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January 25, 2005

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Kat

*offers more almonds for Matilde's obvious distress*

Hugo Schwyzer

Matilde, as a rodent, does not normally like felines. But you are obviously a discerning and special Kat.

graham

The comments and emails you've been getting are simply astounding.

Your graciousness is equally fairly impressive too! :-)

Amanda

If you go to the blogs of these self-proclaimed men's rights activists, you'll see all sorts of pin-up pictures of women, usually with hostile captions.

Anne

Oh if only women would STOP posing for all those "pin-ups" then men would have nothing to exploit.

Hugo Schwyzer

I certainly share with you, Anne, an eagerness to provide women with well-paying alternatives to selling their bodies in any of the facets of the sex industry, from "pin-ups" to prostitution.

But the fact that some young women make poor choices out of economic necessity does not mitigate in any way men's responsibility to not objectify them. I have a far higher opinion of male self-control than that.

Amanda

You're right. And if women started wearing burquas, men wouldn't stare at their cleavage. Once again, we must remember that if it has a penis, it's blameless.

Scarbo

I see cleavage, I stare. Discreetly. I'm a normal male, I like to look at pretty women.

Am I "sexually pure"? I have thoughts about sex just like any other man I know. I don't cheat on my wife, and wouldn't dream of doing so.

So, are you now going to tell me that I need to change?

Ambrose

Men objectify women because there have always been women who let them.

Hugo

No, Scarbo, not necessarily. But there's all the difference in the world between a momentary appreciative glance at a woman on the street and lustful staring. (If you aren't sure of the difference, ask a woman -- most know the distinction between a complimentary look and the penetrating gaze).

If your staring is perceptible either to the woman at whom you are gazing, or to your wife, you bet your boots you've got a problem.

And if you're buying magazines to look at 'em, or going online to look at 'em -- yup, you've got work to get done. And brother, it can be done.

David

Hugo,

I don't beleive you really understand the men's movement. I think you're trying to put people into neat little boxes and label them.

For instance: Mens news daily. Most of my mens activist friends loathe this fascist site. Its by no means a loved site amongst vast swathes of us. Of course Glenn would cite it as being important, he used to write there (maybe he still does, I dont know).

Secondly, you only seem aware of a very small number of men's websites. This is not entirely surprising, as some of the more important ones are hidden. Nevertheless, you can't characterise a movement based on such a limited view of it.

Thirdly, the men's movement isn't really a top-down, ideologically driven movement like the feminist movement is. Its very much a grass-roots uprising. Most of these guys are not making money out of it, we don't have professorships in posh universities that pay us to talk about these things all day long. We do it because we're sick of men like us never having a voice in the media on gender issues, we're sick of being constantly characterised as rapists and abusers, and we're sick of the injustices we see happening around us.

Lastly, I am bisexual. And I'm a very commited men's rights activist, and I don't think you have the first understanding of men like me so stop spreading bigotted views about people you don't understand. I don't think you are a hateful man, but I do think you are planting seeds that can grow into hate.

I don't think you see us as individual human beings. I think you're more dedicated to upholding an ideology, whatever the costs. Please Hugo, don't put an ideology before real humans.

I'm leaving now because I know you're all going to start pissing on me and I'm really not in the mood for it.

zuzu

Sorry to see you piss and run, David.

Rhesa

Hmmm...I didn't see David's post as a "piss-n-run" affair. Some generalizations can go so far before they're no longer applicable, right?

Not that I disagree with you, Hugo, but the first question that came to mind after I read David's comments was, "Is he an exception to the rule?"

If none of this makes sense, I blame it on work.

Hugo Schwyzer

Well, as someone who has been teaching courses on men and masculinity for years, has worked with groups ranging from Men Can Stop Rape to Promise Keepers to Big Brothers to the Boy Scouts to NOMAS, David doesn't get himself off on the right foot with me when he questions whether I know much about the men's movement. Again, as my post pointed out, the men's movement is multi-faceted, in ways that go beyond the capacity of any blogger to describe.

For the record, Michael Kimmel's "Manhood In America" provides a very similar encapsulation of the men's movement as a whole, though he and I interpret things a bit differently. (That could be a whole other post.) Now, if David doesn't think Kimmel has any credibility on men's issues, that's another matter -- but it's a bit like saying that Phil Jackson doesn't know basketball.

Men's News Daily receives an astonishing number of hits and is regularly cited as representative of the men's rights movement. The fact that David doesn't list any of his "important but hidden" websites makes it impossible to respond to him as to whether there are other segments of the men's rights movement that are in complete disagreement with the MND crowd. If you have a men's rights site that is demonstrably more influential than any of the ones I listed, send it on over!

Obviously I can't list every men's website out there. I carefully picked just a couple that would be representative. Warren Farrell is one of the fathers of the men's rights movement; few would argue that. And Men's News Daily gets cited frequently and gets more hits than any other men's rights site out there.

...And while David demands respect for the complexity of the men's rights movement, he is dismissive of the feminist movement, calling it "top-down"...

I've also, as even Glenn Sacks pointed out, taught Gay and Lesbian history. As a straight man, I've worked as an activist on gay issues for years. (Hello? All Saints Pasadena? Flagship church of GLBTQ affirming Episcopalianism?)

Are there gay and bisexual men in all four groups of the movement? You bet. There's no question pro-feminist men are the most publicly receptive to gays and lesbians, but I am well aware that gay and bisexual men, both out and closeted, can be found throughout the entire men's movement.

David

I couldn't help myself, I had to come back. I guess I hoped for some kind of bridge to be built between my world and yours.

I have to say I'm feeling more depressed than ever. I didn't demand respect, I just was pointing out that I exist. But you only seem to want to think about things that can be neatly labeled, categorised and simply placed into groups. Anything outside of those top-down imposed labels and you don't seem to show any interest in it.

I don't care how many degrees or fancy-sounding groups you are a member of, you clearly don't understand me or my friends and you clearly show no interest in understanding us either.

The fact that MensNewsDaily.com gets a lot of hits has no relevance to whether it speaks for the men's movement. Its primarily an American conservative website, and I guess it gets a lot of hits from conservatives. So what? I'm not an American, and I'm not a conservative. And guess what: there are lots of us non-american non-conservative out there lol

Equally, the fact that its been cited as being representative of the men's rights movement just shows that there are others out there with an equally narrow view.

If you are a scholar you should greet something that doesn't fit into your current model with interest, not dismissal or distain. To embrace the new and the unknown is the only way we grow.

Hugo Schwyzer

Then help me, David -- give me one of your important but hidden websites. Prove me wrong! Please, with all respect, I am interested. But simply telling me you exist without providing much else is not enough to help your cause.

Amanda

"Men objectify women because there have always been women who let them."

Really, there's nothing that's not women's fault. Even if one man shoots another, I'm sure a woman is to blame somewhere. His mother?

It's the women of Afghanistan's fault that they have to wear the burqua. If they wanted to, they could just take it off, no? Sure, they'd get killed, but they still have a choice.

Kat

*kindly offers Matilde some more almonds*

No one, of any complexity, can be slapped with a label and put in a box. No one. To me the most important thing is to listent to each and try to understand. I don't think David is doing that very well. But, I'm new here, so I'll stop with that.

Jeff JP

I don't think David is doing that very well. But, I'm new here, so I'll stop with that.

I don't agree with your criticism of David. However, Hugo doesn't listen very well. When a man posts something Hugo doesn't like, he just labels the man a "misogynist." Most of the feminist dweebs here behave similarly.

Hugo Schwyzer

Um, where did I label David a misogynist, Jeff? Help me out, my friend.

And as always, Jeff, try and restrain yourself from using even mild epithets like "dweeb" I'm sure it's just code for "misguided and wrong", but still... I do want to keep even this heated and difficult discussion reasonably civil.

djw

My understanding of potshot is that it's a classist insult against those who hunt for food (thus, the pot), but those who hunt for sport. Could be wrong.

djw

that's by those who hunt for sport..

John

DJW is basically right, although the language of class war is profoundly unattractive. The expression is in common use here, to "take a pot-shot" is to snipe at someone. As for the whole "Mens' Rights" mess, I've posted a tangential response on my weblog.

zuzu

I don't agree with your criticism of David. However, Jeff JP doesn't listen very well. When a liberal posts something Hugo doesn't like, he just labels the liberal a "conservative." Most of the conservative dweebs here behave similarly.

djw

Well, sneering at people who have a compelling reason to hunt from those who do it for the sheer fun of it ain't too pretty either :)

Of course, this ugly form of classism is pretty much entirely antiquated here in the states.

We have the same common use meaning as in NZ.

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