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Fri Feb 17, 2012, 10:39 PM

Look, Kitten, I Am Too A Feminist! Fauxminism and Men

It’s great when men identify as feminists. Really, it is. It’s great when anyone identifies as a feminist. What’s more important, however, is actually sticking to the tenets of that identity and philosophy. This is important for feminists from all walks of life, but it becomes particularly paramount when men claim the title of feminist. Many a woman-identified feminist is unwilling to speak out against men who self-ID with the movement for fear of alienating them from the cause all together – or worse – becoming the man-hating stereotype. However, it’s time to speak the unspeakable. I am totally ok with being labeled a man-hater if it means that feminism can better serve those it is meant for. So here goes: fauxminism in male, masculine-identified allies is a problem, and it needs addressing.

There, I said it.

So how do you tell if a man you are conversing with (or perhaps know, love, and/or are friends with) is, in fact, a fauxminist?


He interrupts women that he speaks with.

Some people don’t understand the politics of simple conversation. However, it’s important to note that talking over people or interrupting them is considered rude for a reason. It’s exerting power over them. It is a way of conveying that what one person has to say is more important – more worthy of consideration and therefore more imperative to be stated sooner – than what another has to speak about.

These politics have historically played across gender lines, and they continue to have attachments to gender to this day. Many studies have been conducted on gender and communication, and in each one men interrupted women more than they interrupted men. Due to their general societal privilege, what men say is generally considered more important than what a woman has to say. This can also be seen in cases in which a man giving a lecture receives applause for saying something that a woman or women in general have said for quite a bit of time.

Legitimate male feminists make a concerted effort not to interrupt the women they’re speaking with. They understand the politics of conversation and they work to limit their male privilege within the confines of spoken communication. It places real value on the words, thoughts, and ideas put forth by women and can be a great learning experience for these men.


He expects to be given leadership roles far before he’s ready for them.

In some cases, this can manifest itself as simply taking on the position of director of a particular project or group. In others, men in feminist groups just tend to become leaders – many before they’re ready. It’s a feminist activist group glass escalator, and on some level it makes sense. It makes sense to fight back against stereotypes by having men at the forefront of feminist groups. It’s a great PR strategy. That is, until it completely backfires.

By placing men in leadership positions just to give off the impression that men are active and involved in feminist politics and organizing, some groups are also giving off the impression that feminism is only relevant if men are in charge of it. This is the antithesis of what feminism should be about, and it only seeks to serve a patriarchal definition of importance in the first place. You can’t smash the patriarchy by adhering to its demands for the privileged to always be calling the shots.

Men need to realize that as a person with privilege, odds are they have a lot to learn about unpacking that privilege before they can lead the march to liberation. Those who demand to be put at the forefront from the get-go are simply attention seekers, and they make it obvious that they have not done the work necessary to be a leader in the fight for equality.


Each one of the below is further expounded upon by the author. You can read at the link.

He interrupts women that he speaks with.

He mansplains.

He insists that feminism must make equal time for men and men’s issues.

He continues to partake in media or activities that objectify/degrade women.

He calls women he doesn’t agree with “bitches”, “whores” or other gender-based slurs.

He feels entitled to the trust of the women he works with in feminist activism circles.

He will not hold other self-proclaimed male-identified feminists accountable.

He uses the tone argument on you.

He is pissed off by this article.

http://www.lawsonry.com/891-look-kitten-i-am-too-a-feminist-fauxminism-and-men/

With the attack on feminists and womens rights lately, ie women not being allowed to speak about reproductive rights at a congressional hearing..... men doing all the talking. I think article gives an interesting perspective.

59 replies, 11519 views

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Arrow 59 replies Author Time Post
Reply Look, Kitten, I Am Too A Feminist! Fauxminism and Men (Original post)
boston bean Feb 2012 OP
varelse Feb 2012 #1
boston bean Feb 2012 #5
FrodosPet Feb 2012 #15
Zalatix Feb 2012 #21
BlancheSplanchnik Feb 2012 #34
Scuba Feb 2012 #42
Zalatix Feb 2012 #20
boston bean Feb 2012 #33
FrodosPet Feb 2012 #41
redqueen Feb 2012 #9
lumberjack_jeff Feb 2012 #26
boston bean Feb 2012 #35
lumberjack_jeff Feb 2012 #43
femrap Feb 2012 #48
Post removed Feb 2012 #2
Vanje Feb 2012 #3
justiceischeap Feb 2012 #4
Vanje Feb 2012 #6
justiceischeap Feb 2012 #10
Bonobo Feb 2012 #7
boston bean Feb 2012 #12
Irishonly Feb 2012 #8
boston bean Feb 2012 #11
The Doctor. Feb 2012 #14
redqueen Feb 2012 #13
Remember Me Feb 2012 #52
BlueIris Feb 2012 #16
Warren DeMontague Feb 2012 #17
boppers Feb 2012 #22
Warren DeMontague Feb 2012 #27
Number23 Feb 2012 #47
Warren DeMontague Feb 2012 #49
Number23 Feb 2012 #50
Warren DeMontague Feb 2012 #51
jsmirman Feb 2012 #18
Lunacee2012 Feb 2012 #19
boppers Feb 2012 #23
jsmirman Feb 2012 #24
jsmirman Feb 2012 #25
Remember Me Feb 2012 #53
lunatica Feb 2012 #30
MineralMan Feb 2012 #28
lonestarnot Feb 2012 #29
redqueen Feb 2012 #31
BlancheSplanchnik Feb 2012 #36
RadiationTherapy Feb 2012 #32
redqueen Feb 2012 #37
RadiationTherapy Feb 2012 #38
Remember Me Feb 2012 #55
RadiationTherapy Feb 2012 #56
Dragonbreathp9d Feb 2012 #39
boston bean Feb 2012 #40
lumberjack_jeff Feb 2012 #44
Remember Me Feb 2012 #57
lumberjack_jeff Feb 2012 #59
MellowDem Feb 2012 #45
Remember Me Feb 2012 #58
DirkGently Feb 2012 #46
Texasgal Feb 2012 #54

Response to boston bean (Original post)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 10:49 PM

1. "He insists that feminism must make equal time for men and men’s issues."

this one.

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Response to varelse (Reply #1)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 11:05 PM

5. Yes

That one is perplexing. And, women, accepting it..... feeling the need to make room for issues other than their own.... feeds into the stereotype of women as caregivers, giving of themselves, selfless, put others before themselves, etc.

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Response to boston bean (Reply #5)

Sat Feb 18, 2012, 12:40 AM

15. What's wrong with being a good person?

"feeds into the stereotype of women as caregivers, giving of themselves, selfless, put others before themselves, etc."

As many valid points as there are to the OP, is it really terrible to be thought of in that way? I thought those were THE primary progressive values.

Rather than discouraging women from being caregivers, giving of themselves, selfless, put others before themselves, etc., shouldn't we be encouraging men to be more so?

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Response to FrodosPet (Reply #15)

Sat Feb 18, 2012, 03:23 AM

21. Yes, we should be encouraging everyone to be that.

 

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Response to FrodosPet (Reply #15)

Sat Feb 18, 2012, 12:49 PM

34. We should learn to stand up decisively for our best interests first

Once WE are taking good loving supportive care of ourselves, we can better serve others.

We women have a long history of tending to others first....historically as a group and in our personal histories.

We need to learn and BELIEVE that WE must advocate for ourselves first. Many of us don't even know how to put ourselves first, but we need to learn.


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Response to FrodosPet (Reply #15)

Sat Feb 18, 2012, 04:00 PM

42. +1

 

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Response to boston bean (Reply #5)

Sat Feb 18, 2012, 03:23 AM

20. Women are not the only ones who need to make room for other people's issues. EVERYONE needs to.

 

Men need to make room for women's issues, everyone needs to think about others besides themselves.

Is this misogyny?

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Response to Zalatix (Reply #20)

Sat Feb 18, 2012, 12:29 PM

33. Feminism is about equality for women, and feminists believe in equality for everyone.

When equality for women is achieved, most of the issues you find to be so oppressive to men, will be moot. You will find yourself, freed from the gender role that you so despise. Feminists are all for breaking down the gender barriers. You have nothing to fear from that.

What I am discussing above is the fact that women are expected to do certain things and be a certain way to have a value in society.

We are expected to be caregivers, we are expected to put other people before ourselves, and in doing so, we are expected to behave a certain way, because we are women. These expectations prevent us from being ourselves or true to what we would like to be.

Maybe I could have put it a little better above, but that is the intent of my post.


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Response to boston bean (Reply #33)

Sat Feb 18, 2012, 03:53 PM

41. What if we don't hate our gender role?

I don't feel like a woman trapped in a man's body. I like sports and racing cars and pro wrestling. When I see a beautiful woman, I get aroused. I like knowing that when a situation is out of bounds, I can restore it with a stern look and maybe a growl.

I don't hold anything against anyone who doesn't fit a "gender stereotype". But, despite my mom trying to break down the roles by giving me dolls as a young child, I grew up loving my Tonka trucks and Hot Wheels.

Am I a bad person because a large part of me DOES fit the "gender stereotype", and I'm not about to force an unnatural change?

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Response to varelse (Reply #1)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 11:14 PM

9. +infinity

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Response to varelse (Reply #1)

Sat Feb 18, 2012, 03:36 AM

26. yes. this is only worthwhile if feminism is about equality.

 

It seems we agree on that point.

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Response to lumberjack_jeff (Reply #26)

Sat Feb 18, 2012, 12:51 PM

35. Again, feminism is about equality for women. Feminists believe in equality for everyone. nt

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Response to boston bean (Reply #35)

Sat Feb 18, 2012, 05:19 PM

43. You can't simultaneously believe in equality

 

and the impropriety of giving men's issues equal time.

Advocacy is fine. Equality is fine. Pretending that you can do both at the same time is not.

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Response to lumberjack_jeff (Reply #26)

Sat Feb 18, 2012, 07:52 PM

48. I don't really want to

 

be considered equal to a male. I believe Feminism is about opening the eyes of men/boys to Patriarchy and how it gives them power over women. Of course, organized religions are part of this Patriarchy.

I don't want to be a man. After all, males are over 92% of the prison population.

It's all about the system of Patriarchy that we live in...many men don't even realize what it is.

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Response to boston bean (Original post)


Response to Post removed (Reply #2)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 10:58 PM

3. Huh?

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Response to Vanje (Reply #3)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 11:01 PM

4. Admins, maybe? nt

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Response to justiceischeap (Reply #4)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 11:06 PM

6. A link would be of interest. nt

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Response to Vanje (Reply #6)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 11:19 PM

10. Not even gonna touch that. ;) nt

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Response to boston bean (Original post)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 11:10 PM

7. Makes sense to me and I wouldn't call you a man-hater for insisting that women

should represent themselves on feminist issues.

Seems like no-brainer.

If men want to help with issues of gender equality, they have plenty of work to do on their own side it seems to me.

They could start by telling women that being born with a penis does not mean that they have to "bring home the bacon" and take the majority burden of economically supporting their partner or family.

They can insist on not choosing partners that evaluate men based on their financial worth.

In other words, they can work on their own side to right the unequal equations that exist wrt gender roles. There is plenty that needs to be done that doesn't require labeling oneself a feminist and barging in.

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Response to Bonobo (Reply #7)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 11:21 PM

12. That is an interesting take Bonobo

can't say I disagree, but I need to give it some more thought.

Thanks for posting.

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Response to boston bean (Original post)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 11:14 PM

8. It's a great article

I am married to a feminist. I doubt we would be married if he weren't.

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Response to Irishonly (Reply #8)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 11:20 PM

11. I thought it was a good article too.

the author really put some meat on the bones, regarding these issues. Gave some food for thought.

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Response to boston bean (Reply #11)

Sat Feb 18, 2012, 12:31 AM

14. Of course it is.

 

Who could possibly say otherwise?

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Response to boston bean (Original post)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 11:24 PM

13. Faux Feminist Men and Other Figments (Real and Imagined)

Thanks so much for posting that.



It reminded me of this:

http://thefeministwire.com/2011/04/faux-feminist-men-and-other-figments-real-and-imagined/

(snip)

I find it interesting that men are seemingly self-identifying as feminist at higher rates at precisely the same moment in history in which female college students are visibly repulsed by the label. Partly, this makes sense to me. In an era of heightened militarism and disaster capitalism, isn’t it more obvious than ever how we—men and women alike—get screwed by “patriarchy” or rather cultural values that are particularly hegemonically masculine?

(snip)

Unsurprisingly, privilege is what gives birth to faux feminism. In certain circles, claiming “feminist” as an identity does actually grant one a kind of status. It’s a sub-cultural currency. The problem is that “feminist” is not simply an identity. It’s a politic, so retaining one’s grasp on male privilege while self-identifying as feminist is not just problematic but rather fundamentally untenable. We might be incredibly postmodern in our capacity to wrestle with tension and contradiction, but this is one uncanny coupling making for a particularly pathological kind of synergy.

(snip)

Surely, I could conclude by suggesting that faux feminist men are akin to a particularly dark figment of our imaginations. One could argue that faux feminist men are a kind of monster who work their way into the emotional, political and intellectual spaces that are cultivated in the service of transformation and safety. One could argue that faux feminist men are the kind of monsters who wait for you underneath your bed to debase sweet dreams of egalitarianism and justice and love. But in my imagination, faux feminist men are figments of another sort. Like unicorns they are almost real, almost but not quite. And I don’t mean they are almost monsterous men. I believe that faux feminist men are almost feminist but not quite feminist. Sometimes the “almost” is a result of a deep reluctance to interrogate male privilege, but sometimes the “almost” is an outcome of experiencing and reproducing the very dynamics feminism is built to challenge. Unicorns have captured our popular imaginations. My hope is that these particular men capture feminist imaginations because there is something magical that could happen by not immediately dismissing faux-feminist men as not real feminists.

I think it’s fair to say that the men who registered for my Feminist Theory course were not feminists when the semester began. It’s fair to say because I asked them if they were feminists, and most of them said no. It’s also the case that they changed. They changed because they connected some of their own traumas and hurts—both the violence of bullying and the cost of never being able to do “man” quite well enough—to a culture that is structured by and celebrates a particular kind of masculinity. But their transformation was not simply self-serving. The men in that classroom came to see their own status as “not-feminist” as part of the problem, and ultimately, they chose to use their powers for “good.” As a teacher and as a feminist, I believe that most of us will make that choice when given the opportunity. Feminists (real ones men and women alike) might invest more in providing those opportunities. That would be magic.



It was hard to choose which parts to highlight.

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Response to redqueen (Reply #13)

Sat Feb 18, 2012, 09:32 PM

52. I vote for the last paragraph

 

It says a lot and offers a glimpse for men as to "what's in it for me (er, them)" -- which is something many want and sometimes we feminists haven't done very well explaining, especially since male privilege has a pretty big pile of very secuctive "benefits" for supporting Patriarchy.

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Response to boston bean (Original post)

Sat Feb 18, 2012, 02:06 AM

16. Ohhhh, good luck. nt

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Response to boston bean (Original post)

Sat Feb 18, 2012, 02:10 AM

17. I think "mansplains" is a broad-brushed, gender-based slur and has no place on DU. nt

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Response to Warren DeMontague (Reply #17)

Sat Feb 18, 2012, 03:26 AM

22. Are you implying it has a negative "tone"?



I agree it's a lousy term.

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Response to boppers (Reply #22)

Sat Feb 18, 2012, 03:48 AM

27. My *opinion* is that it's a broad-brush, gender based slur, which should have no place on DU.

To say more might lead to charges of mansplaining- or mansplainage-- not to mention mansplottery, mansplipulation, mansplapdoodletrage and manspliffery; so I shall stop there.

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Response to Warren DeMontague (Reply #17)

Sat Feb 18, 2012, 07:32 PM

47. What exactly does "mansplains" mean?

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Response to Number23 (Reply #47)

Sat Feb 18, 2012, 08:03 PM

49. oh, so you want me to mansplain it to ya?

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Response to Warren DeMontague (Reply #49)

Sat Feb 18, 2012, 08:18 PM

50. On second thought, maybe someone a bit more coherent and less hysterical

can help me out. Thanks anyway.

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Response to Number23 (Reply #50)

Sat Feb 18, 2012, 08:27 PM

51. no prob.

here to help.

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Response to boston bean (Original post)

Sat Feb 18, 2012, 02:59 AM

18. Is there anything odd about not considering myself a feminist in the slightest?

I'm a man who believes in equality for women and believes that women are just as smart or dumb as men and as capable, if not more capable than men, depending on the task involved. The law makes allowances for certain task-specific differences, and I don't believe that men and women are identical, and I'm glad that they are not.

But I'm a man, and I've never even thought about the idea of being a feminist. Is it good enough if we support women's issues, support equal pay, equal opportunity, and an equal chance to be President or whatever the heck they want to be?

If my senator, Senator Gillibrand is the best person to be President in, say, 2016, it won't matter to me one bit that she's a woman.

But I sure as hell don't want to run your organizations.

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Response to jsmirman (Reply #18)

Sat Feb 18, 2012, 03:14 AM

19. This seems fine to me.

In the end, so long as you support women's issues, it really doesn't matter what you call yourself.

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Response to jsmirman (Reply #18)

Sat Feb 18, 2012, 03:28 AM

23. Out of curiosity, what does "feminist" mean to you?

You may already be a feminist, without realizing it.

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Response to boppers (Reply #23)

Sat Feb 18, 2012, 03:31 AM

24. I think that's part of what I was getting at

I realized that I'm not particularly sure, at all.

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Response to boppers (Reply #23)

Sat Feb 18, 2012, 03:32 AM

25. Oh, and I'm still positive

that I don't want to be in charge of anything, lol.

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Response to jsmirman (Reply #25)

Sat Feb 18, 2012, 09:34 PM

53. LOL -- in that case I like you even more

 

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Response to jsmirman (Reply #18)

Sat Feb 18, 2012, 11:32 AM

30. You sound like a feminist to me

Maybe you don't understand what the term feminist means. Having been one all my life I can assure you you are a feminist. Relax. It's a compliment.

In spite of giving it his best, Rush doesn't have a clue and shouldn't be used as a source of wisdom.

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Response to boston bean (Original post)

Sat Feb 18, 2012, 11:05 AM

28. I wouldn't ever apply the term "feminist"

to myself. I support absolute equality for people, across the board, but I'm a guy. The second I tried to call myself a feminist, I'd be applying a label to myself that I have no right to claim.

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Response to boston bean (Original post)

Sat Feb 18, 2012, 11:24 AM

29. K & R!

 

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Response to boston bean (Original post)

Sat Feb 18, 2012, 11:44 AM

31. STFU Fauxminists... ha, nice.

Just wanted to thank you for the link, cause it led me to this: http://stfufauxminists.tumblr.com/

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Response to redqueen (Reply #31)

Sat Feb 18, 2012, 12:54 PM

36. goood find!

funny !

Yet trenchant!



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Response to boston bean (Original post)

Sat Feb 18, 2012, 12:07 PM

32. I am a little uncomfortable with the biological specificity in her writing.

Particularly because I have seen all of these behaviors in "non-men". While I understand that there is still a lot of discrimination that is strictly biological, the traits described in this article are more affiliated with "masculinity" than with men.

Otherwise, very good material; some of which I am guilty of doing regularly. Interrupting (men and women), disregarding others' experiences in favor of my own opinions (but not only to marginalized groups), objectification (for my pleasure, not to demean the object).

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Response to RadiationTherapy (Reply #32)

Sat Feb 18, 2012, 01:01 PM

37. The subtitle ("Fauxminism and Men") implies to me

that there are of course female fauxminists.

It's just that this piece is specifically abut fauxminism and men... she does prominently display a couple of examples of female fauxminists on her tumblr blog though (link posted above).

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Response to redqueen (Reply #37)

Sat Feb 18, 2012, 01:35 PM

38. As I tread the razor thin line of one of the points in the article...

I personally find it more effective, i.e. less likely to erect (haha) walls, to communicate about the behavior/practice and less about what appears to be the dominant biological group practicing it. The dominant biological group practicing these behaviors need to hear this criticism, but the accusatory subtext defuses some of its effectiveness, I think.

I am very interested in the field of communication studies and so am coming from a perspective of theoretical effectiveness. Obviously, that is very different from the biological prejudices we are surrounded by day to day, so I support and understand the author's point of view. I just wanted to mention a different angle.

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Response to RadiationTherapy (Reply #32)

Sat Feb 18, 2012, 09:44 PM

55. Is there a way to do that?

 

objectification (for my pleasure, not to demean the object).


How does one objectify without demeaning?

Inquiring minds want to know.


While I understand that there is still a lot of discrimination that is strictly biological, the traits described in this article are more affiliated with "masculinity" than with men.


Uh, I'd chalk it up mostly to acculturation, not "biology" at all. Men and the quality of "masculinity" can be taught in ways that honor and respect women, rather than diminishing, disrespecting, discounting and denigrating them, etc. That IS, in fact, the whole thrust of feminism: stop being asses and sexist pigs and start behaving like human beings toward ALL other human beings. It'll do you good, and save lives as well.

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Response to Remember Me (Reply #55)

Sat Feb 18, 2012, 09:48 PM

56. Yes, "masculinity" is an acculturated trait that has no concrete definition and can be changed.

So, yes, I hope to alter ideas of masculinity to be respectful toward all, etc.

As far of objectifying without demeaning, I just mean enjoying looking at parts of people I find attractive without considering them as a whole person, or creeping them out.

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Response to boston bean (Original post)

Sat Feb 18, 2012, 02:03 PM

39. Then again some people just trail on and on

And you interject because somewhere along the line you identified with something and wanted to make it a dialogue and not a diatribe

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Response to Dragonbreathp9d (Reply #39)

Sat Feb 18, 2012, 02:11 PM

40. That is not what was said at all.

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Response to boston bean (Original post)

Sat Feb 18, 2012, 05:39 PM

44. Maybe it's time for some "mansplaining" to the guys who think that being a feminist is ingratiating.

 

I believe in equality. Therefore I believe that women should register for the draft, schools should aggressively promote the success of boys in school, male teachers should be recruited in the same way minorities are, and the justice system should be scrutinized to figure out why men get disproportionate treatment.

In short, I'm a believer in equality, therefore I can't be a feminist.

The middle of the road is for yellow lines and dead armadillos.
Jim Hightower

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Response to lumberjack_jeff (Reply #44)

Sat Feb 18, 2012, 10:07 PM

57. There's no reason women shouldn't register for the draft, altho

 

feminists would typically believe the draft should be done away with for everyone, and in fact the Defense Department pretty much decimated. Put another way, let me pull out an oldie but goodie feminist slogan: Money for schools! Let the Air Force hold bake sales for airplanes.

I believe in equality. Therefore I believe that women should register for the draft,


Covered

schools should aggressively promote the success of boys in school,


In what way do they not? Are you saying that the inverse is true -- that schools promote the success of girls at the expense of boys? How do you come by such an idea?


male teachers should be recruited in the same way minorities are,


The issue has been low pay. Traditionally, men were nearly the ONLY teachers and women had to quit when they married or for sure if they became pregnant. When that nonsense sort of started to abate and more and more women entered the profession, salaries plummeted. Women-dominated professions are almost always underpaid. You wanna more men as teachers, raise the pay. There are many men who would love to teach but feel they cannot afford to do so.

and the justice system should be scrutinized to figure out why men get disproportionate treatment.


Women get disproprtionate treatment in sentencing as well, often getting much stiffer penalties than their male counterparts for equivalent crimes, as if it's ever so much more an outrage that a woman would commit a crime that she has to be doubly punished. Further, many crimes against women are NEVER prosecuted at all, for a variety of reasons (rape is the biggie). And I woujl suspect that women are raped and mal-treated by prison staff while incarcerated at a rate larger than what men are.


In short, I'm a believer in equality, therefore I can't be a feminist.


So, what caused your deep and abiding resentment of women? Where does your wife fit in?

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Response to Remember Me (Reply #57)

Sat Feb 18, 2012, 11:37 PM

59. point by point.

 

In what way do they not? Are you saying that the inverse is true -- that schools promote the success of girls at the expense of boys? How do you come by such an idea?


Answer #1

You wanna more men as teachers, raise the pay.


It's not as simple as that. There are three issues:
1) Pay. You can make as much as a truck driver as you can as a starting teacher... but I think that's always been the case.
2) The personal risk of abuse allegations.
3) Education is meant for women. Boys get this message at an early age.

Women get disproprtionate treatment in sentencing as well, often getting much stiffer penalties than their male counterparts for equivalent crimes

False

So, what caused your deep and abiding resentment of women? Where does your wife fit in?


We get along fine. Maybe it's just you.

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Response to boston bean (Original post)

Sat Feb 18, 2012, 07:11 PM

45. I think the vast majority of people, male or female...

who identify as feminist would fail this purity test.

Unless people educate themselves about gender inequality to a substantial degree, they won't even recognize a lot of the consequences of it. And most people are not very well educated in identifying how the concept of gender impacts many aspects of their lives, much less identifying the privileges/disadvantages that go along with it. Or they are vaguely aware of the most obvious ways it impacts their lives, but they just don't care to think about it, much less do anything about it.

I think women are somewhat more motivated, given they face more disadvantages generally, but even among women in the US there is widespread apathy in my opinion. I think there is a growing interest from men as they face certain disadvantages, but unfortunately some feminist women are threatened by this interest and seek to block feminist men from a movement that some see as exclusively about females. The term "feminism" doesn't help in this regard.

If you can get a person to question and look into the privileges they have of any sort, that's the greatest challenge and best start. In that sense, the idea that the US is a perfect meritocracy is one of the biggest obstacles to recognizing privilege of any sort, much less the social constructs from which they stem.

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Response to MellowDem (Reply #45)

Sat Feb 18, 2012, 10:12 PM

58. Some excellent points

 

Apathy among women is maddening, but it's very hard for feminists to break through the media fog and haze that either obscures the reality of what feminism is, or more likely just cuts straight thru to the demonization of all things feminist.

Really good post.

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Response to boston bean (Original post)

Sat Feb 18, 2012, 07:23 PM

46. I think men have a different role in supporting feminism.

Feminism isn't our movement, any more than supporting equal rights for different ethnicities would make a white man a "black activist," or supporting gay rights makes a straight man a gay activist.

These are cultural positions which have activist movements because the people in them need to stop being defined and lead and corralled by the majority or culturally dominant group.

I think men have a right to have a take on the academic or sociological side of things and to engage as equals with minority or oppressed groups in discussions on social theory, patriarchy, etc. They are not incapable of understanding that there are points of view they can't fully appreciate, but that need space to be heard.

Men also have, or should have, a pro-woman point of view that is uniquely their own. Men are capable, at least, of possessing a profound appreciation for women that requires their continued physical, emotional, and spiritual well being. This requires, among other things, supporting feminism.

But men aren't needed to lead, define, validate, or limit feminism itself. Men especially don't need to watchdog to make sure feminism doesn't "get out hand," or to make sure some sliver of male privilege isn't whittled away too much. It's a point of view men need to support, but which they are not an actual part of.

Seems like that's kind of the point.

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Response to boston bean (Original post)

Sat Feb 18, 2012, 09:36 PM

54. Very Interesting!

Thank you Boston Bean! K&R!

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