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September 26, 2005

Comments

jaketk

“I'd suggest that you look to the gay men's community in this area--there are many gay men's organizations that have resources for helping male victims of abuse, and I doubt you're going to get any that will turn you away because your abuser was not also a man.”

I actually considered this for a while, but I decided against it. Most of those services are geared towards adult rape, or same-age rape, and I would be intruding. I wouldn’t want to take the place of a guy or a kid who’s dealing with his sexuality and was assaulted or raped because of it. There are so few services available for gay victims of abuse that it just feels wrong to use them for my issues.

The Gonzman

I'm sorry that both of you have had such terrible dealings with feminists. I have only seen the kinds of feminists who avoid the "what about men?" line in terms of talking about general oppression. When it comes to personal experiences, I've never had to witness a feminist dismiss the pain an abuse victim has gone through simply because of hirs gender.

Well, I will submit to you that when you are a woman and dealing with feminists, or a male sympathizer, you will get different reactions.

I recently found out, during a conversation about rape, that one of my friends is in the negligible percentage of guys falsely accused of rape.

Remember the need to put "negligible" in here.

When I brought up the stat (2% of all rape accusations, if memory serves), he reacted badly. When I asked, he told me his story and how he was put through 3 months of hell waiting for the second rape kit to go through forensics and come back negative (the first one had come back negative soon after it was taken). So, yeah, I understand that statistics don't always hold up in the face of real life situations.

Now - when you use words like "negligible" and cite stats about "miniscule" percentages, can you honestly stand there and wonder why your friend might think you are minimizing his experience? Tell me, what percentage is high enough that would merit your unqualified sympathy?

But, being a feminist myself, I am embroiled in many different feminist circles. I have been privy to various different views, some of which I disagree with, but all my experience has taught me that the feminists you have unfortunately encountered are in the minority. It is possible that, because of all the anti-feminist "what about men?" non-victims, that there's a higher percentage of women in the abuse shelters that have trouble recognizing and dealing with men who are true victims, but overall I think that most feminists are interested in living up to the spirit of the movement.

Well, I would suggest that if such is indeed the case, a little housecleaning might be in order. Doctrinaire and strident feminists are getting the press. If you are silent and let them speak for you, and only object when their extremism gets called out, what are we to think but that the after the fact, weak objection is anything but disingenuous? Like the man said - when I tried to open a men's shelter - ON MY OWN DIME - years ago, I was roadblocked - by feminists. Where were all the modern, "Some of my best friends are Male" feminists then?

Sorry if it sounds bitter - but it is.

I'm sorry if I'm sticking to this point too much, but I believe that it's important to find common ground in these debates. Especially since the experiences of male victims are important to the feminist movement, and I don't like the thought of losing your voices to the anti-feminist side because of bad experiences.

Back to the men's shelter experience, space prohibits me going down the litany of accusations and tactics used by feminist groups to block it. This wasn't a few isolated bad experiences - I was declared war on. I was accused or wanting to open a harbor for abusers, kidnappers, and child molesters. In my experiences of being an abused husband, if you give unqualified sympathy, and don't ask me what I did to cause my wife to hit me, you will be the first feminist to do so.

Again, you tell me. Okay, I'll grant to you. You may be sincere. I can't say or show you're not. But you're here talking on an internet BBS. You're talking up feminism. The ones I see putting feminism to work are the ones who made me their mortal enemy, and convinced me through action to return the sentiment.

Words - actions ... Which one should speak louder to me?

The lack of good support networks for male victims is a problem, but it's one that female feminists can't solve. Not only do we have our hands full with our own issues, but we are not men.

The lack of good support networks for female victims is a problem, but it's one that MRA's can't solve. Not only do we have our hands full with our own issues, but we are not women.

Puts us back at square one. Good thing a lot of the men over the decades who have worked in your corner to put up shelters and pass sweetheart laws didn't feel that way.

While most of abusive experiences can be shared regardless of the gender of the abuser or the type of abuse, there are some areas that need to be dealt with separately. Because of this, what I would like to see is male victims working with feminist and pro-feminist men to address these issues and on a national, and perhaps even international, level work together with current female shelters to raise awareness and support for all victims of abuse. But, to do that, we need to learn to work coperatively instead of against each other.

Had feminists been willing to do this years ago, and lived up to the high words, we would not have a men's movement.

I could wax long - and unproductively - and risk raising emotions beyond civil discourse - about the many, many, many instances where it was "Women First!" even if men were considered at all, and then we didn't get a share - just a share of what was left over. This is why we have a men's movement. While your friend was getting falsely accused, the rest of us were being told "Women Never Lie" and were assured that the small, tiny, miniscule, insignificant percentage of men we're in fact "suprising low" and wasn't worth worrying about.

Now that we're making headway - after having a cold shoulder turned to us for decades - we're supposed to scrap it all and come back, and this time it will be different?

It's hard on electronic media to not look like one is getting in another's face, so I hope you can see from the lack of "*@&#%$@ feminist %@$#!" that you aren't being personally attacked. But in the thread leading up to this, I promised some tough questions.

I'm not an MRA because I hate women. I have a daughter, and i want the best for her. But I have a son, too, and I love him just as much.

Hugo

At the risk of inviting trouble, can I say how pleased I am with the civil nature of the discussion so far? Good job, folks.

jaketk

Tekanji, the feminist movement could have offered support to male victims at any point over the last thirty years. It is not that the movement is losing our voices, but that it never cared to have them in the first place. It’s only now that we’re speaking up and pointing out that feminists have tried to hinder services for male victims that feminists have had any response to male abuse.

I agree with most of Gonzman said. I truly don’t believe that a minority of feminists can manage to control most shelters and rape centers. It’s not impossible, but very highly unlikely. Unfortunately, the sentiments held by the feminists I’ve encountered tend to be a part of mainstream feminism. When I said previously that there is little difference between my aunt and other feminists, I mean that in the sense of what she says and thinks and believes. Those are the responses that I, and many men and women who try to provide these services for males, receive.

Even now, there is nothing preventing feminists from extending their hands to male victims. Granted our trust of such gestures has been damaged, it could still be done. However, I haven’t honestly seen feminists reaching out to male victims.

tekanji

Gonzman - I'm not ignoring you, I promise. I actually typed out a long reply but it got flagged as comment spam. Hopefully it'll get sorted out shortly. In lieu of my serious comments, I have a silly question. When you said the part about your posts not having "*@&#%$@ feminist %@$#!" in them, did you type out the @!#$ stuff or actually use profanity that was censored?

Jaketk - I suppose I should have said "continued to lose" the voices of male victims. My apologies.

It’s only now that we’re speaking up and pointing out that feminists have tried to hinder services for male victims that feminists have had any response to male abuse.

I must confess that I don't know too much about MRA's and male victims advocating men's rights in this arena; my information about the state of support networks for abuse victims comes primarily from feminist women and men discussing these issues with both other feminists as well as non-feminist people. Heck, I thought feminists were the only ones who fought for these kinds of rights until I came across blogs like Hugo's that discuss issues like those we're talking about now.

I truly don’t believe that a minority of feminists can manage to control most shelters and rape centers.

Perhaps not. For the sake of argument, let's say that a clear majority of feminists who manage these shelters/centres are the kind you and Gonzman described. Those feminists are still a fraction of a percentage of the movement as a whole. Ergo, I'd argue that it's at least possible that they're a minority of feminists.

That said, I agree 100% that it's wrong to harass those trying to set up a support network for men. I, certainly, would speak up against any person advocating such a thing. Male victims deserve a safe space just as much as female victims do.

Maybe it's because I'm a young product of primarily third-wave feminism, but I feel that the most important thing for progress is not to hold onto hatred (and this goes for any feminists who hate MRA's as well) but rather to try to see common goals and work towards them. I'm not saying that you need to let go of your anger, far from it, but I do want to show you that there is a face of feminism that's different from what you describe. The kind that that advocates equal opportunity and treatment for all.

However, I haven’t honestly seen feminists reaching out to male victims.

I thought that is part of what I was doing; it's a paltry gesture, but I have offered my genuine sympathy and support.

As a victim of abuse myself, I have an idea of what it feels like. I see you struggling with many of the same problems that I continue to grapple with, and it breaks my heart. I hate how there isn't proper support for male victims. I hate how all victims have to put up with some kind of victim blaming monstrosities, such as the one Gonzman described. No one should ever have to go through any of that.

No one deserves to be the victim of abuse, whether they are men, or transgender, or women, or bi, or heterosexual, or gay, or anything else. And everyone deserves a safe space in which to heal from the wounds if they do become victims. I support establishing a strong network of support for all victims of violence. If that's not the first step in reaching out to male victims (and, indeed, all victims), then I don't know what is.

tekanji

Forgive the second post, but I while brushing my teeth I was thinking about your statement, jaketk: the feminist movement could have offered support to male victims at any point over the last thirty years.

I address this to a certain extent in the yet-to-be-posted reply to Gonzman, but I want to more explicitly address it here.

Thirty years. That's longer than I've been alive. In essence, we're currently living the handing over of feminism from your generation to mine. We are the young, eager activists. We have been able to reap the fruits of our mother's hard labour. We have grown up in a society that has been radically transformed, I would argue for the better, by feminism. My generation does not have to fight the same battles for equality that my mother's generation did.

Think about that for a minute.

The feminists you know and knew are likely made up primarily of people from your generation, not mine. They had different concerns and a different perspective. They grew up in a different world than we did. Our feminism is informed by our upbringing. Our upbringing was influenced by feminism's main message: equality.

My mother was not a self-proclaimed feminist, but I grew up in a household that told me that all people were equal, and I believed it. It's that striving for equality that brought me to feminism, and it's one of the driving factors that informs my code of ethics. I believe that this experience is similar for many feminists around my age.

Isn't it only logical that during the past thirty years feminism, as a living movement, has continued to change to fit the needs of a changing society?

Joseph

What I have never understood about men who go to prostitutes is how they can enjoy sex with an unaroused woman. It seems kind of pervy, and not in the good way.

This is a rather odd thing to say. Perhaps you need to expand your consciousness.

As for "pervy", I imagine this is shorthand for "perverted", a rather bigoted thing to say. People used to call homosexuals "perverts" -- in fact, people who engaged in sex outside of marriage were also so labeled.

Perhaps the real problem is that you suffer from pornophobia (from Greek "porne" [prostitute] + "phobia" [fear]).

Joseph

When I brought up the stat (2% of all rape accusations, if memory serves), he reacted badly.

Your memory does not serve you correctly. I teach criminal justice and this is one of the reasons that I broke with feminism. Feminists make things up out of thin air to justify their positions. I am sure you have seen feminists get that blank look on their faces and ask, "Why would a woman lie about rape?"

Scientific studies demonstrate that the percentage of false rape accusations vary from 11% to 60%. One factor is whether or not a woman accuses a specific man, or just claims that some unidentified man committed the crime.

Clearly, this is a case of feminist ideology in direct conflict with reality. And it is just the tip of the iceberg.

For more, see my website

http://home.earthlink.net/~jamiranda/whyLie.htm

BritGirlSF

Jaketk, not much I can add here that hasn't already been said, but since my background is in psychology I do want to say that I hope you're getting some kind of therapy. What happened to you is something that no-one is strong enough to get over by themselves, and nobody should have to. Friends are great, but there's a limit to what they can do. My mother was also sexually abused as a child (by her Dad), and I watched her try to deal with it alone, so I know what I'm talking about. A good therapist could make a world of difference.
Also, in reference to the abuse survivor groups for gay men, I have lots of gay friends, and I'm willing to lay money on the fact that they would be more than happy to offer help and unlikely to reject you just because you're not gay. The men who run those services are a remarkeably caring and compassionate group of people, and I'm sure that they would be willing to help in any way they can.
I still think you're wrong about feminists being hostile to male victims, though. I don't know a single one who would respond to a male victim of child abuse with anything other than compassion. Thirty years ago, maybe, but now? That hasn't been my experience at all. I had an ex-boyfriend who was raped by a gang of thugs (at age 23), and the local feminist-run rape crisis center treated him with a level of kindness and compassion that was sadly lacking in his male peers, and indeed in society as a whole. I'm pretty sure he wouldn't have made it through the experience without their help.

sophonisba

"What I have never understood about men who go to prostitutes is how they can enjoy sex with an unaroused woman. It seems kind of pervy, and not in the good way."

This is a rather odd thing to say. Perhaps you need to expand your consciousness.

Alas, poor me. I have never had the opportunity to "expand my consciousness" in the way you suggest, because the people who consent to sleep with me only do so when they expect to physically enjoy it. I don't know what it's like to be such wretched company in and out of bed that I have to pay people to tolerate my presence. Truly, mine is a life half-lived, at best.

But now you've inspired me. Next time I'm in the mood, I'll get my lover to read a magazine and stare at the ceiling, bored, while he waits for it to be over. Now that's hot! My consciousness will never be the same.

Perhaps the real problem is that you suffer from pornophobia

Reading sympathy as fear is quite a feat. Prostitutes are just like waitresses and retail workers: their ability to deal with spectacularly unpleasant customers is sadly underappreciated and undercompensated.

jaketk

Tekanji: “Thirty years. That's longer than I've been alive. In essence, we're currently living the handing over of feminism from your generation to mine.”

I am not sure if this was directed at me, but I think we are from the same generation.

“Our feminism is informed by our upbringing. Our upbringing was influenced by feminism's main message: equality.”

Many of the young women I just graduated with this past June do not agree with that. Many, perhaps most, young women today try to distance themselves from feminism, and I think that is because whatever the intent of the feminist message is, it has been distorted into something else entirely. In this sense I see feminists defending their opinions but missing something very important: your message is being perceived differently than you intend. And when such a thing continues to occur through two generations, perhaps it is not merely misconstrued perceptions.

The feminist movement as a whole is full of a variety of different opinions. The feminists I have encountered might indeed be a minority of the movement as a whole, but then so would feminists like you. This reminds me of last year’s election. Many people said that the Christian right was just a small minority of people. And many people believed that. Then the votes came in, and we realized that there were more people who accepted the tenants of the Christian right that we had expected. They weren’t as small as we had assumed. And their opinions were not as reviled as we had hoped. That’s a strong lesson in understanding just how enrapturing playing on peoples’ sense of morality can be.

There is no anger, just frustration. I cannot understand why anyone would seek to prevent helping victims when they profess to want equality. When I say reaching out, I am not speaking about offering sympathy and support when someone mentions it. I am talking about doing it beforehand. That could be as simple as including men on sexual assault awareness flyers, going to shelters and rape centers and strongly urging them to extend their aid to male victims, or supporting organizations that offer assistance and services to male victims. I am grateful for the sympathy, but I care far less about my issues than I do my 13-year-old cousin’s, or the kids I volunteer with, or the foster kids I’m around, or the men, boys and female survivors I’ve met over the past 8 years.

A good support network would be great a first step. How would you implement that given the current climate towards male victims? I’m not asking it to be argumentative, just to illustrate a point.

tekanji

Gonzman - I have to split my post up into two sections. Here's to hoping it works this time.

Well, I will submit to you that when you are a woman and dealing with feminists, or a male sympathizer, you will get different reactions.

Please excuse me, I should have specified that it was my observation when said feminists were dealing with men. And by "male sympathizer" do you mean a feminist/pro-feminist man? If so, I'd like to point out that most of the examples I'm thinking of are of non-feminist men. Anti-feminist men tended to elicit a negative response, but that's because those particular men approached things from a hostile angle to begin with.

Remember the need to put "negligible" in here.

Uh, why are you getting semi-hostile towards me when the whole point of using the word here was to illustrate that I pointed out that it was a very small percentage versus the very large percentage of real rapes. It was totally appropriate for the conversation and, after we discussed why he had his reaction, he went out of the way to acknowledge that, despite his personal situation, I still had a valid point. Also, he didn't feel that I was "minimizing his experience" but rather he had an emotional reaction that was triggered by our conversation about rape. It was a civil and supportive discussion and neither of us came away from it with bad feelings about each other.

Plus, I fail to see why you feel the need to react by wagging your finger at me when I was going out of my way to agree with you. Truthfully, this is the only part of your discussion that I felt was actually hurtful to me. I shared a personal experience with the intent of showing sympathy to your assertion and I feel that I was attacked, and that the friend I described was falsely attributed a stance he wouldn't agree with, because of it.

Well, I would suggest that if such is indeed the case, a little housecleaning might be in order.

Because, you know, feminists have absolute control over who claims to be a feminist. We have the ability to cleanse everyone in our ranks of ever having an anti-feminist thought. Come on, life doesn't work that way. Every movement has a negative element, and it's often the most vocal and the most publicized. The best I can do is advocate what I see as the spirit of the movement, and I do. I'm probably just pissing in the wind, but I'm doing all I can.

As for PR, if you have any suggestions I'm all ears. From where I'm sitting, many people I have had contact with seem to want to ignore all the good feminism has done over the years, how many gains that we, as a society, have made directly because of those feminists who put themselves on the line to elevate women to the status of people, all because it's easier to see us all as hairy-legged, man-hating lesbians. And, furthermore, being stereotyped as any one of those is seen as bad, though the man-hating part is the only one that's truly hurtful. Frankly, what makes a better story? The evil feminists who hate men or the feminists who actually care about creating a world where everyone, every single individual, has the rights and opportunities for life, liberty, and happiness?

And you can't be a stranger to that kind of negative PR, because I see it happen to the MRA's all the time. Outside of Hugo's blog, I haven't had many positive experiences with MRA's. I have seen primarily the extremist element, the ones who I would label "women-haters", just as you might label the feminists you've described here "man-haters". I have seen some extreme organizations talked about on other blogs because they were advocating things that the blogger disagreed with. Reading the story, I disagreed with it too. The evil women-hating MRA's certainly makes a better story than the MRA's who truly care about an egalitarian society.

Do you think it's fair to characterize the MRA movement as one full of woman-haters who want to restore the traditional gender hierarchies that oppressed women?

If not, then do you think that, using the same logic, it's fair to characterize feminists as man-haters who want to destroy families and oppress men?

Frankly, I would like to believe that both movements are about respect and fair treatment.

tekanji

Gonzman - Okay, make that three parts because this half is still being flagged as spam.

Sorry if it sounds bitter - but it is.

Nothing I can say will change what happened to you. I feel like any expression of sympathy beyond what I've already extended to male victims of violence would be an insult to what you went through. And, no, I wouldn't dream of asking such a repugnant question as "what did you do to cause your wife to hit you". That's victim blaming. No one should have to go through that, and I find it abhorrent that women who should be fighting against oppression would engage in such a horrible tool of institutionalized oppression. I in no way condone the actions that you describe. Those actions are not feminist ones; indeed, they are, at their very core, anti-feminist in nature, and it saddens me that they were committed by feminists.

Words - actions ... Which one should speak louder to me?

The words of one lonely feminist aren't meant to radically change your worldview. I don't expect that my conviction could be enough to rival the pain that you've experienced. But look at it my way - right now, your main impression of feminists has been given to you by women who have made a hugely negative impact (to put it mildly) on your life. Since you post on his blog, I'm going to assume that you respect Hugo. That's one feminist that shows you a different path, one that seems to be fitting enough with your own worldview that you can respect it, even when you disagree. I want to be another feminist who you can, if not respect, then at least listen to. Maybe one day you'll remember enough good feminists that you will think working with us is worthwhile. Maybe not. But what the heck good am I if I don't at least try?

bmmg39

Let's not pile on Tekanji here. She has extended much more of an olive branch than we're used to seeing. I, too, disagree with the assertion that only 2% of rape accusations are baseless, but other than that she's trying to listen to us.

bg

mythago

Many, perhaps most, young women today try to distance themselves from feminism, and I think that is because whatever the intent of the feminist message is, it has been distorted into something else entirely.

This is what I think of as the 'golden age' theory of feminism--that once upon a time, it was about love and equality and gentleness and now it's a bunch of mean bitches. Which is astonishing to anyone who was around in the Olde Dayes.

Young women distance themselves from the F-word today for the same reason they did when I was their age: they're afraid it will scare off the boys. That's why they say things like "of course I think women should be paid the same as men for the same work but I'm not a feminist!" It's a bit like saying "Of course I believe Jesus is Lord, but I'm not a Christian" because of course everybody knows all Christians are uncool and stuffy. *cough*

Scientific studies demonstrate that the percentage of false rape accusations vary from 11% to 60%

Are we on to the "make things up out of whole cloth" portion of the debate?

jaketk

BritGirl,

My younger brother is gay, and I have two friends who are as well. I’ve met many adult male survivors who are gay, and they have always been kind to me. My reason for not using those services isn’t because they wouldn’t be accepting of me. I think the issues are different. Similar problem, different results. Sort of like different cancer support groups. To use a term from ‘Fight Club,’ I’d feel like a tourist.

I am sorry that your ex was raped. It’s not that there aren’t feminist-run rape centers that offer help to males. There are, but they are few and far between. And I have heard this from other survivors, therapists, and even former counselors. I think how males respond depends on the environment and their perceptions about such acts. In all honesty, my friends were fairly supportive when I told them. When I was in high school, we discussed sexual abuse in class once, and some of the biggest jocks were the most supportive about it because the teacher didn’t present it as emasculating, shameful, or their fault.

The response I receive from feminists varies depending on what and how much detail I give, whether I mention the women of my family as abusers, whether I mention the stigmas attached to male victims, and whether I imply or state that such acts are equality wrong. I have been in situations where the moment I mention my aunt, I’m told that she was coerced, and forced to do it. I’ve also been in situations where it’s fine to talk about male abuse so long as I don’t question assumptions of homosexuality, pedophilia, or the “Vampire Syndrome.” Granted this isn’t unique to feminists. But I see it more from feminists, and the very religious for some reason, not as a joke, but that they truly believe this, than I do anyone else.

jaketk

mythago,

I don’t buy into the “golden age” theory. Feminism is an ideology. It is neither good nor bad. The feminist movement is the result of how the supporters of feminism perceive and act upon it.

Your comment demonstrates my point perfectly. My intent was that many women avoid calling themselves feminists because of the anti-male bias, either perceived or existing, because of how the movement has been used by some to further their own self-interests and agendas, and because of their own criticism of the movement. But you perceived my intent as feminism had once been good, but has been distorted, i.e. it is now bad.

That is why I said that the feminist message is being perceived differently than intended. Once it is realized, then something can be done to change the perceptions if the perceptions are indeed off the mark.

Hugo

I'm posting this on behalf of Tekanji, who is having trouble getting past some strange filtering bug in the system:

Gonzman - Okay, this should be the last of it.

"The lack of good support networks for female victims is a problem, but it's
one that MRA's can't solve. Not only do we have our hands full with our own
issues, but we are not women."

Uh, what? I never implied that MRA's had any responsibility to set up and run
women's shelters; my understanding of the movement is that it focuses on men's
issues, and therefore would be more likely to be involved with men's shelters.

"Good thing a lot of the men over the decades who have worked in your corner
to put up shelters and pass sweetheart laws didn't feel that way."

That's not what I meant, and I'm sorry for not being clear enough. I was not
implying that men had no place in the setting up/running of women's shelters, or
vice versa. I was merely trying to point out that, since there are gendered
concerns when it comes to abuse, it is more helpful for the gender in question
to champion the establishment of such shelters. On a more macro level, I fully
support the working together of all organizations that support the
victims of violence.

Let me try it this way: I am not a man. I, therefore, cannot truly understand
all the nuances that male abuse victims go through. Just as you are not a woman
and therefore cannot truly understand all the nuances that female abuse victims
go through. I was simply stating that, in this case, tailoring organizations for
gender specific concerns would probably be a good idea. All victims deserve a
safe space where they can work through their trauma without being triggered. An
ideal situation would have shelters that were tailored to the specific needs of
the victim: male/female/transgender, child abuse/domestic violence, etc.

Now that we're making headway - after having a cold shoulder turned to us for
decades - we're supposed to scrap it all and come back, and this time it will be
different?

I never intended to "convert" you to feminism, but rather to show that your
goals are not fundamentally different from mine, or that of my movement. I don't
want to go into the pros and cons of second wave feminism, as I am not a second
wave feminist. I hear your problems with the movement and acknowledge them, but
I also understand some of the hard lines that feminism was forced to take
because of the times and I acknowledge them, too.

However, second wave feminism (that which you most likely encountered) is on the
decline. Modern feminists (generally called "third wave", although our movement
is a diverse and plural one) strive to see the links of oppression. Because of
this, more and more feminists are struggling to see how societal traditions have
divided us. And, yes, that means at the very least acknowledging that the
hierarchical systems that have oppressed women for centuries have impacted men
as well.

Just remember that we are not the Borg. I don't always support Hugo's positions,
and I suspect he would not support all of mine. We have anti-porn feminists and
sex-positive feminists. Feminists that focus on race, or sexual orientation, or
abuse and domestic violence. Heck, just recently I got into a heated debate
between parent feminists and non-parent feminists. Feminists criticize ourselves
as readily as we criticize others and, as long as we don't let our criticism
become divisive, I think that's a good thing.

I don't think that disagreeing on things means that no meaningful relationship
can be maintained. I think it's just as important to see the common ground
between feminists and MRA's as it is to acknowledge the parts where we don't see
eye-to-eye. You obviously aren't a crazy woman-hater out to punish
women/feminists because of your bad experiences. I should hope that you don't
see me as a crazy man-hater out to punish men/MRA's because of mine. And,
really, that's the essence of my point; it's easy to hate a person/movement, but
hard to understand that, underneath it all, we're all just people trying to do
the best for ourselves.

The Gonzman

Uh, why are you getting semi-hostile towards me when the whole point of using the word here was to illustrate that I pointed out that it was a very small percentage versus the very large percentage of real rapes. It was totally appropriate for the conversation and, after we discussed why he had his reaction, he went out of the way to acknowledge that, despite his personal situation, I still had a valid point. Also, he didn't feel that I was "minimizing his experience" but rather he had an emotional reaction that was triggered by our conversation about rape. It was a civil and supportive discussion and neither of us came away from it with bad feelings about each other.

Plus, I fail to see why you feel the need to react by wagging your finger at me when I was going out of my way to agree with you. Truthfully, this is the only part of your discussion that I felt was actually hurtful to me. I shared a personal experience with the intent of showing sympathy to your assertion and I feel that I was attacked, and that the friend I described was falsely attributed a stance he wouldn't agree with, because of it.

This is because I'm used to dealing with what we call statistical morality when it comes to men's issues - mention a uniquely male problem, and all to frequently a line of argument gets trotted out of "It's a smaller problem than women's - and a really small problem at that - so women's problems should be dealt with first - and then we'll see if yours is worth dealing with, or if you might consider you are whining.

Let's say you told me "Gonzman, there are 3 million rapes this year" (Vastly overstated, but I'm just tossing a number) and I said, "Well - there's 300 million people, and half of them are women, so that winds up being only 2%, which is really a negligible number..."

Different POV, eh?

BritGirlSF

Jaketh, I'm confused as to what you mean by this
"I’ve also been in situations where it’s fine to talk about male abuse so long as I don’t question assumptions of homosexuality, pedophilia, or the “Vampire Syndrome.” Granted this isn’t unique to feminists. But I see it more from feminists, and the very religious for some reason, not as a joke, but that they truly believe this, than I do anyone else. "
What do you mean by questioning assumptions about homosexuality, paedophilia or the "Vampire Syndrome" (a term I'm unfamiliar with, btw)?
As far as my ex is concerned, I think that the treatment he recieved from the rape crisis center was very helpful to him BUT I also think that having more men involved in his treatment would have helped considerably. The center did try to find him a program focsuing on male rape victims, but there were no such programs avaliable. That's a problem, and it's not a problem I know how to fix. I would think that a really effective program for men would have to be staffed by male counsellors, but according to the center he worked with they just don't get any male volunteers. I think the biggest problem is that this particular issue gets swept under the rug for all kinds of reasons, not the least of which is some very confused ideas people have about homosexuality . The men who attacked him called him a "fag", even though he's straight, because they didn't like the way he was dressed. They clearly thought of themselves as straight. To me this is actually about the best example I've ever seen of the theory that rape isn't really about sex, it's about power. His male friends blamed him for what happened and some even accused him of secretely being gay because they didn't think he fought back hard enough. That still makes me very angry. I'd love to see some kind of program, or network of programs, to deal with this issue but I really think that such a program would need to be run by men to be effective, and I just don't see a lot of men who are willing to help other men who find themselves in that situation. I really don't understand why that is.

kate

one sort of tangential thought: jaketk said, "My intent was that many women avoid calling themselves feminists because of the anti-male bias, either perceived or existing..." (sorry, i'm not sure how to pull and italicize quotes in typepad)

it's the "either perceived or existing" that's crucial here. the perception of feminism is largely fueled by the media, which was never terribly receptive to the tenets of women's equality in the first place. i won't go into tons of specifics now, but i just wanted to note that. the media's portrayal of feminism has had as much of an impact on people during the last 30 years as feminism itself.

jaketk

I would have to disagree with that, specifically because of how prevelant the feminism point of view is. Even when there is a bias against, like with Christianity, it's mostly fueled by their own words and actions. The media portrayal, at least as I've seen it, has not been all that critical of feminism, and rarely negative, Fox news excluded. Could you give me some examples of the media portraying feminism negatively (Fox news and any Christian networks excluded for obvious reasons)?

jaketk

That's not true. There are plenty of organizations out there that reach out to men: Ontario Association of Male Survivor Services, Rainbow Male Survivors Network, Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse, Survivors Swindon, Jewish Male Survivors of Sexual Violence, and Male Survivor, which I used to visit quite often. Most of these are run by men. The problem is that when they attempt to branch out and either create larger networks or promote their services more publicly, they often get shot down. Even following the priest scandal, it was hard for organizations like these to get media coverage to give out their numbers and locations so that victims would know where they could go.

What your ex-boyfriend experienced happens from both sides. Women will do the same to female victims of rape, which is one of the reasons why prosecutors like to have male jurors in rape cases. I've heard a litany of different accusations that made me not talk about it for almost two years. I got tired of being called a fag, from both women and men, a rapist, a whiner, a mysognist because I wouldn't respond to flirtations by women (and then I would be called a fag), etc. Eventually I realized that those people weren't going anywhere, and if I wanted to help other survivors, I just had to deal with the bias.

The "Vampire Syndrome" refers to the notion that if a boy or man is abused, he will become an abuser. This is quite common, particularly among feminist and religious groups, who are the quickest to say if a boy doesn't get therapy, he'll become a pedophile. Many abusers were abused, yet this assumption is only placed on males. It's so pervasive that I have heard of men who work with children being fired when they've admitted they were abused as a child. Now, the moment I say any of this isn't true, if I question any of that, I get attacked for it.

mythago

My intent was that many women avoid calling themselves feminists because of the anti-male bias, either perceived or existing, because of how the movement has been used by some to further their own self-interests and agendas, and because of their own criticism of the movement.

You had me up until "because". It's far less about feminism having being ruined by evildoers, and far more about old, tired stereotypes about how feminists don't shave, hate men, are ugly, have to have the man be the submissive partner in the relationship, etc. I doubt many young women say "I'd identify myself as a feminist, but the co-opting of that label by Naomi Wolf has made me reluctant to ally myself with that label."

NYMOM

No...feminism ruined itself. The media didn't ruin it...

For instance, one example let's take Kim Gandy of NOW and what she did to the women in the military recently.

Congress wanted to bring enlisted women in Iraq home a few months ago when it became obvious that the 'front line' in Iraq was everywhere. In keeping with the exclusionary rule (based upon studies in the 80s that showed that even the best women with special forces training could not overcome the average man) this rule was passed that women were not to be on the front lines nor were they to be allowed in any Special Forces units such as Navy Seals, Green Berets, Rangers, etc., AND 80% of enlisted women supported this...

Kim Gandy of NOW spoke up just before Congress voted on bringing these women back and convinced Congress to leave them there...

Gandy and the Pentagon wanted these women kept there. Gandy because of feminism's ongoing attempts to create an androgynous society, the Pentagon because men had stopped enlisting since the war began...

Now almost 40 women are dead.

So Gandy has not just lost the US 40 women (and their families who hate feminism now) by playing along with this 'bait and switch' game on women in the military; but she probably also lost feminism that 80% of enlisted women who agreed with the exclusionary rule...

Now this post would be too long, but another example is Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Holy moly. This woman is a hard line leftist from the Soviet school of androgynony. I don't know how she ever got confirmed to begin with, with that age of consent being 12 years old thingy.

Please...

It's not the media that's done feminism in, but feminists themselves...

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