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Intersectionality? It’s been a privilege

SERIES: FROM THE HETPAT ARCHIVES

[Note:  Have done a slight edit on this one to clarify a couple of points and incorporate some useful feedback] 

First published October 25th 2012

It’s fair to say that I’ve found the reviews, critiques and comment pieces inspired by Hanna Rosin’s End of Men rather more thought provoking and educational than the book itself.

One of the first pieces to come out was in The Atlantic, where Chloe Angyal drew comparisons between Rosin’s argument and the lives portrayed in the much-hyped HBO series Girls.

“the anecdotal data, the experiential accounts of what it’s like to be a young American woman in this particular cultural moment where women are on top and men are “ending,” suggests that even if the statistics say that they’re winning, young women feel like losers. This year’s critically acclaimed new HBO series Girls, created by and starring Lena Dunham, takes that experience of floundering and lays it out for all to see. Dunham’s Hannah and her friends, despite their privilege, don’t feel like they’re running the world.”

I must confess this made me smile. It inadvertently (I presume) illuminates the irony at the very heart of the notion of privilege. One’s own privilege is, according to the classic metaphor, an invisible knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools and blank checks – invisible not to others but to ourselves. Privilege doesn’t feel like privilege, it just feels like a natural state of being, the norm.

I’ve already explained my reasons for rejecting the theory of the End of Men, and I don’t for a moment believe that women are now the dominant or privileged gender. But it is worth pointing out that if they were, according to feminism or critical theory, this is exactly how it should feel. The girls in Girlsdon’t feel like they’re running the world but, get this, nor do the vast majority of men. I believe much of the anger directed towards feminism from the angry dudes of the internet boils down to the disconnect between a narrative that tells men they are privileged, and the lives being lived by those guys, which feels largely powerless. They don’t feel privileged, they feel like losers, they’re floundering, they don’t feel like they’re running the world. Hey ho.

In the weeks since Rosin’s book was released, a quite almighty stramash has erupted within feminist circles. You can’t have missed it, and I won’t reiterate the arguments here, but it began with Caitlin Moran and her statement that she ‘couldn’t give a shit’ about the all-white line-up of the cast of Girls. It has since spiralled into an angry, sprawling debate that orbits around issues of privilege and intersectionality.

Of the near-endless articles and blogs thrown up by the debate, the one I liked best was by Stavvers. She offers an analogy for the concept of intersectionality that is as good as anything I’ve read on the topic by a feminist.

“one can think about a four-way junction (or, as the Americans call it, an intersection). One road is not being male. Another road is not being white. Another road is not being able-bodied. The last road is not being cis. Now, if you stand in the middle of any one of these roads, you’re going to be dodging traffic. But if you stand right in the middle of the junction, you have cars coming at you from four ways, and you’re going to have to do a fuckload more dodging than you would have if you were just in one road.

I don’t know if that’s why it’s called intersectionality, but if not, it should be.”

I love the vividness of this analogy, but it doesn’t quite fit with how I understand society. I’d like to offer a slight twist that perhaps illustrates a key difference between my gender politics and those of many feminists.

Stavvers describes her roads in negative terms (not being male, not being white etc) whereas the analogy works better for me if we think in terms of who we are, rather than who we are not. That is all I know.

When people compile privilege checklists they often include many negatives – bad things that don’t happen to you because of who you are. I reject this. Not being harassed on the street is not a privilege enjoyed by anyone but is a fundamental right that should be enjoyed by everyone. Occasionally there are actual independent advantages to being white, straight, male etc, but they are rare. However there is a real privilege is not even having to be aware of the nature of the traffic on someone else’s road.

I’m a white, straight , cisgendered, middle-class, able-bodied male. I cannot accurately know what it feels like to be anything else, but I know perfectly well how all those things do or do not impact upon my life.  I’d prefer to think of Stavvers’s traffic as all the various pieces of shit, large and small, that life throws our way simply for being who we are. If you’re a black, lesbian, disabled woman, yes, that shit is coming hurtling at you from all sides and however hard you try to avoid it, some of that shit is going to mess you up.

Some of the traffic is driven by individual actions of racists, misogynists or individuals who otherwise oppress others but most of it is institutional and necessary to the socioeconomic system.

I know what it is like to be a pedestrian on the highway marked ‘White.’ It’s a breeze. The amount of shit-traffic heading my way down that road is all but zero. I could lay out a sleeping bag across the white lines in October, set my alarm clock for Spring and lie down to hibernate, safe in the knowledge that not one single car, truck or bus will squish my toes. Being white is a piece of piss. The same goes for the road marked “straight.” The same goes for being middle-class, able-bodied and cisgendered. All those things are just big old lonesome highways without so much as a trundling tractor to disturb the bliss. I should know, I’ve been walking those roads for 45 years.

Crucially, however, this isn’t exactly how it feels to be male. Not to me, and not to many other men either. Standing in the middle of the road marked ‘Male’, I have to dodge loads of traffic. Whizzing by on one side are the gender expectations, the demands to be a stoical, self-sacrificial breadwinner and provider, a sexual conqueror, all that old, stubborn heteronormative and patriarchal bollocks. Whooshing past on the other are the prejudices and assumptions about male aggression or violence, laziness, criminality, domestic and parental incompetence and all the rest. All around are the institutional shit-trucks sent by legal structures, education policies, health services, military traditions and more. Is the road marked ‘male’ busier and more difficult to traverse than the road marked ‘female’? No, I don’t believe it is, but it doesn’t need to be, this is not a competition.  If you’re a woman and/or a feminist and you’re reading this and sneering, thinking “that stuff doesn’t sound too difficult to me, what’s your problem?” then congratulations – you’ve just entered the precise, privileged mind-set of every angry anti-feminist MRA dude on the internet. Of course you don’t see it – it’s not your road.

Personally, all that male shit-traffic is pretty easy for me to dodge. I’m not at a busy junction. I don’t have to worry about being caught on the blindside by a juggernaut hurtling down the White Road or the Straight Road, so I’ve mostly found it pretty easy to sidestep all that shit on the Male Highway. But if you’re a boy from a poor background in a poor neighbourhood at a poor school, you’re likely to find one vehicle marked “you’re stupid” racing at you in one direction while another marked “you’re lazy” arrives from the other, and bang, the result is often academic underachievement and a NEET future. If you’re a working class black lad then you’ve got one shit-truck marked “you’re trouble” and another marked “you’re a criminal” and another marked “you’re violent” and bang, unless you’re lucky you are another stop and search statistic or another reluctant conscript into gang culture.

Understanding intersectionality in those terms is very useful for me. It’s a great example of how we can apply feminist thinking to the male experience and male-specific problems. It doesn’t require one to sign up to either a feminist or an anti-feminist agenda and could fit comfortably with either. It gives me a sense of perspective on my own (fairly fortunate) place in society, why the world looks like it does to me, and crucially, why it might look entirely different to others who stand on a different intersection.

So it is useful in understanding where we are, but I think it is also useful in terms of where we would like to be. At a political level, we can ask what it is about our society that is sending so fucking much shit-traffic down some of the different roads – the disabled road, the  black road, the Muslim road, the women’s road and, yes, the men’s road too. We can not only ask how we can reorganise society so there is less shit on anyone’s road, we can also constantly ask ourselves whether our behaviour, our deeds or our words and language are sending a bit more unnecessary shit-traffic down someone else’s highway.

As my final word on Rosin’s The End of Men, I’d observe that the book does not describe an improving world. It describes a world where there is more shit-traffic than ever on women’s roads, and more shit-traffic than ever on men’s roads. When I write that the transformation of the workplace and domestic realm is not a victory for feminism but a victory for capitalism, this is precisely what I mean.  If we aspire to a better society, socially and economically, for men and women alike, then counting the vehicles on the various highways of shit might be a very good place to start.

Comments

  1. smhll says

    Of course you don’t see it – it’s not your road.

    This makes sense, as far as it goes.

    Setting aside the male-female divide, which is closer to even than other marginal positions, I want to say that non-white people (in Western countries) probably consume media that is disproportianately written by white people for a mostly white audience. And this is also true for people who are disabled or have a sexual orientation other than straight.

    I admit that sitcoms and headlines don’t present realistic or complete expressions of personal or political issues. However, long-form magazine articles and blogs and (auto)biographies give us some insight into the lives of ‘others’ who are not just like us. To the extent that SAWCASMs are over-represented in media, they are then somewhat more understood by everyone reading/watching, than under-represented types of people are.

    I do think your blog post made a lot of good points.

  2. Pen says

    Interesting stuff to think about. In the meantime, I have just a couple of tiny comments.

    1) Power and privilege are not at all the same thing. You can be very privileged in many respects and completely powerless as regards your own life or social change.
    2) Since we’re moving in international circles it’s worth noting that the cost or lack of cost associated with race and gender vary a lot even within those western societies that appear to have most in common.

    OK – I had a thought after all. You say being male is a busy street and being white is a breeze. I suspect the white British as a whole have had to expend some effort in adjusting their senses of identity over the last few decades as well as adapting to the fact that there are people around who will scrutinise them as ‘white’ – a category that had little or no meaning in Britain during some of their lifetimes. You find it a breeze (so do I) but I think its only fair to recognise that some don’t.

    Since identity adjustment is such a large part of what you included in the disadvantages of ‘male street’ (not all of it, I agree) I wonder if this could use a bit more thought. Perhaps some men also find being male in the brave new world a breeze, but you, for whatever reason, aren’t one of them?

  3. says

    Great post on privilege, I especially like the analogy and I am following stavvers on Twitter, good one to follow! The bits about not seeing privilege as a positive benefit, as if you are a greedy banker stealing something from those not as privileged is rubbish, it should be the default. This feeds into the common misconception I run into a lot about feeling guilty for being privileged. Strangely the only people who have tried to make me feel guilty are the anti-feminists and MRAs at the pit. On the A+ forum its quite clearly framed this way, everyone should have the privilege I and others have, I want them to so why feel guilty about being on what should be the default life setting for everyone? If I use my privileged position to shit on others by denying their experiences or minimising the issues of not having my privilege then yeah thats something to feel bad about…

    You haven’t got a post on the subject of “shut up and listen” from the archives? You sort of touch on it here… Bit of a shit storm you may step into, if you don’t know, WIS conference n all. But it would be good to see your opinion on the whole if you are privileged then sometimes you need to be quiet and listen to others lived experience, not lecture them about it. I think it works both ways, men lecturing women on “using” privilege to shut them up is not appropriate when its about womens lived experience. Its also not appropriate for women to do that in regard to mens lived experience. All this fits fine into feminist theory and the “shut up and listen” sound bite IMO. But its not coming across that way — we are all trying to “silence” each other apparently!

  4. Schala says

    Since identity adjustment is such a large part of what you included in the disadvantages of ‘male street’ (not all of it, I agree) I wonder if this could use a bit more thought. Perhaps some men also find being male in the brave new world a breeze, but you, for whatever reason, aren’t one of them?

    The same could be said about finding being female in this “if momma ain’t happy, nobody’s happy” world.

    I personally find it way more of a breeze now post-transition than I did pre-transition. And, while it’s true that I fit in a bit more, it’s only marginally so – and mostly due to appearance (I was skinny, and that’s not considered favorable for a boy, but it’s fine for a girl – I also have rather neotenous features, which in our culture symbolize feminity). My interests are not very masculine, and not very feminine. They’re pretty androgynous.

    I’m as unlikely to fit in with a mainstream-male group than a mainstream-female group.

    I’m not all about sports and beers, and neither am I all about shopping and fashion. I would be the odd one out in both groups.

  5. Jacob Schmidt says

    1) Power and privilege are not at all the same thing. You can be very privileged in many respects and completely powerless as regards your own life or social change.

    Strictly speaking, yes. They are separate. But privilege begets power, and vice versa. They are not easily separable. Also, power generally refers to power over other classes, not power over one’s life. That power tends to be greatly amplified by the current economic system, I think.

  6. Schala says

    Strictly speaking, yes. They are separate. But privilege begets power, and vice versa. They are not easily separable. Also, power generally refers to power over other classes, not power over one’s life. That power tends to be greatly amplified by the current economic system, I think.

    Then I don’t think either men or women are privileged enough to have power over the other class.

    While I think we have a society which favors a certain classification (as in putting class issues into gender) of gender, which puts women on an aristocratic pedestal “because you’re worth it” and men on a working class stance “prove your worth”, it doesn’t affect their inter-relations themselves as much. It will affect which amount and type of concern male issues get (ie only concerned as how male powerlessness affects women), but this is a power society as a whole (including all other men) have over men. And for problems women face, it’s the same – society as a whole (including all other women) have power over women.

    It’s not either men over women, or women over men.

    It’s society ordering stuff so that women have more value, men have less until/if they prove it, and society is the culprit. At another time, women also needed to prove their value, and had less freedom of expression (possibly on a level similar to men’s extreme restrictions). This changed in recent times, now the motto is “because you’re worth it” for women, and “eat/fight/work/dress/shave/cologne like a real man” on the other side.

    You might retort that advertisement aimed at women also plays on their insecurities about beauty. Well, yes it does. But it doesn’t predicate their worth as humans and their femaleness on it. There is no “woman up” or “be a real woman”, and “stop butching it up”.

  7. Hunt says

    Another consideration is the baseline difficulty of life itself, which tends to attenuate the significance of privilege disparity. I find it hard to believe that your life has been an absolute walk in the park considering the adversity that impinges on all of us. Each of us faces the same array of life stressors, the sickness, the bad luck, the worry, the hassle, the dealing with ill parents and children, the arriving home to a burned down house because you left the burner on, etc. I think this, more than the auto-erasure of privilege perception you describe (but not dismissing that as a factor), may explain the outrage that some people have when informed that they should “check privilege” (and shut up). You can imagine the rage that might well up in any individual facing, say, a cancer diagnosis, to be informed that he or she is an ingrate suckling the teat of social privilege. Or, less extreme than that, picture a person asked to check privilege after his car has been totaled or his house foreclosed. To what extent to the vagaries of life supersede privileged or intersectional status of a person’s life? Or maybe a better question is, at what point, under what conditions, would this happen?

  8. Jacob Schmidt says

    You might retort that advertisement aimed at women also plays on their insecurities about beauty.

    I would actually retort with that fact that there are more men in the US senate this year than there have been women, ever.

    Or, more pertinently, that marital rape (a problem primarily faced by women) didn’t become illegal in England until 1991. That is, because of the social constructs that can (and often did) exist between husbands, wives and the law at the time, some women were raped for literally years by their husbands.

    Unfortunately, sometimes there is a significant power skew.

  9. Sans sanity says

    “marital rape (a problem primarily faced by women).”
    I’d say that the meaningfulness of this claim is significantly undermined by England still not defining a woman forcing a man to have sex with her as rape. Makes it inevitable really.

    However if you happen to have a credible study that looks at nonconsensual sex, by gender, between spouses pre 1991 (or even since) in England (or any other country) to back up your statement I would be very interested.

  10. Ally Fogg says

    @Pen

    OK – I had a thought after all. You say being male is a busy street and being white is a breeze. I suspect the white British as a whole have had to expend some effort in adjusting their senses of identity over the last few decades as well as adapting to the fact that there are people around who will scrutinise them as ‘white’ – a category that had little or no meaning in Britain during some of their lifetimes. You find it a breeze (so do I) but I think its only fair to recognise that some don’t.

    I hear what you’re saying here, but I struggle to find much sympathy for those making such complaints. It reminds me of straight married people complaining that gay marriage degrades and diminishes their own heterosexual marriages because reasons. What is being complained about there is loss of genuine and unjust privilege or exclusivity.

    I’d be interested to know if any white person from anywhere could compile a list of do’s and don’ts for white people – ie white people must do this, white people must not do that. My contention is that there is a long list like that for me, as a man, but no list at all for me as a white person.

    I could imagine that in places that have histories of severe racial conflict (South Africa, southern US states etc), where there are greater pressures for segregation and oppositiional racial identity, there might be social norms that say “white people don’t do XYZ, you mustn’t do that.” Would be interested if anyone has personal experience? I think such social pressures are entirely absent in the UK at least.

    “Since identity adjustment is such a large part of what you included in the disadvantages of ‘male street’ (not all of it, I agree) I wonder if this could use a bit more thought. Perhaps some men also find being male in the brave new world a breeze, but you, for whatever reason, aren’t one of them?”

    Well, as I say in the piece, I do personally find dealing with the male shit-traffic pretty easy, and that is mostly because I’m largely immune from any other pressures due to my class, race, sexuality etc. I’d be surprised if there are many men who haven’t felt the physical and emotional stresses and strains involved in proving oneself “manly” in one way or another, particularly in earlier life.

    We also have to bear in mind that many people enjoy conquering the challenges of gender, even when they’re corrosive. Once you’re forced into the game (usually whether you like it or not) it feels good when you win. Just as many women genuinely enjoy looking and feeling feminine (and specifically physically beautiful) so many men enjoy feeling masculine in various ways, and would strongly object to the idea such identity might be taken away from them.

    I think that’s something anyone who dabbles in these ideas has to bear in mind, just as feminists have to bear in mind that many/most women enjoy living the beauty myth.

  11. Ally Fogg says

    You haven’t got a post on the subject of “shut up and listen” from the archives? You sort of touch on it here…

    Ha. I think I’ll stay out of that specific shitstorm if it’s all the same to you, but I did write a wee while back in the Guardian about the notion of ‘check your privilege’ which is basically the more polite version of the same call. I think my thoughts are broadly transferable!

  12. Jacob Schmidt says

    Sans sanity

    I’d say that the meaningfulness of this claim is significantly undermined by England still not defining a woman forcing a man to have sex with her as rape. Makes it inevitable really.

    Fun Fact: despite England’s massive fuck up, male sexual assault or rape victims actually have a better chance at seeing their assailant convicted. The chart is about a third of the way down.

    However if you happen to have a credible study that looks at nonconsensual sex, by gender, between spouses pre 1991 (or even since) in England (or any other country) to back up your statement I would be very interested.

    No study exists, as far as I know. However, I should point out that most male rape victims are assaulted by men:
    -In a survey answered by hundreds of rape and sexual assault support agencies, they estimated that 93.7 percent of male rape perpetrators are male and 6.3 percent were female. (Greenberg, Bruess and Haffner, 575)

    Most rape victims are women, and most male rape victims are raped by men. No, it is not unreasonable to conclude that marital rape is primarily faced by women.

    Ally Fogg

    What is being complained about there is loss of genuine and unjust privilege or exclusivity.

    Strictly speaking, the latter is more accurate. It’s not that white people or straight people are losing privilege; the privilege is being gained by others.

    I don’t suppose that I could convince you to increase the number of links we can have in a post before it goes to auto moderation? I often find myself posting 2 or 3 links. Pharyngula, fwiw, allows 5 links per post, and suffers from very little spam. But that may be because PZ’s spam filter has been tweaked and adjusted for years.

  13. says

    Last two paragraphs really nail it for me… Good read and nice to be able to check what a privileged white male has to say on the issue ;-) Cheers.

  14. Schala says

    Fun Fact: despite England’s massive fuck up, male sexual assault or rape victims actually have a better chance at seeing their assailant convicted. The chart is about a third of the way down.

    Provided they report it at all, which is extremely unlikely to start with.

  15. Schala says

    No study exists, as far as I know. However, I should point out that most male rape victims are assaulted by men:
    -In a survey answered by hundreds of rape and sexual assault support agencies, they estimated that 93.7 percent of male rape perpetrators are male and 6.3 percent were female. (Greenberg, Bruess and Haffner, 575)

    Only if you define rape as penetration (ie victim being penetrated, not perpetrator being penetrated).

    If you count envelopment as rape (which you should if you view non-consensual sex as rape), then 80% of perpetrators of male victims of rape are female.

    CDC 2010 stats. Force to penetrate stats. Same last 12 months stats as female rape victims.

  16. Jacob Schmidt says

    Provided they report it at all, which is extremely unlikely to start with.

    The same applies for women victims, so I don’t see your point.

    If you count envelopment as rape (which you should if you view non-consensual sex as rape), then 80% of perpetrators of male victims of rape are female.

    We absolutely should. However, I’m unable to find the study you reference. That, and the above comes from self reporting; my definition of rape means nothing, only the victim’s.

  17. Schala says

    The same applies for women victims, so I don’t see your point.

    If 10% of female victims report rape and 1% of male victims report rape, which is the one people will think happens the most? The one society says is THE ONLY ONE to POSSIBLY HAPPEN. Male on female. Maybe male on male with prison rape jokes.

    Female on male is being lucky, and “Oh I would have liked if that happened to me!”, and “Hey you got it free!” and “Are you gay? All men want pussy 100% of the time!” some of those coming from women, along with “erection = consent” bullshit.

    Here is the CDC definition of rape:

    Rape
    is defined as any completed or attempted unwanted vaginal (for women), oral, or anal
    penetration through the use of physical force (such as being pinned or held down, or by the
    use of violence) or threats to physically harm and includes times when the victim was drunk,
    high, drugged, or passed out and unable to consent. Rape is separated into three types,
    completed forced penetration, attempted forced penetration, and completed alcohol or drug
    facilitated penetration.

    Among women, rape includes vaginal, oral, or anal penetration by a male using his penis. It
    also includes vaginal or anal penetration by a male or female using their fingers or an object.

    Among men, rape includes oral or anal penetration by a male using his penis. It also
    includes anal penetration by a male or female using their fingers or an object.

    Note how men being penetrated is necessary for it to count as rape. If he gets PIV non-consensual sex, where he is therefore not penetrated, he is not considered a rape victim. UK stats also ignore male victims, classifying them into “other sexual violence” (along with voyeurism, indecent exposure, groping etc), which surveys count as non-victims.

    Here is where the CDC counts men:

    Being made to penetrate someone else
    includes times when the victim was made to,
    or there was an attempt to make them, sexually penetrate someone without the victim’s
    consent because the victim was physically forced (such as being pinned or held down, or by
    the use of violence) or threatened with physical harm, or when the victim was drunk, high,
    drugged, or passed out and unable to consent.

    Among women, this behavior reflects a female being made to orally penetrate another
    female’s vagina or anus.

    Among men, being made to penetrate someone else could have occurred in multiple ways:
    being made to vaginally penetrate a female using one’s own penis; orally penetrating a
    female’s vagina or anus; anally penetrating a male or female; or being made to receive oral
    sex from a male or female. It also includes female perpetrators attempting to force male
    victims to penetrate them, though it did not happen

    Note that they purposely don’t call this rape, don’t count it in total rape stats, and this is no doubt from Mary P Koss’s advocacy to the effect that men having non-consensual non-penetrative (of them) sex should not count as rape, and should not be equated with female victims of rape.

    http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/nisvs_report2010-a.pdf

    At pages 28 and 29 of 124 (pdf software number pages), you can see tables for men and women.

    For the last 12 months, the number of raped women is 1.1%, or 1,270,000.

    For the last 12 months, the number of men “made to penetrate” is 1.1%, or 1,270,000.

    and

    Most perpetrators of all forms of sexual violence against women were male. For female rape victims, 98.1% reported only male perpetrators. Additionally, 92.5% of female victims of sexual violence other than rape reported only male perpetrators. For male victims, the sex of the perpetrator varied by the type of sexual violence experienced. The majority of male rape victims (93.3%) reported only male perpetrators. For three of the other forms of sexual violence, a majority of male victims reported only female perpetrators: being made to penetrate (79.2%), sexual coercion (83.6%), and unwanted sexual contact (53.1%).

    Bolded mine.

    So that means, for the last 12 months, 40% of perpetrators of rape were women raping men. 50% of perpetrators of rape were men raping women. And 10% of perpetrators of rape were men raping men. Rough numbers.

    Doesn’t look like numbers campaigns against rape cite though. Or numbers for rape crisis centers who say it is a uniquely female crime, to “put women in their place”, patriarchal violence, only done by men, only done to women and some token male victims, mostly in childhood and prison.

    I’m sure their narratives are helping solve rape as a global problem, not trying to obscure half the victims because it’s nice propaganda for their male=bad female =good PR machine.

  18. Schala says

    Not to mention wanting to obscure female perpetrators at all costs.

    That way we can safely theorize about our god-given right to stereotype all men as “potential rapists”, to never hire male caregivers, from babysitters to daycares to elementary teachers to elderly care to mentally ill people because only males can be pedophiles, right? To never sit men next to children in airplanes, and get that discrimination given a pass because “customer feedback” agrees and other companies do it – I’m sure in the 1950s, customer feedback and other companies also loved to openly discriminate against black people for imaginary reasons.

  19. Pen says

    Answer to Ally @2.5 on white people and social pressures:

    I think I could make a little list of things white people shouldn’t do in Britain having observed white people in court for doing them. I don’t regard them as particularly important just now because I have no desire to do any of them myself. On the other hand, I’m rather impressed by your apparent immunity to one particular social pressure. It’s similar to the argument about pressures on men often coming from other men. This one comes from other white people: media, family acquaintances. It’s fired at people in white minority areas, white minority schools, in mixed race relationships or even taking up lodging/employment in situations that aren’t dominated (numerically or otherwise) by white people. It comes from the media, their families and random acquaintances. Its refrain is ‘we’re sorry for you’, ‘we’re scared for you’, ‘poor you, you can’t even walk down the street in broad daylight’, ‘you’re making bad/abnormal choices’, … etc ad nauseam or just the general background of your neighbourhood/school/family/job sucks. I’ll save my rant on the subject but I certainly feel placed under some ‘emotional stresses and strains’ as a result.

    Anyway, that’s my personal life. As far as theory goes, I haven’t seen this particular complication of privilege and power structures very well addressed yet. I can see that a cis-, straight man in a female-dominated environment would face similar pressures from other men or society at large. Girls can campaign to be in the Scouts but what would we say of a boy who wanted to join the Guides? Or become a ballet dancer (see Billy Elliott!)

  20. Ally Fogg says

    that’s really interesting Pen.

    Interesting because I do live in an inner city area where white people are very much a minority. I’ve never experienced what you describe myself. I do remember that when I moved to Manchester from Scotland I got a few comments like that, but nothing that I felt affected by, and nothing since.

    That said, my partner has a slightly more sensible career than mine and has worked in various places with more suburban colleagues, and she has received a lot of bemused and concerned comments, but how much of that is down to race and how much it is just that we live in a poor and rather notorious neighbourhood I’m not sure. In either case, I don’t she’s ever felt other than amused by it.

    Thankfully, we’ve never had any grief from our parents, because I could imagine that would be stressful, but otherwise it’s never really struck me as my problem, just other people’s problem.

  21. Sans sanity says

    Pretty much everything I would have said has been said better by Schala. The only thing I’d add is that a survey of sexual assault centres is not what I’d consider an accurate way of assessing male sexual assault by women. Why that is is neatly summarised by the a quote from the page you linked to directly below the one you yourself provided.
    “Many people do not believe that male rape by a female exists.”

    Given the findings quoted by Schala, the assumption of rape being a predominantly male crime is not a safe one. And, for that matter, you should not be using assumptions you have made, no matter how safe they may seem, as point proving examples.
    Just the facts, sir ;)

  22. Jacob Schmidt says

    Sans sanity

    Given the findings quoted by Schala, the assumption of rape being a predominantly male crime is not a safe one. And, for that matter, you should not be using assumptions you have made, no matter how safe they may seem, as point proving examples.
    Just the facts, sir

    Except Schala’s stats say women are raped more, and almost always by men; it’s only recently that the rates became similar. Looking at the stats over a victims lifetime, 18.3% of women are raped vs. at most 6.2% of men. Further, 50% of those women were raped by an intimate partner, and 75% experienced sexual coercion from a partner. So yes, marital rape would have been primarily a women’s issue. That may be changing, but it certainly wasn’t the case when marital rape exemptions were in place. Which, you know, was my point.

    Schala

    That way we can safely theorize about our god-given right to stereotype all men as “potential rapists”, to never hire male caregivers, from babysitters to daycares to elementary teachers to elderly care to mentally ill people because only males can be pedophiles, right?

    This is the fourth time you’ve ascribed specific views to me. This is the fourth time you were wrong in doing so. Are you ever gonna get bored of doing that?

    Emphasis mine:

    I’m sure their narratives are helping solve rape as a global problem, not trying to obscure half the victims because it’s nice propaganda for their male=bad female =good PR machine.

    Historically, men are not half the victims. Your own source demonstrates that.

  23. Schala says

    Looking at the stats over a victims lifetime, 18.3% of women are raped vs. at most 6.2% of men.

    Lifetime figured are the most unreliable.

    In large part because men don’t conceptualize what happened to them as sexual abuse – they’re told it can’t happen, hasn’t happened, won’t happen, and they’re lucky if it does happen. Would you feel a victim if everyone wanted to high five you for getting your teeth broken by a bully? Not everyone would.

  24. Schala says

    This is the fourth time you’ve ascribed specific views to me. This is the fourth time you were wrong in doing so. Are you ever gonna get bored of doing that?

    I’m not ascribing views to you. You like to take things personally for some reason. I’m never attacking the messenger.

    I’m saying this about feminism activism in general. And if you don’t do this, it’s not about you.

  25. Jacob Schmidt says

    In large part because men don’t conceptualize what happened to them as sexual abuse – they’re told it can’t happen, hasn’t happened, won’t happen, and they’re lucky if it does happen. Would you feel a victim if everyone wanted to high five you for getting your teeth broken by a bully? Not everyone would.

    I’m not convinced that socialization would produce such a massive disparity, particularly when there was (is?) significant socialization against women having sex at all. Also, the men needn’t conceptualize what happened to them as rape; often women don’t, either through denial or others blaming them. The surveys take this into account.

    Yes, I realize there are more resources for women to come to terms with what happened to them and learning to call it rape.

    I’m not ascribing views to you.

    Fair enough.

    I found this on page 12 of the study (27 out 124): “Among men, being made to penetrate someone else could have occurred in multiple ways: being made to vaginally penetrate a female using one’s own penis; orally penetrating a female’s vagina or anus; anally penetrating a male or female; or being made to receive oral sex from a male or female. It also includes female perpetrators attempting to force male victims to penetrate them, though it did not happen.

    They seem to be saying they encountered no cases of women forcing men to penetrate them.

  26. Tamen says

    Jacob Schmidt:

    That “though it did not happen.” part is referring to the fact that the definition includes attempts – as in a penetration did not happen. Before you exclaim “Aha! please note that the definition of rape also includes attempts.

    To substantiate that interpretation of the text you highlighted:
    If you look at table 2.2 page 19 (where the numbers Schala have cited are from) you’ll see that quite a few men have reported “being made to penetrate someone else” (including attempts).

    On page 24 of the NISVS 2010 Report you’ll find this quote:

    For three of the other forms of sexual violence, a majority of male victims reported only female perpetrators: being made to penetrate (79.2%), sexual coercion (83.6%), and unwanted sexual contact (53.1%).

    So 79.2% of the men who reported being made to penetrate someone else reported a female perpetrator. Leaving an estimated 4,317,192 male victims of a female perpetrator. Pretty far from “doesn’t happen”.

    For the lifetime figures and if we classify “being made to penetrate” as rape as you seem to agree with we get that appr. every 4th rape victim is a man and that appr. every 5th rape victim is a man raped by a woman.

    At the same time I should note that the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) does precious little to count these male vicitms as none of the questions originally address this form of victimization (which is punishable up to life in prison according to the Sexual Offences Act of 2003 Section 4 subsection 4). The newest CSEW did a split sample study to evaluate a new set of questions. This allowed any such male victims to answer “Another sex act not listed above” (those listed above all involved being penetrated) to the question Have you been forced to have intercourse without your consent? The analysts evaluating the new question set classified any such answers as “non-victims”.

    In short, the CSEW does not in any way count victims of SOA 2003, Section 4(4) giving one no way to know the extent which men and women are victimized in this manner although it does give the impression that it covers all sexual violence by not mentioning this omission at all.

    As for disparity on reporting by male and female victims:
    There seem to be a consensus among researchers that male victims are less likely to report to police (and even less likely to report it on self-reporting surveys) than female victims. How much less likely varies between the studies.

    I’d be interested in any studies that found that women are less likely than men to report sexual violence victimization.

  27. Tamen says

    Just wanted to clarify a couple of sentences which was poorly written by me;

    There seem to be a consensus among researchers that male victims are less likely to report to police (and even less likely to report it on self-reporting surveys) than female victims.

    should be

    There seem to be a consensus among researchers that male victims are less likely to report to police (and also less likely to report it on self-reporting surveys) than female victims.

  28. Sans sanity says

    “I’m not convinced that socialization would produce such a massive disparity”
    A woman would have to be raped by at least a minor celebrity for (awful) people to consider her “lucky.*” A man raped by nearly any woman is likely to face this reaction (also from awful people). I find the disparity credible.

    “significant socialization against women having sex at all.”
    I don’t follow your logic here – women are told that they aren’t supposed to be having sex, so therefore they are less likely to consider forced sex rape? Heck Amanda Marcotte has a whole blog post decrying how this narrative can lead to false reporting, not under reporting.

    “The surveys take this into account.”
    The survey you linked to was of “hundreds of rape and sexual assault support agencies.”
    In that case I think it is pretty obvious that a man needs to have “conceptualize(d) what happened to them as rape” in order to be counted – he is unlikely to have interacted a support agency them if he has not.

    Quantitative studies which ask useful questions of men about their experiences, and then sort their answers with forced to have sex/raped as a category are not exactly common. The CDC one is, to my knowledge, the best available. Which brings me to my last point

    “It also includes female perpetrators attempting to force male victims to penetrate them, though it did not happen”
    The key word here is “attempting.” As in “An attempted rape is one which is tried but not successful.”

    So, no men reported events in which a woman attempted, but ultimatly did not, force them to penetrate her vagina with their penis. Consider the context of the quote “being made to penetrate someone else could have occurred in multiple ways: being made to vaginally penetrate a female using one’s own penis;”

    They are being perculiarly redundant in their writing and and making the case that are a lot of people (roughly 80% of them women) going around forcing men to unwillingly have sex with people oher than themselves, at the same time as there are absolutly no women forcing men to have sex with them.
    I mean, for rape (in this context, being penetrated) they reported a negligable number of men raped by women, so does zero really seem likely for forced to penetrate?

    If you check I believe you will see that for women (and men) attempted rapes are included in the numbers for accomplished rapes.

    *Though I acknowledge the significance and harm caused by the “asking for it” narrative, it is not the same as “lucky.”

  29. Sans sanity says

    Should read “OTHERWISE they are being perculiarly redundant in their writing….”

  30. Pen says

    but otherwise it’s never really struck me as my problem, just other people’s problem

    I might call that a minor lapse in tact (actually, I’m laughing, genuinely, so don’t worry). But seriously, same situations, different experiences. I think that’s clouding a whole lot of the debates on FtB about race and gender.

  31. Jacob Schmidt says

    Tamen

    For the lifetime figures and if we classify “being made to penetrate” as rape as you seem to agree with we get that appr. every 4th rape victim is a man and that appr. every 5th rape victim is a man raped by a woman.

    I accept that. I found thje phrasing odd, particularly because it says, essentially, that there were no failed attempts when the victim is male and the perpetrator is female.

    There seem to be a consensus among researchers that male victims are less likely to report to police (and also less likely to report it on self-reporting surveys) than female victims.

    I accept that. I question that the under reporting of men on a self report survey would account for the massive disparity (3 female victims per male victims). Particularly because it’s not a self report survey; men are strictly asked what happened, and whether or not they wanted it to happen. They are not being asked to classify their assault.

    The analysts evaluating the new question set classified any such answers as “non-victims”.

    Well, fuck the CSEW then. More pragmatically, do they have any sort of feedback channel?

    Sans sanity

    I think this is the first substantive comment I’ve recieved from you. You should write more of these.

    A woman would have to be raped by at least a minor celebrity for (awful) people to consider her “lucky.*”

    Bullshit. While it’s far more common for men to recieve the “Doesn’t matter; had sex” response, I’ve seen more than a handful of people saying that ugly women should be glad they were raped since it’s the only time they’ll ever have sex.

    The survey you linked to was of “hundreds of rape and sexual assault support agencies.”[

    Not the survey to which I was referring.

    I don’t follow your logic here – women are told that they aren’t supposed to be having sex, so therefore they are less likely to consider forced sex rape?

    No. Women are told not to have sex (a la “used chewing gum” analogy) so they’re less likely to have sex, including sex that involves taking advantage of men.

    So, no men reported events in which a woman attempted, but ultimatly did not, force them to penetrate her vagina with their penis.
    -SNIP-
    I mean, for rape (in this context, being penetrated) they reported a negligable number of men raped by women, so does zero really seem likely for forced to penetrate?

    A fact which I find odd.

  32. Schala says

    I’m replying below (starting a new comment) as I think this sub-thread is long enough.

  33. Schala says

    Bullshit. While it’s far more common for men to recieve the “Doesn’t matter; had sex” response, I’ve seen more than a handful of people saying that ugly women should be glad they were raped since it’s the only time they’ll ever have sex.

    Okay, so ugly women (a pretty low proportion of women) get roughly the same treatment as men (all men) always get.

    To be considered “ugly” by pretty much a majority of people, you have to be in a low percentile, like 30th or below. In short, roughly 70% of women are considered “not ugly”, and thus able to not-consent to sex sometimes. While men are in a constant state of consent, at all times, unless it’s a man – then if they don’t fight him off, it means they liked it and are gay. If they fight a woman off, it means they’re gay too, unless she’s part of the small proportion of ugly ones.

    Average isn’t ugly btw.

    Yet, even ugly women get rape crisis centers. Even ugly women get access to DV shelters. Even ugly women get help if they need it. While even the prettiest men don’t. Because no one cares about men as a group.

    If a man is raped in Africa, he is afraid (justifiably apparently) that he’ll be considered emasculated and thus “like a woman”. It would be misogynist if this wasn’t the view of their wives themselves – considering them as non-men, “like women”, and thus not worthy of being married to them.

    They might need something for internalized misogyny, but the real problem seems to be that we ignore rape of men because of damages to relationships and reputations that might occur over the purported loss of social value of the man. His social value is apparently of more import than his bodily integrity. And not just to him, but to his wife, and to his entire society.

  34. Schala says

    I’ll add to my post in 6.

    In India, rape is a crime committed by a man, using his penis against a woman.

    It’s the only possibility. Female on female, male on male, and female on male rapes cannot even exist.

    Male on male sexual crimes can have certain weird sexual “perversion” provisions, but not called raped. I’m not sure female on female sexual crimes are even considered to exist. Female on male definitely considered to not POSSIBLY exist, ever.

  35. Jacob Schmidt says

    I’ll do away with threading entirely, if it’s all the same to you (“you” meaning “whoever”).

    Schala

    Average isn’t ugly btw.

    “Ugly” or similar tend to get levelled at women (especially feminist women) when they deviate from gender norms. Attractiveness seems to only vaguely correlate with whether or not a given women get’s called ugly.

    Yet, even ugly women get rape crisis centers. Even ugly women get access to DV shelters. Even ugly women get help if they need it. While even the prettiest men don’t[1]. Because no one cares about men as a group[2].

    1) I cited some (bad) statistics that came from rape crisis centers that look after male victims. To claim that male victims don’t get access to rape crisis centres is asinine. It could be argued that there are no crisis centres that exclusve look after men; yes, a bunch of crisis centres exclusively looking after women is problematic (to say the least).
    2) Male Survivor does. Ireland’s rape crisis network does. I found the former from Toronto Police Department’s guide for sexual assault victims (which also sepcifies that men can be sexual assault victims), and the latter from googling “male rape victim crisis centres”. One thing I like is that Ireland’s rape crisis centre tries to keep men on staff so that they can counsel men who feel uncomfortable around women.

    I don’t think male rape victims are lacking in resources (in the west), though certainly less exist for them than for women.

    If a man is raped in Africa, he is afraid (justifiably apparently) that he’ll be considered emasculated and thus “like a woman”. It would be misogynist if this wasn’t the view of their wives themselves – considering them as non-men, “like women”, and thus not worthy of being married to them.

    It is misogynistic; he loses his status because he becomes “like a woman”. Misogyny is one factor in the stigmatization of male rape victims.

    They might need something for internalized misogyny, but the real problem seems to be that we ignore rape of men because of damages to relationships and reputations that might occur over the purported loss of social value of the man.

    I am profoundly uncomfortable with calling any individual problem “the real problem”. I don’t think that male rape victims are ignored towards any particular goal; I think it’s mostly because, historically, women are victimized more.

  36. Tamen says

    Sans Sanity:

    So, no men reported events in which a woman attempted, but ultimatly did not, force them to penetrate her vagina with their penis.

    and

    Jacob Schmidt:

    I found thje phrasing odd, particularly because it says, essentially, that there were no failed attempts when the victim is male and the perpetrator is female.

    You are both mistaken. The definition of “being made to penetrate someone else” says nothing about prevalence – it does NOT say that the study did not find any women who attempted (but failed) to make a male victim penetrate them. It says that the definition includes if a woman make a man penetrate her without this consent and that the definition also includes if it didn’t happen – if the attempt failed. The word “it” here refers to “penetration”. It’s sloppy writing and the authors should’ve written something like:

    It [the definition] also includes female perpetrators attempting to force male victims to penetrate them, even if no penetration actually took place.

    Although the NISVS 2010 Report did break down the numbers for rape into completed forced penetration, attempted forced penetration and completed alcohol/drug facilitated penetration it didn’t break down the numbers for “being made to penetrate” in the same manner – so we simply at this point do not know how many of the 4.8% men who reported “being made to penetrate someone else” suffered through a completed rape or how many suffered through an attempt (which may be just as traumatic in some instances). I’ll also add that in my view there is no ethical/moral difference between a rapist and a person attempting (but failing) to rape.

    Why does this mis-classification matter one may ask. After all the report did count those victims. Well, the executive summary which was what most media channels and blogs used when reporting from this survey when it was published in later 2011 reported that 1 in 5 and 1 in 71 men had been raped. As opposed to 1 in 5 women and 1 in 20 men if “being made to penetrate someone else” was categorized as rape. A lot of male rape victims disappears. But since “being made to penetrate” is placed in the category “other sexual violence” which includes “unwanted sexual contact” and “non-contact unwanted sexual experiences” which are pretty common and which many more women than men report the 4.8% of men who was victims of “being made to penetrate” are essentially hidden in a larger bag which reports: 44% of women and 22% of men report other sexual violence.

    The same thing can be observed in a national survey on child abuse in India in 2007. The executive summary breaks down the number of victims of physical abuse by genders while the number of vctims of sexual abuse is not broken down by genders. It turns out that the survey actually reports that slightly more boys than girls are sexually abused and that slightly more boys than girls are raped (and that does not include being made to penetrate). I bet most people who were (rightfully I might add) up in arms about the gang-rape in New Dehli were unaware of that fact – the discourse all revolved around a rape culture affecting women and girls. Where were the boys?

    In 1993 in a paper about methodologies to measure rape prevalence the well renowned researcher and feminist Mary P Koss wrote (my bolding):

    Although consideration of male victims is within the scope of the legal statutes, it is important to restrict the term rape to instances where male victims were penetrated by offenders. It is inappropriate to consider as a rape victim a man who engages in unwanted sexual intercourse with a woman.

    Her methodology/question set SES was revised in 2007 and the revised version still did not include questions capturing those male victims (with the exception of victims of oral sex without their consent and I am now cynical enough to suspect that just is a side effect of wanting to include female victims of forced oral sex where the perpetrator does not penetrate the victim’s vagina with their tongue). The revised SES ironically claims to be gender neutral and capture all sexual violence.


    CSEW is the responsibility of the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and queries regarding it can be directed at: crimestatistics@ONS.gov.uk

    Please do contact them. Ask them why they don’t curently count victims of SOA 2003 section 4(4) and why their analysts thinks people reporting that in the new question set are to be counted as non-victims and whether they plan to count them in future surveys.

    Here is the exact reference and quote: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/science-research-statistics/research-statistics/crime-research/analysis-bcs-ipv-2011

    In the analysis presented here those respondents who said that they had only experienced ‘some other sex act not described above’ were categorised as non-victims to ensure that the category of serious sexual assault retained the same definition as in the current question set (this is not an option in the current question set).

  37. Tamen says

    Jacob Schmidt:

    Particularly because it’s not a self report survey; men are strictly asked what happened, and whether or not they wanted it to happen. They are not being asked to classify their assault.

    They are on some level asked to classify their assault.
    They are being asked if they had sex without their consent.
    Given the prevalency of the notion that men always want sex and how that notion was even stronger in the past and how it can be internalized I strongly suspect that many re-frame old memories as happening with their consent even when it in fact didn’t. Being told repeatedly that you got lucky, that you should feel lucky and so on may get internalized and transforms events where you in reality didn’t consent to events where you got what you wanted (implies consent). That narrative that men should consider themselves lucky whenever and however they get sex is strong and common. The conflation of consent and erection are also a pretty common notion and I bet it is even more common among people the older they are – this notion also might influence whether you recall an incident which happened a long time ago as consensual nor non-consensual from your side (erection=consent – I had an erection -> I consented).
    The dissonance created by internalizing these notion for a incident which didn’t include your consent and re-framing it as consenting can be very damaging.

  38. Schala says

    I think it’s mostly because, historically, women are victimized more.

    Wether it’s true or not, the system itself (what feminism calls patriarchy) agrees that women have it worse, at all times, in all domains.

    It will agree they have it worse even as such a time as they don’t. Because by definition, when men have it bad, no one besides their relatives even cares.

  39. Rob says

    Ally, at 3.1. I like that last paragraph in the Guardian especially.
     

    Just to muddle the threads horribly. In response to you at 2.5, here in New Zealand there are things a white person should and shouldn’t say, more out of cultural sensitivity for the indigenous Maori culture than anything. Generally this is stuff that in any important sense does not matter. I comply because it does not hurt me. Where things get tricky is the discussion of Tapu (sacred) sites or practices that are to do with woo such as taniwha (monsters) as opposed to say, burial sites; or to differential treatment of women during important ceremonies on marae.
     

    The differential treatment of men and women in Maori culture is an integral part, to a greater or lesser extent as far as I’m aware, of most tribes in New Zealand. I’m deeply uncomfortable with the concept of this, but unless I were to be actively involved in such a meeting or ceremony it does not affect my day to day life directly. I can’t help but feel uncomfortable about this, but speaking out on this issue is generally frowned upon when white people do so.
     

    The issue of tapu sites for reasons that I as a white person find nonsensical is more straightforward. This is akin to changing or preventing use of a place because a mystical event allegedly took place there hundreds of years ago. It’s pure woo and no-one would bat an eyelid if I was taking a catholic to task on such a matter, but…
     

    If any of the tangata whenua read this group they may well have a perspective that I am not aware of.
     

    I appreciate that this is not an issue in the UK.

  40. Klangos says

    Wether it’s true or not, the system itself (what feminism calls patriarchy) agrees that women have it worse, at all times, in all domains.

    Eh? There might be feminists who think all women have it worse all than all men in all ways, but it’s really not a common view that I’ve seen.

    Male privilege does not = men always have it better in every aspect of life.

  41. N4M says

    For me the term ‘intersectionality’ is much like ‘kyriarchy’, an expression adopted by media elites in order to make token gestures towards sections of the population they hold in distain, whilst continuing to play cynical power games with identity politics. To be fair, it’s not entirely their fault: these people recruit in their own image, and so there’s no-one close to them professionally, who will hold them to account, and point out the abuse of authority.

    What was all that stuff about ‘we will crush you will our economic might’? Oh yes, sorry, that was some daring free-thinking writers standing up to the powers-that-be, not the Vagenda crew throwing a strop.

  42. Schala says

    Patriarchy says war affects women more than it affects men.
    Patriarchy says poverty affects women more than it affects men.
    Patriarchy says lack of education affects women more than it affects men.
    Patriarchy says violence affects women more than it affects men.
    Patriarchy says natural disasters affect women more than it affect men.

    Need I say more?

    And Patriarchy will ALWAYS say that. Even if its untrue.

  43. Ally Fogg says

    bit of an odd comment, N4M, since the Vagenda crew are notoriously opposed to and dismissive of intersectional ideas and jargon, and the tweet you’re alluding to was sparked by their threat to sue another feminist who had used them as an example of (supposed) “white supremacy” within feminism.

    It was also the Vagenda crew throwing a strop, of course.

  44. N4M says

    Oh think Ms Cosslett made frequent reference to class in her latest piece on teenage pregnancies for the G, so it’s not as if they’re without all the Venn diagram sophistication. But still I maintain that you’ve got a media class here for whom their basic tactic, most of the time, is to divide society up like a Battenberg cake, and play the different the groups off against each other. Usually, it’s so crude as to be farcical, but point this out, and you risk getting labelled an oculogyric Tory. Nitwits, the lot of them!

  45. Jacob Schmidt says

    Tamen

    They are on some level asked to classify their assault.
    They are being asked if they had sex without their consent.

    A fact which I admitted. However, “did you consent?” is not “were you sexually abused?”.

    That narrative that men should consider themselves lucky whenever and however they get sex is strong and common.

    So is the narrative that women are asking for it if they dress “inappropriately”, leading to similar results. Many women deny that they were raped or abused because of victim blaming. Many women come to think what happened to them was ok and that they must have given consent.

    The conflation of consent and erection are also a pretty common notion and I bet it is even more common among people the older they are – this notion also might influence whether you recall an incident which happened a long time ago as consensual nor non-consensual from your side (erection=consent – I had an erection -> I consented).

    Women also have biological responses to sexual stimulation; the same narrative plays out in female victims.

    Again, I’m not denying the existence of social forces that keep male victims from reporting rape. I’m denying that those forces are enough to create a 3:1 ratio of victims by gender, particularly since similar forces keep women from reporting (though likely to a lesser extent).

    Schala

    Wether it’s true or not, the system itself (what feminism calls patriarchy) agrees that women have it worse, at all times, in all domains.[1]

    It will agree they have it worse even as such a time as they don’t. Because by definition, when men have it bad, no one besides their relatives even cares.[2]

    1) Patriarchy enforces this idea? What the fuck? Patriarchy, by and large, denies women victimhood at all: “Those women weren’t raped; they’re just drunk sluts!” or, in response to a man trying to kill his wife, I guess sometimes you just gotta kill a bitch, right?

    2) I don’t know what you’re saying. There’s no definition I know of that says men universally can’t be victims.

    Patriarchy says war affects women more than it affects men.
    Patriarchy says poverty affects women more than it affects men.
    Patriarchy says lack of education affects women more than it affects men.
    Patriarchy says violence affects women more than it affects men.
    Patriarchy says natural disasters affect women more than it affect men.

    Need I say more?

    And Patriarchy will ALWAYS say that. Even if its untrue.

    Again, patriarchy doesn’t say this. Bold assertions that it does prove nothing. I don’t think you know what you’re talking about.

    N4M

    For me the term ‘intersectionality’ is much like ‘kyriarchy’, an expression adopted by media elites in order to make token gestures towards sections of the population they hold in distain, whilst continuing to play cynical power games with identity politics.

    Right. Feminists are such media elites.

    But still I maintain that you’ve got a media class here for whom their basic tactic, most of the time, is to divide society up like a Battenberg cake, and play the different the groups off against each other. Usually, it’s so crude as to be farcical, but point this out, and you risk getting labelled an oculogyric Tory.

    Spare me your conspiracy theories. And yes, denying the realities of race, gender, and class are time old conservative tactic.

  46. Schala says

    So is the narrative that women are asking for it if they dress “inappropriately”

    So being victim-blamed in certain circumstances, vs being victim blamed in 100% of circiumstances is likely to produce the same level of under-reporting?

    She’s blamed for dressing inappropriately, he’s blamed for being presumed male and breathing.

  47. Schala says

    Again, patriarchy doesn’t say this. Bold assertions that it does prove nothing. I don’t think you know what you’re talking about.

    Patriarchy passed VAWA, patriarchy support the UN to remove women and girls from war-torn conflicts, but not men and boys from those same areas (who are then promptly killed by their invaders). Patriarchy funds rape crisis centers for women only. It also funds DV shelters for women only.

    Come on, patriarchy and government are friends. Even conservative governments approve of “protecting women and children”, it’s all there in what makes a patriarchy a patriarchy.

    Feminism is only building an attic on top of the house of patriarchy, pushing an open door. patroarchy is already predisposed to help them, it only wants to do so in a self-serving way.

  48. throwaway, extra beefy super queasy says

    I think I get what Schala is saying.

    We need the venerable aspects of patriarchy to diminish the effects of the benighted aspects of patriarchy, and how dare those feminists try to get the extra privileges anointed unto them by a dismissively acquiescing patriarchy (cause damn it, who let those women into the voting booth, double dash it!)

  49. Schala says

    I think I get what Schala is saying.

    We need the venerable aspects of patriarchy to diminish the effects of the benighted aspects of patriarchy, and how dare those feminists try to get the extra privileges anointed unto them by a dismissively acquiescing patriarchy (cause damn it, who let those women into the voting booth, double dash it!)

    It’s not it.

    I don’t care if people “owe it to men” for having the vote, I don’t think they do.

    Patriarchy is not men. Patriarchy is the system, it’s the government, its the dominant cultural narrative, its gender roles, its what values femaleness more and what makes men into “human doings” instead of human beings (those are women).

    Feminism claims to want to topple patriarchy, but co-opts and supports it by promoting patriarchy’s own stereotype about who needs protection, who needs services, etc.

    “Forgetting” to have men’s shelters for rape and DV wasn’t simply an oversight. It was designed that way by second wave feminism, which was following every word of patriarchy’s plan for men – do or die trying.

  50. Schala says

    Basically, it’s the story of the one wanting to fight werewolves who gets bitten and becomes one themselves.

    Power perpetuates itself, and all the powerful become corrupt, or are cut off from the system. You stay weak, or become corrupt. No going around it.

    But they could at least have tried to dismantle ALL gender roles, not half of it and say “men have it all”.

  51. John Morales says

    Schala:

    [1] Patriarchy is not men. Patriarchy is the system, it’s the government, its the dominant cultural narrative, its gender roles, [2] its what values femaleness more and what makes men into “human doings” instead of human beings (those are women).

    1. So far, so good.

    2. Not-so-good; you’ve lost the plot.

    Feminism claims to want to topple patriarchy, but co-opts and supports it by promoting patriarchy’s own stereotype about who needs protection, who needs services, etc.

    So, you imagine that if feminism becomes the dominant narrative, it will be the same as the patriarchy?

    <snicker>

    “Forgetting” to have men’s shelters for rape and DV wasn’t simply an oversight. It was designed that way by second wave feminism, which was following every word of patriarchy’s plan for men – do or die trying.

    Your delusion is mildly entertaining, but it affects you credibility.

  52. Schala says

    So, you imagine that if feminism becomes the dominant narrative, it will be the same as the patriarchy?

    Doesn’t even have to. Feminism doesn’t need to replace patriarchy, it’s become patriarchy’s sock-puppet.

    Man = bad/evil/beastly
    Woman = good/angelic/civilizing

    Those are Victorian PATRIARCHAL norms/standards.

    Why does feminism align itself with it?

    We need to “teach men not to rape”

    1) Implies only men rape (or 90%+).
    2) Implies the default state of men is “do rape” until told not to.

    Ergo, men are beasts, and must be civilized by women (and/or feminism).

    New boss, same as the old boss, in fact the new boss WORKS FOR THE OLD BOSS, imagine.

    This is just one example. I can bring plenty more, from the right and the left that says men are those horrible violent, rapists-in-waiting, criminals, good-for-nothing, and to some better-off-dead (conservatives would say “kept busy with work until his death”, a certain strain of radfems would kill them off, simply).

    Bringing up the topic of “violence against women”, as if it was either the most prevalent type of violence, or the most horrible type of violence (but in fact the ONLY one worth addressing regardless of their opinion on prevalence and horribleness), is in fact playing into the hands of patriarchy. It’s playing into the female-as-victim narrative and male-as-non-victims.

    Freeing men from their gender roles means more than lip service about letting men wear make-up and skirts (and I say lip services because just about zero advances were made there), it means freeing them from their role as stoic unable-to-be-victims role, their selfless protector role, their self-sacrificial role in the name of society (ie military service), their provider role (not considered suitable unless he earns as much or more as his female partner).

    If it was possible to free women from their role as birthing machines, it should also be doable to free men from their role as beasts of burden. Without saying they have it all, or that they rule the world.

    Wanna fix the pay gap? Open viable (socially) options for men to work out a family/work/leisure arrangement that suits them personally, the same as women. This is more than just parental leave.

    Patriarchy is on feminism’s side. If it wasn’t, feminism wouldn’t even exist. As powerful as it’s claimed to be, it would squash feminism like a bug, before it even reached second wave. Even in India, women’s groups have political clout, enough to block gender-neutral definitions of rape, because of dubious claims that some men would abuse the law and that male rape victims do not exist. India is more patriarchal than the US. India supports women’s groups, also.

    Am I clear already? Feminism is an off-shoot of patriarchy, the “lady’s auxiliary” of the patriarchy. It started with good aims, but it quickly got co-opted by the powerful who decided that they weren’t actually going to fight to remove the advantageous (to women) part of patriarchy, nor burdens put on men. Just remove limitations placed on women in terms of gender roles, make custody defacto mother’s (yes, Tender Years Doctrine certainly wasn’t always that way – patriarchy supports it because the state doesn’t have to pay and its a tool to control men), and call it done.

  53. John Morales says

    Schala:

    Feminism doesn’t need to replace patriarchy, it’s become patriarchy’s sock-puppet.

    A moment ago you claimed feminism co-opts patriarchy.

    Man = bad/evil/beastly
    Woman = good/angelic/civilizing

    Those are Victorian PATRIARCHAL norms/standards.

    Nope.

    (What is asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence)

    We need to “teach men not to rape”

    1) Implies only men rape (or 90%+).
    2) Implies the default state of men is “do rape” until told not to.

    1. Nope. It implies men rape.
    2. Nope. It implies that teaching men that is better than not teaching them that.

    New boss, same as the old boss, in fact the new boss WORKS FOR THE OLD BOSS, imagine.

    A sock-puppet which has co-opted the puppeteer is an incoherent idea.

    This is just one example. I can bring plenty more, from the right and the left that says men are those horrible violent, rapists-in-waiting, criminals, good-for-nothing, and to some better-off-dead (conservatives would say “kept busy with work until his death”, a certain strain of radfems would kill them off, simply).

    It’s a putative example; naked assertions carry no weight.

    Bringing up the topic of “violence against women”, as if it was either the most prevalent type of violence, or the most horrible type of violence (but in fact the ONLY one worth addressing regardless of their opinion on prevalence and horribleness), is in fact playing into the hands of patriarchy. It’s playing into the female-as-victim narrative and male-as-non-victims.

    It is you who brought it up; the actual OP is about intersectionality.

    Patriarchy is on feminism’s side.

    Much like chivalry is on women’s side. ;)

    Am I clear already? Feminism is an off-shoot of patriarchy, the “lady’s auxiliary” of the patriarchy.

    Oh, you’re clear enough — feminism buys into the prevailing paradigm and works within it — but, alas, you’re not very credible.

    (The sock-puppet is the puppeteer is a silly claim)

    It started with good aims, but it quickly got co-opted by the powerful who decided that they weren’t actually going to fight to remove the advantageous (to women) part of patriarchy, nor burdens put on men.

    As I noted above, I get your claim — that which opposes the status quo perforce contributes to and sustains the status quo — but I don’t buy it.

  54. Freja says

    Schala’s ideas about how patriarchy is all about putting women above men reminds me of an almost 100 year old poem by a female suffragette, in response to a male anti-suffragette going on and on about how women are precious jewels, angels, and princesses:

    “Angel, or jewel, or princess, or queen,
    Tell me immediately, where have you been?”
    “I’ve been to ask all my slaves so devoted
    Why they against my enfranchisement voted.”
    “Angel and princess, that action was wrong.
    Back to the kitchen, where angels belong.”

    The more things change…

  55. Schala says

    A moment ago you claimed feminism co-opts patriarchy.

    Feminism uses patriarchy to advance its pro-women aims.
    Patriarchy uses feminism to win votes and appear progressive, while keeping conservative values on everything but abortion.

    See, parasitic mutual relationship. If patriarchy didn’t get its way, it wouldn’t let it happen.

    Just see the wall of indifference in the face of male victims of DV put by patriarchy. Statistic Canada says about half of DV victims are male, yet the government doesn’t want to give a penny to male DV shelters. Thinks there’s no demand, no need, it would be a waste. That’s what feminism tells them too, so even the moderates of the government (who could be in favor of true equality, including men’s) think they have it all figured out: male victims are an extremely small minority, who cares about them.

    Nope.

    (What is asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence)

    You’ll seriously claim that notions of female incapacity to do evil, with male propensity to do evil unless taught not to, are not dating back to Victorian attitudes by the dominant cultural narrative?

    The female presumed incapacity to do evil is called hypoagency. The inability to effect change, good or bad. It also relates to ability for leadership positions (to take on responsibilities, you need to be able to effect change/take decisions, or you’re useless).

    So the privilege which makes women get lesser sentences than men (60% less for same crimes), get less profiled or suspected as potential criminals when a crime has been committed, less jailed at all when convicted, less likely to be convicted due to public sympathy.

    All those comes from the notion that women can’t/wouldn’t do evil.

    Those same notions not being present in men, instead the opposite being present: hyperagency, is why men are presumed to be better leaders. Their actions are thought to ALL be deliberate well-thought-out stuff, regardless of their goodness, their effectiveness, their lucidity. In short, whatever he does he gets credit for, even stuff he has no control over (like losing his job due to financial crisis), and definitely including the bad stuff. When he commits a crime, no one is presumed to have “made him do it”, his difficult childhood is no excuse, and being battered/raped/abused otherwise is also never an excuse for ANY crime of his, unless in direct self-defense (and then again, never against a woman). It could be a cause of it, but it’s never considered as diminishing his responsibility for what happened.

    Andy Dufresne in Shawshank Redemption knew his wife was cheating on him, he was heart broken, drunk, and on the passion of the moment – and he didn’t even do it. But he was too good a perpetrator to let go. He got charged and convicted for willful “in the possession of his mind” first degree murder. And got life in prison. If he had been a she, many would have made excuses, and at worst, she would have had a reduced sentence (she might have been acquitted or have a custodial or suspended sentence, which is even better), possibly plead down to second degree murder.

    The notion that women “wouldn’t do it” or that they are not “naturally violent” is what makes it possible for people on the left and right to argue that prison for women should be abolished in favor of rehabilitation. And they’re mothers, think of the children! But the men in prison? Meh, who cares about those, they can rot there. We’ll use the old women’s prison to house more men, and never consider rehabilitation for them. They’re fathers? So what, he’s just a walking paycheck to the system.

    1. Nope. It implies men rape.
    2. Nope. It implies that teaching men that is better than not teaching them that.

    Then where are the campaigns to teach PEOPLE not to rape, or to teach women specifically. To teach women that they need to obtain consent from men. That consent from men, you know, actually exists. He isn’t in a state of “guys always want it” just because stereotypes say so.

    And for 2), it implies that men are too dumb to know right from wrong, but women know it innately. Men have no morality, and don’t know that murder, thievery, armed assault and rape are bad. But we’ll only teach them about rape, and only men.

    It is you who brought it up; the actual OP is about intersectionality.

    I brought it up to illustrate that VAW can be proposed as the only kind of violence to be stopped. The most horrible one. By feminist organizations. Feminist organizations just pandering to the ever-present cultural narratives of female-as-victim patriarchy so loves. Why does patriarchy love it? Because they can control men using “protect women” as an order.

    A truly equal view would have had VAW presented besides VAM, or presented in a non-gendered fashion, and wanting to eradicate it all, if only in DV contexts. All of it, not just the Duluth Model “men want to control women” version of it. We would have men’s DV shelters, and would be way closer to solving the problem of DV, and reducing the victim count tremendously. Gendering it only added to the problem.

    Oh, you’re clear enough — feminism buys into the prevailing paradigm and works within it — but, alas, you’re not very credible.

    If the patriarchy was fighting feminism, it wouldn’t give it places within the government, it wouldn’t fund it with taxes. It would just do what it does to the MRM, show it the finger, and shun it as “a hate group”. The MRM fights the prevailing paradigm, it rejects the men-as-protectors, and men-as-providers paradigm. It wants to change the system, or opt-out entirely, living life for their own selves (a bit selfish maybe, but should actually be his right), not to make someone else’s life easier.

    No longer mandatory military service for men (in 1/3 of the world’s countries), no longer male-only conscription in times of war, no longer “don’t hit girls” without a corresponding “don’t hit boys”, no longer spousal alimony, no longer getting 0-15% visitation rights for his own children while paying 80-90% of all child support orders (even when the father is the custodial parent, he can pay child support to the non-custodial mother – the reverse is unheard of). No longer serving 60% longer sentences for the same crimes. No longer presumed a physical and sexual threat for everyone around him (including his own children) for belonging to The Predator Class.

  56. Schala says

    You seem to be so sure that:

    1) I’m male
    2) I’m against women’s rights
    3) I want patriarchy to continue and am against equal rights

    I don’t know why though.

    I’m a trans woman, in favor of rights for all, true equality, and I want patriarchy destroyed with a million bombs. I despair in front of people who pretend to want the same yet simply repeat what patriarchy made them learn by heart: men are violent, men are evil, men are rapists.

  57. Freja says

    I know full well who and what you are, probably better than I know most people here, since you have been talking about yourself quite extensively both here and on other blogs. I also know your arguments, and they have always been similar enough to the century old anti-suffragette position that century old suffragette quotes already exist to refute them.

    This poem, in case you haven’t noticed, is refuting the notion that just because men make grand statements about the preciousness of women and enact laws allegedly (and probably often sincerely) designed to ‘protect’ women, it means that patriarchy holds women above men. If you want to refute something about that, I suggest explaining why the poem has it wrong, not complaining that I didn’t address your gender identity (which really should be irrelevant here) and trying to explain how you are in favor of equal rights (which makes your position identical to everyone else’s here).

  58. Freja says

    Schala:

    The MRM fights the prevailing paradigm, it rejects the men-as-protectors, and men-as-providers paradigm. It wants to change the system

    Really? Is that why MRAs are busy explaining that men and women are inherently different, complain about women entering ‘male spaces’, praising ‘the good old days’ before feminism, etc.? MRAs use claims about how good women have always had it all the times, but only to glorify men as the inventors and creators and providers and protectors of everything, and to justify why fighting for women’s rights is inherently wrong.

  59. Jacob Schmidt says

    Schala

    So being victim-blamed in certain circumstances, vs being victim blamed in 100% of circiumstances is likely to produce the same level of under-reporting?

    It seems I was right in suspecting that you weren’t actually reading my posts.

    Patriarchy passed VAWA[1], patriarchy support the UN to remove women and girls from war-torn conflicts[2], but not men and boys from those same areas (who are then promptly killed by their invaders). Patriarchy funds rape crisis centers for women only. It also funds DV shelters for women only.[3]

    1) VAWA was passed 68-32, with patriarchal politicians solidly voting against.
    2) Definitely. Treating women as if they are as weak and helpless as children is well within patriarchal ideals.
    3) Patriarchy defunds rape centers, either through attacking planned parenthood or directly. With the latter, she claims that only a small portion are abused, when it’s actually 18%; again, 3/4 of those victims are women.

    I am now certain that you have no idea what your talking about.

    Man = bad/evil/beastly
    Woman = good/angelic/civilizing

    Those are Victorian PATRIARCHAL norms/standards.

    How does that square with the victorian standard that white men were the pinnacle of civilization? How does that square with the victorian standard of keeping women out of politics and civil matters altogether? How does that square with the idea patriarchal ideal that says men are inherently more logical and reasonable while women are emotional and irrational? And seriously, women are angelic? Look over at skepchick to see how well that idea holds. No seriously, how the fuck do you reconcile the idea that patriarchy holds women as angelic while it simultaneously demeans women rape victims as “deserving it”.

    Women being angels was a victorian ideal (and a rather limiting one), not a rote statement of fact.

    We need to “teach men not to rape”

    1) Implies only men rape (or 90%+).
    2) Implies the default state of men is “do rape” until told not to.

    Heh, no. It implies that men rape more (which your own statistics show). It implies that men are often socialized to ignore whether or not a women consents. It says nothing about the “default state of men”. The default state is a meaningless concept; no one grows up with some socialization.

    Bringing up the topic of “violence against women”, as if it was either the most prevalent type of violence, or the most horrible type of violence (but in fact the ONLY one worth addressing regardless of their opinion on prevalence and horribleness), is in fact playing into the hands of patriarchy.

    Bringing up the topic of violence against women neither means that women are the most prevalent victims of violence, nor does it mean that violence against women, in and of itself, is the worst type of violence.

    Freeing men from their gender roles means more than lip service about letting men wear make-up and skirts (and I say lip services because just about zero advances were made there), it means freeing them from their role as stoic unable-to-be-victims role, their selfless protector role, their self-sacrificial role in the name of society (ie military service), their provider role (not considered suitable unless he earns as much or more as his female partner).

    Yep. Feminists have been saying the same thing for years.

    Wanna fix the pay gap? Open viable (socially) options for men to work out a family/work/leisure arrangement that suits them personally, the same as women. This is more than just parental leave.

    Oooh, I’ve heard that one from feminists, too.

    Patriarchy is on feminism’s side. If it wasn’t, feminism wouldn’t even exist. As powerful as it’s claimed to be, it would squash feminism like a bug, before it even reached second wave.[1] Even in India, women’s groups have political clout, enough to block gender-neutral definitions of rape, because of dubious claims that some men would abuse the law and that male rape victims do not exist. India is more patriarchal than the US. India supports women’s groups, also.[2]

    1) Making stuff up about how feminists define patriarchy is not valid argument.
    2) Really? It’s impossible for two separate political groups to exist in the same country? Politics and social norms are the same thing? Your claim requires both those too be true for your claim to make any sense; otherwise, it’s entirely possible for feminism to exist in a patriarchal society.

    Am I clear already? Feminism is an off-shoot of patriarchy, the “lady’s auxiliary” of the patriarchy. It started with good aims, but it quickly got co-opted by the powerful who decided that they weren’t actually going to fight to remove the advantageous (to women) part of patriarchy, nor burdens put on men.

    You’re clear. You’ve bought into a conspiracy theory, and your claims have about as much credibility as that implies.

    Just remove limitations placed on women in terms of gender roles, make custody defacto mother’s[1] (yes, Tender Years Doctrine certainly wasn’t always that way – patriarchy supports it because the state doesn’t have to pay and its a tool to control men[2]), and call it done.

    1) Interesting fact; in Germany, joint custody is the default. Yet, most father’s refuse custody of their own volition.

    2) More conspiracy bullshit. But assuming you’re right, who is controlled more? The man who’s only burden is financial (and generally, it’s not much of a burden)? Or the woman who’s expected to take care of the child, even if she doesn’t want to (odd how you left out that likely result), and who will have a harder time becoming financially independent for reasons entirely separate from the child in question?

    You’ll seriously claim that notions of female incapacity to do evil, with male propensity to do evil unless taught not to, are not dating back to Victorian attitudes by the dominant cultural narrative?

    Unless, of course, they were prostitutes, then they were refered to, by other women no less, as “the great social evil”. Looking doiwn that paragraph, I find this interesting bit: “The 1851 census showed that the population of Great Britain was roughly 18 million; this meant that roughly 750,000 women would remain unmarried simply because there were not enough men. These women came to be referred to as “superfluous women” or “redundant women”, and many essays were published discussing what, precisely, ought to be done with them.”

    I’m not at all convinced victorian ideals were helpful to women in any significant capacity.

    Then where are the campaigns to teach PEOPLE not to rape, or to teach women specifically. To teach women that they need to obtain consent from men.

    Right here. Seriously, ten seconds on Google.

    I brought it up to illustrate that VAW can be proposed as the only kind of violence to be stopped.

    You realize that all other violence is also illegal, right? I have my problems with VAWA (specifically, forced HIV testing), but all it’s meant to do is to ensure the prosecution of DV towards women victims, which is notoriously under prosecuted. Yes, it is even more so for men, and that needs to change. Had I the power, I’d enact the “violence against partners” act.

    If the patriarchy was fighting feminism, it wouldn’t give it places within the government, it wouldn’t fund it with taxes.

    “If conservatism was fighting liberalism, it wouldn’t give liberalism places in the government.” Sounds just as stupid, since that’s not how politics work. There can be opposing forces within politics, and there have been for centuries. And patriarchy has a long history of hindering any sort of women’s rights, including the right to vote.

    Sorry for all the links, Ally. If I continue posting here, you’ll likely see more of this.

  60. Schala says

    You’re conflating MRAs with right-wing traditionalist tea partiers. Not the same breed of people. Their ideas are radically opposed even.

    Traditionalists of “the good old days” WANT men to sacrifice, provide, protect etc. They don’t want to free men from those obligations, ever. Why would MRAs align with them? Trads sure don’t help men in any way.

  61. Schala says

    1) VAWA was passed 68-32, with patriarchal politicians solidly voting against.

    Anyone who even got elected is patriarchal enough as is. If you have radically new ideas that go against the system, no one elects you.

  62. Schala says

    Yep. Feminists have been saying the same thing for years.

    But doing nothing, sometimes outright opposing such efforts with the law.

  63. Schala says

    The man who’s only burden is financial (and generally, it’s not much of a burden)? Or the woman who’s expected to take care of the child, even if she doesn’t want to (odd how you left out that likely result), and who will have a harder time becoming financially independent for reasons entirely separate from the child in question?

    Custody is not something imposed on you, it’s something you actively seek.

    Maybe there are fathers who “vanish into the ether”, and fathers who got entrapped with an unwanted pregnancy and resulting unwanted child who want nothing to do with the kid, financial or caretaking – but most fathers want their children, and it’s not something “they left on women”. It’s something the system actively prevents men from having.

  64. Ginkgo says

    Schala isi right – this:
    “complain about women entering ‘male spaces’,”

    ….puts MRAs more in line with feminists decrying men invading women’s spaces.

    This:
    “praising ‘the good old days’ before feminism, etc.? ”

    …is simply in error. This was hammered out about four or five years ago. MRAs split from the tradcons who held this view – it was loud, messy and nasty, with showers of imprecations on both sides. In fact MRAs say when it comes to traditionalism as defined by holding to a gender system based on male hyperagency and female hypoagency, female victimhood and male perp-hood, that feminists are in fact traditionalist in their basic assumptions. And they point to the fact that tradcons and feminsts often have identical positions on issues like porn or sex work as examples of this.

  65. Ginkgo says

    JS,

    “How does that square with the victorian standard that white men were the pinnacle of civilization?”

    Women were considered the height of refinement and female norms of behavior were enforced in the comapny of women expclicitly as being more correct.

    “How does that square with the victorian standard of keeping women out of politics and civil matters altogether?”

    Poliics was considered dirty work and this was explicitly cited by anti-suffareg women’s groups. Politics was unladylike. You saw as many ladies in mills and mines as in politics, and for the same reason.

    “How does that square with the idea patriarchal ideal that says men are inherently more logical and reasonable while women are emotional and irrational?”

    Where does this idea that men are logical place them in the value system of an era where the cultural elite was saturated with Romanticism and emotion and intuition were touted as the higher wisdom?

  66. Maureen Brian says

    How about trying that again, ginkgo?

    Perhaps something on the lines of, “In the nineteenth century politics was seen as the preserve of the upper classes who had both the means and the power to deem the subject unladylike and exclude their female relatives from the political arena.”

    Then you could quote all the many examples of women in both mines and mills and perhaps come to understand how, when both groups became politicised late in the century, they had no understanding of each other and found it more difficult to work together. The problem persists to some extent.

    http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1842womenminers.asp

    http://www.galbithink.org/womwork.htm

  67. Jacob Schmidt says

    Schala

    Maybe there are fathers who “vanish into the ether”, and fathers who got entrapped with an unwanted pregnancy and resulting unwanted child who want nothing to do with the kid, financial or caretaking – but most fathers want their children, and it’s not something “they left on women”. It’s something the system actively prevents men from having.

    It’d be nice if you stopped making false claims. Men who seek custody are actually quite likely to get custody of the child. The problem of men not getting custody (or, indeed, of abandonning their children) is social, not legal.

    Anyone who even got elected is patriarchal enough as is. If you have radically new ideas that go against the system, no one elects you.

    Agreed. But the patriarchal the politician is, the more likely they are to vote against anything related to women’s issues. To claim that patriarchy supports women’s issues is asinine.

    But doing nothing, sometimes outright opposing such efforts with the law.

    Look at what you wrote: “Freeing men from their gender roles means more than lip service about letting men wear make-up and skirts (and I say lip services because just about zero advances were made there), it means freeing them from their role as stoic unable-to-be-victims role, their selfless protector role, their self-sacrificial role in the name of society (ie military service), their provider role (not considered suitable unless he earns as much or more as his female partner).”

    Everything bolded is from social expectations, with little to no legal component. Speaking out against it is mostly all that can be done. And, personally, I’m glad feminism has showed me what bullshit “men can’t wear makeup” is; I quite enjoyed the few times I wore it. Yes, it’s a trivial thing compared to the rest, but it is a part of gender roles and feminist opposition to it has helped people and women are socially (and sometimes legally) punished when they fail.

    The “unable to be victims” thing is something feminism (if not all feminism) addresses, and legally it needs to be fixed (i.e. fixing “rape is penetration”). Feminists who oppose such ideas are wrong, absolutely, but to judge all feminism by them is asinine.

    The military aspect has largely been legally fixed, both with feminist opposition to conscriptions and feminists pushing for women in the miliatry. I mean, for fuck sakes, NOW, as much as you hate them, opposes male only conscription. Now there remains the idea that men are the ones to serve; again, feminists usually oppose this idea.

    And the idea that men are the providers is an idea feminism has been fighting since the turn of the 20th century, at least. Your ignorance on this is astounding.

    Ginkgo

    Schala isi right – this:
    “complain about women entering ‘male spaces’,”

    ….puts MRAs more in line with feminists decrying men invading women’s spaces.

    Right. Feminists wanting spaces where women can be heard or where battered women can feel safe (since being abused by an SO can make one feel uncomfortable towards the SO’s entire gender) is totally the same as the MRA tendency to decry women in any position of personal agency (since that is their working definition of “male spaces”).

    Women were considered the height of refinement and female norms of behavior were enforced in the comapny of women expclicitly as being more correct.

    “Women” were? Or specific groups (read: wealthy with access to education) were?

    Poliics was considered dirty work and this was explicitly cited by anti-suffareg women’s groups. Politics was unladylike. You saw as many ladies in mills and mines as in politics, and for the same reason.

    The reason, of course, being that it made them “unsuitable for marriage and unfit to be mothers”. Attempting to legally restrict women to roles in which they were controlled by men (since “[a] wife’s proper role was to love, honour and obey her husband”) is hardly any sort of benefit to women, now is it? Sure, they didn’t have to work (and even when they were able to, they were paid less), but it also means they have no agency. That’s not “valuing women over men”. That’s valuing what women can do for men, and making legal excuses to make sure women do them.

    Where does this idea that men are logical place them in the value system of an era where the cultural elite was saturated with Romanticism and emotion and intuition were touted as the higher wisdom?

    Romanticism applied to art, not to policies or daily life. The society refused to educate many women based on the assumption that most women were too emotional an irrational to become intelligent thinkers, effectively cutting them off (based on their “femaleness”). Education, by the way, was a common stanard for determining whether or not someone was “civilized”, and was a prime source of racism against “uncivilized savages”.

    And, really, my biggest complaint is this “women are angels” bullshit. Women have been demonized for centuries from witch hunts to the backlash against rape victims as “lying, drunk sluts”. It’s not an idea patriarchy holds; it’s an ideal that women are supposed to live up to.

  68. Jacob Schmidt says

    Whoops, that paragraph in the middle should be thus:

    Everything bolded is from social expectations, with little to no legal component. Speaking out against it is mostly all that can be done. And, personally, I’m glad feminism has showed me what bullshit “men can’t wear makeup” is; I quite enjoyed the few times I wore it. Yes, it’s a trivial thing compared to the rest, but it is a part of gender roles and feminist opposition to it has helped people.

    The end paragraph should be thus:

    And, really, my biggest complaint is this “women are angels” bullshit. Women have been demonized for centuries from witch hunts to the backlash against rape victims as “lying, drunk sluts”. It’s not an idea patriarchy holds; it’s an ideal that women are supposed to live up to, and women are often socially (and sometimes legally) punished when they fail.

  69. Jacob Schmidt says

    Whoops, borked link. My example of a woman feminist telling women to obtain consent from men is here.

  70. Schala says

    It’d be nice if you stopped making false claims. Men who seek custody are actually quite likely to get custody of the child. The problem of men not getting custody (or, indeed, of abandonning their children) is social, not legal.

    Men who contest custody legally, have the funds to do so for months of time, and are counseled by their lawyer that they actually have a chance to win (ie maybe they can prove the mother is unfit), can have JOINT or SOLE (both counted together) custody 70% of the time. Men getting sole custody is very low, even those who seek it. And joint doesn’t mean 50% physical custody, or even being the custodial parent (ie you make child support payments even if you have the kid 50% of the time, regardless of income of other partner – because penis, and I’m serious).

  71. Schala says

    Right. Feminists wanting spaces where women can be heard or where battered women can feel safe (since being abused by an SO can make one feel uncomfortable towards the SO’s entire gender) is totally the same as the MRA tendency to decry women in any position of personal agency (since that is their working definition of “male spaces”).

    A woman tried to open a center that would discuss of, amongst others, male issues, at Ryerson university. The student council quickly decided misandry doesn’t exist and stood against the formation of any such group.

    Tell me again men can speak about their abuse everywhere.

  72. Schala says

    Sure, they didn’t have to work (and even when they were able to, they were paid less), but it also means they have no agency. That’s not “valuing women over men”. That’s valuing what women can do for men, and making legal excuses to make sure women do them.

    It’s the same today, and feminism hasn’t worked to give women more agency in being recognized as potential criminals, as potential pedophiles, as potential batterers/assaulters/murderers. That’s part of agency too.

    Agency: The ability to affect change in good and bad ways.

    You can’t JUST want the good ways, or you simply won’t get them.

    In short, people (men and women) are more reluctant to vote for a female president because it demands agency. Saying “but women should have the high paid jobs too” doesn’t solve the agency issue – being recognized as able to affect change. As long as women are considered unable to commit most crimes of violence “because women aren’t like that”, people will also consider that “women aren’t leader material”. Two-edged sword.

  73. Ginkgo says

    Maureen,
    “Then you could quote all the many examples of women in both mines and mills ”

    Yes, but I thought footnotes about how women had the easiest jobs and the lightests work in both mines and mills, and how they were at those jobs in far smaller numbers than men, would clog up the post.

    “Perhaps something on the lines of, “In the nineteenth century politics was seen as the preserve of the upper classes who had both the means and the power to deem the subject unladylike and exclude their female relatives from the political arena.”

    Except that that would be a distrotion and a lie, because that is not who they were trying to exclude.

    Here is Belle Kearney arguing for women’s suffrage as a counterweight to black and immigrant (=Catholic) men voting:
    http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5317/

    And she was not some kind of one-off. Sainted Susan B. Anthony was incensed that black Civil War veterans, people who had actually had to fight to get their citizenship, would be granted the vote before white women.
    http://womenshistory.about.com/od/anthonysusanb/a/anthony.htm

    Is this the “try again” you meant?

  74. Schala says

    I found your myth, from 20.2

    Claim: Abusive fathers are successful in winning sole child custody about 70% of the time.

    Analysis: This figure appears to be an embellishment of a claim in a 1989 report by the Gender Bias Committee of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court which claimed that in 70% of cases, fathers (not abusive fathers) were successful in winning some form of child custody, though not necessarily physical custody or sole custody.(64) A re-analysis of the data concluded that when mothers sought sole custody, the court granted the request at a rate 65% higher than it did when fathers made the same request.”(65)

  75. Jacob Schmidt says

    Schala

    Men who contest custody legally, have the funds to do so for months of time, and are counseled by their lawyer that they actually have a chance to win (ie maybe they can prove the mother is unfit), can have JOINT or SOLE (both counted together) custody 70% of the time. Men getting sole custody is very low, even those who seek it. And joint doesn’t mean 50% physical custody, or even being the custodial parent (ie you make child support payments even if you have the kid 50% of the time, regardless of income of other partner – because penis, and I’m serious).

    That’s a whole lot of claims without any sort of reference.

    A woman tried to open a center that would discuss of, amongst others, male issues, at Ryerson university. The student council quickly decided misandry doesn’t exist and stood against the formation of any such group.

    No. Two women and one man tried to create a group that solely focused on men’s issues. Yes, the student council at Ryerson have a narrow minded concept of equality. They also have a narrow minded view of what feminism is. Yes, there are feminists who think men’s issues deserve attention. This whole blog network is full of them.

    Tell me again men can speak about their abuse everywhere.

    See, you say that you’re not ascribing specific vies to me, but then you keep doing it. How am I to tell you something again when it wasn’t said in the first place?

    It’s the same today, and feminism hasn’t worked to give women more agency in being recognized as potential criminals, as potential pedophiles, as potential batterers/assaulters/murderers. That’s part of agency too.

    I’ll admit, this post was a little harder to find using google than some of the other sources I’ve found; it was buried underneath a bunch of people claiming feminism enables pedophilia.

    Then there’s this quote from “Rape, Crime, and Feminism by Aya Gruber, under the heading “Criminal Rape Laws Negatively Affect Female Agency”:

    One common feminist concern over the feminist-police power alliance is that a nearly exclusive focus on the criminal system as the remedy for sexual assault detrimentally affects women’s agency. Some theorists object that rape reform’s myopic focus on women as victims runs counter to a thick view of female autonomy.

    That quote has nothing to do with women as criminals, though; it merely criticizes the idea that women are automatically victims. Much of the paper is devoted to picking apart the current laws and what they imply about female agency.

    This pattern has played out a few times now. You make a claim about what feminists do, and I demonstrate that no, feminists do fight these ideas you claim they endorse. Maybe not all of them fight, I honestly have no idea. But the whole of feminism clearly doesn’t fit within the narrow box to which you ascribe it.

    You can’t JUST want the good ways, or you simply won’t get them.

    In short, people (men and women) are more reluctant to vote for a female president because it demands agency. Saying “but women should have the high paid jobs too” doesn’t solve the agency issue – being recognized as able to affect change. As long as women are considered unable to commit most crimes of violence “because women aren’t like that”, people will also consider that “women aren’t leader material”. Two-edged sword.

    Entirely accurate. Does it hurt to go from “asinine” to “totally reasonable” between paragraphs?

    This figure appears to be an embellishment of a claim in a 1989 report by the Gender Bias Committee of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court which claimed that in 70% of cases, fathers (not abusive fathers) were successful in winning some form of child custody, though not necessarily physical custody or sole custody.(64) A re-analysis of the data concluded that when mothers sought sole custody, the court granted the request at a rate 65% higher than it did when fathers made the same request.”(65)

    Oh, but I do like assertions without evidence. What exactly was the re-analysis? How did the study mess up in the first place? And how does the new finding (that women are more likely to get sole custody when asking for it) contradict the old finding (that men asking for custody often get it)? The two aren’t mutually exclusive, particularly because the parent asking for sole custody may be uncontested.

    If you want to point out that men are discriminated against in contested custody cases, you’re better of citing this study, which found that, in contested custody cases, mothers recieved sole custody 77% of the time, vs. 8.6% for fathers. Yes, this needs to be fixed. A good place to start would be the gender roles at hand; namely that women are nurturers and that men make distant fathers. Hey, look at that. Feminists are against such gender roles. Nitpick about the former article: the author implies that men are less constrained by parental gender roles. That may be true, but I see no evidence for it, even if it does line up with my experience.

  76. Schala says

    And how does the new finding (that women are more likely to get sole custody when asking for it) contradict the old finding (that men asking for custody often get it)?

    Joint custody is not sole custody.

    Mothers can obtain sole custody extremely easy. Men can obtain JOINT custody somewhat easy, if they can fight it in court.

  77. John Morales says

    See, parasitic mutual relationship.

    Then it’s not sock-puppetry, contra your earlier claim.

    You’ll seriously claim that notions of female incapacity to do evil, with male propensity to do evil unless taught not to, are not dating back to Victorian attitudes by the dominant cultural narrative?

    In the Victorian Era (that means the UK milieu) women were seen as lesser beings; this is not the same as claiming they were lauded as saintly.

    If the patriarchy was fighting feminism, it wouldn’t give it places within the government, it wouldn’t fund it with taxes.

    Patriarchy and feminism are social attitudes, not agents and certainly not governments, and social attitudes change over time.

    The MRM fights the prevailing paradigm, it rejects the men-as-protectors, and men-as-providers paradigm.

    Unlike feminism, eh?

  78. Stacy says

    Not being harassed on the street is not a privilege enjoyed by anyone but is a fundamental right that should be enjoyed by everyone. Occasionally there are actual independent advantages to being white, straight, male etc, but they are rare.

    Privilege (noun) A special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to one person or group of people. (Emphasis added by me.)

    It would be nice if not being harassed was at least acknowledged as a fundamental right that should be enjoyed by everyone. It would be nice if I could sprout wings and fly whenever I wanted, and have the wings disappear when I wasn’t using them.

    It’s awfully convenient for your argument though, Ally, you dismissing freedom from street harassment from the category “privilege.” How many other aggressions, micro- and macro-, that form a daily part of many women’s lives have you decided don’t get counted when you’re analyzing privilege?

    Personally, all that male shit-traffic is pretty easy for me to dodge. I’m not at a busy junction. I don’t have to worry about being caught on the blindside by a juggernaut hurtling down the White Road or the Straight Road, so I’ve mostly found it pretty easy to sidestep all that shit on the Male Highway. But if you’re a boy from a poor background in a poor neighbourhood at a poor school…

    Well, yes. Because those boys are dealing with class and race issues. (Yeah, it is indeed called intersectionality.) Dude, you’ve just admitted that the male shit-traffic in and of itself is pretty easy for you to dodge.

    If you’re a woman and/or a feminist and you’re reading this and sneering, thinking “that stuff doesn’t sound too difficult to me, what’s your problem?” then congratulations – you’ve just entered the precise, privileged mind-set of every angry anti-feminist MRA dude on the internet. Of course you don’t see it – it’s not your road

    Nope. See above.

    In fact, we are allowed to take a look at the big picture and say, one road is (generally speaking, and all other things being equal) tougher than the other. In fact, it is important to acknowledge such things.

    It is actually not difficult for women to empathize with men’s “shit traffic.” (We know all about it; most of the novels, plays, essays, poems, films, and you name it written/filmed/staged in the past 1,000 years have explicated it.) We get sneery when men can’t seem to empathize back.

    P.S. I assume you realize this, but for the record, privilege only feels “like a natural state of being, the norm” when you’re not aware of it. Once you have a little education and understanding and empathetic identification with other peoples’ perspectives, it doesn’t feel like nothing anymore. It becomes something you see. And you begin to see other people more fully.

    I understand that many men feel powerless. Guess what? I’ve felt powerless my whole life, too. But somehow I’ve never not understood that other people had it even worse. And most of the men I’ve known–even the non-feminists–have known on some level that “man” was the default human being, and being one meant they would be taken seriously in ways women wouldn’t be. Some MRAs may indeed be suffering people who misunderstand the cause and nature of their suffering, but many of them are simply hateful bigots who lack empathy and want like hell to hang on to male privilege.

  79. Ally Fogg says

    Thanks for the comment Stacy. I have a feeling that we disagree on less than you think, but…

    Privilege (noun) A special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to one person or group of people. (Emphasis added by me.)

    that’s a fair definition, but perhaps we disagree on what immunity means here.

    In the legal sense, immunity means: “Protection or exemption from an obligation, consequence or penalty”

    In the context of sexual harassment, I would quite agree that being able to sexually harass without risk of consequence is a privilege. There’s a decent argument that such a description applies (to a very large if not total extent) in our societies, and in more viciously patriarchal societies (Saudi etc) it is true without any qualifiers at all.

    In other words, I don’t think it is a privilege to be free from sexual harassment. I do think it is a privilege to be free to sexually harass.

    It’s awfully convenient for your argument though, Ally, you dismissing freedom from street harassment from the category “privilege.” How many other aggressions, micro- and macro-, that form a daily part of many women’s lives have you decided don’t get counted when you’re analyzing privilege?

    Don’t think I could put a number on that, since the number of privileges that could be proclaimed is pretty much infinite. But I’m not denying that there are many, many male privileges in our society, so I’m not entirely sure where you’re going with that. I don’t think the precise definition of a privilege really is that important to my broader argument.

    Well, yes. Because those boys are dealing with class and race issues. (Yeah, it is indeed called intersectionality.)

    Yes, I agree. Hence the title of the blog.

    Dude, you’ve just admitted that the male shit-traffic in and of itself is pretty easy for you to dodge.

    Yes, I agree, that’s why I said it.

    In fact, we are allowed to take a look at the big picture and say, one road is (generally speaking, and all other things being equal) tougher than the other. In fact, it is important to acknowledge such things.

    Yes, I agree.

    P.S. I assume you realize this, but for the record, privilege only feels “like a natural state of being, the norm” when you’re not aware of it. Once you have a little education and understanding and empathetic identification with other peoples’ perspectives, it doesn’t feel like nothing anymore. It becomes something you see. And you begin to see other people more fully.

    Yes, I agree (to an extent). It’s not always that simple though, because it’s easy to kid yourself that you’re empathizing and absorbing someone else’s perspective and then find yourself getting caught out or called out because you’ve completely misunderstood or made false assumptions about someone else’s experience. It’s really important to remember that awareness of privilege and oppression doesn’t automatically allow you to see someone else’s perspective.

    I understand that many men feel powerless. Guess what? I’ve felt powerless my whole life, too. But somehow I’ve never not understood that other people had it even worse. And most of the men I’ve known–even the non-feminists–have known on some level that “man” was the default human being, and being one meant they would be taken seriously in ways women wouldn’t be. Some MRAs may indeed be suffering people who misunderstand the cause and nature of their suffering, but many of them are simply hateful bigots who lack empathy and want like hell to hang on to male privilege.

    I agree, most wholeheartedly on every count.

  80. Schala says

    In the Victorian Era (that means the UK milieu) women were seen as lesser beings; this is not the same as claiming they were lauded as saintly.

    I’d say men were seen as lesser beings.

    Being fallen, almost a demon, unable to be civilized unless taught or made to. That sounds pretty bad to me. Pretty lesser. Pretty animal-like.

    Much more lesser than “has someone doing stuff for them to protect them from the harm this stuff could do” says you’re lesser. Or slave owners are lesser, having stuff done for them by house staff.

  81. TokenGreyGuy says

    I’m starting to lean towards “interaction” being a more useful term than “intersection” here, similarly to how in statistical analysis one sometimes uses the interaction of 2 or more factors to “explain” data. For example, if a poor man is viewed as “disposable”, then both his class and gender appear to be necessary at the same time and neither alone fully accounts for the data.

    To take an extreme thought experiment, if a black homosexual man became the absolute dictator of the entire planet somehow he would probably not face significant disadvantages due to his race or his sexual orientation. But it’s ridiculous to then say that non-planetary dictator gay black men thus suffer from “political position problems” and not homophobia or racism.

  82. anadiomene122 says

    Someone may have addressed the following point already. I didn’t read through all commments, so excuse any redundancy.

    I believe what’s missing here is a discussion of the ways in which class affects and mediates “male privilege”… MRAs are correct when they point out that many of them (and correct me if I’m wrong, but this is the general impression that I get from what I’ve read of their work) are “low status” males in the sense that their ranks are largely populated by blue collar workers and wage earners. As such, there are many white collar males who outrank them in terms of privilege and power. While the blue MRA enjoys more unearned social privilege than, say, a jobless ethnic minority male from the inner city, they aren’t at the top of the heap either. They look up and see all of these terrible “alpha males” in their designer suits and they feel resentment and experience this as a form of oppression by the power elite. (Conservatives in the U.S. are very open about calling people involved in social justice movements “elites”, in general.)

    What’s odd about the turn their social analysis takes from here is that instead of blaming the system that creates “alpha males” at the expense of others, i.e. our current economic superstructure, they blame women for causing men to act like alpha males or for men want trying to emulate alpha males. Doubly odd is the fact that they often try to point to early human history for evolutionary antecedents to the need for men to emulate “alphas” in order to please women, when in fact the many still-extant tribes and bands who lead a lifestyle closest to what early humans most likely lived tend to have a division of labor between sexes, but otherwise lead a very egalitarian lifestyle. In these societies, money and the resulting issues of social status are nowhere near as critical as they seem to be today. Many of them do not even have a concept of “fatherhood” or male obligation to specific children.

    I think there’s another important element in their angry reaction against feminists. Today there are likely white collar women who enjoy certain privileges and social “bonuses”, due to their income and status, that blue collar men don’t. Were you to make a Venn diagram of “feminists” and “upper middle class white collar women/power brokers” there would be quite a bit of overlap. I think this is where they get the sense that their voices are being “drowned out” by those of feminists. Their inflammatory rhetoric and knee-jerk reaction to this feeling, however, doesn’t seem to be improving their situation.

  83. aspidoscelis says

    I guess this thread is pretty much dead, but I’ll toss my $.02 in.

    From the OP:

    I cannot accurately know what it feels like to be anything else, but I know perfectly well how all those things do or do not impact upon my life.

    The key word there is “my” and I’m glad you included it. None of us have the experiences of a group. We have the experiences of one person.

    Now, admittedly, knowing the experiences of 1 member of a group is a whole lot better than 0. Whatever social group we belong to, we each understand that particular group better than any other. But it’s still n=1. This is not a meaningful sample size.

    BTW, I bring this up not to point out any objection to the OP or the subsequent comments–just because I think it’s an important detail that is easy to miss. I’m responding, I guess, to people who aren’t here.

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