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275 Responses

  1. John
    John October 15, 2012 at 11:34 am |

    In the Guardian recently, there was an article from a young man who had intervened to stop some yobs harassing people on a bus. He was stabbed in the stomach and he nearly died.
    So yes in theory to speaking out, but in practice I suspect quite a few of us would rather keep quiet of the alternative means being murdered.
    Counsel of despair, I suppose. :(

    1. miga
      miga October 15, 2012 at 6:37 pm |

      Yeah, someone threatened to shoot me once for trying to intervene. I wish there was a better support system for people because everyone needs protecting in these situations.

    2. TomSims
      TomSims October 16, 2012 at 3:03 pm |

      I agree completely. And that is why most people are not getting involved. It is after all a police issue.

      1. miga
        miga October 16, 2012 at 10:31 pm |

        Yet, sadly I don’t trust the police to protect me as a woman, a person of color, a person with mental illness, or as a queer person. So we’re kinda stuck here, aren’t we?

  2. EG
    EG October 15, 2012 at 11:53 am |

    Good post. Thanks for writing it.

  3. ollie
    ollie October 15, 2012 at 12:16 pm |

    Great post!

    Glad to see some acknowledgment that it’s not just ‘women’ who are subject to this kind of behaviour. I think often it’s anyone who isn’t in the dominant social group: wherever a person diverges from the dominant model, they are harassed on that basis. So non-white people, gay people, women, trans* people, disabled people etc can all be victims of this kind of treatment because they are oppressed on at least one axis. Being oppressed on more than one axis increases the experience of the behaviour. Perhaps it’s time for some intersectionality when it comes to street harassment.

    1. Alli
      Alli October 15, 2012 at 12:33 pm |

      THANK YOU!!

    2. Niall
      Niall October 15, 2012 at 1:48 pm |

      .So non-white people, gay people, women, trans* people, disabled people etc can all be victims of this kind of treatment because they are oppressed on at least one axis.

      QFT

      I’ve been disabled as well as mentally deviant (or mad) all my life, and I have been experiencing street harassment for as long as I can remember. The harassment has usually come from young men in groups. I’ve been called the “gimp with the limp” and have had things like “handicapped retard” shouted at me by total strangers in public. (I won’t even go into the rude questions I’m asked by random people about my walk or appearance). And even though I’m not gay, queer or trans, I’ve also had homophobic slurs and insults hurled at me. I guess that’s because among those guys affected by the most toxic, hypermasculine socialization, an insult based on sexual orientation is considered the worst.

      Sometimes, it’s even gotten so bad and persistent that out of total frustration and a wish to just be left alone, I’ve shouted at said harassers to fuck off. Other people – friends and family mostly tell me it’s not smart to do that, which I realize it isn’t. But what irritates me even more is when they’ve asked me why I can’t just ignore it and realize that they’re the ones with a problem. Next time I’m asked this, I’ll do what I didn’t have the knowledge to do before; give them a mini crash course on privilege 101 and tell them unless they’ve had to experience this shit on a regular basis all their lives, then they can’t understand what it’s like and therefore drinking a tall glass of STFU would be recommended.

  4. im
    im October 15, 2012 at 12:22 pm |

    Wow. The homophobic harrassment I expected would be a common plague of those who are thought to be gay. I didn’t expect the parallel to heterosexual hrrassment by other gay men. I wonder what’s up with that: are they bi, and treat men in their desire space the way they treat women, or are people just often assholes towards people in their desire space?

    1. Li
      Li October 15, 2012 at 12:47 pm |

      So, this is entirely anecdotal, but my experience of the sexual kind of street harassment is that it’s come overwhelmingly from heterosexual identified or closeted men. It’s also tended to occur in spaces where I couldn’t readily leave, like in taxis from the driver (which is how I know so much about their identities, because when you’re stuck in a small space with someone they get to do the long creepy lead-in conversation).

      1. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune October 15, 2012 at 2:51 pm |

        Jesus fucking wow, Li, that’s really creepy and scary. I’m so sorry you’ve gone through that.

    2. DouglasG
      DouglasG October 15, 2012 at 1:58 pm |

      I’ve had similar experiences to those of Mr Li, and have had some success explaining it as homosexual men harassing gay men, once people allow a distinction.

  5. BHuesca
    BHuesca October 15, 2012 at 12:24 pm |

    Thank you for writing this. As a person from a very rural area, this is an eye-opener.

  6. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve October 15, 2012 at 12:39 pm |

    First, we need to speak up when we witness acts of public harassment and we need to encourage more men to speak out about the issue, including when they’re being harassed. By speaking out and sharing our stories, we can work toward a culture that does not dismiss public harassment as the price you pay for being a woman, or for being perceived as a gay or bisexual man.

    Though I have been strictly hetero my whole life, (not that it’s been prolific hetero-sex, having had sex only one (amazing) woman in the past twenty years,) I have run up against the first form of harassment when I’m out of NYC, and my clothing choice is not seen as ‘manly.’ I’ve also run into the second form when I have allowed gay friends/acquaintances to be more flirtateous than I would with a woman, due to me not wanting to seem uncomfortable with my own sexuality and due to the fact that if a man pats me on the ass or whatever I don’t consider it sexual so it’s easy to brush off. I never considered that I might be validating harassers who might be making gay/bi men feel awful with their behavior. It’s definitely something to think about.

  7. annalouise
    annalouise October 15, 2012 at 12:40 pm |

    Why should women’s conversations about gendered harrassment have to include homophobic abuse that gay/bi men endure? Why is it always the hipster new form of feminism to tell women to stop make sure they talk less about sexism and more about something vaguely similar that affects men?

    Why is this topic presented as a priority on a feminist blog? That’s troublesome to me.

    An why, if we are going to have a conversation about how homophobia and street harassment intersect why not ever mention in the post the way that gay women are caught in a no-win situation in terms of how we try to present ourselves in order to avoid harassment ?

    1. Fat Steve
      Fat Steve October 15, 2012 at 12:48 pm |

      Why should women’s conversations about gendered harrassment have to include homophobic abuse that gay/bi men endure? Why is it always the hipster new form of feminism to tell women to stop make sure they talk less about sexism and more about something vaguely similar that affects men?

      Why is this topic presented as a priority on a feminist blog? That’s troublesome to me.

      An why, if we are going to have a conversation about how homophobia and street harassment intersect why not ever mention in the post the way that gay women are caught in a no-win situation in terms of how we try to present ourselves in order to avoid harassment ?

      Your final paragraph brings up a good point, but do you really need to cast aspersions on the motives of the feminists who run this blog to make it?

    2. Jadey
      Jadey October 15, 2012 at 12:49 pm |

      Why should women’s conversations about gendered harrassment have to include homophobic abuse that gay/bi men endure? Why is it always the hipster new form of feminism to tell women to stop make sure they talk less about sexism and more about something vaguely similar that affects men?

      Or the post clearly stated that this is a conversation that should happen in addition to the one on gendered abuse faced by women, which is itself a conversation that needs to happen more. In fact, that was even the grab-quote on the front page.

      Why is this topic presented as a priority on a feminist blog? That’s troublesome to me.

      Because many of us here care about intersectionality and see it as crucial to a powerful and meaningful approach to social justice. And we are also capable of engaging in multiple conversations at once and realize that talking about this does not actually take away from the conversations we are already having about street harassment of women.

      An why, if we are going to have a conversation about how homophobia and street harassment intersect why not ever mention in the post the way that gay women are caught in a no-win situation in terms of how we try to present ourselves in order to avoid harassment?

      This I agree with, although I don’t think the OP negated it. But as a queer woman I’d really value this discussion happening in the comments. I don’t think the OP or the Feministe mods would object to that at all.

      1. annalouise
        annalouise October 15, 2012 at 1:18 pm |

        It’s a huge misuse of the concept of intersectionality to say that it means feminists should make sure their conversations are more about men.
        It, of course, does take away from the important conversations about street harassment to write a whole post about how some men also experience street harassment. Feministe only has a limited amount of posting space. We only have a limited amount of time in our lives, and I find it annoying as shit that I’m expected to give any of that time to men in a supposedly feminist space. Plus, the post specifically is framed as “women’s sexual harassment gets a lot of attention, but we don’t give enough attention to harassment men face”

        1. Li
          Li October 15, 2012 at 1:27 pm |

          You don’t have to give any of your time to this post, just as you aren’t compelled to give any time to the posts on hats or cute animals.

          And frankly, given street harassment can often cross into sexual violence, I’m really uncomfortable with you characterising queer men’s experiences of street harassment and violence as being unimportant. If you’re seriously uninterested in this topic, I’d suggest you have to option of sitting this one out.

        2. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune October 15, 2012 at 2:33 pm |

          It’s a huge misuse of the concept of intersectionality to say that it means feminists should make sure their conversations are more about men.

          It’s also a huge misunderstanding of the concept of intersectionality to say that it means that feminists should only ever be discussing women. What, like we’re not qualified, able or interested to talk about men? Like we don’t know men, or love men, or parent men, or are the children of men, or give the slightest shit about any man? The kyriarchy fucks everyone over.

          And given that this conversation’s largely about harassment faced by non-straight men, I”m a little uncomfortable, as a non-straight woman, that you think it’s an unimportant discussion to have.

        3. Jadey
          Jadey October 15, 2012 at 3:17 pm |

          I apologize, I was unaware that you were required to read all Feministe posts at gunpoint, that you are disallowed from visiting any other social justice websites, and that your bandwidth caps out after a certain number of posts. That must be really frustrating for you.

          And just so we’re clear, the post is specifically framed as women’s street harassment doesn’t get enough attention:

          while the focus on the gender-based street harassment of women needs even more attention than it’s getting now, the harassment of men is an interrelated issue that deserves some attention, too.

          Emphasis mine.

        4. Jadey
          Jadey October 15, 2012 at 7:28 pm |

          Ergh, I forgot the emphasis doesn’t work in blockquotes the same way. The relevant sentence is: “the gender-based street harassment of women needs even more attention than it’s getting now”.

    3. Li
      Li October 15, 2012 at 12:57 pm |

      I do not think that having one post about queer men’s experience of street harassment is the same thing as prioritising that conversation over women’s experiences of street harassment. If you click on the tag above, you’ll notice that almost all of the articles under it centre women. That’s perfectly appropriate for a feminist site, but it also means that I don’t think that your assertion that Feministe or this post is telling women to talk less about sexism/their own experiences of street harassment is accurate.

      1. Li
        Li October 15, 2012 at 12:59 pm |

        Aaaaaand three people reply at once. Sorry annalouise, I didn’t mean to pile on you.

    4. amblingalong
      amblingalong October 15, 2012 at 1:26 pm |

      Why should women’s conversations about gendered harrassment have to include homophobic abuse that gay/bi men endure? Why is it always the hipster new form of feminism to tell women to stop make sure they talk less about sexism and more about something vaguely similar that affects men?

      Why can’t women just have anything to themselves, you mean? Why can’t we go back to the good ‘ol days where feminism was something for rich white ladies, and we didn’t have to put up with all those women of color and trans* people messing everything up?

      Being a member of one oppressed group doesn’t give you a license to oppress others, and if you propagate a narrative that only women are subject to street harassment, and never address the fact that other groups are as well, that’s exactly what your doing. It’s like if you talk about rape, and frame it in a way where only cis women can be victims and only cis men can be rapists. It’s bullshit.

      Now, if you don’t want to talk about street harassment at all, I mean, go ahead- be a hat blog- but if you’re going to talk about an issue you don’t get to erase people’s experiences of it because they’re not convenient to you. And if you don’t give a shit about homophobia, don’t read the fucking article.

      I’m really sure why everyone is being so nice, because this line of shitty reasoning has been pulled out every single time a POC/trans* person/non-middle-class white cis American female has critiqued anything feminist ever, and it is bullshit.

      1. Patrick
        Patrick October 15, 2012 at 1:30 pm |

        thanks for this explanation :) i wanted to reply with something similar, but wasn’t sure how to go about doing it without sounding like an angry author. you’re so right.

      2. Jadey
        Jadey October 15, 2012 at 3:17 pm |

        Right on.

      3. amblingalong
        amblingalong October 15, 2012 at 3:42 pm |

        Sorry, that should be “I’m *not* really sure why everyone is being so nice.”

        And thanks, Jadey/Patrick.

    5. Andie
      Andie October 15, 2012 at 1:57 pm |

      Considering that the author refers to men who are “perceived” as gay/bi and considering that usually, to the average layperson, means a men who read effiminate (because you know.. gay=girly *eyeroll*), I think the topic is totally relevant to feminism, as it ties in greatly with femmephobia and equating feminity with weakness and therefore easy target for harassment.

      Co-sign to Amblingalong and Li’s comments as well.

      1. DouglasG
        DouglasG October 15, 2012 at 2:50 pm |

        Good point about perception. That point always reminds me of the awful incident in, I think, Further Tales of the City, in which friends Michael (gay) and Brian (straight) are taken for a couple by a hostile gang, Brian gets beaten up, and the immediate protest that springs to Michael’s lips is that Brian isn’t gay.

      2. miga
        miga October 15, 2012 at 6:44 pm |

        This. It’s androcentrism. “Masculine” people are encouraged to treat “feminine” people a certain kind of way. I think it’d be an interesting convo to have on harassment within bi/lesbian circles as well.

    6. Hina
      Hina October 15, 2012 at 2:01 pm |

      Everyone above did a good job at examining why this is necessary to discuss but I will also like to add that this issue helps fight against the argument some men make against women being Harassed. Like when they say we should take it as a compliment when men shout things at us or when they say we shouldn’t complain about men groping us uninvited because we chose to wear a tight dress or because we chose to walk out our house

      1. im
        im October 15, 2012 at 7:56 pm |

        Yes, although it may have limited impact because even in the flirtatious/quasicomplimentary form, it’s most commonly from somebody not in the desire space, as opposed to (often) somebody in the desire space for women.

      2. im
        im October 15, 2012 at 7:56 pm |

        Yes, although it may have limited impact because even in the flirtatious/quasicomplimentary form, it’s most commonly from somebody not in the desire space, as opposed to (often) somebody in the desire space for women.

    7. Jill
      Jill October 15, 2012 at 2:24 pm | *

      I know many other people have already replied to Annalouise, but as the person who agreed to post this piece, I’ll chime in. I do think that it’s appropriate for conversations about street harassment to generally center around women — it is women, the majority of the time, who are harassed. I don’t think we need to add into EVERY conversation about street harassment, “Well men are harassed too,” the same way we don’t need to add into EVERY conversation about rape, “Well men are raped too.” Interrupting a conversation about women’s experiences to make it All About Men is derailing and obnoxious and not helpful.

      At the same time, we can also have conversations about how men are harassed or assaulted or raped. We can look at how the harassment that men face is also a product of a patriarchal, misogynist culture. We can create spaces to talk about under-discussed issues, like street harassment of men. And that’s what we’re doing here. The vast majority of the posts on this blog about street harassment (and sexual harassment generally) are about the harassment of women. This one post is about the harassment of men. It’s hardly decentering or derailing feminist discussions about the harassment of women.

      1. annalouise
        annalouise October 15, 2012 at 2:31 pm |

        why do we have to have them in a feminist space? Why is the onus on women to re-direct our focus to men?

        This article in particular rubbed me the wrong way because its thesis that gay/bi men who experience homophobic harassment are targeted as men, which is just, odd and wrong. That the article thinks that some members of one small, exceptionally marginalized group of men share an experience that is nearly universal for women is something noteworthy is an example of men’s entitlement and narcissism. And the article which is supposedly about homophobia and written for a feminist website doesn’t bother to mention that gay/bi women exist.

        Plus, I think it’s sketch to even publish articles by men on a feminist website. I don’t care what men have to say about feminism.

        1. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune October 15, 2012 at 2:36 pm |

          Plus, I think it’s sketch to even publish articles by men on a feminist website. I don’t care what men have to say about feminism.

          And yet you’re bizarrely under the impression that the authors of the blog should care what YOU think just because you’re a woman?

          And the article which is supposedly about homophobia and written for a feminist website doesn’t bother to mention that gay/bi women exist.

          That’s like saying all articles about the hard of hearing must now carry a large disclaimer saying “I KNOW BLIND PEOPLE EXIST”. Otherwise they’re ableist. Your argument is exactly this ridiculous.

        2. amblingalong
          amblingalong October 15, 2012 at 2:40 pm |

          This article in particular rubbed me the wrong way because its thesis that gay/bi men who experience homophobic harassment are targeted as men, which is just, odd and wrong.

          Believe it or not, some of the ways gay men experience homophobia are different from the ways gay women experience homophobia, just as some of the ways black men experience racism are not shared by black women (and vice versa). Intersectionality is complicated, I know, but it’s worth trying to understand.

          why do we have to have them in a feminist space? Why is the onus on women to re-direct our focus to men?

          I think a good half-dozen people answered your questions. Maybe you should read what they wrote?

        3. doberman
          doberman October 15, 2012 at 2:43 pm |

          Plus, I think it’s sketch to even publish articles by men on a feminist website. I don’t care what men have to say about feminism.

          I think your attitude is extremely destructive and it’s not going to get anyone anywhere.

          The experiences of the sexes are inextricably tied together. Like a great many see-saws joined together. Privilege is not uni-directional.

        4. Drahill
          Drahill October 15, 2012 at 2:45 pm |

          Why do you assume that by featuring a single article on the harassment experienced by men, the conversation is being “re-directed?” Youa ssume that if the issue is discussed in a male-centered way even once, that takes away from the exposure harassment against women receives.

          This is not a zero-sum game. Caring about an issue experienced by men (that is directly linked to that same issue as experienced by women) is not “re-directing” the discussion. It is widening it.

          And why do you emphasize that the group of men is small? And how do you know that? Data suggests that somewhere between 5-10% (at least) of the male population is LGBT. Add to them the men who are harassed for their PERCEIVED orientation (so, that includes a bunch of other people, including trans men, queer men, gender-nonconforming men, and yes, straight men) and it’s probably not a small group by any means.

        5. EG
          EG October 15, 2012 at 3:01 pm |

          why do we have to have them in a feminist space? Why is the onus on women to re-direct our focus to men?

          Choosing to have them here is not the same as having to have them here.

        6. EG
          EG October 15, 2012 at 3:03 pm |

          Plus, I think it’s sketch to even publish articles by men on a feminist website. I don’t care what men have to say about feminism.

          I care what smart, thoughtful feminist men have to say about feminism. If you don’t, you can skip those articles.

        7. Jadey
          Jadey October 15, 2012 at 3:26 pm |

          Because men are important to us too.

          If that means having my queer feminist card revoked, so be it. But I care about what happens to men. Queer men, men of colour, poor men, men with disabilities, trans men, fat men – it fucking MATTERS. These men are my friends, my allies, and my fellow human beings. I won’t give them a pass on their own fucked up things, but I won’t take a pass on mine either and I do not and will not subscribe to a feminism that essentializes all men as the enemy and ignores that the injustices which harm them are part of the same machine that harms so many women. It’s stupid and pointless.

        8. SamLL
          SamLL October 15, 2012 at 3:38 pm |

          Plus, I think it’s sketch to even publish articles by men on a feminist website. I don’t care what men have to say about feminism.

          Well cool, we’re even then, because all of a sudden I don’t care what you personally have to say about feminism either.

        9. Jill
          Jill October 15, 2012 at 5:10 pm | *

          We don’t have to re-direct our focus on men. But as the post says quite clearly, “the harassment of men is an interrelated issue that deserves some attention, too.” Men and women do not live in separate universes. The harassment of men is not a totally separate and distinct issue from the harassment of women.

          Also? I am one of Those Feminists who thinks that our patriarchal culture is really shitty for men too. I think it largely privileges men and it’s far shittier for women, but I think that increased gender equality would honestly be better for everyone.

          As for why we are having this conversation in this space: Because I think it’s valuable. And I do think it’s an important contribution to feminism and feminist theory and to political / gender discourse. There are other feminists who may feel differently; I am not one of them. But I am one of the editors of this website, and so I published the piece. And I think it’s an excellent piece, and incredibly important, and I’m very happy that Patrick wrote it and agreed to allow us to publish it here. I’m very happy that Patrick is doing the kind of academic and activist work that he’s doing. I think he’s making a huge contribution to gender equality.

          Yes, Patrick’s thesis is on how gay and bisexual men experience street harassment. Yes, by definition that does not include gay and bisexual women. I think that’s ok. I don’t think that focusing your academic work on the way one particular subgroup experiences a phenomenon is a bad thing. Without the ability to narrowly focus, a degree of depth is lost. It doesn’t mean that Patrick finds the harassment of women (gay, straight, bi, or any other orientation) unimportant, any more than me choosing to focus most of my writing on women’s rights means that I find ethnic cleansing unimportant.

          You don’t have to care what men have to say about feminism. I personally do. Patrick is not the first man to have his work published here, and I am fairly confident he will not be the last. We do center most of what we write here on women, and I think that’s appropriate. By also talking about men, I do not believe we take away from our feminist mission in the least. Instead, I think it makes us better able to deal with these issues holistically, and recognize that women and men occupy the same world, and we can’t move women forward without men.

        10. piny
          piny October 15, 2012 at 6:31 pm |

          I don’t think gay men need to be classed as potentially femme or whatever to make homophobia important to feminism. But I don’t know if misogynist harassment and homophobic harassment should be compared this way. This kind of harassment isn’t something men deal with. It’s something queer men and queer women deal with. That doesn’t make it less important–it just means that sexual harassment still isn’t something most men have to deal with, because they’re men.

          I understand that this is an article about a very specific study–but I can also understand why people are a little annoyed about how this issue is being discussed as specific to gay men. Queer women are also subjected to sexual harassment, sexually violent and threatening behavior, and corrective rape because of their perceived orientation. We talk about that even less, because we don’t like to talk about how rape culture is corrective; queer women don’t fit into any mainstream picture of leering construction workers. I don’t see any reference in this post to any dynamic distinct to gay men.

          And I think that a lot of conversations about violent homophobia ignore the extent to which homophobia directed at women is sexually violent and the extent to which women can be visibly gay. That is, I think “lesbian invisibility” informs not only our ability to perceive homophobia when it’s directed at women, but also our ability to see queer women as people actually out there in the world, facing their portion of this too. Social controls on female expression and sexuality are so mundane that we can’t read them as specifically homophobic.

        11. Li
          Li October 15, 2012 at 7:29 pm |

          So, I kinda think it’s useful to parse out some of the different kinds of street harassment being talked about wrt queer men here.

          So, firstly, there’s the generic kind of “faggot”-yelled-out-of-cars abuse. Secondly, there’s sexual harassment of the propositioning variety, where the proposition is serious rather than just rhetorical. Finally, there’s abuse that combines homophobic abuse with a punitive sexual element, like guys pushing their crotches at you.

          I think that of those three it’s street harassment that also consists of an active proposition for sexual activity that has patterns specific to queer men, mainly because the perpetrator group is in the category of men who have sex with men and that fact is important to the mechanics of the harassment. That’s obviously not to say that women don’t get propositioned all the time (and that queer women aren’t targeted for propositions because of their sexuality), but that I was to pick out one manifestation of street harassment that’s specific to queer men it’s the proposition by a MSM perpetrator.

          On the other two counts, I think piny is on the money. I’d even go so far to suggest that there’s a small but significant frequency of cases where even gender specific terms of abuse like “dyke” and “faggot” have crossover between different groups of queer people. I know a number of butch queer women who occasionally get called faggots, and I occasionally get dyke or bitch when the perp is at a significant enough distance that they’re just seeing my skinnylegs, floral shirt and undercut.

        12. piny
          piny October 15, 2012 at 7:53 pm |

          Oh, definitely–and there is wastebasket -phobia; it isn’t as though homophobes feel obligated to conscientiously slur.

          You know, I think you’re right–although I think the punitive or humiliating aspect of it could be compared to corrective rape. But that’s true. Queer women are sometimes subjected to demeaning sexual attention from other, er, women who apparently consider themselves straight women in good standing, but I don’t think it’s as predatory.

          If the threatening proposition can be compared to men harassing women…some harassment is violent sexual threats; some is bullying sexual harassment; some is demeaning sexual attention. And the last category can be terrifying because you’re not sure where the invitation leaves off and the attack starts. Then, too, there’s the social problem of dealing with an interaction that is not happening: harassers use plausible deniability to make it impossible for their victims to reject them or defend themselves.

      2. im
        im October 15, 2012 at 7:57 pm |

        I would add that feminism is the community that has the understanding of gender and is well equipped to deal with gender issues in general.

    8. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune October 15, 2012 at 2:49 pm |

      Also, unrelated to what everyone’s said above, I know this isn’t Shakesville and the mods are a lot more relaxed about comment tones, but it’s objectively at least somewhat bratty to barge into someone’s space and demand they write what YOU want, because YOU said so, and you want YOUR interests catered to and how dare someone ELSE be represented.

      If you have any disagreement with the article itself, that’s one thing, but for fuck’s sake, I think the Feministe crew have a right to decide what goes on their own goddamn site.

      1. amblingalong
        amblingalong October 15, 2012 at 3:20 pm |

        I don’t care what men have to say about feminism.

        I don’t care about pictures of kittens (yeah, I know, I’m an awful awful person). So I skip those posts.

        1. amblingalong
          amblingalong October 15, 2012 at 3:21 pm |

          Ninja’d by mac. I really don’t understand how the comment nesting works.

    9. Luisa
      Luisa October 15, 2012 at 3:41 pm |

      I think it’s incredibly telling that there are a bunch of men replying to you to tell you that insisting on female-centric dialogues about street harassment (especially as they pertain to how men treat queer women, which is an issue not even glanced at by this hilariously slipshod article) are also saying that your attitude is toxic.

      Men can’t stand not having everything be about them.

      1. amblingalong
        amblingalong October 15, 2012 at 5:03 pm |

        I’m sorry, Lousia, but could you help me understand why you think gay men should just shut the fuck up about their oppression?

        1. annalouise
          annalouise October 15, 2012 at 8:22 pm |

          I remain surprised that it’s shocking that woman, in a supposedly feminist space, would tell men that they’re opinions and issues are not welcome.

        2. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune October 15, 2012 at 8:32 pm |

          You say shocking, I say fucking ridiculous, annalouise.

          Let me reframe this: I find it shocking that you, a fucking nobody on Feministe (as in, not a site runner, guest blogger or even a frequent commenter afaik, not that the latter would give you any “rights” here any more than it does me) would tell the site runners that their opinions and issues are subject to YOUR tastes and preferences.

      2. Anon21
        Anon21 October 15, 2012 at 5:17 pm |

        a bunch of men replying

        Actually, mostly women. I know, I know, that kind of makes your argument sound stupid, but I’d say that’s a fault with the argument, not with the facts.

      3. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune October 15, 2012 at 6:02 pm |

        Luisa,

        Of the people responding negatively to Annalouise, there are four men, five women and two people whose gender I’m not sure of.

        Do you just assume that people without an obviously gendered name are male? That’s…pretty sexist, you know.

        1. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve October 15, 2012 at 6:31 pm |

          Of the people responding negatively to Annalouise, there are four men, five women and two people whose gender I’m not sure of.

          Don’t forget one cat and one dog. (Jill the Siamese and doberman the doberman.)

        2. Jill
          Jill October 15, 2012 at 6:47 pm | *

          Actually Fat Steve, I am a Cornish Rex. Your speciesism (breedism?) is showing.

        3. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune October 15, 2012 at 6:55 pm |

          Steve, I find your conflation of Siamese cats and Cornish Rexes to be problematic. I therefore propose that we bar men from posting on kitten websites.

      4. SamLL
        SamLL October 15, 2012 at 6:18 pm |

        If you had said “people can’t stand not having everything be about them” I would have thought you were actually pretty on-target about annalouise’s derail.

      5. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune October 15, 2012 at 6:43 pm |

        Hey Luisa,

        do you just assume that everyone whose handle isn’t specifically gendered is male? Because that’s the only way you could possibly say everyone, or even the majority, responding to Annalouise is male. I’m a woman, thank you very much.

        1. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune October 15, 2012 at 6:45 pm |

          Ack, and my previous reply to Luisa apparently turned up, though it didn’t on the computer I was using at the time. Sorry for double-post! (Also, wtf, yo?)

      6. Jadey
        Jadey October 15, 2012 at 7:35 pm |

        I think it’s pretty telling that you assumed myself and others were men based on disagreeing with you and annalouise. Especially because I explicitly identified myself as a queer woman in my comments.

      7. Bagelsan
        Bagelsan October 15, 2012 at 8:11 pm |

        Not to interrupt the pile-on (god forbid we don’t pile-on on Feministe! 9_9) but Luisa is absolutely right that a fair number of men — yes, self-identified and everything — jumped in to tell a woman to shut it because OMG menz are talking!! On a feminist space. Which I’m not cool with.

        So maybe everyone is genuinely disagreeing, and many just happen to be men, but what it looks like is a disproportionate number of men are telling a woman, in a feminist space, to shut up. Not fucking okay. Not fucking okay at all; if a woman in a feminist space needs shutting up, the people who oppress her based on gender can sit it out while other women tell her she’s wrong, thanks muchly.

        1. Jill
          Jill October 15, 2012 at 8:13 pm | *

          Right. So on that note, can we please get away from this derail and focus on the topic of the post? Thanks.

        2. DouglasG
          DouglasG October 16, 2012 at 4:52 pm |

          Straight men or gay? It might matter. For a gay man, it’s like being a perpetual member of the chorus who suddenly gets a minor role (something like Lady Ella in Patience) and, not used to having solo lines that advance the matter, plays it big to make the most of the opportunity. Straight men, of course, are always used to playing the leads.

          I absolutely empathize with those complainers who find a dearth of autonomous venues. As Mr Rabbit posted earlier today,

          [(And I want to give a big thumbs up to autonomous organising. I love it! I think it’s vital. But a site like this is also important. We don’t have to choose one or the other.)]

      8. im
        im October 15, 2012 at 8:19 pm |

        …?

        yes, and aparrently some women can’t either. The major blog does not exist that has THAT level of focus on only one subject.

      9. tired old radfem
        tired old radfem October 16, 2012 at 9:36 pm |

        Hear that, annalouise? You’re NOBODY. You raise excellent points that disagree with the comments of IMPORTANT FEMINISTE PEOPLE, but YOU do not COUNT.

        You stupid woman posting on a feminist blog. Why do you INSIST on making feminism about the oppression of women?

        1. LotusBecca
          LotusBecca October 17, 2012 at 3:45 am |

          “Excellent points,” huh?

          Let’s see. Nope.

        2. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune October 17, 2012 at 11:11 am |

          Oh, fuck right off. My statement was pretty damn clear. She’s not an admin or poster, and as a commenter has no more “rights” than I do to determine what content should and should not be posted here, particularly when she doesn’t seem to have an actual problem with the post, just with the author’s chest-hair-havingness.

          Sweet snuffling puppies, what the fuck is it with you radfems and the inability to parse declarative sentences? Does all that arguing with straw feminists just suction your brains out your nostrils in tiny ragepellets?

    10. karak
      karak October 16, 2012 at 1:45 am |

      I’d argue that these kinds of harassment come from the same kinds of cultural understandings and motivations, so the more we expand and unite our platform, the more people we have to fight against it.

      I’d also say that as a fairly-well known safe space and acceptance space, even if this is slightly OT, it is our moral obligation to provide a platform to others fighting for equality and against gender and sex related bigotry.

    11. Djuna Tree
      Djuna Tree October 16, 2012 at 11:25 am |

      I think the harassment you’re receiving from the as-far-as-I-can-tell MRAs in the replies is pretty telling. I completely agree with you, I think it’s very strange that this piece is published here, and even then it didn’t need to be written in a way that dismisses discussion of harassment of women. But let’s be quiet now – men are talking. ;)

      1. mxe354
        mxe354 October 16, 2012 at 12:05 pm |

        How in the world is this piece dismissing the harassment of women?

        1. Djuna Tree
          Djuna Tree October 16, 2012 at 12:23 pm |

          Because it introduces the fact that women are harassed specifically to dismiss it from the conversation. “We’ve been talking about x already, but we’re not talking about why. Let’s talk about y.”

        2. LotusBecca
          LotusBecca October 17, 2012 at 4:00 am |

          Not exactly. It’s more trying to piggyback on an established issue that the author figures (correctly) that readers on this website care about as a segue to introducing an issue that they probably have no preexisting opinion on. . .a pretty tried and true rhetorical tactic. Sort of like “we all care about abused cats and dogs, but did you know that hamsters and gerbils get abused also?” or “nowadays peanut allergies are finally getting a lot of attention, as they should. But I would like to point out the little known fact that many people are also allergic to sesame seeds.” Et cetera.

    12. Bombardier
      Bombardier October 17, 2012 at 10:33 pm |

      Why is this topic presented as a priority on a feminist blog? That’s troublesome to me.

      To rephrase a famous quote: Feminism is the radical notion that everyone is a person.

      Also, I believe most of the readers of this blog are able to walk and chew gum at the same time. Bringing up parallel issues to women’s rights allows us to examine situations from a different perspective. It doesn’t detract from the issues; it compliments them.

  8. amblingalong
    amblingalong October 15, 2012 at 1:15 pm |

    Great article, thanks.

    Many men reported toning down their appearances in public to appear more masculine and avoid harassment. One respondent said he was uncomfortable around guys he referred to as “bros,” even though he had little experience being harassed by them.

    This part confused me. How does this relate to the story? I might be totally missing the point, but assuming ‘bros’ means the same thing to the author it does to me- polo shirts, lacrosse, Greek life- I’m unclear as to what being uncomfortable around people who aren’t particularly likely to be harassers has to do with harassment.

    1. petpluto
      petpluto October 15, 2012 at 1:27 pm |

      I’m unclear as to what being uncomfortable around people who aren’t particularly likely to be harassers has to do with harassment.

      I think it may have to do with the expectation of harassment, whether or not harassment is actually more from this particular group. Men who engage in extreme male hetero posturing may be viewed as more of a potential threat, even if that form of extreme male hetero posturing actually doesn’t often become a threat.

      I have been harassed more by white men in suits in what appears to be their mid-twenties than any other segment of the population. I haven’t been harassed a lot by them, but it has had enough of an effect on me where I am more wary of white men wearing suits who are in their mid-twenties than I am of other men. So I kind of think that is the implication here.

      1. Andie
        Andie October 15, 2012 at 2:14 pm |

        It’s like this.. I’ve never personally been harassed by a bunch of construction workers, but it’s something I’ve heard about enough that sometimes I still get my defences up when passing a construction site.

        This guy may have never been personally harassed by one or more dudely-bro types, but it may be a common enough trope that that sort of defence mechanism becomes second nature.

        1. yes
          yes October 15, 2012 at 3:31 pm |

          I think the word “stereotype” is a helpful description here. Not that we’re talking about a marginalized or oppressed group, but the word is still appropriate in understanding the nature of the discomfort.

    2. DonnaL
      DonnaL October 15, 2012 at 1:27 pm |

      people who aren’t particularly likely to be harassers

      Says who?

      1. amblingalong
        amblingalong October 15, 2012 at 1:58 pm |

        Says who?

        Says the person who was quoted in the article?

        One respondent said he was uncomfortable around guys he referred to as “bros,” even though he had little experience being harassed by them.

        1. Andie
          Andie October 15, 2012 at 2:11 pm |

          That doesn’t say that they are less likely to harass.. just that the guy in question hadn’t experienced harassment by
          such types himself.

        2. Li
          Li October 15, 2012 at 2:13 pm |

          There’s a difference between a particular person not having much experience being harassed by ‘bros’ and ‘bros’ being unlikely to be harassers. One statement doesn’t indicate the other.

        3. amblingalong
          amblingalong October 15, 2012 at 2:21 pm |

          I didn’t say they were less likely to harass, I said they weren’t particularly likely to be harassers, that is, they weren’t especially likely to harass, at least in the experience of the person quoted (or mine, for that matter- some of the best people I know were bros in college). Sorry if there was some semantic ambiguity.

    3. Li
      Li October 15, 2012 at 1:36 pm |

      My understanding is that the respondent is talking about becoming uncomfortable around people who present with particular kinds of emphatic masculinity or heterosexuality. It’s kind of hard to mechanically explain, but it’s like, when the harassment you experience comes out of heterosexuality and masculinity (on the social rather than individual orientation level), then it’s really easy to become suspicious of people who are seen to visibly embody those things even if you don’t have much experience of specific sub-groups as harassers? Does that make more sense?

    4. Drahill
      Drahill October 15, 2012 at 1:37 pm |

      I think the point is that men typically identified as “bros” largely present the model for judging modern masculinity, particularly in young men. The interviewee most likely knows this extremely well and thus, adopts a more masculine demeanor and style when he’s around them due to the fact that he knows 1.) he will contrast sharply with them if he does not and 2.) that contrast would invite harrasment not only from the “bros” but those who see him with them as well.

      1. amblingalong
        amblingalong October 15, 2012 at 2:24 pm |

        That makes sense, thanks. For some reason it just wasn’t clicking for me.

      2. im
        im October 15, 2012 at 8:27 pm |

        He called them ‘his bros’ which might just mean close friends, not the hypermasculine people. A lot of non-hypermasculine men use the word, including me on occasion.

    5. konkonsn
      konkonsn October 15, 2012 at 2:38 pm |

      I think it’s a really good point to make as it ties in with Schrodinger’s Rapist. So many men get upset about women perceiving them as bad guys because of “other men” who do the harassing (and then follows a bunch of whining about lumping a group together and, “Isn’t that sexism?” bullshit).

      This shows that it’s not just women. When harassment is involved, yes, sorry good guys, but you get perceived as bad guys right away. You don’t like it? Help fight against harassment.

  9. Partial Human
    Partial Human October 15, 2012 at 2:15 pm |

    I honestly think this discussion is important, because abuse of queer men is one of the direct effects of the patriarchal culture of misogyny.

    These men are having sex with other men. Patriarchy casts women as the sex class. Men having sex with men are, in the eyes of the abusers, taking that sex class role, being de facto women.

    With feminine-leaning guys it’s obvious that the abuse hurled at them is misogynist. With masculine-leaning (“straight-acting, for want of a less gross term) I see a lot of harassment and abuse that seems fear-based, maybe more from closeted guys, like “He looks straight, but he isn’t. What if people know about me, what if he can tell? I’m scared. If I scream at him then they’ll know I’m straight”.

    Fixing patriarchal culture, dismantling the rigid binary sex and gender essentialism, would make street harassment of women and queer men a thing of the past. I. just don’t think we’re anywhere near that point yet.

    I deliberately haven’t done the queer woman angle, but really briefly:

    Femme women are harassed for daring to own and perform their sexuality in a way that excludes men.

    With Butch women it’s more due to having transgressed binary gender norms in the eyes of heterosexist society. Queer Butch women are threatening purely because they’re visibly not for male consumption. They’re a glaring “Fuck you” to what the male gaze wants to land on.

    Apologies for any incoherence, I’m post-nap.

    1. amblingalong
      amblingalong October 15, 2012 at 2:23 pm |

      Yeah, I’m super sick of the whole ‘homophobia is because of misogyny” thing. FFS, I don’t tell you sexism is really just because of racism, and that your oppression is really just a little niche subset of my oppression, because the Oppression Olympics are silly and pointless.

      I appreciate parts of your analysis but your first line really rubbed me the wrong way.

      1. doberman
        doberman October 15, 2012 at 2:40 pm |

        Well I think that homophobia and sexism are linked in a way that sexism and racism are not. The logic behind homophobia and sexism comes from a common set of beliefs regarding how people of the opposites sexes should behave. Which is not to say that homophobia is because of misogyny, but that they might arise from similar beliefs.

        BTW ‘amblingalong’ I hope you do not take this the wrong way, but may I ask whether you are a man or a woman? I’ve been able to guess the gender of most of the commenters here but I can’t quite tell from your writing and obviously your name makes it no clearer. I hope no offense is caused here.

        1. im
          im October 15, 2012 at 8:42 pm |

          I’d agree that sexism, transphobia, homophobia, and coercive gender policing all form an interrelated and interconnected group of awfulness. I don’t think that any of them are subsumed in each other.

      2. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune October 15, 2012 at 2:44 pm |

        Eh, I don’t know, amblingalong. PH isn’t talking about homophobia being a niche subset of misogyny, as much as saying that dismantling misogyny would go a long way to pulling the worst of homophobia’s teeth.

        That said…I face homophobia and misogyny, and I really think that they escalate, validate and assimilate each other, but neither is a source. Sort of like…if you have acute tonsillitis, you’ll wind up with a fever and a sore throat. Both are caused by the , but fixing one won’t fix the other all the way. You need to medicate the tonsillitis. I guess. Anyone who thinks that ALL homophobia comes from misogyny is exaggerating at best. But some of the tropes applied to LGBTQ people are definitely fueled by misogyny.

        1. Partial Human
          Partial Human October 15, 2012 at 2:58 pm |

          Have I told you lately that I love ya, Mac?

          I know that you too also experience the particularly stifling oppression that is the intersection of sexism/homophobia/ableism, that simultaneously reviles your sexuality while also denying that you have sexual agency.

          Perhaps that’s why I’ve thought so much about how these interact, and witnessed how they feed into each other and from each other.

          Your tonsillitis analogy is great. I may steal it!

        2. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune October 15, 2012 at 3:15 pm |

          Hee, thanks, PA! And feel free to steal my tonsillitis analogy, lol.

          And yeah, I get the combo of sexism/ableism/homophobia too, and I’ve had a lot of thinky thoughts about it as a result. Though it’s easier in some ways for me than you, I think, because my disabilities are invisible.

          Of course, in other ways I’m fucked over pretty badly for it; right now I’m hiding anti-inflammatories in my bedroom, because my parents are visiting and Mom’s convinced I’m using them as analgesics and the last thing I want is ANOTHER fucking “intervention” for my “addiction” – to two pills of over-the-counter Advil a day for diagnosed fucking fibromyalgia. Not least because my wife might actually kill her for pulling that on me, and I really just want this visit to be peaceful even if I have to hide and scurry and lie about needing/taking pain medication – which makes me feel like shit and perversely ashamed of myself and like the junkie she routinely accuses me of being.

          Totally OT I know, but I need to rant somewhere and I know you’ll get it. Sorry.

        3. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune October 15, 2012 at 3:16 pm |

          PH not PA, ffs, I cannot type. Sorry, am in a rush to get to class.

        4. amblingalong
          amblingalong October 15, 2012 at 3:18 pm |

          Oh, I didn’t realize I could respond to this directly. Yeah, co-signed; I think I reacted badly because this sounded a lot like something I’m used to hearing, but I misread the quote. Like I said below, the way you (mac) put it makes a lot of sense, and I’m sorry for jumping all over you (partialhuman).

        5. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune October 15, 2012 at 3:28 pm |

          Oh, yeah, I didn’t think you were disagreeing wiht the point as much as misreading it, which is why I clarified.

          Really sorry you faced that hogwash about racism/sexism, though. D: That’s shitty, that really is.

        6. Partial Human
          Partial Human October 15, 2012 at 4:33 pm |

          Aww Mac, big hugs.

          I had to deal with the same shit while I was still invisibly disabled. From parents accusing me of faking to “cop out” of responsibilities, to my friend’s girlfriend saying “You’ve taken HOW many of those? My mother doesn’t take that much and she’s REALLY ill”. She did that in public, so humiliating.

          So in a way, visible evidence of disability can ease the burden. My body still looks ok (apart from wasted calf muscles) but now that I clearly cannot get around without a powerchair*, I’m recognised as a “real” disabled person.

          Shame I had to get a progressive illness to catch a break, but that’s life I suppose!

          I hope you and your partner can get through the parental visit without resorting to yanking your hair out or drugging their food. Strength and calm vibes to you both.

          * I’d prefer a kick-arse robotic exoskeleton, bright purple and covered in LEDs. Maybe a jetpack too. I’ll have to wait for technology to catch up to my view of a real, 2012-appropriate assistive device!

        7. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune October 15, 2012 at 4:57 pm |

          I’d prefer a kick-arse robotic exoskeleton, bright purple and covered in LEDs. Maybe a jetpack too.

          OMG PERFECTION.

          Can I have cybernetic hands, all smooth and steel and shiny? Pretty please? Actually, fuck that, I want the full-on cyborg treatment. *grin*

        8. SamLL
          SamLL October 15, 2012 at 6:29 pm |

          The situation you describe in your ‘rant’ sounds really horrible and soul-grinding, macavitykitsune! I hope you manage to endure without your wife having to murder either of your parents, and that your full-cyborg treatment becomes available soon. (Personally I’m holding out until we get nanomachine artery scrubbers, artificial red blood cells, etc.)

        9. im
          im October 15, 2012 at 8:37 pm |

          If you’re near Berkeley, maybe you could be a test subject.. :) this place is awesome. You’ve heard about the likely-much-cheaper-than-original-systems Austin exoskeleton, right?

          But no LED’s. I imagine you could add some strips to it.

      3. Fat Steve
        Fat Steve October 15, 2012 at 2:52 pm |

        She didn’t say “homophobia is because of misogyny”, she didn’t even say “homophobia is really just a little niche subset of misogyny”, she merely said “abuse of queer men is one of the direct effects of the patriarchal culture of misogyny.” If I was to say that abuse of women is one of the direct effects of the patriarchal culture of misogyny am I saying ‘sexism is because of sexism’? Am I saying ‘sexism is really just a niche subset of sexist’? No, because that would be stupid. Ambling, your logic always ceases to amaze me.

      4. Partial Human
        Partial Human October 15, 2012 at 2:52 pm |

        Sexism isn’t because of racism. So that would sound bizarre. They interact and intersect in ways that mean sexism experienced by WOC is not always the sexism experienced by white women.

        But, you cannot deny that queer men are the targets of abuse that frames then as women, because their sexuality means they’re defying heterosexist norms.

        I’m a dyke, with more gay male friends than gay female ones in my immediate environment. The vast majority of bullshit hurled at them is references to their “effeminate” nature, even those who fulfill every other criteria of binary male affect and appearance.

        Casting the “other” as women and reviling then based on perceived (or invented) femininity is misogyny. Women are inferior, ergo anyone acting like a woman in their eyes (simply having sexual attraction to men) is inferior.

        This is only in reference to public harassment, as per the topic of this post I’m not claiming all homophobic is the result of misogyny.

        1. amblingalong
          amblingalong October 15, 2012 at 2:57 pm |

          Alright, the responses are well taken: I think I misread this line

          abuse of queer men is one of the direct effects of the patriarchal culture of misogyny.

          to suggests that the oppression gay men face is just a side-effect of misogyny, which is an argument I’ve heard before and really pisses me off. I appreciate how measured your reply was, thanks!

          Sexism isn’t because of racism. So that would sound bizarre.

          You say that, but I can’t count the number of times feminists have told me that racism is just a side-effect of sexism.

        2. Partial Human
          Partial Human October 15, 2012 at 3:11 pm |

          Yeah, for “abuse” I meant public abuse, street harassment.

          The whole nasty mess of homophobia is like shit. You can’t really tell what went into making it, but it’s all disgusting and it’s toxic and it stinks.

          I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with the minimising of racism. I’d love a device that could strip away privilege in people who are using it as a life-raft, while everyone else sinks.

          White people (like me) need to shut the fuck up about racism when POC are laying out their pain.

          Being visibly disabled gets me a lot of able people trying to tell me what is or isn’t ableism, or why they think it happens. I’m presumed to be stupid and childlike, not really a person.

          I try to remember the feeling that gives me when I’m reading discussions about racism and colonialism. I can never know how it is to be not-white, but I hope I can ditch as much of the privilege that gives me, in order to take on board the words of POC.

        3. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve October 15, 2012 at 4:51 pm |

          The whole nasty mess of homophobia is like shit. You can’t really tell what went into making it, but it’s all disgusting and it’s toxic and it stinks.

          I’ve always felt the label of homophobia is a bit of a weak and inaccurate term to describe what I would term ‘gay hatred.’

  10. Street Harassment Weekly Round-Up: 10/09/12 – 10/15/12 | HollabackPHILLY

    [...] Harassing Men on the Street (Feministe, 10/15/12): “The types of harassment my respondents experienced tended to vary based on the sexual orientation of the harasser. They reported that it was other gay or bisexual men who whistled at them and touched/grabbed them in a sexual way, while men who they identified as straight were more responsible for other things, like honking, swearing, making homophobic comments, purposely blocking a path, or following.” [...]

  11. annalouise
    annalouise October 15, 2012 at 5:13 pm |

    I think the fact that so many men are so excited about this article proves how problematic it is. “Finally!” they say, “the focus is back on us! where is belongs!”. Especially because it seems like there’s a lot of excited straight dudes and the article is unclear enough that I can see the narrative playing into straight men’s conviction that gay men are out to get them.

    What’s surprising to me is that some dude can get all the way to a graduate degree in women’s studies and yet be flabbergasted that women respond badly to his opinions. What are they teaching about feminism at GW that this is news?

    I personally think no feminist website should ever publish the writings of any man, ever. They are not relevant. I’m shocked that this is controversial. I choose personally to interact with men as little as possible and am happier for it. The small number of men who I do care about, none of whom have expensive graduate degrees in women’s studies, understand this intuitively. This is leading me to theorize that men with women’s studies background as especially worthless and scummy.

    1. Jill
      Jill October 15, 2012 at 5:24 pm | *

      Annalouise, that is totally fine and it is your prerogative to believe that no feminist site should ever publish posts by men. Reading the first paragraph of this post must have alerted you to the fact that it was written by a man; reading the headline must have alerted you to the fact that it was about the harassment of men on the street. You chose to read it, and now you’re derailing the thread by continuing to complain about us publishing it.

      It is not, and will not be, our blog policy that posts by men will not be published. If that is something you cannot tolerate, again, that is your prerogative. But it’s not ok to continue to derail this comment thread. I understand your opinion; I am telling you that your opinion is not going to become our publishing policy. You can do with that what you may, but this particular derail needs to end. Further comments complaining about publishing men on a feminist blog will be deleted.

      Let’s all please get back onto the topic of the post. Thanks.

    2. Alexandra
      Alexandra October 15, 2012 at 5:26 pm |

      And my extensive experience with internet trolls impersonating irritating Radfems is telling me to walk away right about now.

      1. im
        im October 15, 2012 at 8:47 pm |

        yeah. Poe’s Law sensor is going off.

    3. A4
      A4 October 15, 2012 at 5:33 pm |

      If you really chose to interact with men as little as possible, you wouldn’t keep posting in this comment thread.

      1. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune October 15, 2012 at 6:51 pm |

        PENIS ALERT THERE ARE MEN EVERYWHERE!!!!!!!!*

        *I know not all men have penises.

    4. amblingalong
      amblingalong October 15, 2012 at 5:47 pm |

      The small number of men who I do care about, none of whom have expensive graduate degrees in women’s studies, understand this intuitively. This is leading me to theorize that men with women’s studies background as especially worthless and scummy.

      I don’t know if your degree is in women’s studies or not, but I think we can be pretty damn sure it’s not in statistics, amirite?

    5. doberman
      doberman October 15, 2012 at 5:50 pm |

      I personally think no feminist website should ever publish the writings of any man, ever. They are not relevant. I’m shocked that this is controversial. I choose personally to interact with men as little as possible and am happier for it.

      This kind of hate speech is seriously allowed here?

      1. SamLL
        SamLL October 15, 2012 at 6:24 pm |

        Apparently yes, that is “totally fine and it is [annalouise's] prerogative”.

        I guess if the moderation does not exclude these views it is up to us, the feminist user community, to indicate through our response that those views are unwelcome here. (And my personal and sincere thanks to all of you who have done so.)

        1. Jadey
          Jadey October 15, 2012 at 7:54 pm |

          Or, you know, in its full context:

          It is not, and will not be, our blog policy that posts by men will not be published. If that is something you cannot tolerate, again, that is your prerogative. But it’s not ok to continue to derail this comment thread. I understand your opinion; I am telling you that your opinion is not going to become our publishing policy. You can do with that what you may, but this particular derail needs to end. Further comments complaining about publishing men on a feminist blog will be deleted.

          Annalouise’s view *is* her perogative (naturally). But Jill was quite clear that she is not welcome to share it here nor will it ever be echoed by Feministe’s own policies. So if that’s being “allowed” here, well okay, very different definitions there between us.

        2. SamLL
          SamLL October 15, 2012 at 8:14 pm |

          I appreciate Jill ending annalouise’s derail in this thread, but not Jill’s explicit validation of annalouise’s viewpoint as morally OK.

          I guess I’m more used to Feministing where people with hateful views get banned and their posts aren’t allowed through moderation – although of course that means they end up with comment threads never going above about 15 posts, so every moderation stance has advantages and disadvantages.

        3. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve October 15, 2012 at 11:06 pm |

          This kind of hate speech is seriously allowed here?

          Apparently yes, that is “totally fine and it is [annalouise's] prerogative”.

          Hate speech? Seriously? W.T.Fuck? If this is the level of contribution from men around here, it does little more than give merit to annalouise’s argument.

      2. karak
        karak October 16, 2012 at 1:55 am |

        If you think that’s hate speech, my god, your life is made of flowers.

        Choosing to make a small stand against the overwhelming tidlewave of male writers is somewhat odd and very narrowing, but it’s not hate speech and it’s not the worst thing you could.

        If a PoC told me, “You know, I don’t read stuff white people write about race, because their perspective isn’t relevant” my response wouldn’t be to clutch my pearls and sob, but say, “Wow, that’s an interesting perspective on something that affects every moment of your everyday life. Since I’m not a PoC, I don’t think I’ll comment on this.”

        1. doberman
          doberman October 16, 2012 at 1:26 pm |

          Well it’s this part that made me call it hate speech:

          I choose personally to interact with men as little as possible and am happier for it.

          Imagine that had been written about any group like women, homosexuals, blacks. It would be straight up hate speech. Why should it be different when the target is men? Picking out a biological grouping and then saying “I choose to interact with them as little as possible” just makes you a bigot in my book.

        2. Jadey
          Jadey October 16, 2012 at 3:20 pm |

          No. You are attempting to substitute “oppressed class” (e.g., “women”, “homosexuals”, “blacks”) with “oppressor class” (e.g., “men”; not all men are horrible awful people, but “men” is a privileged social class).

          Does not compute. Fields do not merge. This is not a level playing field where all groups are interchangeable.

          It’s not a question of biology – women have a legitimate reason for not wanting personally to associate with men as a group. (Though not for chastising other women for doing so, which is fucked up.)

          Your definition of bigotry is ignorant if you refuse to acknowledge existing social hierarchies.

        3. doberman
          doberman October 16, 2012 at 5:32 pm |

          What does privilege have to do with it?

          You’re asserting that men as a group have some traits that make saying “I don’t want to have anything to do with them” an OK thing to say. Well it’s not. What if I was to say “Women as a group are frivilous and largely interested in shopping and shoes and have no appreciation for good music”. Which is about as accurate as any generalisation you would care to make about men. But that wouldn’t be OK because it’s tarring the whole group with one brush.

          The point isn’t who has the privilege but that it’s a sweeping statement that totally erases the fact that individual men and women in these groups do not conform to the stereotype. You see what I’m getting at here?

        4. amblingalong
          amblingalong October 16, 2012 at 5:43 pm |

          What if I

          was to say “Women as a group are frivilous and largely interested in shopping and shoes and have no appreciation for good music.”

          Did you read what EG wrote? No, you did not.

        5. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan October 17, 2012 at 10:16 am |

          The point isn’t who has the privilege but that it’s a sweeping statement that totally erases the fact that individual men and women in these groups do not conform to the stereotype.

          Men are not being stereotyped here. It is being pointed out that men, as a class, oppress on the basis of gender. That’s the reason that annalouise doesn’t want much to do with men, as a class; because she wants to avoid said oppression. She’s not just saying “men smell bad!” or something like that.

    6. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune October 15, 2012 at 6:49 pm |

      I can see the narrative playing into straight men’s conviction that gay men are out to get them.

      whuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut

      1. amblingalong
        amblingalong October 15, 2012 at 7:50 pm |

        Glad I’m not the only one who had literally zero idea what that meant.

        Straight men will accidentally read the study to suggest that it’s straight people being harassed by gay people? That seems like a really lethally bad reading comprehension problem, more than a problem with the study being done in the first place.

      2. im
        im October 15, 2012 at 8:52 pm |

        I think she is talking about me.

        I said that I know about the whole homophobia thing. But I had never heard of pseudocomplimentary or pseudoflirtatious harrassment, or requests for sexual favors, by men toward other men presumed falsely or truly to be gay.

        I do know that a lot of homophobic men are very afraid of gay men hitting on them even when this seems neither common nor that horrible (in a non-harrassing context). So you can understand that people might be resistant to admitting that this happens at all.

    7. PM
      PM October 15, 2012 at 7:45 pm |

      “What’s surprising to me is that some dude can get all the way to a graduate degree in women’s studies and yet be flabbergasted that women respond badly to his opinions. What are they teaching about feminism at GW that this is news? ”

      Point to me where Patrick had this response. It wasn’t in his post or his single response in the comments. I know it’s not a major point in the large scheme of things, but it illustrates your argument style. You’re just making shit up. The facts don’t fit your narrative, so you make them up.

    8. MrRabbit
      MrRabbit October 16, 2012 at 8:39 am |

      If this was an autonomous website, then yes, only posts by women would be appropriate. But this is not an autonomous space.

      Autonomous women’s spaces (trans inclusive) are important… But not every feminist site needs to be autonomous

      1. MrRabbit
        MrRabbit October 16, 2012 at 8:41 am |

        I’m a queer woman, by the way.

  12. What We Missed
    What We Missed October 15, 2012 at 5:34 pm |

    [...] Women aren’t the only ones who are harassed on the street. [...]

  13. mxe354
    mxe354 October 15, 2012 at 7:17 pm |

    Awesome post, Patrick. I’m glad you shed light on this issue.

    I’m a straight man, and not too long ago I also dealt with what might be called harassment. I was alone with this tall, muscular man at the train station, and I remember him saying things like this:

    “Where are you going?”

    “Where EXACTLY are you going?”

    And then he said stuff like

    “Do you have a girlfriend?”

    After saying no, he questioned my orientation:

    “Do you like fucking girls? You’re not a HOMOSEXUAL, are you?”

    I replied in the affirmative, not only because I am straight, but also because I had no idea what he would do to me if I told him I wasn’t straight.

    And then he went on to talk about his girlfriend and talked about some other sex-related things that I can’t and don’t want to remember. I suppose what happened to me wasn’t nearly as bad as what happens to men who are actually non-heterosexual, but it was still terrifying.

    1. im
      im October 15, 2012 at 8:55 pm |

      WTF?

      Ok, there’s a third type…

      Homophobic harrassment
      Male-on-male pseudoflirtatious harrassment
      Bizzaro homophobia-tinged TMI harrassment?
      Possibly he was going to be aggressive if you failed to demonstrate that you were a member of the He-man woman-hatefuckers club?

      1. miga
        miga October 16, 2012 at 12:23 am |

        Maybe it was tentative flirtatious/homophobic harrassment? It sounds to me like:

        “You like dudes?”

        “…no…”

        “….Yeah. Me neither. Girlz all the way, bro. I like sex with girlz.”

        1. Jadey
          Jadey October 16, 2012 at 12:56 am |

          Wha?? What about what mxe354’s story sounded “tentative” or “flirtatious” or anything but aggressive and scary?

          I feel like the categorization here is a prelude to suggesting that one form of harassment is “less bad” than another.

        2. mxe354
          mxe354 October 16, 2012 at 2:17 am |

          I should also mention that he stared at me obsessively as if he was determined to follow me. In fact, his gaze also left me so frightened that, when he pressured me to give him money (ostensibly for his fare – it turned out that he didn’t need it in the first place), I gave him more than he asked for. Oh, and then he asked me to sit right next to him when we were in the train as if I were his friend.

          Maybe he didn’t intend to harass me, but I was still afraid of him.

        3. miga
          miga October 17, 2012 at 10:35 pm |

          Oh no! I don’t think it was better or worse than another form of harassment. I was just trying to say that it sounded like thinly disguised sexual harassment to me.

      2. miga
        miga October 16, 2012 at 12:23 am |

        Maybe it was tentative flirtatious/homophobic harrassment? It sounds to me like:

        “You like dudes?”

        “…no…”

        “….Yeah. Me neither. Girlz all the way, bro. I like sex with girlz.”

  14. Scott Cunningham
    Scott Cunningham October 15, 2012 at 7:44 pm |

    To the subject then!

    I’m a man who’s been sexually harassed in the streets of Northern Ontario (not exactly NYC.) It’s really unpleasant. Yes, I have changed how I dress to be more conventionally masculine. I’ve basically given up on ever wearing a flower on my denim jacket in the summer or wearing my cuter wool hats with tassels in the winter, because I’m sick of other men trying to “put me in my place” by grabbing my butt or making facetious passes at me or following me with their car shouting obscenities or beating me up as a crowd. Especially the last one.

    I can’t imagine having to deal with this stuff as regularly as women do.

    And I’m glad feminist spaces let me talk about this, because male dominated or “gender neutral” spaces never deal with this at all, and I cannot say “I’m a man who’s been sexually harassed” or “I’m a man who’s been sexually assaulted” in any other space without immediately being trivialized, silenced, or blamed and told the best thing for me to do is pretend it didn’t happen and “man up.”

    1. im
      im October 15, 2012 at 9:12 pm |

      Do you know of No Seriously What About Teh Menz? It’s on the Good Men Project, though it started separately and is different in character than the rest of GMP (which, while interesting, has a gender essentialism problem. Though I prefer it to the ultra-super-no-more-men-or-women hardcore gender-anti-essentialism.) You should check it out. Although I don’t think they have ever talked about this issue.

      1. amblingalong
        amblingalong October 15, 2012 at 9:22 pm |

        +1. When it comes to talking about men’s issues in a non-asshole way, NSWATM is about as good as I’ve found. They’re basically what I wish MRAs were.

      2. Clytemnestra's Sister
        Clytemnestra's Sister October 16, 2012 at 10:02 am |

        Maybe this will be a good place for that conversation to start.

        I’m actually glad to know something like NSWATM exists. Buried in the torrents of vitriol that the MRAs spout are some very valid points that need addressing–in particular addressing male-on-male rape, prison rape, and some of the particulars of paying child support (a friend of mine was once arrested for not paying child support after his baby momma robbed him blind while he was overseas with the military)–but not in a vitriolic, whingy, puerile, violent, or flagrantly misogynistic way.

    2. mxe354
      mxe354 October 16, 2012 at 11:37 am |

      I’m so sorry to hear that happened to you, Scott.

  15. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan October 15, 2012 at 8:19 pm |

    I wouldn’t go as far as annalouise, and say that men shouldn’t have a voice in feminism, but I sure would love for all the guys posting here to take a second and be fucking grateful that women have done all the hard work that created a space in which you can talk about man things. Hard work that men haven’t (yet) done. So please keep that in mind while posting (like Scott does a lovely job of, above) and stop whining that MAN STUFF might get a little pushback in feminist land. Um, duh, a lot of women are really tired of having you steal our toys; sharing said toys for group play is hence a little stressful for some of us. Mankind will survive anna being peevish, I promise.

    1. Li
      Li October 15, 2012 at 9:26 pm |

      So, I was all ready to sit out any more discussion of the derail, having pretty much said what I wanted to early on, but then I read Patrick’s twitter and got mighty grumpy. It’d be really nice if men here didn’t use the fact that it wasn’t appropriate for annalouise to demand that feministe be autonomous to women or treat autonomy as the only legit way to organise as an excuse to lecture women on how autonomous organising or blogs are the worst thing ever, call annalouis’s frankly legit side-eye at many men in feminist spaces “hate speech” or infantilise her by calling her a “girl” who is “losing her shit”. It’s possible to disagree without resorting to misogydickery.

      1. Tamara
        Tamara October 15, 2012 at 9:35 pm |

        Do people really think Feministe readers don’t become aware of related tweets? Reminds me of a certain other guest blogger…

      2. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune October 15, 2012 at 10:40 pm |

        Whut?

        Suddenly I am not sympathetic to Patrick.

        …not that my beef was ever with annalouise’s statement that she doesn’t like reading things by men, but that she demanded random other people accommodate her pearl-clutching. Patrick’s post has little to do with most of my comments here.

      3. MrRabbit
        MrRabbit October 16, 2012 at 8:54 am |

        That is so bloody frustrating. It’s like, prod someone a little and the privilege and sexism starts showing.

        (And I want to give a big thumbs up to autonomous organising. I love it! I think it’s vital. But a site like this is also important. We don’t have to choose one or the other.)

      4. Bagelsan
        Bagelsan October 16, 2012 at 11:34 am |

        He said autonomous women blogs are the worst ever? Ever? GEEZ does some dude lead a lovely privileged life! ‘Cause I thought the worst things ever were stuff like rape and murder and sexism and all the other isms, which autonomous spaces are designed to counteract. But what do I know about bad things, I’m just a woman! 9_9

      5. Djuna Tree
        Djuna Tree October 16, 2012 at 11:43 am |

        I can’t see the ‘that girl’ tweet on Patrick’s feed – I think he’s deleted it, although I can see the replies to it still. Does anyone know what it said?

        I can see from his Twitter that he’s a Hugo Schwyzer retweeter, too. Which just makes me so happy I need to go read an *actual* feminist blog for an hour or so, you know, to vent all the happiness.

        1. Li
          Li October 16, 2012 at 12:12 pm |

          It was deleted. I had screencapped it, but I closed the image without saving it cos I was like “come on, Li, let’s not be super paranoid”. Which, you know, thanks Patrick for being yet another man proving the little suspicious voice in my head right.

          As close as I can remember, the tweet went “Check out the comments, that girl is losing her shit!” You’ll forgive me if there are minor inaccuracies because I decided not to assume that a professed feminist would delete the tweet without comment.

          Bagelsan, the “worst thing ever” line was my hyperbolic summation of several people’s reaction rather than a direct quote, which is why I didn’t use quotation marks.

          And yes, Djuna Tree, the appearance of He Who Must Not Be Named also gave me a major case of side-eye. Patrick, for the record, hanging with men who attempted to murder their ex-girlfriend and then leveraged their supposed reform into a career as a Big Name Feminist Dude does not good feminist bona fides make.

        2. Djuna Tree
          Djuna Tree October 16, 2012 at 12:25 pm |

          Thanks, Li.

        3. Jadey
          Jadey October 16, 2012 at 12:39 pm |

          There was also a follow-up tweet responding to someone names @icewomancometh or something where he said that if she read the comments on this article, then she wouldn’t think there was anything wrong with him saying something like “that girl”. Wrong and definitely sketchy, though I still don’t have a problem with the article as it was written here or the rest of the pushback on annalouise’s comments.

        4. PM
          PM October 16, 2012 at 6:35 pm |

          The “girl” comment was shitty, even if it was from ignorance, but I give him a pass on re-tweeting HS (not even gonna type out his name). I’ve seen a lot of people, allies and feminists, quote HS’s work. All the ones I’ve asked about it don’t know his history. All the ones I’ve brought it up to have been shocked. HS is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and he knows how to wear that disguise oh-so-well.

    2. Jadey
      Jadey October 15, 2012 at 9:57 pm |

      I am less sympathetic to annalouise frankly because I really strongly associate comments like hers with a particularly noxious brand of rad-feminism that is often caught up with a lot of transphobic, lesbian-appropriating nonsense that otherwise pisses me off to an equivalent degree as MRAs. She didn’t go there in this thread and I’m not accusing her of doing so, but my good-faith-o-meter is at absolute zero and I think her remarks went beyond “peevish” right off the bat. She didn’t initially question why so many men were commenting – she outright said the post had no place being on Feministe at all and then proceeded to misgender a number of female commenters who had the gall to disagree with her, which is tactic #1 in my experience with this particular hateful subgroup of radfems.

      That being said, I agree that the “hate speech” comment was absurd and the twitter remarks don’t sit well with me either, though I hate the twitter format so intensely it’s hard for me to judge accurately. Anyone coming at annalouise with misogynistic comments or using her as an example to slag Feministe/feminism with is a fully-qualified douchecanoe in my books.

      1. SamLL
        SamLL October 15, 2012 at 10:29 pm |

        I completely agree that there should, as ever, be absolutely zero tolerance for misogyny and infantilizing directed at annalouise and am very saddened that this does not go without saying.

        I also whole-heartedly agree that feminist men owe a great debt of gratitude both to feminist women in general for building the theory and practice of liberation, and also specifically to all the feminist women right in this thread, defending our right to be part of the movement and the community, equally valued as human beings who seek happiness and avoid suffering. My humble and sincere thanks.

        1. piny
          piny October 16, 2012 at 10:50 am |

          Uh uh.

          First of all, the “hate speech” comment wasn’t just unfair. It’s as sexist as the argument that “cracker=the n word” is racist. “Men don’t belong in feminism” is an arguable point. “Men shouldn’t set the tone, let alone have the right to class certain arguments about male sexism as simply beyond the pale,” is not.

          There are a lot of good reasons why feminism doesn’t pay much attention to the emotional wellbeing of men or their contributions to a movement designed to correct a massive imbalance in priority and respect for men’s ideas, perceptions, and feelings. There are a lot of good reasons why a woman shouldn’t be shamed for having very harsh feelings towards men. Together, we refer to those reasons as patriarchy. This is 101 stuff: you do not get to complain about separatism because it’s unfair to you as a man who is not especially sexist, and you really don’t get to compare it to segregation.

          And your place in feminism isn’t…membership. It’s not a position. It’s not like being in service. It’s not an invitation to debase yourself or give thanks or whatever. It’s not about you even on that level. It’s your obligation to be a good person, not recognition that you are.

          And, you know, that way lies creepy toothy pseudofeminist pedogogues, just saying.

        2. SamLL
          SamLL October 16, 2012 at 12:04 pm |

          I suppose all I can respond is that there are many different subsets of feminism, and if your sub-feminism doesn’t want to pay any attention to the emotional wellbeing of men and is based on separatism and reifying and embracing the gender binary, I don’t think that’s a sub-feminism that is on track to making the world a better place. There are other sub-feminisms I will vigorously support instead.

          Thank you for the reminder that this is all ultimately about being a good person, and I will continue to examine my own thoughts and efforts with that in mind.

        3. piny
          piny October 16, 2012 at 12:39 pm |

          Yes, but who cares? Really, who cares? This isn’t about whether separatism is a good idea. This is about whether men are qualified to make that judgment: whether men under patriarchy have much understanding at all about what sexism is for women and how sexism is best solved, such that they can evaluate the good and bad of separatism, or figure out whether separatism is unfair to anyone. I don’t think you can acknowledge sexism as an important problem and still believe that men are as good at understanding sexism as women.

          And this reaction to that basic truth, the “hate speech” comment, those seekrit tweets, the “Well, this man believes that your sub-feminism is inferior to sub-feminisms where he feels more supported, but thank you for sharing your opinion with me,” is all in favor of hardcore man-rejecting separatist philosophies, because it’s self-identified feminist men acting in what they believe is good faith, with all the good-faith help in world, telling women how best to be feminist. No, excuse me, lecturing at least a few women who have already told them they don’t want to hear their dudely opinion. Not about you! This is not about you! Your support is not any objective of mine, and your opinion is no consideration. And that’s not because I’m a separatist. It’s because you’re deeply sexist. You’re fucking welcome.

        4. SamLL
          SamLL October 16, 2012 at 12:58 pm |

          Thank you again for sharing your deeply held views with me, even when I deeply disagree with them, and even though you clearly hold me in contempt. Your conviction is impressive. I hope we can both advance feminism and equality albeit in our starkly different ways.

        5. Jadey
          Jadey October 16, 2012 at 1:15 pm |

          *shudder*

          Dude, seriously, the ingratiation thing is creepy. Piny doesn’t need your condescending lip service. You might want to consider actually stepping back and casting a critical eye on yourself. You know, if you’re so motivated to be an ally and all.

        6. Li
          Li October 16, 2012 at 1:20 pm |

          If the other men on this thread don’t stfu with the demands for cookies, unsolicited opinions on autonomy and separatism and vaguely creepy and pass agg thankyous/self flagellations I’m am probably going to explode with frustration.

          Dudes, we have all had fun with this derail, but unless you feel like returning to the topic at hand it is probably the appropriate moment to cultivate some radical silence.

  16. Djuna Tree
    Djuna Tree October 16, 2012 at 11:32 am |

    What the comments show is the way that MRA discourse (in this case discussion of the harassment men experience and erasure of that experienced by women) enables the harassment of women. And things like this occasionally crop up at Feministe (like with the Hugo Schwyzer shitstorm) reminding me that this website is not moderated to a good enough standard to be hospitable to women. Every now and then Feministe becomes, pretty nakedly, an MRA space – and even though at other times it’s an excellent feminist space, it’s upsetting when that changes, and we’re told to shut up when we complain.

    1. Jadey
      Jadey October 16, 2012 at 11:48 am |

      *head explodes*

    2. Jill
      Jill October 16, 2012 at 11:56 am | *

      In what universe is Feministe an MRA space? Unless your definition of an “MRA space” is “allows male commenters and very occasionally contributors.”

      1. Jill
        Jill October 16, 2012 at 12:02 pm | *

        Actually you know what? Don’t respond to that. I don’t really care. You can think Feministe is an MRA space, and you are welcome to that perception. In other news, Barack Obama is a secret Muslim, 9/11 was an inside job, and The Truth Is Out There.

        Now back to the post.

        1. Angel H.
          Angel H. October 16, 2012 at 12:06 pm |

          In other news, Barack Obama is a secret Muslim, 9/11 was an inside job, and The Truth Is Out There.

          But…Mulder wouldn’t lie!!

        2. Djuna Tree
          Djuna Tree October 16, 2012 at 12:15 pm |

          I’m referring only to the individual days on which posts like these appear, and I did say that this is most of the time an excellent feminist space. At the point that the problematics of McNeil’s post are such a large part of the discussion, this is not derailing – this is pointing out a problem in our supposedly “sanctimonious women’s studies” space.

      2. Djuna Tree
        Djuna Tree October 16, 2012 at 12:09 pm |

        My definition of MRA certainly includes “encourages discussion of men’s issues,” and also includes “encourages harassment of women,” which is what’s shown by commenters above. I do think publication of folks like Schwyzer (and, I know, he specifically is not published here any more, but I haven’t noticed Feministe change since then) is anti-feminist, and while I am open to good male contributors writing about women’s issues on a feminist website, that isn’t what McNeil is doing. He appears to mention harassment of women only so that he can dismiss it from the dicussion.

        1. Jill
          Jill October 16, 2012 at 12:15 pm | *

          No one on this thread has encouraged the harassment of women. Disagreeing with someone in a blog comment section is not “harassment.”

        2. Djuna Tree
          Djuna Tree October 16, 2012 at 12:21 pm |

          Just looking very quickly, I see annalouise’s very debatable comments (even if you don’t want to host that debate, which is of course your prerogative) as “bullshit,” “shitty reasoning,” “bratty,” “ridiculous,” and described on the guest blogger’s Twitter as her “losing her shit.” Reality check, please – that’s harassment.

        3. Jill
          Jill October 16, 2012 at 12:25 pm | *

          Seriously? Calling something “ridiculous” or “bratty” or “bullshit” is harassment? No. That is ridiculous.

        4. Djuna Tree
          Djuna Tree October 16, 2012 at 12:27 pm |

          We will have to disagree about that, then, but one thing it is not is feminist.

        5. Briznecko
          Briznecko October 16, 2012 at 1:33 pm |

          Jill, you obviously fail at feminism since your commenters did not properly clutch their pearls while choosing their words.

        6. amblingalong
          amblingalong October 16, 2012 at 4:25 pm |

          We will have to disagree about that, then, but one thing it is not is feminist.

          Being feminist means you have to be nice and agree with everyone, ever? Funny how well that lines up with what patriarchy wants women to do, anyways,

        7. piny
          piny October 16, 2012 at 5:14 pm |

          Feministe publishes guest posts by dudes; Feministe lets dudes comment; feministe lets people snark each other out in comments threads. I of all people can’t complain about that; I don’t have a problem with it personally anyway. (And THANK FUCKING GOD Feministe is not Shakesville, because JESUS CHRIST, it’s like being gummed to death in a snakepit of toothless vipers. Moving on!) You can say that feminist spaces should be women-only, but that’s a judgment call; there’s no consensus. OTOH, women who don’t want to hang out here for that reason are not hateful.

          “Bratty” is infantilizing; “losing her shit” is kind of like saying she’s hysterical. I don’t really have a problem with condescending language or language that implies the person you’re arguing with is rabid. But you can argue that it is anti-feminist for a man to imply that a woman who has a problem with him is out of her damn mind, especially when she’s making arguments that are coherent on their own terms.

        8. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune October 16, 2012 at 10:15 pm |

          But you can argue that it is anti-feminist for a man to imply that a woman who has a problem with him is out of her damn mind, especially when she’s making arguments that are coherent on their own terms.

          Sure thing, and I disagreed with Patrick about that downthread. (Upthread?)

          I’d really appreciate if you stopped misgendering me whenever it’s convenient to your point, though. It’s going to make ME lose MY fucking shit.

        9. amblingalong
          amblingalong October 16, 2012 at 10:36 pm |

          And THANK FUCKING GOD Feministe is not Shakesville, because JESUS CHRIST, it’s like being gummed to death in a snakepit of toothless vipers.

          This is brilliant.

        10. piny
          piny October 16, 2012 at 10:54 pm |

          macavity, how am I misgendering you? I haven’t referred to you directly at all.

        11. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune October 16, 2012 at 11:03 pm |

          The “bratty” comment came from me, piny.

          (Sorry, I’m really sensitive to this right now, because Luisa was pulling the same shit earlier, describing a thread in which EG, Jadey and I (among other not-obviously-gendered female commenters) were participating as “a bunch of men”. And not one day ago, Soraya Chemaly going off about how I was a privileged American or some such shit. It’s getting really fucking old.

          Not as old as the Radfem Transphobe Battalion that seems to enjoy beating on Donna and Becca, though. That one’s getting really fucking rage-inducing. )

        12. piny
          piny October 16, 2012 at 11:33 pm |

          Mem’ries, misty water color mem’ries….

          Sorry. No, I didn’t mean to say that a man had called her “bratty,” just that it was arguably dismissive. I mean, I don’t have a problem with it myself.

        13. piny
          piny October 16, 2012 at 11:48 pm |

          Also, I’m sorry if I seem to be on the side of a bunch of jerks I’ve probably had words with before–I don’t think that Feministe should feel bad about publishing posts by male guest bloggers (I mean, duh), and I do not like it when Feministe is compared to, I don’t know, Hustler, by radfems who like trans women about as much as Republican congressmen seem to like rape survivors.

          I’m just side-eyeing this guy. And a couple of his defenders, like that one who was kissing my hand a few threads down, whatsisname?

        14. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune October 17, 2012 at 8:12 am |

          I do not like it when Feministe is compared to, I don’t know, Hustler, by radfems

          PLEASE tell me that hasn’t happened for realz!

          And no, this guy totally deserves side-eyeing. And SamLL was behaving really…uncharacteristically weirdly… I don’t know what’s up with that.

        15. PM
          PM October 17, 2012 at 6:35 pm |

          Waitwaitwait…

          You have a problem with men writing about men’s issues with this site, but you’re OK with men writing about women’s issues? What?

        16. PM
          PM October 17, 2012 at 6:38 pm |

          Ugh, I meant “men’s issues ON this site.” Anyway, the point is that men are generally better equipped to write about men’s issues than they are about women’s issues. Your logic makes no sense to me.

    3. amblingalong
      amblingalong October 16, 2012 at 4:28 pm |

      in this case discussion of the harassment men experience and erasure of that experienced by women

      Ok, I’m going to put this very simply: You are being homophobic as shit. If you honestly think gay men should never talk about the oppression they face then you need to check your fucking privilege.

      1. piny
        piny October 16, 2012 at 5:04 pm |

        No, that’s not what she’s saying. The problem is that the oppression gay men face is homophobic–that is, not at all specific to gay men, but rather a problem for all queer people, including all queer women. And while it is of course important to talk about the specific ways in which specific groups of queer people experience homophobia, it’s important not to do so in ways that render specific experience of homophobia invisible. This is already a problem for queer women.

        I don’t agree with everything Djuna Tree has said; our positions are different. But I do understand why she thinks that this is problematic. I don’t think it’s fair to call her homophobic when she has not said that gay men can’t talk about harassment or dismissed homophobic harassment as unimportant, and when she’s insisting on more attention to homophobic harassment directed at women.

        1. amblingalong
          amblingalong October 16, 2012 at 5:20 pm |

          Yeah, it’s still bullshit. Gay men and gay women both experience oppression, but sometimes the ways in which they experience oppression differ. Even when they don’t, it’s not erasing the oppression of gay women to write an article or do research specifically focusing on the oppression of gay men.

          Djuana tree is saying that we shouldn’t ever focus on the oppression experienced by gay men if women (full stop; straight women, gay women, whatever) experience similar oppression, because we need to talk about that instead.

          That is, in fact, tantamount to telling gay men they’re not allowed to discuss the way they experience homophobia, unless they devote equal or greater resources to discussing how other people experience similar/related forms of oppression, and that is homophobic.

          it’s important not to do so in ways that render specific experience of homophobia invisible.

          I agree. The article didn’t do that. The article was very clear that it was making a conscious choice to focus on the experiences of gay men and men perceived as gay. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, any more than talking about racism directed against Latino people erases racism directed against black or Asian people.

        2. piny
          piny October 16, 2012 at 5:41 pm |

          Actually, no, she never said that we need to talk about that instead. She said that it deserves a place in the discussion as well. And I think it’s a worthwhile criticism.

          Dude is writing a paper about homophobic harassment specific to men, and how it relates to “gender-based street harassment of women.” Why can’t he spend a little bit of time talking about homophobic harassment as it includes women? This phenomenon is even more related to lesbians getting attacked for being lesbians, isn’t it? He didn’t mention queer women at all.

          He mentions straight women and gay men, but he doesn’t mention the community where sexism and homophobia intersect, even though he’s writing a guest post about the intersection of sexism and homophobia. In fact, he said this: “They’re targeted [for homophobic harassment] because they are men.”

          Like, you can’t understand why a lesbian feminist would go fuck that? Especially if his response is to label her a hysteric on twitter?

          And your analogy is bad, because the general topic isn’t homophobia.

        3. piny
          piny October 16, 2012 at 5:48 pm |

          That is, homophobia is not a men’s issue. When homophobia is discussed as something specific to men–which is something the OP did, and not because of his academic focus–then it becomes “a men’s issue.”

        4. amblingalong
          amblingalong October 16, 2012 at 5:59 pm |

          When homophobia is discussed as something specific to men–which is something the OP did, and not because of his academic focus–then it becomes “a men’s issue.”

          Where did he position homophobia as something specific to men?

        5. Donna L
          Donna L October 16, 2012 at 6:16 pm |

          Piny, I disagree. He was talking about his own personal experiences, as many posters here do. Because one guy in the history of Feministe posts about harassment of gay men means that harassment of gay women is being erased? And means there can’t be posts that do focus specifically on the harassment of gay women?

          By your logic, the harassment of gay women has been erased all along by every discussion about the harassment of straight women. Or is it only gay men and gay women who need to be discussed simultaneously at all times?

          And maybe I should start complaining every single time someone posts about a problem only as it affects cis women, not trans women. In other words, mostof the posts here.

          Finally, like Jadey, my personal experience tells me that there’s no reason whatsoever why I should assume good faith on Annalouise’s part, given that 99% of the time people with the viewpoints she expresses turn out to have a definition of “men” that I would not be happy with.

        6. XtinaS
          XtinaS October 16, 2012 at 6:48 pm |

          (Let’s see if this goes in the right place…)

          Donna L, word. I agree with you entirely.

        7. piny
          piny October 16, 2012 at 7:22 pm |

          Jadey, show me one place in the OP where he acknowledged that homophobic harassment is something that women face, too–that women don’t only deal with “gender-based harassment.” Find one pro-forma acknowledgement of queer women or homophobia directed at queer women, and one pro-forma acknowledgment that it’s totally invisible.

          I say that’s erasure.

          Also, it’s kind of silly to draw that weaker parallel when the homophobic harassment of women is, like his theme, ubiquitous and invisible–that seems to me to betray a certain level of unexamined sexism on his part.

          And Donna L., I disagree that this is about his personal experience–this post isn’t limited to that at all. This is what he says he’s writing about:

          Lately, we’ve heard a lot about the street harassment of women, from a CNN.com homepage feature to a skit on Saturday Night Live, and while the focus on the gender-based street harassment of women needs even more attention than it’s getting now, the harassment of men is an interrelated issue that deserves some attention, too.

          Earlier this year, I conducted research as part of my master’s thesis at The George Washington University about the street harassment of gay and bisexual men. I surveyed 331 men around the world about their experiences, and about 90 percent said they are sometimes, often, or always harassed or made to feel unwelcome in public spaces because of their perceived sexual orientation – a figure that is far too high.

          But the harassment of gay and bisexual men is complicated. They’re targeted because they are men, and they’re targeted because their masculinity is, in some cases and to varying degrees, illegible. It’s a form of violence that takes place in a heterosexist society, one that tries to enforce traditional gender standards and behaviors on individuals engaged in public interaction.

          That’s an attempt to talk about this as a general phenomenon and an attempt to relate it to the harassment of women, except the definition of harassment of women he deals with here is heterosexist. In other words, he isn’t just posting specifically about homophobic harassment directed at men: he’s posting about harassment, and describing it as a phenomenon that affects gay men and straight women.

          And I don’t like annalouise any more than you do, but I don’t think that she and the other people here echoing her points should be dismissed because she’s transphobic and an asshole.

        8. amblingalong
          amblingalong October 16, 2012 at 10:43 pm |

          Jadey, show me one place in the OP where he acknowledged that homophobic harassment is something that women face, too

          Show me one place where he said, or implied, or suggested in any way whatsoever, that they didn’t.

          Maybe we just have a very fundamental disagreement on this point, but it seems to me that you shouldn’t have to list every class of people who are victims of practice X to discuss how practice X hurts a specific class of people.
          I mean, what it boils down to for me is this: would any reasonable person come away from reading this article more convinced than they were before that queer women are not profiled? I really don’t think so.

        9. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune October 16, 2012 at 11:09 pm |

          Piny, do you not think that the targeting of queer women is a gender-based thing? I mean, since queer women get targeted half the time for either looking not-straight, or for being not-straight while looking feminine. Or for performing sexualities that are male-exclusive.

          To say that queer women aren’t a subset of women seems a bit, um. I don’t even know what it seems, aside from WEIRD.

          Seriously, this entire fucking thread with “how dare a queer man discuss queer men without continuously referring to queer women???” is surreal to me. Like you can’t discuss race politics in Nigeria without going “and lemme just say I know there are black people in other parts of Africa too, yo, just so you know I don’t think all the black people in Africa live in Nigeria” out of nowhere?

          Seriously. You do not have to discuss ALL THE THINGS before you’re allowed to discuss ANY OF THE THINGS.*

          *which isn’t to say that Patrick hasn’t got some skeevy sexist shit in his brain, I totally agree that this particular example seems a bit sketchy.

        10. piny
          piny October 16, 2012 at 11:13 pm |

          What practice are we talking about, here? “Gender-based harassment of women” or “harassment of men?” When you say “harassment of men” when what you really mean is “homophobic harassment when it targets men,” then yeah: I think you are implying that it doesn’t happen to queer women, too.

          Especially when you juxtapose it only with sexist harassment of women in a heterosexist context. Especially when you refer to the “harassment of women” as something that is not invisible, unlike the “harassment of men.” I think your framing of the issue does cut queer women out of the general picture. I think it does give readers the impression that the archetypal victim of homophobic harassment is a gay man: that women are straight and gay people are male. And it would have taken him about two sentences to connect those dots.

          I’m sorry that he’s a clumsy writer, but he is. It’s not that you can’t talk about a specific problem, or that you need to mention every single community every time. But when you explicitly set out to talk about a specific problem, then your framing of it needs to be inclusive. Especially if you say you’re trying to relate a phenomenon across two axes of oppression–sexism and homophobia–that overlap. How could queer women not be really important in that discussion? Really, why is his go-to comparison straight women?

        11. piny
          piny October 16, 2012 at 11:28 pm |

          Piny, do you not think that the targeting of queer women is a gender-based thing? I mean, since queer women get targeted half the time for either looking not-straight, or for being not-straight while looking feminine. Or for performing sexualities that are male-exclusive.

          No. Homophobia is not reducible to a subsidiary aspect of sexism or “gender;” I think that’s a heterosexist way to treat the issue in this context.

          And sure, homophobic harassment of women is gender-based. But “gender-based” is not a good way to refer to it here. If you’re talking about homophobia, and if your point is to differentiate between homophobia and sexism, “gender-based” is really confusing.

          I don’t think it’s an attempt to include queer women anyway; I think it’s a really clumsy attempt to refer to sexist harassment of straight women.

          And you can tell, because he referred to “gender-based harassment of women” as something we’ve heard about lately. That would not be a reference to harassment of queer women.

          Seriously, this entire fucking thread with “how dare a queer man discuss queer men without continuously referring to queer women???” is surreal to me.

          But he’s not only talking about queer men. He’s talking about a phenomenon as it relates to multiple groups. I’m saying that his framing of homophobic and “gender-based” harassment is skeevy and sexist, basically.

        12. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune October 17, 2012 at 12:07 am |

          And sure, homophobic harassment of women is gender-based. But “gender-based” is not a good way to refer to it here. If you’re talking about homophobia, and if your point is to differentiate between homophobia and sexism, “gender-based” is really confusing.

          Oh, yeah, no, that makes sense, piny. I think we’re really disagreeing on semantics (I think queer women are oppressed by gender and that includes them in all women, you’re saying that homophobia-based oppression is distinct). What you’re saying is pretty reasonable. That said, the type of homophobia experienced by any given person on any axis of non-patriarchally-approved-heteronormativity (gayness, transness, non-binary gender expression, sexual orientation of any sort, kink, even just having the wrong haircut) is different. Queer women are oppressed in a way that’s informed by their orientation, yes, but I would say the form of it is based on their (perceived) gender. At least, that’s been my experience, in refusing to be suitably male-centred in my sexuality while being (theoretically) open to male-targeted sexual activity as per my stated orientation (heavily lesbian-leaning bi/pansexual).

      2. Djuna Tree
        Djuna Tree October 17, 2012 at 1:29 am |

        As others like piny have pointed out (thanks, piny!), your reading comprehension of my post is pretty poor, because I didn’t say a bunch of the stuff you’re claiming. More to the point, I’m a queer trans woman, so not “homophobic as shit” or a “transphobic radfem”. I just happen to have an opinion about what’s a good use of a feminist space (and let’s be real, we can see in this thread that this piece is not promoting good feminist discussion).

        1. Djuna Tree
          Djuna Tree October 17, 2012 at 1:31 am |

          I should say, also, that I haven’t seen anything suggesting annalouise is transphobic, and while I’m not prepared to actually endorse her argument itself, calling her transphobic (unless, I mean, I missed something, which is quite possible) is one of the many ways y’all are being super unfair to her.

        2. Jadey
          Jadey October 17, 2012 at 9:09 am |

          @ Djuna Tree

          I think I was the first person to vocalize that annalouise’s comments were pinging my “potential noxious radfem” alarm (part of whose agenda tends to be transphobia) and I made a point of stating that she hadn’t actually *said* anything to that effect and I wasn’t accusing her of doing so, but that I wasn’t interested in extending an extra measure of good faith that she was just annoyed and expressing herself poorly, which other commenters were prepared to do.

          But it seems like the transphobia angle is starting to be singled out anyway, so, to be clear, no, I don’t think anyone should accuse annalouise of being transphobic. I even google-searched through Feministe’s history and feel pretty confident that she is not, at least no more than I am. So for the record: no one has any grounds to call annalouise transphobic in this thread. That’s not the issue here.

          @ piny

          I think if you (and everyone else) went back and re-read annalouise’s very first comment and the very first replies to her (including mine, where I explicitly *agreed* that the post was missing an acknowledgement of queer women but that it did not *erase* queer women – at least not any more than all the other myriad posts that go up on “women’s issues” with nary a mention of queer women!), you might step back and think about where all this is coming from.

          Because what I am seeing is a lot of, “Well, I don’t agree with annalouise myself, but I don’t think you all should disagree with her either!” I agree that SamLL and doberman made some stupid and creepy comments (and got called out as such – so much for pandering to the menz!) and that Patrick’s twitter behaviour was rude and sexist (and also got called out as such – interesting!), but annalouise’s initial comment was inflammatory, narrow-minded, homophobic, and will NEVER represent a feminism I endorse. It’s not about whether autonomous spaces should *ever* exist – it was about her insistence that the only feminist spaces are spaces where men do not exist and where the discussion of how oppression affects people other than women never happens. I care about what happens to women, I care about what happens to queer women in particular (I am one!), but I find the idea that a feministe space should be de facto limited in intersectionality and that feminist women should never discuss issues affecting men on other axes of oppression offensive.

          As for this thread not producing good feminist discussion, I’m sorry but that is on ALL of us, myself included, as well as annalouise and you, Djuna Tree, on top of the OP. I think there actually was some really good conversation happening where it wasn’t choked out by the derail.

        3. DonnaL
          DonnaL October 17, 2012 at 9:18 am |

          I didn’t claim that annalouise had said anything transphobic. I said that in my unfortunately extensive personal experience, out of 100 people who express the views that annalouise did — which, I agree with Jadey, are noxious, and irreconcilably inconsistent with my own view of feminism — 99 are also transphobic. I think that’s a proposition that’s difficult to dispute. Therefore, I am not inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt on that score.

          As far as her commenting history is concerned, I tried to research that as well, but the only comments I could find from someone named “annalouise” had a different avatar, so I don’t think it was her.

        4. piny
          piny October 17, 2012 at 10:14 am |

          I think annalouise is a regular; a lot of commenters here have established reputations. And if DonnaL says that someone is transphobic…I trust her.

        5. DonnaL
          DonnaL October 17, 2012 at 10:25 am |

          But I didn’t say she’s transphobic! I don’t even recognize her name. I’ll repeat it one more time: most people with her views are transphobic. The chances are she is, too. But I don’t know it for a fact.

        6. piny
          piny October 17, 2012 at 10:38 am |

          I should probably have scrolled all the way down….

          Because what I am seeing is a lot of, “Well, I don’t agree with annalouise myself, but I don’t think you all should disagree with her either!” I agree that SamLL and doberman made some stupid and creepy comments (and got called out as such – so much for pandering to the menz!) and that Patrick’s twitter behaviour was rude and sexist (and also got called out as such – interesting!), but annalouise’s initial comment was inflammatory, narrow-minded, homophobic, and will NEVER represent a feminism I endorse. It’s not about whether autonomous spaces should *ever* exist – it was about her insistence that the only feminist spaces are spaces where men do not exist and where the discussion of how oppression affects people other than women never happens. I care about what happens to women, I care about what happens to queer women in particular (I am one!), but I find the idea that a feministe space should be de facto limited in intersectionality and that feminist women should never discuss issues affecting men on other axes of oppression offensive.

          We’re not just talking about annalouise, and I don’t think that’s a fair summary of what I’ve been saying.

          And same here! I don’t know why that makes my argument inconsistent. There are two separate issues here. When I said I didn’t agree with her, I wasn’t talking about the OP as erasing queer women; I think that’s a valid point. I think the OP has at best a clumsy understanding of intersectionality–and I think his framing of this issue that affects men is sexist.

          But when I said I disagreed with her, I was talking about her contention that this has no place in feminism. I don’t agree with that, but the male commenters who responded with “hate speech” made me want to move to a separatist commune. I believe that intersectionality is crucial, and I believe that feminism that only studies women is kind of pointless. But I also don’t think feminist men can really comment; I think it tends to come down to wanting to be included and feel like a good person.

          We’re talking about two different aspects of inclusion here: should feminism concern itself with oppressions affecting men, and if so how? I think Patrick has been sexist towards his detractors and that he frames his research in a sexist way; however, I think that his focus is entirely valid, and important to feminism.

  17. Radiant Sophia
    Radiant Sophia October 16, 2012 at 12:45 pm |

    This piece, and the response to it instill me with mixed feelings. The author’s twitter response, however, is inexcusable.

  18. Dan_Brodribb
    Dan_Brodribb October 16, 2012 at 12:50 pm |

    This is off-topic, but this is the second thread I’ve read recently (the Myth of the Male Decline being the other) where I’ve read a number of commentators saying supportive things about men and in some cases defending them.

    I consider myself an open-minded and open-hearted person, but even I’ve managed to pick up some resentments towards women and feminism over the years, even if most of the time, it ends up being resentment towards the feminists and women I’ve built up in my own head instead of any actual real life women I know.

    Hearing supportive comments now and then has gone a long way to helping me let those resentments go. In some ways, reading them at Feministe means more because this is a space that ISN’T obliged to provide support or understanding towards men. It’s also made it easier to pay more attention to my defensiveness and make more of an effort to listen and empathize.

    So thank you.

  19. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan October 16, 2012 at 2:56 pm |

    while the focus on the gender-based street harassment of women needs even more attention than it’s getting now, the harassment of men is an interrelated issue that deserves some attention, too.

    How is it interrelated? I would love to hear more about this, and perhaps be convinced of it. I saw a lot of good stuff in the piece about harassment of men (by men, notably) but nothing about how this is actually related to the harassment of women. More tie-in with the issues of queer women, or even women in general, would make me less skeptical about the theoretical “interrelatedness” of the two harassments. As far as I can tell, the takeaway of the piece is just that men are the violent harasser class (even though some of them are also harassed themselves.) Not very similar to the problem that women face just by being women in public, imho.

    1. Li
      Li October 16, 2012 at 3:37 pm |

      So, I have a lot of thoughts on this, but I’m also only going to be able to get to them piecemeal, so forgive me if some of the stuff I respond with seems not-very-connected-to-your-question until I get to the linky bits later on.

      The first thing I want to point out is that women do perpetrate harassment and violence, but that the experience of queer and trans women I know who face harassment from other women has been in spaces other than the street. Primarily, that means in bars (including lesbian and queer women’s bars) and in bathrooms. Presumably those harassing women don’t magically teleport between the bars and bathrooms they’re using and do in fact use the streets themselves, so the question becomes; “what are the mechanics that entitle people to harass others and to feel safe in doing so and how are those mechanics specific to certain physical spaces?”

      I’d suggest a large part of those mechanics is to do with a sense of ownership over spaces. Men, clearly, tend to feel an entitlement and ownership over public space that women do not (and there’s a correlation/causation snarl here, because obviously harassment plays a role in making women feel unentitled to public space), but what Patrick’s work above shows is also that many queer men, especially those who gender present in non-normatively approved ways, similarly feel an exclusion from and lack of ownership over public space. Now, I don’t have studies to back this assertion up, but that’s possibly the mechanic at work when looking at the disparity between queer men who are willing to harass women in gay bars (which is endemic) and those willing to catcall at on the street.

      1. piny
        piny October 16, 2012 at 5:28 pm |

        I think it’s interesting to consider different rationales for harassment. It isn’t a subject women get to talk about too much, period–and like rape, it tends to get redacted into the kinds of scenarios sexist people feel most comfortable with. Leering construction worker, unbalanced pervert: drunken frat boy, serial killer. I don’t think we talk about why men harass women, what it is they’re actually doing. (We all know it isn’t trying to give compliments or get a girlfriend.) And in that context, I think this discussion is fascinating.

        And to respond to Li’s comment: men don’t only feel ownership over public spaces. Men feel ownership of their own sexuality: they can be publicly sexually aggressive in ways that women can’t, and they can be sexually aggressive as part of a display of power. Sexually aggressive women, under patriarchy, are “asking for it:” their sexuality makes them vulnerable, not powerful. And male sexuality under patriarchy is violent–that is, men can use sexuality to threaten, to terrorize. I think that the real motive of a lot of sexist harassment is intimidation and harm, either sadistic or self-aggrandizing, and I think that sexualized homophobic harassment may fit into that paradigm.

        Also, harassing or demeaning propositions from the closet are interesting in that they rely on homophobic aggression to establish the aggressor as the “straight” man: a demeaning proposal implicates you less than a respectful or friendly one.

        1. Li
          Li October 16, 2012 at 5:53 pm |

          So, I’m a little uncomfortable by your use of “men” here. Men being able to be publicly sexually aggressive (outside of specifically gay/queer spaces) is tied up pretty strongly with heterosexuality. Many, many queer men can’t be sexually aggressive outside of queer spaces, because the response to hitting on the wrong man is that we get beaten up and murdered. Many men of colour can’t be sexually aggressive in certain white dominated public spaces; certainly historically there are a huge number of examples of black men facing retaliatory violence from white men for being perceived as sexually aggressive towards white women.

          That doesn’t mean that queer men and men of colour don’t engage in really sexually aggressive ways in spaces where that behaviour is authorised, they absolutely do, but then, queer women can often behave in sexually aggressive ways within a number of spaces as well.

          My point is that just as it’s problematic to presume that sexism is the original or prime oppression generally, it’s also problematic to view harassment as primarily operating along the axis of gender. For my friend O, who’s had people try to tear her headscarf off, it’s not men who are the problem, but white men. And there’s no meaningful way to separate or prioritise the roles of sexism and white nationalism in her experiences of that kind of street harassment.

          All of this isn’t to say that men as a class aren’t exhibiting fucked behaviour or to suggest that queer men can’t be sexist or whatever. It’s to say that it’s not enough to talk about men as the perpetrators of harassment, because as meaningful as that category is so are the categories of heterosexuals, cis people, white people and abled people.

        2. piny
          piny October 16, 2012 at 7:32 pm |

          You’re right, that was lazy terminology–especially in response to a comment about how queer men are harassed by other men. But I wasn’t trying to say that harassment operates primarily along the axis of gender; I was trying to describe it as an axis. That is, why would sexuality be something (some) men are so comfortable using to harass women, while women don’t seem to engage in it so often. What does sexuality mean to men who use their sexuality to harass? I realize that all of these dynamics are affected by other oppressions at work, and that “man” is as diverse a category as “woman,” and as incomplete.

        3. Li
          Li October 16, 2012 at 7:51 pm |

          Yeah, I understand. And sadly I don’t have an answer. Some of the more esoteric logics of normative male heterosexuality are just completely outside of my experience.

    2. Li
      Li October 16, 2012 at 3:46 pm |

      Like, when it comes to heterosexist harassment, men are not the violent harasser class. Heterosexuals are. But when it comes to “Who’s doing the harassment on the street?” you need an intersection between sexism and heterosexism to explain the answer. Yeah, I know that’s answering like the reverse of your question, but I think it demonstrates that there are multiple axes of entitlement at work in street harassment (and I haven’t even touched on racist harassment or the experiences of friends who wear headscarves in public and the kinds of harassment they get that other women don’t) and that’s it’s not really a simple matter to parse them out from each other.

      1. MrRabbit
        MrRabbit October 17, 2012 at 9:25 am |

        Queer (and nonqueer) women are also sexually harrassed by queer men. It’s a big problem at queer activist conferences. it’s a problem in bars, among friends. It happens in supposedly “safe” queer spaces where proving a heterosexual masculinity is not the motivation. Maybe it’s resentment at women being in a space they think should be all male (where in their heads queer = queer male). Maybe they think it’s okay because they aren’t straight. But it’s aggressive and threatening.

        My mentioning the harrassment of queer women by queer men is not meant to dismiss the real harrassment queer men face by other men and probably (certainly) by some women as well.

        I think some of the negative responses about this article come from queer women who are sick of dealing with queer men’s sexism. It can make you very suspicious of motivations. Written by a better queer male ally an article raising the connections between harrassment of women (straight and queer) and harrassment of queer men and women would have been awesome. As it stands it’s deeply flawed but has led to interesting discussion.

        1. Li
          Li October 17, 2012 at 10:18 am |

          On a sideline, I am in the middle of rejigging a conference safer spaces policy to better handle exactly that, because apparently “don’t touch people’s bodies without their express permission” is just toooo difficult for some people to grasp even when explicitly laid out at the beginning of conference and then repeatedly throughout the week by grievance collective.

        2. DouglasG
          DouglasG October 17, 2012 at 7:24 pm |

          Good points. I’m not sure if it’s helpful or niggling to separate QMs into Bs and Gs. I’ve certainly seen both same-sexer harassment and opposite-sexer harassment – often both by a bi man in the course of a couple of hours.

        3. Li
          Li October 17, 2012 at 8:53 pm |

          DouglasG, I’m having a little trouble figuring out what those initials stand for.

        4. Donna L
          Donna L October 17, 2012 at 8:59 pm |

          queer men, bi, and gay?

        5. DouglasG
          DouglasG October 18, 2012 at 8:01 am |

          Yes, sorry; I think I deleted a sentence or two and then didn’t adjust what remained for clarity. Thanks, Donna (my customary Ms removed per your expressed preference).

          My observations are a little dated, but I do recall fairly clearly how things were in a small blue US state at the time more or less when the B was added to GL (which here followed closely upon when people generally perceived as right-thinking became rigorous about saying “lesbian and gay” instead of “gay and lesbian”) and how it took a bit of adjusting as open (male) bisexuality acquired critical mass in queer spaces (as they evolved from what one called lesbian-and-gay spaces). The level of sexism didn’t change particularly, but the added element of opposite-sex interest shook things up a bit. Some of my lesbian friends became more cautious about befriending men they met in queer spaces.

          Sorry to be so long-winded just to elaborate about my reply to Mr Rabbit, which was a speculation about whether, when discussing M/F harassment within queer spaces, it would be helpful to look at bi M/F harassment separately, or at least that part of it that springs from opposite-sex interest. It feels similar to the question between Ms Kitsune and Ms Piny about whether queer women are harassed for being women or for being non-straight; bisexual men have an additional potential motive for M/F harassment in queer spaces.

          If I had time, I’d suggest that there’s even the further possibility of the influence (thankfully in a very small number of bi men and women) of bisupremacy. I’ve been on the receiving end of bi-on-gay harassment from both men and women and would postulate that it’s likely even worse for women on the receiving end, but it strikes me that opening that door would take another hour and I’ve been at this too long already.

        6. MrRabbit
          MrRabbit October 18, 2012 at 10:06 am |

          I would say no, DouglasG to separating gay and bi. It has been my experience that gay men are just as likely to harrass as bi – because it’s not about sexual attraction. And I’m just as likely to find sexism in a gay man as a bisexual man (or lack thereof).

        7. Li
          Li October 18, 2012 at 1:15 pm |

          The parts of this comment that seem to position bi people as a predator group (especially references to “bisupremacy”) really discomfort me. That’s not to say individual bi people can’t be harassers and bring some really shitty mechanics into play, but bi people are generally speaking marginalised in both queer and straight spaces, and that tends to manifest (especially for bi women) as an additional vulnerability for harassment rather than as likelyhood to harass.

          I’d also point out that it’s not that easy to split gay and bi people as groups anyway, certainly not just on the basis of identity. Plenty of gay identified people experience attraction to people other than the same gender as themselves and I’d wager that was the case even before bi identified people started appearing in greater numbers in LGB spaces. The addition of queer as an identity muddies the water even more.

  20. xZaebos
    xZaebos October 16, 2012 at 2:57 pm |

    I’m a man that never posts. Except for when I do. Which is rare.

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I find it bothersome that the mere mention of men is somehow erasing and distracting attention away from women. I may be male but I had the understanding that to be a feminist doesn’t mean that one cannot talk about a man or men. Like ever. Ever never ever.

    1. roymacIII
      roymacIII October 17, 2012 at 2:58 pm |

      Part of being a feminist/feminist ally man is recognizing that you and your input may not always be welcome by every woman on a feminist space. I think that it’s very important for men to be involved in feminism, but I think it’s equally important that men learn to accept that they may not be welcome by everyone.

      As others have said, above, the thing to do when it happens is to accept that there are actually lots of reasons why a woman might be uncomfortable or upset or angry about men having a voice in the movement.

      Nobody has an obligation to listen to or be happy with men in feminist spaces. We, as men, have to learn to accept that and deal with it in a way that doesn’t reinforce patriarchical behaviors. If we’re going to actually be feminists/feminist allies, we have to do so in a way that is actually progressive.

      That means continuing to work towards social justice even when it’s hard and when people aren’t excited to have us there. It does not mean shouting down or insulting voices that are critical of us.

      1. David
        David October 17, 2012 at 6:33 pm |

        That doesn’t mean that women who are uncomfortable with men in feminist spaces are right.

        If you believe in equality, then you need men as well as women, and you need to listen to both equally. Otherwise you spend a lot of effort trying to solve half of the problem.

        1. Jill
          Jill October 17, 2012 at 6:46 pm | *

          Well, no. Women are entitled to feel uncomfortable with men in women’s spaces. And frankly, when we’re talking about things like sexism and misogyny? We should listen to women more. Way more. That goes for any form of oppression. When it comes to racism, white people shouldn’t get an equal say because “equality.” When it comes to homophobia, straight people shouldn’t get an equal say because “equality.” Etc etc.

          Things are already unequal. The group that’s taking more of a beating from the inequality stick is already getting a small platform; they already have less space to speak freely, less power, and less-recognized voices. So yes, in progressive spaces, we should center the people who we too often don’t hear.

          In feminist spaces, that’s women.

        2. roymacIII
          roymacIII October 18, 2012 at 8:01 am |

          If you believe in equality, then you need men as well as women, and you need to listen to both equally. Otherwise you spend a lot of effort trying to solve half of the problem.

          I don’t believe that’s true, and I think it’s a particularly narrow understanding of what it means to pursue equality.

        3. David
          David October 18, 2012 at 9:52 am |

          A lot of the problems that feminism is trying to solve are caused by men.

          Boys aren’t born sexist, our society teaches them to treat women differently. So we need to stop teaching boys to treat girls differently.

          If you want to change the way that men behave, then I think that you need to listen to people who have been through male socialisation in our society.

          That doesn’t mean listen to the mainstream sexist men’s voice, it means listen to men who write articles like this one.

        4. roymacIII
          roymacIII October 18, 2012 at 1:52 pm |

          A lot of the problems that feminism is trying to solve are caused by men.

          Yes. Which is precisely why some women might be inclined to look for spaces that are safe for women’s voices. You don’t have to agree with that perspective, but understanding why it exists is kind of important, I think.

          Boys aren’t born sexist, our society teaches them to treat women differently. So we need to stop teaching boys to treat girls differently.

          If you want to change the way that men behave, then I think that you need to listen to people who have been through male socialisation in our society.

          The problem here is that men are already listened to disproportionately. Men’s voices are already positioned as the dominant voice in almost every dialogue that happens in our culture. We have a bigger podium and a louder microphone almost everywhere. It’s understandable that some women might prefer not to have men’s voices given yet another platform.

          You don’t have to agree with that position–Jill obviously doesn’t, since she continues to allow men to post and comment here. My point is that you should try to understand where that perspective comes from, if you’re sincere in your interest in working to end sexism. And men who visit feminist spaces should take the time to seriously think about how they’re responding and posting, to make sure that they’re not reinforcing the sexist tropes that already exist (like, say, calling women hysterical/shutting down women’s voices by calling them irrational).

          That doesn’t mean listen to the mainstream sexist men’s voice, it means listen to men who write articles like this one.

          While I think that men are important to feminism, as well, I don’t think that men’s voices have a place in every conversation or on every site. If we have important things to say, we have the ability to start our own blogs, too. It’s nice that there are sites that welcome our contributions, but they’re under zero obligation to do so. We are guests here, and we ought to respect that and act accordingly.

          And, honestly, even “non sexist” men have a lot of platforms for talking. Our voices are already given a ton of space–it’s really more important that there are spaces where women’s voices can be given the center stage. That so many of those spaces are also very friendly towards male voices is great, but I don’t think it should get our noses out of joint that some are not.

        5. David
          David October 19, 2012 at 7:13 am |

          @Jill and RoymaxIII

          I agree with a lot of what you say, especially if we were talking about treatment of women in the workplace, abortion, misogyny, agency denial, privilege, ect…

          However feminism has taken rape, domestic violence and street harassment as women’s issues. Now feminist organisations are the main groups which campaign against these issues, provide support for survivors, and discuss the issues sympathetically.

          However, men are also victims of these crimes, and if the main forums for discussing these issues are spaces where men are silenced because of their gender, then you have a very effective mechanism for silencing male survivors.

  21. Stella
    Stella October 16, 2012 at 3:57 pm |

    Women get harassed but lets talk about the poor menz.

    1. amblingalong
      amblingalong October 16, 2012 at 4:24 pm |

      In other words, homophobia isn’t real and gay men aren’t oppressed.

      Hm, fuck you.

      1. Bagelsan
        Bagelsan October 16, 2012 at 11:51 pm |

        Sure, you can read it that way. Very imaginative of you, really.

        1. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune October 17, 2012 at 12:11 am |

          Bagelsan, do you have any particular problem with saying that queer men experience harassment? Does saying that somehow oppress women?

          I thought we were on the same fucking side, here. What the fuck, do I have to “pick oppressions”, choose whether I should support fellow women making homophobic arguments or fellow non-straights pushing back against them?

        2. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan October 17, 2012 at 10:04 am |

          I’m fine with saying queer men face harassment. They (as well as straight men) do. But I disagree with amblingalong — again — that Stella was saying that they don’t. I think amblingalong is trying to pick a fight where there is none.

        3. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune October 17, 2012 at 11:17 am |

          Yeah, Bagelsan, you might want to check what comments Stella’s leaving – on this very thread, even! – before leaping to her defense. She’s been arguing homophobic shit for several days now and I don’t think amblingalong was picking a fight out of nowhere at all.

          Also, if you think the sexual harassment of queer men can be summed up as “poor menz” – which we all know damn well is a code for “whiny privileged dude whines whinefully” – you’re arguing for something really skeevy, Bagelsan. I know you’re not a homophobe. Please stop defending them.

        4. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan October 17, 2012 at 1:30 pm |

          Mac, amblingalong was playing the same game with Luisa upthread. “You don’t think men should be centered in the convo? You hate gay men!” and I think it’s bull. Whatever Stella’s personal opinion, hir words above said nothing homophobic imho.

        5. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune October 17, 2012 at 3:43 pm |

          Though, Bagelsan, a group of women, some of whom presumably have straight privilege, derailing a conversation about queer men in the comments of an article explicitly about queer men, are in fact demanding the silence of non-straight communities. I recall at least one person being a lesbian, and she definitely has room to talk, but yeah, as a non-straight person who’s seen this site get real homophobic real quick, I give people the side-eye for demanding we divert a conversation back to The Straights.

          (I don’t buy the whole “should have mentioned queer women” angle for one second. From piny, yeah, but everyone else came in ragey that he’d written about ANY men, let alone queer ones. At that point drawing on “but what about the queer women?” just makes me ragier, because fuck me, my identity is not a card in Radfem Rummy.)

        6. amblingalong
          amblingalong October 17, 2012 at 3:44 pm |

          You don’t think men should be centered in the convo? You hate gay men!

          Stella wrote, specifically, that talking about oppression faced by gay men is equivalent to ‘poor menz,’ ie. not a valid topic to discuss. Right below this she just posted

          Gay men get harassed by other gay men because they cant control their urges? If not then its a different issue.

          So yeah, I’m pretty sure the fight I’m ‘picking’ is a pretty damn necessary one.

      2. Stella
        Stella October 17, 2012 at 7:18 am |

        Gay men get harassed by other gay men because they cant control their urges? If not then its a different issue.

        1. piny
          piny October 17, 2012 at 11:01 am |

          No, this is deeply homophobic and rape-apologist.

          Look: you can’t argue that sexualized violence towards gay men is the fault of gay men because it is sexual aggression by men towards men.

          For one thing, that’s not how homophobia works; you can be a “straight” man and still engage in sexual violence against men. In fact, as some commenters have laid out, it’s entirely possible under patriarchy for men to use sexual violence against other men to prove that they the aggressors are straight and not queer. This is, I think, because aggression itself is often conflated with male sexuality under patriarchy. Some men have the privilege of aggression and some aspects of patriarchal heterosexual/masculine sexuality are based on showing aggression towards sexual partners.

          Like Li said, this is not to say that gay men can be sexually open and thus circumvent homophobia. But there’s a real history of sexualized homophobic violence towards gay men. Rape is also about cruelty, remember?

          There’s also a history of closeting as segregation rather than separation: demeaning your partner is a time-honored way of maintaining your hetero bonafides. So I don’t think this kind of demeaning sexual attention is between closeted gay men: it’s a way for a man to use homophobia against his partner: it’s homophobic sexual abuse.

          And you cannot blame gay men for being disproportionate victims of sexualized violence, for chrissakes, or (arguably) sharing an orientation with their aggressors, and you cannot turn this into some killer-queer bullshit. It’s a complex interaction between homophobic and masculine sexuality under patriarchy, wherein gay men are made vulnerable to sexualized violence and silenced as survivors. Your oversimplification plays into that.

          And it’s homophobic to portray gay men as unable to control their urges. That’s the kind of thing Pat Robertson says.

        2. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune October 17, 2012 at 11:15 am |

          Oh, fuck you, you disingenuous homophobic shit-swilling llama-humper.

          (I say, because I raged, but piny explained so well I have little to add to it. Thanks, piny!)

        3. Stella
          Stella October 17, 2012 at 11:21 am |

          Mac why are you such a stupid little shit to me? Yes gay men get BULLIED by mostly non gay men, but we get sexually HARASSED on the street, well maybe not you, so the 2 are bad, but different issues.

          I am not saying gay men do not get bullied.

        4. Stella
          Stella October 17, 2012 at 11:23 am |

          Also I did not say gay men can not control their urges. Somebody needs to learn to discern the meaning of many words put together.

        5. piny
          piny October 17, 2012 at 11:24 am |

          Wait, I forgot to use the word, “repellent.”

          And I forgot to say that it’s really, really not feminist to assume equality (or idk what you’d even call it–camaraderie?) in sexual interaction under patriarchy. Especially when it involves violence or coercion.

          I mean. That’s not even repellent. It’s not even wrong.

        6. piny
          piny October 17, 2012 at 12:33 pm |

          I think we’ve left the Slough of Fucking Pointless behind, since we’re heading into the part of the argument where your own arguments have to be quoted back to you.

          First of all, this is not just about homophobic harassment. This is about homophobic sexual harassment and violence. It’s not a question: it’s a thing. If it was news to you that gay men face sexualized homophobic violence, you’re ignorant. But it’s all over the OP, it’s in the entire comments thread, and it’s in your comment:

          Gay men get harassed by other gay men because they cant control their urges?

          See? Right there, you acknowledged that gay men face sexual violence from other “gay men:” that this is not merely homophobic but sexualized violence and that it’s not as simple as “straight men attack gay men,” let alone, “straight men beat up gay men (NO HOMO).” Also 101: when you discuss -phobia and hatred, you can’t only talk about the victims in terms of their identities, because an oppressive context by definition does not acknowledge identity accurately.

          But then! You placed that sexual violence firmly in the context of uncontrollable individual (and GAY) sexuality, instead of in a remotely feminist context, i.e. part of a web of aggression and vulnerability tied to various axes of oppression. If there’s sexual violence between men, men aren’t attacking each other: there’s something else going on, and that something is imporThat comment was gross rape apology and homophobia.

        7. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve October 17, 2012 at 1:02 pm |

          Mac why are you such a stupid little shit to me? Yes gay men get BULLIED by mostly non gay men, but we get sexually HARASSED on the street, well maybe not you, so the 2 are bad, but different issues.

          I am not saying gay men do not get bullied.

          I don’t really see the difference between bullying and harassment. When this topic came up a wile ago, I asked my wife if she ever gets harassment on the streets. She said she will get an occasional catcall, but nowadays it’s usually when she goes out with no make up that she gets a ‘who let the dogs out’ type comment. (Well, I say ‘type’, that was the actual comment she told me about.)

          According to your rules, that is ‘bullying’ not ‘harassment’. Therefore, your rules suck.

        8. Li
          Li October 17, 2012 at 2:52 pm |

          They men who wolf whistle out of moving cars at me if I’m wearing tights? They aren’t just bullying me. The guy with a dildo hanging out of his pants who pushed his crotch toward me when I passed him on the street while his friends laughed? He wasn’t just bullying me. The boys who put their hands on my genitals under school desks to check if I would get hard? They weren’t just bullying me.

          Queer men face sexual violence from straight men, both on the street and as part of a wider pattern of harassment. Characterising that as a “bullying” problem (which, like, makes it ok or some shit? I don’t even understand the point of your distinction here) is just super disingenuous and gross.

        9. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune October 17, 2012 at 3:35 pm |

          Mac why are you such a stupid little shit to me?

          I am not a stupid little shit to you. I am an intelligent and creative shit of truly brobdingnagian proportions to you, a thing that you vastly deserve.

          Yes gay men get BULLIED by mostly non gay men, but we get sexually HARASSED on the street

          You don’t think harassing someone for their sexual expression, or harassing someone in an explicitly sexual way, is sexual harassment? I find you fascinating.

          well maybe not you

          *eyebrow*

          so the 2 are bad, but different issues.

          I am not saying gay men do not get bullied.

          Oh, right. You’re not saying that gay men get bullied, just that they don’t get bullied in a sexual way. Because of sex is involved or implied, it’s not sexual harassment, because they’re not women, who can be sexually harassed, unless the woman being sexually harassed is me, because you think I’m not sexually harassed because I told you so, except I didn’t.

          Whoo-ee, your logic. Does it hurt to think in simple declarative sentences? I highly recommend it, since you haven’t tried it. It helps with not looking like a bloody twit on the internet.

          Also, sorry, but you totally said that gay men can’t control their sexual urges. You’re a homophobe. Homophobic homophobia-spouting homophobe .

        10. Radiant Sophia
          Radiant Sophia October 17, 2012 at 4:28 pm |

          I wasn’t going to comment on this, but…
          I’m not reading Stella’s comment as saying gay men can’t control their urges. I am reading it as “If it is gay men harassing gay men because they can’t control their urges, then it is similar to sexual harassment experienced by women. Otherwise it isn’t”
          Which implies a very limited understanding of why men harass women in the first place.

    2. Donna L
      Donna L October 16, 2012 at 6:02 pm |

      My son, as a 5′ 2″, 22-year old, visibly gay and far from butch man, gets harassed all the time, and has since he first came out in his early teens. Both by homophobic straight guys, and by being hit on and groped by gay men, many of them older men (the latter kind of harassment not so much in the street, but in places like gay bars, museums, subways, etc.). Even when he was in Berlin last summer and in Vienna the fall before, he got called whatever the word is for “faggot.” In other words, his experiences of harassment, like those of many gay men, are nothing whatsoever like what straight men experience. And, I suspect, are at least as common (and threatening, obviously) as what many women experience. He’s certainly been harassed more than I’ve ever been, although of course I never presented as a woman in public when I was his age, so I can’t compare personally. Are the causes related, beyond the fact that I suspect that many of the same straight men harass both women and gay men? Perhaps, and perhaps not. But it’s a real problem, and it obviously infuriates and upsets me and makes me want to commit mayhem more than anything I’ve ever been through myself, and it shouldn’t be sneered at by using “poor menz” rhetoric. My son, and others like him, don’t deserve to be the target of that kind of blunderbuss. The fact that Patrick may have acted like an asshole on Twitter has nothing to do with it.

      1. amblingalong
        amblingalong October 16, 2012 at 6:26 pm |

        So this thing keeps happening where I yell obscenities at someone and then you come in and patiently explain why they’re wrong, Donna. You’re putting me to shame, here.

      2. DouglasG
        DouglasG October 17, 2012 at 12:31 am |

        Wow. Except for being a little taller and probably less cute, I can give this post a big Been There, Done That, Thought It Would Have Gotten Better Over the Last Three Decades.

        I’ve gotten so used to expecting any stranger-initiated interaction to be hostile that I count it as a good week when I only speak to people two days out of the seven. I wish your son a better future. But I’m glad that he has at least one good thing he deserves – at least one parent unequivocally on his side.

  22. Laura Webb
    Laura Webb October 16, 2012 at 11:37 pm |

    My heartfelt thanks go out to Patrick. This post emphasizes one of the most important – and most overlooked – components of street harassment. Street harassment isn’t just about women: it’s about gender and it’s about socially accepted, morally reprehensible policing of gender normativity. As a feminist, I’m proud of Patrick’s post and his compelling argument that everyone has the right to be free from street harassment.

  23. kb
    kb October 17, 2012 at 9:11 am |

    How can anyone look at the author’s response to the objections to this article on twitter and not see his oppressive behavior? Yes, he faces oppression as a gay man, but he is still a member of the oppressive sex class. He categorized what were pretty reasonable comments as a woman “losing her shit,” repeatedly referred to those who objected to his article as “girl,” encouraged other men to “join the fun” in piling on her, and seemed to have no qualms in ridiculing and dismissing the voices of women on a feminist website. Sorry, but all I see is more typically entitled male behavior.

  24. Jadey
    Jadey October 17, 2012 at 9:16 am |

    Reading through some of the thread I saw from yesterday, I found a few instances where people suggested I (or someone else) was dismissing annalouise’s comments as transphobic. This is a misinterpretation of when I said her comments reminded me of obnoxious radfems’, one of whose other characteristics tend to be transphobia. But I wasn’t clear enough that I wasn’t trying to suggest that she was being transphobic herself. A subsequent search through Feministe’s archives convinced me that whatever rhetoric she might share with radfems, a commitment to transphobia *isn’t* one of them, so I want to clear this up again in case my reply above gets lost in the muddle:

    I am not accusing annalouise of being transphobic nor do I think there is any grounds for that accusation here in this thread or elsewhere on Feministe that I have seen.

    I have plenty of legit things to criticize annalouise’s comments on and I don’t need to make shit up to do it.

    1. DonnaL
      DonnaL October 17, 2012 at 9:26 am |

      Your google skills must be far superior to mine; I couldn’t find anything at all that she’s written on trans issues. Plus, as I said, there’s another annalouise who commented here several years ago, with a different avatar.

      So I’ll reserve judgment.

      1. Jadey
        Jadey October 17, 2012 at 11:01 am |

        Fair enough, I didn’t consider the possibility of a second annalouise, actually, and checking again I do see a few different avatars (though there’s at least one instance of annalouise with this avatar defending Voz, a trans woman who commented semi-regularly a few years ago and was instrumental in challenging transphobia and cissexism on mainstream feminist websites but was also considered very controversial and not someone I’d expect that kind of radfem to have any regard for at all).

        Reserving judgement as well.

        1. Donna L
          Donna L October 17, 2012 at 7:11 pm |

          The substance of that thread entirely aside, one thing that struck me is how many trans people used to comment year, as recently as 2009. Wow. I wonder what happened to all of them. By the time I started commenting here about a year ago, they were all gone.

  25. Jadey
    Jadey October 17, 2012 at 9:57 am |

    As for sexism in the thread, maybe we should talk about how when how when a woman disagreed with commenters like annalouise, she was either misgendered or erased from the conversation entirely to make a point about MRAs and “what about the menz?!”

    I may disagree with someone’s comments, but I’ll still acknowledge that their opinions are their own.

    1. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune October 17, 2012 at 11:12 am |

      No shit. I (and you and others on the thread) was actually called an MRA. I’m still fucking reeling from the sheer flying WTF of that. Nyan cat makes more sense.

  26. David
    David October 17, 2012 at 2:41 pm |

    I am a young(ish), white, cis, straight, athletic man, and as a result I receive very little street harassment. In other words, I “pass” our society’s idea of what a man should look like, and fortunately for me, this doesn’t cause any internal conflicts.

    However, I am very aware that if I were to be perceived as gay, weak, nerdy, goth, short, trans, fat, etc. then my experiences on the street would be very different.

    Street harassment of men is a means of control. It is one of the forces that keeps sexist men inside the “act-like-a-man-box”. This makes it a vital feminist issue. If you can help take steps to reduce male street harassment, then you make it easier for men to leave the man box, and start treating women as equals.

    Further reading on the “man box.”
    http://www.charlieglickman.com/2011/05/the-performance-of-masculinty/

  27. Lyndsay
    Lyndsay October 18, 2012 at 4:20 pm |

    I wish this could be posted again with posts saying it shouldn’t have been posted deleted.

    My husband knows about this. He has a skirt he enjoys wearing. If you want to be a man who wears a skirt, you have to be ready for staring and harassment. This shouldn’t be the case but people are not used to any behaviour that is like the other gender. Mostly, it wasn’t too bad but there was one guy who kept yelling homophobic insults at him from across the street. Other people are simply interested in why he’s doing it. It’s interesting to compare the harassment he gets compared to the harassment I’ve gotten when I’m topless in public. I’ve never been brave enough to go topless when alone so I’m sure there is less harassment when I’m with him than there would be if I were alone.

  28. Sharing the love « The Lady Garden
    Sharing the love « The Lady Garden October 19, 2012 at 6:52 pm |

    [...] Harassing Men on the Street: I surveyed 331 [gay and bisexual] men around the world about their experiences, and about 90 percent said they are sometimes, often, or always harassed or made to feel unwelcome in public spaces because of their perceived sexual orientation [...]

  29. pitbullgirl65
    pitbullgirl65 October 21, 2012 at 5:04 pm |

    *delurking*Late comment is late: I’m fairly certain this is the same AnneLouise who was Oh_Anna_Louise on Livejournal. She was an annoying, over the top SJW before it became a well known meme. In other words: she’s an ass.

  30. BritterSweet
    BritterSweet October 22, 2012 at 9:08 pm |

    As a feminist, I believe the street harassment of gay and bisexual men *is* relevant to the cause because it’s connected to the harassment of women. They both stem from the same root problem: our social system is a totem pole, with people asserting control over and abusing the ones they see as “below” them.

  31. Des hommes harcelés dans la rue « Genre!

    [...] traduction d’un article paru sur le site feministe.us, écrit par Patrick Ryne et intitulé « Harassing Men on the Street ». J’ai essayé de rendre clair, dans ma traduction du titre et de l’article, le fait [...]

  32. Dawne
    Dawne November 10, 2012 at 3:13 pm |

    This comments section has totally changed my view of feminism, the overwhelming response to “I don’t care what men have to say”, really enlightened me. I feel like feminism is sometimes categorized to just be about women. But this page here shows me the majority of all of you care about the men in your lives and would like them to also be a part of the conversation, instead of completely alienating them. I think it’s easy to forget that feminism is not just a woman’s issue, but an issue for everyone.

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