When is it acceptable to ask ‘But what about teh menz?’


It would be safe to say my post on Emma Watson and HeForShe generated some pretty strong reactions.

We’re no strangers to strong disagreements here at HetPat, and I assume that most of what I write will lead to angry reactions from one quarter or other. And while I’m never shy of arguing my position in the comments boxes, I do honestly pay attention to thoughtful criticism and I give especially careful consideration to disagreement from people whose opinions and views I usually share and value. That was the case this week.

Probably the most common criticism of the post was that it amounted to an extended #whatabouttehmenz screed and I wanted to give that point some serious attention.

I acknowledge, accept and agree that feminists should have as much space as they want and need to discuss the needs and lives of women, identify problems and formulate solutions or plans of action. Some problems are gender-specific and require gender-specific analysis. Where women are discussing their own lives and situations it is inappropriate for men to march into the space and attempt to divert the conversation onto their issues instead. The same applies, obviously, when men are discussing their own issues.

As something of an aside, I think it is true that there is still far too little space in mainstream media and culture for men to have those kinds of conversations, especially when they place men in roles of which patriarchal masculinity disapproves – as vulnerable, as helpless, as victims. So I understand the frustration of men who care deeply about issues such as male victims of sexual or domestic violence, and find themselves marginalised or excluded from coverage of the issues. The solution to that problem is for us to work harder (and better) to carve open our own spaces in the mainstream, not to march in and co-opt women’s spaces or threads.

I also see that in practice, those who do play the ‘what about the menz?’ card sometimes have little apparent interest in solving men’s problems and appear more interested in undermining efforts to address the issue as it affects women.

I get all that.

That said, there remain numerous male-specific gender issues that cause immense hardship, suffering and injustice around the world. They are immensely harmful to individual men, but also to the women and children in their lives and to wider efforts to build a society that is more just, fair, humane and free. (By the way, if you disagree with those sentences, you might as well leave now as we have no common ground to work with).

Men’s and women’s lives are intertwined. It is entirely true that demolishing oppressive gender roles and social structures for women has many benefits for men. I hold that the reverse is also true freeing men from restrictive and proscriptive gender norms and the manacles of hegemonic masculinity will have enormous benefits for women.

So as well as needing space for women to address women’s issues, and spaces for men to address men’s issues, we need to somehow create arenas where those agendas can be reconciled and coordinated, where the liberation of both men and women from gendered constraints can dovetail and synchronise. The notion that we can radically reform our gendered society without the active and coordinated efforts of both men and women seems to me fanciful.

When I heard Emma Watson’s speech last weekend, I was given the impression that what we were being offered, finally, was that space. What she was describing, as I heard it, was the inseparability of men’s and women’s gender issues. My objection to the HeForShe campaign pledge was that after that the small print derogated wildly from the sales pitch.

My critics were correct. I was quite consciously saying ‘But what about the men?’

I maintain that under these specific circumstances, that was justified. I think if someone launches a campaign which proudly proclaims that it is (in large part) about the men, in which most of the examples offered of gendered injustice and harmful consequences relate to men, which generated global headlines that focused on the benefits to men, then it transpires that the campaign explicitly excludes a pledge to take action to address those issues, “But what about the men?” is a perfectly legitimate response.

I realise that many people disagree with my analysis for one reason or another. That is fine, I have no wish to start that debate all over again. However I would like to ask readers, and especially my ‘friendly detractors’ a question. It is not a rhetorical gimmick, I genuinely would be interested in your answers.

When is it acceptable to ask “what about the men?” If your answer is ‘never’ or ‘never in the same space as women’s issues are being discussed’ then how do we ever hope to reconcile women’s and men’s efforts to reinvent our distressingly gendered world. How do we achieve that dovetailing of agendas that I mentioned above? Is that desirable or even possible?

My own gender politics are very largely predicated on exactly such a convergence. I’m really interested to know if I am a lone voice on that.

Over to you.

Comments

  1. alex grady says

    I think the problem is a certain set of men as well as sets of women who try to shut down any conversation. The MRA places I have seen have been full of clowns who do not get they don’t have certain entitlements, they just undermine any effort to have a conversation by saying idiotic things. Other men look down on those that are hurting as being week and so on. So there is little room for a conversation about male issues as those with outmoded views pull the place down. There could be a place in the general news media and to be honest I have seen more in the Mail about Male DV victims than the more liberal papers. There needs to be a broader open conversation on female on male violence with out feminists coming in and saying its worse for women, perhaps you could write an article for that well known paper.

  2. says

    Ally, you write:

    “So I understand the frustration of men who care deeply about issues such as male victims of sexual or domestic violence, and find themselves marginalised or excluded from coverage of the issues. The solution to that problem is for us to work harder (and better) to carve open our own spaces in the mainstream, not to march in and co-opt women’s spaces or threads.”

    HOW precisely might we work ‘harder (and better) to carve out our own spaces in the mainstream’? The mainstream (media) has long been a key part of the problem when it comes to men’s human rights, and the rare MSM forays into the subject invariably have a left-of-centre perspective, or talk about ‘redefining masculinity’ and such ghastly concepts (for a right-of-centre person, anyway). We never hear the MSM covering issues such as gender-typical work-centredness, which is at the heart of so many outcomes in the field of work and elsewhere. The renowned sociologist Dr Catherine Hakim published a paper in 2000 on ‘Preference Theory’, showing that while four in seven British men are work-centred, only one in seven British women is. But hey, let’s have more women on corporate boards despite the evidence one consequence will be corporate financial decline, more female MPs although they’re already over-represented in relation to the proportion of PPCs who are women…

    On Tuesday evening the BBC3 programme ‘Free Speech Live’ ran a debate on ‘Is Britain a sexist Country?’ Off the top of my head:

    1. Four panellists – three women, one man. One non-feminist woman, three feminists including the male comedian.
    2. Feminist-friendly (male) presenter.
    3. Introductory piece on sexism in which only women complained of only anti-female sexism. The BBC had solicited material only from women.
    4. Overwhelmingly female audience.

    I’d send in a formal complains but given the futility of sending in a complaint itemising 50+ breaches of BBC editorial guidelines in a ‘Newsnight’ piece on IPV – which showed only male perpetrators and female victims – I’m not going to waste my time. On the plus side, we’ve got footage on our YT channel of Laura Bates (Everyday sexism Project) being challenged about the lie which resulted in our ‘Lying Feminist of the Month’ award, to do with the murder rate of women by partners and ex-partners. She responded by repeating the lie, and got a loud cheer from the audience, both men and women.

  3. says

    @ Ally

    How are we to ‘dovetail agendas’ between men and women, when (small c) conservative men and women – a majority of people, at least beyond a certain age – have no voice in this ‘discussion’? Women allow feminists to speak for them, although only a minority of women today identify as feminists, and the only form of feminism of the remotest consequence in the developed world for 30+ years has been gender/radical/militant feminism – a female supremacy ideology driven by visceral hatred of men (and boys). Radical feminism will no more go away than racism or homophobia. I get that. But we CAN destroy it politically, and we shall.

    Have a nice day.

  4. Jan says

    I pretty much agree with all your article.

    Having a gender segregationist approach at all times, whether from a feminist or anti-feminist perspective, only perpetuates the problem. The people who impose gendering onto unconsenting human beings, often as an excuse to abuse them or dismiss their abuse (women are there to be used/real men fight back, women are asking for it/men aren’t as easily damaged; there’s little practical difference for the victim), are in the wrong. We shouldn’t be buying into their world view and then claiming to oppose it. Support of abuse victims is my main priority, my area so to speak*, and what I would like to see is an active degendering of discussion of abuse, which would leave the only people bringing gender into it the abusers themselves. That would highlight the hollowness of their reasoning/self-justification. (I’m referring here to cases where abuse is carried out as a kind of gender-based hate crime, rather than cases where gender is not a factor, which are also common but where gender-related beliefs should not be mentioned at all.)

    There are plenty of individual conversations where a gender-specific angle is appropriate, of course there are, as you acknowledge, but they are about very specific subjects and experiences.

    One of the biggest complaints of many feminists is the way that men and women are defined in opposition to each other, so they ought to accept that you can’t separate the two except in reference to very specific people or social phenomena. That doesn’t seem common though, which is why I’m more likely to identify as a feminist ally rather than as a feminist.

    *Though I would also describe forcing/coercing people into repressing their true character in pursuit of adequate fulfillment of a traditional gender role as abuse. Leaving that aside for now or this will turn into an essay.

  5. Nathanael says

    You are not wrong, Ally, you are right. And I’m sorry that you keep getting MRA idiots in your comment threads, not to mention idiot TERFs.

    When asked why I’m a feminist, I usually recount the sexual harassment and assault (at the hands of men), the attacks on me for crying, the prohibition on wearing skirts (skirts are awesome), the accusations of being gay based on gender non-conformity (uh… huh?!?). This is all gender-enforcement crap. Heck, I ended up with PTSD from the repeated assaults. Feminists — real ones — helped explain how wrong all that was and helped me understand what the system was which needed to be dismantled.

    It’s personal. (And the personal is political, right?)

    I have no use for phony feminists who don’t recognize these as real issues or who think that they’re “someone else’s issues”. If you tolerate, dismiss, or ignore, abuse of men, you are enabling the same tiny group of abusive men who abuse women — because exactly the same guys are abusing men. 10% of men are raped (by men) according to best current estimates, which are probably low. Practically nothing is done about this, worldwide — the US Army is finally starting to consider doing something about the epidemic male-on-male sexual assault in the military for the first time, *this year*.

    Now, it’s a fact that feminist activists and gay rights activists *are* the activists who’ve gotten us to where we can talk about this and make progress. The sort of activists who have solidarity — who *don’t* dismiss problems because they primarily affect straight men. So — I’m a feminist. But I have no use for the phony sort who deny my lived experience.

  6. Ally Fogg says

    Mike Buchanan

    HOW precisely might we work ‘harder (and better) to carve out our own spaces in the mainstream’?

    Start by learning the important lesson that if you associate yourself with overtly misogynistic ideas, like stopping all benefits to single mothers, and overtly misogynistic people like Paul Elam and John Hembling, then you will quite rightly be excluded from reasonable and constructive media and political space.

    That’s your top tip for the day, by the way.

  7. says

    @ Nathanael

    You are aware – from the NISVS surveys of 2010 and 2011, much commented upon on this site – that a majority of sexually abused men are the victims of female perpetrators, right? And that sexual abuse of men by women is common? Or did the feminists of whom you speak – real or phony – not tell you that? We’ll have five or six pages on the sexual abuse of men (and children) by women in our election manifesto. It’s a problem all but ignored by society and the criminal justice system, although it’s been known since 1984 (Petrovich & Templer, American researchers) that a majority of incarcerated (male) rapists were sexually abused when they were children, by one or more women. A female sex offenders site to which we point has a bibliography of almost 1,000 studies, articles, and books on the subject of female sex offenders, dating as far back as the 1860s.

  8. jamessweet says

    I maintain that under these specific circumstances, that was justified. I think if someone launches a campaign which proudly proclaims that it is (in large part) about the men, in which most of the examples offered of gendered injustice and harmful consequences relate to men, which generated global headlines that focused on the benefits to men, then it transpires that the campaign explicitly excludes a pledge to take action to address those issues, “But what about the men?” is a perfectly legitimate response.

    I think this aspect of it wasn’t entirely clear in the original post, and that may explain some of the reaction. I admit also being a little puzzled by the original post — it seemed to me at the time that the offending text might easily fall in this category. I’ve read enough of your stuff to know that you are focused on the convergence of feminism and men’s issues, rather than trying to displace feminism, so rather than commenting I just kinda scratched my head. But I was indeed confused by it.

    The quoted paragraph above really clears up for me the point you were trying to make. I didn’t feel like that aspect came through in the original post. That could quite possibly have been a reading comprehension fail on my part 🙂 but there it is, for what it’s worth.

  9. scoobertron says

    I agree. However, one thing which I think it is very important to guard against is talking about a gender-specific issue under the guise of a broader, non-gender specific issue.

    For example, domestic violence, taken as a whole, is a non-gender-specific issue, within which are several different complex issues encompassing gender, sexual orientation and so on. It would be disingenuous for me to write an article purporting to be about domestic violence in general, and then only speak about male victims. I, as a writer, would have a responsibility to make it clear that I was focussing on a subset of victims, and why. If I fail to do so, then I cannot act surprised when commentators point out that my writing about DV in general, leaves out several parts of the big picture.

    This responsibility scales. So if I am the editor of a major publication with a section entitled ‘gender’, then I would have a responsibility to either address a broad range of issues affecting both genders, or to think about changing the title of that section (or to not complain when readers question the lack of editorial bias).

    I believe that this responsibility applies mutatis mutandis to other discussions as well – such as race.

    It strikes me that much good would come of writers taking this seriously as a responsibility. Several instances of whatabouterry seem to stem from an author’s stating an intention to deal with a general issue, and then focussing on a particular part of the issue without making that clear. And I think that the disparity between Emma Watson’s speech and the intentions of the campaign are an example of this kind of thing.

  10. says

    @ Ally 6

    Thanks for your ‘tip of the day’. Before I launched J4MB I ran Campaign for Merit in Business, and worked for 12 months on the campaign. We gathered evidence (longitudinal studies) showing a causal link between increasing female representation on corporate boards, and financial decline. I presented that evidence to House of Lords and House of Common inquiries. The peers and MPs listened, didn’t challenge the evidence – nobody ever has, not even the world’s leading proponents of ‘more women on boards’ – but the government’s direction of travel, bullying FTSE100 companies towards 25% female representation on their boards, remains in place. We know a longer-term goal is gender parity on FTSE350 boards. Most of this campaigning took place before I mentioned http://avoiceformen.com in any materials. The MSM interest in this ideologically-driven assault on the business sector? ZERO.

    If AVfM were truly misogynistic – as opposed to expecting women to be held accountable as adults the way men are i.e. gender equality – we wouldn’t support it. It would be insane to refer to the site at all, let alone strongly support it. But we find that people who follow it for any length of time discover it’s NOT misogynistic, and anyone who reads every posted article will then understand the truth about feminism and the assaults on men’s and boys’ human rights better than 99% of the population. We’ll continue to support AVfM because it’s far and away the most important MHR advocate website in the world. Two or three excellent critiques of Emma Watson’s very silly UN speech have been posted in recent days.

    On the issue of stopping benefits to single mothers, it was never something we proposed for existing single mothers, rather something to be introduced at some point in the future to stop incentivising women without partners from becoming mothers (supported by men as taxpayers, rather than as partners). The impact of fatherlessness on families has long been known to be catastrophic, but the Left simply looks away, while feminists are delighted at the destruction of nuclear families. We’ve cut the issue of benefits to single mothers from the manifesto, anyway.

    I look forward to tomorrow’s ‘tip of the day’.

  11. =8)-DX says

    I think the main problems with “What about the men?” is that it is really used, consciously or subconsciously as a derail, as a means to stop discussion. For instance – the pledge you decided not to sign was part of a larger effort that made it explicit that men were to be included – taking a strong stance against a few short words in the pledge to express “What about the men” is exactly the kind of change of focus that stops campaigns like HeForShe getting widespread support.

    Personally I don’t think the intention of the pledge wording was to exclude men, but rather as a kind of minimum requirement: “Men you want to change the world for better? The very least step is to renounce violence against women. Then we can start fighting the problems together.”

  12. Darren Ball says

    I agree with every single word of your post, Ally.

    There are some issues that are specifically female and others are specifically male, and they deserve their own spaces. However, a great deal of feminist discussions relate to question of gender equality, which by definition requires a comparison of the sexes.

    Unfortunately feminists do quite often make a cause celebre out of an issue that affects men more than it affects women (most of the Corston report falls into category); affects men and women similarly; and affects men and women differently but comparatively. Under these circumstances it’s fair to say: hold on, that’s not a women’s issue, that’s just an issue. Let’s deal with it together.

    Other times feminists will say, to the effect, it’s especially difficult to be a woman because X, Y, Z. In which case, once you’ve acknowledged those points, it’s okay to respond: but have you considered that men experience A, B, C?

    There seems to be very little public discussion about men’s issues, so it’s not surprising that men raise their issues around women’s issues – otherwise they’d hardly get them aired at all. The reason that there’s no equivalent “what about teh womenz” is because women are almost always the primary subject. The “what about teh womenz” actually happens in a far more serious way, as in Ally’s example of child soldiers. The UN doesn’t seem happy to have an all-male disadvantage so they find ways of making it gender-neutral, or even more about girls than boys: this is officially sponsored “what about teh womenz”.

    Very often, with gendered discussions, “what about the men?” is a perfectly legitimate question and “what about teh menz” is an attempt to silence proper debate by humiliating people with alternative views. I think it’s time we embrace “what about the men” and do not acknowledge it as a pejorative term.

  13. says

    It seems to me that if you cannot expect the United Nations, an organisation for all the peoples of the earth, to be about “teh menz” as well as women then there is something seriously wrong. In other words, if you were not able to legitimately ask “what about teh menz?” here, then there would never be a legitimate time to do it.
    On that count I thought those that derided you over that issue said more about their prejudices than yours.

    One slight issue I have with this particular piece, Ally. You talk about the way addressing issues for one sex benefits the other. I quote:

    That said, there remain numerous male-specific gender issues that cause immense hardship, suffering and injustice around the world. They are immensely harmful to individual men, but also to the women and children in their lives and to wider efforts to build a society that is more just, fair, humane and free. (By the way, if you disagree with those sentences, you might as well leave now as we have no common ground to work with).

    Men’s and women’s lives are intertwined. It is entirely true that demolishing oppressive gender roles and social structures for women has many benefits for men. I hold that the reverse is also true freeing men from restrictive and proscriptive gender norms and the manacles of hegemonic masculinity will have enormous benefits for women.

    I don’t disagree with any of that but I can’t help feeling you have thrown that in as a sop, understanding that it may be needed to circumvent the prejudices of some of your readers (in both directions). It should not require that the other sex benefits for us to get on board: if something unfairly prejudices men then the benefit to men alone should be enough to motivate and justify our actions, it should not need an appeal to “it will benefit women too”. Likewise when the situations are reversed, it should not require that men benefit too for anyone to be on board, the benefit to women should be entirely sufficient motivation.

  14. Bahamut19 says

    I’ve been following your blog for a long time, and I generally agree with a lot of what you write. I was one who didn’t like your article about HeforShe (I won’t go into detail about my criticisms here because this isn’t the thread for it, but I thought you slightly misunderstood what Emma Watson’s speech was about).

    When is it acceptable to ask “what about the men?” If your answer is ‘never’ or ‘never in the same space as women’s issues are being discussed’ then how do we ever hope to reconcile women’s and men’s efforts to reinvent our distressingly gendered world. How do we achieve that dovetailing of agendas that I mentioned above? Is that desirable or even possible?

    I agree with the principle, but I would argue that part of the problem is that not everybody is as reasonable as you. A lot of MRAs see feminism as the enemy of man’s rights. This is obviously absurd, but so many MRAs believe it that it it makes reconciliation difficult. For example, there is a disproportionate concern about false rape accusations compared to rape.

    @Mike Buchanan

    The mainstream (media) has long been a key part of the problem when it comes to men’s human rights, and the rare MSM forays into the subject invariably have a left-of-centre perspective, or talk about ‘redefining masculinity’ and such ghastly concepts (for a right-of-centre person, anyway).

    Can I ask about what you mean by “redefining masculinity” being “ghastly”? I have a specific criticism of the men’s rights movement, which is that it is not accommodating to men who don’t fit within the gender binary. I’ve been out in Brighton, an extremely liberal city, and still been subject to heaps of abuse for wearing an effeminate fancy dress costume. Make no mistake – I was attacked because I was a man.

    I would expect issues like this to be fairly high up a list of concerns for a men’s rights movement, because feeling safe walking down the street should be a bare minimum for a civilised society. The most outrage about situations such as these tends to come from feminists, not MRAs. It often seems to me that “men’s rights movement” should be renamed as “masculine rights movement”. Am I being unfair here?

  15. scoobertron says

    @Bahamut19

    “Can I ask about what you mean by “redefining masculinity” being “ghastly”? I have a specific criticism of the men’s rights movement, which is that it is not accommodating to men who don’t fit within the gender binary”.

    I don’t know if this mirror’s the OP’s thinking, but one concern might be that ‘redefining’ masculinity as opposed to ‘broadening our conception of’ masculinity might be taken to replace one set of restrictive gender expectations with another. And thus that the whole game of defining masculinity is inherently flawed. This may be also be tied to the notion of ‘feminising’ men – the idea that all masculine traits need to be suppressed in males, which crops up from time to time.

    I don’t give a lot of credence to the second idea (at least not in that crude form), but there is an equivalent trope in feminist discussion. For example, the idea that women are required to adopt masculine traits in order to succeed in business. Similarly, the idea that a woman who chooses e.g. to be supported by her partner, is somehow betraying what a modern woman should be might be taken as evidence that feminity has been redefined, in a way that imposes different gender expectations, rather than broadened so as to encompass all the ways in which women may choose to live their lives.

    In my view, broadening should be our aim. And once our notion of what men and women should be is sufficiently broad, we will hopefully find that associating personality traits with a gender ceases to be a useful enterprise. (I have generally been of the opinion that knowing someone’s gender can rarely be a premise for any useful inferences).

  16. says

    @ Bahamut 19

    “A lot of MRAs see feminism as the enemy of man’s rights. This is obviously absurd, but so many MRAs believe it that it makes reconciliation difficult. For example, there is a disproportionate concern about false rape accusations compared to rape.”

    If you changed ‘obviously absurd’ to ‘obviously true’, you’d be right. As for disproportionate concern about false rape accusations compared to rape, what planet are you living on? We’re in the middle of a series of show trials of elderly men, and the CPS – along with the rest of the criminal justice system – has long deeply and institutionally anti-male. Happy to point you to a 72-page report on the issue of CSJ anti-male bias if you want. Women get away with making false rape accusations, destroying men’s lives, while they personally remain anonymous and are rarely held accountable. Very few women are charged with the crime, there’s little ‘public interest’ in charging them, the ‘public’ being men, not people with any human worth.

    “Can I ask about what you mean by “redefining masculinity” being “ghastly”? I have a specific criticism of the men’s rights movement, which is that it is not accommodating to men who don’t fit within the gender binary.”

    Nobody of any prominence in the MHRM – to the best of my knowledge – has any problem with men (or women, for that matter) ‘who don’t fit within the gender binary’. But the vast majority of men and women DO fit perfectly comfortable within the binary, and that clearly has implications, one of which is they don’t want their masculinity (or femininity) to be ‘redefined’. Why is the vast majority being bullied by a small minority? It’s PC gone mad etc.

    The whole idea of redefining the genders is driven by left-wing utopian ideas about social conditioning, while neuroscience is finding ever more differences between gender-typical brains (a recent book by the unfortunately-named Dutch scientist Dick Swaab is particularly good). Those who cling to a ‘social conditioning’ explanation for differing gender outcomes are looking more like Flat Earthers with every passing year.

    And we can’t ignore the stark reality that men-hating lesbians have been at the core of radical feminism from the outset, and remain highly influential.

  17. says

    @Mike Buchanan

    a recent book by the unfortunately-named Dutch scientist Dick Swaab is particularly good

    That reminds me of the (I believe) excellent but even more unfortunately named ex-head of WADA, Mr Dick Pound. I could never read or hear his name mentioned without wanting to mutter “wanker” under my breath 🙂

  18. Anri says

    When is it acceptable to ask ‘But what about teh menz?’

    When men have a multi-thousand-year, cross-societal history of being second class citizens from economic, political, legal, and social standpoints, based on their gender.

    Let me see if I can put it to you this way: When is it acceptable to ask ‘But what about the heterosexuals?’
    ‘But what about the white people’?
    ‘But what about the poor, persecuted Christians – Sharia law’s encroaching, y’know!’

  19. mildlymagnificent says

    I also see that in practice, those who do play the ‘what about the menz?’ card sometimes have little apparent interest in solving men’s problems and appear more interested in undermining efforts to address the issue as it affects women.

    Well, yes, sort of. My own reading of many of these contributions is that, quite apart from their apparent distaste for acknowledging any problems suffered by women or girls, they’re deeply committed to avoiding any possible mention of class or general economic inequality. (And race as well if you make the mistake of following any of them back to their own blogs or usual internet haunts.)

    Hence you see all the emphasis on death and injury suffered by men working in mining, building and other dangerous industries by men who have little, if any, direct experience of such dangerous work. Instead of railing against governments and/or relevant unions and/or responsible officials ignoring the toll of these dangers on men and their families, they repeatedly accuse women of subjecting men to these evils. There aren’t too many women working as mine or crane or building inspectors even now, let alone over the last few decades. Nor have they had much of a role as CEOs or VPs responsible for workplace safety. (I can’t think of any, even though I suspect it’s possible here and there.) How many women have had ministerial or Head of Agency roles in relation to occupational health and safety in mines or construction industries? In any country?

    So why are women held responsible for these horrors. (And they are horrors if anyone had any doubts about the worst of the worst workplaces. And mines and fishing vessels are dangerous places even under the best managements.)

    Much the same arguments are applied to the constant, dare I say repetitious, accusations that women are responsible for men’s deaths and injuries in war. The fact that women have rarely had anything to do with declaring or prosecuting such wars – Thatcher and Meir are noteworthy because they’re exceptions, not because they’re typical – is overlooked in favour of arguing that women force men to go to wars. Worst of all, the argument is that women don’t suffer death or injury in war. The fact that military and civilian casualties in WW2 were – as far as can be estimated – almost equal. Once you add in the indirect effects of that war on civilian populations, the civilian death toll is nearly double that of the military. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II_casualties#Human_losses_by_country (The casualty statistics are presented quite differently in the wiki entries for Korea, Vietnam and Middle East conflicts. I’m not up to doing wiki’s work for them and tabulating them in a similar format to the WW2 stats.)

    In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a bit fed up with these arguments. Mainly because they’re never developed, elaborated or evidenced, they’re just used as blunt weapons.

    I’d also have more tolerance if the “what about the menz” arguments raised in relation to domestic violence and sexual assaults were more realistic. It takes nothing away from the problems that men suffer to acknowledge that women and children are subjected to much more severe violence with much more severe consequences much more often than men are. Men’s problems with physical and sexual assault are real, but they’re not. the. same. problems as women suffer by and large.

    I’d also be deeply unmoved if the Conflict Tactics Scale was abandoned at the bottom of the Marianas Trench. Surveys and research conducted on this basis overlook the basics of the Scale itself – as remarked by the designers themselves.

    (It’s worth mentioning – I’ll get into this later – that both Straus and Gelles have objected to the misuse of their work by men’s rights activists).

    From http://amptoons.com/blog/2004/06/26/on-husband-battering-are-men-equal-victims/

    This analysis of the incorrect or unreflective use of the Scale – especially Section 3 Sampling Bias – is really important. Similar mistakes are made by a lot of marriage counsellors who often make the situation worse when the violence originates with power and control issues of one party rather than from conflict between the two parties and they fail to recognise that. “Conflict resolution” doesn’t work in any bullying situation.

    Although I think you’re reasonably good on the IPV issue most of the time, I do think you tend to fall into that same trap from time to time. I’ve made up my mind several times to not read your stuff – and especially not the comments that you attract – but so far my impatience and irritation have subsided far enough often enough to allow me to participate.

    I do sometimes walk away from discussions here. I really can’t take defenders, sometimes advocates, of harassment and assault, sexual and otherwise. I’d much prefer it if you stepped in, but I can’t dictate your running of your personal blog. It’s not necessarily you, it’s either the comments or the combination of the OPs with the comments on some topics. But if I disappear entirely, you’ll know why.

  20. StillGjenganger says

    Well, Ally, it is not mainly me you are asking, but here is my answer anyway.

    It is OK to ask ‘what about the men’ when talking about one gender only takes resources and attention away from the other gender, or implies that the other gender is less important. Scoobertron got that one pretty well. If you are one organisation among many and focus explicitly on gender, there is no problem. You do one thing and other groups do other things. When you get to UN initiatives, government priorities, or key semi-monopoly organisations like Facebook, giving priority to one gender does mean taking attention and resources from the other – because the available space is limited. And presenting something as for everybody and then talking only about women, does broadcast the message that women matter and men do not. Which is fine when you are talking about a woman-specific problem, but domestic, violence, the suffering of people in prison, violence in war or (by some recent data) sexual assault are not woman-specific problems.

    There are some specific problems that make feminism difficult. From a male point of view feminism is a single, very powerful movement, that has had phenomenal success in changing society. So what the participants see as one initiative among many to solve a single woman-specific problem, many men may see as another instalment in an overriding project to promote women at the expense of men. That does not make for simple disputes. You could argue that this is the men’s fault, but feminism does have some special responsibilities. First because women are not a minority, but half the population. Any sacrifices necessary to make things better for women have to come from men, so feminism can not ignore who gets to pay the bill to the same extent that smaller groups can. Second because feminism so vocally insists that it is a movement for the equality of everybody, If we are all equal beneficiaries when there is a call for money or volunteers, it is not reasonable that feminism is only for women when it comes to deciding priorities.

  21. scoobertron says

    @Anri “Let me see if I can put it to you this way: When is it acceptable to ask ‘But what about the heterosexuals?’
    ‘But what about the white people’?
    ‘But what about the poor, persecuted Christians – Sharia law’s encroaching, y’know!”

    I can think of good examples regarding all 3 groups where they can claim to be disadvantaged and would benefit from their issues being discussed and addressed.

    Several heterosexual couples have questioned why civil partnerships are only available to homosexual couples – in particular because the hetero equivalent (marriage) is steeped in a history of gender iniquity. I see no reason why this issue can’t be discussed in addition to discussing the various ways in which homosexuals are victims of violence and discrimination.

    In the UK, it has been recognised for some time that lower class white children underperform educationally. No-one, however, suggests that this should be ignored because we don’t have a multi-thousand year history of discriminating against white children.

    There are several places in the world where christians face violence and persecution. I don’t think that anyone claims that this should be ignored because they are not followers of a different religion.

    Humans are generally capable of feeling sympathy for, and wanting to help, multiple disadvantaged groups at the same time. So being sympathetic to the above issues in no way prevents anyone from simultaneously wanting to support homosexuals, ethnic minorities, other religious groups, or, indeed, women. It is a capacity that I think it would be good for us all to exercise a little more.

  22. says

    @noelplum99 #17

    Parents can be so cruel. I’ve known two men saddled for life with the name ‘Richard Head’. At school one of the boys had the surname ‘Dingle’. With some regularity lads would say to him, ‘Dingle, Dingle,,, that name rings a bell!’

  23. Darren Ball says

    Anri at 18

    Let’s take an example. In the UK, about 85 per cent of rough-sleepers and 75 per cent of suicides are male. Suicide it’s the largest killer of men under the age of 50. Rough-sleeping and suicide are very closely linked to mental health problems.

    We have a national mental health strategy for women but not for men, most of the national discussion we have about mental health revolves women and the sorts of mental health problems they’re most likely to have. We have the Corston report demanding an even more female-focused approach to mental health in order to deflect more women from the criminal justice system (which is already tiny).

    Campaigners, like the charity Mind, have said: “what about a special focus on men’s mental health needs – you’ve done it for women, why not men”.

    If I’m reading you correctly, your view is that this current generation of mentally ill men can fuck-off because of their association, by gender alone, with other men who have enjoyed privilege.

    Please tell me that I’m misinterpreting you.

  24. StillGjenganger says

    @Mildly 19
    You do make some good points but I think you do not understand the logic of your adversaries.
    As they see it (and I agree up to a point) we have a gendered division of roles in society that gives advantages and disadvantages to both genders. It is not women who force men to make wars, anymore it is men who force women to look after children, both come from a set of social roles that both genders enforce. Women seem to say “we are disadvantaged, and we want those imbalances put right!” And the answer is “No you are not! The cost of our role for us is quite as high as the cost of your role, for you. Stop trying to get the best of both worlds!”. The general progressive answer would be that changing the roles should make both genders better off. There are various reasons many men are not enthusiastic. One is that a lot of people (me included) think that men and women are different enough that having different gender roles would be better for everybody. Another is that being soldiers and construction workers gives jobs to men and provide roles that are good, necessary and male, just like looking after babies is a role that is good, necessary and female. As long as it is women who make the babies looking after them will remain a female thing, so homogenizing the roles could, at best, lead to a world where men can do most things and women can do everything. Which is not attractive.

  25. Bahamut19 says

    @Scoobertron

    I’d agree that broadening definitions is important, and maybe it is a misunderstanding on my part.

    @Mike Buchanan

    I’m not really sure how to respond to your post really. If you think masculine men are bullied by society then you are using an odd definition of bullying. There is nothing wrong with being a walking stereotype. The problem is that our society puts a value judgement on it. Those who conform generally have it easier than those who don’t. People who don’t fit the gender binary are discriminated against and violently attacked all the time. What comes across to you as bullying is actually people standing up to these injustices. They are stressing that it is OK to be different, not that it is a requirement.

    I will clarify – false rape accusations are horrible, and completely unacceptable. However, they are extremely rare. Whether they should be prosecuted against entirely depends on the nature of the false accusation. A false accusation that was a simple case of mistaken identity, for example, should not be prosecuted because the rape still happened. Out of interest, you are referring to a series of charges against old white males and heavily implying that they may be false accusations, or at the very least that the men are being treated unfairly. Can you be specific about which trials you are referring to, and which accusations that you think are false/unfair?

    Developmental biology and neuroscience are complicated to say the least, and sex differences are not entirely social. That much is certain. However, it is not entirely genetic either – transcriptional regulation and protein expression is affected by the environment in pretty complex ways, and there is certainly a social element which affects the way in which people behave (this is commonly referred to as “learning”). In any case, one of the key concepts in biology is diversity, and citing a study about how men and women are different to justify the way in which men and women are treated is to completely misunderstand the nature of scientific research. Even if 99.9% of people have “gender typical brains” (which, poorly defined concept aside, is a highly exaggerated figure I just made up) there would still be 7 million people who don’t. How those 7 million people are treated by society is extremely important.

    Your comment about man-hating lesbians is laughable and does not deserve a reasoned response.

  26. Bahamut19 says

    @ Mike Buchanan

    I realise that my last post (26) doesn’t make a lot of sense if read as a whole. Each paragraph was written as a response to one of your points. I didn’t make that clear, so I apologise for that.

  27. SlimBoySlim says

    You don’t ask “what about men/women/etc” whenever the focus is on something else, it’s pretty freaking simple. I can’t believe you had to write this huge novella to ask a question, it’s pretty obvious you don’t care about the answer, you just want to give your “reasons” for why you should be able to ask “what about the men?!”. It reminds me of people who listen to someone’s plight only to say “WELL THAT’S NICE, BUT WHAT ABOUT ME???”

    You wouldn’t ask “what about the drugs?” when talking about a campaign to raise awareness about gun safety;
    You wouldn’t ask “what about the colon cancer?” when talking about a campaign to raise awareness about breast cancer;
    You wouldn’t ask “What about the women?” when talking about a campaign to raise awareness about the harmful practices of male circumcision;
    And finally, you don’t ask “What about the men?!” when talking about a campaign designed to raise women up.

    How freaking hard is that? I know I might sound a bit harsh right now, but I’m quite frustrated see this same BS type “reasoning”, especially on FTB. FTB is supposed to be a non-MRA zone, or so I thought. I’ve been a lurker here for a while and every time I see your posts, it’s obvious to me that you share MRA points of views. You always use MRA talking points and subtle fear mongering tactics(“5 words that betrayed Emma Watson”… REALLY???) quite frankly I’m wondering when everyone else is gonna wise up and see you for what you really are. Even if you don’t identify or believe this to be true, fact of the matter is you’re still spreading their filth.

  28. A Masked Avenger says

    #99:

    It seems to me that if you cannot expect the United Nations, an organisation for all the peoples of the earth, to be about “teh menz” as well as women then there is something seriously wrong…

    See, Ally, this is the kind of idiot you have for allies: by NoelPlum99’s “reasoning,” the United Nation Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is a discriminatory agency because “what about teh adultz?” You’re dealing with people who “think” (with their “brains,” don’cha know) that if the UN is about all people, then each and every program, agency, initiative and resolution must also be about all people.

  29. StillGjenganger says

    However, [false rape accusations] are extremely rare.

    You do not actually know that – that would require finding out what actually happened in disputed cases. False accusations are probably rare, but extremely rare? Reputable estimates can be found between 2 and 8-10% false accusations and that means accusations that can be more or less proved to be false. A large group of accusations can neither be proved or disproved.

  30. mildlymagnificent says

    Another is that being soldiers and construction workers gives jobs to men and provide roles that are good, necessary and male, just like looking after babies is a role that is good, necessary and female. As long as it is women who make the babies looking after them will remain a female thing, so homogenizing the roles could, at best, lead to a world where men can do most things and women can do everything. Which is not attractive.

    Sorry, I really don’t get this. Firstly, pregnancy and childbirth are the only parenting roles that are exclusive to women. And only the process of childbirth itself is something you can’t do at work. Most of a pregnancy isn’t a problem for most women in most jobs. Feeding, bathing, changing and other caring for babies and littlies is something that most people, men and women, can do. Breastfeeding can be done directly by a mother, who is also quite capable of using a breast pump to organise a supply for others to feed an infant when she’s not there for any reason, not just work. My husband would have loved the chance to look after his precious children all by himself. Thought I’d check, I just asked him. He tells me he would have liked a couple of years of baby and toddler care if we’d been able to organise it. We’d never talked about it to that detailed extent before. Even I am a bit surprised.

    As for construction and other jobs being “male”. I knew a few women who were really good carpenters and electricians. Why shouldn’t they work in well-paid skilled trades if they’re qualified and competent? Lots of women are employed to drive those gigantic trucks on Australian mine sites even though the mining jobs themselves are an almost exclusively male preserve.

    Plenty of women in Australia are volunteer firefighters, even captains of firefighting teams that are mostly men. There’s no good reason why they can’t work as professional firefighters or other emergency service personnel. Israel has had women soldiers for decades, other countries have been slower. Just for a lighter note in a dark story, there’s this story doing the rounds. I don’t care if it turns out to be a myth, it’s great. http://madworldnews.com/isis-fighters-female-soldiers/

  31. StillGjenganger says

    ‘Masked 29.
    No. I think (With my brain, yes – what do you use?) that if there is a program for the specific problems of children there should be other programs for the specific problems of adults – which there is. If there is a problem for female victims of violence, then there should be other programs for male victims of violence (are there any? can you point them out to me?). And if there is a program for a problem that is not gender-specific, they should not arbitrarily limit it to female victims of violence – or female victims of malaria.

  32. says

    “… women and children are subjected to much more severe violence with much more severe consequences much more often than men are.”

    But the point is, this is simply not true. This the Achilles Heel of your entire argument – and of the entire IPV/DV/DA argument is built on this untruth.

    And there is a sub text to the above stamement, and that is it implies that the violence children suffer in the home is from men – it is not.

    There is an overwhelming body of sound academic research and analysis that proves what I am saying (I have just read an 80 page review of it). You would do well to study it. It will disabuse you of the incorrect predication of what you say.

    If these wrong predicates are corrected, the gender issue disappears and the matter becomes a social issue of people trying to live with each other, sometimes in the most trying of circumstances, not least economic, and finding it difficult. ”Twas ever thus. Nothing is gained by making it a gender issue, unless you are a feminist seeking advantage, that is.

    This is what the MRAs are getting at. Sometimes it isn’t as clear, sometimes anger gets in the way, but it is the latent inequality that is spreading like a cancer throughout society in favour of women – and vilifying men and boys, that is what Is mobilising the MRAS movement. If people engaged with the MRAs and listened to them, evaluating what they are saying in the light of facts, not prejudices, in a balanced way and taking the broad societal view, the penny would drop and we could all move forward.

    Let your prejudices about MRAs drop, and read and inwardly digest what they are saying, and WHY they are saying it. That is the way forward.

    And, have you ever stopped to wonder why we are in this social mess – with women on men’s case, and men, now, joining battle? (And be in. I doubt, battle is now joined, and the social outcome won’t be pleasant) In a word FEMINISM: that vile creed, predicated on the lie of so-called patriarchy, a false argument put up provide a rationale for irrationality; that is why. When one half of the population rises up against the other, accusing them of something they have neither done, or are responsible for, resistance will come – and it is coming.

    Any creed or ideology that seeks advantage for one group over another, is socially divisive and destructive, and this one is tearing us apart.

  33. A Masked Avenger says

    In any case, Ally, it seems fair to answer your question. (If it seems weird that I don’t just call it a “fair question,” it’s because that depends whether one is asking in good faith. I’m assuming you’re asking in good faith, even though many of your commenters are clearly not in good faith.)

    Basically, as soon as you get to the “But” part of “But what about teh menz,” you should realize that you’re interjecting your comment into one conversation, and trying to change the subject. That’s hardly ever OK; it’s practically always a derail. But that doesn’t mean you can never talk about men’s issues! It just means that when you catch yourself saying, “but what about…?” you already know, or should know, that you’re derailing.

    In this particular setting, if you find yourself saying “and” (and meaning it–not as a drop-in replacement for “but”), then there’s an awfully good chance you’re on the right track. In your post about HeForShe, it would have been a home run to encourage everyone to go sign up, and also to donate to Just Detention International (or something similar you consider worthy).

    That you so often attempt to advance issues relating to men, by detracting from issues related to women, is precisely the problem. You don’t actually need to do that.

  34. StillGjenganger says

    @Mildly
    We are not talking about strict segregation, of course. Women can certainly be pilots or electricians or truck drivers – and good luck to them. But as long as those jobs are seen as male, men will be nudged towards them and feel a little more comfortable in them, and women will be nudged away. Similarly, women will be nudged towards childcare, seeing as they have a head start having done the birth, and men will be nudged away – and feel a little more awkward in the role. My prediction is that a woman, and only a woman, can confidently plan that she will be the one looking after the children, Because of social roles, and because if she wants she will be able to force through that she has such a close, intimate relationship with the baby already that she should be allowed to continue. Men with similar plans will remain at the mercy of the future mother – and might therefore prefer other plans.

  35. Ally Fogg says

    SlimBoySlim

    You don’t ask “what about men/women/etc” whenever the focus is on something else,

    Did you actually read the post, or just the title?

    Because I say the exact same thing at some length. I also go on to describe how the focus of Emma Watson’s speech was very much on men. That was kinda the entire point.

  36. mildlymagnificent says

    Let’s take an example. In the UK, about 85 per cent of rough-sleepers and 75 per cent of suicides are male. Suicide it’s the largest killer of men under the age of 50. Rough-sleeping and suicide are very closely linked to mental health problems.
    We have a national mental health strategy for women but not for men, most of the national discussion we have about mental health revolves women and the sorts of mental health problems they’re most likely to have.

    Well, Australia’s already shown the way on this.
    beyondblue has programs explicitly for men. http://www.beyondblue.org.au/resources/for-me/men
    Movember has a focus on mental health as well as specific physical health issues. http://au.movember.com/
    Mensline can help men with mental health and/or relationship problems. http://www.mensline.org.au/

    Perhaps some UK men could get together and create their own versions or cooperate with others to do something similar. I also found some UK resources like https://www.thecalmzone.net/ but that’s the only one I’ve found so far that concentrates entirely and only on men. It looks as though there are others, but that’s for UK men to find out for themselves. A health awareness campaign, regional or national. that publicises such resources would be worth looking into.

  37. Mike Buchanan says

    @bahamut 19 #26

    “False rape accusations… are extremely rare.”

    Nonsense. Women being charged with the crime – technically, the crimes are ‘wasting police time’ or ‘perverting the course of justice’ – is extremely rare, a very different thing. We’ll have a lot to say about this in our manifesto. A CPS report in 2012 we’ll cite – let me know if you want a link to the report now – admitted only 29% of cases brought to the CPS by the police in a 6-month period in 2012 resulted in prosecutions. The police would only bring cast-iron cases to the CPS.

    We’ve calculated from the NISVS survey that a little over 25% of the reported sexual assaults were on men, and committed by only women. I doubt the situation is much different in the UK. So, is the male:female ratio of being charged with sexual offences 4:1 in the UK? No. In 2013 it was 146:1. Similar gender differentials go back at least 20 years.

    “Your comment about man-hating lesbians is laughable and does not deserve a reasoned response.”

    The toxic influence of men-hating lesbians is anything but laughable. They’ve been highly influential since at least the time of the Suffragettes, and were welcomed with open arms by the Labour administration of 1997, explaining the attacks on marriage and the nuclear family by Harriet Harman and her like over 14 years – attacks which continue to this day, one of the reasons we’ll be contesting Tory marginals next May.

    Swayne O’Pie’s book ‘Why Britain Hates Men: Exposing Feminism’ has a lengthy chapter on the power of lesbian feminism. He quotes Beatrix Campbell and her partner Anna Coote from their book, ‘Sweet Freedom’ (1982):

    ” A precept which unites all radical feminists is that the fight for women’s liberation is primarily against men: they see it as overriding all other struggles and are deeply suspicious of any attempt to link it to a wider political strategy. The question then is whether one is fighting in order to destroy masculinity as a social construct, and so transform men as human beings, with a view to developing a harmonious relationship in which they wield no power over women; or whether one seeks to end the necessity of the biological distinction by establishing ways of living and reproduction which are entirely independent of men.”

    The strong influence of men-hating lesbians in radical feminist circles has been described by many people on many occasions. I’ve never heard a radical feminist deny it.

  38. Pete says

    Good piece Ally.

    I would say that often when I see the what about the men trope, it is when someone says something along the lines of “The prevalence of violence against women shows how society values women less,” or, “Men don’t have to constantly worry about being attacked when out and about,” or “the lack of action involving FGM shows that women are less valued, if it were men then the problem would have been solved by now,” or any domestic violence article which frames the issue as a problem with men only, then it is fair for people to point out the stats that men are likely to be the victims of violence, or that they’re more likely to be attacked in the street, or that circumcision is a huge issue and in fact legal and regularly practiced, or that a fairly high percentage of domestic violence is perpetrated by women.

    If someone tries to frame a general issue as a uniquely female issue, particularly in a place like the Guardian which isn’t aiming for a woman specific readership, WATM is a fair question.

    I will admit, however, that there are many issues that are female only that are derailed by people asking WATM, and it is infuriating when it happens. A discussion about breast cancer shouldn’t be getting comments about prostate cancer unless the discussion starts making claims about how breast cancer would have been solved already if more men got it. The thing is, it’s infuriating because it derails the discussion. How anyone can accuse Ally of derailing when writing about the issue on his own blog is beyond me.

    On a lighter note, one of the returning officers on the night of the Scottish referendum was called Richard Stiff, which amused my sleep deprived brain greatly.

  39. Ally Fogg says

    A Masked Avenger

    thanks for an interesting reply.

    That you so often attempt to advance issues relating to men, by detracting from issues related to women, is precisely the problem. You don’t actually need to do that.

    Leaving aside this week I’d ask you which posts of mine you are thinking of when you say I detract from issues relating to women.

    Because (without claiming I always get it right) I make conscious efforts never to do so. When I am accused of doing so, it is invariably by people who are using the logic that any attention to male-specific issues is, de facto, a detraction from women’s issues. That, quite obviously, is a rather disingenuous argument.

  40. Darren Ball says

    A Masked Avenger 36.

    Your “but” argument is semantics.

    People might just as equally phrase their objection as: “yes, and that’s also true of men, so it’s not a gender issue but a human issue”

    This phrase is not derailing anything, it’s only adding context, but it would still be regarded as a “what about the men” type of statement.

  41. Ally Fogg says

    At this point can I jump in and remind everyone on both sides of the HetPat first directive.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/hetpat/2013/07/27/the-hetpat-first-directive/

    I won’t allow this thread to be derailed by tedious debates about whether or not feminists are all man-hating lesbians or MRAs are all neckbearded misogynists. This is nothing to do with whether such comments are true and fair or not, and everything to do with keeping to some kind of On Topic policy.

    It’s already got out of hand so from this point on I will be taking quite a tight line on keeping on topic.

  42. ludicrous says

    I think there are two kinds of “whatabout themenz”. One is motivated by the important points you have made. The other is a more or less aware means of shutting down or sidetracking a discussion of sexism. I think we see so much of the latter in our daily lives that we tend to assume that’s what is going on.

  43. A Masked Avenger says

    Ally, #38:

    I also go on to describe how the focus of Emma Watson’s speech was very much on men. That was kinda the entire point.

    This is the part where I say, “You can’t be serious.” The very first words out of her mouth were, “Today we are launching a campaign called ‘HeForShe.'”

    Are you honestly claiming that you are so comprehension challenged that you couldn’t deduce, from the first eight words out of her mouth, that this initiative is about enlisting men to assist in combating sexism against women? Honestly? You thought “HeForShe” was going to be about women fighting male circumcision? If it were that kind of initiative, you wouldn’t have expected it to be called “SheForHe”?

    It just isn’t credible that you thought “HeForShe” was about anything other than sexism against women. Pretending that you were under this illusion right up until the “five fatal words” sounds flat-out dishonest.

    The rest of her speech should also have been abundantly clear to you as well. You are (or certainly should be) extremely familiar with the arguments why “patriarchy hurts men too.” There’s no way you can credibly claim that as she enumerated her examples, you were somehow imagining that she was talking about anything else than patriarchy. Pretending otherwise (even for rhetorical purposes) simply comes across as dishonest.

    When you say things that seem so incredible on their face, it likeliest interpretation that suggests itself to me is that you are intentionally undermining “HeForShe” because you would rather make the subject be about “teh menz.” I’m clearly not the only one who gets that impression, because your commentariat here is doubling down on their misogyny in your support–including Pitchguest, who denies the existence of patriarchy, Mike Buchanan, who argues that letting women rise to executive positions would destroy the economy and, along with StillGjenganger, believes that false rape accusations are abundant. There’s a common theme emerging amongst your fan base.

    Now consider how much it would benefit you and issues of concern to men if you accept “HeForShe” for exactly what it is, encourage your readers to support it, and also offer specific support to groups that are working materially on men’s concerns. For starters, you might be a good influence on the misogynistic assholes that count themselves among your fans. You would also be part of the solution to issues affecting women, instead of part of the problem. And, which should matter lots to you, you would also do something positive for issues affecting men.

  44. Mike Buchanan says

    @Pete #41

    “I will admit, however, that there are many issues that are female only that are derailed by people asking WATM, and it is infuriating when it happens. A discussion about breast cancer shouldn’t be getting comments about prostate cancer unless the discussion starts making claims about how breast cancer would have been solved already if more men got it.”

    1. Almost as many men die of prostate cancer, as women die of breast cancer. I grant that the age profile is older on average with prostate cancer, but if the age profiles were switched, would we be still be concerned that it was mainly older women dying from breast cancer? Of course we would.

    2. Number of national screening programmes for female-specific cancers – two (breast + cervical). Combined annual spend about £250,000,000.

    3. Number of national screening programmes for male-specific cancers? Come on, take a guess. That’s right. None.

  45. Schala says

    One is that a lot of people (me included) think that men and women are different enough that having different gender roles would be better for everybody. Another is that being soldiers and construction workers gives jobs to men and provide roles that are good, necessary and male, just like looking after babies is a role that is good, necessary and female. As long as it is women who make the babies looking after them will remain a female thing, so homogenizing the roles could, at best, lead to a world where men can do most things and women can do everything. Which is not attractive.

    You don’t need a specific role for your 50% of the population (a laughable portion to have a specific role anyways). You make your own purpose. You figure what you’re good at, what you’re able to do, what you like to do, and then, what you’d rather do resulting from all that. You don’t need a template, especially not such a simple one as “penis-bearers can do construction, vagina-owners can stay at home” shit you’d see in a book for a 4 years old. If you’re that insecure that your entire sex is not necessary, and is actually fungible (this goes for women too), then make yourself as an individual indispensable, necessary, don’t plead to having an automatic sex-based function (and imposing it on everyone else).

    By the way, I doubt any given individual could do everything, except Gregory Charles…he’s a mystery (look him up, he’s from Quebec). Most people have a few centers of interest, a few talents (usually stuff they like, given they probably developed them to know they existed), and a few things they might plan to do in their life. They’re rarely planning to do it all, try all professions, and all possible permutations of clothing, hairstyle etc.

  46. mildlymagnificent says

    My prediction is that a woman, and only a woman, can confidently plan that she will be the one looking after the children, Because of social roles, and because if she wants she will be able to force through that she has such a close, intimate relationship with the baby already that she should be allowed to continue.

    We’re talking about families having maximum freedom to organise things the way that suits them, not the way that most people might do those things in other circumstances.

    I made plans about my children and their care. Confidently? I intended to stay home with the first one for 6 months, then for more than a year when the second one arrived. What happened? The first one was sickly and hard for anyone else to manage until she started walking – chronic reflux and the resulting infections can be a real problem. So I stayed home with her for 12 months – and within a fortnight I had to have a month off with flu followed by pneumonia. I was exhausted. When the second one arrived? I confidently predicted that the second one wouldn’t have the same diabolical issues as the first. I was right. What I overlooked was the possibility of my own illness/injuries. Far from staying home with them for 12 months, I had to have others help me with baby care and housework for the first 6 months. (I’d already had 3 months off before she was born because of my own pregnancy/health problems.) It wasn’t worth further leave without pay for me to not care for my children and stay home and not clean my house nor cook any meals. I went back to work and made other arrangements for childcare.

    Other families might find that the father loses his job (or has better leave provision than the mother), so a family like that would also be better off than one that insisted that the mother should stay home despite having a good income earning job to go to. And there are a “Heinz 57 varieties” of health, financial, employment, study circumstances that mean that some families would prefer to have a father take care of children or for the child/ren to go to daycare or, with enough money, employ a nanny so that the mother could continue with her job or finish her degree or complete vocational training or whatever.

    You, I and everybody else has differing ideas about what is and isn’t ideal about various family and household arrangements. What feminists want for all such families is for them to have as much freedom as possible to organise their home and work lives in a way that best suits them and their circumstances rather than satisfying anyone else’s ideas about what they could or should do.

  47. Ally Fogg says

    A Masked Avenger

    There’s no way you can credibly claim that as she enumerated her examples, you were somehow imagining that she was talking about anything else than patriarchy. Pretending otherwise (even for rhetorical purposes) simply comes across as dishonest.

    You seem to be really struggling to grasp the concept that virtually all gender-specific problems men face are products of patriarchy, and therefore efforts to address ‘violence and discrimination faced by men’ are an absolutely essential component to fighting patriarchy.

    To return to an example I raised on the other thread, trying to end men’s violence against women is going to be almost entirely futile for as long as we raise boys to respond to stress or challenge with violence, to expect violence and to earn respect from inflicting violence.

    That is everything to do with patriarchy.

  48. Mike Buchanan says

    @AMaskedAvenger #46

    (Ally, I know it’s OT, but a response to a false assertion about me.)

    “…Mike Buchanan, who argues that letting women rise to executive positions would destroy the economy…”

    I argue no such thing. On http://c4mb.wordpress.com I argue that strong evidence – five longitudinal studies – shows that (on average) increasing female representation on corporate boards leads to corporate financial decline. Nobody in the world (to the best of my knowledge) is challenging that evidence, nor any longer claiming a causal link between more women on boards and improved corporate performance (without misrepresenting correlation as causation, anyway, although ALL the reports and studies they cite – McKinsey, Credit Suisse, Catalyst, Reuters Thomson – make it clear that correlation can’t be taken to even imply causation).

    We’re inclined to think the observed negative causal link is more a manifestation of inexperience than gender. Anyway, people COULD make the case that declines in financial performance would be a price worth paying for putting more women on boards, but I know of only one person with that position (a male feminist, as it happens).

  49. Pete says

    Mike @47.

    I don’t deny that. I still think going onto a forum that discusses breast cancer, whether it be an article, or a march or a charity event, and complaining that people aren’t paying enough attention to prostate cancer, is unnecessary. If you have an article discussing what can be done about women not being allowed to drive in a particular part of the world, it is derailment to bring up the fact that men are constrained by something else (say, conscription), unless the article in question makes an incorrect or overgeneralised statement about men.

  50. A Masked Avenger says

    You seem to be really struggling to grasp the concept that virtually all gender-specific problems men face are products of patriarchy…

    I believe I said something very much like that in the other thread, so I think I’ve demonstrated comprehension of that point.

    But by pointing this out to me, you make the mystery more mysterious: if patriarchy is at the root of “virtually all gender-specific problems men face,” then I REALLY wonder why the fuck you would undermine an initiative aimed at taking down patriarchy? Why the fuck do you not say, “This is a big step in the right direction for men’s issues, because by dismantling patriarchy we’re helping ourselves,” and then suggest additional steps to take, if any?

    The very most charitable interpretation possible here is that you’re undermining your own cause by making the perfect the enemy of the good.

  51. Ally Fogg says

    A Masked Avenger

    I REALLY wonder why the fuck you would undermine an initiative aimed at taking down patriarchy

    perhaps the best way to answer this is to say that Emma Watson’s speech hinted at a campaign which might actually be effective, but I believe that the UN campaign it launched was fatally flawed in a way that needed to be challenged.

  52. says

    Masked Avenger @29

    See, Ally, this is the kind of idiot you have for allies

    I wouldn’t mind the accusation of idiocy so much if you had then gone on to demonstraste my idiocy.

    UNICEF is a UN programme for children. The United Nations runs many many other programmes for adults around the world that addresses their concerns. “If the UN did not then “what about teh adultz?” would be an entirely legitimate thing to ask.
    Wherever there is a justifiable need the UN should be addressing it in some way, shape or form. I think Ally ably demonstrated why the issues are ones faced by men as well as women, issue that cut across gender boundaries, so the UN needs to address the needs of both sexes

    You’re dealing with people who “think” (with their “brains,” don’cha know) that if the UN is about all people, then each and every program, agency, initiative and resolution must also be about all people.

    If you UN wanted to run seperate campaigns in parallel then so be it. Same with the UN World Food Programme – if they really felt the need to send out seperate parallel food deliveries to men and women then so be it but it would seem a bit bizarre and if the programme only covered women then, yes, we’d be justified in asking “what about teh starving menz?”

    Your response comes across entirely mean-spirited and I suspect it is people like yourself that are part of the reason why organisations like the UN tend to either ignore the specific issues men face (which, again, Ally has pointed to) or feel the need to portray them as benefitting women as a means of justifying their addressing them. If you wish to counter and portray me as mean-spirited then by all means go at it, though bear in mind that in no way I am suggesting that women’s issues should go unaddressed or are in any way not serious and worthy concerns.
    I may be the idiot here Masked Avenger (as you claim I am) but I am not the bigot.

  53. 123454321 says

    I think it’s perfectly acceptable in a day and age when feminists and women get 95% of media coverage relating specifically to their issues to ask: “What about the men?” !!!

  54. StillGjenganger says

    @Mildly 49
    I agree with every single point you make in this post. My point was that even in an otherwise equal society child-rearing would still be seen as more of a womanly thing, and women would still be seen as more appropriate and competent at it – even after it was established that they were equally competent with men in every other field. But I probably got too weird and abstract there – and anyway I think this is moving off topic. Can my agreement with your last post serve as a good place to stop?

  55. StillGjenganger says

    @Masked 46
    I did say that false rape accusations were probably rare, just not extremely rare.
    If you do not like my opinions (you would not be the first), just call me a misogynist – it is technically untrue, but I answer to that.

  56. Darren Ball says

    A Masked Avenger 53.

    Feminism (and that includes HeforShe), is only interested in challenging that part of the patriarchy that disadvantages women and girls. We’re not seeing the dismantling of patriarchy at all, we’re just shifting it from a cruel abusive type of patriarchy to one that’s benevolent towards women and girls. It’s still patriarchal. UN Women is patriarchal. Men and boys are still being expected to be stoic for the sake of women and girls, which is the polar opposite of female empowerment, but feminists are lapping it up. It’s like Western governments and the UN has turned into one of those fathers who dotes on his daughters whilst expecting his sons to “grow a pair”.

    Feminists are pushing against doors that are being held open by conservative, gallantry. This sort of patriarchy is literally patronising to women but ultimately most harmful to men and boys.

  57. A Hermit says

    The very most charitable interpretation possible here is that you’re undermining your own cause by making the perfect the enemy of the good.

    ^ This….

    I was just puzzled as to why you would choose to reject the whole initiative, which you should wholeheartedly approve of, because of a nit-pick over one the wording of one sentence at he end of the pledge.

    It’s OK to ask “what about the men” but not if the effect of doing so is shooting yourself in the foot.

  58. smhll says

    Men’s problems with physical and sexual assault are real, but they’re not. the. same. problems as women suffer by and large.

    Underlying it all (in the US where I live, and I would guess also in the UK and Commonwealth) there seems to be an ingrained assumption (or bias) that it is acceptable for the government to assist women and children and families composed only of women and children, but that men should fend for themselves and not receive assistance. I think this attitude towards ‘need’ can tend to warp the availability of services in a way that is not egalitarian and that men in need will notice is unfair (but others may fail to notice.)

    (I didn’t have the patience to wade through all of the comments, some of them quite alienating, but I do believe there is truth to the idea that English speaking culture generally offers more sympathy to women in need (though it’s rather thin and patchy) while expecting men to grit their teeth.) (Of course some of it arises from the vulnerability of women in pregnancy and the difficulty of being self-supporting while also caring for an infant, but I think there is gender-essentialist lack of caring baked into the system as well.)

  59. Ally Fogg says

    Darren Ball

    I’d disagree with the first few words of that comment (59) because feminism is far too ideologically diverse to make such a sweeping statement.

    However what you say is, I think, entirely true of the UN and the broad, state and corporate-sanctioned institutional women’s organisations. And your point is very astute and very important.

    The notion that the combined governments of the world (and that is what we are effectively talking about re: UN) genuinely want to dismantle patriarchy, which is so deeply tied into hegemonic capitalism and the military-industrial complex, is laughable.

  60. mildlymagnificent says

    HerbertPurdy@35

    But the point is, this is simply not true. This the Achilles Heel of your entire argument – and of the entire IPV/DV/DA argument is built on this untruth.
    And there is a sub text to the above stamement, and that is it implies that the violence children suffer in the home is from men – it is not.

    OK. It’s clear that you read only what I wrote and not the full contents of the link I gave to the critique of the Conflict Tactics Scale. I’ll excerpt a few relevant points here.*

    2. How do we define “abuse” and “violence?” What’s left out?.

    Researcher James Nazroo conducted a survey of domestic violence, which was designed to consider the kind of contextual information the CTS leaves out. As Nazroo wrote:

    One contradictory result is the large number of women who are rated as having used severe violence according to the CTS type act-based measure, but who are also rated as having used “non-threatening” violence. The violence… has usually only occurred once or twice and usually only involved one or two blows. What is immediately apparent when listening to accounts of this violence is that the men were easily able to defend themselves from attack. They grab their partners by the arm and hold them off, or pick them up and put them in another room to calm down, or disarm them. They will also not respond at all to their partners’ attacks and will frequently laugh… one man, describing his response to being slapped, says “I shouted and she ran.” None of them appear to have been intimidated in the least.

    3. Sampling bias. (All of this section. My emboldening.)

    According to Michael Johnson, the CTS’s dependence on voluntary interviews with a representative sample population could create a strong bias against measuring the worse cases of domestic violence: “men who systematically terrorize their wives would hardly be likely to agree to participate in such a survey, and the women whom they beat would probably be terrified at the possibility that their husband might find out that they had answered such questions.” Straus himself seems to agree with this criticism.

    Sampling error is always a concern, of course, but there are reasons to think it’s a bigger problem with the Straus/Gelles work than in most. For one thing, according to Michael Johnson, Straus and Gelles people who refused to answer screening questions were not included when Straus and Gelles calculated their 84% response rate; taking this discrepancy into account, the actual response rate may be closer to 60%, low enough to create a severe danger of sampling bias. More importantly, Straus and Gelles compiled information only about abuse within current, ongoing relationships; but fear of a current abusive partner would obviously make a victim hesitate to be frank with interviewers. It’s much safer for a victim of severe battery to refuse to be interviewed altogether, in such circumstances.

    In contrast, when the US Bureau of Justice statistics did a similar study (see part 5, below), they designed the interview process to enourage current victims to report honestly (they put protections in place to assure that the person interviewed could respond safely while alone in the house, without the spouse’s knowledge), and did not ask only about current relationships. They also had a higher response rate, which means a much lower chance of serious sampling error.

    Jack Stranton points out another important sampling bias: the CTS, as used in the original Straus/Gelles research and most of the research that follows it, excludes violence that occurs after a divorce or separation. However, such violence accounts for 76% of spousal assaults, and is overwhelmingly committed by men; excluding this violence disproportionately omits most spousal violence against women.

    Quoted separately for emphasis.

    4. Contrary Social Science Data.

    CTS studies leave thousands of abused women uncounted. According to a CTS study, a typical woman in a battered woman’s shelter reports having been assaulted by a spouse 65 times in the year previous to admission. Straus and Gelles’ national study found that there are about 80,000 women in the United States who are abused at that level. In contrast, data from battered women’s shelters show that up to 490,000 women use shelters each year – and that figure doesn’t even include thousands of severely battered women who don’t make it to a shelter.. This huge discrepancy shows that instances of severe woman-battering, far from being fairly measured by the men’s rights activists favorite studies, are in fact badly undercounted.

    5. Putting the CTS to the test.

    The results of the government’s study strongly contradicted previous CTS studies: the BJS study found that overall women were more likely to be abused by an intimate partner than men, particularly for the more severe kinds of violence. For example,

    women were seven times as likely to have been threatened with a gun;

    14 times as likely to report having been “beat up” by a partner; and

    twenty-six times as likely to have been raped.

    http://amptoons.com/blog/2004/06/26/on-husband-battering-are-men-equal-victims/

    I strongly recommend reading all of it. It’s not heavily laced with jargon as so many research papers are. It also has some insights in Sections 7 & 8 about how Straus and Geller’s CTS can be used for good insight in certain circumstances despite its limitations in detecting the worst of family violence. (Omitting 76% of spousal assaults, those committed after separation/divorce, is a pretty good sign that this research tool is not up to the job that too many people use it for.)

    *I’ve not bothered with the conventions on displaying _exactly_ how much has been omitted between the quoted excerpts. This isn’t an academic paper. I really think interested people should read the whole thing anyway.

  61. Darren Ball says

    Hi Ally,

    Thanks. I agree there’s no Feminist HQ sending out decrees. It’s just that I never ever hear a feminist organisation campaigning on behalf of men’s and boys’ issues, either for reasons of quality or because they’re ripping down that particular part of the patriarchy. So although there’s no sweeping statement, by their actions shall I judge them.

    It’s never occurred to me that the patriarchy is being preserved for the reasons you describe. Thanks for that.

  62. John Horstman says

    For what it’s worth, I agree completely with your perspective on the ultimate inseparability of considering the ways patriarchy negatively impacts both men and women if one is attempting to dismantle patriarchy (which is in my experience the broad definition of “feminism”, at least from the academic perspective – anti-patriarchy). Because something like sexual violence can be perpetuated against specific demographic groups in different contexts, in different ways, and to different effect, it makes sense to me to be able to have e.g. campaigns the focus on stopping/mitigating sexual violence against women specifically or against men specifically or against queer people specifically or against children specifically etc. Asking about teh menz (or some other group unconsidered by a narrowly-focused campaign/organization) in one of these contexts is indeed derailing, an attempt to refocus the discourse/campaign/organization away from the group in question and (often) onto a group to which the speaker belongs. At the same time, it is indeed at best disingenuous (and at worst very harmful) to frame something as dealing with sexual violence generally but then only to consider violence against one or a few particular groups. If the focus is nominally supposed to include men but in practice men are not being considered, it is entirely appropriate to question the focus.

    In my experience, while certainly not all feminist organizations or spaces consider issues related to masculinity, all of the spaces I’ve encountered that are trying to fix problems related to masculinity (as opposed to, for example, complaining about how feminism is harmful to men) have been feminist (again, feminism as anti-patriarchy, since most of the problems relating to masculinity within a patriarchal culture are a function of how patriarchy constructs masculinity). Of course, that could easily be the result of a selection bias on my part and not reflect any sort of general trend, but it still makes me instantly distrust any sort of men’s issues venue that is commonly trading in anti-feminist (or even misogynist – hi there, AVfM!) rhetoric. If a men’s issues group is positioning women as enemies/the opposition instead of as allies, that’s a big sign that something is wrong.

  63. Ally Fogg says

    mildlymagnificent / Herbert Purdy

    No offence to either of you but we’ve discussed gender balance in DV/IPV stats countless times before and doubtless will do countless times again.

    Can we try to keep OT please, ta.

  64. mildlymagnificent says

    Men and boys are still being expected to be stoic for the sake of women and girls, which is the polar opposite of female empowerment, but feminists are lapping it up.

    Feminists are “lapping it up”? None that I know.
    We’re the ones who say it’s OK for boys and men to show their feelings.
    We’re the ones who step in and stop people, mostly men but some women are idiots too, from telling toddlers that “Boys don’t cry”.
    We’re the ones that think it’s OK for boys use the dress up box to deck themselves out as a favourite book or tv character – who just happens to be a girl/princess/woman.
    We’re not the ones who try to stop little girls from getting dirty and from climbing trees.

    Next time you see a woman doing or saying this sort of gender role enforcement rubbish, check whether she does or doesn’t claim to be a feminist. If she does, recommend some Feminism 101 sites for her to swot up. And tell the kid that what they’re doing is OK (unless it’s obviously dangerous, in which case you refer to the danger not to the gender enforcement.)

  65. diana6815 says

    I’m happy to have read your post. I have been troubled for a long time (since I was a child) by society’s casual and often cruel dismissal of domestic and sexual violence against both women and men. Just an fyi, I’m from the US, so I can mostly speak to that context.

    Here’s the part where I ramble for a while and hope I get my ideas across …

    1. Anyone who steps out of normative identities is especially vulnerable … and many seem to think that that’s okay … that you ignore social norms at your (quite literal) peril.

    2. Anyone perceived as otherwise ‘bad’ is vulnerable. I can’t tell you how many prison rape jokes I have heard (and been horrified by) throughout my life.

    Abuse against men is bad for women (and vice versa) because that reinforces the idea that rape and battery are acceptable ‘punishments.’ Whenever people agree to some extent with the idea that this is okay (in certain contexts, certain victims, etc.), we all lose.

    Having said that, I guess I want to put in a bid for women. I don’t know if this is true in the UK, also, but in the US, it’s seems impossible to live as a woman and NOT be constantly harassed. Adolescence was a nightmare. Even when you aren’t being straight up sexually assaulted or raped, which happens in frightening numbers on a daily basis, girls are taught that they are only valuable in so far as men give them attention (and that only comes with physical beauty, as defined by ??? the men who head media conglomerates ???). They are encouraged from childhood onward to judge themselves based on the male gaze. They aren’t allowed a sexuality outside of male pleasure. Women who like sex or hate sex or try to get some male partners to adjust their ‘game’ to enhance the women’s pleasure are whores, prudes, and bossy. I don’t think I ever met a woman who hasn’t been shamed, belittled, or brutalized in some way like this.

    That does NOT mean that I don’t recognize that men are also under pressure to meet social norms. Or that I don’t see domestic and sexual violence against men as a serious problem. I do. Women can and do rape and batter men. Men can and do rape and batter men. And men have their own framework of shame to negotiate when dealing with that (since men are supposed to be all hormones and strong).

    People in the LGBTQ community (that actually includes me — I’m bi) also have added frameworks of shame to deal with when they are brutalized.

    I don’t know where we can have conversations about domestic and sexual violence with people who identify in different ways, but we need spaces for that. I’m tired of being dismissed and insulted because of other people’s fear (I think that’s what motivates a lot of inter-group policing when it comes to domestic and sexual violence … people want to believe they are immune … that if they just follow certain rules, they will be safe).

    A final word about the HeForShe pledge. I think that rather than not sign it, maybe those identifying as male should say, add men to the pledge. I loved Emma Watson’s speech (it seemed inclusive and spot on in so many ways). I don’t know who wrote the pledge, but whoever did might not realize what an egregious oversight was made. Women should be saying this, too. Me included.

    PS: I hope I’m not barging into a men only discussion … I just started reading your blog, and I don’t know if your blog title means from a male perspective or literally ‘for men’ (i.e., not me).

  66. Ally Fogg says

    Diana (69)

    thanks for a great post.

    A final word about the HeForShe pledge. I think that rather than not sign it, maybe those identifying as male should say, add men to the pledge.

    That’s the most constructive response I’ve seen this week, I think. Unfortunately I couldn’t see any mechanism to do so, beyond using my blog for a small token gesture!

  67. Carnation says

    @ Ally

    I think that when it is okay to say WATM is when all those in the conversation genuinely care ATM and, crucially, have an understanding of patriarchy and social structures.

    Like excluding misogynists and political fantasists (hi Mike) from the MRM, it would, at a stroke, separate the ideological chaff from the wheat. The irrelevant and toxic noise would reduce dramatically and a space for genuine concerns would be created.

  68. diana6815 says

    Ally,

    (you’re giving me the warm and fuzzies)

    I hope that this can happen (broadening the pledge’s scope). Domestic and sexual violence never seem to receive the attention they deserve. I’d hate to see an opportunity to spread awareness go to waste (not exactly go to waste … just be less effective than it could be).

  69. Carnation says

    @ Diane
    @ Ally

    My take on the title “Hetero-normative Patriarchy For Men” is the author slyly and amusingly co-opting a feminist analysis of men (and male privilege) and applying it to contemporary gender debates. I think he’s saying he’s accepts HetPat as a thing and knowing that many self (erroneously) described Men’s Advocates don’t (through wilful obtuseness or cognitive deficiency) is out to mildly troll them, and feminists who would seek to analyse men and masculinities without asking men their thoughts or accepting them.

    And it’s catchy…

    Ally, am I anywhere near close?

  70. Darren Ball says

    Mildly at 68,

    That’s not at all what I meant. Feminists do say those things, I agree.

    Governments may be mostly male, but they’re men drawn mostly from privileged backgrounds who hold the highest possible positions of society. They’re happy to yield to feminist demands for better treatment for disadvantaged, vulnerable and sick women and girls, but they’re noting like as concerned about equally unfortunate men and boys. This patronising paternal attitude is delivering much of what feminists are demanding and is completely add odds with feminism. The best example of this is the Corston report into female offenders and some feminists did react to this saying it was “benevolent sexism”. There’s no such thing: benevolent sexism is patriarchal – it’s just indulgent dad rather than authoritarian dad. It’s still dad though.

  71. diana6815 says

    Carnation,

    That was my initial assumption, too, but then I started reading comments, and I wondered if I had blundered into someone else’s conversation. I like the idea of both men and women critically examining heteronormativity and patriarchy.

    PS: I’m seriously going to sound like a first-class jerk for saying this … but I hate it when people call me Diane … I got that sensitivity from my mom … her middle name is Diane, and she always preferred Diana (with an -a), hence my name…

  72. Ally Fogg says

    Ally, am I anywhere near close?

    Ha, I think you’ve got closer than I could have managed myself.

    There’s a great story which may or may not be apocryphal, about Kurt Cobain and his most famous song.

    Circa 1990 there was a commercial on US TV for a cheap perfume called Teen Spirit, which showed a bunch of shiny happy teenagers being beautiful with perfect white teeth and all the rest.

    After Nirvana recorded the demo for a song with the working title of “Entertain Us”, he left a cassette with one of his friends from another band to listen.

    Next day she dropped it back off again with a Post-It Note attached saying “Smells like Teen Spirit.”

    I always loved that story.

    In my case, it smells like Heteronormative Patriarchy.

    But it actually started out as a photoshopped joke (the idea of an aftershave called Heteronormative Patriarchy for Men, which I found amusing) then when I started the blog I needed a name and I remembered the joke. It kind of worked on a whole load of different levels, most of which are drowning in irony.

  73. Carnation says

    @ Ally

    Do you know the story of About a Girl?

    @ Diana

    Apologies, but please apportion some blame to Apple predictive typing!

  74. Ally Fogg says

    There was something in the Kurt and Courtney documentary about an ex-girlfriend?

    Can’t remember details though.

  75. diana6815 says

    Carnation

    s’all good 🙂

    Ally
    I love that as a name for an aftershave! Honestly, with the way advertisers target men, it fits.

  76. sawells says

    Could I reiterate that my own objection to your Watson/pledge post was nothing to do with “what about the menz”; I objected to your serious logic fail in reading the pledge.

    You have ostentatiously refused to sign a pledge to oppose violence against women and girls. You presumably don’t want us to think that that means you are in favour of violence against women and girls, do you? But your argument was that signing said pledge… somehow means being totally OK with violence against men and boys. No.

    Enjoy your new commentariat!

  77. says

    @ Ally #62

    Feminist ‘patriarchy theory’ – which states that men (as a class) have always oppressed women (as a class), and continue to do so – is so at variance with any dispassionate analysis of gender relations (which would take due account of the need for rights to enable people to fulfil responsibilities) that the day is surely coming when belief in the theory will be more widely recognized for what it clearly is, evidence of a psychological disorder. There’s no less evidence underpinning the ‘tooth fairy theory’. MRAs have, of course, always known that people embracing the theory are (at best) uninformed, and (at worst) howling-at-the-moon bonkers.

  78. 123454321 says

    “We’re the ones who say it’s OK for boys and men to show their feelings.
    We’re the ones who step in and stop people, mostly men but some women are idiots too, from telling toddlers that “Boys don’t cry”.
    We’re the ones that think it’s OK for boys use the dress up box to deck themselves out as a favourite book or tv character – who just happens to be a girl/princess/woman.
    We’re not the ones who try to stop little girls from getting dirty and from climbing trees.”

    Hmmm, have you encouraged girls to build roads and lay pipes (there’s lots of machinery available these days to be excused from the strength and stamina argument) just as feminists have campaigned for them to get onto executive boards?

    You only cherry-pick trivial examples which don’t have significant disbenefit for women! The usual thing!

    And this:

    “mostly men but some women are idiots too”

    is classic sexism at its best!

  79. Carnation says

    @ Ally

    KC write an untitled song about a g/for or ex-g/f. A friend said “what’s that song?” KC said “it’s About a Girl” she et voila.

    Courtney Love’s dad is a fairly unhinged character….

    Speaking of which:

    Hi Mike Buchanan

    Patriarchy theory is multifaceted and requires a sophisticated reading. I under and why your interpretation is so basic.

  80. flocci says

    It often feels like the “what about the men?” question is just men sitting back on their privilege and expecting women to share their success at advocating for women, with them. Women have had success advocating for themselves and creating these types of programs. Instead of men trying to co-opt them, I think men need to be better at actually advocating for themselves. The biggest problem I see is actually getting men to recognize how they are harmed by the status quo (which Watson touched on in her speech) and then advocating for themselves in a way that keeps the “anti-feminists” (who often operate under the guise of “Men’s Rights”) from taking over the conversation.

    This is one of the reasons I read this blog, as I feel that Ally does a good job of discussing legitimate issues facing men, without devolving into blaming women or feminist conspiracies.

  81. Ally Fogg says

    sawells

    But your argument was that signing said pledge… somehow means being totally OK with violence against men and boys

    No it wasn’t. I never said anything even remotely similar to that. You imagined it.

  82. says

    @ Ally In response to your plea at the end of your blog:

    ‘When is it acceptable to ask “what about the men?”’

    The problem is, we live in a society where it is never acceptable – that is one of the roots of the current uprising of men, collectively called MRAs. As long as strident feminists, using the shriek of ‘sexist’ against any detractor, carry on suppressing men’s rights, and their right of free speech when those rights (which are basically just normal human rights) are being egregiously violated, whilst at the same time demand ever more privilege and invading men’s social spaces, the situation is only going to get worse, not better. Privilege needs to be earned not demanded at another’s expense. And men’s legitimate complaints need to be heard.

    Sooner or later the howl of undeserved entitlement from feminists in our society is going to have to be quelled because it is just going far too far. These women (and men, it has to be said) are going to have to stop their crazy assault on all things male, and engage with the broad societal issues that, as you rightly point out, we all share. We all are born, live and die in the same world – and some of us mate and procreate, although for the life of me I wonder how that is ever going to continue in the present ‘distressingly gendered world’ as you so aptly put it.

    ‘How do we achieve that dovetailing of agendas that I mentioned above? Is that desirable or even possible?’

    My answer to this is no, it is not possible. Not as long as there are gender agendas. They will never, and can never, dovetail as you put it.

    And, yes it is not only desirable, it is vital if we are to move ahead as a just fair, fair, humane – and free.

    How can we go on having one half of the population, women, in uproar against the other half, men, and angrily seeking advantage over men whilst diminishing them as human beings, on the pretence of men historically having arranged society for their own benefit? That is such a naive proposition. It is never going to work. That is why the backlash is not only coming, it is currently underway. I predict it will become very serious indeed for all of us.

    Patriarchy as defined by feminism is a myth. As I have already said elsewhere in this discussion, it is simply a straw-man argument put up to be shot down. It is a pretence, an argumentum ad ignorantum, that is utterly unprovable.

    Patriarchy exists. Of course it does. But it is not the patriarchy that feminism has created. Men have never ruled women. Most men have been slaves and vassals, as much under the control of powerful rulers as most women were.

    Feminists would argue this is patriarchy, but it is not. Most of that rule was beneficent. The true meaning of patriarchy is the rule of the father, not the rule of men (Patr is ancient Sanskrit for ‘father’ and, of course, archon is the Greek for rule, ruler etc.) It is better understood as patrimonialism – fatherliness. Kings and queens (the best examples are our own Queen and her namesake Elizabeth I, both of whom have ‘the body of a weak and feeble woman but the heart and stomach of a king’.) have been patrimomial toward their entire nations. Sir Robert Filmer’s Patriarcha says – ‘That the first kings were fathers of families’.

    Indeed, Ally, the very title of your blog underlines this normal human institution. Heteronormative means each sex finding their gender role naturally, does it not? And of course patriarchy is as I have defined it. The very title of your blog reinforces the natural gender role – of the rule of the father, n’est ce-pas?

    Society has grown and evolved for millennia out of the need for security and economic prosperity in order to stave off intermittent starvation and the threat of invasion. Social organisation evolved for the betterment of everyone. Men played their protective part in its development, and women played theirs in a complementary role in the home as homemakers and child rearers (although history shows us that there were some very powerful women leaders of ancient societies, as I have already said, which even further gives the lie to feminism’s evil patriarchy). I write more about this here: http://herbertpurdy.com/?p=903, and it is a topic I deal with in depth in my forthcoming book entitled ‘Their Angry Creed’.

    It is only in recent centuries that society in developed nations like ours has had the luxury of increasing economic wealth, gained by social development, that both women and men have had the freedom from grinding poverty and the threat of foreign invasion to indulge themselves in taking a higher political profile, and women, whipped up by political extremist feminists, have over indulged themselves in that freedom and caused the whole of our society to be as it is now. The last 45 years has seen the almost complete destruction of fatherhood and the natural authority in the family that the father has. The mother makes the rules and the father enforces them. That is a natural order that extreme political groups, working behind the scenes have succeeded in overturning. The radical feminists of the 1970s (indeed their predecessors a hundred years earlier) set out to destroy the family as the unit of society that guaranteed stability, to replace it with – well what? A form of anarchy?

    How can we expect our society to move forward as long as this continues? I am going to suggest that had we not had the scourge of feminism running rampant as it has for the last 45 years, we might have been a lot further forward in our social development. We might have had a more stable, more socially coherent society that was at peace with itself, not one that is tearing itself apart on a lie whipped up by political subversives whose interests are the destruction of our very way of life if those who espouse their ideology could but see. We might have had a society in which the current moral panics – about rape, about child abuse, about ridiculous sexism, about domestic strife, and so on (plus a whole lot more) might not have been the problems they now are. We might never have had the Rotherhams etc. (I write about that too at http://herbertpurdy.com/?p=519)

    One of the first things management consultants look for in client organisations that have lost their way is what is generically called ‘Inappropriate internal competition’. You know, that is interdepartmental rivalry and sniping. It just saps the vitality out of the organisation. That is what feminism is doing to us all. People can get hot under the collar. They can fight and scrap with each other on sites such as this ’till the cows come home, but until we grasp the enemy that is within us, that is tearing us apart ‘along the fault-line of gender’ as Christina Hoff Sommers so aptly puts it, and we eject it for the imposter it is, we will continue to decline as a society, ultimately being our own inhibitors of our own progress. I hate feminism with a deep and visceral passion. I wish we could slough it off and move on in cooperation with each other in what, for many, remains ‘This miserable slavish life’.

  83. A Masked Avenger says

    You know, that is interdepartmental rivalry and sniping. It just saps the vitality out of the organisation. That is what feminism is doing to us all.

    Yep–nothing reduces friction like shutting up and making me a sammich.

  84. A Hermit says

    As long as strident feminists, using the shriek of ‘sexist’ against any detractor, carry on suppressing men’s rights…

    Until you can see past that fundamental error in your thinking you’re not going to make mush progress on fixing the real problems faced by men and boys. It’s not feminists doing the suppressing.

  85. diana6815 says

    A Masked Avenger

    I’ve read your comments, and I like what you have to say. Dealing with the issue in front of you and not derailing or distracting is essential. The question “what about the men?” often does derail.

    But (here’s that terrible coordinating conjunction) in this case, what about other domestic and sexual violence seems (to me) an appropriate question (at least that portion perpetrated by men). These issues are at least partly about the unequal power relations embedded in heteronormative patriarchy and launching an initiative to combat some (even if the larger fraction of it) but not all seems dismissive and ultimately self-defeating. The idea behind the campaign seems to be that if men are the most common perpetrators (and they are) that men should step up to help solve the problem. I agree that they should. All evil needs to thrive is a good person to stand by and do nothing (I’m paraphrasing Edmund Burke). But men also perpetrate this kind of violence against other men, and if we want men to step up, we should ask them to step up against all victims.

    Women are perpetrators, too, and that might be a place for a parallel campaign.

  86. diana6815 says

    I guess while I’m at it, I should say something about feminism, since a lot of commenters are referencing it.

    I’m a proud feminist. Feminists are not evil or suffering from a psychological disorder. They are people and, as such, imperfect. And proponents are hardly a minority. That’s part of the complexity. Because the group is large, people ‘do feminism’ in different ways.

    I believe that people are equally capable and valuable and should all have equal rights and privileges. I think gender norms and the associated gender stereotypes are largely constructed and harmful. They limit all of us.

    As an example of where I depart from some others (who do feminism differently), I don’t condone the trans-erasure espoused by some, but that doesn’t mean feminism should be a dirty word or is obsolete. And that won’t push me to reject the label. I simply voice my opinions and hope that moves others in a more inclusive direction. Feminism has in the past made the lives of countless people better and continues to do so. This includes men. They are limited by gender norms, too.

  87. Mike Buchanan says

    @ A Hermit #88

    “Until you can see past that fundamental error in your thinking…”

    Hmm, why did Orwell’s ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ come to mind when I read those words?

  88. wscott says

    Ally, you ask a fair question. But I think when it’s acceptable is less an issue than how. If your previous post had said something like: “I was disappointed because I felt the last 5 words effectively excluded talking about men. I signed it anyway because ending violence and discrimination against women is important, and I wish them well at that. But I also think it’s important to have a discussion about issues that impact both men and women. So let’s have that discussion here.” …then I for one would’ve applauded, because I completely agree and would love to have that conversation. But instead of trying to create your own plan for discussion & action, your post came across (to me, and from the reaction, to others) as criticizing someone else’s plan for not talking about the things you want to talk about.

    I also see that in practice, those who do play the ‘what about the menz?’ card sometimes have little apparent interest in solving men’s problems and appear more interested in undermining efforts to address the issue as it affects women.

    Which is why we can’t have nice things. The whole concept of men’s issues has been thoroughly tainted by MRA misogyny. So yeah, sometimes the burden of proof is on the rest of us to prove we are in fact operating in good faith. Sucks, but there it is.

  89. Mike Buchanan says

    @Diana6815 #89

    “But (here’s that terrible coordinating conjunction) in this case, what about other domestic and sexual violence seems (to me) an appropriate question (at least that portion perpetrated by men). These issues are at least partly about the unequal power relations embedded in heteronormative patriarchy…”

    They’re NOT about – partly or otherwise – blah, blah, blah. Dear God, do you feminists NEVER explore evidence? The ‘male coercion theory’ of IPV is utter… what’s the word I’m seeking here?… oh yes… BULLSHIT. Don’t take my word for it, take the word of Dr Elizabeth Bates, Dr Nicola Graham-Kevan, and others. The study’s PDF is available through this link:

    http://j4mb.wordpress.com/2014/07/29/a-study-on-the-male-control-theory-of-intimate-partner-violence/

    The full Abstract:

    The aim of this study was to test predictions from the male control theory of intimate partner violence (IPV) and Johnson’s [Johnson, M.P. (1995). Journal of Marriage and the Family, 57, 282–294] typology. A student sample (N = 1,104) reported on their use of physical aggression and controlling behavior, to partners and to same‐sex non‐intimates. Contrary to the male control theory, women were found to be more physically aggressive to their partners than men were, [our emphasis] and the reverse pattern was found for aggression to same‐sex non‐intimates. Furthermore, there were no substantial sex differences in controlling behavior, which significantly predicted physical aggression in both sexes. IPV was found to be associated with physical aggression to same-sex non-intimates, thereby demonstrating a link with aggression outside the family. Using Johnson’s typology, women were more likely than men to be classed as “intimate terrorists,” which was counter to earlier findings. Overall, these results do not support the male control theory of IPV [our emphasis]. Instead, they fit the view that IPV does not have a special etiology, and is better studied within the context of other forms of aggression.

  90. Ally Fogg says

    For the benefit of Diana, Mike Buchanan and anyone who wants to continue conversations about domestic violence statistics, or generalised statements (positive or negative) about feminism or anything else…

    I’ve just opened a new open thread. Can we try to keep this one vaguely on topic?

    Thank you.

  91. diana6815 says

    Mike

    First of all, I said unequal power relations embedded in heteronormative patriarchy are at least PARTLY involved in these kinds of violence. I didn’t say ONLY men engage in these kinds of violence or that ALL of it stems from heteronormative patriarchy. But you’ll never get me to believe that that statement is false, that the ideas we are steeped in our entire lives play NO part in how we interact with others. That runs counter to common sense and my own experience.

    Sexual assault and harassment of women (just as one example) are tacitly supported by ideas flowing through the media. We objectify women and act like they aren’t allowed a sexuality outside of men’s desire, which leads to men’s feeling entitled to women’s bodies. Turning to domestic violence, I won’t deny that certain personalities may be more prone to violence. But when we tell men that anger and violence are the only tools they have to cope with frustration (and we do on TV, in movies, in video games), we are encouraging them to deal with problems in this manner.

    I will read the study. But I would like to point out that not all studies are of equal value. You have to take into account a lot of things … sample size … settings participants were drawn from … subjective bias that the researchers may have come to the question with. And so on.

  92. Thil says

    @=8)-DX says

    “Men you want to change the world for better? The very least step is to renounce violence against women. Then we can start fighting the problems together.”

    I’ll renounce domestic violence against anyone. I won’t imply preference by specifying women, and I won’t leave the kind of violence unspecified because I don’t believe violence against women (or people in general just to be clear) is always wrong

  93. Trill says

    i didn’t take your first article to be ‘about the menz,’ as much as it seems to me to be about a huge failure to understand what ‘he FOR she’ means, and to write a bunch of words about why you’re not going to click the horrid ‘women and girls’ button, and declare that you are withholding your support. because of the wording, you (and all your delighted misogynist followers, not your fault, maybe. i guess. i don’t know you) refuse to speak/act out against violence against women and girls? she gives an obviously feminist speech with the big gigantic reveal (feminism doesn’t mean women who are man-haters, omg, thank gosh we all know that now), asks for help from the men of the world for feminist issues via a campaign called he FOR she, and people aer going to lose their shit over being asked to speak out against violence against women/girls? you what?

    again, i don’t see it as a ‘what about the menz’ thing, but more of a ‘what’s in it for ME?’ thing (which is still a derail), which, well. did you ever see Half the Sky, or read any feminist theory that says if we empower women, we empower society? do you understand that facet of feminism? or is your definition of feminists that we’re about female superiority and/or emasculating (ahem) men? don’t worry, i’m not asking you to trust women to help men out or anything, i’m just asking you to take a look at your own feminism.

    i also saw it as a dishonest piece. you said, “At last! How long have I waited for this? Finally we see a body like the United Nations issue a clarion to the world, to stand as one against all forms of violence and discrimination…” right. first of all, the UN didn’t issue anything, she issued that speech TO the UN. and second, why not post just post links to groups that support men and the issues that kyriarchy creates for men?

    for instance, http://1in6.org / http://1bluestring.org is a great organization whose campaign is one of the very best net-to-irl campaigns i’ve ever seen. i also love a slam poet/hip hop artist/writer named Guante, who talks about these issues. maybe his views will be more palatable to other men. he has some great ideas, and a lot of steam. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cKlnqzt9GQ

    but here it seems you are being dishonest again. you claim to be a feminist, so i will automatically assume you have seen massive derails before, so maybe you’re not dishonest and just can’t see that’s what this is. if you can’t see it, i’m gonna just go ahead and let you get a few more years of this under your belt.

    kyriarchy does affect everyone. now, here’s the question: where are the non-MRA orgs dedicated to helping men deal with these issues? i posted 1/2 link. do you know of others? why not post something like, ‘as soon as you’re done either clicking or not clicking the button, here are some other links to click?’ as a female feminist, i would love to see a bunch of links that i can share with my male friends who are suffering*. i have NEVER seen a campaign for human rights that didn’t involve a ton of women. i have seen FEW men speaking out against violence against women and girls. she invited you guys to speak out and you’re basically saying, ‘NOPE! cuz she said OTHER words, so riot’ and, meanwhile, mras rage across the net, not leaving one single drop of helpful info, not a link to a support site, no fundraising to help the children, nothing but more excuses not to say a damned thing if they see someone being violent towards women/girls.

    can you get on board with THIS? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cKlnqzt9GQ <–THIS is what emma was talking about, in a man's voice.

    *just using gender binary here for simplicity, assume i understand that gender's a spectrum, like miss watson said.

  94. kevinkirkpatrick says

    An AIDS charity is doing a fundraiser for AIDS research. You’re about to pledge, but the bottom line of the pledge bothers you: “For the sake of the 1 million+ African men, women, and children who it kills every year, I pledge to donate ______ each month to help find a cure.”

    Would you think, “Fuck that. People outside of Africa have AIDS too. What about Americans? My American uncle died of AIDS five years ago. The same organization even noted that AIDS hurts people all over the world… so why isn’t the pledge statement more inclusive? I’ll be damned if I’m going to give one penny to a charity that uses such exclusionary language.”?

    Or would you think, “I suppose there is a lot of evidence that Africans are disproportionately affected by AIDS. Even though I think a more pure motivation for curing AIDS would stem from the desire to eliminate the suffering it causes to people of all nations, I can certainly stand with any organization that’s working to purge the world of this nefarious affliction.”?

    I’m just not seeing how this becomes different when we’re change “curing AIDS” to “eliminating oppressive gender roles”. How is your concern that the motivational statement of the pledge is focused on those *most* negatively affected by those gender roles any less pedantic?

  95. AnarchCassius says

    @kevinkirkpatrick
    To use the AIDS comparison things become a little different if consider a world in which AIDS programs overwhelmingly target Africa and the very existence of AIDS outside Africa has been challenged by many of those programs.

    Now consider an AIDS charity draws you in with a speech discussing the global AIDS crisis and need for global solutions… only to find a link for an Africa specific charity. In this context don’t you see a bit of a bait and switch?

    You can of course argue that’s emotional and irrational, and you’re probably right, but media is about emotional manipulation and I think it certainly provides a context where asking about male victims is justified.

    @Trill
    “first of all, the UN didn’t issue anything, she issued that speech TO the UN. and second, why not post just post links to groups that support men and the issues that kyriarchy creates for men?”
    This is actually a very interesting point. I keep thinking about this from Emma Watson’s point of view, if she was approached to speak by the group she likely had little say in the nature of HeForShe. It’s perfectly possible she was using their pedestal to promote her own message, with the alternative being someone else doing another boilerplate speech about exclusively female victims.

    “meanwhile, mras rage across the net, not leaving one single drop of helpful info, not a link to a support site, ”
    That’s demonstrably false, activism in indeed part of the MRM despite such insistence it doesn’t exist. http://www.reddit.com/r/MensRights/comments/2hg6jb/creating_a_presentation_for_man_as_victims_of/

    While MRAs tend to make sweeping generalizations of feminism they do have a much broader agenda and are actually concerned with men’s rights. I could easily cherry pick a list of man hating feminsts who do more harm than good. Yes, I’ve seen plenty of crazy MRAs but I’ve also seen plenty of people called misogynists for suggesting DV against men exists. I’m not talking about “derailing” I’m talking about people coming into discussions started about male victims and act like even bringing it up is a crime against women. Those people are why so many MRAs (wrongly) hate all feminists.

    “why not post something like, ‘as soon as you’re done either clicking or not clicking the button, here are some other links to click?”
    Ally’s blog is actually the best source of links and data I’ve found for men’s issues. The second best is the MRM and the third is feminism for the record.

    Sadly part of the reason resources for men are so few is that some feminists, like far too many MRAs, do see this as a zero sum game. Ally Fogg has a great piece on Polly Neate’s opposition to expanding domestic violence services because men would be included and her program was loosing funding. This is probably more motivated by self-interest in her case but her coaching it in feminist principals makes such a distinction fairly moot.
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/hetpat/2014/08/05/throwing-domestic-violence-victims-to-the-wolves/

  96. mildlymagnificent says

    123454321@82

    Hmmm, have you encouraged girls to build roads and lay pipes (there’s lots of machinery available these days to be excused from the strength and stamina argument) just as feminists have campaigned for them to get onto executive boards?

    Waaaay back in the 70s I did. Not so much now. If women want to get into those kinds of jobs nowadays, it’s much harder on them. Back then, most of that work was run by governments at various levels so it was pretty straightforward to extend whatever policies and practices they had to individual work groups. Now that most, sometimes all, those functions have been outsourced to individual contracting companies which are sometimes quite small it’s not so easy to draw on common anti-harassment or equal pay/equal conditions policies meant to cover the whole local government or regional agency workforce. It’s not the same thing to report a supervisor or team leader within an organisation for violating stated rules as it is to complain to the bloke running your roadbuilding team who is the organisation in question and has unlimited power to sack you just for speaking out of turn.

    The other big difference now is that it’s hard for anyone to get an apprenticeship or other trades qualification. Priorities from my point of view should be that the first, over-riding concern is the abandonment of sensible, coordinated training right across the workforce. I realise that the US has never been much of a model for this but Australia and the UK used to have pretty good arrangements. All that started going down the drain a few decades ago. Then the outsourcing of all skilled trades work to pretty unimpressive low bidding organisations put the concrete lid on the hole the earlier gravediggers had made so deep and wide.

  97. says

    —When is it acceptable to ask “what about the men?” If your answer is ‘never’ or ‘never in the same space as women’s issues are being discussed’ then how do we ever hope to reconcile women’s and men’s efforts to reinvent our distressingly gendered world. How do we achieve that dovetailing of agendas that I mentioned above? Is that desirable or even possible?—

    When you are actually trying to do something to genuinely help men rather than just engaging in a petty attempt at tearing down feminism.

  98. mildlymagnificent says

    WithinThisMind

    I think the best approach would be a version of Think Global, Act Local.

    The global notions or objectives are the “dovetailing” you talk about. The local is just what you do about specific issues and problems. So the global is always about equality, fairness, justice on a broad scale.

    The local things occur when remedying inequalities and injustices in particular organisations or relationships or issues. They might not actually be “local” when we’re talking about how a whole regional or national police force deals with a specific issue like responding to, say, rape reports. But the concept works if we just relax our definitional boundaries a bit.

    We know that we cannot possibly fix everything that’s wrong with our own circumstances or the world at large all in one go. So long as we don’t allow one or more local activities to get in the way of the global objective, we will improve things steadily. Not all of us can be the first to cross the line in a cycling race. Most of us, most of the time, are in the peloton. The important thing is not to let our urge to be at the forefront cause a huge pile up for our fellow riders.

  99. BrainyOne says

    I will say that I quite often disagree with the sneering “what about teh menz” retort. What about the men is an appropriate response when an issue is dishonestly and/or inaccurately represented as being women-only, when in fact the issue impacts men as well as women (since this is a matter of truth and accuracy); or, alternatively, if the focus is only on women without justification. There needs to be a cogent reason in the here-and-now to focus on women (citing “millennia of oppression” just doesn’t cut it). Admittedly, the objection must be on target so as not to constitute a derail. (For instance, bringing up false rape accusations in a thread about sexual assault is a derail; however pointing out that there are many male victims if the issue was presented as female-only is not. Bringing up prostate cancer in a thread about breast cancer is a derail; however pointing out that men can and do also suffer from breast cancer if the issue was presented as female-only is not.)

    In response to several posters who have said that most (or all) of men’s problems stem from patriarchy, and that therefore men should join with feminists in getting rid of patriarchy, it should be pointed out that elimination of patriarchy is only a necessary, but not a sufficient, condition. It is very important what actually is going to be put in the place of patriarchy. If it is in fact a matriarchy, then count me out.

  100. says

    —The global notions or objectives are the “dovetailing” you talk about.—

    I’m not talking about dovetailing.

    An analogy:

    Here we have a city. In this city, there are currently 80 houses owned by men, and 20 owned by women. There are 80 homeless women, and 20 homeless men. The women who currently own houses and the homeless women start getting together and realized they could build a bunch of apartments for the homeless women.

    Of course, the ideal solution would be for the 80 male homeowners to look at the situation and say something like, ‘holy shit, we’ve got a major homeless problem in this country, and we have got to get some apartments built’ and maybe while they are at it ask themselves why so few women own houses.

    But that isn’t what is happening.

    Dovetailing would be the homeless men joining up with the movement to build apartments and lending their aid, getting apartments of their own. It’s not a bad option, really. It would certainly improve the situation for all the homeless, which is a net good for everyone.

    Instead, what is happening is the male homeowners are throwing shitfits and burning down the apartments while screaming that the women deserve to get set on fire because they didn’t build some apartments for the men while they were at it, and the male homeless are blaming the women for the fires because if the women hadn’t started building apartments the male homeless wouldn’t have had come to terms with how much being homeless sucks, especially when you don’t have women around to look down on.

    My suggestion has indeed been ‘think globally, act locally’. Instead of screaming at women, the MRAs should actually ACT and do something about the ways patriarchy hurts men.

    As has been pointed out, Ally chose to ignore the entirety of Watson’s speech and focus on five little words. And in doing so, he choose to make them six words instead of actually looking at what she was saying. She said ‘faced by women and girls’. He chose to read that as ‘only faced by women and girls’ and throw a fit instead of saying ‘hey, maybe by fixing this we can improve the lives of men who also are facing these problems.’ And frankly, that says a hell of a lot more about Ally than it does about Watson and feminism.

    That’s the problem with MRAs in general. They’d rather throw a shit fit, moan about their lost privilege, and demonize feminism than actually get up off their lazy asses and do something that would actually improve the situation for everyone.

  101. says

    —- It is very important what actually is going to be put in the place of patriarchy. If it is in fact a matriarchy, then count me out.—

    It’s not. Only a Gingrich or Limbaugh level mouth-breather would try to claim that putting a matriarchy in place is the goal of feminism.

  102. Archy says

    “When is it acceptable to ask “what about the men?””

    In a world that routinely ignores male issues, where men are asked to stand up to fight against violence against women, yet women are not asked to do the same for violence against men (yes, women do commit large amounts of violence towards men). Where men step up and write how they call on other men to not harm women, yet I am still to see a single article by a woman telling other women to stop harming men. In a world where 200 girls kidnapped gets major campaigns and interest, yet 500+ males being targeted and killed by the same group (including infant males in front of their mothers) gets barely any attention….

    This is a society that clearly gives far more care towards women’s issues than men’s in the realm of violence. In this world one could expect heavy amounts of “whataboutthemenz” because really, men are ignored too much.

    Imagine being a man or caring about men, yet seeing disproportionate amounts of care given to women, multiple campaigns expecting men to help women yet pretty much nothing in return from women. Men who are victims of violence especially would feel ignored when YET another campaign for women arises. It would feel like a man and a woman are at the E.R with the same injuries, but the man is asked and expected to help give first aid to her, yet she is not expected to do anything for him. Do that a few times and you end up with a bunch of men who have been ignored, whilst women have had a disproportionate level of support.

    That is when it’s acceptable to ask “what about the men”. Because if you don’t ask that, who will? It sure as hell doesn’t seem like any major campaigns are doing it. To add insult to injury, it looks like SHE was talking about the men, yet it was just a campaign for WOMEN and GIRLS only. Of course people are gonna “whataboutthemenz” that type of campaign.

  103. says

    —-Imagine being a man or caring about men, yet seeing disproportionate amounts of care given to women, multiple campaigns expecting men to help women yet pretty much nothing in return from women. Men who are victims of violence especially would feel ignored when YET another campaign for women arises—

    Please link me to where you are starting such a campaign, I’d happily sign the petition and even make a donation.

    Or is that too much work compared to just bitching about the mean old feminists?

    —-Where men step up and write how they call on other men to not harm women, yet I am still to see a single article by a woman telling other women to stop harming men—

    Did you try opening your eyes when googling?

    How, exactly, do you feel women are harming men? Please give me a coherent and factual account of how women are harming men and I’ll happily write an article telling them to stop. Show me the actual pattern of genuine harm being done, and I’ll write up the article immediately. I’ll even put together a petition and post it on the feminist sites I comment on.

    But it has to be actual harm, not ‘she wouldn’t worship my penis’ or ‘she dared to have an opinion that disagreed with mine’ or ‘she dared to stand up for herself and that almost sorta inconvenienced me’ or ‘she dared to be female in public and I’m totally offended by that’.

  104. Archy says

    “Please link me to where you are starting such a campaign, I’d happily sign the petition and even make a donation.

    Or is that too much work compared to just bitching about the mean old feminists?”

    I am pretty ill myself and can’t put enough time or effort into it. The white ribbon campaign was started BY men FOR women wasn’t it? Surely both genders could help each other out. I am 1 in 7 billion, surely there are plenty of others starting campaigns.

    Who is bitching about mean old feminists? I’m bitching about society in general across the globe.

    “How, exactly, do you feel women are harming men? Please give me a coherent and factual account of how women are harming men and I’ll happily write an article telling them to stop. Show me the actual pattern of genuine harm being done, and I’ll write up the article immediately. I’ll even put together a petition and post it on the feminist sites I comment on.”

    I should have clarified in the comment, men and women who harm the other, as not everyone does it. Apologies for the unlabeled generalizations.

    Start on sexual violence and Domestic violence. I’ve seen quite a few articles for instance of men telling other men not to abuse women, even mothers telling their sons not to rape, etc. We need the opposite side too for balance. Women especially need to tell other women to not hit men, not abuse men, not rape men as I’m yet to see articles like this.

    The CDC NISVS 2010 and followup studies hold statistics for the U.S for perpetration of violence by gender, and the types of violence both genders face. The forced to penetrate issue is sorely lacking in awareness so a woman writing an article telling other women to not do that would be a good start.

    Another issue is the casual public hitting of men. Probably 95% of the time I see one gender hit the other, it’s in public, and it’s a woman hitting or slapping a man. I’ve been hit a few times before, for laughing at something funny for instance that had nothing to do with her, or women, nor was offensive. Some may think it’s a minor issue, but it’s still an issue and probably leads to the view that it’s ok to hit men amongst some women, and could lead to more severe violence in private settings. Yes I realize a lot of violence is against women by men in private, the 95% thing is only about things I’ve personally see with my eyes. The ratio of what I’ve HEARD about locally is more 50:50 or towards 1male:3female ratio. I haven’t seen much of men hitting women in public, the ones that did had a big bouncer chase and throw him out or had more of an outcry. Youtube has some videos showing the double standards of DV in public.

    “But it has to be actual harm, not ‘she wouldn’t worship my penis’ or ‘she dared to have an opinion that disagreed with mine’ or ‘she dared to stand up for herself and that almost sorta inconvenienced me’ or ‘she dared to be female in public and I’m totally offended by that’.”

    Not sure why you’re mentioning that, but I would guess I am completely different to what you think I am if that was inspired by what I say. When I say harm I mean actual, legitimate violence. Things like sexual abuse, physical, even mental and verbal abuse, financial abuse, stalking, etc.

    Not worshipping penis isn’t violent or harmful. Opinions that differ aren’t harmful unless it can actually influence law or some way to be harmful…eg racism, sexism, etc. The Islamophobia in Australia at the moment and probably worldwide is harmful.

    Standing up for herself is great and I help people do that where I can. I’ve helped a few people leave DV situations, given them information to help them decide what to do, sheltered someone for a few days to escape an abuser, things like that. Stuff everyone should be doing, for both genders. I have no interest in painting the entire feminist movement bad off a few bad apples, nor the same to the MRA. My only desire is seeing everyone supported where needed.

    If you write any articles, lemme know as I’ll read them. Try to avoid the seemingly common theme or saying how much worse women get it in an article of male victimization though. Whilst statistically it may be true, it can be quite dismissive and insulting to victims.

  105. mildlymagnificent says

    In a world where 200 girls kidnapped gets major campaigns and interest, yet 500+ males being targeted and killed by the same group (including infant males in front of their mothers) gets barely any attention….

    Don’t know what happened in other households. In this one. When Boko Haram killed those boys innocently learning about better agriculture, I cried and both of us raged, because all hope was gone for those boys. When the girls were kidnapped, we had hope. And I think a lot of other people did too. That hope died slowly, and it’s pretty well moribund now. My spirits would be lifted if some more of those girls escaped or were freed – but I feel any real hope would be forlorn.

    And that’s the difference.

    When people are killed, the shock and grief are instantaneous. Seeing those 4 boys mown down on the Gaza beach had a similar impact on me, though there was already quite enough ghastly violence elsewhere in Gaza. When people are kidnapped or otherwise go missing, we hang onto hope. The fact that hopes are often dashed doesn’t stop us. In some ways, that says something good about people – that we can hold on to hope in the face of horrible brutality. I’d like to think we’ll continue to do so.

  106. says

    Your complaint seems to be that since Watson mentioned in her speech how sexism also affects men, then despite the fact that the campaign is clearly titled “HeForShe” and that only men are being asked to sign up to it, it should not have mentioned that it was about combating violence towards women and girls in particular.

    So if Watson’s speech had not mentioned men at all, you’d have been happier and signed the pledge without a qualm? This was clearly an inappropriate issue for a “What about the Menz” post.

    But to answer your question: I think it would be legitimate to raise how an issue affects men when discussion of an issue is concentrating on how if affects women, even though men are much more affected by the issue.

    For example: Suppose a discussion of male circumcision was concentrating on how a circumcised penis affected the sensations for the woman during intercourse, or the cleanliness of the penis for fellatio. It would then be legitimate to point out that this issue should really be about the affect on the person who has the penis.

    (You think this is silly? Bear in mind that discussions of female circumcision have sometimes included the issue of the man’s pleasure during intercourse!)

  107. Carnation says

    @ Herbert

    Nobody will read your extended pyramid of piffle.

    Ally most likely would’ve invoked the First Directive if he had the patience to wade through that juvelillia.

    I’ll say this though: you’ve got a sterling career ahead of you as an MRA.

  108. says

    —-Another issue is the casual public hitting of men. Probably 95% of the time I see one gender hit the other, it’s in public, and it’s a woman hitting or slapping a man.—-

    Actually, I’ve seen articles saying don’t do this, and have actually called women out on this behavior. A friend of mine kept getting smacked by a girl he knew who thought it was funny. Right up until on his behalf, I smacked her back and said ‘see, it hurts’. I’ve also seen articles, written by women saying that if a woman hits a man he is allowed to hit her back or otherwise use force to make her stop because it isn’t acceptable for a woman to abuse a man.

    I even tell my son that if a girl is hitting him, he is allowed to hit her back as long as he doesn’t hit her harder than she is hitting him. If the principal / teachers object, I will handle the situation.

    There are also many, many articles, by feminists, stating that children of both genders should be taught not to hit each other. Shakesville in particular has covered this topic multiple times, as has I believe Libby Anne.

    —-When I say harm I mean actual, legitimate violence.—-

    Well, that makes you unusual. See, what most MRAs mean be ‘harm against men’ is shit like ‘friendzone’ and ‘how dare they object to us treating them like shit’.

    —-We need the opposite side too for balance. —-

    The opposite side of ‘boys, don’t hit girls’, isn’t ‘girls, don’t hit boys’, it’s ‘boys, do hit girls’. Thinking of boys and girls as ‘opposites’ is part of the problem.

    —-Youtube has some videos showing the double standards of DV in public. —

    Don’t use youtube as a source. The videos are carefully edited to show only what is desired. If the videos were honest, however, what they would show is that it’s very rare for anyone to intercede on behalf of anyone in a domestic violence situation. Or street harassment situation.

  109. scoobertron says

    Paul Durrant says
    September 27, 2014 at 9:53 am
    “But to answer your question: I think it would be legitimate to raise how an issue affects men when discussion of an issue is concentrating on how if affects women, even though men are much more affected by the issue.”

    Another example example along similar lines that I found interesting – in the recent flurry of attention given to the phrase ‘… like a girl’, I didn’t see any commentator remark on the fact that this language is exlusively used to deride boys for not meeting masculine ideals. Now, I think that the ‘like a girl’ campaign was great – in a large part because it is the kind of throwaway expression that it is easy to unreflectively accept. But I did think it odd that the public discussion of a term of abuse for boys focussed exclusively on its effect on girls – and I did feel that the discussion would have benefitted from including the people who were actually abused by the expression.

  110. says

    —No it wasn’t. I never said anything even remotely similar to that. You imagined it.—

    And Emma Watson never said ‘don’t do anything about violence against men’ or ‘exclude men from protection’. You imagined it.

    Apply the same standard to your refusal to sign the pledge as you applied to Emma’s speech and we have you being okay with violence against women.

    Your entire premise for disagreement with Watson’s speech is fundamentally flawed.

  111. Schala says

    Well, that makes you unusual. See, what most MRAs mean be ‘harm against men’ is shit like ‘friendzone’ and ‘how dare they object to us treating them like shit’.

    This is a cute troll, yes, ain’t you a cute troll. Let me scratch you on the tummy, you trollish troll.

  112. Archy says

    @113 Mildymagnificent

    “And that’s the difference. ”

    That’s the thing though. There were some who were kidnapped AFAIK, but furthermore, I didn’t see much rage in articles, online with social media, etc. Surely if the same number of women were killed we’d get some major twitter campaigns. Wasn’t there one after Elliott went nuts and killed people? Maybe some don’t feel it’s in their backyard so it’s not a major issue but it seemed the bringbackthegirls stuff did reach a lot of people.

    @117 WithinThisMind

    “There are also many, many articles, by feminists, stating that children of both genders should be taught not to hit each other. Shakesville in particular has covered this topic multiple times, as has I believe Libby Anne.”

    Thing is I’ve seen some of these articles too but they have both genders at once. We need to see them also as single gender teaching females not to harm. If we have single gender articles telling men to stop abuse + other articles telling both to abuse, you still get a disproportionate focus on men and collectively it feels like women as abusers is an afterthought.

    I’m glad you stuck up for others, it’s good to see.

    “Well, that makes you unusual. See, what most MRAs mean be ‘harm against men’ is shit like ‘friendzone’ and ‘how dare they object to us treating them like shit’.”

    I realize it’s possibly rare for opinions like mine as a man to exist. I’m not an MRA though. I lean somewhere in the middle, I like some parts of feminism, and some parts of the MRM. I dislike bigotry and the childish games that go on, so I sit in the middle waiting for the magic utopia time when they both grow the F up and join forces, or whenever a major men’s feminist movement peaks up. Though I don’t think that will happen as many want feminism to focus on women’s issues, which is ok as long as most agree on that and not have a heap say it’s an egalitarian movement for both genders which causes confusions I think like the Emma issue.

    I personally think friendzone shouldn’t be applied to unrequited love, but only situations when someone purposely knows the other likes them and leads them on, actively messing with them…I think this variant causes a lot of bitterness. Unrequited love where they simply just aren’t into you..well that sucks, but that’s normal in life. There’s no harmful intent with unrequited love situations, but the other is deceptive and not good to do. But that’s a whole other article to be written.

    “—-We need the opposite side too for balance. —-”

    I guess I mean other gender’s side. I don’t think of the genders as opposites though but I didn’t know a better way to say it. Side by side? If you know a better term, lemme know.

    “Don’t use youtube as a source. The videos are carefully edited to show only what is desired. If the videos were honest, however, what they would show is that it’s very rare for anyone to intercede on behalf of anyone in a domestic violence situation. Or street harassment situation.”

    Well there is the ManKind project? Video which was pretty recent, an older video by ABC “Primtime: What Would You Do? with John Quinones which also shows the difference. Sure it could be edited, but personally I believe it is somewhat accurate. I’ve seen far more interventions on behalf of women than I have of men, and I see a massively different level of empathy towards female victims of violence in general society here in Australia. I would guess it’s somewhat similar in the U.S and U.K but I could be wrong.

  113. says

    —-Thing is I’ve seen some of these articles too but they have both genders at once. We need to see them also as single gender teaching females not to harm.—

    Wait… isn’t what started this whole shitfit of Ally’s the fact that Watson gave a speech on a single gender instead of including both genders? For the love of FSM, would you people please get your stories straight.

    Bullying is wrong, and the casual hitting often done by women is bullying. There are anti-bullying campaigns all over the damn place. But before we can do something about things like, oh, a woman being punched unconscious in an elevator and getting blamed for it, we have to write an article saying specifically saying ‘girls, don’t do that’ because for you, it’s not enough to say ‘nobody do that’. Okay, it’s done. It’s up on my blog.

    Can we stop derailing Watson’s speech now?

    —you still get a disproportionate focus on men —

    And for some reason, it never occurred to you that there is a reason for that, and it isn’t ‘let’s be mean to teh menz’. I guess the reason there are so many more prisons for men than for women is all just a vast conspiracy against teh boys, right?

    This is actually one of the many ways the patriarchy hurts men. Between the focus on sports and the whole ‘masculine men are violent’ bullshit, young men are taught that violence is an acceptable response and given a sense of entitlement. Young women, on the other hand, are told to be nice and to curtail their behaviors. Boys will be boys and girls will be ladies and all that bullshit.

  114. Ally Fogg says

    Wait… isn’t what started this whole shitfit of Ally’s the fact that Watson gave a speech on a single gender instead of including both genders? For the love of FSM, would you people please get your stories straight.

    Um, no. Pretty much exactly the opposite of that, actually.

    Watson gave a speech on both genders. It was a good speech.

    Ally’s “shitfit” was not about Watson’s speech. It was about the UN pledge, which was very much on a single gender.

  115. mildlymagnificent says

    Surely if the same number of women were killed we’d get some major twitter campaigns.

    What? A few hundred women being killed during a regional/ civil war? A couple of thousand dying as they trek through drought ravaged lands to a forbidding refugee centre?

    I don’t think so.

    The way to get people involved in a Twitter *campaign* must involve
    – giving people a sense that there is something, anything, they can actually do. Twitter’s good because it’s a no cost, no effort, no “doing” thing to do.
    – the victims must be “sympathetic” – children are best. Non-children should be as much “like us” as possible. African or Asian folk don’t do it for much of the Anglophone world. (If it’s Australia, they’re more likely to worry that these people, if they’re still alive, will turn up as refugees. And that’s the _worst_ possible thing that could happen.)
    – apart from the people involved, the event must be something people can relate to. Hence the responses to airplane crashes and random street shootings of “people like us”.
    – kidnapping or other ‘gone missing’ reports are more gripping/ exciting/ interesting than straightforward deaths. As long as they are sympathetic – children for instance – or enough “like us”. Sex workers and delinquent boys, for instance, are rarely candidates for sympathetic treatment.
    – most important of all.
    One death is a tragedy. A million deaths are a statistic. (Applies to hundreds or thousands as well.)

  116. Trill says

    Ok, well, at least you admit that the problem that you have with the whole thing is that it “was very much on a single gender.” I can understand your outrage, now. It was a speech, given by a goodwill ambassador for UN Women (http://www.unwomen.org/en/partnerships/goodwill-ambassadors and http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2014/7/un-women-announces-emma-watson-as-goodwill-ambassador) about violence toward and oppression of women, but she said something about the men maybe like joining us in this issue, by speaking out and acting out against violence against girls and women, and that fuzzied up your brain there, and you thought, for a second, that it was going to be a John Lennon song INSTEAD, and I mean, well, that’s almost just like when women wear make-up to trick men into thinking that they’re beautiful.

    What the fuck is the world coming to, huh? The very gall.

  117. Anton Mates says

    I must say, Ally, that I’m a bit baffled at how many commenters interpreted you as attacking Emma Watson’s speech itself, or the idea of political projects aimed specifically at helping women. It seemed clear to me that you were doing neither. Rather, you were arguing that the UN, which of all institutions should be most inclusive, has a history of excluding male-specific concerns, and that this pledge seemed like more of the same, especially because it failed to follow up on the inclusivity of Watson’s language. Assuming I have that right, I expected people who disagreed with you to argue: a) that you’d mischaracterized the UN’s work in this area, b) that male-specific concerns are not globally significant enough to warrant UN-level backing, or c) that even if the UN has fallen short in this area it doesn’t justify withholding support from female-specific pledges. Personally, I’m aligned with c) there.

    Anyways, I thought the most interesting question was whether the UN actually does show a bias in how it allocates aid to female vs male populations in need. I know very little about this, but from the examples you and mildlymagnificent provided, it seems like the UN has a tendency to break problems down into a “general case”, which usually covers men/boys, and then a series of “special cases” for populations it deems in need of sp

    So you have a statement of the need to help “child soldiers,” gender unspecified, and then the special needs of “female child soldiers.” Or a statement about massacre victims and then female/young/elderly massacre victims. Or (to use mildlymagnificent’s much older example) a statement on the plight of laborers, and then women, children and the elderly in the labor force.

    I can see why this would be problematic to both feminists and those concerned with men’s welfare. To the former, it’s more of the old “humans are male by default, women are some weird variant” attitude, while to the latter, it erases the recognition of any problems to which men might be distinctly vulnerable. Still, this philosophy doesn’t necessarily require that either gender get a disproportionate amount of assistance. If the larger, mainstream program serves more males than females while the smaller program exclusively serves females, it might work out to a gender-balanced approach in practice. (Though I have no idea if this is the case.)

    Also, it seems to me that there might be valid pragmatic reasons to set up programs this way. Take the child soldier thing. Yes, far more boys than girls are victimized in that way. No matter how you define “soldier,” more boys are recruited/abducted than girls, and recruited boys are much more likely than girls to die because they end up on the front lines more often. On the other hand, among child soldiers that survive–at least in Africa–I’ve read that girls find it more difficult to reintegrate into their community afterwards, because of the social consequences of sexual abuse. They’re considered damaged goods in a way that similarly abused boys are not, particularly if their abuser got them pregnant.

    So if the problem is more common for boys, but takes on gender-specific aspects in some girls, then maybe it makes sense to set up the assistance program UN-style? The main program focuses on reintegrating children who fought on the battlefield–that’s far more boys than girls, but it does serve some girls as well, so it doesn’t need to be gender-specific. The special program for female soldiers focuses on reintegrating girls who were sexually abused, and that is gender-specific because, if nothing else, sexually abused boys do not come back pregnant and can be otherwise treated and assisted through the mainstream program.

    This idea wouldn’t apply to every humanitarian issue, of course, but it might justify the structure of the particular programs we’ve been taking about.

  118. Anton Mates says

    then a series of “special cases” for populations it deems in need of sp

    In need of a specialized approach, that was supposed to be. Gah.

  119. H. E. Pennypacker says

    @ 126 Anton Mates

    Very good post. I’ve just been making a very similar point – regarding this all fitting into the idea of men being the default gender – in the original thread. I’m going to have to disagree slightly with the last section of your post though. I can see where you’re coming from with the notion that a focusing on am issue generally and focusing on how it effects women/girls could be the right approach in certain circumstances, the problem is that it seems to be applied in pretty much all circumstances including when men/boys might benefit from a focus on their issues specifically. To take up the child soldier example I strongly agree that girls need support reintegrating socially that men won’t need, but at the same time there will be issues that primarily affect boys being reintegrated like disabilities caused by battle, PTSD etc.

    I think the lack of focus on men’s problems becomes much more harmful when it is a problem where they are not the primary victims. If we take something like mass rape campaigns then having a general campaign and one specifically for women leaves men with very little. Because it affects more men than women the general campaign will largely be a campaign for women. And this is certainly an area where in many places men will be affected differently; they sometimes face greater social exclusion, they are more likely to feel that their whole gender identity has been destroyed etc.

  120. JT says

    For all those who think men have it made while women are considered less privileged. Listen to this great philosopher. 🙂

  121. Archy says

    @122 Withinthismind

    “Wait… isn’t what started this whole shitfit of Ally’s the fact that Watson gave a speech on a single gender instead of including both genders? For the love of FSM, would you people please get your stories straight.”

    No. Articles are different to overall campaigns, and in the campaign the draw-card was both genders issues being discussed, whereas the campaign is only about one. An article can specialize with one gender without problems as long as there are othe articles for the other gender. Same with campaigns, as long as they don’t sound misleading and act like a campaign for both when it’s really one.

    “But before we can do something about things like, oh, a woman being punched unconscious in an elevator and getting blamed for it, we have to write an article saying specifically saying ‘girls, don’t do that’ because for you, it’s not enough to say ‘nobody do that’. Okay, it’s done. It’s up on my blog. ”

    I hope it gets a lot of attention if it’s a good article. The problem with saying everyone is that it sounds more like an afterthought. When you have articles talking about a single gender, it goes into specific cases usually too. Some people may not realize the severity of some women’s violence.

    “And for some reason, it never occurred to you that there is a reason for that, and it isn’t ‘let’s be mean to teh menz’. I guess the reason there are so many more prisons for men than for women is all just a vast conspiracy against teh boys, right? ”

    You do understand what disproportionate means right? If say 75% of let’s say domestic violence is commited by men, but 95% of articles were about male perpetrators….that would be disproportionate. If 75% of articles were about male perps, then that would be PROportionate. Are you trying to be dismissive of male issues everytime you say “menz” with a z?

    “Young women, on the other hand, are told to be nice and to curtail their behaviors. Boys will be boys and girls will be ladies and all that bullshit.”

    I dunno where you live but young women are taught that boys don’t hit back, and there’s pretty much zero repercussions for women being violent quite often to men here, thus teaching them it’s acceptable to hit men. There’s also culture in which it’s acceptable to hit a man if he annoys you, cheats, etc.

    When you disproportionately refer to men as the perpetrator, it creates a narrative which can influence arrest policies, can influence how society treats victims, and makes it difficult to get perpetrators treatment.

    @124 Mildymagnificent.
    There were boys kidnapped too though, children, preteens and teens AFAIK.

  122. Lucy says

    You could have asked what about the men, what you shouldn’t have done was refuse to sign the petition and encourage others to do the same before you’d got an answer. Then it stops being a question and becomes a directive.

  123. Lucy says

    ““… women and children are subjected to much more severe violence with much more severe consequences much more often than men are.”
    But the point is, this is simply not true. This the Achilles Heel of your entire argument – and of the entire IPV/DV/DA argument is built on this untruth.”

    You should have said women and children are subjected to much more random, unprovoked, disproportionate violence than men are and then it would have been accurate.

  124. Lucy says

    “Feminist ‘patriarchy theory’ – which states that men (as a class) have always oppressed women (as a class), and continue to do so – is so at variance with any dispassionate analysis of gender relations ”

    How would you know? You haven’t got a dispassionate bone in your body.

  125. says

    Withthisinmind

    “I even tell my son that if a girl is hitting him, he is allowed to hit her back as long as he doesn’t hit her harder than she is hitting him. If the principal / teachers object, I will handle the situation.”

    Do you ask him to consider their relative bone density first? Or do you encourage him to hit back at disabled kids with their crutches too?

  126. says

    12345678901234567890

    “I think it’s perfectly acceptable in a day and age when feminists and women get 95% of media coverage relating specifically to their issues to ask: “What about the men?” !!!”

    Be a love, nip over to the Times and the Telegraph and the BBC, the Washington Post, The Guardian, the Mirror, the Express and count how many articles address feminist and women’s issues compared to men. Every god-damn day it’s wall to wall men talking about men. Men kicking or throwing or hitting balls, men racing in circles, men climbing things, men killing people, men arguing with men, men deciding where the money should go, a man’s written a book or made a film, about men, and men are telling each other what they think of it, or a male historian is talking about what dead men did or thought. While every comment section is 90% men talking about how much attention women get and why can’t more things be about more Important news – ie. What men are doing. When William Hague took a week out of 52 to talk about war-rape, the famous morning man asked if he wasn’t embarrassed not to be concentrating on male war. It’s just background noise to you because it’s so normal.

  127. says

    Mike Buchanan:
    “You are aware – from the NISVS surveys of 2010 and 2011, much commented upon on this site – that a majority of sexually abused men are the victims of female perpetrators, right? ”

    That’s odd. Because the NISVS surveys of 2010 says this:
    “Across all types of violence, the majority of both female and male victims reported experiencing violence from one perpetrator.
    • Across all types of violence, the majority of female victims reported that their perpetrators were male.
    • Male rape victims and male victims of non-contact unwanted sexual experiences reported predominantly male perpetrators. Nearly half of stalking victimizations against males were also perpetrated by males. Perpetrators of other forms of violence against males were mostly female.”

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

  128. says

    Mike Buchanan: “3. Number of national screening programmes for male-specific cancers? Come on, take a guess. That’s right. None.”

    “Why isn’t there a national screening programme for prostate cancer in England?
    Until there is clear evidence to show that a national screening programme brings more benefit than harm, we will not be offering prostate cancer screening for asymptomatic men.

    When considering population screening programmes the benefits and harms should be assessed and the benefits should always outweigh the harms. In 1968, Wilson and Junger of the World Health Organisation developed 10 principles which a national screening programme should meet. To date, we are only able to identify the first principle for prostate cancer screening:

    Important health problem
    Natural history well understood
    Recognisable at an early stage
    Treatment better at an early stage
    A suitable test exists
    An acceptable test exists
    Adequate facilities exist to cope with abnormalities detected
    Screening at repeated intervals when insidious onset
    Chance of harm is less than the chance of benefit
    Cost balanced against benefit
    Evidence from a prostate cancer screening trial in Europe, ERSPC, has shown that screening reduced mortality by 20 per cent. However, this was associated with a high level of over treatment. To save one life, 48 additional cases of prostate cancer needed to be treated.

    Following research evidence published in 1997 the UK National Screening Committee recommended that a prostate cancer screening programme should not be introduced in England. This policy was reviewed in Dec 2010 but no significant changes were made. It is due to be considered again in 2013/14, or earlier if significant new evidence emerges.”
    http://www.cancerscreening.nhs.uk/prostate/faq07.html

    —–
    “THIS POLICY IS NO LONGER ACTIVE

    Date of deactivation 6 September 2013
    Reason for deactivation Testicular cancer was last reviewed in 2006 when the UK NSC recommended against a screening programme. The policy was removed in September 2013 because the condition is more commonly detected through self-examination and, as such, is not appropriate for consideration as a screening programme.”
    http://www.screening.nhs.uk/testicularcancer


    But I’m sure you’re right and you know best. Nothing beats self-taught doctors off of the Internet for accurate medical advice.

  129. Archy says

    @139 Lucy

    Men forced to penetrate isn’t classified as rape by the NISVS 2010, but the numbers of men forced to penetrate are much much higher than those “raped” (Definition is being forcibly penetrated).

    It’s a bias which hides the amount of female rapists (definition I am using for this sentence is forced sexual intercourse by male or female, which includes forcing someone to penetrate the rapist).

    “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%). For non-contact unwanted sexual experiences, approximately half of male victims (49.0%) reported only male perpe -trators and more than one-third (37.7%) reported only female perpetrators (data not shown).” From NISVS 2010 on page 24 in full report.

    Lifetime numbers for male victims. Page 19 in full report
    Rape 1.4% of surveyed men – 1,581,000 (93.3% male perps)

    Made to Penetrate 4.8% – 5,451,000 (79.2% female perps)
    Sexual Coercion 6.0% – 6,806,000 (83.6% female perps)
    Unwanted sexual contact 11.7% – 13,296,000 ( 53.1% female perps)
    Non-contact unwanted sexual experiences 12.8% – 14,450,000 (37.7% female perps)

    Keep in mind that doesn’t imply the leftover % is male, I don’t think they list a full breakdown of data so there may be some who are abused by males + females or just males which isn’t listed AFAIK. We can’t definitively state an exact % of abuse by either gender but it does appear the majority of sexual abuse, at least the majority of contact-sexual abuse (made to penetrate + sexual coercion + unwanted sexual contact) is perpetrated by females.

  130. Anton Mates says

    H. E. Pennypacker @128,

    To take up the child soldier example I strongly agree that girls need support reintegrating socially that men won’t need, but at the same time there will be issues that primarily affect boys being reintegrated like disabilities caused by battle, PTSD etc.

    True, more boys will have to deal with combat-related disabilities and injuries, both mental and physical. But some girls will as well, and the optimal treatments for these problems aren’t necessarily very gender-specific, so there may still be no need for a program that is explicitly limited to boys. A gender-neutral program focused on these particular issues will necessarily provide more care for boys, simply because they make up most of the needy. (And, at least according to the reports I’ve read, this was the case for the earliest UN programs aimed at child soldiers.)

    By contrast, almost* no boys will come back carrying a child of the “enemy”, so the reintegration challenges faced by girls in that situation really are extremely gender-specific.

    Ditto for mass rape campaigns. The impact on male victims is certainly statistically different from that on female victims, but are there any problems faced only by male victims? In the way that only* female victims have to cope with pregnancy, if nothing else? Here too, it seems like there might be more of a need for a female-specific program than a male-specific one there, regardless of the relative numbers of men and women victimized.

    Now I’m kind of devil’s-advocating here. I do think there are very distinctively male responses to rape–especially rape by another man–that would be best addressed through a gender-specific program, and certainly should be addressed in any halfway wealthy and functional country. But I can imagine the UN deciding that, for an underfunded triage program in a poor and war-torn region, these responses are not as important to address in that way as the distinctively female consequence of “get impregnated by your rapist, then shunned or murdered by your community.” Again, this is not because female victims are more numerous or have it worse, but because their plight is more exceptional

    *Not to erase trans men/boys, who certainly can get pregnant. But consciously transgender males are probably very rare and very closeted in these communities, so I can see the UN not working too hard to configure its humanitarian programs for their needs. Although, holy shit, if you’re a transgender boy abducted to fight in a bush war, God owes you a nine-page apology.

    I think the lack of focus on men’s problems becomes much more harmful when it is a problem where they are not the primary victims. If we take something like mass rape campaigns then having a general campaign and one specifically for women leaves men with very little.

    In practice, I suspect that you’re right. Above, I was saying that you don’t logically need a men’s-only program to give male victims the appropriate amount of attention…but yes, in a case like this it really seems likely that they’ll get overlooked.

    Lucy @137,

    Do you ask him to consider their relative bone density first?

    WithinThisMind is talking about children. Girls and boys have pretty much identical bone densities, until their twenties. When I was in elementary school, the (few) girls who hit me were usually taller and heavier than I was.

    Or do you encourage him to hit back at disabled kids with their crutches too?

    If a disabled kid is whacking other kids with their crutches on the playground, getting hit back is probably a valuable life lesson for them.

    I mean, sure, the response should be proportionate, you shouldn’t break a smaller kid in half for kicking you in the shins. But I don’t think it’s particularly helpful for weaker children to think that they can pick fights with less fear of retaliation.

  131. H. E. Pennypacker says

    @ Anton Mates 142

    I see what you’re saying. It’s quite interesting that the thing that makes women’s cases exceptional in the examples you’re providing is pregnancy. To briefly advocate on behalf of the devil, could it be argued that in these examples (child soldiers, mass rape) we don’t need an initiative that is specifically for women but for one that is for child soldiers or victims of rape who are pregnant. We would then divide the help for child soldiers by their problem (pregnancy, PTSD, disability) etc. rather than by their gender. Why would we need a female specific campaign due to the fact that some women will face a problem that is faced only by women given the fact that many of the women the campaign is aimed at won’t experience this problem?

  132. StillGjenganger says

    @Anton Mates 142; H.E.P. 143
    That is a very good discussion about when you might logically need special treatment for either gender. But it kind of assumes that there is enough attention, resources, political commitment etc. to cover the needs of both groups. If that is not the case, giving a high profile to helping one gender will have the practical effect of putting the needs of the other in the shade, even if this is not in theory necessary.

  133. WhineyM. says

    When is it legitimate to ask ‘what about (the) men’? (the original spelling of which is significant, of course, since it seeks to discredit the concern to speak to men’s needs as being the preoccupation of the unenlightened and poorly educated).

    Well as an egalitarian, I really think this matter is fairly straightforward: men and women both face their own particular disadvantages and problems, none of which should eclipse or negate those faced by the opposite sex. In other words, women and men face similar levels of difficulties and therefore require similar levels of help.

    The time to protest, then, is when we are faced with large disparities in the amount of media attention (or, say, financial resources from government) which are bestowed by those in power.

    As a men’s equality advocate I’ve done my fair amount of complaining about all the ‘women-only’ parliamentary commissions and enquiries which see to enhance women’s quality of life in various areas. But you know actually, I would not mind these things at all (in fact would probably welcome them as a creative force for good), were the metropolitan elites, who set these things up and promote them, to show a similar level of concern for men (and have a similar
    array of schemes and research initiatives for them too).

    At the moment, the balance is just way, way to extreme (and of course has become particularly glaring in areas like prison reform).

    But to give you a small pat on the back, Ally, I do welcome your comments on the Watson thread regarding “the consensus of large parts of the self-styled progressive left.”

    Finally recognising that this political faction often actively opposes progress (for their own particular motives and ends), is in my view an important preliminary step toward challenging these vested interests which hold us back in this area.

  134. WhineyM. says

    (Oh yeah should just emphasise that when I talked about original spelling of the phrase being used to discredit, I meant by those people who use it, not by Ally in this article, who I’ve never utilise this expression in his writings, truth be told).

  135. mildlymagnificent says

    WhineyM

    But you know actually, I would not mind these things at all (in fact would probably welcome them as a creative force for good), were the metropolitan elites, who set these things up and promote them, to show a similar level of concern for men (and have a similar array of schemes and research initiatives for them too).

    I have a bit of a theory about that. When you start looking at issues like men’s homelessness and suicide rates and youth unemployment and mental health, the most common problems being depression and/or anxiety, any government or agency that takes the views and opinions of the affected groups into account will find itself in a bit of a bind.

    The one thing that many men in these groups need above all else is a job. A job with an income adequate to support themselves, and many would like to support their families too. If they were asked what they needed or wanted, many men would say that quite loudly. And that brings into question practically all of the economic and infrastructure so-called policy of the last 30 years. Which we can all see continuing for several years yet. The current obsession with austerity rather than growth policies in the dire position that many countries find themselves in is an indicator of that.

    With policies in relation to women and children, governments and agencies can pretend that the issues are all personal or they’re about distributing government benefits and services and ignore the underlying economic problems that exacerbate, or even cause, the problems these groups face. There’s a lot less room for such obfuscation in relation to policy about issues that are important to men.

  136. StillGjenganger says

    @Mildly 147
    Very good point.
    Does make me wonder why the problems of the two sexes seem to be so different, though. What is your take on that?

  137. Sigil says

    Ally @ 6.

    Why do you say modern feminists should have as much space in the media as they want, while advocating the exclusion of Elam and Hembling who look very tame by comparison?

  138. mildlymagnificent says

    Gjenganger

    Does make me wonder why the problems of the two sexes seem to be so different, though. What is your take on that?

    Because we’re taught to see them that way – would be my routine, fair-average-quality feminist answer. And business, media and politicians would much rather see men and women squabbling over scraps from rich people’s tables than uniting to treat all, or most, of the problems they face as a class or general social issue.

    Can you tell that I’m now starting to read Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-first Century? He doesn’t actually use the language of class struggle – so far as I’ve read, which is not far – but he does rather hammer home the point about economic inequality and its miserable effects on workers.

  139. Anton Mates says

    H. E. Pennypacker @143,

    I see what you’re saying. It’s quite interesting that the thing that makes women’s cases exceptional in the examples you’re providing is pregnancy.

    Well, it’s kind of the most physically distinctive thing about women, no? Obviously there are women who can’t get pregnant and trans men who can, but it’s still about as close as you’re gonna get to a universal difference between the sexes.

    Why would we need a female specific campaign due to the fact that some women will face a problem that is faced only by women given the fact that many of the women the campaign is aimed at won’t experience this problem?

    Because without that campaign, it wouldn’t necessarily be recognized that a significant chunk of child soldiers face this problem at all–or so goes the reasoning that I’ve heard. Because it is faced by only some girls and no boys, it wasn’t on the humanitarian radar as an issue early on; being ostracized or murdered due to pregnancy isn’t the first thing that most of us imagine when we think about the hazards of being press-ganged into the army. Having a “what about the wimmenz?” campaign gets people thinking, “wait, what issues might we be missing here?”

    In other words, the female-specific campaign is the campaign for pregnant child soldiers–or more accurately, it’s the campaign that runs around to the child soldier program and all the other programs and says “hey, remember that some of the people you’re serving are female, so you’re gonna need to take pregnancy and its consequences into account.”

    And yes, that absolutely implies that if some of the programs are ignoring near-exclusively male problems, you’d want a male-specific campaign to run around and do the same thing.

    Anyways, Ally probably knows more than I about how this all shakes out on the ground, so I’d love him to do a post on gender-specific outcomes of the UN’s policies. Are needy men being neglected in practice, and if so, how do we know?

    StillGjenganger @144,

    If that is not the case, giving a high profile to helping one gender will have the practical effect of putting the needs of the other in the shade, even if this is not in theory necessary.

    True of everything, I suppose. It would be nice to give each former child soldier a mansion and a personal therapist, but then you take away from other needy groups.
    However, whether your overall goal is to maximize the impact of each dollar spent, to equalize the quality of life for both genders, or to provide an equal amount of public resources to each gender, it may be necessary to give a higher profile to helping one gender. It all depends on the particular issue, I think.

  140. StillGjenganger says

    @mildly 150

    Because we’re taught to see them that way – would be my routine, fair-average-quality feminist answer.

    Not sure how to interpret that one. Do you mean that men and women suffer from identical problems, women need jobs exactly as much as men, but society chooses to notice one problem for men and another for women? Or do you mean that one sex or another suffers from some kind of false consciousness, so men do not really need jobs more than women, but they are under the illusion that they do?

    With you on the inequality. Except that- not being a socialist – I am not sure that there is an easy solution. There are not necessarily enough resources to keep all of us with the welfare state we would really like to have, and simply ‘take it from the capitalists and give it to the workers’ is not necessarily going to work in practice. Going to be a tough one, I am afraid.

  141. says

    > Are needy men being neglected in practice, and if so, how do we know?

    From the Wikipedia page on the World Food Programme:

    In fact, part of the response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake consisted of distributing food aid only to women as experience built up over almost 5 decades of working in emergency situations has demonstrated that giving food only to women helps to ensure that it is spread evenly among all household members. School-feeding and/or take-home ration programmes in 71 countries help students focus on their studies and encourage parents to send their children, especially girls, to school.

  142. mildlymagnificent says

    Or do you mean that one sex or another suffers from some kind of false consciousness, so men do not really need jobs more than women, but they are under the illusion that they do?

    I think we all suffer from limitations in seeing our social and personal circumstances and our own attitudes clearly for what they are. We’ve all been raised in a society and absorbed its sometimes blatant, often invisible racism, sexism, classism and all those other isms. This could often lead into a discussion or dissertation on privilege and intersectionality. But it’s really not that hard to see that many difficulties that the men and women within a family or a community face can be traced back to jobs and money.

    This was brought home to me vividly 30 years ago by my doctor. I had all kinds of problems because of excruciating pain limiting all my childcare, self-care, housework activities. She wrote a prescription for something, but she also wrote a list which doctors here often do for non-prescription items. The items she listed were – Nappy service, hire a cleaner, frozen meals, occasional childcare for toddler … and a couple more things I’ve forgotten. The thing that struck me most forcibly when I got home was that these problems were all health-based, but the solutions were simply things I could buy with money. Having the good luck to be middle class with some freedom about spending money, we did do some of these things. My pain was no better, but the effect of it on my children and the household was considerably ameliorated.

    And we know full well that family violence and youth delinquency substantially reduce in areas where people have worthwhile jobs and meaningful education. There’s a world of difference between the miserable, sullen 18 year old jumping through substandard, pointless “training” hoops just to maintain their access to unemployment benefits and another 18 year old who happily works at their low-paid apprenticeship secure in the knowledge that they’re on their way to continuing well-paid employment doing something they’re good at. And there are similar differences in well-being between other people who are stuck in low-paid, insecure or no employment and those who have a more satisfying, rewarding work life. It won’t, of course, make any difference to the near-sadist kind of controlling family violence, but it does make a difference for many people who are better able to manage their behaviour when they’re more satisfied and contented by living a less stressful social, family and work life. Having enough money and a reliable supply of it is A Good Thing for practically everyone – including people who don’t benefit from it directly. (Think about people who are _not_ affected by rowdy, underemployed, vandal delinquents – it’s not a benefit unless you’re constantly worrying about how things might be worse if the local youngsters didn’t have good homes, jobs or schools to go to.)

    There’s a lot more to a good society than well-run industry/ infrastructure/ taxation/ employment policies – but those would be a good start for a hell of a lot of people.

  143. mildlymagnificent says

    Tamen

    5 decades of working in emergency situations has demonstrated that giving food only to women helps to ensure that it is spread evenly among all household members.

    Needy men are not being neglected by this practice. When women distribute food it is spread evenly among all household members.

    That’s the experience of people on the ground who’ve been doing this work for half a century. If anyone has contrary data, they’re welcome to advance it and any changes in policy that would follow.

  144. says

    Mildlymagnificent:

    Needy men are not being neglected by this practice. When women distribute food it is spread evenly among all household members.

    You are assuming that every man belongs to a household where there are women. Or you are arguing that for instance young homeless men without families aren’t needy.

  145. StillGjenganger says

    @Mildly 154
    I am 100% with you on everything you write here. I grew up in Scandinavia after all, and I rather prefer a fairly equal society that tries to identify and solve the problems people have.

    I was thinking on different lines. A lot of men, you say, end up homeless or depressed or mentally ill, to a large extent because they cannot get a proper job. Sounds right to me. So I wondered, what about the women(z)? Can they get a proper job? If not, do they end up homeless or mentally ill? If not, why not? What is different in their lives, needs, coping mechanisms? I am NOT pushing “women are better off – it is unfair – bloody feminists etc.” – that should go without saying, but on this forum I had better say it anyway. I just wondered what it said about how the situation and needs of the two genders differ, and what that might tell us about what we should do to help either.

  146. StillGjenganger says

    @Tamen 153
    I am with Mildly on this one. It is well recognised both that parents tend to send girls to school less than boys, and that better education for women feeds through into various positive outcomes, from sexual health to better education for the next generation. And why disbelieve aid workers if they say that giving the food out to women makes for better distribution and less starvation overall?
    We should not let gender preferences get in the way of helping the people who need it. That goes for the UN elevating violence ‘against women and girls’ as particularly deserving – and it also goes for you and me complaining about initiatives that are good at solving important problems, just because they are not gender-neutral enough.

  147. W.M. says

    @147. . If they were asked what they needed or wanted, many men would say that quite loudly

    Thanks Mildly, but you see I think this is part of the problem that I’ve been trying to get at. Whether someone is in a job or not (however meaningful or soul-destroying that activity may be) can sometimes be – as indeed you’ve alluded to upthread – a rather limited measure of that person’s quality of life.
    One of the advantages women may derive from the parliamentary committees and commissions on women’s employment (and admittedly there are variations on this theme, like older women’s employment, or ethnic minority women’s employment) is that they include – but also go beyond – superficial matters about pay rates and economic opportunity, additionally asking deeper questions about things like job satisfaction and ‘work life balance.’

    Now, if we are truly concerned with the concept of human flourishing, would it not be a good idea that the ‘powers-that-be’ started to ask the same questions of men, rather than treating them merely as economic units, which can be shuffled around at will by the capitalist system. After all, there has been such a profound shift in recent decades towards a service-sector oriented society. Would it not be good to ask men questions as to how they feel about this, how well they feel these positions match their natural abilities and skill-sets, how well also they chime with their own sense of masculine identity? Under the Tories we have seen a small rise in manufacturing, yet this does not undermine the fact that the service sector is still hugely dominant.

    Who would it hurt to have this discussion and line of enquiry? All too often,
    any attempt to improve the quality of lives of men is seen as a further entrenchment of patriarchy, yet this surely doesn’t need to be the case at all.
    As I’ve often heard people like Glenn Poole put it, there’s no reason why
    improving conditions for men and women should be mutually exclusive activities.

  148. mildlymagnificent says

    You are assuming that every man belongs to a household where there are women. Or you are arguing that for instance young homeless men without families aren’t needy.

    As I understand it, the experience of these kinds of food programs is that women don’t just distribute within their own families, they check out food distribution in their villages and communities. Not sure how that works in post disaster environments, but they are often pretty chaotic anyway.

    I’d need to look through a whole lot of stuff about this, but the women can be relied upon to distribute food fairly idea is pretty well-established. Right now I don’t feel up to hard work or anything remotely like work at all, so no research, but I’m confident this is proven as a quite appropriate strategy.

  149. Anton Mates says

    The Haiti example is interesting. To assess it as a possible example of institutional sexism, a couple of issues have to be examined.

    The first is whether men didn’t receive food aid at all, or whether women simply got first priority. World Food Programme spokespeople said that there would be alternate routes of aid for men who couldn’t rely on a female representative, but this report suggests that it didn’t turn out that way; a significant number of single men and all-male households did not get aid at all. (The report is on LGBT Haitians, who were at a disadvantage in the relief program; gay males were less likely to live with an adult female who could pick up food for them, and lesbians and bisexual women were less likely to live with an adult male who could help them carry supplies home and insulate them from violence en route.)

    Thus, in practice, single men and all-male households were neglected.

    The second issue is whether, despite this bias, relief distribution was more widespread and equitable than it would have been if men were included. This was, of course, the argument of the World Food Programme and other organizations. Men were less likely to share with the women and children of their household; most Haitian men were married, so did have a woman that could pick up supplies for them; men were more likely to belong to gangs that were hoarding supplies for their own gain; and men were more likely to perpetrate violence and rioting in the dole line. (I’m gonna assume that all these claims are factually accurate, since I haven’t seen any humanitarian organizations on the ground that actually disagree with them.)

    So…is this the best they could do? Maybe. It would be nice if a subset of supplies could be reserved for single people and single-sex households, except that there’s no way to prove that the people showing up in the aid line actually qualify; it’s not like they’re bringing IDs and legal proof of residence. So maybe this was a case where unmarried adult men just had to get the short end of the stick, for everyone else’s sake.

  150. says

    Regardless of whether the utilitarianism of WFP’s policy on distributing food to women and not men in disaster areas like on Haiti after the earthquake makes on uncomfortable or one thinks it’s appropriate and justifiable it is still a fact that this policy does lead to needy men being neglected in practice. As exemplified by the report Anton Mates referred to.

    Anton Mates: There was a problem with your link, here is a working (for me at least) link: http://iglhrc.org/sites/iglhrc.org/files/504-1.pdf

  151. sheaf24 says

    Is there actual evidence for women being more fair in food distribution? This could just be an example of the women in wonderful effect.

  152. says

    sheaf42:

    On the WFP homepage they have a page about focusing on women: http://www.wfp.org/Our%20work/Preventing%20Hunger/Focus%20on%20women/Women4Women%20overview

    They state that this is built from experience. Unless there has been some systematic evaluation of this experience it’s hard to evaluate how large an impact any bias has had on the conclusion they’ve drawn from experience.

    WFP also “cite” these “key facts”:

    * Eight out of 10 people engaged in farming in Africa are women and six out of 10 in Asia.
    * In one out of three households around the world, women are the sole breadwinners.
    * A lack of iron in women’s diets leads to an estimated 111,000 maternal deaths each year.
    * When income is in the hands of the mother, the survival probability of a child increases by about 20 percent in Brazil.

    None of these facts are sourced.

    For more information one can read the WFP Gender Policy document here: http://one.wfp.org/eb/docs/2009/wfp194044~2.pdf

    It talks quite a bit about “gender mainstreaming” and “targeted action”. I found this footnote interesting:

    Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC). 2006. Gender Handbook in Humanitarian Action.
    New York. See p. 3: Targeted actions “should compensate for the consequences of gender-based inequality such as the long-term deprivation of rights to education or health care. This is important as in many situations women and girls are more disadvantaged than men and boys […] but there are a number of situations where boys or men will be targeted for action, for example when boys are the target of recruitment for armed conflict”.

    I found it interesting considering how (as Ally points out in this comment on the Emma Watson thread) boys and men aren’t targeted for action by the upcoming UN campaign to stop recruitment of child soldiers. In that case the principle of gender mainstreaming and targeted action is left by the wayside.

  153. Emelio Lizardo says

    “It is entirely true that demolishing oppressive gender roles and social structures for women has many benefits for men. I hold that the reverse is also true freeing men from restrictive and proscriptive gender norms and the manacles of hegemonic masculinity will have enormous benefits for women.”

    If that were true we would have evolved to be androgynous being over the past half million years. Instead we’re more dimorphic than most mammals. Distinct male and female roles and attributes are valuable and necessary to a sexually reproductive, reproductively specialized species.

    The disposibility and strength of men is our value, it’s simply a function of our biology. All attempts at social engineering to achieve ‘equality’ are hopeless, misguided and damaging.

  154. Aria says

    Mildly @68
    1)”Cry more man tears, you fedora-wearing neckbeard dudebro!”
    2) “Man up!”
    3) “You “trannies” are sick freaks! You’re all either misogynists that are trying to appropriate femininity to make a mockery of it, or you’re a gender traitor!”

    Carnation @ 83. “Oh, you’re just too stupid to understand what patriarchy REALLY is, unlike me!” Amirite?

    Ally: As for “carving out” men’s own spaces, that will never happen. Don’t you know, even gay bars here in America are facing lawsuits because they are having “guys night(s)”. Some are even being sued and raked through the mud because they place the safety and comfort of their patrons over straight women that want a “pet gay.” Men are apparently supposed to open every “male” space to women, and make it so they can be comfortable there. But of course women are under no such obligation to do so since, you know, victimhood at the hands of teh evil menz.

    111 & 112: Now imagine someone asking a woman what she did to “deserve” getting hit in public, like oft happens to men.

  155. Anton Mates says

    Emelio Lizardo,

    If that were true we would have evolved to be androgynous being over the past half million years. Instead we’re more dimorphic than most mammals. Distinct male and female roles and attributes are valuable and necessary to a sexually reproductive, reproductively specialized species.

    Problems with this argument:

    1. Evolution does not tend to produce features that are valuable and necessary to the species, or to the group, or even “good” from an individual point of view. Natural selection favors traits that make their carriers have more kids than non-carriers; that’s about it. So the mere fact that a feature has evolved tells you nothing about whether we should value it, in terms of ethics or social welfare or whatever.

    2. This is particularly true of sexual dimorphism. Strong dimorphism is generally found in species where the males are crappy fathers–think of elephants, tigers, bulls, etc. Conversely, in monogamous species where the males provide a lot of care for mates and offspring, like gibbons, dimorphism is low. Males aren’t big and tough because females and babies need them to be big and tough; they’re big and tough because it helps them drive away other males and keep females from mating with anyone else. (Even aspects of dimorphism that are driven by female choice aren’t particularly “good” for females; a peacock’s flashy tail doesn’t make it a loyal mate or good provider.)

    3. We are not more dimorphic than most mammals; quite the contrary, in fact. Human males are about 15% more massive than females, which is below the average ratio for mammalian species, especially large ones. Most primates are significantly more dimorphic than we are; male chimps are 20% heavier than females, and male gorillas are almost twice as heavy! Nor do human males have strongly dimorphic functional features like antlers or cheek pads huge canines. Our mild degree of dimorphism is pretty much what you’d expect from a species that is mostly, but not completely, monogamous.

    Evolutionary theory is useful for many things, but arguing against gender equality isn’t one of them.

  156. sheaf24 says

    Emilio Lizardo, 166

    If that were true we would have evolved to be androgynous being over the past half million years. Instead we’re more dimorphic than most mammals. Distinct male and female roles and attributes are valuable and necessary to a sexually reproductive, reproductively specialized species.

    There is a confusion in this argument: The specific properties of males and females did not perpetuate to create a beneficial society were people can live in happiness, but they where either there to maximizes inclusive fitness in an ancestral environment or they were artifacts of genetic drift or similar non optimization processes. Neither of these two mean that people do not stand to benefit from behavioral modification from cultural influence. For example I enjoy living in a society that is presumably far less violent than humans of the past.

    The disposibility and strength of men is our value, it’s simply a function of our biology. All attempts at social engineering to achieve ‘equality’ are hopeless, misguided and damaging.

    Are they? This is a pretty bold clam you did not evidence for. Even if we grant you that disposibility is biologically necessary, it would not follow that attempts to change that would be hopeless or damaging. Biology is not immutable.

    Anton Mates 169,

    Natural selection favors traits that make their carriers have more kids than non-carriers; that’s about it.

    Nope, it cares about more, e.g. whether your brother has kids is probably a concern as well.

    Conversely, in monogamous species where the males provide a lot of care for mates and offspring, like gibbons, dimorphism is low.

    Not necessarily. E.g. monogamous birds of prey often have substantially heavier females.

    Nor do human males have strongly dimorphic functional features like antlers or cheek pads huge canines.

    Well, human males sport several features that (lke antlers or large canines) have been attributed towards increased fighting performance (e.g height http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0019630#pone-0019630-g003). Further we have bodily features unusual for a monogamic species, for example our penises are much larger than those of other primates.

  157. StillGjenganger says

    Lots of weird stuff about evolution here (God save me from my friends – my enemies I can handle!). Sheaf is quite right – biology is not destiny. Though it might take considerable pressure to maintain a role that was too much at odds with the biological drives of people.

    But if the sexes have different biological wiring that would suggest that separate gender roles would likely be better overall that unisex. It would certainly suggest that the unisex role that was optimal for women would not be optimal for men – and vice versa

  158. Anton Mates says

    sheaf24,

    Nope, it cares about more, e.g. whether your brother has kids is probably a concern as well.

    Not to quibble, but that’s included in what I said. Natural selection (sometimes) favors traits that make you help your brother have kids, because your brother is likely to be a carrier of the same traits. In cases where you can be confident that your relative isn’t a carrier of that trait, you are less likely to help them; see the green-beard effect.

    E.g. monogamous birds of prey often have substantially heavier females.

    True, but I was talking about male-larger dimorphism, so that’s part of the same pattern; dimorphism has just dropped past zero and gone “negative” in birds of prey.
    Female-biased dimorphism is very unusual in mammals, too. I think it’s only common in bats and (for some weird reason) rabbits.

    Well, human males sport several features that (lke antlers or large canines) have been attributed towards increased fighting performance (e.g height http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0019630#pone-0019630-g003).

    Also true, but even our height dimorphism is not exceptional compared to, say, deer or bears or gorillas (all of which species have males that are much larger and possess various combat-related adaptations.) We are dimorphic, just not that dimorphic.

    Further we have bodily features unusual for a monogamic species, for example our penises are much larger than those of other primates.

    Actually, chimp penises are proportionately a little longer than ours. (There’s a myth floating around that they’re only 3 inches long, which I think goes back to a Jared Diamond book, but studies show that they’re more like 5.5 inches long.) Chimps also have larger testes and produce much more sperm, again indicating that we’re more monogamous than them, or at least have less male-male sperm competition.
    Human penises are very thick, but it’s a bit misleading to say that this is an unusual trait for a monogamous species. Rather, it’s unusual for all primate species, and there’s little reason to think that it reflects a particularly non-monogamous evolutionary history for us. It may be more because a) we don’t have a baculum (penis bone), so we have to get erections entirely by engorging the penis with blood, and b) we have unusually frequent non-reproductive sex, what with women being sexually receptive year-round.

    StillGjenganger,

    But if the sexes have different biological wiring that would suggest that separate gender roles would likely be better overall that unisex. It would certainly suggest that the unisex role that was optimal for women would not be optimal for men – and vice versa

    Mmm, again, “optimal” in what sense? Not optimal for maximizing your ability to pass on your genes, sure–but very few of us actually care about optimizing that. Humans in industrialized societies tend to have far fewer children than we could if we chose, so evolution obviously hasn’t “caught up” yet in that area.

    There may be reasons why men and women ought to have different social roles, but I don’t think you can derive them from any amount of facts about our wiring.

  159. sheaf24 says

    Anton Mates,

    Not to quibble, but that’s included in what I said. Natural selection (sometimes) favors traits that make you help your brother have kids, because your brother is likely to be a carrier of the same traits.

    It was not included in what you said, you only mentioned offspring:

    Natural selection favors traits that make their carriers have more kids than non-carriers; that’s about it.

    In any case in e.g. derived hymenopteran societies you have selective features that are far removed from individual fitness where you have selection favoring cohabitation of genetically diverse queens. The concept of inclusive fitness, which you explain in your post, is most often used to describe these phenomena, however the whole thing could be even more complicated.

    True, but I was talking about male-larger dimorphism, so that’s part of the same pattern; dimorphism has just dropped past zero and gone “negative” in birds of prey.

    Given that agility is more valuable in aerial combat I think this trait has a similar background to the male bigger dimorphism.

    Re Penis size: I was talking about volume, not length, since volume is the most reasonable approximation of the concept of size in non degenerate cases.

    Human penises are very thick, but it’s a bit misleading to say that this is an unusual trait for a monogamous species. Rather, it’s unusual for all primate species, and there’s little reason to think that it reflects a particularly non-monogamous evolutionary history for us.

    Something that could provide evidence for this is sexual selection. Some studies indicated that (some) women prefer larger penises: e.g. http://kozmetikcerrahi.com/indir/penissize.pdf
    I will not claim that this is strong evidence.

  160. Archy says

    Gender roles were helpful in the past, but modern machinery means we do not need as much physical strength for jobs. Before things like refrigeration, etc it made sense to have the mother at home with the very young kids whilst the father went out to physically intensive labour jobs. But these days much of the physical labour is now taken up by machinery and we have baby formula, refrigeration, breast pumps, etc so even fathers can look after the very young without needing the mother every few hours for a feed.

    A lot of jobs are heading towards mental “capital” vs physical capital which further reduces the gender gap of performance.

  161. StillGjenganger says

    @Anton Mates
    I meant ‘optimal’ for the wellbeing of people, most desirable, not optimal for reproduction. Basically I am saying that the best possible unisex society as designed for women would be different from the best possible unisex society as designed for men. Much in the same way that the optimal organisation of society for humans would not be the same as the optimum for baboons or dolphins – though the difference is obviously smaller between men and women.

  162. Anton Mates says

    sheaf24,

    It was not included in what you said, you only mentioned offspring:

    Right–offspring of carriers. But if you’re a carrier, your brother has a good chance of being a carrier too. So if a trait encourages you to help your brother reproduce, it is making its carriers have more offspring than non-carriers do–which is why it’s adaptive.

    (On the other hand, a Y-linked gene that encourages you to help your sister have kids will not be favored by natural selection. Your sister is related to you, but she can’t be a carrier of that particular gene.)

    In any case in e.g. derived hymenopteran societies you have selective features that are far removed from individual fitness where you have selection favoring cohabitation of genetically diverse queens. The concept of inclusive fitness, which you explain in your post, is most often used to describe these phenomena, however the whole thing could be even more complicated.

    Yup. One complication I’ve heard of: in a lot of those societies, cohabitation’s a temporary thing. Early in the season, unrelated queens tolerate each other, but when it gets toward time for the colony to reproduce, there’s an all-out war between the different bloodlines.

    Given that agility is more valuable in aerial combat I think this trait has a similar background to the male bigger dimorphism.

    That’s certainly a plausible hypothesis. But at least a couple of studies on the brown falcon have found that smaller males aren’t particularly better at fighting with other males–or at hunting, for that matter. On the other hand, larger females are better at securing new nest territories, since female-female competition is intense in this species. So it may be that the lack of male-male competition is driving the reverse dimorphism.

    Re Penis size: I was talking about volume, not length, since volume is the most reasonable approximation of the concept of size in non degenerate cases.

    Oh, ok. AFAIK, though, volume is not correlated with mating system in the way length is. A longer penis is definitely more useful for a male engaged in sperm competition, since it can deposit sperm farther inside the reproductive tract and break though mating plugs left by other males. A thicker or more voluminous penis, not so much. (I’m aware of the hypothesis that the head of the human penis is adapted to displace the semen of other males, but I think that’s far from proven.)

    Something that could provide evidence for this is sexual selection. Some studies indicated that (some) women prefer larger penises: e.g. http://kozmetikcerrahi.com/indir/penissize.pdf

    Yeah, that’s definitely evidence of sexual selection–and I think other studies agree that women usually report more attention to penis girth than length, which may help explain why the human penis is so thick. What I’m doubtful about is that it points to sexual selection for a highly non-monogamous mating system in particular. Monogamy isn’t incompatible with female choice, after all; if women prefer larger penises, they may prefer them in long-term as well as short-term partners.

  163. sheaf24 says

    Oh, ok. AFAIK, though, volume is not correlated with mating system in the way length is. A longer penis is definitely more useful for a male engaged in sperm competition, since it can deposit sperm farther inside the reproductive tract and break though mating plugs left by other males. A thicker or more voluminous penis, not so much. (I’m aware of the hypothesis that the head of the human penis is adapted to displace the semen of other males, but I think that’s far from proven.)

    I was not talking about sperm competition but features of sexual selection, like antlers, canines, peacocks tail, etc.

    re: Falcon competition. Afaik, empirical reports have somewhat lighter and more agile falcon species dominating larger ones. for example in overlapping areas, peregrines dominate gyrs. Note that in browns prey size that can be tackled might be the mitigatong factor in male size with the resulting utility curve being relatively flat. In species where prey size is not as much of an issue we apparently see selection towards increased agility, i.e. smaller males, but this seems to be selection for better provision: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00164123
    Reflecting on it, the females are the ones that more typically guard the nest and the large body size of females is probably instrumental in detering predators, both avian and mammalian.

    In any case the whole topic seems to be quite diverse and even somewhat contested ( e.g. see here: http://www.publish.csiro.au/?act=view_file&file_id=MU9870059.pdf )

    Monogamy isn’t incompatible with female choice, after all; if women prefer larger penises, they may prefer them in long-term as well as short-term partners.

    Did I contest this ?

  164. silverfeather says

    I’m very late to this, but /de-lurking to chime in.

    I agree that men need spaces to discuss issues specific to them and try to work toward solutions. I read HetPat because for the most part it seems to be a space that does this without demonizing and blaming women for men’s problems. I think your blog has value and I have learned things here that have altered and broadened my perspective on some serious issues.

    I think that while (as you noted), it is unacceptable to barge into feminist spaces and derail conversations about women with a “What about teh menz?”, asking that question in an intellectually honest and context sensitive way in your own space to start a discussion is perfectly acceptable – even necessary.

    So, I have no problem with you asking “what about the men” in this case. I also support removing those five words to make the pledge more inclusive to all genders – I do see your point there (although it doesn’t read to me as a directive NOT to talk about men and boys, as it seemed to read to you).

    You should have signed the pledge AND spoken about how you felt it was not enough. Sign the pledge AND see if there is a way to fix the wording to be more inclusive. Sign the pledge AND make a donation to a project that helps men and boys with some of the specific issues they face and encourage your readers to donate. I would have been right there with you!

    Instead, you refused to give even you digital signature to support women and girls (whom you acknowledge NEED HELP – you know that cause is worthy) because men and boys were not included. THAT was where you went from “what about the men” to “what about teh menz” imo.

    Regardless of your intent, the effect you have had on this issue is to hold your public support to a valuable cause hostage until men and boys are implicitly or explicitly included in a program called HeForShe. How many people lurk in your blog besides me? How many other men who may have been on the fence about this read your post and decided to withhold their support as well? You have influence, for good or ill, and this is how you used it.

    I think the point you raised is valid and deserves to be discussed. I also think that the way you handled the situation was unethical… you actively harmed this cause.

    You felt betrayed by the wording of that pledge after listening to Emma Watson’s speech and expecting more. I feel betrayed that you threw me under the bus after hearing you acknowledge the gender inequality and injustices that women and girls around the world face. Nobody wins.

  165. Bruce Bartup says

    When is it not appropriate to ask ‘what about the menz’?

    When it is wasting wordpower and keyboard time. When theredpill is trending up to 378th position on Reddit and climbing. 77,000 subscribers and counting. When VoiceforMen is starting up it’s UK channel and ‘word soldiers’ have turned from attacking feminism to attacking feminists and ‘feminine men’ in print and on video.

    We are dealing now with misogyny not Patriarchy, the real absolute utter evil, male power for power’s sake – misogyny extreme.

    In these conditions ‘girls and women’ is close enough to ‘girls and women and the boys and men who show any trait of the sterreotypical female gender’ as makes no odds.

    When Emma holds an invitation out to men for men, gets fucked by UN Women, and will probably need considerably more close protecton security for having done so. It’s time to swallow hard and pledge.
    ——-
    Background
    Who I am: 55 Parkinson’s disease, forced retired from NHS, ill health. So, an old war horse scenting the cordite, or a very dodgy Don Quixote, prone to purple prose and probably overdiagnosing for all I know. Maybe I should write this in purple ink on green paper. Who knows?

    What I did: I got cyber bullied by a youngster. The thing is, I was astonished at how good he was at stripping away every shade of sense of manhood I had. It was his ‘art’ he said. And bloody good he was at it too. How did he get so good? I saw that 25% of all british chldren are cyberbullied. So, I went to the social media, started at random, and swam up the cess concentration gradient like a spermatazoan of shit seeking consummation with the egg of whatever.

    Where I got to: The manosphere, YouTube, VfM, Atheism (elevatorgate),,Sam Harris, gun rights lobby, Stef Molyneux, TheYoungTurks ThePoint, and the YouTube Comments section: home of the lowest form of the english written word. A forum where in places there is no fair speech for weeks at a time.

    What I found: The perfect training ground for malevolent misogynistic cyber-bullies. Endless queues of narcisstic feminists and ‘strong’ women to attack as punch bags. A very open corporate culture to abusive language. A heck of a ‘mangina’ing for me – I volunteered. And lots and lots of ‘lost boys’ and ‘lost men’ talking shit about women. Men egging each other on, practising, priveleged, threatened in status and angry as hell. It reminded me of the pro-hunting protesters in front of Parliament before the bill passed. Remember them? The lords of creation and their shock of finding out that they weren’t going to get it all their own way, that style of over-entitled apoplectic toddler-rage.

    Examples, roughly mid distribution : Anything posted by Rebecca Watson, Anything posted about Gamergate or Anita Sarkeesian, The Justicar video response to Emma Watson
    Examples extreme:
    TYT the Point with Ana Kasparian, story about a young lass from Northern Ireland, in a spanish club, multiple fellatio for a ‘dare’. Commenters attempted to find the identity of the girl who had attempted suicide.
    YouTube protest at having been subjected to street harssment: Commenters asked questions about the incident, with gently implied victim blaming, forcing the girl who had a history to relive the incident, over and over.
    A video response to Emma: audio track of the speech, video track of guy smashing TV with baseball bat, followed by post-expressive cigarette

    I know many ‘manosphere’ types oppose this kind of stuff, but I don’t knw if you realise how popular outright misogyny is.

  166. Joey Reynoso says

    I stumbled upon your blog earlier today while doing research and I must say I do enjoy reading it. I enjoy your positionality to gender related issues, it seems that you present yourself and your ideas within a framework dedicated to social justice, you focus on action and values versus identity politics. One could argue you have feminist values, but whether or not you choose to identify as a feminist does matter when it comes to deconstructing the hegemonic nature of gender and the gender binary. You bring up great points and propose good solutions, how self identify does matter nearly as much as methodology. (Which is a critique I have of some feminist movements, where the self-identification as feminist means immediate buy in to certain ideals or approaches without much research—feminism becomes a sort of marketing and branding—Foucault discusses this when he discusses identity.)

    That being said, I do feel that your critique of Emma Watson’s speech is very valid, but again both of you are viewing gender as a binary. The #HeForShe campaign views gender oppression as an issue that effects men and women (and I agree with the problem that you pointed out in the pledge), yet what this does however is create an erasure for intersex, gender non-conforming and trans identities—-people who are also effected by hegemonic gender ideals, but are too often marginalized in conversations regarding feminism or gender oppression.

    A statistic that I read somewhere and saw in a documentary—I wish I could specifically recall my sources, I believe the documentary could have been “Venus Boyz”—noted that the chances of being born intersex are equal to the chances of being born with red hair.

    Also are you familiar with this segment from the Sally Jesse Raphael show? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VeLOIxiG4c

    Research has shown that trans and gender non-conforming people face a greater rate of unemployment http://inequalityintheworkforce.tumblr.com/post/68730323882/above-we-have-information-provided-by-the-national

    I do understand that many of us speak from places in which we understand and that is how we initially relate to problems. But can we also agree that the discussions of gender oppression need to not only focus on men and women? It also easier to talk about things in terms of men and women because in Western traditions of religion, media, art and literature gender is constructed as male and female.

    Particular indigenous tribes to the America’s have multiple gender categories and terminology that were historically based on work and expression. India also has hijra—a third gender category.

    How do we center the discussions of gender in terms hegemonic ideals and how they effect all people rather than just men and women? Again, thank you for your engaging and well articulated writings. I look forward to hearing from you.

    Also, are you familiar with any of the work of Dean Spade? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OU8D343qpdE Whether or not one may consider the notions of Dean Spade to be very radical, I feel the critiques and imagination of creating alternative systems to nourish the needs of people and not markets is also very essential. The categorization of binary identities such as male/female or gay/straight are also crucial marketing demographics with capitalist societies—how you identify determines what will be marketed towards you.

    I also hope anything I wrote did not come off with any tone of malice. I am a person dedicated to social justice and I feel that these are crucial conversations to have. Conversations like this raise consciousness and inspire actions that can make differences in reducing oppression.

  167. Mark W says

    “What about teh menz” is a method for stopping discussion, not enabling it.

    When women talk about overcrowding in women’s prisons; it is quite appropriate to point out how much worse the overcrowding is in men’s prisons.

    When people say things like “25% of homeless people are women”, it is quite appropriate to point out that 75% of homeless people are men, and to ask why we seem to care less abou thtem than we do about the women.

    When there’s a discussion about female suicide being a serious problem that should take priority, there is a place to point out that men die from suicide at a much greater rate, and more people would benefit from research into why.

    In short, we should never let the silencing, discussion-stopping tactics of “Wot about teh menz” – such a contemptuous and dismissive phrase – stop us from discussing men’s issues, because God knows they don’t get anywhere near the amount of attention that women’s issues do.

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