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May 30, 2006

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Interesting post by Hugo Schwyzer I probably got called "gay" more than most of my peers. In my childhood and early adolescence, I wasn't athletic. I was a "drama nerd", and was active in a community theater company. At that age, most of my good friend... [Read More]

Comments

Hershele Ostropoler

I thought the line was that men pretend to be feminists to get women to sleep with them. Which implies that admitting to being anti-feminist is a bad strategy, not necessarily the message such people want to convey, but whatever.

Hugo

That's the other slur. We're EITHER gay OR we're "wolves in sheep's clothing." A few, the lucky few, get accused of both at the same time by the same people.

bmmg39

"At the MRA sites, some of the comments turn to the inevitable questioning of my sexuality."

And that disgusts me. It's unfair to you, and it's a homophobic slur, just like saying "retarded" as an insult. It also demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding toward people who are truly gay. (And would someone who was romantically attracted to other men be a "self-loathing male," as some of those say you are?)

aspazia

Hugo--

Thank you for this insightful post. On a slightly different point, why do you choose to refer to yourself as a pro-feminist man, rather than a feminist man? I am sure you have probably tackled this before, but I am a new reader. I had such debates over whether or not men could be feminists while I was in graduate school, but to be honest, I never could see the point why a man couldn't just claim himself a feminist. I guess I am wary of any essentialism that might underlie "feminism" if we were to circumscribe it to biological women. But, perhaps this is not your intention?

The Gonzman

Because it's an article of faith among many feminists that a mere male cannot truly be a feminist - it's a woman thing, and the poor benighted males can never truly understand.

Leraconteur

Hugo,

Your apparent reading comprehension filter is still intact.

I have not read any posts on any MRA forums that question your sexuality.

I *have* read many comments that you are an unusually pussyfied man.

IOW Emasculated - identifying almost soley with the female and feminine.

"Hugo may be biologically a man, but his personality most definitely has strong feminine characteristics, moreso than most ordinary men. In other words, Hugo's plumbed like a guy but acts like a girl. That's why I for one argue that his experiences, etc., are not typical of normal, ordinary, healthy masculinity while Gonzo's are."

This has zero to do with whom you have sex with or whom you find sexually attractive.

Emasculated does not equal 'Gay'.

In fact your well known, and self-admitted hebophilic tendencies are, well, just creepy.

In a very hetersexual way, of course.

All the Best,
Lee

Hugo

Lee, visit Stand Your Ground to find this gem from Mr. Bad, whom I eventually banned:

"Homosexual? He claims to be heterosexual, married, etc., but frankly with his propensity for wearing pink and pastel colored shirts, women's jean, his fondness for antiquing and other modes of shopping, etc., to me he comes across as queer as a $3 bill. Maybe he's bi, or perhaps in serious denial. Who knows?"

Leraconteur

I stand corrected.

You have posted one instance. Certainly proves that *a* MRA questions your sexuality, but by no means proof that all, most or a predominance of MRA's think as such.

"The "if he thinks that way, he must be gay" is a line with which virtually every pro-feminist man is well familiar."

Well Hugo, as someone who WAS a pro-feminist man in my teens to mid 30's, the women nor men wouldn't question me on this because of my beliefs. This is/was a common test young women toss at men these days.

I get tested on this by women to this day - but it's just a courtship test.

And I am certainly no longer a pro-feminist man.

Vacula

"softer and more human sides of their nature" ???

Leraconteur

"Lee, visit Stand Your Ground to find this gem from Mr. Bad, whom I eventually banned..."

I host my own forum, and I have heated disagreements with some members.
Some I don't agree with on almost every word they post.
I even have had my own share of trolls, insults and bad attitudes.

Yet I have not banned anyone - there is plenty of room for disagreement on my forum.

This propensity to censure, censor and edit is a strong point of many in the Feminist Camp. It strongly supports the oft-repeated MRA phrase that "Feminism cannot wistand an open debate."

Nat

An open debate and resorting to personal attacks are hardly the same thing, so using Hugo's banning of an abusive troll as a way to show he fears debate is a pretty weak charge.

SamChevre

OK, so the things that can get one perceived as "gay" are just strange; this is true of both people who think homosexuality is fine and those who don't.

For example, a lot of my friends thought I was/might be gay. I wear bright colors and bow ties, I am shy and geeky and fairly non-confrontational, and I didn't have a girlfriend for a long time. I am not at all homosexual. Oh--should note--many of the women who thought I was probably gay were lesbian--they certainly didn't oppose homosexuality or see it as a bad thing.

MVa

I have not read any posts on any MRA forums that question your sexuality.

I *have* read many comments that you are an unusually pussyfied man.

Yeah the comments I read are that 'pro-feminist men' are merely pussy-whipped, not gay. Pussy-whipped and gay are two different universes - I would say opposites. A gay man doesn't feel the compulsion to please women based on his sexual orientation. A pussy-whipped guy is trying to please women to win their approval - for ego and possibly sexual gratification. That is the accusation often thrown towards pro-feminist men, and it's a common one on MRA boards.

Another Jeff

Hershele: it depends who your audience is.

If you're trying to convince other man that feminist or pro-feminist men are in the wrong, you call them gay.

If you're trying to convince other women that feminist or pro-feminist men are in the wrong, you say they're just trying to score.

If you're in a mixed crowd, you'll probably just say they're unmanly.


Gonzman: Who appointed you the spokesperson for feminists or pro-feminists?


Leraconteur: There's a fundamentally dishonest debate tactic I call the "opt-out blanket statement." It's the simultaneous insistence on the near-universality of a general claim (the blanket statement) and the narrowness of all counterexamples (the opt-out). You seem to be doing this.

In addition, why should "I didn't call you gay, I just called you emasculated" get one a free pass?

The Gonzman

"softer and more human sides of their nature" ???

Yeah, I caught that too.

I am not particularly programmed to behave in a traditionally masculine fashion, despite the circular logic of people insisting that I do. I LIKE it that way.

Hugo

The "more human" reference was awkwardly put; my bad. I did not wish to imply that the feminine is "more human" and the masculine less so. Rather, fear of being labeled a "fag" causes men to hide their human vulnerabilities and APPEAR to be less than human -- invulnerable, hyper-heterosexual, etcetera.

NancyP

Why can't a man be feminist, according to the saying, "Feminism is the radical notion that women are people" ? If they want to call themselves allies of feminists, that's fine too.

It does strike me that the Masculinity Race in school serves as a ranking mechanism and social control manipulative tool, just as mastery of the latest gossip and fashion and boyfriend are used to establish ranking of girls.

A gamma or iota or omega guy is labelled wimp or pussy or gay; the equivalent girl is ugly or fat or looks like a dork or can't get a guy. Junior high is the worst. Animals with raging hormones. We should all have amnesia of jr. high days.

Hugo

And Leraconteur, what's with the hebophilia reference?

NancyP

Gonz, we are ALL programmed by our cultures to some degree. It's called "learning". Some people feel congruent with the predominant culture, some people less so. Only asocials ("wolf boys", kids locked in a bare room all their lives) are not programmed, and they are a mess, if not near-psychotic.

Troy

Tuffskins! Wow, I haven't heard those referred to in awhile.

Amen, Nancy. We should all have amnesia of junior high days.

What resources--books or other--are there for men who want to deal with internalized homophobia? I am thinking of youth group and GenX & Y age.

Phil Hoover

Great post, Hugo! So what about all those wonderful "CHEFS" who just happen to be male?

Wonder what people call them, huh?

Q Grrl

"The "if he thinks that way, he must be gay" is a line with which virtually every pro-feminist man is well familiar."

The truly scary thing is these men's inherent claim (buried claim?) that in order to be properly heteroseuxal, you have to dominate and hate women. If you don't do either, you're obviously gay.

Very strange indeed.

Random Lurker

Q grrl-

I was just thinking this.

I've always been told that the kind of boys I tend to like/date- 'softer' intellectual, emotionally open, egalitarian types that don't suscribe to 'traditional masculinity and who are interested in a equal, nontraditional sort of relationship- are 'probably gay'. If a guy was nice to me- then he couldn't possibly like me. 'Cause, you see- if he *really* liked me, he'd push me around and stare at my tits and just tune me out.

The idea *did* seem to be that male heterosexual desire *is* all about disrespect, hatred, exploitation and abusive dominance. It seemed like their kind of 'masculinity' was all about being a walking penis rather then a full human being.

I never could figure out why they were so proud of this, And why a relationship with a 'proper heterosexual man' who would treat me like crap was sooooo much better then my 'faggot' boyfriends. I'd tell them that the logic kinda didn't compute. They'd usually just start calling me a dyke then- hey, equal opportunity homophobia for *everyone*. :p

The Gonzman

Gonzman: Who appointed you the spokesperson for feminists or pro-feminists?

Same person that appointed people like you who clairvoyantly tell us what our motivations and thinking are. I mean, you magically know that by acting "manly" we're really secretly gay; that our questioning the a priori assumptions of feminism not out of any conviction, but because we secretly want to beat up and rape women, and so on, and so forth.

And, FYI, son - I say that it's an article of faith among many feminists that a man can't truly be a feminist because in fact, that is what is said - here's the first link from my casual search:

http://www.expositorymagazine.net/2004/september/feminism_annmarie.php

I quote, from the bottom of that page:

Many feminists, especially radical feminists, don't believe men can truly be feminists. In this perspective, male supporters of feminism are usually called "pro-feminist men." Other feminists believe that men can be feminists, with no qualifiers.

That's a feminist e-zine, son. The article, a FAQ, was written by Ann Marie Dobosz, who used to be the sysadmin for the Ms. Boards.

And there's this: http://fistinpacifist.blogspot.com/2006/03/oh-lord-not-this-again.html

Lord have mercy, but know what you're talking about. Next time do your homework, and you might wind up not looking so foolish.

Jendi

Young men needing to prove their masculinity seems pretty universal across human cultures - hence the initiation rituals and vision quests in Native American and similar traditional societies. I don't know if a lot of young guys have a strong enough sense of self to be comfortable right away with a more fluid gender identity. That may be something that comes later in life. Hugo, in your years working with young people, have you found a less destructive way for boys to prove themselves as men? Is a certain amount of rejection of the feminine inevitable at this stage, since they are trying to distance themselves from the weakness of childhood dependence on the mother?

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