Thursday, September 4, 2008

Men In Womens Spaces, Dear God What About The Men?

What about the men is a common refrain on feminist blogs. It seems speaking about womens issues is considered an affront to patriarchy.  It does not matter what feminist blog you decide to read, at some point someone in the comment section will feel the overwhelming need to point out that men are oppressed to. Dear Lord how do these men manage to get by with  the burden of owning and controlling over 95% of the worlds wealth?  How do they survive daily beating their wives and raping women? 

I am the first to admit that social construction is damaging to both sexes but I must question why it is necessary to continually make this an issue on women's blogs?  There are so many aspects of sexism that go unchallenged in our society because we have normalized the marginalization of women.   Feminists have had to fight, and claw to get the smallest of validation for the difficulties of living life as a woman in this phalocentric world, and yet even in these small spaces, men have managed to continually interject themselves into the debate.

A feminist blog could be a place where men could begin to learn to unpack some of their gender privileges. A man that continually reads feminist blogs would learn how to look at the world with the eyes of a new born babe; not tinted with the social stigmatizations that regularly attach themselves to women's bodies.  Instead of seeing this as a learning opportunity, invariably they feel the need to say what about the men.

Well let me tell you about the men.  Today they are largely in control of all of the agents of socialization; media, government, education, religion, and the family.  Today they rape and batter women.  Today they can count on their sex to give them unfair advantages in most situations. Men are not struggling, largely living in poverty.  Men are not reduced to their genitals and routinely treated as second class citizens.  No, men are like a fine bottle of wine, only growing in value as they age.

The what about the men question, keeps becoming an issue simply because men do not want to give up their male privileges.  Equality would mean work, and that is something that they are not used to.  It is much easier to act in the maintenance of inequality, than to stand against it.

Equality would mean actually doing 50% of the housework, child care and elder care. That is right, taking care of the house means more than washing the car on Saturday and sitting on the driving lawn mower while you sip away at a beer.  It means learning how to speak without invoking male privilege constantly.  No more, calling women sluts, bitches, whores and cunts.  It further means the unequivocal end of all violence against women.  No more taking out your rage on your wife's body.  No more raping, while blaming the victim.  Equality means owning every single act of misogyny and hatred, and pledging never again to violate women.

The men that enter womens spaces do not seek to learn, or improve the lives of anyone other than themselves when they ask the question what about the men. They are trying to assert patriarchal privilege by insisting that the conversation revolves around them.  God forbid, that women have some small corner of the earth where they can gather and seek shelter from the cruelties that patriarchy subjects us to on a daily basis.  So in answer to the question what about the men, I respond you have the blood of women, we have been buried alive, set on fire, beaten, raped,  denied equal wages and forced to become slaves to our biology, what else could you possibly demand of us?

 


57 comments:

void-stone said...

Yay for sweeping generalizations and hyperbole. >_>;
Really, when you're talking about feminism, you're talking about interactions between the sexes, and that inevitably leads to conversation about sexist stereotypes and whatnot that men have to deal with. It isn't a hard connection to make. There is not a point in playing the 'I'm more oppressed than you' game, either. Yes, women have been oppressed throughout history, and they are still oppressed today, but does that mean that mean that violence against women, for example, is magically worse than violence against a man.

Of course, if a man 's reaction to an example of female suffer is actually, "But what about the men?" instead of adding to a larger dialogue, that's different

Renee said...

@voiid stone...actually women are more oppressed then men, it is not even a debatable fact. What you call hyperbole is based in statistical fact. Why am I not surprised that yet another man refuses to own gender privilege and while you didn't say what about the men, you might as well have. Spend sometime on a feminist blog and you will see the "what about the men" commentary is quite common in response to conversation about womens oppression.

calt said...

The root of the problem, imho, is the us vs. them that feminism takes on.
Any feminist blog post that takes us vs them is inherently counterproductive for equality of the sexes. We can point out inequalities and violence of this particular ground in a productive positive way that is encouraged to end it and bring healing or we can become little more than people selfishly crying out "Not fair."

What about the men? well if femenists can't attempt to understand the problems facing the modern man then why should women expect men to pay attention to their rantings? In my particular demographic (middle class college students) men are having a hard time adjusting to social change. Their brains and bodies just not suited for the new world. They have reason to be scared. The lower class men will continue to be abusive on some scale. The richest will continue to own the vast majority of the worlds wealth (it makes me angry tho that the author uses the 95% figure because ~90% of the worlds men aren't involved in that figure in the slightest so don't give them any blame, they're just as screwed). The sex slave trade will continue to be a problem, but for most of the women out there they are going to be far better off then their male counterparts. So stop feeling so sorry for yourself.

@ Renee: What _I_ call hyperbole is the quote from the article: "How do they survive daily beating their wives and raping women?"

For all humanity a simple fact remains true - It's not us versus. them. It's us versus. us

Renee said...

@Calt you reek of male privilege. Again on a post about men attempting to turn womens spaces into male centric theaters you respond by making it all about the men Since you are college student I suggest that you take a womens studies class because you are clearly operating without a working knowledge of feminism. Finally 100% of the men are involved in the 95% figure that you may benefit differently across, age, ability, race and class does not mean that each male does not receive benefit from the continued impoverishment and marginalization of women. Until men can earn their male privileges it is most certainly us against them, women will not benefit by submitting to those who continue to rule through fear and violence.

As for hyperbole..you commented that only the lower class men beat their wives. Please. That is so incredibly inaccurate. It is a display of class privilege. Using language like selfishly crying in response to the issues raised in this post is also gender oppressive language but you would no that if you understood what male privilege is.

Jonathan said...

are you trying to build women up,or simply tear men down? I personally have never raped or beaten a woman, I'm the primary caregiver for our daughter, and my wife earns 3 times what I earn (in a male-dominated field). Your brand of feminism reeks of misandry and victimization. While misogyny and the oppressive patriarchy are surely alive and well, you represent the other side of the coin. It seems you'd like the gender power balance reversed, rather than destroyed. Gotta go, the laundry's done and I haven't yet folded the last load.

uhlrc said...

I'd love to contribute to this enlightening conversation but I'm late for my "daily beating their wives and raping women?" Well I guess I'll leave you to your valiant attempts to destroy constructive discussion with ad hominem attacks and straw men.

Scarpia said...

Hi. I'm a man (sorry in advance for having a penis), and I'm pretty sure I've never raped, violated, beaten, buried alive, set on fire or dominated any woman in my life. And in my country, people who do such things are hunted down by police, tried, sentenced and jailed for it. Oh, and that's regardless of what gender the offender or offended are, because that's what *we* regard as equality.

As for men owning 95% of whatever, that sounds way off, but even if that were the case, why are you blaming male oppression, when study after study shows one of the main reasons for the lack of women in executive positions is the women's own reluctance to pursue those jobs aggressively. Some women do manage to be aggressive when negotiating for positions and wages and such, but those women are a small minority. The strong women who fight for the feminist cause often don't seem to realize this, since they themselves ARE in that minority of women who fight fervently for what they believe, and they seem to project their own ambition onto the entire female sex, as if all women possessed the same desire to be 'on top'.

Sadly, a lot of so-called feminists today seem to have lost track of what their cause should be about - TRUE equality - and are really seeking preferential treatment under the guise of 'feminism'. But merely perpetuating the image of all women as victims and all men as guilty of some millennia-old misogynistic conspiracy isn't helping anyone, least of all the many bright men and women fighting for true equality, and who want their cause to be taken seriously.

True equality has nothing to do with forcing the genders to do equal amounts of housework, hold equal amounts of managerial positions, own equal amounts of cars, shoes or jewelery. It's about equal OPPORTUNITY to do and own those things.

A woman doing the same job as a man should be paid the same base salary of course, but if one is a better contract negotiator than the other, then that's clearly going to be rewarded, because negotiation is a marketable skill. Forcing the hand of the employer in such cases is not equality, it's preferential treatment.

A woman applying for a job, a mortgage, or a school ahould be given the exact same opportunity and evaluation as a man of course, but if one is a better candidate, the business or school shouldn't be forced to choose the other just to enforce some idealized 50-50 gender distribution. That, again, is preferential treatment, and it is counterproductive for everyone except the inferior candidate. And before the flame war begins, let me stress that this goes both ways obviously -- a female-dominated workplace shouldn't be forced to hire men who are incompetent just to enforce some imaginary sense of 'equality'.

My point is:

Gender equality is not about pretending there are no differences between men and women, and trying to pass laws to enforce this delusion.

Gender equality is about embracing that there ARE differences, but making sure people disregard them when they are irrelevant.

Oh, and sending people to jail who rape, murder and set people on fire, no matter what sex they are.

Tina said...

Wow, Renee, one slice through male privilege and the ooze out of the woodwork and make it all about themselves.

Sheesh, fellas! It's not all about you. If the shoe doesn't fit, don't put it on!

Also, are each of you calling your buddies on every stupid sexist joke they make? Are you actively teaching young men to respect women as full and equal human beings?

Also, please come walk a mile or two in my shoes, so that you know what it's like to live as a woman in this misogynist rape culture that we have. Take my word for it, just because you don't see it, doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

outcrazyophelia said...

It's so helpful when commentors rush in to prove the content of your post. It's a similar reaction that one sees in other discussions of oppression. Its the "well I personally don't do x, even though I engage in a culture that routinely privileges me over others--so I should get a pass. Why do you have to be so mean!" response.

feministblogproject said...

When I read this, I seriously didn't think we'd reach the non "what about the men?" comments until the EIGHTH post. I figured they'd at least be a little more mixed. Where do these people come from?

To all the "what about me?" men who are commenting here: maybe you don't actively go out and rape women, but if you're expressing so much privilege on this blog, you're probably complicit nonetheless. Do you make sexist jokes? Do you use gender-exclusive language? Do you make use of the word "bitch" or reference female body parts as profanities? Sexism runs much deeper than you think it does. You have a very shallow view of feminism and male privilege.

I've been doing a lot of "gender studies" reading lately, including a book about masculinity, entitled "Men Speak Out," in which all the essays are authored by men. The funny thing is that none of the men in these books take the "what about me?" attitude that you do. They recognize the subtle ways they were or are complicit in sexism, and make a genuine effort to change their behavior. They recognize the extent of their privileges. They recognize the social constraints of masculinity, but don't blame women or feminism for those constraints. Instead, they undertake feminist or pro-feminist (depending on which term they are more comfortable with) activism in order to create equality for everyone. You might want to read that book.

Ashley said...

While this post seems to have been swarmed on my assholes, I think there's a lot of good men out there who simply don't get it, don't see their privelige.

I've gotten into the habit of telling my husband of every. single. time. I'm leered at, catcalled, harassed, every single instance of easily identifiable sexism I experience.

And you know what? He's starting to get it.

And he works in the video game industry (just finished up on Saint's Row 2), and he's starting to call out his co-workers on their sexism.

It takes time, but it works. Eventually. If he's not a total ass.

feministblogproject said...

Ashley-

My husband, egalitarian that he is, definitely grew up with male and class privilege. I point it out to him, but it's definitely slow-going. It's weird - getting him to recognize privilege has been the most difficult part. He gets a lot of "theory" stuff. I've taught him a lot about gender construction theory, intersection, etc. And that all definitely makes sense to him. But when it comes to the practical part of identifying his own privilege, he's struggling.

Not that I'm going to give up or anything. It just surprises me that he gets the theoretical stuff so easily, but the practical stuff is more difficult.

frau sally benz said...

Wow... the response to this post from the men is kind of unbelievable.

First of all, Renee did not say that ALL men are rapists, are ignorant to their privilege, are hurting feminism, etc. She also is obviously talking about a GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE, not just what things are like in N. America and Europe. Things are vastly different from women around the world.

All she said was that while there are problems that affect men (she literally spells this out right in the second paragraph), feminist blogs should not have to address it ALL the time.

In fact, a lot of feminist blogs DO address problems that affect men. They DO give props to men who acknowledge some of their privilege. This is why it is insulting to the women in the feminist blogosphere that get asked the question "what about the men?" It's a complete slap in the face. Anybody who doesn't understand that is just not ready to have an intelligent conversation about moving men OR women forward.

Oh, and calt, next time, try to make your point without resorting to the "we men are idiots and can't handle the world" defense. It doesn't do you any good.

frau sally benz said...

getting him to recognize privilege has been the most difficult part. He gets a lot of "theory" stuff.

My guy is like that too. He understands feminism and calls himself a feminist, but some things he just doesn't get. He looks at an issue and says "but that could happen to a man too, that's not sexist" and I have to explain how just b/c it could happen to a man, doesn't mean it's okay.

The street harassment thing is definitely one of the things he can't believe. I find that it's usually the decent men who can't fathom that people actually believe that we should remain unequal, or that women are men's property. They're sometimes the hardest to convince about the implications of sexism.

Becky C. said...

Yeah, its like in thirty years all the misogyny of the past five thousand years has disappeaed and suddenly men are repressed.

Its the same as "reverse racial discrimination"--there are now hordes of oppressed white men.

This is just nostalgic longing for the harem, Leave it to Beaver, and the Plantation.

!Becky

professorwhatif said...

Renee,
The post and the follow up discussions remind me of similar conversations around white privilege. When white privilege is discussed, many whites pipe up with, "But what about me, I am white and I am not privileged" or "I'm white but I'm not racist!" These are akin to those claims above from naysayers such as "But I'm male, and I'm not a rapist!"

As so many of the wonderful feminist analysis in the later comments points out, its about the SYSTEM of male privilege -- like white privilege, it is a complex system held up and perpetuated by everything from video games to religion.

As for the naysayer who called you out on the "men have 95% of power and wealth" claim," well, if he has proof otherwise, perhaps he should refer to it?

Joseph said...

EXACTLY. This is exactly like racial descrimination postings. No matter what you point out about how racial descrimination exists, you'll find white people (typically men, actually) who will immediately point out that they never say the n-word and don't beat up black people, and use these as their basis that they are not racist, to shield themselves from the amount of privledge and stereotyping they indulge in daily.

So you say you don't beat your wife? Then do you truly respect her as an equal? Do you really care what she goes through? If not, you're still sexist, and many men don't want to see that.

Brian Charles said...

Interesting responses to your original post- and, yes, they prove your case. I was once in a 12 step group in which one of the men looked round and said, in a worried tone, "The ladies are taking over". In the room there were 5 women and about 10 men. The response from men is not rational and cannot be so treated - it is born of fear and that fear is that if all the artificialities and downright lies that prop up the system are removed then we will be revealed as woefully inadequate.

Brian Charles said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Danny said...

Renee I'll tell you where some of this "What about the men?" talk comes from. Frankly speaking a good bit of the issues the men talk about and deal with is not "what about the men?" type crying but instead is an actual issue that men have to face and it is being dismissed as "what about the men." or "whining about losing male privilege" in an effort to silence them.

When it comes to child care there are men out there that spend their entire fortunes (if you can even call it that) on the chance to get some quality time with their children...just to have a vindictive woman (with the blessings of a f'd up court system) whisk them away to lord knows where while at the same time still trying to get him to pay child support. Its amazing how easy it is to toss a guy in jail for failure to pay child support but its damn near impossible to get the court to enforce the little bit of visitation he's awarded. And there aren't as many men out that blame feminism for this as you would think. They know that the courts are the problem.

And one other thing I'd like to point out is that sometimes feminists like to make grand generalizations like, "Men never have to deal with ____" or "Men have it easy." or "Men are ____." I have no problem admitting I have no business trying to tell a woman what her life experience is like (which is why I read this blog to find out what its like) but for some odd reason women have no problem telling men what their life experience is like.

Thats all for now.

Brian Charles said...

There is also a very clear cultural bias in this thread. I am not too familiar with the situation in the US but in the UK, the courts are supposed to consider the "best interests of the child". Not an easy task. The rights of the parents are entirely secondary to this. If there is a dispute - no matter where the blame may lie - then the interests of the child may involve one of the parents losing visitation rights. I agree that it is normally the father bit speaking as a former single parent this may not always be the case. I agree this may be painful to the father that is innocent of any abusive act - either to mother or to child - but no system can be perfect.

in much of the rest of the world outside our privileged bubble, however, the rights of the child take second place to the rights of the father.

I have often heard it said that "feminism has gone too far". To which I can only reply with an astonished "say what?"

Danny said...

in much of the rest of the world outside our privileged bubble, however, the rights of the child take second place to the rights of the father.
I have to say that is not what I see.


I have often heard it said that "feminism has gone too far". To which I can only reply with an astonished "say what?"
One thing I'd like to see is the day that both sides quit trying to say that the other has no more legitimate gripes. Feminists and MRAs both still have a lot to do and they would all be better off not trying to minimize and invalidate the concerns of the other.

Renee said...

@Danny
Feminism is not about comparing our oppression, it is about ending oppression plain and simple. Keep in mind that the MRA movement is a response to feminism and did not exist before women began to seek equality. This of course leads me to believe that the MRA movement is about maintaining male privilege and hegemony. Stating this does not make me competitive it makes me a realist. Like any other group that has power men will not willing give that up, they will resist, and this is the purpose of the MRA movement.

Danny said...

Feminism is not about comparing our oppression, it is about ending oppression plain and simple.
If only all feminists were as level headed as you...

I agree that MRAs didn't start to get organized until after feminism but that in no way magically invalidates their concerns. And it certainly does not mean that their only goal is to maintain the patriarchy. Your statement may make you a realist but I think you statement is not true.

Like any other group that has power men will not willing give that up, they will resist, and this is the purpose of the MRA movement.
Incorrect. If you think that the goal of MRAs then I have to say you have a little searching to do. Thing is while men still hold a lot of power they are not as organized or as powerful as feminists like to suggest. I agree that there are men out there that would like to see feminism crash and burn but lumping them all in with MRAs is just as unfair as accusing all feminists of being hairy manhaters just because some hairy manhating women claim the title of feminist.

Meadester said...

@Scarpia, What you describe is equal opportunity instead of equality of results. All fine and good except that Renee is a "Marxist" (i.e. a Communist) so her whole worldview revolves around government mandated equality of results.

@Danny, you are mainly talking about cases individual injustice but in the Marxist world individuals do not exist, only oppressed groups and privileged ones. Injustice must be tolerated for the overarching goal of "regulat[ing]large corporations and wealthy individuals in the public interest." http://www.reason.com/news/show/32227.html

Meadester said...

@Becky C., Since you have taken on real cases of sexism and other forms of bigotry on your own blog, I do hate to see you undermine your case by giving credence to those who cry sexism, racism, or any other "ism" the moment someone disagrees with them. I know you don't think that you've done that here, and maybe it could be argued that you haven't but you are walking a fine line.

As a person with mental disabilities, I have recently both counterattacked Michael Savage for vicious comments about Autism and defended the makers of Tropic Thunder for their use of the word "retard." I see no inconsistency since I believe it is important to separate real enemies from those manufactured by people who claim to speak on your behalf.

Renee said...

@Danny
Incorrect. If you think that the goal of MRAs then I have to say you have a little searching to do. Thing is while men still hold a lot of power they are not as organized or as powerful as feminists like to suggest.

Really for an unorganized movement men sure have managed to control the media, the family, government, the law, education etc...if that isn't the good old boys network I would like to know how else you can possibly explain it.

And it certainly does not mean that their only goal is to maintain the patriarchy.

Perhaps not the only goal but it is certainly the primary goal is the movement is a direct response to patriarchy.

Danny said...

Really for an unorganized movement men sure have managed to control the media, the family, government, the law, education etc...if that isn't the good old boys network I would like to know how else you can possibly explain it.
Simple the Good Old Boys Network you speak of wasn't designed by men wanting to look out for all men it was designed by men wanting to look out for themselves and it doesn't matter how many women, men, or children they have to trample to do it.

Perhaps not the only goal but it is certainly the primary goal is the movement is a direct response to patriarchy.
No. MRAs don't want to join the Good Old Boys they want to destroy it just as badly as feminists do.

My apologies for getting long winded. If you want we can continue this over at my corner of the universe.

goingtomontreal said...

Renee, I just wanted to say thank you for this post. Don't let these assholes get you down. (Which I know they won't!) :)

Renee said...

@Danny
Simple the Good Old Boys Network you speak of wasn't designed by men wanting to look out for all men it was designed by men wanting to look out for themselves and it doesn't matter how many

The point is that it is men who benefit from the network and men who maintain it. I read your post and it seems to be yet another exercise in not owning male privilege. Simply because in North America men make up the most homeless does not erase the fact that globally the poorest people are women. That is not at all accidental. You speak about men having to achieve economically to be of value, who do you suppose constructed that system in the first place? Don't like it speak to your fellow men.

Tina said...

I'm still surprised that so many men came flying out of the woodwork to react to this.

Renee, you're awesome, and doing a fantastic job of communicating your objectives.

Danny said...

Simply because in North America men make up the most homeless does not erase the fact that globally the poorest people are women.
And the only reason I even mentioned that is because you flat out said that, "Men are not struggling..." In all honesty I agree that on the global scale women are poorer but for some reason a lot of people segway that into claiming that men do no suffer at all.

The point is that it is men who benefit from the network and men who maintain it.
Again you are lumping all men in with the ones at the top of the ladder.

You speak about men having to achieve economically to be of value, who do you suppose constructed that system in the first place? Don't like it speak to your fellow men.
So now you say that the women that go for the economically established men only do it because of the patriarchy? To be more exact I need to talk to the men (and the few women) that are at the top of the ladder.

I read your post and it seems to be yet another exercise in not owning male privilege.
No problem admitting the unfair advantages I have over women...when they are actually unfair.

Amelia said...

I also wanted to say thanks for this post, Renee. :) Always remember that there really are people out there that understand what you're saying. Your words are valid and true. Keep speaking up.

Dana said...

Thanks Renee. I'm new to feminist thought or at least more organized feminist thought. I've been having gut reactions to things my whole life, but have not really been able to understand what I was feeling weird about, much less try to explain it to other people. Frau and feministblogproject mentioned above that they frequently try to help explain the practical aspects of how male privilege works and appears to their partners. I'd love to do the same and I feel that he'd be receptive especially since we've done at least some talking about white privilege (we're in an interacial relationship) but the one or two times I've tried, he gets this look on his face like, "oh here she goes with this new feminist kick again." I'm not good with arguments so it shuts me down pretty quickly.

I guess what my question is, is are there any well worn strategies that you can suggest for communicating this with him? I see you definitely doing your thing here in the comments thread and throughout the blog (and over at Shakesville). Maybe I just need more time lurking and thinking about things to really get my thoughts together.

Renee said...

@EDana
In my opinion there is no strategy because there is no one size fits all feminism. I am an advocate of finding a feminism that works for you, that speaks to who you are as a person. I really believe in "the personal is political" I live my feminism in everything that I do.
Don't start your feminist journey through the lens of your partner. Start with something that is close to your lived reality. Believe it or not my feminism started in a Pentecostal church, odd place I know, and it grew from there. The most important thing is to ask questions and keep asking them until the answer makes sense to you. Embrace it as a consciousness raising journey and you will love the woman that emerges on the other side.
I also want to point out that when your partner rolls his eyes and says "this new feminist kick", it is a silencing tactic. It is a fact that women are cut off when they speak as our speech and thought process is not valued. I never tolerate being interrupted when I am speaking. Only when I have said my peace do allow the other person to speak. Demand this respect for yourself. Remember that it is not about winning the argument because you cannot always be right, it is about asserting the right to express your opinions and have them respected even when they are divergent with that of the listener. Thanks for reading and I hope to read your comments here more. Feminism grows through conversation. We have much to learn from each other.

Dana said...

Thank you so much. I'm already loving the, as you phrased it above, "looking at the world with the eyes of a newborn babe." I can't wait to learn more and figure out what it means to me.

Kitty said...

Danny, you said

"The point is that it is men who benefit from the network and men who maintain it.
Again you are lumping all men in with the ones at the top of the ladder."

OK last year the Supreme Court threw out a case a woman brought for wage discrimination because she only found out her employer had been discriminating against her years after the employer had begun actually discriminating against her. The court ruled that according to the law she had a very limited time after said discrimination began to institute a filing.

As a result, some in congress tried to remedy this by changing the law. They failed because not enough politicians would vote for the new law giving women the right to sue whenever they found out about this.

Danny, what I want to know is this: How many times did you call your elected representative to urge her or him to vote for this new law?
When you wrote you letters to your representative urging her or him to vote for this new law, what was your argument?

Danny said...

Well Kitty I was unaware of this case therefore no letter was written. I'm trying to get nerves (I've always been afraid of coming off sounding like I'm crazy) and desire (You know the old, "What good would one letter do?" attitude) to start doing such things. However my argument would be based on the simple argument that a person has been wronged for several years and should be compensated.

I suppose this is your way to saying that I willfuly supporting the discrimination this woman suffered right?

Kitty said...

Danny, you said:

"I was unaware of this case therefore no letter was written. I'm trying to get nerves (I've always been afraid of coming off sounding like I'm crazy) and desire (You know the old, "What good would one letter do?" attitude)"

And yet you have no problem writing your opinions all over a woman's blog. Why do you find it so easy to write your opinions on a woman's blog, criticizing women for talking about male privilege?

Do you think anyone believes that you're afraid to write to your US Representative when you're all over women's spaces pontificating day and night?



Who do you think you're fooling?

Danny said...

And yet you have no problem writing your opinions all over a woman's blog. Why do you find it so easy to write your opinions on a woman's blog, criticizing women for talking about male privilege?
Because Renee has allowed me to disaggree with her on her space. I don't always see eye to eye with her but if SHE had a problem with it SHE would say so and her invitation to comment here (which she can do at anythime). And I have to say that I find it interesting how people (and not just feminists talking about male privilege mind you) decide their analysis is an undeniable truth and any attempt to question it is "silencing".


Do you think anyone believes that you're afraid to write to your US Representative when you're all over women's spaces pontificating day and night?
To know my words will be read by a government official is a bit daunting because of the desire to sound perfect. And since when is telling someone you disagree with them pontificating? Its not like I'm telling Renee that she is wrong and my opinions are undebatable truth. You may not agree with me but trying to add arrogance to my opinion where there is none to make youself feel better about coming down on my like a ton of bricks is a waste of time.


Who do you think you're fooling?
Not trying to fool anyone. Just trying to see how other (other than myself not to be confused with "Other") think.

Bob King said...

Hey, I was sent here to see a train wreck! Where's my train wreck? I wasn't in the mood to think, I wanted to gawk and point!

But, since I'm here, I suppose I have to live up to the cool of the room.

First, I've never been particularly taken with the idea the feminist thought is somehow different than critical, ethical thinking about human rights in general - other than the fact that in our culture, there's an unavoidable, obvious gender bias towards having far less to lose from rocking the boat.

There are people who can function within a hierarchical organization, there are people that can work within the system and do what it is they do, and there are those that cannot.

I'm one of those ones who cannot with a big heap of won't on top; as a result, I tend to find that wherever I go in accordance to my own, quite antisocial whims, it's going to be filled by women, or if it's a new space, two thirds of the people attracted to it will be women. I speak of ideas and virtual spaces, of course.

I don't believe in abuse-sizing. I got me some real fine Certificates Of Oppression, and they are stuffed in a drawer, somewhere safe.

From my perspective - which is an atypicality that is strange enough to have been the cause of oppression, as well as a deficit large enough to have earned me some righteous squishings in me own right, I've found that there's a far greater commonality in outcome between myself and anyone else who chooses to see that while scars are less flexible, they are much stronger than flesh left unharrowed.

Those are the people I like hanging with. Too damn many are women for it to not point to a specific illness in our culture. Duh. But it's generalized sickness that affects everyone, whether they understand or not.

bluewolfcv said...

Rock the fuck on, Renee.

http://bluewolfcv.livejournal.com/140818.html

Anonymous said...

Renee:

If men are so powerful and so blind to the suffering of women, and women so powerless, then how did women make the gains they did during the last 100 years?

What did they fight with, being so powerless?

Or is it your position that they didn't make any gains to speak of?

Chris Marshall

Renee said...

@Chris once again this thread is about men in womens spaces saying what about the men, which is exactly what you have done by asking this question. The audacity of your question on this thread is proof of unacknowledged privilege.

Anonymous said...

Renee:

Is there a more appropriate thread where you'll answer my question if I post it there?

Chris Marshall

Renee said...

@Chris

It is not about all men being blind to the difficulties that women face, it is about the fact that each male body exists with privilege. Some men will perform acts to mitigate their privilege but this does not decrease the amount of privilege that is encoded on the body.
Women have certainly made some gains but this hardly means that we are equal. There is still a gender hierarchy in place which effects all women in various ways.

Anonymous said...

Renee:

Are you saying that every male is more priviledged than every female?

Chris Marshall

Renee said...

@Chris Marshall

Privilege can and is mitigated by things like class, ability and sexuality. For instance If Paris Hilton has a male limo driver outside of his relationship with Paris his male privilege will open certain opportunities for him. Inside of his relationship with Paris her class privilege will effect the ways in which he is able to use his male privilege. He cannot technically oppress her other than to resort to physical violence or rape. Someone like Barack Obama exists with class privilege and male privilege but it is mitigated by race, because as a black man he will be subject to racism.

Anonymous said...

Renee:

How is that different than saying that the average woman is worse off than the average man, although some women are better off than some men, or is it different?

Chris Marshall

Renee said...

@Chris...It isn't any different. Male privilege and patriarchy place men in positions of dominance over women globally.

Anonymous said...

Renee:

How important a goal is it for you in your writings here to persuade white men to help you fight oppression (by, I gather, owning their priviledge and beginning to work toward fairness in soceity)?

Assuming you do see yourself writing to that audience, do you hold out any hope that your efforts (and similar ones) will bear fruit?

Chris Marshall

Anonymous said...

Renee:

I appreciate that you have shown the courage of your own convictions by not hesitating to follow me along the garden path I am leading you down with my oh-so-innocent seeming questions.

I would not have guessed, from your writings here, that you would have had that courage.

I also appreciate that you may have simply missed my last question, about who your intended audience is and whether you are seriously trying to engage white men with your writings.

I thought I would remind you on the off chance you are interested in replying but simply missed my last question.

Chris Marshall

Renee said...

@Chris I did not see your last question, I was not intentionally ignoring you. When I first started Womanist Musings it was just meant to be a collection of my thoughts, hence the name musings. Six months later I have developed a readership of mostly white women oddly enough. I don't specifically target what I have to say at any one group. I believe that privilege is something that applies to all western bodies which is why you will see an intersectional approach on this blog. My intent is to raise awareness and hopefully get people to think about the way that their unearned privileges impact upon others.
I do believe that white men can be very effective allies once they own their gender and race privileges. The "unhusband" is
white and is very committed to many of the same beliefs that I share. We took different paths to consciousness but the end result is the same. Even though historically the white male is the most privileged body socially I am not specifically directing my message to them. I believe that focusing solely on the white male blinds us to many other issues.
Ultimately I believe human nature to be essentially good and without this belief I could not write this blog. Most of the truly terrible things that are wrong with this world are the responsibility of a small % of the population. I write daily and advocate publicly for change because I believe that one day there will be a substantive change in how this world is organized.

I am leading you down with my oh-so-innocent seeming questions.

Since it is out there...NO I don't believe that your questions are innocent but I assume that when you are ready you will reveal your true purpose.

I would not have guessed, from your writings here, that you would have had that courage.

Then you under estimate me. I stand behind everything that I have written on this blog.

T B said...

Here's a perspective on these questions -

"Remaking gender – Beyond women’s lives"
http://tobanblack.net/blog/?p=191

T B said...

Here's a perspective on these questions -

"Remaking gender – Beyond women’s lives"
http://tobanblack.net/blog/?p=191

Rose said...

Thank you for this post.

I would like to say I find it incredible that people in their comments demonstrate so clearly the principle which you adress in your post, but this has happened all too often.

Anyway, for me this post articulates something I've been thinking about, and it clarified my thoughts, so thank you for that.

cactuswren said...

Weighing in a bit late: over on Feministe, Jack has a post on the "Healthy Transitions for Adolescent Girls" working session at the Clinton Global Initiative. "After the panelists’ discussion," we're told, "the room broke into smaller groups to strategize concrete plans and next steps for improving the lives of adolescent girls" -- and at this conference specifically about improving the situations of girls, the first concern raised was "bring girls in, do not kick boys out", as if the very suggestion of empowering girls was a threat: dear god, what about the boys?