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February 08, 2005

Comments

Sheelzebub

Do you always feel the need to defend someone else?

Actually, I read your replies to me purely for the entertainment value, and I post to get ever more amusement from your inane rantings and sloppy reasoning.

ray

"For the US: No women are allowed in front line combat qualified positions in the Armed Forces. Ergo, they are held back from advancing in the military."


LOL!

y'all are hilarious! ... the only example you could find of male "privilege" in the supposed "patriarchy" was the "privilege" that males have to be forced into military servitude at age 18 and then to be maimed, tortured and/or killed while defending womens' Homeland??

women are "held back" from being the disposable cannon fodder like men?!! this is the Last Frontier of the Professionally Oppressed?!

such a position, so massively out-o-touch with reality, is so incredibly hypocritical, naive, and selfish that it deserves no response -- except, unfortunately, that this mentality is quite pervasive throughout our Western matriarchies ... how long will it be before American women begin complaining that they aren't getting their share of testicular cancer?

... and, no doubt, receiving special funding and support in response to their "righteous" complaint?!

LOL!!

the nonsensical extremity of VJ's position is par-for-course amongst many in our overprivileged, overprotected, hypnotised culture of spoiled brats, and illustrates clearly why YOU ALL BEST PRAY that feminism and the matriarchy is soon confronted and crushed

a certain group of females, along with their male enablers, will not be satisfied until every shred of power and advantage has been ceded to them by their coercive State, and every male in the Western world is subjugated beneath their childish, unending demands

and after they've destroyed every shred of trust and beauty between female and male, and civilization is smashed beneath the weight of their selfishness, megalomania and rage, they'll sit in their freezing, blackened cities and COMPLAIN EVEN AS THEY SHIVER AND STARVE

but there won't be any media or universities or governments OR REAL MEN to rush in and save their sorry asses

but hey, not to worry . . . when the Big Lights go out, VJ and comrades can call on their gender-studies professors to put out the fires!

LOL!!

Lauren

I think the POV "so massively out-o-touch with reality" is the one that dismisses an opposing view as tripe without reading them closely or acknowledging the nuances there simply because the argument is under a vague banner of feminism.

Most feminisms do not promote an "overprivileged, overprotected, hypnotised culture of spoiled brats." Most of us are wary of capitalism (yes, the one that creates free markets and directly markets to our kids thereby creating that overpriviliged, spoiled brat you detail), don't buy into ad hominem attacks and labels, don't want to see our detractors "shivering and starving," and don't want a linear model for femininity and masculinity like that endorsed by the original post under criticism.

If you're comfortable being characterized as either a jerk or a nice guy, I suppose you're in good company, Ray, with the company you keep.

Lauren

One more thing: Sometimes I get the feeling that some anti-feminists wouldn't like women if feminism existed or not.

Now where would I get that from?

stanton

Lauren: "One more thing: Sometimes I get the feeling that some anti-feminists wouldn't like women if feminism existed or not."

You probably get this because many anti-feminists don't like women. Naturally men (and some women) who don't like women are naturals for the anti-feminist crowd. Just as many fringe feminists hate men, and would hate them whether or not feminism was around. Isn't it a sad thing to be defined primarily by what one is AGAINST?

Your dreaded MRAs are as varied in nature as feminists. There are many more flavors than the four that I have seen mentioned here. I wonder if the universe of posters on this blog will ever advance beyond deriding the monolithic MRAs while proclaiming the diversity of feminsts... I see no sign of it yet.

Hugo Schwyzer

Well, stanton, I can distinguish folks like you and Aegis and craichead on the one hand from folks like Obstetor on the other. Your civility and willingness to comment here (in "inhospitable waters") does not go unnoticed or unappreciated.

bmmg39

"But women have a RIGHT to be angry at men...there is such a thing as 'righteous anger'...why shouldn't we be angry at them..."

SOME women have a right to be angry at SOME men, just as SOME men have a right to be angry at SOME women. Do you acknowledge this?

"It's like they are trying to deny ANY responsibility for their own bad actions either now or in our past...I wouldn't say they are responible for EVERY thing bad that has happened to women, nor would I say they are not responsible for ANY thing bad that has happened to us..."

Okay. So I'll merely turn it around (again) and say that, while women aren't responsible for EVERY bad thing that's happened to men, I also wouldn't say that women aren't responsible for ANYthing bad that has happened to men...

bmmg39

I understand that Typhon doesn't mean that men who treat women as true equals are actually jerks, but it might not be bad if she were to change that label to something else. I think her point is that men and women should treat each other the same, rather than with one-sided chivalry or the attitude of "yes-I-know-we-men-are-all-scum"...so when she calls that group The Jerks, it's sort of a contradiction. I support men's rights and I don't think I'm really a jerk...

Amanda

Not sure why it is that because some men have been screwed over by some women that women's basic rights need to be dialed back.

Aegis

Jeff and Keri, thank you for your thoughtful replies. I'm going try to respond to each of your main points, starting with Jeff (and if I leave out anything you want me to address, let me know).

Am I looking at feminism as if it were monolithic? I don't know. The statement: "feminism increased women's political power" might also treat feminism as monolithic, but it doesn't make the statement wrong. Are there any kinds of feminism that didn't think male gender roles needed change, or that males needed to be less dominant and more empathetic? I think it's perfectly fair to say that the "nice guy" emerged in response to feminism (though it's another question how much feminism should be held responsible for this).

"Being a man" - yes, this is a terminology issue that I probably should have defined better. I don't know if I believe that males need to go through all sorts of shenanigans to learn to "be men." Instead of talking about "being a man," perhaps I should have talked about being an individual. Being an individual requires confidence, self-esteem, and a sense of agency and personal responsibility. I see those values lacking in both male and female socialization, especially in the "nice guy" messages.

I stand by the point that most people who complain that being "nice" isn't getting them laid aren't really "nice" people. (I see a difference between the typical "nice guys finish last, chicks dig jerks" rant and, say, someone lamenting that eroding someone's self-esteem can be an effective seduction method.)

Actually, in my "nice guy" days, I think I was (and still am) an empathetic person. The reason I didn't "get laid" was probably because I wasn't comfortable with myself. I was insecure, inhibited, and passive. I think if I had actually made it into a relationship at that point, I would have made a total hash of things. I have no trouble admitting that because I am past it now. When I developed stronger self-esteem, confidence, and agency; and when I started being more proactive, I became a lot more successful with women. (Hence, I am also frustrated when I encounter MRA-types or just any men who deny that they need to change and blame women for being collectively insane for not wanting them.)

It doesn't surprise me at all that being nice doesn't get anyone laid. Why should it? Being sexy is what gets people laid, not being nice. If we are charitable and define "niceness" as empathy, then it's easy to see how empathy will create platonic connection, but platonic connection is NOT the same thing as sexual attraction.

The idea that if a guy can get laid simply by creating emotional connection with a woman is just as deluded as the idea that a woman can find relationships simply by being hot and jumping in bed with a guy. These misconceptions over the nature of attraction hurt both sexes. My theory is that they come from some kind of essentialist, Victorian view of men and women. If men are just horny beasts, then it would justify the belief that attracting them sexually is all that's necessarily for women to get into relationships with them. If women only feel a kind of pure, asexual love towards men, then that would justify the idea that all a guy needs to do is connect with her platonically (such as by being "nice"). These misconceptions create two problematic archetypes: the "nice guy", and the "dumb (but hot) blonde".

I would hold that this is true for *any* set of messages about masculinity.

Good point: couldn't my skepticism towards current male socialization be applied to any messages guys receive? Perhaps all messages are potentially misleading, and my gripes with current messages are only based on the high degree to which they are misleading.

Nevertheless, I think the problem with the current messages is not just that they can be misunderstood, but because they mostly define masculinity in terms of behaviors to avoid, or in terms of how other people should see you. Unfortunately, you cannot define individuality in terms of how others perceive you. Neither does it work very well to tell people what not to do, but not leave them any methods for finding what works for them. People aren't so omniscient that we can expect them to see through all societal illusions. Surely it's possible to come up with a better set of messages to socialize males.

Again, I have a problem with the terminology, namely the idea that a heterosexual woman's actions with respect to relationships is phrased in terms of "rewarding" or "punishing" a man for his behavior. This speaks to what I feel is one of the biggest problems in heterosexual relationships today: a sense that any given man is entitled to attention from the woman of his choice.

Yes, it was misleading for me to speak of women "rewarding" men. I also see a big problem with the idea that sex is something that women should dole out in response to good male behavior. An analogous entitlement mentality is that idea that a woman deserves a relationship with a man if he has sex with her.

Second, I believe that blaming feminism for this and asking them to be the ones to change the system is an abdication of one's own ability to make these changes, and a return to the idea that men are entitled to attention from women. Just go out and be the man you want to be already; what's stopping you?

Keri made a similar point, and I will address it in my next post so that this one doesn't get any more monstruous...

stanton

Amanda:"Not sure why it is that because some men have been screwed over by some women that women's basic rights need to be dialed back."

I assume you consider this to be the implied intent of some men - to "roll back" women's basic rights. If any man has declared this to be his intent, please post the source. I see references to things that men (MRAs?) say or do that I have not experienced. I still await a reference from mythago, for example, of someone saying that gender performance disparities in certain fields are due to genetic factors.

Anyway - if you cannot quote a source, perhaps you can list the basic rights of women that you believe I, as an MRA, wish to roll back.

Aegis


Jeff said:
Second, I believe that blaming feminism for this and asking them to be the ones to change the system is an abdication of one's own ability to make these changes, and a return to the idea that men are entitled to attention from women. Just go out and be the man you want to be already; what's stopping you?

Nothing: I am more or less the man I want to be, but I am not the issue. I have seen through the problems with a lot of these messages, but many guys have not and will not. Anyway, just because I have seen through these messages doesn't mean that I shouldn't protest them, especially since I have experienced first-hand the difficulty in changing. There are really two issues that we are dealing with:

1. Whether certain social attitudes should exist.
2. Whether it's possible to surmount any disadvantages those attitudes create if you take responsibility for your life.

For instance, it is possible to critique portrayals of female body images in the media and still expect women to be responsible for their self-esteem and happiness with their bodies.

Why exactly should feminists feel responsible for helping men improve their love lives? The fault lies not with feminism, but with the men who interpreted feminist rhetoric about the problems with traditional masculinity as "wow, if I just act exactly the opposite of that, I'll get tons of chicks!"

I will suggest to you that perhaps men misinterpreted feminist rhetoric because there were problems with that rhetoric. And what did feminism do to stop men from making that misinterpretation? Nothing. But to be fair, maybe feminists didn't realize that their tinkering with gender roles was going awry. Still, we can't expect men to be omniscient either. If it is unfair to hold feminism responsible for some of the current problems with masculinity, then that is only because you can't hold people responsible for ignorance.

And if that disillusionment leads him down the path of misogyny, it's unfortunate, but that's his problem too; it's hardly our fault as feminists.

Yes, it is his problem. I'm not denying that. Still, feminism, or at least the feminism of the 70's and 80's had a major hand in creating those illusions in the first place.

It may not be the fault of the media when girls become anorexic. But the media still contributes to a cultural context that encourages women to starve themselves. Likewise, feminism helped create a cultural context that encourages men to put women on pedestals. Maybe feminism cannot be held completely responsible for that context, but it cannot be held blameless either.

I think feminism, though it naturally skews toward a focus on women's issues, does deal with this problem by continuing to break down male gender roles as well as female ones, so that all people are more free to be themselves.

Unfortunately, just as there are males who demonstrate negative attitudes to females who break their gender roles, there are females who sneer at males who break theirs. For an example of this, check out the article I linked to two posts ago. Right now, it isn't necessarily practical for a guy to throw away his gender role, unless he is willing to severely limit his choices in women.

However, wouldn't you think that men themselves ought to take an active role in this reconstruction of masculinity? Why are you sitting around waiting for feminists to tell men how they should and shouldn't act, instead of trying to change things yourself?

What makes you think I'm not trying to change things? I happen to post a ton on other forums about masculinity. I'm not waiting around for feminists to do anything, and I don't expect them to reconstruct masculinity. Still, I think feminism could have nipped the nice guy problem in the bud if it had been less short-sighted.

Trish Wilson

I agree with zuzu that "nice guys" are suffocating. I always thought that their primary focus was on themselves. They may put women up on fantasy pedestals, but the real focus is on them. They are insecure and want attention for themselves. They just use a different approach from the "jerks," who are just as self-centered.

Trish Wilson

Obtestor: "Most American women date 'bad boys' because of their delusional desire to be abused. Nice guys are rejected because they are less likely to be the abusers."

Oh, this is ridiculous. "Most American women" don't date 'bad boys." What a horrible view of women. 'Nice guys' are rejected because women see them for the self-centered and self-righteous guys they are. As Jeff said, 'nice guys' don't see women as human beings. They see them as objects for their validation.

Keri

Aegis: Well, first of all, I'm not sure where you're getting the impression that feminism calls upon men to be "more empathetic." I keep up with the feminist community fairly well, and I've never once seen a feminist say that one of the goals of the movement is to make all men get in touch with their feelings. I've seen men called upon to be more aware of their privilege, or to take an equal role in household chores and childcare, or to do more to fight rape and abuse, but none of those fall under "empathy" as a personality trait unless you really want to stretch the definition. (It may be true that feminists are more likely than non-feminists to seek out empathetic men as partners, because they may be less influenced by the gender roles that say men should be stoic and unemotional, but that still doesn't mean it's a goal of the movement as a whole.)

I will suggest to you that perhaps men misinterpreted feminist rhetoric because there were problems with that rhetoric.

What about it do you consider problematic? Again, the only thing feminists have consistently said about male gender roles is about the same as what they said about female gender roles-- that a prescribed set of behaviors and attitudes and personality traits is harmful for anyone, and the idea that biological factors make men and women drastically different is harmful as well. Is that wrong?

Unfortunately, just as there are males who demonstrate negative attitudes to females who break their gender roles, there are females who sneer at males who break theirs.

Those women are generally not feminists. (By the way, I didn't see a link in your second-to-last post-- mind reposting it?)

Still, I think feminism could have nipped the nice guy problem in the bud if it had been less short-sighted.

I still don't think it makes any sense to dump all or even most of the blame for the "nice guy problem" on feminism. Seems like quite the opposite to me-- if a "nice guy" were really behaving the way feminists recommend that he should, he wouldn't approach interactions with women from the perspective that he is entitled to their attention and affection simply by virtue of being male, and he would respect women as individuals who are capable of making their own decisions instead of insisting that they're stupid/masochistic/don't know their own minds/etc. because they're not dating him.

The idea that feminism is to blame for men disrespecting women and treating them like objects and trying to manipulate them into bed is pretty preposterous. Men didn't need feminism to teach them how to do those things-- they've been doing them for ages, since long before feminism became a household term (and yes, I know not all men behave this way, but throughout history there have always been some men who have). The "nice guy" thing is just an attempt to draw more flies with honey than vinegar-- really, it's the same old manipulation and misogyny dressed up in nicer clothes.

Lauren

Stanton: Angry Harry, for one, has left several comments in Hugo's threads suggesting that the proper way of the world is one in which women's rights are rolled back, and he has quite a bit of support on the MR boards.

Curious

Hugo, I know you are a Christian. Why are there pictures of you wearing a Kabbalah red string in your photo albums?

Hugo Schwyzer

Heck, Lauren, Angry Harry has his own website.

I especially liked his "most rape allegations are false" bit:

http://www.angryharry.com/esMostRapeAllegationsAreFalse.htm

Amanda

I assume you consider this to be the implied intent of some men - to "roll back" women's basic rights.

I don't think "men" are trying to do anything. MRA's, however, are not exactly pro-choice and of course are against efforts to protect female victims of domestic violence inside woman-only shelters.

stanton

Amanda said: "MRA's, however, are not exactly pro-choice and of course are against efforts to protect female victims of domestic violence inside woman-only shelters."

MRA's are not so monolithic as you imply here. You will find pro-choice and pro-life positions among us, as well as many others who agonize over what is right on this issue, just as anywhere else. If this is a definitive criteria, then MRAs cannot be convicted, as a whole, of trying to dial back women's rights... but Hugo can! :-)

Perhaps there are some who wish to make all domestic violence shelters coed. I don't claim expertise in this area. bmmg39 - is this correct?

But even if it is correct, if male and female domestic violence victims shared a facility, would you really rate that as an outrage that "dials back" rights for women to a darker age, even when concerted efforts are still being suppported to reduce and eliminate DV for everyone?

So excuse the question, but are these two points your best demonstration of MRAs wishing to dial back women's rights?

cmc

I never knew much of anything about MRAs until I started visiting this site (about a week or ten days ago). My question is, as a general matter, are there areas of common ground between MRAs and feminists? Can a person be an MRA and a feminist at the same time? Are there any feminist MRAs? Or are feminism and men's rights necessarily antithetical to each other?

I don't know if Hugo takes requests, but I would love to see a post on this question.

Hugo Schwyzer

I'll give it some thought... interesting idea.

bmmg39

"I don't think "men" are trying to do anything. MRA's, however, are not exactly pro-choice and of course are against efforts to protect female victims of domestic violence inside woman-only shelters."

First: some MRAs are pro-choice and some are pro-life -- you know, just like Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Alice Paul were pro-life.

Second: MRAs want to ensure that abused men have a place to go. Right now, they don't, save for a handful of shelters that have room for them.

bmmg39

"Perhaps there are some who wish to make all domestic violence shelters coed. I don't claim expertise in this area. bmmg39 - is this correct?"

Speaking for myself only, I'll say that I want there to be places where abused men (and there are approximately as many of these as there are abused women) can go to be safe from their attackers. I certainly see the logic in having single-sex facilities, but certainly men need SOMEWHERE to go.

There is currently a case in CA in which ten female-only DV shelters are being sued for discrimination. It's not just that they don't have a place for men; it's that they are hostile to anyone who asks the question. In all of gigantic Los Angeles County, there is just ONE facility that accepts men (Valley Oasis), it's out in the boondocks, the other centers won't tell abused men of its existence, and they even have given much grief to the poor woman who runs Valley Oasis for -- and I quote -- "helping the enemy."

Have separate wings, have separate buildings, put them on separate streets, I don't care. But men need a place to go (and in some cases bring their children) if their female or male partners are attacking them.

bg
www.safe4all.org, Stop Abuse For EVERYONE

bmmg39

"Can a person be an MRA and a feminist at the same time? Are there any feminist MRAs? Or are feminism and men's rights necessarily antithetical to each other?"

I've been trying to say for a couple of weeks here that I don't think they're at crossed swords at all, although (again) I do like the word "egalitarian" moreso than "feminist" for reasons I've repeatedly mentioned.

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