Discomfort with "Male Tears" and "Die, Cishet Scum!" Rhetoric

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Post by Lemminkainen on Mon Oct 27, 2014 4:20 am

So, over the past three or four years, I've become more socially conscious and participated (generally in a supporting role) in a few different social justice movements (anti-racism, feminism, socialism, queer rights).  Most of my interactions with people in these movements has been really positive-- I usually feel like I'm helping good people to fight nasty inequalities on large and small scales, and I've gotten a lot of excellent solidarity from people supporting queer rights (which affects me personally, since I'm non-straight).  I feel honored to have the opportunity to support and be supported by so many people working to make a better world.

But sometimes, these movements start turning hateful, and I feel deeply uncomfortable.  I hate it when one of my fellow queer people says something like "Die, Cishet scum!", even when it's just ironic.*  A lot of us have been bullied or told to kill ourselves because of our sexualities or gender expressions.  We all should know that it's deeply hurtful-- and having people casually joke about it is worse.  The fact that in this case, it doesn't perpetuate society-wide structural oppression doesn't suddenly make it ethical.  So it upsets me a lot when a fellow queer person does this, and then the other queer people around them condone it through silence, affirmation, or dogpiling any cishet person who objects to what is, frankly, a piece of hate speech by suggesting that they're not good allies/secret homophobes.  Of course, sometimes, we should say things that make straight people feel uncomfortable.  But I feel like we need to make sure that we're doing so for constructive reasons-- making a joke just doesn't justify hurting people and then telling them that their pain makes them unethical.

Similarly, as a feminist ally (or just a feminist?  the label isn't super important), I feel really, really uncomfortable with the "male tears" rhetoric.  I understand that it originated as a way to parody the stereotype of feminists as man-haters, but it feels like it's become something else through both repetition and through the way that people who use it react to people who feel uncomfortable because of it.  In essence, a person who talks about being pleased by male tears and then says that anybody who feels uncomfortable about it is a misogynist is saying to me** "I'm going to joke that I consider your pain and emotions totally irrelevant, and if you have a problem with that at all, then you're a bad person."  That makes me feel deeply uncomfortable, and, when I hear it from somebody who I consider a friend, deeply hurt.  It makes me feel unsafe moving in communities or interacting with people.  (In fact, it's exactly like what I feel when somebody makes a homophobic or biphobic joke around me and tells me that I just have no sense of humor or need to suck it up when I object to it).


Am I totally off base here, or is it okay that I find this rhetoric objectionable (when I'm not its target) and hurtful (when I am)?  And in either case, how can I constructively communicate about how I feel about this with both communities and with my friends?  I want to be able to be a queer activist (albeit a relatively low-key one) and an ally for other people's causes** and be able to interact with my lefty friends without frequently having to feel angry at others because they do something I think is unethical or unsafe because people are joking about my pain and telling me that it's not okay if I don't find it funny.


*I also sometimes get the vibe that this kind of humor is often deployed by somebody who really wants to be hateful and still have plausible deniability-- much like most racist jokes.
** If I had no choice but to stop participating I guess I would, but that would also put me in a bind, since I see working toward social justice on a broad variety of fronts as a key ethical imperative in my life-- I would feel like I was being a bad person just because of psychological distress, which would bring yet more distress...

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Post by Guest on Mon Oct 27, 2014 6:35 am

I don't think you're being off-base. Coincidentally, I was reading this article: http://feminspire.com/bathing-male-tears-doesnt-mean-im-anti-man/ and I have to plagiarize a few of the ideas expressed in the comments, as I didn't quite have the vocabulary with which to express my discomfort with "Male Tears".

The intention of ironic misandry doesn't necessarily have to come across to a person who encounters these "Male Tears" memes. Also, despite the user's good intentions, they inadvertently reinforce and perpetuate the idea that "real men shouldn't cry", an ideology that feminism is supposedly against. The meme would be more effective if it read something like "MRA Tears" or "Misogynist Tears" and yet it's read "Male". Why? Because it's easier to roll off the tongue?    

And because the target is an entire gender instead of a select group within said gender, the implied message can read something like, "You're not allowed to feel bad/talk about any legitimate disadvantages that come with living in a patriarchal society, because you're the biggest benefactor in said society and you'll never face systemic gender oppression on the level that most/all women have experienced".

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Post by reboot on Mon Oct 27, 2014 6:49 am

Nope, you are not off base at all. One problem with identity issue groups is there is a tendency to attract people who honestly do hate the "them" the us are opposed to. In addition, you start getting groupthink one upmanship and use of code words/phrases to solidify identity and prove belonging. The only way to handle it is to use the same tools you use to deal with any hate speech. Here are a few phrases:
-"Ouch!" to show it is hurtful
-"I used to think the way you do about cishet people but then realized..."
-"I am male and it makes me unhappy that people I like and respect might enjoy my tears."
-"So why do you think cishet people should die?/do you enjoy the tears of others?"
Etc.

Some people are going to think you are a misogynist or anti-trans because of this, but that is their problem, not yours. Identity political groups suffer from geek social fallacies (which I prefer to call group social fallacies) and some people will not like you rocking the boat or causing "drama," because it makes the group feel less united, but others will appreciate you speaking up because they are uncomfortable with such speech as well.

Good luck! And please ask if there are specific situations. I have been navigating this minefield for a while Smile
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Post by BasedBuzzed on Mon Oct 27, 2014 8:28 am

No, assholes are assholes, regardless of whatever excuse they use to make it seem okay. Especially the male tears part is utterly silly. Is enforcing gender roles suddenly feminist now? They are simpletons who suck at intersectionality and only see the world in an oppressor-oppressed dichotomy, almost always forgetting mental health issues and class privilege.

Targeted at someone directly, okay, you have a clearer image of power relations there. But who says blanket shouting of the term can't contribute to pushing the depressed over the edge? If your own voice is somehow not enough for this due to people twisting "sit down and listen" into "shut up and do as I say at all times", link to articles from the marginalized that discuss these issues.

If you speak up about this, use it as a litmus test of whatever activist group you're in. As the poster above says, I suspect you'll get plenty of support from people who would otherwise have trouble gathering the confidence to speak up about this. If they dogpile on you in a vicious manner, leave with a clear conscience: if activism is taking a mental toll, you have every right to drop out, especially if they try to invalidate your feelings(hello, emotional abuse!). Sooner or later such tox-boxes will start tearing apart their own anyway, so it's handy to make a graceful exit before the whole thing comes crashing down.

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Post by Enail on Mon Oct 27, 2014 1:23 pm

This has come up a bit lately on this site, and I've found it interesting and surprising.

To me, it's always seemed like a natural and straightforward expression of frustration. Especially on a site like this one, where I think quite a few of the feminist women spend quite a lot of time listening to men's worries, giving advice (including non-feminism-focused advice), sympathizing and encouraging - and often for the same men who regularly say sexist, insulting things and talk about women as if they are not human beings - and then turn around and be accused of hating men and wishing them harm when you express any disagreement. After a while of that, it's sort of natural to snap and say "yes, fine, you're right, I admit it, I am totally here to hurt men's feelings and kick their puppies and steal their lollipops."  

I'd always thought the context and sarcasm was obvious and uncontroversial - and I'd never seen the choice of 'male tears' as anything other than a gender-neutral, relatively unaggressive choice of  exaggerated way to say "caused X pain."  It's been extremely surprising to me to see this reaction expressed, and by men who I trust to generally understand that feminists are not automatically anti-men and to understand sarcasm and exaggeration.

So, it's no longer an expression I would use. But at the same time, I think sometimes you've just got to be able to joke about the terrible assumptions people make about you. Do you think there are ways to phrase that kind of thing that don't have the same harmful connotations and hurtful dismissal (maybe sillier examples that steer away from any gender norms), or is it always going to be problematic? And is it problematic regardless of context (eg. in response to a direct accusation, say of being a man-hater because you say you are against street harassment as opposed to in more free-floating situations)?
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Post by Guest on Mon Oct 27, 2014 1:44 pm

I remember the first time I read the "Die Cis Scum" blogpost that started it all. I was initially quite shocked, and felt very uncomfortable about it. A stranger on the internet was wishing me harm just because of my chromosomal arrangement! That's not fair! I didn't do anything to deserve it!

And then, thankfully, the bit of my brain that tells me when I'm being an asshole whacked me round the ear with a clue-by-four, and spake thusly: "Ember, did you feel a little bit threatened because someone, who is on the internet and has no power to hurt or even influence your life in any way, said a nasty thing about you over a characteristic that you can't help? THEN TRY BEING FUCKING TRANS FOR A DAY, YOU GIGANTIC WUSSBAG."

I love Die Cis Scum. Love it love it love it. Because I will never know what it feels like to be trans, to drown in a sleeting barrage of hate every time I go on the internet, to have to fucking hope I pass well enough not to attract attention otherwise I'm going to get abuse and/or violence every single time I leave the house. But just for a moment, I got a teeny tiny little, 0.5% glimpse of what that might be like. Good. It's good that I felt that.

And while I don't like the stereotype that boys shouldn't cry, sometimes I just reach the end of my tether with trying to get men to just fucking listen, to have to audition for my own humanity via a series of ever-shifting goalposts in order to simply be allowed to participate. And then to have a load of nasty, clichéd, bullshit stereotypes of feminism brought up, as the excuse as to why girls shouldn't be allowed in their clubhouse, makes me furious because it makes it very clear that they were never arguing in good faith in the first place. So yes, I will happily bathe in those male tears, and I'll even stick the #NotAllMen hashtag on for you.

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Post by Lemminkainen on Mon Oct 27, 2014 7:36 pm

@Enail: Just to be clear, I'm not referring to this site specifically, which usually feels like a safe space, but to online SJ spaces more generally.

Re your questions: I think that making fun of the assumptions people make about you is an excellent thing to do, generally. I really like your suggesting of ratcheting up the absurdity-- I find things like telling other posters that you'll join them at the next meeting of their man-hating Illuminati coven or something like that quite funny! But it probably does need to be exaggerated kind of dramatically-- there are enough feminists who seem to actually hate men, or at least talk like they do (even the main site has a few, albeit not many, of these-- Rooo comes to mind) that the idea of a feminist woman hating men seems plausible, not absurd. And the more time I've spent in feminism-space, the more plausible it's seemed-- it feels like every other week, somebody writes an article about how men can't be feminist allies or some other proposition which depends on some concept of essential male horribleness. And there are a lot of feminist spaces (again, I'm not lumping DNL prime or this forum into this category) where bringing up issues that the patriarchy causes for men, in any context, will get a pile-on of people calling you a derailer, crybaby, or troll, even when those exact same people use "patriarchy hurts men" to argue that men should be feminists-- so for a person familiar with feminist spaces, the idea that a feminist woman would be indifferent to your "male tears" doesn't seem all that absurd either. (Just to be clear, I think that the vast majority of feminists aren't man-haters who are indifferent to any pain that men have-- but the 5 or 10% who are are very vocal, and other members of the community frequently give them implicit permission and support by staying silent).

I also think that context is really important. Making "Male Tears" a slogan and putting it on a t-shirt or mug removes it from the context which made it satire and not hate speech. So does using it when people with Y chromosomes bring up genuine concerns or talk about their emotions in non-misogynist ways. It starts being something more like "ironic" hipster racism-- actual hate under a satirical cover. Similarly, if it just becomes an in-group bonding activity, it basically turns into a way of bullying allies in the movement. I think that asking allies to prioritize the concerns of the members of the group they're struggling for, carefully listening to the experiences of people in the marginalized group, and letting them take the lead in activism is really important, but I don't think that it's reasonable to turn them into emotional punching bags for absorbing movement members' rage against society.

I find that the pervasiveness of a statement like this is also really important. I want to thank Embertine for telling me what it was like to read the original "Die Cisscum!" post-- thanks to you, I can understand how it could be enlightening and powerful when it was new. But now it's really, really common-- you're not educating anybody by saying it, you're just flagellating them. Getting others to be empathetic is valuable and productive, demanding that they constantly suffer for the Original Sin of having cissexual or heterosexual privilege is not.

Finally, I think that how a person responds to an interlocutor acting in good faith who raises an objection or discomfort with the satirical rhetoric is really important. If I hear somebody use a particular phrase and then say that anybody who doesn't think it's funny is a misogynist/asshole/humorless, then the phrase starts to feel more like a term of abuse than a piece of satire. If you're making a joke, you need to be okay with the fact that some people might not find it funny. That's just a basic social risk that everybody takes when they use humor.

I'll add the standard disclaimer that I speak from my own experience here. I don't represent all men, or all feminist men, and other people will probably have different feelings about these issues.

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Post by nonA on Mon Oct 27, 2014 8:23 pm

Question: Why would you want to continue associating with a group of people who regularly mock, belittle, and dismiss you?

Sincerely, Not A Feminist.

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Post by nearly_takuan on Mon Oct 27, 2014 8:34 pm

Question: Isn't "regularly mock, belittle, and dismiss you" a redundant description, since it can really be applied to (vocal members of) any arbitrarily chosen group of people?

There's no group just for saints, and if there were, it would cruelly discriminate against non-saints.

AVEN has had a few newsletters and stickied forum posts informing readers that it's wrong to treat or talk about sexual people as if they're morally inferior, operating with cognitive disadvantages, or otherwise automatically "less than". Yes, some of us need to be told. (Not just the repulsed crowd, either.)
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Post by BasedBuzzed on Mon Oct 27, 2014 8:37 pm

One of the reactions is that they're trying to make it into slang for sperm on Urbandictionary, which will be hilarious if it catches on(putting that slogan on a t-shirt always strikes me as the same level of tryhard as This Is What The Patriarchy Looks Like t-shirts).

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Post by reboot on Mon Oct 27, 2014 8:53 pm

nearly_takuan wrote:Question: Isn't "regularly mock, belittle, and dismiss you" a redundant description, since it can really be applied to (vocal members of) any arbitrarily chosen group of people?

There's no group just for saints, and if there were, it would cruelly discriminate against non-saints.

AVEN has had a few newsletters and stickied forum posts informing readers that it's wrong to treat or talk about sexual people as if they're morally inferior, operating with cognitive disadvantages, or otherwise automatically "less than". Yes, some of us need to be told. (Not just the repulsed crowd, either.)

Group think, it is always with us, especially if it is a group that finally feels safe having an identity openly.

Lem, for 99.9999% of the people you bump into raising the fact that it makes you, personally, the ally they know unhappy and uncomfortable is all it will take for a rethink. The other 0.0001% are the type that are itching to put someone, anyone, against a wall and pull the trigger. Those people suck and are part and parcel of any identity movement. Just stay away from the group if they start taking over or it ends badly.
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Post by Conreezy on Mon Oct 27, 2014 9:03 pm

there are enough feminists who seem to actually hate men, or at least talk like they do (even the main site has a few, albeit not many, of these-- Rooo comes to mind

I don't think she hates men at all.  Like embertine and Enail above, she just doesn't have much patience for men who are sticking to sexist assumption/opinions/world views.  

it feels like every other week, somebody writes an article about how men can't be feminist allies or some other proposition which depends on some concept of essential male horribleness.

There are many opinions regarding feminism.  I know I would be a little anxious to take the label of feminist if I didn't know the exact political leanings of the person questioning me.  But, also, I've come to not care.  The goal is to stamp out sexism.  My participation towards that end may not be enough for some, but it's what I'm offering and I'm trying my best.

It took me a while to understand the "It's not about you" catchphrase, but now I get it.  If a woman's complaint applies to me, I work to change it. I think I've come a long way in the past year and a half or so.  But if it doesn't apply to me, I don't take it personally.  If/when I feel the guilt creep into me, I take a break from these things.

Regarding the male tears thing: I figured the phrase pertains to male complaints as a result of losing their privilege.  I don't think anyone would laugh at a male experiencing an objectively (ie, outside of gender discussions) painful event.

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Post by celette482 on Mon Oct 27, 2014 9:54 pm

Conreezy wrote:Regarding the male tears thing: I figured the phrase pertains to male complaints as a result of losing their privilege. I don't think anyone would laugh at a male experiencing an objectively (ie, outside of gender discussions) painful event.

Exactly. Being forced to acknowledge that things might be harder for other people is tough. It's emotionally challenging. But when it's someone upset that they're losing something they didn't "earn" in the first place, and when it's in response to people essentially getting back what was stolen from them (less privileged groups getting to true equality of opportunity)... well maybe those tears aren't so heartbreaking.

Men's bad reactions come from a place of genuine pain. The problem is, the reason it gets gently mocked, is because the source of the pain is the result of the world becoming a slightly more equal place. So.... it hurts. We get it hurts. It's supposed to hurt.

I actually take a similar approach when my husband was upset that I was upset with him. He'd do something hurtful. I'd tell him "Hey, that thing you did was hurtful" and he would respond with pouting and sulking and hoping I'd comfort him because his feelings hurt. It hurts when someone tells you you screwed up. But, the source of solace should not be the person you screwed up on. That's Male Tears. (Of course, that pattern of behavior is gender-non-specific, but in the case of feminist spaces, patriarchy, and Male Tears, it's the privileged sighing dramatically over their loss of privilege that's got soooo much gumption. You also can find White Tears. Same thing)
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Post by Robjection on Mon Oct 27, 2014 9:58 pm

Lemminkainen wrote:there are enough feminists who seem to actually hate men, or at least talk like they do (even the main site has a few, albeit not many, of these-- Rooo comes to mind)
[mod]Hey folks, just a general reminder. If you want to talk about a specific person's views rather than just how a general kind of comment makes you feel, it's best to do so by responding directly to that person when they're posting. By calling them out in a space where they're not posting, apart from the possibility of offending the person, you may have also caused them to feel like they now need to defend themselves from an accusation in a topic that they didn't really want to participate in in the first place.[/mod]

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Post by nearly_takuan on Mon Oct 27, 2014 10:30 pm

celette482 wrote:Men's bad reactions come from a place of genuine pain. The problem is, the reason it gets gently mocked, is because the source of the pain is the result of the world becoming a slightly more equal place.

Can I ask what pain you are referring to, and also how its source leads back to the world becoming more equal? I'm totally unfamiliar with that point of view and I don't even have a guess about what you mean, so I'm kind of lost and confused.
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Post by celette482 on Mon Oct 27, 2014 10:37 pm

nearly_takaun wrote:Regarding the male tears thing: I figured the phrase pertains to male complaints as a result of losing their privilege. I don't think anyone would laugh at a male experiencing an objectively (ie, outside of gender discussions) painful event.


Take people upset with comics becoming more inclusive and the moves to reduce the beefcake. Or, to be not gendered, take conservative Christians upset with the idea their 1950s tv show version of the world isn't true.

You're learning that your mental world, the way you define the world, the way you say "This is how things are and it is how they should be" "I am a good person who worked hard and everything I have I earned" isn't true. People are telling you "No, actually, part of how you got here is because you didn't have to fight the same fight that people of color or women or people with disabilities did." And that destroys your world.

Just look at how angry people like Rush Limbaugh are. They're upset because their world is being torn down piece by piece.

But it's a false world, one built on lies or misconceptions or on the backs of other people. So, maybe it's okay that the process is painful.
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Post by eselle28 on Mon Oct 27, 2014 10:38 pm

nearly_takuan wrote:
celette482 wrote:Men's bad reactions come from a place of genuine pain. The problem is, the reason it gets gently mocked, is because the source of the pain is the result of the world becoming a slightly more equal place.

Can I ask what pain you are referring to, and also how its source leads back to the world becoming more equal? I'm totally unfamiliar with that point of view and I don't even have a guess about what you mean, so I'm kind of lost and confused.

I think celette might have been referring to pain stemming from the lessening of male privilege. It is genuine pain, but that particular kind of pain is fairly frustrating to people who were historically on the lack-of-privilege side of things.

My two cents is that I don't think "Male Tears" is particularly helpful while also understanding some of the frustration that's behind it. (Not even going to touch the "Die cishet scum" stuff, as I don't have the same kind of insight into the feelings behind it.)
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Post by nearly_takuan on Mon Oct 27, 2014 10:51 pm

celette482 wrote:Take people upset with comics becoming more inclusive and the moves to reduce the beefcake. Or, to be not gendered, take conservative Christians upset with the idea their 1950s tv show version of the world isn't true.

You're learning that your mental world, the way you define the world, the way you say "This is how things are and it is how they should be" "I am a good person who worked hard and everything I have I earned" isn't true. People are telling you "No, actually, part of how you got here is because you didn't have to fight the same fight that people of color or women or people with disabilities did." And that destroys your world.

Just look at how angry people like Rush Limbaugh are. They're upset because their world is being torn down piece by piece.

But it's a false world, one built on lies or misconceptions or on the backs of other people. So, maybe it's okay that the process is painful.

Oh, well, I agree with you on those things then. Actually, you're more generous than I am; I don't think I would describe any of those experiences as pain or cause for complaint. I mean, it's not like making a Big Hero Six cartoon is hurting the popularity or variety of movies that are about four white men and a white woman saving the world from aliens.
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Post by nonA on Mon Oct 27, 2014 10:51 pm

celette482 wrote:Exactly. Being forced to acknowledge that things might be harder for other people is tough. It's emotionally challenging. But when it's someone upset that they're losing something they didn't "earn" in the first place, and when it's in response to people essentially getting back what was stolen from them (less privileged groups getting to true equality of opportunity)... well maybe those tears aren't so heartbreaking.

Men's bad reactions come from a place of genuine pain. The problem is, the reason it gets gently mocked, is because the source of the pain is the result of the world becoming a slightly more equal place. So.... it hurts. We get it hurts. It's supposed to hurt.

I actually take a similar approach when my husband was upset that I was upset with him. He'd do something hurtful. I'd tell him "Hey, that thing you did was hurtful" and he would respond with pouting and sulking and hoping I'd comfort him because his feelings hurt. It hurts when someone tells you you screwed up. But, the source of solace should not be the person you screwed up on. That's Male Tears. (Of course, that pattern of behavior is gender-non-specific, but in the case of feminist spaces, patriarchy, and Male Tears, it's the privileged sighing dramatically over their loss of privilege that's got soooo much gumption. You also can find White Tears. Same thing)

Usually when I see it, it's the usual stance where members of the outgroup are treated as non people.  Whether it's heathens or nerds or jocks or preps or men, it's a nasty form of groupthink.

Or, to be not gendered, take conservative Christians upset with the idea their 1950s tv show version of the world isn't true.

Coincidentally, I was thinking of sane, moderate christians when this topic came up.

Specifically, how they make a concerted effort to say "no, you do not speak for us" when someone preaches crazy like saying that dead troops are god's punishment for homosexuality. Gotta respect how they've learned how to proactively stay on top of the message they want to send.

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Post by celette482 on Mon Oct 27, 2014 11:03 pm

nearly_takuan wrote:
Oh, well, I agree with you on those things then. Actually, you're more generous than I am; I don't think I would describe any of those experiences as pain or cause for complaint. I mean, it's not like making a Big Hero Six cartoon is hurting the popularity or variety of movies that are about four white men and a white woman saving the world from aliens.

emotions aren't rational and can't be explained away by facts. How lovely would the world be if that were the case. Instead, we gotta acknowledge that other people's emotions are valid. And then be honest about the consequences their actions/reactions to those emotions. When feminists joke about male tears (and I am rarely one of them, though if a particular person is being truly misogynistically obnoxious...), they are saying "Hey, we're not sad that you're sad." Sometimes you (in this case feminists joking about male tears) are fully aware that your actions are causing someone else pain, and you just don't care. The receiver of those actions can decide to not engage. You can decide to call out people when they use the phrase male tears or avoid places where it is used frequently. You can complain loudly that it's not fair and right and that misogyny shouldn't be fought with misandry. You might be missing the point, but you can do that.

Realistically, Male Tears the joke is an attempt to pull power away from those who have it, just for a bit. It's people saying "We don't care about your feelings right now. We don't. Not one bit. and you having feelings at us just make us more inclined to not care." You have to understand that it occurs in the context of groups of people who are constantly forced to negotiate those very feelings. (Ask the women on the forum about being approached by strangers or OK Cupid creeps or any of a million micro-aggressions) and this is their attempt to say "You know what? Keep your damn feelings to yourselves for five minutes."

I don't make the joke very much because i think it's more trouble than it's worth because you inevitably have men coming out of the woodwork saying "I don't like that phrase."

I am assuming everything I'm saying applies to Die Cishet Scum. As a cishet person, I have my feelings taken into account more than they should be. I recognize that and let other people have a space that it outside me.
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Post by kleenestar on Mon Oct 27, 2014 11:41 pm

Yeah, I really don't like the phrase but I really do like the sentiment of "Hey, your feelings are not always my problem." I just think there has to be a way to say it that doesn't come off as hateful (as distinct from hurtful; for a lot of men it's always going to feel hurtful when they encounter a woman who doesn't put their feelings first).
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Post by nearly_takuan on Mon Oct 27, 2014 11:58 pm

celette482 wrote:Realistically, Male Tears the joke is an attempt to pull power away from those who have it, just for a bit. It's people saying "We don't care about your feelings right now. We don't. Not one bit. and you having feelings at us just make us more inclined to not care." You have to understand that it occurs in the context of groups of people who are constantly forced to negotiate those very feelings. (Ask the women on the forum about being approached by strangers or OK Cupid creeps or any of a million micro-aggressions) and this is their attempt to say "You know what? Keep your damn feelings to yourselves for five minutes."

I don't make the joke very much because i think it's more trouble than it's worth because you inevitably have men coming out of the woodwork saying "I don't like that phrase."

Speaking of which, I don't like that phrase. Razz

Here's the thing... I'm male. "Male tears" sounds like it's talking about me (or would be, if anything other than yawning could generate them).

I'm also fairly convinced I'd be a lot worse off if I had been born more than a decade earlier than I was. A lot of my friends are in the same (metaphorical) boat, and not just because a lot of my friends happen to be women. I'm not really feeling a loss of any particular privilege 'cause I've got a lot more frustration over the fact that a lot of things aren't progressing quite as fast as I'd want them to.

And the groups that supposedly want to help with those things, and the groups that affiliate with and support those groups...

...those groups say "male tears" or give support through silence to those who do.

I'm not as many minorities as some, but I'm enough minorities to make it frustrating that I don't have many advocates and can't trust the ones I find.

It's like...you were supposed to be the good guys. I can't help feeling a little betrayed. I think Lemminkainen and reboot have already covered most of the reasons why better than I can. Kaz made an excellent post elsewhere, too.

Discomfort with "Male Tears" and "Die, Cishet Scum!" Rhetoric XgL4eSV

I can't rate whether any of the things I've been through are better or worse than what it's been like for you, or for women in a general sense. I can say I'm pretty unhappy with the way a lot of things have turned out for me.

Maybe me feeling a little betrayed is a price you're willing to pay. That's fine; I can't honestly say I expect better.
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Post by Lemminkainen on Tue Oct 28, 2014 12:09 am

@ Rob: Noted. Thanks for the reminder.

@conreezy and celette: I understand that the line originated as something directed against misogynistic guys who are upset over losing some sort of privilege. But I think that in actual practice, I see more usage like what nonA describes: the "members of outgroup aren't people" claim. (Or at least, I find this usage much more memorable-- at any rate, it's had a lot more effect on my experience of the words and how they make me feel.)

Musing on this all a bit more: I think that I have a slightly different understanding of social justice than some of the other posters here. I've found the SJ concept of "privilege" intellectually helpful, but I think it shares its name with an ordinary English word that gives it some of the wrong connotations. "Privilege" implies that something is totally undeserved. But, looking at a classic enumeration of privileges like Peggy McIntosh's "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Backpack," it's clear that almost all of the items on the list are things that everyone living in any society should have. I feel like the right English-language word for things like this isn't "privileges" but "rights." So, I don't see the problem of social justice as taking away privilege from people who have too much, but as one of giving rights to people who wrongfully go without them. With the exception of some material stuff, everything that we're struggling to change is fundamentally nonrival unless you enjoy bullying or hurting people.* Not catcalling women doesn't make men's lives any harder. Gay people getting married does not stop straight people from getting married. Letting a trans person use a bathroom which matches their gender doesn't hurt cis people any more than letting anybody else use the bathroom. Not falsely convicting and disproportionately imprisoning black people not only doesn't hurt white people, but probably saves them tax dollars. Conversely, causing people pain doesn't fix problems, it just adds more hurt. So, social justice isn't about taking things away or causing pain, but giving things and reducing it. (It's worth noting that like takuan, I never found things like "Movies/books/games who star/are by people who aren't like me" troublesome. I spent my youth reading Tamora Pierce books, "Invisible Man" is one of my top 5 American novels, and three of my top four film directors are people who aren't white. More diverse casts and well-developed characters of all kinds just enrich works with more kinds of bodies and experiences, which makes them more interesting! I find the outcry over stuff like "This woman made an indie game that reflects her experience!" and "Dragon Age will let me play as a gay character!" kind of baffling. So, this probably shapes my perspective.)


*I also don't think that the economic stuff is as rival as we think it is-- the world's very richest people consume a huge share of its output, and since they've met almost all the needs and desires they can meet with money, they expend most of what they have on positional goods and social status competition, so taking a lot of their wealth away wouldn't actually negatively affect their lives all that much.


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Post by SadisticToaster on Tue Oct 28, 2014 5:03 am

Enail wrote:This has come up a bit lately on this site, and I've found it interesting and surprising.

In the dying days of the old forum I saw people saying that certain groups of people should be considered 'legitimate targets for abuse' because of the way that they were born. This idea made me very uncomfortable, but I wimped out of saying anything because I didn't feel like getting into a flame war.

Conreezy wrote:
It took me a while to understand the "It's not about you" catchphrase, but now I get it. If a woman's complaint applies to me, I work to change it. I think I've come a long way in the past year and a half or so. But if it doesn't apply to me, I don't take it personally. If/when I feel the guilt creep into me, I take a break from these things.

Is it really that much of a chore for people to write "why do some men do [x]" rather then "why do men do [x]" - to emphasise you're not refering to every one who's ever ID as male? I try to always write "some women" / "most women" for this reason.

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Post by UristMcBunny on Tue Oct 28, 2014 8:39 am

In my experience, writing "why do some men do" as opposed to "why do men do" has done literally nothing to stop the "not all men/I'm a man and I don't do this/misandry!!!!11!eleventy" responses.

Hell, I've written posts and read articles where I or the writer dedicated an entire starting paragraph to "most men are good, not all men are like this, this is about the ones who DO do this" and the comments following it have still been a clusterfuck of defensiveness.

Honestly, I stopped bothering. Because in the end I found myself working so hard to try to manage the emotions and needs and feelings of people who might be reading who were not the target audience for what I was writing, that it ended up derailing the entire point I was trying to make. And then people would come out of their holes to derail it with that exact same conversation, anyway, that the actual useful discussion I was trying to have never happened. I found that often, my careful qualifications made it worse because it legitimised the idea that a conversation about men's feelings/needs re: the sexist thing I was talking about was somehow wanted or welcomed.

But also, because I realised that when I read a post with "fuck white people" or "I hate white people" or "I'm so sick of white people doing X", it was almost always in direct response to something really shitty going on. Like, when I read a long and depressing post about the clusterfuck of racism, abuse of power, corruption and nepotism in Ferguson... Yeah, I'm really not upset that one of the comments on that is "fucking white people". Because I know that even though the Ferguson situation is frankly disgusting, it's not even "just" about Ferguson. It's about centuries of THIS SHIT AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN, after which I can honestly kind of see their point, you know?

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