[not 101] Men in feminism

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Post by reboot on Thu Nov 06, 2014 7:39 pm

<MOD> If you feel that the conversation about today's feminists building on the accomplishments of the past has legs, I will split it out. One minute </MOD>

EDIT: The discussion of building on the works of past feminists can be found here


Last edited by reboot on Thu Nov 06, 2014 7:58 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post by Wondering on Thu Nov 06, 2014 7:49 pm

eselle28 wrote:
Wondering wrote:
reboot wrote:Then again, maybe that conversation should not happen with feminists at all since it is a bit preaching to the choir. Feminists already tend to believe current models of masculinity need to change but are not the ones who can make it happen.

Yeah, I think that's another reason going outside existing feminist spaces is needed. Otherwise, it's just preaching to the choir and no progress will be made on necessary issues.

I think I can imagine some good reasons men would want to have those conversations with feminists, if not necessarily in 101 spaces. There's preaching to the choir, and then (to extend a very Christian-based metaphor) there's having a study group for members of all the churches in the area after services, and then there's preaching to the choir of the church down the road that doesn't do things exactly the way you do. Preaching to the choir is kind of pointless and usually boring. The study group could be interesting, though, either as a place for members to support each other or to learn about each other's different perspectives. The last option tends not to be very appealing, at least if you're one of the choir members.

Anyway, I can see why men might want to talk about these issues with people who are thinking about them but who may have a different perspective. I don't want to do advocacy all the time, so I can see how men might not want to, either. It's more sort of a time and place and tone issue with me, and I'm still puzzling out how to do that without deeming someone a second-class citizen. I think the patriarchal attitudes take on it is mostly working for me though.

I agree with this. It's why I don't see the two statements in the original quote as exclusionary. I think they need to work in tandem.

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Post by Mel on Thu Nov 06, 2014 7:56 pm

I feel that since there is disagreement among feminists about what is and isn't feminism exactly, it's reasonable to call oneself a feminist as long as you at least believe in and act on the basic principle of working toward gender equality. I also feel that you can tackle men's issues from a feminist perspective--e.g., recognizing that the root of most of the gender issues men face is a devaluing of women, and that trying to correct that devaluing of women will therefore be a necessary part of addressing the issue even if your primary concern is how that will create a better world for men too.

So I, at least, was not suggesting that men need to go start their own separate gender rights movement, but rather that if they want to address men's issues from a feminist perspective, their best non-derailing options are joining efforts already in place that address the same/parallel issues or creating their own effort based on those principles, where I would take no issue with them calling themselves feminists. Yes, some other people might take issue with it... But there are people who think no men can be feminists at all, as has already been noted. It's up to you whether you're okay with doing the work from that perspective even though not everyone will be 100% okay with it, but really, no matter what any of us does, there will be people who think we're doing it wrong/not enough/etc. and all we can do is pick what we think is the best path for our goals and adjust if someone points out a clear problem with how we're doing it.
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Post by Guest on Thu Nov 06, 2014 7:56 pm

I wasn’t actually trying to suggest with my analogy that feminism was one big farm. This admittedly comes from a misremembering of the quote when I was writing, but I was processing it as “do men need to have place in feminist spaces,” largely because of what Eselle said in the post I was responding to.

In that sense, I would say there are millions of farms around the world. Some of them are grow cat gifs or MRA rhetoric or whatever. But some of them are feminist farms. Doctor NerdLove is a farm. This forum is a farm. Within those farms, moderators and community members work to keep things running. People work to grow the community, and they work to build good conversation.

I think this forum is a good example of a space where we can grow the crops of “what about men’s issues” alongside the crops of “how do I get that dude in my chem class to go out with me” and “oh, man, did I totally screw up my relationship with my girlfriend” and “OMG CAPTAIN MARVEL.” When I get crabby about men coming into feminist spaces, it’s in places where the social contract of the community doesn’t support that conversation.

The conversation (last week?) on DNL prime was a really good example, where that twit basically said point blank, “I don’t want to go talk about this somewhere else, because not as many people will read it.” He was hijacking the community because it had a bigger audience, and all he cared about was yelling to as many people as possible.

There are spaces to talk about these things, and there should be more. But if I want a space to talk about a new political ideology I invented, I have to go create it. If I want a space to talk about postmodernism in Dinosaur Train, I have to create it. If the space for your conversation doesn’t exist, that sucks, I get it. But that just means it’s time to build it, not that it can get shoehorned into other places.

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Post by Dan_Brodribb on Thu Nov 06, 2014 8:30 pm

Mel wrote:

“Men who want to be feminists do not need to be given a space in feminism. They need to take the space they have in society & make it feminist.” -Kelley Temple, National Union of Students UK Women’s Officer

My first response to the quote was, yeah that makes total sense. Why would I want a space in feminism, anyway? Just come up with what you like, feminists, and let me know how I can help and I'll make up my mind from there."

An imperfect analogy was the relationship between comedians and fans of comedy. Fans are important. They buy tickets, they support comedy and spread the word. Their role is crucial and they are free to support what they like and voice disapproval over what they don't...but that doesn't mean they get any say in the jokes a comic writes or how s/he presents them.

Then I re-read the quote and saw the words. "Men who want to be feminists." That changes things significantly.

To me, that's actually the crux, and I put the question out there to some of the men: Do you guys WANT to be feminists?

To continue the comedy analogy, nobody is entitled to be a comedian just because they want to. Just because a new person shows up with something to say doesn't make what they're saying unique or fresh. They need to put the time and effort in to learn their craft, develop their voice, and...oh yeah...to become funny.

I DO think people--comics or Social Justice people--should be afforded opportunities to learn and prove themselves. But you aren't entitled to push your way onto someone else's stage. In fact, it's better that you don't. Playing on a stage you aren't equipped to handle or that is inappropriate for your act and you just embarass yourself and waste people's time. Learn on a level that you can handle.

To bring it back to the topic, with a lot of guys, I don't get the impression that they actually want to BE feminists. They seem to be looking for something else and they seem to be looking for it from feminism.

I'm curious if that's true, and if so, I'm curious what that something else is guys are looking for.

Do you actually want to BE feminists? Or are you looking for something else?

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Post by nearly_takuan on Thu Nov 06, 2014 9:04 pm

@Dan:

I want social equality and fair treatment for everybody. I hear feminism has something to do with that. In that sense, sure, I want to be a feminist. And a humanist equalist socialist andrist wealth-redistributing tree-hugging GMO-eating drone-hating internet-sharing sex-positive agnostic-atheist liberal American Democrat. Am I any of those things? If personally interrogated on most such issues, I would deny my position thrice before the cock's crow!

I'll continue to do what I view as the right thing for its own sake, but I'm not comfortable pledging my loyalty to any "movement". Frankly, I don't think they've ever done much for me, and in some ways they might have made my life harder. So if I someday find my own space, why the hell would I work to bring feminism into it? My space. You stay in your own. Isn't that what you've been telling us?

Someday enough people will be vaguely aware of what "asexual" means as an orientation that the term will be used to shame low-libido and virgin sexuals. When that time comes, I hope the next wave of a/sexual orientation advocacy will listen to and incorporate the people in that position, even if they sometimes choose ways to express that frustration that are off-putting.
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Post by Gentleman Johnny on Thu Nov 06, 2014 9:24 pm

Dan_Brodribb wrote:
I DO think people--comics or Social Justice people--should be afforded opportunities to learn and prove themselves. But you aren't entitled to push your way onto someone else's stage. In fact, it's better that you don't. Playing on a stage you aren't equipped to handle or that is inappropriate for your act and you just embarass yourself and waste people's time. Learn on a level that you can handle.

Just to follow your comedian example because its getting at something I'm trying to say but having trouble phrasing:
Absolutely no one thinks that every aspiring comedian deserves his own HBO special. On the other hand, there is a space created specifically for fans of comedy who want to become professional comedians, Amateur Night at the comedy club. Now I suppose you could argue that comedians/comedy clubs don't need to give this space. They operate just fine without it. They want to provide this space to encourage the next generation. On the other hand, they don't say "if you want to be a comedian, you have to make your current life comical". That's great advice for the Seinfeld types who draw their material from daily life. It might be less appropriate for the Jeff Dunham types, who presumably do no go around with their dead terrorist ventriloquist dummies at all times.

If "need to give space" were the only sentence, I'd just agree with you and let it stand. Following it up with "take the space you already have and" is what breaks it for me. That changes the tone from "if you want a spot at the table, earn it" to "there is no spot at this table for you but you need to make a spot at yours for us".

So no, feminism does not need to give anyone anything in the sense that I can't show my Official Feminist Ally card and demand entry to a discussion. Yes, guys who care should absolutely make the spaces they already occupy more friendly to everyone who's not them. However, it is nice to find feminists (many of whom frequent this forum and the blog) who want to provide an introduction to the topic for those who are genuinely interested in learning how they can make the space they already occupy more feminist-friendly. Because feminism does need to give a space to guys if they want allies who understand what its all about, even if that space is the spare broom closet with a folding chair and a reading list.

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Post by eselle28 on Thu Nov 06, 2014 9:34 pm

So no, feminism does not need to give anyone anything in the sense that I can't show my Official Feminist Ally card and demand entry to a discussion. Yes, guys who care should absolutely make the spaces they already occupy more friendly to everyone who's not them. However, it is nice to find feminists (many of whom frequent this forum and the blog) who want to provide an introduction to the topic for those who are genuinely interested in learning how they can make the space they already occupy more feminist-friendly. Because feminism does need to give a space to guys if they want allies who understand what its all about.

Marketing is not an optional skill.

That works. (As a rule, I'd say genuine interest and intent to do something tangible and positive with it are great tools if you find an introduction to something.)
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Post by nearly_takuan on Thu Nov 06, 2014 9:37 pm

Gentleman Johnny wrote:If "need to give space" were the only sentence, I'd just agree with you and let it stand. Following it up with "take the space you already have and" is what breaks it for me. That changes the tone from "if you want a spot at the table, earn it" to "there is no spot at this table for you but you need to make a spot at yours for us".

Or to "if you want a spot at a table, build your own table...and then give half of it to us."

I don't appreciate being told that I have privilege, influence, or control, because I really really don't agree that I do. And if I did, it'd still stink of Oppression Olympics.
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Post by Gentleman Johnny on Thu Nov 06, 2014 9:46 pm

Oh, I have privilege. I have a lot of privilege. I freely admit it. I see it all the time. The difference is this:

Through some very in depth conversations (many of which came from DNL followers), I have decided to make my space more Social Justice friendly and I'm not afraid to use my privileged position to do it.

vs

Social Justice Warriors don't need to give me a space at the Social Justice Round Table. I should just know how to be a Social Justice Warrior and go on my own quest.

Well sure, you can say it that way but you're more likely to get useful results with "Lady Arya has some free time. Go ask her for some Social Justice sword training." And if it turns out my Social Justice Quest is one that doesn't interest you because you have your own quest, cool. No harm, no foul, no reason not to trade tips and best practices.

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Post by reboot on Thu Nov 06, 2014 9:48 pm

For me it is easiest to think of men in feminism and feminist spaces in the framework of foreign relations and alliances. Two countries (e.g. Australia and New Zealand) can work together on common topics/interests and there are places, spaces and forums to do so. However, each has their own space (e.g. parliment, government ministries) in which to deal with problems specific to them and their ally is not welcome in the discussion or their opinions are not given the same weight as they are in the cooperative spaces, even if decisions made there might impact the ally. Also, allies can disagree over specific issues or have competing interests and still remain allies. In addition, some topics may impact one ally more than the other and so half the alliance will work harder to change that than the other.And each country is responsible for looking after its own people and making the changes they want to see, with or without support of their ally.

So for some women who are feminists, equal pay and violence against women are more important than toxic masculinity and for some men who are feminist alliess the opposite might be true, so both groups might work more with other groups (e.g. LGBTQ groups) than with each other on those topics. Intimate partner violence might be something they overlap on strongly and work on together.
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Post by reboot on Thu Nov 06, 2014 9:57 pm

<MOD> I would like to remind everyone of #5 in the guidelines and that this is a non-101 topic. If you are not comfortable with this, please cease posting in this thread </MOD>
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Post by Gentleman Johnny on Thu Nov 06, 2014 10:10 pm

You might want to be a little more explicit, Reboot. It seems like (based on who posted since the last time you said this) you're referring to either Takuan or me. If you'd prefer I quit abstracting to preserve a light, conversational tone of a potentially delicate subject and instead dig into this on a deeper academic level, let me know. Having graduated the 101 course already, I'm not seeing a problem and I'm certainly open to the same feedback I was in 101. I'm not an expert but the topic is opinions on an offhand phrase and I feel like my perspective is potentially of value and different enough from others to merit inclusion.

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Post by reboot on Thu Nov 06, 2014 10:14 pm

Gentleman Johnny wrote:You might want to be a little more explicit, Reboot. It seems like (based on who posted since the last time you said this) you're referring to either Takuan or me. If you'd prefer I quit abstracting to preserve a light, conversational tone of a potentially delicate subject and instead dig into this on a deeper academic level, let me know. Having graduated the 101 course already, I'm not seeing a problem and I'm certainly open to the same feedback I was in 101. I'm not an expert but the topic is opinions on an offhand phrase and I feel like my perspective is potentially of value and different enough from others to merit inclusion.

It was more the derail into a discussion of privilege, something that is kind of assumed to exist for men in a not 101 discussion. I wanted to stem the tide before I had to split this thread AGAIN Smile You and nearly are fine
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Post by nearly_takuan on Thu Nov 06, 2014 10:22 pm

Thanks for clearing that up, reboot. Someone else very helpfully pointed out that I'm beginning to get tunnel-vision on this again, so I'll probably stay out for a while anyway, but I'm glad to hear I haven't already crossed too many lines.
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Post by JP McBride on Sat Nov 08, 2014 4:01 am

Honestly, I think this is purely a theorectical issue. In practice, virtually every feminist space I've found has been welcoming to men.

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