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May 03, 2005

Comments

Carmen

I don't know why your student should feel uncomfortable?? I fail to see why a woman would be more capable of teaching about this topic. As a woman, I would hate to have a male student tell me that I was incapable of lecturing about male anatomy.

Caitriona

Mr. Bad,

Please stop reading your own biases and assumptions into my posts. It has gotten beyond tiring.

Now, to answer your question: hear you when you say that "...one should WORK to fix the situation...", but I'm wondering which "one" you would have doing the work to fix the situation?

1) In the situation Hugo described, noone was complaining. He had asked his students to honestly journal their feelings and reactions to the topics discussed in class. When it came to the topic of clitorectomy, a couple of the students recorded feeling extremely uncomfortable about having a male teaching on the topic, but grateful that the topic was covered. They recorded that they *wished* one of their female teachers had covered this topic, but as Hugo has posted, his female colleagues cover different material.

2) My suggestion for the unease would be two-fold. First, the students would need, IMO, to look within themselves to determine why they felt uncomfortable. I know that for me, the topic of clitorectomy is uncomfortable, no matter the who is involved in the discussion. I tend to be very sensitive about topics involving pain and can almost feel the pain of the procedure described. Other people have various reasons for being uncomfortable with such subjects, ranging from the topic being taboo where they grew up to having some sort of abuse issue(s) in their past. It is for the individual to determine the source of the unease and to deal with that source, utilizing counseling services if needed. (YMMV. Different types of unease require different approaches.) Second, the teacher can look into ways to put the students at ease with the topic. Some of those different approaches have been discussed above, including having a female staff member co-teach the topic.

Communication is a TWO WAY STREET. You can't have one side doing all the work, and the other side doing nothing.

Mr. Bad

Caitriona, I was responding to early comments in this thread such as: "a feminist man cannot completely understand the trauma of a clitorectomy, of course" (NB: Then a feminist cannot possibly understand the trauma of circumcision, of course),"Hugo HOW DARE YOU, a man, presume to even talk about women's bodies. You are a man, and you are therefore biologically our oppressors. It's in your genes, you are programmed by NATURE to abuse, beat, and rape us. Now you want to be a pretender for Mama's praise? It doesn't work on me. I know that behind your pretense of "male feminism" (as IF) there is a reptile. Never Again." (NB: that one's blatant female chauvansim and shamelessly sexist), and "What are you, as a man, trying to gain from this discussion? That you emphathize with women? That you understand what we go through everyday? Please. You're a man, and if it's not your problem you won't care about it or be inclined to fix it." Now, you might not see these as complaining simply because Hugo asked for their opinions, but frankly, it is complaining and in the second case even worse. Period. And further, at least Hugo has the decency to ask his female students about their feelings. I've yet to hear of any circumstance - in college or otherwise - where men were asked their feelings re. such things. In general, people just don't seem to care about how we men feel about these things.

As for my "biases and assumptions," I'm not really sure what you mean there. I'm responding to direct statements of yours, so I'm not reading anything into them - I'm responding to them. However, if you're referring to the issues of double-standards, I stand firm: You are endorsing double-standards vis-a-vis consideration of women's feelings in uncomfortable situations vs. men's feelings in similar situations. But this is de rigeur for our society, to hold men to higher standards than women. Same old "male privilege" I suppose. I'm sorry if my pointing this out bothers you, but I'm not about to stop fighting sexism and discrimination just because some people get tired of the stuggle.

Caitriona

Mr. Bad,

Would you mind telling me just WHERE I've said that I hold men to a higher standard than I do women? FWIW, I'm usually the one trying to get the MALES in my household to PLEASE tell me what's going on with them, mentally and emotionally. With most women, at least when you ask them what they're thinking/feeling, they'll tell you. With most men I know, it's like pulling teeth. OI!!!!

Tell ya what. You tell me how to get my husband and sons to TALK about what they're thinking and feeling. Then maybe when I'm not so frustrated with all the external reactions due to things going on inside their hearts and minds, you might find my comments a little more to your liking. Tell me how to get them to WORK on the issues that are bugging them instead of reacting to the little things going on around us, and I'll be forever grateful.

I get so fed up with people reacting negatively to things, griping and complaining and making themselves and everyone around them miserable, instead of honestly looking at the issues that are bugging them, figuring out why those issues bug them, and then working toward solutions to the issues and/or to the reasons those issues bug them. It's time to get over it already!

Caitriona

Now, Mr. Bad, as to your first paragraph:

> I was responding to early comments in this thread such as: "a feminist man cannot
> completely understand the trauma of a clitorectomy, of course" (NB: Then a feminist
> cannot possibly understand the trauma of circumcision, of course),


Well, DUH! And, as was pointed out by someone else, a woman who hasn't had a clitorectomy can't understand the trauma well, either, just as a man who hasn't had a circumcision can't really understand the sexual feeling/stimulation of a man who has. But that doesn't keep any of us from empathizing or from understanding that sex would be totally different for us if we were in the other situation. We can listen to people who've undergone those procedures and those who haven't to see what the differences are.


> "Hugo HOW DARE YOU, a man, presume to even talk about women's bodies. You are a man,
> and you are therefore biologically our oppressors. It's in your genes, you are
> programmed by NATURE to abuse, beat, and rape us. Now you want to be a pretender for
> Mama's praise? It doesn't work on me. I know that behind your pretense of "male
> feminism" (as IF) there is a reptile. Never Again." (NB: that one's blatant female
> chauvansim and shamelessly sexist),


Blatant chauvinism and sexism? Looks to more to me like a blatant TR*LL. Ever been fishing? Or perhaps that's what you're doing here. I keep wondering. If that's what you're doing, at least you're better at it than the person you cited above.


> and "What are you, as a man, trying to gain from this discussion? That you
> emphathize with women? That you understand what we go through everyday? Please.
> You're a man, and if it's not your problem you won't care about it or be inclined to
> fix it."


Looks to me like another blatant TR*LL.


> Now, you might not see these as complaining simply because Hugo asked for their
> opinions, but frankly, it is complaining and in the second case even worse. Period.


OK, either you really don't understand the 'net enough to recognize a tr*ll, you choose to use the tr*llish posts as fodder for your POV, or you are yourself a tr*ll. I've been giving you the benefit of the doubt, but it's getting tiresome.


> And further, at least Hugo has the decency to ask his female students about their
> feelings. I've yet to hear of any circumstance - in college or otherwise - where men
> were asked their feelings re. such things. In general, people just don't seem to
> care about how we men feel about these things.


You listen to different people than I do, then. I am acquainted with quite a few people who would absolutely LOVE it if men would discuss their feelings about such things. It's worse than pulling hens' teeth.

Carmen

Mr.Bad,Caitriona,
I just read that sexist female comment regarding a man's inability to empathize with a woman just because he's a man.__Is it possible that there are actually women out there who think of men in those terms?__What did she call Hugo? A reptile?__
Never Again,
Men who try to empathize with us are not our oppressors. Just because a man has different biology doesn't make him our enemy.__I give Hugo a lot of credit for doing an incredible job of presenting the topic of female anatomy and sexuality with sensitivity and discernment. __Just because he's a male doesn't mean that he doesn't have the ability to understand female anatomy.

Caitriona

Carmen, yes, there are women out there who think that way, but when it gets posted to the internet in the way that it was, it's usually a tr*ll. At least that's my experience. I used to get paid to deal with such things. :-/

Mr. Bad

Caitriona, I hear you re. trying to get men to talk about their feelings - supposedly we're just not wired to do such things. Either that, or we're conditioned by society not to, and IMO the latter is more likely.

I've been in lots of groups of men who talk about their feelings just fine, but the minute a woman enters the picture we clam up. Now, maybe it's a "macho thing," however, from my experience it's more due to women telling us we're acting like "wusses" or in other ways make negative value judgements about us when we do so. Men get a lot of mixed messages from society, so it's easier for us to play it safe and only open up while in the company of other men because we know that most of the time we'll take each other seriously and not pull the shame-game "wuss" routine.

FYI, I've attended plenty of drug and alcohol recovery groups, and when they're composed exclusively of men you frankly wouldn't believe the level of honesty and opening-up that goes on there. (The notion that men can't or don't open up as much as women is one of the most persistent myths circulating in the gender studies area.) But like I said, let a woman enter the room and all bets are off. That's why I'm a big proponent for male-only spaces in numerous areas such as education, medical clinics, private clubs, etc. We have no problem allowing women their exclusive places, so we should stop with the double-standards and give men their's.

As for trolls, I guess I hear you, but I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt. And Caitriona, there really are feminazis like the people I quoted above out there, especially in academia and most especially in women's studies departments; I know because I'm employed in academia. Thus, while they may appear like trolls to you, they seem like common, garden-variety campus feminazis to me.

However, I can tell you with confidence that I am not a troll. I'm interested in honest, candid debate, nothing more.

Hugo

Mr. Bad, I appreciate your willingness to debate. Would you mind not using the term feminazi? As we approach the 60th anniversary of VE day, it trivializes the Holocaust to do so. Whatever you think of feminists and their male allies, they aren't Nazis even in an informal sense.

Creeping Jenny

Heh. The tr*ll didn't even register with me, due to my special tr*ll-blocking sunglasses, I suppose. (Insofar as I thought of them at all, I figured they must be high-school boys posing as "feminazis"; I didn't realize that anybody would take them for sinceree women.) So I was sitting here being all baffled as to what had Mr. Bad so worked up, and whether I had somehow subtly suggested that Hugo was unqualified by proposing a few hands-off solutions. Apparent lesson of the day: if you're not a tr*ll, less self-doubt is probably in order.

Maybe that goes for Hugo too. Hey Hugo, you have the essential trait of being able to speak in dialogue rather than monologue. The rest will follow.

stanton

Hugo - I appreciate you trying to keep things civil here - that is what makes this a decent place for discussion. But I admit that I am baffled as to why you admonish people like Mr. Bad for his use of an offensive term, but said nothing when I was being called a name that no respectable newspaper would print. Can you enlighten me?

Hugo

Stanton, I must have missed that one -- sorry, I don't check in on my own threads often enough.

Caitriona

Mr. Bad,

I apologize for my harshness with you. It's been a difficult week around here. I've tired of dealing with hardheaded males doing things the most difficult way they can find then griping about it, rather than just working things out in the first place. We're a household of 5 males and 2 females. The guys keep trying to tell my daughter and me that the 2 of us have got them outnumbered, but truthfully, there are some days that strength of will is the only way for us to get anything done around here. :-/

Here's some background: My husband is the former Marine I mentioned in another post. He left the USMC as a conscientious objecter after 15 years of service. That was '92, I believe. We met in '99 and married in '00. Since then, he's made a profession of faith, and we've become Mennonite.

Now, is it the USMC training that causes my husband to clam up about feelings, or does it go back further? I don't know. I know that my own father didn't have that USMC training. Instead, he had that "strong, silent type" thing going. You know the guys I mean - they don't open up to anyone.

Now, please tell me. How's a woman (or anyone else for that matter) supposed to deal with that without going bonkers from time to time?

You may feel that commenting from my own experience makes me sexist. But I'm just stating what I see. There *are* men who've learned to talk with their wives or someone else who is close about what they feel. But the key to it is that it is someone with whom they are close. Just as was stated earlier: It is easier to discuss difficult topics with someone if you are close to that person, especially if that person is the opposite gender.

Mr. Bad

Ok Hugo, I hear you re. the term "feminazi," but I use it to refer to feminists who are exreme even for radicals. As we all have heard, "there are many kinds of feminists" (which I personally consider a cop-out, but hey...) so I usually like to be clear about which kind of feminist I'm referring to (Munchkins to Dorothy: "Are you a good witch or a bad witch?").

And I agree with stanton, you seem to have a very selective manner in which you admonish and censor people. Perhaps you might consider being a little more even-handed.

Mr. Bad

Hi Caitriona,

First off, don't worry about being "harsh" with me. I can take it. :) Still, thanks for the sentiment.

As for some men not being able to freely discuss their feelings, I don't know what to say except for IMO that it's a very individual thing. Your husband sounds "old school" to me; the people that I hang with are for the most part definitely not "old school" so our experiences are different. And good grief, no, that doesn't make you a sexist. In fact, I don't believe that you are. I think that you tend to employ double-standards at times, but I don't think that any of us are above that, at least from time to time. Just because I point it out when you may be doing so doesn't mean that I'm condemning you as incorrigible; I just want to point it out so that perhaps you can learn from another person's perspective.

As for the need to be close to another before opening up, again, I don't think that this applies to men. In fact, from my experience with men in drug and alcohol rehab sessions, for guys it seems to be easier to be candid about their feelings with other people (most often other men) who they don't have close emotional attachments to. I don't know why this is - perhaps all the emotional energy that exists between, e.g., husbands and wives, gets in the way of unrestricted emotional 'flow' for men. I strongly believe that men and women deal with their emotions in very different ways, and perhaps this is one of the basic differences? Food for thought.

Caitriona

Ah, but Mr. Bad, if I'd said that men and women deal with their emotions in different ways, you may have said I'm being sexist. lol

The fact of the matter is that my husband and I have grown to a place where we're very comfortable with particular roles for each one of us, with each helping the other where necessary. He does most of the outside work and works in the computer industry to pay for the farm. I do most of the educational and emotional work, as well as most of the cooking, etc.

Now if I could just sit down and darn his holey socks. That's one of those little things, for him, that shows him I care. But it's one of those little things I don't do as often as I should.

stanton

Hugo: "Stanton, I must have missed that one -- sorry, I don't check in on my own threads often enough."

You closed the thread to further posting. It seemed to me that you closed it rather than admonish the angry feminist there. So your doing so was not in response to the obscenities that were popping up? Then why did you do it? I have never before seen you resort to closing a thread to further discussion.

Hugo

I closed it, Stanton, because it was wandering away from the point of the post.

stanton

Okay, I guess. Threads have done that without being cut off, but you are the judge of how things go on your blog. In the future I will try not to incur the wrath of the feminist commenter involved.

Carmen

Stanton,
Hi! Looks like you ignited Hugo's wrath.__Watch out, he's got a temper!....I think he's right though, the comments have wondered off the subject.

stanton

If Hugo starts getting too hot, I'll just give him a long hug until he settles down. He does the same for me.

Carmen

Thanks for the info.__I'll have to remember that for when I make him really mad. I'll just give him a big hug!

stanton

Right, Carmen. It always works for me. In fact, I think I'm going to go home and apply this wisdom to my wife, right now. Thanks for the inspiration!

Have a good weekend, everyone!

Mr. Bad

Hugo said: "I closed it, Stanton, because it was wandering away from the point of the post."

Come on Hugo, that's a shameless cop-out. The thread about Pluss got sidetracked almost immediately and you let it go on for almost 100 posts until you finally decided to close it. And BTW, FYI, you and almost all others never did get around to answering my fundamental question (i.e., why it's any of our business how old Pluss' fiancee is).

Talk about dodging the issue; methinks you may have let it go on for so long because it wandered from the point of the post, and thus allowed you (and others) to dodge my question that addressed the fundamental but uncomfortable truth about that thread, that her age is none of our business if we are to consder her and all other women free-thinking, mature adults capable of making such decisions for themselves. I was very disappointed in your lack of courage re. responding to that uncomfortable truth, even though I was not at all surprised.

Hugo

Is getting tired of answering the same question the same as lack of courage? My post on older men, younger women, and integrity (see my sidebar) said what I needed to say. Of course her age is none of our business -- and yet, most of what we blog about is "not our business"; we're merely weighing in on the issues of the day with our own opinions.

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