The negative impact of feminist discourse on men's perceptions of masculinity and male sexuality.

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The negative impact of feminist discourse on men's perceptions of masculinity and male sexuality.

Post by SomeSamSeaborn on Fri Feb 06, 2015 4:22 pm

reboot has asked me to limit my posting links with respect to my "pet topic", which s/he beautifully summarized as "The negative impact of feminist discourse on men's perceptions of masculinity and male sexuality", to one last thread, which can then serve as a repository for links and discussion wrt this topic, whithout cluttering the rest of the gender & identity board. Fair enough. So here's that thread.

I'd like to start it off with a link to a post by Ozy of Thing of Things, who's one of the most insightul authors on gender relations, in my opinion. It's a post with reference to the Scott Aaronson nerd/feminism/entitlement issue that DNL discussed on the site about a month ago. Ozy manages to put some things very nicely, so I'll leave the stage to her words.

https://thingofthings.wordpress.com/2015/02/01/in-which-ozy-despite-not-being-a-scott-a-adopts-their-habit-of-long-blog-posts-concerning-feminism-and-nerds/

Ozy wrote:It’s true that the authors who gave Scott Aaronson the ideas that led to his seeking chemical castration did not intend “hey, I’m going to make some random nerdy dude seek castration! That sounds hilarious!” Most of them had no idea that their ideas would be taken in this way! They would probably be horrified if they found out! It really isn’t their fault.

And yet… he wouldn’t have been hurt if people weren’t constantly telling him what a bad person he is. Like: Amanda Marcotte responded to a comment about how Scott Aaronson didn’t hit on women because he was afraid of hurting them with his sexuality by proposing that he had so much male entitlement that he expected women to just fall into his lap without him doing anything.

That shit is fucking crazymaking. You follow all the rules! Somebody says that X is okay and someone else says it’s bad and you don’t do it, just to be on the safe side. You read Elevatorgate and are puzzled until you find out the problem is hitting on women in elevators, and then you worry about all the other spaces you shouldn’t hit on women in that you don’t know about because they didn’t get a -gate suffix. You try to read body language, but you don’t know how and all the instructions are confusing, so you just assume everyone is rejecting you. You don’t hit on people because it might creep them out and that hurts people and you don’t want to hurt people, you don’t want to do things that are wrong. And then, when you’ve just about resigned yourself to eternal loneliness with your feminist halo, Marcotte comes along and says that that’s not good enough and you have to follow all those vaguely defined, mutually contradictory rules and still ask people out. If you don’t, you are Male Entitled Expects Women To Fall Into His Lap. Don’t think you can escape your evil just by being celibate, men!

Yes, I know you didn’t mean to. I remember a phrase social justice people really like using. Something about intent? And magic?

I know. People say that rhetoric for reasons. “Creeps are evil terrible no-good very-bad people” allows women to be upset by something that causes them a great deal of pain. Some people need to hear the child-in-the-pond argument to get past their apathy for Africans. You can decide that the suffering of me and Scott Aaronson are the price you’re paying for stronger rhetoric. That might even be a correct decision.

But don’t fucking pretend you aren’t hurting us.

Don’t look me in the eye and say that my guilt is imaginary, made up, a product of me being an evil person and if I were just less evil I could take everything you’re saying with a clear conscience. Be honest about the price you’re paying. Say to yourself, “I know that what I’m saying will cause some people to be suicidal, and I’m fine with that, and I think it’s worth it.” Or don’t fucking say it.

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Re: The negative impact of feminist discourse on men's perceptions of masculinity and male sexuality.

Post by eselle28 on Fri Feb 06, 2015 4:31 pm

I've seen this take on it before, and I don't think it's quite as powerful as the people using this rhetorical device make it out to be. I know that what I’m saying will cause some people to be suicidal, and I’m fine with that, and I think it’s worth it. We are only just moving out of a world where women were severely restricted in their ability to be educated, to work, and to choose their romantic partners free from financial pressures. That bundle of opportunities, particularly the first two, are more important to me than the opportunity to pursue romantic partners free from anxiety. Whatever choices we make as a society will have some fallout for some people, and I think this is the set of choices that causes the least harm. I'm curious whether Ozy and Scott Aaronson would be willing to be similarly upfront and admit, "I know that what I'm saying will cause some women to be suicidal, force others out of the workforce, and limit others in their ability to be financially independent, and I'm fine with that, and I think it's worth it."

And Scott Aaronson is a bad person, not because he was anxious about sexuality but because of his behavior and all the other toxic views he holds.
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Re: The negative impact of feminist discourse on men's perceptions of masculinity and male sexuality.

Post by SomeSamSeaborn on Fri Feb 06, 2015 5:03 pm

esselle29 wrote:I'm curious whether Ozy and Scott Aaronson would be willing to be similarly upfront and admit, "I know that what I'm saying will cause some women to be suicidal, force others out of the workforce, and limit others in their ability to be financially independent, and I'm fine with that, and I think it's worth it."

I don't know what exactly in what they say could have those consequences, but yes, if it did, that would be a fair question. I think the main point here was this:

Ozy wrote:You can decide that the suffering of me and Scott Aaronson are the price you’re paying for stronger rhetoric. That might even be a correct decision. But don’t fucking pretend you aren’t hurting us.

Which you answered for yourself. But which I don't think a lot of people are answering that clearly, and thus isn't on the record as much as it should be. If it were, it would be easier to talk about perceptions and reality and to find out who's "wronger" about their perception.

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Re: The negative impact of feminist discourse on men's perceptions of masculinity and male sexuality.

Post by Mel on Fri Feb 06, 2015 5:53 pm

SomeSamSeaborn wrote:
esselle29 wrote:I'm curious whether Ozy and Scott Aaronson would be willing to be similarly upfront and admit, "I know that what I'm saying will cause some women to be suicidal, force others out of the workforce, and limit others in their ability to be financially independent, and I'm fine with that, and I think it's worth it."

I don't know what exactly in what they say could have those consequences, but yes, if it did, that would be a fair question.

Okay, so, feminists say, "Men (or specific man) doing X is harmful and they/he should do something else instead," and there are men who see that and feel suicidal because of the guilt/feeling they can't do anything right/etc., and you accept this as obvious.

So I would think it should be also obvious that men doing the exact same thing--saying, "Women (or specific woman) doing X is harmful and they/she should do something else instead."--could have the exact same effect on women. I mean, women face a double blind just like the one Ozy is talking about. If they don't speak up about harassment/whatever they're seen as accepting it and saying it's okay and the harassment/whatever continues; if they don't speak up forcefully enough they're ignored and the harassment/whatever continues; if they speak up forcefully enough for people to notice and maybe change their behavior, some people complain they were too forceful. If giving a guy the impression that nothing he can do would make him a good dating partner would make him suicidal, why wouldn't it make women suicidal to think nothing they can do would make them an unacceptable target for harassment/whatever?

Anyway, it's kind of a never ending cycle. If you accept that telling people you find something harmful is going to hurt them in turn, then telling people you find them telling you you're doing something harmful harmful to you is going to hurt them, and so on and so forth. Take that last bit of Ozy's that you requoted. He's talking about the "price" of stronger rhetoric... and then two sentences later is using some rather strong rhetoric with the swearing and the accusation. Frankly it strikes me as a little hypocritical of him to complain that feminists use what he feels is overly harsh language, while he's doing the same back at them (it's not as if he couldn't have said, "You should recognize you're hurting us" or something else that would have the exact same meaning), without meeting the condition he's just said he's expecting them to meet.

As to forcing women out of the workforce or limiting their ability to be financially independent, I can't say what eselle was thinking of, but I can see how pushing back against, say, sexual harassment workshops could result in fewer workshops being held and thus more sexual harassment which would most likely make some women leave the workforce and have difficulty being financially independent.
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Re: The negative impact of feminist discourse on men's perceptions of masculinity and male sexuality.

Post by Gentleman Johnny on Fri Feb 06, 2015 6:09 pm

I'm reminded of two reviews the author of a book I'm currently reading put in his introduction.

"Book is interesting but the material doesn't apply to what I am working on. I need something more general and entry level."
and
"This book is targeted at beginners. I was looking for more advanced content."

There is no volume level, for lack of a better term, that is going to be universally well received. In a general sense, I'm always in support of people taking care of themselves before looking to take care of others. So if the current level of discourse is what's loud or blunt enough to prevent harassment (hint, its not enough even now) then that's a good level for people suffering from it to be at.If that level is one that doesn't provide you any additional help in not harassing but actively harms your ability to socialize normally, taking care of yourself first would dictate that you should find a competing narrative that satisfies both the need for socialization and the need for being a functional, non-predatory member of society.

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Re: The negative impact of feminist discourse on men's perceptions of masculinity and male sexuality.

Post by eselle28 on Fri Feb 06, 2015 6:30 pm

Mel wrote:
As to forcing women out of the workforce or limiting their ability to be financially independent, I can't say what eselle was thinking of, but I can see how pushing back against, say, sexual harassment workshops could result in fewer workshops being held and thus more sexual harassment which would most likely make some women leave the workforce and have difficulty being financially independent.

Yes, that's what I was thinking, and I was perhaps thinking it in stronger terms. There's a whole set of professions, like law and investment banking and programming, that have only been pursued by women in large numbers in the past 20 or 25 years. The military and a lot of the trades are still that way. It's never just a single issue that makes a career inaccessible, but I think one of the barriers has been that women perceive certain work environments as being boys' clubs where they'd be treated as sex objects and decide to instead pursue careers where they believed they'd be on more equal footing. Given that these careers are very frequently better-paid than other ones requiring similar amounts of education, I think that preventing sexual harassment in the workplace is a pretty key part of making sure women have the same career opportunities as men do.
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Re: The negative impact of feminist discourse on men's perceptions of masculinity and male sexuality.

Post by BiSian on Fri Feb 06, 2015 7:17 pm

I consider a person's right to get an education and have a career free of harassment to be more important than someone's desire to feel good about their romantic life. It's not a gender-based prioritization.

Maybe an example:
At my job, we make sure our clients have opportunity to speak with us without their partner/spouse/friend/family members present. Because we will be screening for abuse among other things. When I bar a boyfriend or parent from the room, they are often offended.* Why am I treating them like an abuser? They would NEVER do anything to hurt my client--how can I accuse them of something so terrible?
On the scale of what matters, someone's hurt feelings are well below helping a potential abuse victim.

Similarly, on my personal scale of what matters, minimizing sexual harassment is way above making people feel good about their love lives.



*My script is: "We're going to talk to CLIENT alone first. I'll come get you in a few minutes." I don't mention abuse/coercion or make the slightest accusation. And I do this for every client, regardless of age or gender.
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Re: The negative impact of feminist discourse on men's perceptions of masculinity and male sexuality.

Post by azazel on Fri Feb 06, 2015 7:28 pm

Personally, I think there's a lot of room for more gender neutral anti-harassment workshops.
I feel often singled out because of my gender, and I often find it unfair how behavior of others is only tolerated because they're an other gender than I am. In a world where 1/3 of rape victims are male (at least if you define rape as forced to have non-consensual sex), it's fucking terrifying that I know that A) support for female rape victims is already abysmal B) I can count on even less support.

We should focus on how behavior X is unacceptable, no matter who does it. Would hopefully also solve issues around sexual harrasment in lesbian communities.

No one feels singled out, you get less "male sexuality is icky and dangerous" and you hopefully build up support for invisible victims.

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Re: The negative impact of feminist discourse on men's perceptions of masculinity and male sexuality.

Post by The Wisp on Fri Feb 06, 2015 7:38 pm

I feel like there's a false dichotomy being presented here. Why can't feminist messages about dating/sexual harassment/sexual assault remain clear and explicit AND be tweaked to be less likely to trigger negative emotions in men or put men in double binds or just be plain mean? I don't think you can rule such a scenario's possibility out so quickly. Even if you can't think of a better way to communicate those ideas right now, that doesn't mean such a method is not possible. I'm not necessarily saying it is possible, but I can't say I know it isn't right now.

Or, perhaps, even if you don't change the messages themselves, you do separate things to help men build self-esteem and develop healthy mindsets towards their own sexuality, and then they're more fortified against feminist rhetoric.

I mean, I know I often get really upset and feel a lot of shame towards myself when I read feminists talking about creepers or dating or sex, even though I usually agree with the substance (e.g. that guy really was creepy, men should avoid doing x), so I do feel that something is off with the rhetoric, or the way many men are socialized about sexuality at the very least.


Last edited by The Wisp on Fri Feb 06, 2015 8:15 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: The negative impact of feminist discourse on men's perceptions of masculinity and male sexuality.

Post by Gentleman Johnny on Fri Feb 06, 2015 7:44 pm

The Wisp wrote:I feel like there's a false dichotomy being presented here. Why can't feminist messages about dating/sexual harassment/sexual assault remain clear and explicit AND be tweaked to be less likely to trigger negative emotions. . .

See my book review above.

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Re: The negative impact of feminist discourse on men's perceptions of masculinity and male sexuality.

Post by Hirundo Bos on Fri Feb 06, 2015 7:45 pm

Even though I don't really know either, I think I can look both Sam and the author of the quote in the eyes and say that when they react to feminist messages with that amount of guilt and pain, they're adding quite a bit to the interpretation that I believe come from other places than feminism.

As I read it, the feminist message is something like:

1) Unwanted sexual attention is problematic
2) so is a culture that promotes such models of interaction
3) to persist with unwanted behavior after being asked not to, or defend that behavior, or the culture that promotes it, is a wholly different kind of problematic (and that's where the matter of entitlement comes in)

and the mental leap that I don't see coming from feminism itself is when 1) is interpreted as being as bad as 3). Because "problematic" comes in degrees, and the range is rather wide – with "close to evil" at one pole, but merely "somewhat annoying" on the other.

Or have I missed something? I'm neither really a feminist or a man full of pain and guilt myself, so I might well get either of the perspectives wrong.

But I do know that people make such mental leaps – seeing problematic behavior in oneself as proof of some inherent evil. In fact, being autistic I'm particularly prone to such leaps myself. And having worked through them quite recently may have diminshed my ability to empathize with those who haven't.

I also know that people who are not men make these leaps as well, and that this is another reason why words like entitlement come about when it's framed as something done particularly to men.

And while I don't believe that feminist messages are the source, I have less to say about what actually is. Maybe someone else will know more about that? When some of us feel so much guilt about wanting sex, intimacy, or for that matter just some casual human contact that we're paralyzed with the fear of making even small mistakes – where are the (internal, interpersonal, cultural) sources of that guilt likely to be found?
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Re: The negative impact of feminist discourse on men's perceptions of masculinity and male sexuality.

Post by BiSian on Fri Feb 06, 2015 7:50 pm

Wisp,
I feel that men need to be responsible for building their own self-esteem and ways of valuing their sexuality. This is not to say that I don't care, but rather that I feel such a movement needs to be done by the members of a group. Otherwise, well it's not self-esteem if women are telling men why they're valuable, is it? The idea of me or other women leading such a movement feels presumptuous and wrong.

Second, how do you think feminists could tweak our messages? For example: a HR department prohibits sexual harassment, which in training is defined to include commenting on a coworkers body, making sexually explicit jokes, asking out a subordinate, or asking out a coworker. Does such a policy make you feel ashamed or blamed? And if so, how would you want it to be changed?
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Re: The negative impact of feminist discourse on men's perceptions of masculinity and male sexuality.

Post by Guest on Fri Feb 06, 2015 7:54 pm

The only part I really care about when it boils down to it is the all to often denial that discourse can do any harm.

Provided people conducting the discourse know it may cause problems for others and are knowingly making that sacrifice, I couldn't give a shit. It's the denial that it could cause problems for either those that 'deserve it' or those that are simply collateral damage that frustrates me. You can acknowledge, support and be part of a movement even if it's going to screw some people over along the way.

I think there's a lot of misunderstandings over movements like feminism in the first place: they are all and at all times works in progress. Constantly flowing and changing around core goals (which can change too, usually over longer stretches of time) to suit the battleground they must operate in. It's pretty easy to get people hurt in the constant motion. And that's okay. Acknowledge it, perhaps look at the 'why' a little bit to ensure the movement isn't going off the rails of the core goals in mind then keep going.

Most everyone on here is pretty good with that, which is great.

I'm just happy I'm emotionally cold enough most of the time to let the messages I hear that sting a bit stop at stinging a bit.

BiSian wrote:I feel that men need to be responsible for building their own self-esteem and ways of valuing their sexuality. This is not to say that I don't care, but rather that I feel such a movement needs to be done by the members of a group. Otherwise, well it's not self-esteem if women are telling men why they're valuable, is it? The idea of me or other women leading such a movement feels presumptuous and wrong.

I like this. I think a movement for men will fall flat on it's face like all the others, but I like this. Laughing

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Re: The negative impact of feminist discourse on men's perceptions of masculinity and male sexuality.

Post by Enail on Fri Feb 06, 2015 7:59 pm

The Wisp wrote:I feel like there's a false dichotomy being presented here. Why can't feminist messages about dating/sexual harassment/sexual assault remain clear and explicit AND be tweaked to be less likely to trigger negative emotions in men or put men in double or just be plain mean? I don't think you can rule such a scenario's possibility out so quickly. Even if you can't think of a better way to communicate those ideas right now, that doesn't mean such a method is not possible. I'm not necessarily saying it is possible, but I can't say I know it isn't right now.

I think that's something worth discussing. However, I have to admit I would come into any such discussion from a pretty skeptical starting point, because the contexts in which I usually see these concerns raised and the specific messages that people raising them show concern about...do not tend to give me confidence that their idea of appropriate messaging would have much overlap with mine.

That's not to say I don't think there could be better ways to communicate this stuff or that this is an inherent dichotomy, just that I think it would take a lot of good-faith listening and patience on all sides to even be able to usefully discuss it and that without it, there is something of a functional dichotomy even if not a genuine one.
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Re: The negative impact of feminist discourse on men's perceptions of masculinity and male sexuality.

Post by Mel on Fri Feb 06, 2015 8:16 pm

azazel wrote:We should focus on how behavior X is unacceptable, no matter who does it. Would hopefully also solve issues around sexual harrasment in lesbian communities.

I totally agree with this for things like sexual harassment workshops and discussions of enthusiastic consent. I do think there are certain women's rights issues that are directly related to how men are socialized and/or positioned in society and/or where the problematic behavior is almost entirely coming from men because of that, where it only makes sense to address the gendered part of the issue too, e.g., Athletics culture and how it leads to forgiveness/brushing off of crimes like the Steubenville rapes.

The Wisp wrote:I feel like there's a false dichotomy being presented here. Why can't feminist messages about dating/sexual harassment/sexual assault remain clear and explicit AND be tweaked to be less likely to trigger negative emotions in men or put men in double or just be plain mean? I don't think you can rule such a scenario's possibility out so quickly. Even if you can't think of a better way to communicate those ideas right now, that doesn't mean such a method is not possible. I'm not necessarily saying it is possible, but I can't say I know it isn't right now.

In addition to what GJ said (essentially, about there being no way to make sure the message is both clear enough for everyone to get it and gentle enough not to upset anyone), I think you're oversimplifying the issue. From what I've seen, the general feminist messages about dating/sexual harassment/assault that are intended as education for the general public usually are worded in a reasonably sympathetic and constructive way. Where you see people getting "mean" is usually when they're complaining about a specific issue or something a specific person has done. And I don't think it's fair to say to people, "If someone's hurt you, you should watch how you talk about that person, because some other person might read what you say to/about them and get upset by your tone/think you mean them too/whatever." Feminists should be allowed to get angry about things, to rant about issues that affect them deeply, to express negative emotions. I don't think it's that hard to tell the difference between an article that's a "how to" and an article that's a "this thing pisses me off" (or whatever), and I think it's up to the reader to realize s/he's going to be triggered by the latter and simply not read it.

I mean, say you wanted to vent about how frustrating it is that there are so few mental health resources available for men. Do you think it would be fair for you to have to watch your tone and make sure you were being sympathetic to social services people and health professionals who might see your rant and then feel guilty because they're doing all they can but people still feel it's not enough? Should you only be allowed to talk about issues you care about if you're framing it as a kind instructional piece directed at the people who'd want to help?

The Wisp wrote:Or, perhaps, even if you don't change the messages themselves, you do separate things to help men build self-esteem and develop healthy mindsets towards their own sexuality, and then they're more fortified against feminist rhetoric.

I agree with BiSian that this needs to come from men, not from feminists. I think it's reasonable to ask feminists not to do things that overtly reinforce problematic thinking or behavior (e.g., using phrases like "man up", shaming men based on their sexual experience, dismissing male rape victims), just as it's reasonable for women to ask men not to reinforce problematic ideas about women or behave in problematic ways. I don't think it's reasonable to ask feminists to actively do things to help build men up--and I don't see women generally asking men to do things to help build women up either, so this is an equal situation.
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Re: The negative impact of feminist discourse on men's perceptions of masculinity and male sexuality.

Post by The Wisp on Fri Feb 06, 2015 8:59 pm

Mel wrote:
I agree with BiSian that this needs to come from men, not from feminists. I think it's reasonable to ask feminists not to do things that overtly reinforce problematic thinking or behavior (e.g., using phrases like "man up", shaming men based on their sexual experience, dismissing male rape victims), just as it's reasonable for women to ask men not to reinforce problematic ideas about women or behave in problematic ways. I don't think it's reasonable to ask feminists to actively do things to help build men up--and I don't see women generally asking men to do things to help build women up either, so this is an equal situation.

I don't think feminists are obligated to do that either.

I share Mapwater's pessimism about this, though. One, I don't necessarily know what the solution would look like because I don't really feel like I understand the problem well, and two I don't trust other men to care and/or do it in a non-toxic way.
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Re: The negative impact of feminist discourse on men's perceptions of masculinity and male sexuality.

Post by BiSian on Fri Feb 06, 2015 9:11 pm

To clarify: are you saying that you'd trust women to be able to handle the problem of male sexuality and their feelings about it?
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Re: The negative impact of feminist discourse on men's perceptions of masculinity and male sexuality.

Post by eselle28 on Fri Feb 06, 2015 9:17 pm

The Wisp wrote:
Mel wrote:
I agree with BiSian that this needs to come from men, not from feminists. I think it's reasonable to ask feminists not to do things that overtly reinforce problematic thinking or behavior (e.g., using phrases like "man up", shaming men based on their sexual experience, dismissing male rape victims), just as it's reasonable for women to ask men not to reinforce problematic ideas about women or behave in problematic ways. I don't think it's reasonable to ask feminists to actively do things to help build men up--and I don't see women generally asking men to do things to help build women up either, so this is an equal situation.

I don't think feminists are obligated to do that either.

I share Mapwater's pessimism about this, though. One, I don't necessarily know what the solution would look like because I don't really feel like I understand the problem well, and two I don't trust other men to care and/or do it in a non-toxic way.

Are women, and specifically feminists, more trustworthy messengers? I find it sort of odd if that's the case, since feminism discourse is being fingered as the source of men's negative feelings. As many problems as men's movements have, I suspect something led by men would do a better job at enforcing men's self-esteem than women who devote a lot of headspace to thinking about male sexual violence and male sexual entitlement would.

Although I think this sort of thing is best done by other men and doesn't belong in workplace sexual harassment seminars, I have no problem with the proposal that we should work as a society to make sure men receive these messages. But, to some extent, this still does come down to a matter of priorities. I'm fine with this so long as nothing is done to decrease the effectiveness of sexual harassment prevention (which means Aaronson's suggestions, at least, are out). To the extent they conflict, I think preventing sexual harassment takes higher priority. And, realistically speaking, some men will still be harmed even by gentle messages or by matter-of-fact ones that have been supplemented with self-esteem building. That's sort of human nature - at least a small number of people will be negatively affected by almost anything. Again, in that case, I would still say that preventing sexual harassment takes higher priority.
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Re: The negative impact of feminist discourse on men's perceptions of masculinity and male sexuality.

Post by The Wisp on Fri Feb 06, 2015 9:55 pm

BiSian wrote:To clarify: are you saying that you'd trust women to be able to handle the problem of male sexuality and their feelings about it?

No, they (probably) wouldn't be able to do it well at all. In response to eselle, I also don't think female feminists would be the best people to do this either. I was more expressing general pessimism that it is possible at all.
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Re: The negative impact of feminist discourse on men's perceptions of masculinity and male sexuality.

Post by The Wisp on Sat Feb 07, 2015 12:05 am

An example of the kind of self-esteem/sex-ed stuff I have in mind might be something like a version of this book targeted at young men : http://www.amazon.com/What-You-Really-Want-Shame-Free-ebook/dp/B006PHUERQ/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1423278267&sr=1-3&keywords=jaclyn+friedman
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Re: The negative impact of feminist discourse on men's perceptions of masculinity and male sexuality.

Post by Jayce on Sat Feb 07, 2015 2:25 am

I once had a rant from a friend of mine who said he was annoyed by the Australian government's domestic violence against women is not okay ads, because they only raised awareness for women and not men. He said: would it be really that hard to change the word women to people?

He told me he felt that the government didn't really feel concerned about men when it comes to being sexually assaulted or domestically abused.

Contrastingly the Australian government also has a lot of ads about the dangers of drink driving, all of which are targeted towards men (there are only men in these ads). There never has been one about women drink driving.

How does this relate to this discussion? I'm not too sure myself but I think I'm trying to write that maybe its not that the world dosent give a fuck when it comes to some male issues (like nerdy men feeling bad about their sexuality), it just isn't common enough to reach the radar of awareness of some other issues( like equal opportunities for women). It's not engrained enough in our current social cultural narrative. Just like how 100 years ago pay equality for women didn't have enough awareness.

This can lead to people feeling men are just making petty arguments for the sake of it, or because they are annoyed at women gettig awareness.

This is going to sound toxic cause it is, but I think these issues are going to have to turn it up a couple of notches before people notice something needs to be addressed.

It dosent mean that these issues the smaller number of men are experiencing aren't problems that these people might need help with, its just that right now the best discourse of action to take if you are experiencing these issues is to adapt, instead of trying to change how the world should be.

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Re: The negative impact of feminist discourse on men's perceptions of masculinity and male sexuality.

Post by username_6916 on Sat Feb 07, 2015 7:37 am

And I don't think it's fair to say to people, "If someone's hurt you, you should watch how you talk about that person, because some other person might read what you say to/about them and get upset by your tone/think you mean them too/whatever." Feminists should be allowed to get angry about things, to rant about issues that affect them deeply, to express negative emotions. I don't think it's that hard to tell the difference between an article that's a "how to" and an article that's a "this thing pisses me off" (or whatever), and I think it's up to the reader to realize s/he's going to be triggered by the latter and simply not read it.

And, can't the same be said about those who criticize feminism?


I agree with BiSian that this needs to come from men, not from feminists. I think it's reasonable to ask feminists not to do things that overtly reinforce problematic thinking or behavior (e.g., using phrases like "man up", shaming men based on their sexual experience, dismissing male rape victims), just as it's reasonable for women to ask men not to reinforce problematic ideas about women or behave in problematic ways. I don't think it's reasonable to ask feminists to actively do things to help build men up--and I don't see women generally asking men to do things to help build women up either, so this is an equal situation.

First, I think you are factually wrong on that last point. Many feminists are often quite willing to appeal to some sense of chivalry to promote some aspect of their cause. Some of the more honest folks who wear that label realize the irony in that.

The other issue is that a lot of feminist rhetoric on this is enforcing problematic thinking. Saying things like "all men are potential rapists" or "Men can stop rape" or "10% of men are like poised candies" or "toxic masculinity" are all attacking men on the sole account of their gender identity. These ideas portray men and boys as brutish thugs, and shame some of the very attributes they call on.



Second, how do you think feminists could tweak our messages? For example: a HR department prohibits sexual harassment, which in training is defined to include commenting on a coworkers body, making sexually explicit jokes, asking out a subordinate, or asking out a coworker. Does such a policy make you feel ashamed or blamed? And if so, how would you want it to be changed?

To start with, I think a policy forbidding someone from asking out a coworker is absurd and paternalistic. And possibly illegal in California ('legal activities that happen outside of working hours and away from employer premises').

And to that end, I do think a good policy should mention things that definitively are not sexual harassment. And it should mention that in order to be considered harassment, some comment needs to be repeated in spite of someone's objections.



Even though I don't really know either, I think I can look both Sam and the author of the quote in the eyes and say that when they react to feminist messages with that amount of guilt and pain, they're adding quite a bit to the interpretation that I believe come from other places than feminism.
Perhaps... But, when the feminist message is indistinguishable from old-fashioned traditionalist guilt about matters of love and sex, I think it's perfectly fair to criticize it.

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Re: The negative impact of feminist discourse on men's perceptions of masculinity and male sexuality.

Post by BasedBuzzed on Sat Feb 07, 2015 8:10 am

@Jayce

We can probably find gubbermint-backed awareness-raising campaigns for peeps who have numbers a lot smaller than 'male victims of DV' and 'female drunk drivers'. Besides, one would think a more inclusive campaign would be worth it for the bonus of extra media attention due to deviating from the norm alone.

Adapting in the meantime is something that most people do actually work on anyway, but if the default response is 'wait until society changes'(not that that was what you were saying), nothing ever happens.

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Re: The negative impact of feminist discourse on men's perceptions of masculinity and male sexuality.

Post by Jayce on Sat Feb 07, 2015 10:08 am

I'm not writing don't fight for your causes that you believe in, I'm just stating that activism is a long term solution, and since some issues affect a smaller amount of people its going to be even harder. Having some strategies that can work in the meantime are more proactive solutions and I think focusing on the short term helps out more, I mean there's only so much you do can do to change society.

Maybe there can be more discussions of what can we do right now.

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Re: The negative impact of feminist discourse on men's perceptions of masculinity and male sexuality.

Post by Mel on Sat Feb 07, 2015 10:21 am

username_6916 wrote:
And I don't think it's fair to say to people, "If someone's hurt you, you should watch how you talk about that person, because some other person might read what you say to/about them and get upset by your tone/think you mean them too/whatever." Feminists should be allowed to get angry about things, to rant about issues that affect them deeply, to express negative emotions. I don't think it's that hard to tell the difference between an article that's a "how to" and an article that's a "this thing pisses me off" (or whatever), and I think it's up to the reader to realize s/he's going to be triggered by the latter and simply not read it.

And, can't the same be said about those who criticize feminism?

When did I say it couldn't? Anti-feminists are allowed to get angry about things, to rant about issues that affect them deeply, and to express negative emotions. I don't see people telling those who criticize feminists, "Hey, it's not okay for you to be angry," or "Your message is fine but your tone is offputting." I see them pointing out factual inaccuracies (e.g., "This thing you're complaining about is not actually the fault of feminism") and pointing out the harm that can be done by the actual message, not just the tone (e.g., "Asking people to stop talking about harassment makes it harder for us to stop harassment from happening").

username_6916 wrote:

I agree with BiSian that this needs to come from men, not from feminists. I think it's reasonable to ask feminists not to do things that overtly reinforce problematic thinking or behavior (e.g., using phrases like "man up", shaming men based on their sexual experience, dismissing male rape victims), just as it's reasonable for women to ask men not to reinforce problematic ideas about women or behave in problematic ways. I don't think it's reasonable to ask feminists to actively do things to help build men up--and I don't see women generally asking men to do things to help build women up either, so this is an equal situation.

First, I think you are factually wrong on that last point. Many feminists are often quite willing to appeal to some sense of chivalry to promote some aspect of their cause. Some of the more honest folks who wear that label realize the irony in that.

The other issue is that a lot of feminist rhetoric on this is enforcing problematic thinking. Saying things like "all men are potential rapists" or "Men can stop rape" or "10% of men are like poised candies" or "toxic masculinity" are all attacking men on the sole account of their gender identity. These ideas portray men and boys as brutish thugs, and shame some of the very attributes they call on.

I haven't seen feminists asking men to promote positive femininity or creating a campaign for women's good self esteem or some such. Yes, I've seen feminists asking men to step up in helping stop bad behavior, like speaking up against harassment, rape, etc., but I acknowledged that happens and that I think it's fine for men to expect the same from women.

I don't think many feminists say that "all men are potential rapists" (that's a bastardization of the Schrodinger's Rapist explanation, which is not how it is meant) and I've never heard the "poised candles" thing. Every movement has its harmful extremists, and yes, I'm fine with people speaking up against them, as I already said in the paragraph you quoted. I don't think "Men can stop rape" or "toxic masculinity" are attacking men on account of their masculinity, though.  One simply points out that men can play a role in preventing rape... which is true, because plenty of rapes involve men, plenty of men encounter situations where they could prevent a rape from happening. If it was "men can prevent all rapes", that would obviously be wrong, but surely you're not suggesting, "Men cannot prevent rape" is true or a good message?  Razz  And toxic masculinity isn't attacking men but the problematic cultural and societal expectations placed on men--addressing it is an attempt to help give men more options and avoid problems.

And the above is a perfect example of my first point.  Notice that I'm not telling you not to be upset, not to express your concerns, or to watch how you phrase things because you're hurting my feelings. I'm pointing out where I feel your statements are factually inaccurate.  These are two totally different things. You can see that, right?
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Re: The negative impact of feminist discourse on men's perceptions of masculinity and male sexuality.

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