  30. Jim
    August 13, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    See Sheezlbub, this is exactly what Danny means when he says you are spaeking about men’s lives without knowing what you are talking about:

    “Well, let’s see. Women’s movement is restricted. Our actions are restricted.”

    “We are damned if we do and damned if we don’t. ”

    A “real man” kniows how to talk to women; don’t you know how to talk to women? When are you going to learn to respect women? Bck off, asshole. What’s a matter; you act like you’re afraid. How come you can’t tell what I want?

    “If we treat men with suspicion, we are uptight.”

    If we treat women with suspicion we are misgynist losers. If we don’t and something happens to us, we showed bad judgment.

    Whereas if we (they in this case – poor, pathetic straight boys who have to play this shit) fail to treat women with suspicion, they end up hanged, or attacked by Neanderthal White Knights who think it’s men’s job to protect women, or in jail for 27 fucking years for no reason over the objections of the actual rape victim: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/13/us/13exonerate.html?_r=2&pagewanted=1&hp.

    Come and get your male privilege! And talk about being raped a second time – that poor women in the last story, they practically waterboarded her to get a conviction on that guy. So no, it is not about blaming women.

    “Whereas men can move freeley about, ”

    The murder and asault statistics make a joke of that assertion. Care to tell me how the death rates for urban young women stack up against those for urban young men? You can’t? Don’t know what I’m talking about? Maybe you just never see it. How many times did you get your ass kicked in 8th grade? With girls cheering on. Privilege will blind you like that.

    It has been dogma for years that a man can’t speak to female experience. And it’s basic common sense. So the same is true for women and men’s experience. And I have heard all the explanations about how women know men as the oppressed knows the oppressor. If children are an oppressed class, and I hope you agree, then boys know women through and through.
    But to know someones’ experience, you have to at least see it. That is hardly true for the great majority of men. Or women, for that matter.

    “Only some men have power, ”
    Plainly you’ve never been in an American school.

    “and it’s cruel to point out that men as a group have privilege because it hurts men who want to help themselves. ”

    There you go mind-reading on men like you know what they’re thinking. Have you ever been lied about? Did you think it was cruel? You are telling a black man, Danny, that he has power becue he has power because he is a man, when the historical fact is that black men have been targeted in this country for torture and terrorism, and now for disproportionate incarceration, precisely because they were men – it’s not like Mayella accused a black woman. So don’t try to pass this off like soem kind of intersectionality – he is targeted as a man. A man. How’s that for some privilege?

  31. Jim
    August 13, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    “But thanks, Danny, for making it about the menz. We never get that. Ever. ”

    Well there you’re right Sheezlebub./ what we usually get are pieces about how women are raped in Congo (Good – we should hear about that) and silence about all the men killed, about sexual harrassment of women at work (Good that is a huge issue) and silence about the overwhlemingly male problem of worksite injury and DEATH, far in excess of anything suffered by women. So please don’t tell me about how it’s always about the men. It’s starts to sound like a religious dogma instead of anything base on facts.

  32. Jay
    August 13, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    OK, that’s enough. Sorry, I’ve been too busy for the past few days to be involved in this thread. Thanks to Sheelzbub and Qgrrl for speaking in.

    This thread is not the place to question the existence of male privilege nor the impact of misogyny and sexism. Comments that do either will be blocked or deleted if they get through, and so will any comments suggesting that I am limited anyone’s freedom of speech.

    For the record, the fact that male privilege exists and attaches to all men does not erase the impact of racism, classism, elitism and the rest of the components of the kyriarchy. The kyriarchy fucks with us all, and part of the way that happens is that we end up in arguments like this one. If it’s important to you all to have this argument, that’s OK with me, but please go argue it somewhere else.

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