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May 25, 2006

Comments

figleaf

Hmm. I used to use "I could be wrong but" prefaces but it was because I was aware I often really was wrong. I didn't *want* to be wrong. I passionately wanted to get it. But pulling yourself out of critical unconsciousness is hard work -- as hard as learning to recognize borrowed words in English for someone who grew up sure there could be none.

When I was growing up it seemed like there were four kinds of wrong I could be.

- Plain wrong, as when I accepted earlier stories that women faint at the sight of blood as true.

- Incompletely wrong, as when I would say "It's not right to discriminate against chicks."

- School-of-feminism wrong, as when I failed to distinguish between, say, equality feminism and difference feminism which (ca ~1980) were not always in agreement.

- Discrimination wrong, as in the unfortunate joke "If a man speaks in a forest and nobody hears him is he still wrong."

Note that only one of those kinds of wrong is unfair. Note also, however, that when I was trying to work things out it was very difficult to distinguish which kind of wrong I was. Anyway, when you're not sure of yourself, and when you're interacting with people who have a great deal of anger to express, it's easy to begin qualifying your remarks.

For the record if I was to lead a women's studies seminar I'd begin a dialog the first time a guy said "you'll probably kill me for saying this." There are a lot of cultural and gender issues behind that statement (or your post wouldn't have generated any controversy) not to mention a lot of misunderstanding about conduct in class so it would be a great place to start clearing them.

figleaf

(p.s. There's a fifth kind of wrong: stupid wrong, as in showing up in a football helmet. I'm curious whether the student was there to fulfill a requirement or if he was just being provocative.)

The Gonzman

So if men really care that much about the plight of battered and raped men, that's great. Start a movement. Open shelters. Raise awareness. But just as concern about violence against women was raised by women, men must spearhead their own movements.

We did. I did. We did. And guess what? All of our opposition has come from feminists arguing we're distracting from "their" more important problems.

So we're taking care of our own. You take care of your own, and stop crying to us how "men must help."

And fair-minded women will be your allies.

There are many such. And thus far, none of them identify as feminists; in fact I will wager that if you want a fight with most of them, accuse them of being feminists.

If you represent an organization that is trying to raise awareness for male victims of violence, why don't you just A) drop the antagonism against feminists

More clairvoyance. I started out in the Men's Movement not as an "anti-feminist" but just tryiing to help male DV victims, because I was one myself. FEMINISTS kicked the struts out from under me, and opposed me at every turn. Feminists spoke out against my plan to make a men's shelter, lobbied the county commisioners, went around and warned contractors of trouble if they contracted with us, called in bogus reports to the Sheriff's department... When I made my Men's Divorce Support Group, it was feminists who got us kicked out of several meeting places under the excuse we were "exclusive."

Each and every time I have tried to lead or participate in a "Men's" anything, it's been opposed by - let's see - feminists! Whether protesting, writing nasty letters, threatening lawsuits, claiming we're holding children hostage, calling us whiners - you name it.

Tell you what - you first. You claim that "Well, real feminists wouldn't do *THAT*!" then put your money where your mouth is and the next time it happens, be out there counter protesting about all these "fake" feminists who are giving you a bad name.

Oh yeah. That's right. Not your problem. Not all feminists think alike. You can't tell any woman she's "not a feminist." (Unless she's Laura Bush.) And so on and so on with the same. lame, weak litany of excuses.

The real reson you won't be protesting is because they are indeed "real" feminists, you do in fact support them, and they're conveniently deniable.

and B) ask us to ALLY with you?

Ah, and open ourselves up to more backstabbing? More "Keep putting off your problems while we help out women first and in perpetuity?" More diverting of funds we raise to women's issues and not even leaving us scraps to lick up? More parsing of words, doublespeak, and chinese walls?

Pass. Fool us once, shame on you. Fool us twice, shame on us. It's incredible. You really, honestly believe that men didn't try this, and didn't try it years ago? Lord a mercy. You know - there is a reason we in the MRM don't trust ya'll in this respect, and the reason isn't sexism, it's bitter experience, all your wishful thinking to the contrary.

Patr

Hugo, perhaps your male students are not "diffusing", but merely trying to get a word in edgewise. You mentioned there were only six males; they are outnumbered. You did one thing right by having a single day with them, you need to follow that up by making THEM comfortable to speak in that class. You need to allow them the same consideration you ask of them for the females in the class.

It is YOUR responsibility to keep the class discussion running smoothly. You are the instructor. Do your male students feel uncensored in their writing assignments? Have you discussed this with them? If you would be more open with male students, you would get a higher male turnout.

Hugo

Patr, men are notoriously reluctant to take women's studies classes. I have more males in my classes than my female colleagues do who teach the same subject.

Lee

"Women are regularly beaten and raped -- even on college campuses -- ..."

Please provide support for this claim.

All information I have gathered, read and seen is that one rape per three campuses per year occurs in the United States. This is what one would expect from educated, ambitious, college-educated men.

College age women who live on campus are among the safest, most protected humans the planet has ever known. Their risk of murder, assault or rape is dramatically lower than the population at large.

Hugo

Not the topic of this post, Lee. Check out the discussion here: http://www.amptoons.com/blog/archives/2003/02/06/rape-prevalence-statistics-on-donohue/

MVa

What gonzman said. Feminists directly oppose and block help for men. The evidence is out there that men are just as likely as women to be victims of domestic violence. I've written to charities in the UK and they ignore our voice. It's not like we're not trying.

Back on thread:-

But in the rest of life, the silencing effect tends to favor males.

Not in my universe - it is men who cannot speak out for fear of being labelled 'misogynist' when disagreeing with any kind of feminist thinking. Feminism is taking over universities, the media and the courts of law. Bravo to feminism - you are advancing your thinking to very influential areas. Thing is, it's causing much conflict and while you are able to gain much influence, your supported numbers amongst the general public are dwindling. You once had a cause, but now feminism is becoming the oppressor (particularly in law courts). However, can a man or woman dare criticise feminism in public? Not without a barrage of insults.

Not the topic of this post, Lee. Check out the discussion here: http://www.amptoons.com/blog/archives/2003/02/06/rape-prevalence-statistics-on-donohue/

Thanks for finally producing a link Hugo (if only to Ampersand's blog).

What do you think of this latest study?

Men are More Likely Than Women to Be Victims in Dating Violence

Hugo

I think you're thread-drifting. Please stop. Stay on the topic.

shannon

You know, I have only taken one women's studies class because I had already read many books on feminist theory and didn't want to sit in class with people who hadn't figured out the idea of 'society' etc. I did take gay history, and yea, I was rude to people who were racist, because you know what? some people are so clueless that no amount of patient explaining is going to get it through to them. These are what I call the willfully clueless. And if you're scared maybe people who want to learn can learn things. We're under no obligation to spare your feelings, in fact one of the points of my woman of color feminism, is to free myself and other people from the idea that we're the servants of white men and need to defer to them. If a person of color or a woman says something stupid, I'd put them on blast too. You're simply not getting special treatment, as it should be.

Patr

Hugo, the reason you have more males in your classes than the female instructors may be that the males feel more comfortable with a male instructor for that kind of a class. I think the reason males don't take those classes is that they know they may have a hard time ahead of them. Instead of painting the average male student as some sort of knuckle-dragger, it may be better to find ways to get them into the class.

You are a male teaching women's studies and you have males in your class; do you use the opportunity you have as a male to connect to those males? Or do you talk at them instead of to them? If you have trouble with the responses in the class, it may be your teaching style; never mind how the male students relate to your subject, how do you relate to your male students?

Hugo

I suspect I relate very well -- I mentor a few of them regularly; I'm having lunch with one of my favorite guys next week.

You assume a lot if you assume I don't ever have close, warm relationships with some of my male students.

sb_repr

"So if men really care that much about the plight of battered and raped men, that's great. Start a movement.
"

Women organizations are getting tons of money, posh ofices, loads and loads of advertisement budgets to influence the press, money to do biased surveys. Whereas we are not getting any money, even a few research scholers few months money, to counter the wrong laws being proposed. We are bombarded with so many men victims of false cases by wifes, it becomes difficult to spend so much resources on social service by helping men from false cases, without hurting other things in volenteer's life.
We need some Govt. funding for truthfully seeing the new laws being made by feminists, are these leading to false cases and harm to everyone including women, are these laws fair to husbands and men. This is relation to India and news laws being proposed at a fast pace.

Hugo

Thread drift, folks. This thread is liable to be closed if this keeps up. Stay on topic.

Daniel Martin

I've been thinking about this (the joking before expressing a potentially hostile opinion) and I'm not sure it is specifically a feminist issue, although it does have feminist implications.

See, I find myself very nervous when I'm in a conversation that involves conflict. I hate conflict. One way I know that I'm in a situation like that is that my foot begins tapping like crazy from the adrenaline. Although it's been many, many years, I can remember being in such situations in all-male settings. I wanted to jump right out of my skin. I really hate conflict, especially conflict conducted on a purely verbal level. Physical conflict is painful, but it is over quickly. (Plus there are all sorts of counteracting endorphins one gets from physical conflict that I, at least, don't experience during verbal conflict)

Now, what does this have to do with the "I know I'm going to get nailed for this, but" issue? See, that's the way of slowly floating an idea that is going to cause conflict. It's something I could see myself doing. It's a way to scream "PLEASE DON'T HURT ME" while saying what one has to say.

True, in this context, the men are afraid of active disapproval from the women. However, the general tactic - jokes about how unpopular an utterance is going to be - is an anger-defusing tactic, not a specifically feminist-anger-defusing tactic. The problem is not the tactic per se, but rather the fear these men have. Unfortunately, I don't know how to address or calm that fear without doing the equivalent of telling the women to shut up.

Perhaps getting the men to confront their fear directly by recognizing this tactic and calling people on it when they use it is a useful tool; however, I'd hate to see this tactic banned in your classroom and the underlying fear remain unquestioned. That's what really needs to be addressed, the fear of criticism from the women, not the specifics of how the men in question pre-emptively deflect that criticism.

Sociopathic Revelation

"I've never met anyone who identified as a feminist who put men down, on the contrary most sites I frequent like to point out how a strict gender role society is bad for both men and women. "

That's odd.

Amanda at Feministing has no problem with taking men to task and attacking their masculinity.

Hugo

Ah, the famous Amanda at Feministing... sheesh, lad, do your homework.

mythago

Unfortunately, I don't know how to address or calm that fear without doing the equivalent of telling the women to shut up.

There are plenty of ways to calm fear without saying "Everybody listening to me, it's your job to reassure me and calm my fear!"

Sociopathic Revelation

My bad, Hugo. She has written elsewhere.

Glitch

Ah, the famous Amanda at Feministing... sheesh, lad, do your homework.

He may have gotten the name of the site wrong, but the greater point still stands. I can recall Amanda posting a thread some time ago (I can look for links if necessary) in which shy, unassertive men were scorned as, if I recall correctly, "loveless losers."

geo

As men we really, really need to be less vulnerable to being confronted by Women through learning to really talk and listen to other men. With men we tend to talk superficially be it sports, women's bodies or bemoaning women's reactions to us as men.

When we learn to understand ourselves better through hearing the feelings of men and working through some of our major issues with Men, we can then Not be So Dependent upon Women to be our "Mothers", "Maids", "Therapists", "Emotional Babysitters", etc. - and can really be equals with Them.

Where we are het men - such independence can help us be happier and make our relationships with Women much Healthier. It's not easy - obviously!

Thanks! geo

The Gonzman

As men we really, really need to be less vulnerable to being confronted by Women through learning to really talk and listen to other men. With men we tend to talk superficially be it sports, women's bodies or bemoaning women's reactions to us as men.

Speak for yourself. You might do that. Sounds like something you need to work on, then.

When we learn to understand ourselves better through hearing the feelings of men and working through some of our major issues with Men, we can then Not be So Dependent upon Women to be our "Mothers", "Maids", "Therapists", "Emotional Babysitters", etc. - and can really be equals with Them.

Ah. So you're not equal with a woamn? Gotcha. I could paraphrase a common feminist slogan and say I set higher standards for my own self, but I'll forbear.

Got news for you though - not depending on women to validate one's masculinity has been a hallmark principle of the Men's Movement for a long, long, time.

geo

As men we really, really need to be less vulnerable to being confronted by Women through learning to really talk and listen to other men. With men we tend to talk superficially be it sports, women's bodies or bemoaning women's reactions to us as men.

Speak for yourself. You might do that. Sounds like something you need to work on, then.

G - One thing I've learned from the part of the Men's Movement I've been a part of is to respect other men - whether we agree or don't. Turning on and attacking other men - as you do - is little different from how - Men With Power - have trashed Men lacking Power and how Men - lash back - out of anger/fear/lack-of-respect etc.

Homophobia - teaches us so well - to depend upon women and to not lean on men in our emotional lives. You may be different from most men- you don't need to put me in a box like you are doing. In my experience as men - we have "buddies" who are men, but when we explore our emotional lives or deal with "deep stuff" - we rely a lot on women. Some of us of course - may not deal with emotional stuff and may lead "male only" lives - sure. You don't have to agree with me. I'd appreciate respect though.

When we learn to understand ourselves better through hearing the feelings of men and working through some of our major issues with Men, we can then Not be So Dependent upon Women to be our "Mothers", "Maids", "Therapists", "Emotional Babysitters", etc. - and can really be equals with Them.

Ah. So you're not equal with a woamn? Gotcha. I could paraphrase a common feminist slogan and say I set higher standards for my own self, but I'll forbear.

G - Your accusing tone - why do you need that? I think that when we run to women to solve our issues - emotionally - we're not in that situation - "equals". We are the gender - who struggles - for example - when widowed - in our 60's or later - with living on - a huge percentage of men die within 1 1/2 years - with women the percentages are much less.

Got news for you though - not depending on women to validate one's masculinity has been a hallmark principle of the Men's Movement for a long, long, time.

G - I don't know "which" men's movement you refer to: for me there is: "Pro-feminist", "Men's Rights", "Robert Bly influenced" + perhaps more.

I don't see why - my words - seem to raise your - blood pressure - so readily. We can totally disagree and still respect our differences. We also can have had different life experiences - as men. We also can learn from each other!

Thanks!

geo

The Gonzman

G - One thing I've learned from the part of the Men's Movement I've been a part of is to respect other men - whether we agree or don't. Turning on and attacking other men - as you do - is little different from how - Men With Power - have trashed Men lacking Power and how Men - lash back - out of anger/fear/lack-of-respect etc.

Problem is, your entire premise trashes men to begin with by suggesting men are somehow broken. You assert that men do not talk to other men - this is contrary to fact. I am neighbors and friends with many most city/college folks might regard as rubes, and can tell you their thoughts and opinions on a wide variety of issues.

"Not communicating like women do" is not the same as "not communicating."

If you have a more feminine style, and are more comfortable talking with women, by all means, pray do so. Please do not attack US by suggesting we need fixing.

Homophobia - teaches us so well - to depend upon women and to not lean on men in our emotional lives. You may be different from most men- you don't need to put me in a box like you are doing. In my experience as men - we have "buddies" who are men, but when we explore our emotional lives or deal with "deep stuff" - we rely a lot on women. Some of us of course - may not deal with emotional stuff and may lead "male only" lives - sure. You don't have to agree with me. I'd appreciate respect though.

This is YOU. You in fact are putting me in a much more cramped box than you accuse me of. Don't disrespect me, and then expect me to stroke you.

If you depend on women for an emoptional fix, I do not know what to tell you. It is not the experience of men I know.

G - Your accusing tone - why do you need that? I think that when we run to women to solve our issues - emotionally - we're not in that situation - "equals". We are the gender - who struggles - for example - when widowed - in our 60's or later - with living on - a huge percentage of men die within 1 1/2 years - with women the percentages are much less.

And telling me I, and those men like me are using women is not accusing? Friend, women complain incessantly that "men won't share." Now you say "We share too much."

G - I don't know "which" men's movement you refer to: for me there is: "Pro-feminist", "Men's Rights", "Robert Bly influenced" + perhaps more.

Robert Bly is a poser, he only has the advantage of a stopped clock being right 14 times a week. "Pro-feminist" is part of the women's movement. What men need to do first is to stop seeking validation for our manhood outside of ourselves, we must define it among ourselves. We must stop trying to transform women - either accpet one as she is, if you can; or do not.

Men need to accept and claim their right to be men, and stop seeking either approval or permission from women to do so. Until that is done, no other steps may be made.

bmmg39

"You may be different from most men- you don't need to put me in a box like you are doing."

Geo, you are the one putting our entire gender in a box with your comment about being superficial. Gonzman is merely requesting that you not include the rest of us within that generalization. He doesn't appreciate it. Neither do I.

Daniel Martin: "True, in this context, the men are afraid of active disapproval from the women. However, the general tactic - jokes about how unpopular an utterance is going to be - is an anger-defusing tactic, not a specifically feminist-anger-defusing tactic."

See, that's how I see it. It's almost an olive branch. If anything, you're making light of the fact that you don't agree, and using "don't kill me" or "let's not come to blows" uses hyperbole to lighten the mood.

Marie

This is a very interesting post, but it makes me wonder: if the men in Women Studies are scared of being challenged by females, can we not say that, instead of being cowards, they are very brave for putting themselves in situation where they are going to get challenged and have to face their fear?
I don't see how this tactic is a proof of cowardice. I used to preface a lot of my questions and comments with "I know this is stupid" during my studies to make sure that I wouldn't berated by the teacher. They just use a humourous plea not to get overwhelmed by "the other side", because they truely are outnumbered. I think they're perfectly aware that they're exagerrating, but they do it because it's one of the techniques of humour, and they want the discussion to remain pleasant.
I don't think it's an unreasonable demand of them not to have their feelings ignored. Just because it's Women Studies doesn't mean that men's feelings, emotions, problems, fears, are less valid than women's. And if the women in the course forget that men have just as much right as them to get hurt and offended, then yes, they are truely rabid feminists that are out to get them. Because unless the guys in the course are all rapists and abusive boyfriends/husbands/fathers/brothers/random strangers, then I doubt they are personally responsible for violence against women.
Seriously, cut the poor guys some slack!

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