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63 Responses

  1. Ama
    Ama August 20, 2010 at 9:13 am |

    What do you think Mike’s definition of a feminist is?

  2. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable August 20, 2010 at 9:14 am |

    I’m sorry. I read the original post re: Mike and wish that it had ended better for you. I hope he’s not in the group at all, because it’s pretty clear that he’s more interested in the politics than what the group actually stands for.

    I hope your Take Back the Night went well.

    Hugs.

  3. CJ
    CJ August 20, 2010 at 9:17 am |

    Something I find useful (although, usually it’s my own behaviour I reserve this reminder for) in such circumstances is that, whatever label someone files themselves under, it doesn’t preclude them also being a generally useless and counter-productive asshole. Dude could call himself a flying pig, but he still wouldn’t be a hazard to aircraft, yanno?

  4. Astrid
    Astrid August 20, 2010 at 9:25 am |

    Unfortunately, wannabe-allies don’t always recognize their position, which is that, as privileged people, they should center the marginalized group they aim to help, rather than exploiting it for their own self-righteousness.

  5. Christina
    Christina August 20, 2010 at 9:50 am |

    I sympathize! I’ve been in a similar situation– where a guy who held very progressive views and was even knowledgable about some feminist history– he would take over and dominate conversations, he would say outrageous, often sexist, things to deliberately bait me and laugh when I tried to explain myself.

    So I was always frustrated and left wondering– is there anything I (or anyone) can do to get this person to understand that he’s just pushing his privilege around all the time, that he’s not really acting like a feminist, rather, a jerk.

    It’s tough dealing with the people, I hope you figure it out and keep doing what you’re doing. Best of luck!

  6. abby_wan_kenobi
    abby_wan_kenobi August 20, 2010 at 9:52 am |

    Ugh. I wonder how much “Mike” really thought he was helping the group, being a good citizen and how much he believed that he knew better than everyone else in the room. He probably felt it was his responsibility to take things into his own hands, to guide this group of hapless women who aren’t smart enough to help themselves. I wonder if he noticed that thinking he knew better was exactly the thing feminists fight against. Probably not.

    I don’t really know how to open someone’s eyes to this, especially when that person already has taken issue with you personally. It is a really hard thing to fight. “I know you’re trying to help, but the way you’re helping is counter to our cause. You’re perpetuating the problem while trying to solve it. We appreciate your help but have to insist you sit in the back seat and don’t even think about driving. I really hope you understand. If you truly support us, you will be happy to contribute your labor instead of your leadership.”

    Tough sell for a take charge person who really feels himself a philanthropist, a good person doing the right thing.

  7. Christina
    Christina August 20, 2010 at 9:56 am |

    Oh crap! I meant “it’s tough dealing with these people.”

  8. abby jean
    abby jean August 20, 2010 at 9:58 am |

    this makes me think about bullying in social justice communities, and how difficult it can be to deal with that bullying when it’s framed in the language and concepts of social justice. and how good these bullies can be about using the values and dynamics of the social justice community to advance their bullying.

    i’m sorry this is happening and wish you luck in resolving it quickly and peacefully.

  9. ScaryJoann
    ScaryJoann August 20, 2010 at 10:00 am |

    Brilliantly put Astrid.
    I have encountered this problem in the nerd community fairly often. I can handle it using sarcasm and humor, but it’s a lot harder to do that when you’re in a position of leadership. It makes me wonder what he expects from the group and what he thinks his place in it should be. It’s pretty clear, but asking him that might help him set his ego aside for a moment. Maybe.
    As someone in a leadership position, he might never ever like you. In which case I advise you to not care. If the group itself becomes uncomfortable with his behavior then you can take action. But if your looking to not have all his blame on you when everyone wants to smash him in the head, don’t get concerned until you absolutely have to.

  10. Kristin
    Kristin August 20, 2010 at 10:01 am |

    If this guy is still causing trouble, I’d suggest getting a large number of people to call him out. You shouldn’t have to go through it alone. It might also help to find and talk to any friends of his – either they’ll agree with you and call him out themselves, or else there’s a group of people who are talking to each other and sharing their sexist views, in which case it might be helpful for a group of feminists to confront them as a group. Sorry you have to deal with this!

  11. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable August 20, 2010 at 10:10 am |

    Amelia, also, if I recall, there are other guys in this group right? And you had them sit down with him to talk about the whole privilege thing? It makes me sad that it didn’t work.

  12. shah8
    shah8 August 20, 2010 at 10:20 am |

    http://www.racialicious.com/2010/07/27/looking-at-why-misogynists-make-great-informants/

    The link above is relevant, I think. In general though, I stay the heck out of threads/talks like these. I always need more information than presented to make any sort of judgement/statement, so I’m just gonna listen.

  13. Gretel
    Gretel August 20, 2010 at 11:05 am |

    My ex-boyfriend goes to your school, too?

  14. Comrade Kevin
    Comrade Kevin August 20, 2010 at 11:07 am |

    People like this always are found, regardless of the cause. When they tried to hijack a particular site for Quaker bloggers, they were given warnings and then banned. Some people just want to cause problems and stir things up for no good end.

    Ideally, what should matter in this case is whether one’s message comes from the Spirit. In a Feminist setting, the only thing that should matter is if what we say comes from deep within us. There will always be those who want to show us the supposed errors of our ways without recognizing how indicative they are of the problem. Some people talk to facilitate discussion and some talk only to be heard.

  15. oldlady
    oldlady August 20, 2010 at 11:12 am |

    Sarah Palin also labels herself a feminist–and her “Mama Grizzlies” are feminists also. Yet they are all against abortion and gay rights, among other things. Betty Friedan is turning ovwer in her grave. So is Mary Wollstonecraft.

  16. Erin
    Erin August 20, 2010 at 11:22 am |

    @ oldlady

    I don’t know if Friedan would be that bothered by Palin’s “feminism”. At least not when it came to gay rights. She was not good on those issues.

  17. oldlady
    oldlady August 20, 2010 at 12:11 pm |

    Well, you’re right, Erin, that Friedan wasn’t good on more than a few issues, but I think she’d be appalled by Sarah Palin. Palin’s ignorance alone would horrify her.

  18. BKMama
    BKMama August 20, 2010 at 12:36 pm |

    Amelia, I am so glad you posted, and I am so grateful for all the comments. I’ve been dealing with a similar situation involving my BIL’s boyfriend, The Professor. He thinks because he is gay (and therefore already in a non-privileged group) and has studied sociology and the like at the post-graduate level for years and years and has read, like, every single book on feminist theory, that he somehow KNOWS better than I do about…well, everything. But especially feminism. And ever since I had a baby nearly two years ago he has treated me like I have somehow betrayed “the cause” by not only spawning (gasp!), but also – brace yourselves – by choosing to stay home with said spawn (horror! pearl clutch!). Forget about what makes me feel happy or fulfilled – I am a bad feminist because I married a man and had a baby and don’t go to my crappy, underpaid office job anymore. (And also I shave my legs and sometimes wear skirts and/or makeup. Call the feminist police!)

    But it’s been hard for me to articulate how I feel and how to respond to him when all he does is throw analytical feminist critique at me. And when I do manage to call him out on his snide attitude and remind him that I am a happy woman who happily lives with her life choices, he then fights dirty and criticizes my actual parenting. (Actual quote in reference to my child: “[I]t sounds like this little cheese dumpling is spoiled!”)

    I don’t have any real advice to give here, just wanted to share my own woes with the psuedo-feminists, and to thank you all for your words of support. I’m packing them all into my mental arsenal for future use against The Professor.

  19. Heather Aurelia
    Heather Aurelia August 20, 2010 at 12:39 pm |

    It sucks that you and Mike have a misunderstanding, let’s hope he doesn’t make things worse in the group or try to become the leader himself. I would be hurt, too if that happened to me.
    *hugs*

  20. edgy1004
    edgy1004 August 20, 2010 at 12:53 pm |

    This is really interesting. Do you know why this guy wants to be involved? You said that he shared assault stories that weren’t his to share, but was it because these were click moments for him or anything. Do you believe that he is trying to work against the movement but infiltrating it? I would second PrettyAmiable, on the getting other guys to talk to him. If he really is committed to ending gender violence (either women or LGBTQ) and he is just doing a really shitty job of helping then maybe he can be brought around. I really like to believe the best in people so I hope you don’t just have to banish him from the organization.

  21. Vail
    Vail August 20, 2010 at 1:08 pm |

    This reminds me of an Onion spoof… Where a guy takes over a woman’s movement because he could do it better or something like that. Maybe you should mail it to this “Mike” guy. And if that doesn’t help, get out the “clue-by-four.”

  22. a lawyer
    a lawyer August 20, 2010 at 1:44 pm |

    I thought of that Onion article too:

    Man Finally Put in Charge of Struggling Feminist Movement.

  23. Nahida
    Nahida August 20, 2010 at 1:51 pm |

    This reminded me of a guy I knew who was pro-choice–but he was pro-choice because he didn’t want to have to deal with the kid or the consequences. I’d like to say least HE came right out and said it, but annoying is annoying.

  24. Kyra
    Kyra August 20, 2010 at 2:12 pm |

    He is narcissistic and seems to be wearing identities like other people wear jewelry—as personal adornment. He sounds like he is into feminism solely as a vehicle for other people to listen to him—he thinks he loves being a feminist when really he loves being an expert.

    He is also callous, thoughtless, boundary-challenging, controlling, aggressive, hostile to any authority that isn’t him, careless of the consequences anybody else might suffer, dishonest, and a mansplainer.

    And he’s reminding me of a particular obnoxious form of charitable giving, where the gift is negligible or counterproductive or insulting and the point of giving it is to say something like “look how wonderful and generous and pure-hearted I am, to have shared the fruits of my civilization with the backwards primitives who don’t have shoes or clothes or Jesus.”

    Or possibly the pissy restaurant customer who is rude, demanding, never satisfied, and leaves an invitation to her church’s services instead of a tip.

    Best of luck in getting rid of him.

  25. Jay
    Jay August 20, 2010 at 2:57 pm |

    I completely agree with Kyra about him being narcissistic. He sure seems to relish telling women how to run a feminist organization. Wow. What an amazing coincidence that he prefers the loud, public (and yes, probably more confrontational) forms of activism.
    To some privileged males, philanthropy is solely and obviously their work towards erasing privilege & blame. The enormous cost of allowing a person like this in your organization is never worth the work they’re doing. This is the kind of person who manages to take more than they give even when they seem to be volunteering to help.
    Keep in mind that when a privileged male offers to help, it will sometimes come at a great cost. And by the way, you’re not the one he’s trying to help.
    Allowing jerks like this to help you can cost you your dignity….see, now you’re expected to come to his defense the next time he is accused of being or acting misogynist. Philanthropy doesn’t cost a thing, my ass.
    This boy needs a big cookie, and he expects your organization to provide it. This is not healthy for your group. Please find a way to get rid of him.

  26. Lance
    Lance August 20, 2010 at 3:08 pm |

    As a man who identifies as feminist stories like this just give me that clenched-teeth, wanting-to-look-away, “aww damnit” feeling. Sorry you’re having to go through this.

  27. Frowner
    Frowner August 20, 2010 at 3:25 pm |

    Hi there! My collective had a problem with a fellow like this–he refused to follow group decisions, sent out a bunch of really inappropriate material against the wishes of the group and pulled the old “you’re just a bunch of liberals” (as opposed to radicals) when people criticized him. It was pretty unpleasant and even when I knew he was wrong I still felt a lot of self-doubt. We ended up asking him to leave after he repeatedly broke various group policies and did not stop when requested.

    I hope it doesn’t sound too jackass to describe what the collective did after we asked him to leave–it might not suit your group at all. But FTR, here’s what we did:

    We sat down and reviewed our mission statement and other group goals and policies. We decided that to be effective we had to have some political conformity–some groups can be extremely politically diverse, have major member autonomy and still get stuff done, but we decided that we needed to make sure everyone in the collective was on the same page politically. In fact, we felt that our “Mike” was a problem precisely because he was not on board with the unspoken anti-oppression and anti-hierarchical goals of the collective.

    So we decided to speak those goals! We revised and clarified our mission statement and decided that all new group members needed to read and accept it. (The mission statement and other policies could be revised by formal discussion–they just weren’t up for debate at every meeting.)

    Formally saying “we’re anti-oppression which means THIS” and “we operate based on consensus which means THAT” and “we run our meetings based on FACILITATION METHOD” gave us some traction when Mikes tried to start stuff.

    We also wrote a policy about how/why someone could be expelled from the group, what an accountability process would look like after a racist, sexist or homophobic incident, and whether someone who was expelled from the group could petition to rejoin and under what circumstances. We decided what behavior was unacceptable in the group, based on behavior that interfered with the group’s functioning, and we decided how the group would ask someone to stop a problematic behavior.

    We discussed how we would run meetings and had facilitation training for many collective members. We tried to start writing clearer agendas and sticking to them. We also started a policy that interpersonal and ideological problems had to be discussed either face to face, in a meeting or via a collective liaison rather than by over the group email list with the goal of minimizing flame wars, gossip and misunderstanding. (Obviously, people email each other off list, talk as friends, meet up at parties, etc etc–but keeping things off the list meant that the group was less full of drama.)

    Something we should have done but didn’t was to build in a yearly re-examination of the mission statement/politics piece. It’s easy for that stuff to ossify and stop serving the needs of the group.

    Overall, our goal was to make it harder to create drama and schism in the collective, so that people who were primarily seeking drama, attention or power would be discouraged from joining the group.

    Then everything was perfect!

    Actually, it wasn’t, not at all. But things got a lot easier when we could specify what our politics meant–ie “anti-oppression means that privileged people don’t center themselves all the time, which means that if you the straight white middle class dude are running your mouth all the time in the meeting you need to stop, and the facilitator will tell you to stop, and if you don’t stop we’ll ask you to leave”.

    We did actually have to ask someone else to leave a few years later and it was a lot easier–even though it wasn’t awesome fun times and no one felt really good about it. The pain came from feeling bad about having to make someone leave, not from fighting in the collective.

  28. Hugo
    Hugo August 20, 2010 at 4:07 pm |

    As a man who’s been at this work a while, I think male feminists/feminist allies need to remember that there are two aspects to our “role” in the movement;

    1. We need to “step up”: be accountable, be vocal in anti-sexism work, particularly with other men, be ready and willing to do the hard work of organizing and the often tedious work of activism.

    2. We need to “step back” whenever we feel tempted to start to take a leadership role, at least not until we are invited to do so. Male privilege means many things, not least the tendency to long to assert authority.

    Step up and step back. If you can’t do both, you need to check your motives.

    And yeah, dude sounds like a first-rate narcissist.

  29. Cooker
    Cooker August 20, 2010 at 4:51 pm |

    Beyond infuriating. I thought it was obnoxious when a guy I was at TBTN with entered the circle of survivors to lament how crappy it is that rapists make it harder for nice guys like him to be immediately trusted by women. This, this though. The cake.

  30. matlun
    matlun August 20, 2010 at 5:09 pm |

    Mike may well be a feminist. In his own mind, he probably means well, but this is not always enough. This could be true and he could still be jerk that is impossible to have as a productive member of your group.

    If he will not respect the group and work with the rest of you, then you (as a leader) must take action. And if he will not listen to reason, then you must ask him to leave.

    I can not tell you the right course of action to take in your case, but if I were to give you one piece of advice, it would be this:
    It is not always obvious what is the best way to deal with situations like this, but doing nothing is often the worst path to take. Make a decision and act on it.

  31. elmiragultch
    elmiragultch August 20, 2010 at 5:49 pm |

    Hugo, I really like what you said. You’ve reminded me to show more gratitude to our members that have to try harder to be part of the group. I work at a women’s resource center on my campus and we have many great feminist men doing so much good work. I do wonder sometimes if they feel saddened that their motives and values are more thoroughly examined than our female members. I’m so thankful for them.

    Amelia, I hope this gets resolved in a way that is benefitical to the group and its purpose. Maybe it is your leadership system causing this power struggle? What if there wasn’t a prez or vice, etc.? Do you think he would still feel urged to make trouble? Or do you think that your position is helps your credibility? It’s unfortunate when he ignores what you and the group have been trying to tell him. Maybe you should go at this intervention style…

  32. Meg
    Meg August 20, 2010 at 6:23 pm |

    shah8: http://www.racialicious.com/2010/07/27/looking-at-why-misogynists-make-great-informants/The link above is relevant, I think.In general though, I stay the heck out of threads/talks like these.I always need more information than presented to make any sort of judgement/statement, so I’m just gonna listen.  

    I was just about the link to the same article! It’s well-written, insightful, and very relevant to this conversation.

  33. Dominique
    Dominique August 20, 2010 at 9:04 pm |

    A man who wants to be a feminist owes it to himself and to the women he supposedly wishes to honour to shut the fuck up, listen, and learn.

    If he can’t do that, he’s no ally. He’s a mansplainer pure and simple. You have my encouragement to tell him as much.

  34. karak
    karak August 20, 2010 at 9:30 pm |

    You know, he’s more than free to find another group, organize his people, and send out his own flyers without sticking you and your group’s name in the middle of it. And feel free to tell that to him. If he’s such a “great feminist” he should be thrilled to do these things. I, for one, believe that two feminist campus groups with different perspectives would be AWESOME and, like, SUPER FEMINIST.

    And then he could get the fuck out of your face. He doesn’t have the power to revoke your feminist identity.

  35. Hugo
    Hugo August 21, 2010 at 12:13 am |

    Amelia, I think that’s a reminder to me to write a short post in which I’m explicit about Step Up, Step Back and what that looks like. (Actually, totally don’t know why I haven’t blogged it before. Will be talking about it at a men in anti-sexist activism workshop at NWSA this November…)

  36. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve August 21, 2010 at 12:23 pm |

    Men frequently revert to little boys, no matter how sophisticated their political framework seems to be.

    My guess: this is a case of a little boy pulling the hair of a girl he likes…Mike definitely fancies you. Sorry.

  37. Jesurgislac
    Jesurgislac August 21, 2010 at 2:20 pm |

    Fat Steve: My guess: this is a case of a little boy pulling the hair of a girl he likes…Mike definitely fancies you. Sorry.

    Thanks for mansplaining that.

    I find it really ugly when men (or women) explain harassment and bullying or other obnoxious behavior by a man to a woman (or boy to girl) as “it’s his way of showing he likes you”. No: it’s his way of showing he wants to exert power over you.

    Sometimes the motivation for wanting to exert power may be the twisted, sickening reaction to feeling honest personal/sexual attraction, and the boy or the man is unable to cope with the vulnerability that brings and so takes out his “unable to cope” feeling on the object of his attraction.

    But it seems unlikely in this instance: the boy/man seems to have the very solid motivation of wanting to exert power over the group.

  38. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve August 21, 2010 at 2:32 pm |

    I’m glad to be wrong in this case…he does not sound like someone you want fancying you…could easily turn into stalking with someone so quick to escalate into emotional blackmail.

  39. work in progress...
    work in progress... August 21, 2010 at 4:42 pm |

    Oh well…keep working it until “leader” doesn’t necessarily automatically equate to “gobby little shite that likes to push people around”?

  40. Improbable Joe
    Improbable Joe August 21, 2010 at 4:49 pm |

    It is totally possible that this “Mike” character is absolutely 200% a feminist… and he’s also a gigantic jackhole. Sometimes a person’s behavior can be explained by gender, politics, or other viewpoint issues. Other times, a person can just be an idiot, and if he were a member of a group with a goal completely opposite to feminism he would STILL be the jerk that the group’s leadership would have to struggle against. I’d be willing to bet that there’s a better than 50% chance that he would be this big of a jerk if he joined a local church group or bowling league.

    That doesn’t mean for a minute that anyone should have to tolerate his childish and destructive behavior. Not for a single solitary second.

  41. August
    August August 21, 2010 at 7:37 pm |

    With allies like that, who needs oppressors?

    My opinion? Dump the chump. Make it clear that he’s no longer welcome until he can drop the faux ally bullshit, own his privilege, and actually y’know…listen to and respect women.

    Sorry that you have to deal with this. Fake allies are the worst.

  42. Kyra
    Kyra August 21, 2010 at 10:01 pm |

    “Mike, however, knew none of this before he took issue with the idea of someone who isn’t him being named president (and being elected by the group to that position).”

    I suspect I fixed it for you. He sounds like the type whose opinion of hierarchy is directly related to his position therein. Somebody else being elected president means (he thinks) a) he’s taking orders from (I’m assuming) a woman, and b) everybody else is going to be looking to be taking orders from someone else, so he has to work all the harder to get them to take orders from him.

    Best of luck, regardless.

  43. Thom
    Thom August 22, 2010 at 8:32 am |

    There are men in the feminist movement. But unfortunately, there are far more men who are posers and just claim to be. Any man in the movement knows that we are all on shaky ground, our welcome uncertain, and anyone who acts like “Mike” hurts our efforts to truly help.

    He obviously has no understanding of male privilege. That is one of the first things than any man in the movement has to face, understand and accept. Exploring his privileges and all the ways he was throwing it around would have been enough to show that he was no feminist.

    He obviously has no respect for women having autonomy and decision making authority. Despite paying lip service to being a feminist, He bullied his way in and began giving orders and trying to redefine things to satisfy himself. How can anyone claim to be a feminism without paying any attention to whether or not women are allowed autonomy and decision making authority?

    I am so sorry that there aren’t more men who are feminists. There should be. But unlike “Mike” we know we are there to assist, not lead.

    I am even more sorry that so many of the men who do try to bully their their way into the movement are like this guy, Mike.

    I hope you can get rid of him, hopefully quietly, without him creating fallout for you. Despite him, I hope you can still find and retain the men who want to be part of the feminist movement, learn what feminism really is, and sincerely want to help.

    Good luck to you and your organization!

  44. factcheckme
    factcheckme August 22, 2010 at 10:07 am |

    sorry, but you are going to have this problem constantly, and consistently be wasting your time with aggressive, entitled men and mansplanations, as long as you let men into womens and feminist spaces. full stop. there is no remedy for this problem, except to not allow them access. and unfortunately, theres really no way to limit membership and privatize groups when you are in a public school setting, even when its to deny men access to womens spaces DUE TO WOMEN NEEDING PRIVATE WOMEN-ONLY SPACE, DUE TO AGGRESSIVE, ENTITLED MEN.

    the only solution is going to be to take the group off-campus, and to make a hardline decision not to allow men. again, i am sorry about this, and its going to piss a lot of people off, and trigger even more mansplanations. i anticipate being mansplained here, in fact, just for mentioning it. but its the truth. you are completely, and totally wasting your time, and time is something that most women simply cannot afford to waste.

    wasting our time is also an intentional act of sabatoge, deliberately deployed my men, who will only benefit from it.

  45. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve August 22, 2010 at 10:52 am |

    factcheckme: sorry, but you are going to have this problem constantly, and consistently be wasting your time with aggressive, entitled men and mansplanations, as long as you let men into womens and feminist spaces.full stop.there is no remedy for this problem, except to not allow them access.and unfortunately, theres really no way to limit membership and privatize groups when you are in a public school setting, even when its to deny men access to womens spaces DUE TO WOMEN NEEDING PRIVATE WOMEN-ONLY SPACE, DUE TO AGGRESSIVE, ENTITLED MEN.the only solution is going to be to take the group off-campus, and to make a hardline decision not to allow men.again, i am sorry about this, and its going to piss a lot of people off, and trigger even more mansplanations.i anticipate being mansplained here, in fact, just for mentioning it.but its the truth.you are completely, and totally wasting your time, and time is something that most women simply cannot afford to waste.wasting our time is also an intentional act of sabatoge, deliberately deployed my men, who will only benefit from it.  

    Absolutely correct. Eliminate the men and you eliminate the problem. I don’t see how any amount of mansplaining could argue against that logic and I’m a man.

  46. Jadey
    Jadey August 22, 2010 at 12:04 pm |

    Fat Steve:
    Absolutely correct. Eliminate the men and you eliminate the problem. I don’t see how any amount of mansplaining could argue against that logic and I’m a man.  

    Uh, no. And no to factcheckme, of course, (x1,000,000 considering she considers trans women to be men and no I’m not linking to anything on her blog – it’s really not hard to find for those inclined to look). Eliminating the men means eliminating the particular issue of dealing with douchy men as members, not with dealing with members bringing male privilege and sexism into the picture. Absolutely there can be value in having women-only spaces and women-only feminist spaces (keeping in mind that neither women-only nor feminist-only spaces are oppression-free spaces, including for women). But considering Amelia didn’t describe the issue as, “All the men who join our org are disruptive entitled douche-y pseudo-allies!” but, “There is this particular dude who joined our org who can’t see past or cope with sexism and male privilege enough to not be an entitled douche-y pseudo-ally” then it seems like there are options before eliminating all male participation.

  47. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve August 22, 2010 at 12:15 pm |

    Jadey:
    Uh, no. And no to factcheckme, of course, (x1,000,000 considering she considers trans women to be men and no I’m not linking to anything on her blog – it’s really not hard to find for those inclined to look).

    I had no idea of her views, and was referring to people who identify as women not just cis-women.

  48. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. August 22, 2010 at 12:35 pm |

    factcheckme: sorry, but you are going to have this problem constantly, and consistently be wasting your time with aggressive, entitled men and mansplanations, as long as you let men into womens and feminist spaces. full stop.

    Right….cause women never act like asshats and do the exact same things Mike does…I’ve run into a lot of women…particularly in the DV space that act just like Mike. Mike’s male privilege is exacerbating the problem and may make him unreachable but setting standards of behavior that requires people to treat each other with respect are beneficial regardless of whether men are included or not.

  49. Hugo
    Hugo August 22, 2010 at 2:28 pm |
  50. Discussion Ground Rules: Making Your Group Space a Safe Space | Change Happens: The SAFER Blog

    […] the weekend I read Amelia’s piece over at Feministe about the challenge of having a member of her campus feminist group dominate discussions, try and […]

  51. codyb
    codyb August 23, 2010 at 9:57 am |

    gah this is frustrating!
    i am a male feminist as well, and i work hard in the different feminist groups that i’ve been a part of at being a non-over-dominating jerk. it’s very difficult for most people to understand that being an ally is not just like being a part of an organization, because an ally needs to consciously check themselves and understand that they are privileged, and that in my case, i need to check my assertiveness and natural inclination to leadership positions at the door because that comfort that i feel in leadership positions comes from my male privilege, and is counterproductive to exercise as much as i am naturally inclined to in the feminist movement.
    this ‘mike’ sounds like a step beyond just being unaware of his privilege though, he just sounds like an asshole. its still frustrating because he’s making it even more difficult for other allies because this self-proclaimed male [anti]feminist will be the memories of him will be the context in which many other feminists meet other male feminists, like myself, meaning that we have to make up for the damage that he has done, not just to the movement overall, but to the image of males as constructive feminists, which can already be a tenuous situation.
    really upsetting to hear this, and i hope you resolve everything well.

  52. Aaron
    Aaron August 23, 2010 at 2:37 pm |

    Be careful not to conflate “people who are frustrating and abrasive” with any ideological categories. Obviously we have no way to collect any independent information about this guy and his behavior other than filtered through your lens. It may be that he’s confrontational and socially inept as a matter of course, rather than towards your group specifically. Being thoughtless about survivors of sexual assault is possibly a symptom of this, though admittedly a particularly egregious one.

    That’s not to say people who act like assholes aren’t, or should be forgiven for their assholery. I just think that whatever the scope of the limits of feminism are, there’s no particular reason for it to exclude “people who are rude as a matter of course.” It would be sort of an arbitrary definition. Feminism should be large enough to contain people who are socially unpleasant.

  53. iiii
    iiii August 23, 2010 at 3:52 pm |

    “I just think that whatever the scope of the limits of feminism are, there’s no particular reason for it to exclude “people who are rude as a matter of course.” It would be sort of an arbitrary definition. Feminism should be large enough to contain people who are socially unpleasant.”

    Feminism may be large enough to encompass this guy, but I do not understand why the members of this one group of feminists should be required to put up with Mike’s disrespect and disruption. Let SASS get on with its mission, and let Mike go find/build his own cadre of red-shirted radicals.

    This isn’t quite on point, but I’m reminded of the Geek Social Fallacies: http://www.plausiblydeniable.com/opinion/gsf.html

  54. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub August 23, 2010 at 4:31 pm |

    Feminism should be large enough to contain people who are socially unpleasant.

    Aaron, as a woman and a feminist, I’ve gotta tell you, I am dog. tired. of accommodating men who come in and try to take over everything. If Mike truly believed in feminism, he’d STFU and listen and take a backseat–he wouldn’t take over and berate a woman for not being feminist or activist enough.

    Feminism is about achieving social and economic justice for women. It’s not about being nice to men who try to take stuff over for whatever reason.

  55. With Friends Like This… « Toy Soldiers

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  56. Madeleine
    Madeleine August 24, 2010 at 2:34 pm |

    I run a queer student organization and we run into a similar problem with our straight allies from time to time. As you said, banning men isn’t the solution, and I really do love and appreciate many of our straight allies and believe that, in their own minds at least, their hearts are in the right place… but god help me, they say terrible things sometimes. Sometimes it’s a matter of misinformation (using transvestite instead of transgender or not understanding what pansexuality or polyamory are or some other terminology based confusion), but we do have our “Mike”s — in this case, generally a straight female ally who treats gay men like playthings. They are the gay community’s loudest cheerleaders, but at the end of the day, they don’t fully comprehend that the gay people they knows are defined in ways beyond their sexuality and are whole, normal human beings.
    People are so reluctant to recognize their own privilege. I think this is the main issue in involving allies in activism work. They have to be willing to concede that they don’t live these realities, they don’t face these issues in a personal way. Their input is valuable, but their voices shouldn’t be the loudest.

  57. On Credibility « femonade
    On Credibility « femonade August 27, 2010 at 7:38 am |

    […] dont.  and the credibility of the speaker isnt seen as an issue, at all.  for example, when i commented on feministe regarding the problem of allowing men access to on-campus feminist groups:  sorry, but you are […]

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