Building on the works of the past [split from Men in feminism]

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Post by The Wisp on Thu Nov 06, 2014 4:56 pm

The [not 101] tag scares me a little. Let me know if I'm crossing a line

Wondering wrote:I wasn't taking this quotation to be about men's issues with patriarchy, honestly. I see how it could evoke concern about that, but I didn't get that out of it. Because, like eselle said, men's voices and issues taking over feminism is a concern. I find it interesting that this conversation is focusing on that already.

I really want to see the context of this quote, as I think both your interpretation and the others' are valid without context. On it's face, though, I think I agree with Mel's interpretation (and, well, since she started this thread, I think it's okay to follow down that track, not that you were saying we shouldn't).




I basically agree with Johnny that there's a contradiction in what feminists say about men's issues depending on the situation. That said, I also think that ideally there should be space for a men-run men's movement separate from but allied with feminism.

I want to just raise some issues that such a movement would face and see what you guys think:

1. What makes something "feminist" or "allied with feminism"? There is much debate within feminism about what feminism is even supposed to stand for. If there is no agreement about what feminism is, then there will be no agreement among feminists if a given a men's movement if "feminist" or a "feminist ally". Maybe the Clarisse Thorns of the world will approve while the Amanda Marcottes won't. How will people in the movement even know if they're feminist-enough? Wouldn't some feminists just reflexively oppose anything like a men's issues movement? And if some feminists opposed the movement, won't it draw some anti-feminists?

2. Let's take it for granted that the kind of feminism this movement would be allied with is something like modern, 3rd-wave, and intersectional feminism. Let's also take it for granted that the movement wouldn't disagree with feminists on any women's issues. Even then, there may be some disagreements. A men's movement might prioritize different men's issues than feminist women might if they ran the movement. A men's movement might see certain things as a problem that female feminsts don't. A men's movement might come to somewhat different conclusions on how to solve these men's issues than a traditional feminist outsider might. A men's movement might be culturally different in some ways that might annoy the kinds of woman who is a feminist, even if substantively there's no conflict with feminism itself in that culture. How much room would feminists give a men's movement without just declaring it a good idea that was corrupted by misogynist assholes? If feminists want men to create a separate movement for their issues, they'll have to accept that men, not female women's studies majors, will set the movement's tone and agenda.

3. If such a movement were to be large enough to matter, it would probably have to convert men who aren't 100% feminist, or even skeptical of feminism. How could it be open to and understanding of these men in order to hear out their concerns and to try to convert them while simultaneously not becoming tinged with misogyny or anti-feminism? I am thinking of what happened to the GMP, where they probably went too far in the direction of being open to non-feminists, which was their downfall.

4. How would it form? Do men have the skills to create such a movement on their own? I think one of the reasons men want feminists to carve out space for them is because they don't know how to make such spaces themselves. Men (particularly hetero men) are much less likely to have same-sex friends they can confide in and be vulnerable with. It strikes me that even most non-feminist women discuss gender and the personal problems related to it with their female friends. The default woman seems to understand how to foster a level of vulnerability and solidarity with same-sex friends. The default men don't know how to do that. Most men don't talk about such issues with other men outside of maybe therapy groups of something.

5. This ties into 1 and 2. Will most feminists be willing to be charitable and not reflexively wary of such a movement? Especially in the early stages? I feel like if feminists are uncharitable and wary of such a movement, the movement will only draw non-feminist men, and it will never have even had a chance.


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Post by BiSian on Thu Nov 06, 2014 6:32 pm

ElizaJane wrote:Feminist spaces didn't just appear and get handed over to women.  People cultivated them.  They cut down trees, dug up stumps, moved rocks, and tilled soil.  They dug wells, and built fences.  Every year, they plant and tend and harvest crops. Then men come and say, "I need to talk about important feminist issues, like how I'm not being treated seriously as a caretaker for my child!"  And they get told, "Look, my fields are all planted with wage inequity and street harassment and the fact that women have to emotionally caretake for me.  You can hang out and watch how I operate, but please don't dig up my crops to plant your own.  When you're ready, you can head over to the unclaimed land over there and plant your unfair expectations and pedophilia suspicions."  So the men look over there and say, "But there are all those weeds!  And look at that rock right in the middle of the field!  Your farm is huge, and it's beautiful.  Why can't I stay here?"

The work to make the space was done by real people, and they have the right to say how they want that space used.

YES! This!

For example: women-only DV shelters didn't just magically appear one day. They were built by feminists working their butts off, raising money and consciousness over years if not decades, begging for donations and grants, and employees/volunteers who worked/work long hours for less-than-great wages.
When I hear dudes going: "But don't feminists care about male victims?! This is unfair, we need a space that's safe for us too!" I want to scream. And ElizaJane has articulated exactly why it's so very frustrating. Dudes, I will support the shit out of your endevor to build a place for male victims. But no, there are no cheat codes--you don't get to use my "farm" just because building something from nothing is hard and frustrating.


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Post by BasedBuzzed on Thu Nov 06, 2014 6:37 pm

BiSian wrote:quote="ElizaJane"]Feminist spaces didn't just appear and get handed over to women.  People cultivated them.  They cut down trees, dug up stumps, moved rocks, and tilled soil.  They dug wells, and built fences.  Every year, they plant and tend and harvest crops. Then men come and say, "I need to talk about important feminist issues, like how I'm not being treated seriously as a caretaker for my child!"  And they get told, "Look, my fields are all planted with wage inequity and street harassment and the fact that women have to emotionally caretake for me.  You can hang out and watch how I operate, but please don't dig up my crops to plant your own.  When you're ready, you can head over to the unclaimed land over there and plant your unfair expectations and pedophilia suspicions."  So the men look over there and say, "But there are all those weeds!  And look at that rock right in the middle of the field!  Your farm is huge, and it's beautiful.  Why can't I stay here?"

The work to make the space was done by real people, and they have the right to say how they want that space used.

YES! This!

For example: women-only DV shelters didn't just magically appear one day. They were built by feminists working their butts off, raising money and consciousness over years if not decades, begging for donations and grants, and employees/volunteers who worked/work long hours for less-than-great wages.
When I hear dudes going: "But don't feminists care about male victims?! This is unfair, we need a space that's safe for us too!" I want to scream. And ElizaJane has articulated exactly why it's so very frustrating. Dudes, I will support the shit out of your endevor to build a place for male victims. But no, there are no cheat codes--you don't get to use my "farm" just because building something from nothing is hard and frustrating. [/quote]

Erin Pizzey, one of the first creators of women's shelters, actually wanted to start DV shelters for men too, so there's that(points this shit out and they don't acknowledge it but use the fact that radfems got angry at her for this to keep bashing feminism).

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Post by The Wisp on Thu Nov 06, 2014 6:46 pm

In fairness, though, it's not like the vast majority of modern self-identified feminists actually did that hard work to build the farm. They've largely inherited it.
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Post by BiSian on Thu Nov 06, 2014 6:49 pm

Wisp--can you explain what you mean?
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Post by nearly_takuan on Thu Nov 06, 2014 6:54 pm

Holy shit, Wisp. Bravo; you've put words to concerns I thought about but could not peacefully express earlier today.

I hadn't really considered your 4th point, though. My thought was more along the lines of: one needs a certain amount of power-money-influence before one can safely promote an unpopular opinion, and discourse re: Men's Problems is pretty unpopular in practically all existing spaces.

Additionally, there is no obvious systemic injustice (e.g. right to vote) that a good number of men will need relatively little convincing to rally behind (e.g. First Wave Feminism) to get the proverbial ball rolling and lay the groundwork for a purely social movement, intersectionality, the works. So we're going to face a different kind of challenge than feminists, if we want to try to develop a separate "movement" to advocate for men's social issues—as hard as it was for feminists to gain momentum and influence a hundred years ago, we'll find ourselves pushing against not only existing cultural pressures without and defeatist attitudes within, but also just general ennui and apathy from would-be "allies". And should we succeed, the final product may be very different from what we initially envision; the Pink Ribbon certainly doesn't do much to actually help with breast cancer these days.

I am not sure what an "ally" is in this context. In ace communities, it's someone who is not openly ace* but who makes an effort to understand ace issues. They might or might not share our propaganda with the rest of the world or discuss our existence, problems, etc., with fellow non-aces. An ally need not do everything (or anything) perfectly right; they are assumed to be acting in good faith. (*)Again, asexual community norms don't necessarily translate well to other SJ movements. A non-self-hating openly-identifying ace is assumed to already be part of the movement because just existing in any semi-public way helps with visibility, so "ally" would be a redundant adjective for such a person. People in "grey" areas still count as asexual for social-political purposes because they have basically the same concerns anyway. Do sexual people face specific problems that relate in some way to ace issues? I expect it's possible, but I haven't heard about them. Maybe we'd find common ground with the sex-pos crowd if they weren't constantly making us feel unwelcome.

All this is to say that it's possible any attempt to found an honest andrist movement could look like a He-Man Women-Hater's Club from the outside, whether it is one or not.
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Post by The Wisp on Thu Nov 06, 2014 7:00 pm

@BiSian: Well, it's all well and good to say "these things took great labor to build, so if you want a male equivalent, you have to build that, so either build it or shut up". It may well be true that, from a practical perspective, that will have to happen. However, there's a prescriptive element, a "stop complaining if you're not going to act" subtext that I don't like. Erm, most (younger) feminist and women who benefit from these institutions/movements/whatever didn't really have a hand in building them at all. Most (not all) of them are, at best, maintaining them.* So, it rubs me the wrong way when men are told not to complain about the lack of equivalent institutions/movements/whatever for themselves if they aren't willing to build them (I've heard this in other places) because most contemporary feminist women didn't build anything either. They merely had the fortune of inheriting DV shelters for their gender while men didn't, for example.

*I am making no assumptions about any individual woman here, by the way.
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Post by eselle28 on Thu Nov 06, 2014 7:04 pm

The Wisp wrote:In fairness, though, it's not like the vast majority of modern self-identified feminists actually did that hard work to build the farm. They've largely inherited it.

I don't agree. There's a reason feminism talks about waves. I'd say a lot of the transition from second wave feminism was people who'd planted their crops of equal pay and no fault divorce and eliminating gender discrimination not wanting to dig them up so that other women could plant some sex positivity and intersectionality and choice feminism, and giving them some handbooks and some advice and pointing off that way (and also some people who'd been working on the second wave feminism farm all along but being treated poorly there packing up their things and heading elsewhere).
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Post by BiSian on Thu Nov 06, 2014 7:14 pm

Ahh, thought that was what you meant.

Your use of the word "fortune" bothers me because it implies that it was just a matter of luck that we do have an established movement. Feminists before me were willing to fight so hard and do so much. I do benefit from that work and I do work in turn to build on what I've "inherited." Maintaining a pro-woman non-profit (for example) isn't just sitting on your ass, reaping benefits of an older generation's work.
But it's not just, "Oh I'm sooo lucky, fuck you I've got mine"
It's about: well I'm working my ass off right now, my ancestors worked their asses off in a more hostile society, my daughters will have to work in a different way if they want to continue this work...and men should be willing to put in the same level of work for something that they claim matters to them.

What would you like to see from feminists, Wisp? Giving their time, money, or even a part of their established organizations over to helping build equivalent institutions for men?
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Post by reboot on Thu Nov 06, 2014 8:01 pm

In my non mod hat. Modern feminists did not inherit things as they are. Hell, when I was in college only 17 states treated spousal rape the same as other rapes and "date rape" was a brand new concept. Each generation is building on the works of those who came before it
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Post by Mel on Thu Nov 06, 2014 8:08 pm

You know what? If you were talking to a woman who was complaining that no one was doing something about a woman's issue she cared about, while not doing anything constructive about it herself, you could reasonably feel annoyed if she turned around and got on your case for complaining that no one's doing anything about a specific men's issue.  But if the women saying, "If you want X, you need to build it" aren't asking anyone else to do work for them, I don't see how that's equivalent or hypocritical.  The problem isn't a guy not doing work--you can choose not to work toward any particular thing too. The problem is getting upset that other people aren't doing a thing you want.

From what I've seen, "well, if you want X to happen, go get to work on it" is a pretty standard response to any human being complaining about anything in that vein, not something specific to feminism, because it just makes sense--if you want something, it's your responsibility to strive toward it, not anyone else's.

Edit: I'd also point out that the past feminist work women today do benefit from... You guys benefit from it too. There may still be plenty of gender issues for men as there are still for women, but men are still "allowed" to do more "feminine" activities, jobs, etc. than they could have gotten away with 50 or more years ago because of the efforts to make those "feminine" tasks more respected, for example. For every woman who joins the military or police force or other dangerous job feminists had to campaign (and still are) to be admitted fairly to, that's one man whose life isn't being put on the line. Etc. So its kind of disingenuous to act as if we lucky women had people paving the way for us and you'd be starting from scratch--to some extent the way's been paved for you too.
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Post by reboot on Thu Nov 06, 2014 8:17 pm

Mel wrote:You know what? If you were talking to a woman who was complaining that no one was doing something about a woman's issue she cared about, while not doing anything constructive about it herself, you could reasonably feel annoyed if she turned around and got on your case for complaining that no one's doing anything about a specific men's issue.  But if the women saying, "If you want X, you need to build it" aren't asking anyone else to do work for them, I don't see how that's equivalent or hypocritical.  The problem isn't a guy not doing work--you can choose not to work toward any particular thing too. The problem is getting upset that other people aren't doing a thing you want.

From what I've seen, "well, if you want X to happen, go get to work on it" is a pretty standard response to any human being complaining about anything in that vein, not something specific to feminism, because it just makes sense--if you want something, it's your responsibility to strive toward it, not anyone else's.

Very true! If you (general) are affected or concerned by a specific issue, it is on you to organize to change it. In this case, toxic masculinity is an issue that concerns and effects men more than women (although women are also impacted) and it is up to men to change the definition of masculinity just as feminists worked (in the face of great, negative social pressure from both men and women) to change the definition of femininity (which is still a work in progress).
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Post by nearly_takuan on Thu Nov 06, 2014 8:23 pm

It sort of seems like one group thinks they're saying "hey, we're a minority even in comparison to your minority, so we really don't have enough directly-invested voices to get anything significant done or even produce a visible Movement amid the noise of myriad Social Justice projects already underway. Your group already has some experience with this kind of thing, and you have a lot of momentum behind you from people who might already be interested in causes like ours. Any way you could help?" and the other group hears "we want you to do all of our work for us."

1. What inaccuracies are present in this assessment? Am I totally off the mark?
2. What can/should we do about other groups' constructive interference on these points?
3. How can the point be made more clearly?
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Post by eselle28 on Thu Nov 06, 2014 8:31 pm

The Wisp wrote:The [not 101] tag scares me a little. Let me know if I'm crossing a line
I want to just raise some issues that such a movement would face and see what you guys think:

1. What makes something "feminist" or "allied with feminism"? There is much debate within feminism about what feminism is even supposed to stand for. If there is no agreement about what feminism is, then there will be no agreement among feminists if a given a men's movement if "feminist" or a "feminist ally". Maybe the Clarisse Thorns of the world will approve while the Amanda Marcottes won't. How will people in the movement even know if they're feminist-enough? Wouldn't some feminists just reflexively oppose anything like a men's issues movement? And if some feminists opposed the movement, won't it draw some anti-feminists?

2. Let's take it for granted that the kind of feminism this movement would be allied with is something like modern, 3rd-wave, and intersectional feminism. Let's also take it for granted that the movement wouldn't disagree with feminists on any women's issues. Even then, there may be some disagreements. A men's movement might prioritize different men's issues than feminist women might if they ran the movement. A men's movement might see certain things as a problem that female feminsts don't. A men's movement might come to somewhat different conclusions on how to solve these men's issues than a traditional feminist outsider might. A men's movement might be culturally different in some ways that might annoy the kinds of woman who is a feminist, even if substantively there's no conflict with feminism itself in that culture. How much room would feminists give a men's movement without just declaring it a good idea that was corrupted by misogynist assholes? If feminists want men to create a separate movement for their issues, they'll have to accept that men, not female women's studies majors, will set the movement's tone and agenda.

5. This ties into 1 and 2. Will most feminists be willing to be charitable and not reflexively wary of such a movement? Especially in the early stages? I feel like if feminists are uncharitable and wary of such a movement, the movement will only draw non-feminist men, and it will never have even had a chance.

Just about the only thing you can predict when it comes to things like this is that reactions will vary. I think it's understood that men working out their issues with sexism are going to look different than third wave feminism does. I don't think anyone who doesn't exclusively hang out in 201 spaces will mind that in an of itself, because they run into those men and their wishes that feminism would be more like what they'd want already. I'm sure that there will be times when various women who consider themselves as feminists, or many women who identify themselves as feminists, will disagree with some aspects of whatever this culture is. Check out a conversation between someone who considers themselves a fairly mainstream feminist and a womanist sometime - it's not always pretty.

I think it is worth considering that it's not always black and white, however. The current men's rights movement has a culture that I think turns off many (most?) people who consider themselves feminists, but there are lots of social justice movements that consider each other's members to be problematic in some ways but on the same page in many others.

3. If such a movement were to be large enough to matter, it would probably have to convert men who aren't 100% feminist, or even skeptical of feminism. How could it be open to and understanding of these men in order to hear out their concerns and to try to convert them while simultaneously not becoming tinged with misogyny or anti-feminism? I am thinking of what happened to the GMP, where they probably went too far in the direction of being open to non-feminists, which was their downfall.

This is one of the difficulties of any reasonably large group with an ideology. The short but very difficult answer is that you have to muddle through and pay attention to who your leaders are and to what voices are prominent in your community. Sometimes you may need to critique your own. Occasionally, you may need to leave or separate yourself from various aspects of a group.

4. How would it form? Do men have the skills to create such a movement on their own? I think one of the reasons men want feminists to carve out space for them is because they don't know how to make such spaces themselves. Men (particularly hetero men) are much less likely to have same-sex friends they can confide in and be vulnerable with. It strikes me that even most non-feminist women discuss gender and the personal problems related to it with their female friends. The default woman seems to understand how to foster a level of vulnerability and solidarity with same-sex friends. The default men don't know how to do that. Most men don't talk about such issues with other men outside of maybe therapy groups of something.

Given how modern people interact, it would probably be a netroots sort of thing of a small number of men connecting on these issues, a few voices become more popular, and some other voices connect to them.

I am not all that patient with the claim that men don't have these tools. Many men don't. Some men do - and it's not as if these skills are utterly unlearnable. Women have been encouraged not to be loud or assertive or forceful, but some still were, even at the turn of the century. LGBT people have been encouraged not to be open about who they are at all, but some still were, even in the 70s. Men aren't a monolith any more than women are, and I suspect there are some who have the talents to make such spaces.
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Post by eselle28 on Thu Nov 06, 2014 8:55 pm

nearly_takuan wrote:It sort of seems like one group thinks they're saying "hey, we're a minority even in comparison to your minority, so we really don't have enough directly-invested voices to get anything significant done or even produce a visible Movement amid the noise of myriad Social Justice projects already underway. Your group already has some experience with this kind of thing, and you have a lot of momentum behind you from people who might already be interested in causes like ours. Any way you could help?" and the other group hears "we want you to do all of our work for us."

1. What inaccuracies are present in this assessment? Am I totally off the mark?

I think you've got some of it. I will only speak for myself here, but I hear the wanting you to do all the work message in a way that also pushes out feminist goals, more like: "You've had your turn to object to sexism against your gender. Time's up! Now it's time for you to object to sexism against my gender for awhile. We can go back to you when that's fixed. Uh, me? I don't know how to do this stuff, but it's totally up your alley anyway. I mean, are you a hypocrite or something?" Sometimes I also see it take the form of, "Let's work together on this! Oh, but you can't talk about this, or that, or this other thing because hearing about it makes me feel lousy. Let's talk about my stuff instead."

2. What can/should we do about other groups' constructive interference on these points?

Which groups specifically? I'm sorry, your metaphor went over my head a bit. Are we talking about other kinds of men, other social justice movements that take up head and media space, feminists?

3. How can the point be made more clearly?

I'd say a good start is going about it the same way as you would approach anyone else who you'd like to help you. Most people are a lot more receptive to "Could you help me learn how to fish?" than to "Hey, can I have some fish?" Narrowing things down and reducing the scope of the request to "I'm looking to start a fishing club for beginners. Could you look over my plan?" makes the first request even more appealing. Coming to someone with a lengthy complaint about not knowing how to fish and really wanting some fish right now makes the second request a lot less appealing. Being respectful of the time of the person you're asking (I think that's one of the objections to bringing dating into conversations about rape and harassment - it means the learning has to be on the asker's terms, at the expense of the other person's conversation). Being respectful of the other person's commitment to their group helps as well. Your rock concert might end up drawing some attention away from another person's pop concert, but if you're asking about their experience in organizing concerts, it's probably best not to start a debate about how awful pop music is and how terrible it is that rock bands never come to town. Have that discussion only if the other person likes to debate music, and have it some other time.


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Post by reboot on Thu Nov 06, 2014 9:01 pm

In addition to what eselle said, every movement starts with the brave few who are willing to step forward push for change, be it LGBTQ people in the 1970s, suffragettes in the 1860s, black people in the 1890s, etc.. The early days are usually quite ugly and change can be slow but it has to start with those willing to risk social ridicule, condemnation, and sometimes even violence to make the change they seek.
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Building on the works of the past [split from Men in feminism] Empty Re: Building on the works of the past [split from Men in feminism]

Post by Mel on Thu Nov 06, 2014 9:14 pm

eselle and reboot have made great points. I'd just add that not everything has to be a big effort. How I work toward correcting the issues I see with gender relations? I post here and on the DNL blog to try to help guys see women's perspectives and other ways of behaving that would benefit them too. I share informative articles and research on my social media channels. I speak up when someone I'm talking to or in a group I'm with says something problematic (about men or women). I try to portray the male and female characters in my books in ways that represent the varied reality we live in rather than confining them to traditional gender roles. I will be raising my son to believe it's okay to cry when he's sad (and be there to offer comfort and support when he is), that he can play with whatever toys he actually enjoys, that (when he's old enough for it to come up) his worth has nothing to do with whether or how often he has sex, and so on.

Maybe you personally can't, say, start a men's DV center. You can still speak out against insensitive or inaccurate portrayals of domestic violence against men. You can offer yourself as a trustworthy and supportive person to turn to for any men you know who are having related issues. You can seek out like-minded people and maybe eventually come across someone who is in a position to get something big done, and then spread the word for them/donate money/etc. All those things still make a difference.
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Post by nearly_takuan on Thu Nov 06, 2014 9:26 pm

eselle28 wrote:
2. What can/should we do about other groups' constructive interference on these points?

Which groups specifically? I'm sorry, your metaphor went over my head a bit. Are we talking about other kinds of men, other social justice movements that take up head and media space, feminists?

I was referring mainly to the typical MRA-derailers and whiners that show up (e.g. on Paging, which I rarely visit for this and other reasons) making statements that sound superficially similar to the genuine requests for input but actually are just saying "You've had your turn to object to sexism against your gender. Time's up! Now it's time for you to object to sexism against my gender for a while." They blur the perceived intent of all such imperatives, framing things as antagonistic/rival when they don't need to be. But now that you mention it, this also kind of applies to that small-but-visible fraction of the feminist movement that makes it hard to tell whether a given feminist talking point is meant to raise visibility for one set of victims or cloud it for others.

eselle28 wrote:
3. How can the point be made more clearly?

I'd say a good start is going about it the same way as you would approach anyone else who you'd like to help you.

And how is that? Razz

eselle28 wrote:Most people are a lot more receptive to "Could you help me learn how to fish?" than to "Hey, can I have some fish?" Narrowing things down and reducing the scope of the request to "I'm looking to start a fishing club for beginners. Could you look over my plan?" makes the first request even more appealing. Coming to someone with a lengthy complaint about not knowing how to fish and really wanting some fish right now makes the second request a lot less appealing. Being respectful of the time of the person you're asking (I think that's one of the objections to bringing dating into conversations about rape and harassment - it means the learning has to be on the asker's terms, at the expense of the other person's conversation). Being respectful of the other person's commitment to their group helps as well. Your rock concert might end up drawing some attention away from another person's pop concert, but if you're asking about their experience in organizing concerts, it's probably best not to start a debate about how awful pop music is and how terrible it is that rock bands never come to town. Have that discussion only if the other person likes to debate music, and have it some other time.

I agree with this much at least; the comments section of a feminist blog is not the place for a discussion on men's rights. But the people who start things there have already basically trampled over all kinds of signage saying YOU ARE NOT WELCOME and/or GO AWAY, so how attuned to nuance can they really be? Wink

Mel wrote:I will be raising my son to believe it's okay to cry when he's sad (and be there to offer comfort and support when he is), that he can play with whatever toys he actually enjoys, that (when he's old enough for it to come up) his worth has nothing to do with whether or how often he has sex, and so on.

Unfortunately, your efforts will likely be undermined by the cultural myth that moms and dads are always supposed to love their kids unconditionally anyway....
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Post by Mel on Thu Nov 06, 2014 9:40 pm

nearly_takuan wrote:
Unfortunately, your efforts will likely be undermined by the cultural myth that moms and dads are always supposed to love their kids unconditionally anyway....

Well, yeah, but anything we do to push back against the dominant societal messages will be undermined by other sources. It's still better than not pushing back (I mean, there are plenty of parents who do shame their sons for crying or for playing with "girly" toys etc.). I know that my parents raising me in ways that pushed back against many negative ideas about women made a difference for me, even if those efforts must have been to some extent undermined by various cultural ideas I ran into elsewhere.

(And seriously, how long does any kid actually believe their parents have to love them unconditionally? It seems to me by the time most of us reach our teens, we realize that sometimes our parents don't love things we do, and/or other people have parents who are less supportive than ours even if ours are supportive.)
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Post by eselle28 on Thu Nov 06, 2014 9:51 pm

nearly_takuan wrote:I was referring mainly to the typical MRA-derailers and whiners that show up (e.g. on Paging, which I rarely visit for this and other reasons) making statements that sound superficially similar to the genuine requests for input but actually are just saying "You've had your turn to object to sexism against your gender. Time's up! Now it's time for you to object to sexism against my gender for a while." They blur the perceived intent of all such imperatives, framing things as antagonistic/rival when they don't need to be. But now that you mention it, this also kind of applies to that small-but-visible fraction of the feminist movement that makes it hard to tell whether a given feminist talking point is meant to raise visibility for one set of victims or cloud it for others.

Ah, that person. No need to be so clear about fractions; feminism has its share as much as any other group of people with an opinion. I think you deal with them by calling them out when it's appropriate and by separating yourself from them if you can. If they typically behave in a certain dreadful way in a space, that's generally a sign that you might want to present your presumably non-dreadful opinions and arguments in a different format, or in conversations where they're less likely to turn up. It generally takes longer to earn people's trust if people who are perceived as sharing your opinions have been terrible to them, and people who are okay with that fact generally earn it faster.

I agree with this much at least; the comments section of a feminist blog is not the place for a discussion on men's rights. But the people who start things there have already basically trampled over all kinds of signage saying YOU ARE NOT WELCOME and/or GO AWAY, so how attuned to nuance can they really be? Wink

You may have a point there. Wink
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Post by The Wisp on Thu Nov 06, 2014 10:03 pm

reboot wrote:In addition to what eselle said, every movement starts with the brave few who are willing to step forward push for change, be it LGBTQ people in the 1970s, suffragettes in the 1860s, black people in the 1890s, etc.. The early days are usually quite ugly and change can be slow but it has to start with those willing to risk social ridicule, condemnation, and sometimes even violence to make the change they seek.

Yeah, but as Nearly said, all those people had political issues to rally behind initially. The government is mistreating me, I'm going to protest. I have a clear and concrete goal to change policy.

Aside from maybe child custody issues (which tend to attract MRA-types like honey, as well), there's no equivalent for men's issues. There's no issue of governmental or economic oppression that is in men's face every day to rail against. There's no city hall or police department to rally in front of on these issues. Occasionally I will see a post on the internet that sounds the right notes, but it's fleeting, it never turns into a movement. Most men just don't seem to care enough. I'm not even sure they see it as a problem at all. I am not sure they can be convinced either. A lot of guys, even smart guys, already feel like traditional tough guy stoic masculinity is under threat (when it isn't).

I've toyed with starting a blog on these issues in the past, but it seems pointless.

ETA: Notice that the one successful men's movement, MRAs, have a clear enemy: feminists. It's hard to rally people around abstract social forces if there's no concrete enemy to associate them with.
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Post by reboot on Thu Nov 06, 2014 10:08 pm

It can be harder to rally around something that does not have a political component but can still be done. Anti bullying is a great example of something that did not have a start in political change

EDIT: Bullying was also not seen as a problem or something that could be changed because it was the nature of kids to do it
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Post by Robjection on Thu Nov 06, 2014 10:15 pm

reboot wrote:It can be harder to rally around something that does not have a political component but can still be done. Anti bullying is a great example of something that did not have a start in political change

EDIT: Bullying was also not seen as a problem or something that could be changed because it was the nature of kids to do it
Perhaps this anti bullying movement might be a good one for any prospective men's movement to look to and seek advice from?

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Post by reboot on Thu Nov 06, 2014 10:17 pm

Robjection wrote:
reboot wrote:It can be harder to rally around something that does not have a political component but can still be done. Anti bullying is a great example of something that did not have a start in political change

EDIT: Bullying was also not seen as a problem or something that could be changed because it was the nature of kids to do it
Perhaps this anti bullying movement might be a good one for any prospective men's movement to look to and seek advice from?

It really might be a good model because it is trying to change something people think/thought is natural and normal and just part of growing up, much like toxic masculinity is considered.
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Post by nearly_takuan on Fri Nov 07, 2014 5:10 pm

Mel wrote:
nearly_takuan wrote:
I will be raising my son to believe it's okay to cry when he's sad (and be there to offer comfort and support when he is), that he can play with whatever toys he actually enjoys, that (when he's old enough for it to come up) his worth has nothing to do with whether or how often he has sex, and so on.
Unfortunately, your efforts will likely be undermined by the cultural myth that moms and dads are always supposed to love their kids unconditionally anyway....

Well, yeah, but anything we do to push back against the dominant societal messages will be undermined by other sources. It's still better than not pushing back (I mean, there are plenty of parents who do shame their sons for crying or for playing with "girly" toys etc.). I know that my parents raising me in ways that pushed back against many negative ideas about women made a difference for me, even if those efforts must have been to some extent undermined by various cultural ideas I ran into elsewhere.

(And seriously, how long does any kid actually believe their parents have to love them unconditionally?  It seems to me by the time most of us reach our teens, we realize that sometimes our parents don't love things we do, and/or other people have parents who are less supportive than ours even if ours are supportive.)

I guess what I meant was, those things sounded like exactly the sorts of things my mom would say, and even mean, whether they were true or not. And of course it all falls apart anyway once we realize other people don't see the world the way Your Mom does. So particularly on that last point, your opinion isn't going to matter much (or maybe at all) unless the kid's got an Oedipus complex or something.

--

Er, I have some thoughts on what reboot and Robjection are talking about, but I'm going to take it to PMs for now if you don't mind...
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