#MeToo or #MenToo? How men can talk about abuse


Guys, gather round. I get it. I understand. You care about sexual abuse, sexual violence, sexual harassment.

In fact, you really, really care because unlike some we could mention, you care about all victims, not just the women, am I right?

You probably know the stats already. Wherever women and girls are victimised in sexual, intimate or gendered crimes, men and boys are victimised too. Pick a statistic – one in eight victims here, one in three there, one in four of this and one in ten of that.

Even on an issue like workplace sexual harassment, which is about as gender-tilted as these things get, you can still find plenty of men with their own stories of being bullied, harassed, coerced and victimised by male or female colleagues or bosses.

What’s more, the victimisation experienced by those men is not neatly isolated by gender. More often than not it will intersect with issues around sexuality or gender identity, racial stereotyping and racial fetishization, mental health and neurotypicality, social exclusion and vulnerability etc, etc.

Those issues are real. The pain and suffering of those involved must be acknowledged and we need to talk about those issues, develop solutions to help prevent it happening and to support those survivors who need help or access to justice.

If you agree with me, if you care about those men, if you want to help those men and prevent others suffering in the future, here is what we need to do right here, right now:

Support women.

That is it. That is all. You don’t have to stop caring about men and boys, about male victims and survivors. Further below I will spell out how we can address our own issues and really make a difference but for now, today, tomorrow, this week, the story is about women being abused, assaulted and harassed by men. Deal with it.

The days and weeks since the Harvey Weinstein scandal began to unfurl have become something of a cultural watershed, a moment, even something of a social revolution. The Weinstein scandal snowballed into the remarkable social media phenomenon of #MeToo, in which literally millions of women put their heads above the parapet to say that they too had been sexually harassed or assaulted.

I think the best way to understand this is as an explosion of overwhelming rage and righteous anger. Someone asked me on Twitter last week why the Weinstein story was hogging the front pages for days on end when it was just about rich starlets and meanwhile no one was mentioning an impending nuclear war between China and North Korea. Criminologist Steve Hall (whom I should declare I have known for a long time and with much admiration) tweeted that he cared as much about the Hollywood superstars as they cared about the deindustrialisation of Sunderland.

What Steve misses is that I bet if you asked the women of Sunderland what they thought about the issue, pretty much all of them would have stories to tell about the lecherous boss who groped them behind the counter, the creepy men trying to pick them up in their cars, the men who have molested them in clubs and pubs and worse. They could tell him how those experiences have shaped their lives, in some cases ruined their lives and/or careers. They could probably also sit down and have a very well-informed conversation about how casualisation of their working conditions, de-unionisation and neoliberal restructuring of their working lives have left them more vulnerable and with less redress than ever before. The idea that these issues are remote from the lives of working people is spectacularly flawed.

This is why the Weinstein scandal is such big news. This is why #MeToo became such a tsunami of disclosures. From women’s points of view, this is not a story about one movie producer and a few dozen actresses. This is a story all about them, all about their friends, and about the men who have flitted in and out of their lives.

And it should be really easy to understand that from women’s perspective this is a story about women and men. From a female perspective, their abusers all have one thing in common. They are (with very, very few exceptions) men. When women are asked what they want to happen, what they want to change, they usually express it like this: we want men to stop harassing us, we want men to stop assaulting us, we want men to stop enabling and excusing other men who behave like this.

It’s at this point that men bristle. “But I don‘t do this,” we exclaim. “I don’t know anyone who does this! Why are you blaming me?”  

This is the unfortunate truth. By and large, most men don’t do these things, at least not habitually. However most of us will at some time or another have misjudged a flirt, over-stepped a joke, made an approach which turned out to be unwelcome. We’re human, we all fuck up, we can learn. We can try and recognise where we’ve been a dick in the past and try not to do that again.

Probably more significant, amongst our numbers are a small minority (and I think it genuinely is a small minority) of prolific serial abusers and sexual harassers, often operating well below the radar of other men. If you have a workforce of 20 men and 20 women, it might only take one prolific sexual harasser to create a workplace where 95% of the men are entirely innocent and oblivious, but 100% of the women have experienced sexual harassment.

So how do we, as men, react to being told we are to blame?

Tip 1. Don’t take it personally if it is not personal. If you can read a list like this one and honestly declare that none of those apply to you in the slightest, then great. The person writing or sharing that list is not talking to you. More significantly, it is not about you and it never was. You do not need to make it about you. You do not need to declare your innocence or proclaim how hurt and offended you are. Nobody is helped by that. Women who have been assaulted, harassed and abused are not helped by you doing that. Men who have been assaulted, harassed and abused are not helped by you doing that. You are not entitled to a gold star for best behaviour or a cookie for behaving like a decent human being.

Tip 2. Don’t police women’s anger. We’ve all read the accounts of Weinstein’s behaviour, we’ve read the #MeToo messages, including those from our friends, family and loved ones, we’ve thought about the extent of harassment and abuse. Millions (probably billions) of women have felt shivers of recognition and waves of anger over what happened to them and/or their friends today, yesterday, last year or half a century ago. And yes, they are angry with men. Not necessarily you, Mr Random Uninvolved Men, but men as a gender, a class and a group. And they are right to be angry with men as a group because all too often men as a group have behaved fucking abysmally.

Tip 3. Challenge the abuse of men and support male victims and survivors, firstly as an end in itself and secondly to support the broader effort to end harassment, but never as a counterpoint or rebuttal to women’s experiences. Terry Crews pitched this just right last week. His disclosures underlined and emphasised the prevalence of sexual harassment in Hollywood. He was not seeking to undermine disclosures from women and I don’t think anyone criticised him for adding his own experiences to the mix. It’s the difference between saying “You don’t have a point because this can happen to men too” and “You do have a point and this can happen to men too.”

But perhaps better still, join us in carving out other spaces to talk about men’s experiences, separate and parallel to the conversations women are having.  Those can happen at the same time or perhaps we can find more appropriate occasions. Even this week, to be blunt, if you have been trying to talk about men’s experiences of sexual assault as a rebuttal to the Weinstein allegations but you have not been highlighting the testimony at the Institutional Child Sexual Abuse Inquiry from Rochdale children’s homes about the revolting crimes of Cyril Smith, then you’re probably a shitty hypocrite who doesn’t actually care about male victims at all.

If I can urge you to take one thought away from this conversation it is this. We live in a culture riven with social, political and economic exploitation. Our lives and experiences are intertwined and interdependent. Suppose for a hypothetical moment your only concern is with boys and men being abused, assaulted and exploited, whether by other men or by women. You will never address that or mitigate that for as long as women and girls are being abused, assaulted and exploited in turn, because the culture that allows men and boys to be abused is the precise same culture that allows (or expects) this to happen to women. If you make efforts  – any efforts – to prevent exploitation and abuse of anyone you will, even incidentally, help prevent exploitation and abuse of everyone.

The flipside of this is that by challenging sexual harassment and abuse, whether of women by men or any other combination, whether in Beverley Hills or in Sunderland, the women speaking out today are doing a huge favour to the men who also need our help.

Be part of the solution.

Comments

  1. That Guy says

    I am amazed that anyone is surprised by these revelations. Anyone that has honestly met or interacted with a substantial amount of men in any professional capacity is aware that predators exist. I say this as a man in a man dominated field, that abusers may be a minority, that even me, who is totally socially oblivious, is able to call to mind two or three unambiguous examples. And those are probably only the most obvious ones, I’m sure women in the same circles are aware of many more.

    If people like Harvey and Cyril are a novelty to you, then I would like to know how you managed to get internet installed underneath your rock.

  2. Carnation says

    @ That Guy, Ally

    What I’m getting most from the #MeToo stories is the sense that the men involved did not, and do not, have any idea that what they did was not only wrong, it was illegal.

    I hope that some of the things I saw, and to be honest some of the things that I’ve said, are now no longer acceptable and would be condemned. The 90s weren’t so long ago, and we certainly felt very modern then.

    I wonder if there was a platform for men to describe things they did in the past that are now questioning, would it be used?

  3. Ally Fogg says

    I’ve seen that suggested a few times Carnation, but not really sold on the idea. I think it could very quickly become a kind of performative look-how-woke-I-am white ribbon-type thing & could rub salt in a lot more wounds than it would heal.

    I wish I knew what the answer was. There’s a really good blog about some of the issues with the #MeToo hashtag here, which touches on similar points.

    https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/43akqp/the-problem-with-the-metoo-campaign

  4. Marduk says

    2. I’d be very careful because the first batch before Weinstein (Wheedon and Faraci) were both outspoken members of the social justice fraternity. Actually I’m not sure how Wheedon is staying out of the conversation at this point, seems a bit odd. Faraci is an interesting case actually, I always hated him because of how he treated Amy Nicholson, its rare to actually witness a genuine to-his-bones misogynist at work, and then he’d virtue signal on Twitter anyway and order everyone else around.

    I think in this area conduct is more important than politics because we’ve seen they don’t actually have any relationship. This is actually an interesting thing that can be taken from this but its too easy to think it proves the opposite. The temptation is just too great I guess.

  5. Ogvorbis: Swimming without a parachute. says

    Thank you, Ally.

    I am lucky in that, in my office, I have rarely heard any harassing language or witnessed harassment. The few things that, over the years, have been said that were out of line have been stomped on by coworkers. Fast.

    Unfortunately, in other situations, harassing language has been way too obvious and, other than an incident at a wildland fire (where I was in uniform and thus in a proscribed behavious pattern), I have been to weak to say anything. Mostly because I get caught in the mindset of my youth — don’t stand out, don’t attract his attention, don’t get picked, hope that the lion takes down one of the other zebras. Which means that I have not spoken out.

    You will never address that or mitigate that for as long as women and girls are being abused, assaulted and exploited in turn, because the culture that allows men and boys to be abused is the precise same culture that allows (or expects) this to happen to women.

    This^!! in seven no-trump!

    Terry Pratchett, in Carpe Jugulum, wrote:

    “…And that’s what your holy men discuss, is it?” [asked Granny Weatherwax.]
    “Not usually. There is a very interesting debate raging at the moment on the nature of sin. for example.” [answered Mightily Oats.]
    “And what do they think? Against it, are they?”
    “It’s not as simple as that. It’s not a black and white issue. There are so many shades of gray.”
    “Nope.”
    “Pardon?”
    “There’s no grays, only white that’s got grubby. I’m surprised you don’t know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people like things. Including yourself. That’s what sin is.”
    “It’s a lot more complicated than that–”
    “No. It ain’t. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they’re getting worried that they won’t like the truth. People as things, that’s where it starts.”
    “Oh, I’m sure there are worse crimes–”
    “But they starts with thinking about people as things…”

    My abuser told me, and the others, that there are two kinds of people on earth: men and girls (and he thought of women and all children as girls); girls were placed on earth to please men, and they can’t say no. And Weinstein probably wouldn’t state it the same way, but I’m reasonably sure that he wouldn’t argue with the thought. Same for Trump. Same for most abusers. The don’t see women and children as full human beings. They see them as things for their amusement.

    Anyway, thank you.

  6. WineEM says

    Thanks Ally, this is a really interesting piece which raises some important issues and points.
    There’s a question I’d like to raise about this though, just out of curiosity.

    Some time back a prominent Guardian journalist (who I’ll do the favour of not naming here) penned a post on the Comment Is Free site in which he boasted about ‘ogling’ women’s breasts as he walked down the street in summer. (Which of course rather stuck in one’s mind, as the phrase used ‘I ogle them’ was obviously quite a bold and brazen one.)

    Now, since the Weinstein controversy has happened, the discussion has broadened, as you’ve pointed out, to the harassment and demeaning of women in the public sphere in general, and of their campaign to speak out about these experiences.

    So, I’m just wondering, in the general scheme of things, how bad would you say the behaviour I’ve mentioned above actually is (or rather, how bad should it be considered to be?) Is it deeply disgusting, or slightly reprehensible; or perhaps just ‘laddish’ fun? (Not least, I suppose, in the attitude it might perhaps encourage other uninhibited men to have.)

    Of course, it’s all a continuum, but it’s plain that many women and feminists would describe it as being harassing behaviour, or at least a demeaning, harassing mentality. So, yes, sorry just out of curiosity, what is your own view? Something to be swept under the carpet, shrugged at, or to be taken very seriously indeed?

  7. Ally Fogg says

    Marduk [4]

    Not sure what your point is. You seem to be regurgitating a tedious right-wing fallacy that liberals or left-wingers believe all liberals or left-wingers are pure & good & therefore when one of them turns out to be a shithead this somehow undermines left-liberal positions.

    In fact the standard leftwing view of this stuff is that exploitative & oppressive behaviour can & will be found everywhere, including in liberal-left circles. So yeah, not sure what the relevance of Whedon & Faraci is, other than to demonstrate the ubiquity of misogynistic behaviour.

    —–

    Ogvorbis [5] thanks for that, great Pratchett quote.

    —–

    WineEM [6]

    I do wish you wouldn’t talk in riddles.

    As usual, I have no idea who or what you are talking about, but I get the impression you are chuckling to yourself about some very clever gotcha that in your mind probably proves something really significant. Are you alluding to something I wrote myself 10 years ago or something? If so, don’t be shy, feel free to provide the quote and the link. In fact, feel free to provide the quote and the link anyway, whoever wrote it. I’m sure it bears scant resemblance to your paraphrase.

    But if you want my general position on “ogling” in the streets, my position is that ogling in itself is fine but doing it in such a way that the other person notices and is made to feel uncomfortable as a consequence is not OK. If the ogler does not have the ogling skills to ogle in a way that is subtle enough that the oglee doesn’t notice, that ogler should probably refrain from ogling altogether. Alternatively buy my new E-book, Advanced Unobtrusive Ogling for the Woke Feminist Man.

    Hope this helps.

  8. DLZ says

    Sorry man, can’t give ya this one. Not simply because many of the people coming out about this are men and that most of the early whistleblowers were men when no one else would speak up, but I no longer follow the tactic of “first we take care of the women, then we take care of the men.”

    In the decade or so that I’ve been following gender issues, I’ve recognized that the “and then we take care of the men” part never comes. We have a real opportunity here to bring male sex abuse and pedophilia in Hollywood to light, and I’m not exactly keen on once again giving the sole spotlight to women while everyone else gets pushed out.

    Sorry man, but not this time.

  9. Ally Fogg says

    Well fair play to you, DLZ, but can I ask which part you are *not* on board with?

    Is it that you refuse to support women while also supporting men?

    Is it that you refuse to consider the abuse of men and boys alongside the abuse of women?

    Is it that you don’t believe me when I say the abuse of boys and men is part & parcel of a culture of abuse and will (begin to) be alleviated when we are prepared to challenge all abuse?

    Is it that you do actually *want* to derail and undermine efforts to challenge a cultures of endemic abuse of women?

    Bearing in mind that if you read the OP, I am explicitly saying we should be discussing and challenging the abuse of men and boys in its own right, bearing in mind that I am explicitly saying it is good and welcome to raise the abuse of men and boys providing we do so in a way that adds to, rather than detracts from the issue of the abuse of women and girls, what is it precisely you are not on board with?

    What is it specifically that I am asking you to do which you are declining to get on board with?

  10. WineEM says

    “my position is that ogling in itself is fine but…”

    Ooh, controversial territory. Thanks, Ally very interesting, will get back to you on this particular philosophical/ethical conundrum a bit later. 🙂

    I would indeed have liked to quote the passage directly, but it turns out the Guardian doesn’t allow you to access comments files that far back, i.e. after the 10th page or so on someone’s comment page.

    But I’m content just to discuss this concept as a general point of principle, which I think is quite interesting and useful in itself. 🙂

  11. Ally Fogg says

    Wait, what?

    You weren’t even talking about an article in the Guardian from years ago?

    You were talking about a comment on an article?

    You truly are un-fucking-believable.

  12. WineEM says

    @11. Yep: “Comment is Free, but Facts are Sacred.” Though the Guardian seems
    to be a bit selective in truth with its facts at times….

  13. WineEM says

    @12 But calm down, Ally, we can, as I said, discuss this matter as a general point of principle, rather than going into exactly what an individual might or might not have said. I think you’re right that if I were going to name that person, it would only be fair to quote them full and verbatim. (All that I remember is that they used the word ‘ogle’, that they condoned and approved that activity, in public spaces, but under a specific set of conditions, though can’t remember exactly which ones off hand.) Anyway, as I said, will try and get back to you on this later if that’s ok. 🙂

  14. Ally Fogg says

    Martin Luther King: I have a dream that one day…

    WineEM: If I can just stop you there. I happen to recall that 37 years ago you wrote a note in your diary saying “Last night, as always, my dreams were filled with visions of Memphis.” Now you say you have a dream which has nothing to do with Memphis? Something doesn’t add up here. I’m not saying you are a liar and a hypocrite, I’m just asking a question…”

    —————————–

    John Lennon: Imagine there’s no heaven…
    WineEM: If I can just stop you there. Some time back a prominent band from Liverpool (who I will do the favour of not naming here) sang a song called “You Never Give Me Your Money” which included the line “All good children go to heaven.” Now, I’m not here to disagree or anything but surely something doesn’t add up here? I don’t actually have a point to make or anything I’m just asking the question…

    Every.
    Fucking.
    Time.

    Seriously, have you any idea just how creepy and stalky you look when you pull shit like this?

  15. WineEM says

    @14 Thanks, Ally, the thing is that I’ve raised an ethical dilemma here, which you’ve very kindly given your opinion and stance on, and I’m quite happy to debate that in itself (without any further allusions to what someone may or not have said in the past).

  16. Ally Fogg says

    Here’s an idea WineEM [13]

    How about just once you try reading & responding to a blog post on its own terms, responding to the actual words that are right there in front of you, and not treating it as an opportunity to compare and contrast with every word I have ever written on the Internet over the past 20 years or so in a desperate effort to identify some apparent inconsistency or hypocrisy?

    Because here’s the thing. If I say something in 2017 that is not absolutely identical to something I wrote in 2012 or 1997, it might be because I have since changed my mind. That happens, quite often. I learn new stuff. I keep an open mind and rethink things. That is a good thing for human beings to do.

    Also I do write a lot of words. A lot of what I write is (I hope) reasonably nuanced & subtle. What I think about an issue can change according to context or my mood or even from one day to the next. Sometimes I am pretty much keeping two almost incompatible thoughts in my head at the same time, which, as I think Einstein observed, is pretty much a precondition of intelligent thinking.

    So what do you think you are you trying to achieve with this stuff? You do it pretty much every time I write a blog post, I’ve pulled you up on it before but you don’t seem able to restrain yourself.

    Is it a desperate urge to prove me a hypocrite? Is that it?

    If so, I could present far better material against myself than you’ve ever found and it still wouldn’t make an iota of difference to the words and the ideas contained at the top of the page.

    You are probably wondering why I am biting your head off quite so voraciously now. It is because you didn’t even have the guts to front up the allegations you are hinting at. You want other readers to put 2+2 together and conclude that at some point in the past I, Ally Fogg, the writer of this blog, has suggested it is fine to harass women on the streets. And I guarantee that you know for a fact that this is a flat out fabrication, defamation and libel. You know that whatever it was you half-remember me saying, it would have been very much along the lines of what I wrote in [9], which is that while human beings will always catch themselves looking or staring at people they find attractive, it is never acceptable to do it in a way that harasses, intimidates or discomfits the other person. And yet you thought you would drop in a little hint that Ally is actually a secret sexual harasser. That is a really, really slimy thing to do.

    Do you somehow imagine that if only you can prove some internal inconsistencies within the millions of words I’ve committed to pixels over the years then it will mean what I write is no longer trustworthy and can be safely discounted? Is that it? Of so, why bother? No one is forcing you to believe or accept what I say and I very much doubt you have ever, even once, persuaded another reader to discount what I say with one of your feeble gotchas.

    If what I write at the top of the page is true and useful, then it is true and useful. It doesn’t become any less true and useful because it somehow vaguely contradicts something else I wrote a long time ago. If there is a contradiction, it would almost certainly be because I no longer believe what I wrote then.

    I hope we are clear.

  17. DLZ says

    “but for now, today, tomorrow, this week, the story is about women being abused, assaulted and harassed by men. Deal with it.”

    This is issue one, and doesn’t really jive with your idea of supporting both.

    “So how do we, as men, react to being told we are to blame? etc. etc”

    I shouldn’t have to point out why generalizations are found offensive. If someone wants to generalize about mothers killing their own children, we generally find it reasonable for women to say #notallwomen. Yet somehow we don’t extend this to men. We are not only erasing them as victims, but swinging all the way to the other end and generalizing them as abusers. I can hardly be surprised at the anger.

    “Tip 2. Don’t police women’s anger.”

    Out of curiousity, do you offer the same advice to women vis a vis men’s anger?

    “Is it that you do actually *want* to derail and undermine efforts to challenge a cultures of endemic abuse of women?”

    The entire thing has been derailed for decades, and we are only recently finding out via statistics on male sex abuse where that has gotten us. I’m not derailing anything. I’m putting up a guard rail on the sides of the discussion to prevent further enabling of the abuse.

  18. WineEM says

    “it would have been very much along the lines of what I wrote in [9]”

    Yes, so why are you getting so upset Ally? How is what I’ve described in 13. much different semantically to what you wrote in 9? Why not simply discuss the ethics of the position you’ve set out in 9. and be fine with that?

  19. Marduk says

    7. The relevance of Faraci and Wheedon is that Weinstein is one of a slew of people caught up in this movement and will not be the last. The Weinstein allegations did not appear out of a vacuum although I know these days nobody has the time to actually study what they are writing about in newspapers to point this out. While Weinstein is more obviously a traditional cigar chomping industry boss, its clearly not limited to one stereotype. The Faraci thing in particular surprised a sector the movie industry that wouldn’t see a Weinstein funded film if their lives depended upon it.

    What I’m actually putting forward is the boring suggestion that how you behave matters a lot more than how you tweet or understand the metaphysics of the social construction of gender and that this has been proven. I don’t think anyone even wants a reply or for you to give evidence of a moral inventory, they just want you to not behave in a certain way, this seems entirely fair enough to me and something I can get behind. Its the implicit demand for performativity (some of which you will find in Ms. Silverstein’s list) that tends to bother me more.

  20. Ally Fogg says

    DLZ

    “but for now, today, tomorrow, this week, the story is about women being abused, assaulted and harassed by men. Deal with it.”
    This is issue one, and doesn’t really jive with your idea of supporting both.

    The story this week is about Harvey Weinstein. Agreed? Next week or next month the story will be about something else, quite possibly about something like the football abuse scandal or Cyril Smith, at which point we have a very male-gender-specific issue to get our teeth into. But for now, the story is about men sexually harassing women and one of the best thing advocates for men and boys can do this week, or at this time, for men and boys is to help challenge the culture of exploitative power and abusive sexual behaviour which, this week, is focussed on men’s abuse of women.

    I shouldn’t have to point out why generalizations are found offensive.

    Ah, now here is a key point. I think we all need to understand the incredibly important distinction between a generalisation and a collective action.

    Saying “all men do XYZ” is (usually) a generalisation. Saying “the male gender as a categorisation does XYZ” is not.

    If someone wants to generalize about mothers killing their own children, we generally find it reasonable for women to say #notallwomen.

    No I disagree. I would have absolutely no problem with a statement saying, for example, “women kill their children because they are socialised to self-identify their in relation to their reproductive capital and infanticide is therefore a self-destructive act” (Please note, I might disagree with the statement, I’ve just pulled it out my arse and it is probably false, but I have no problem with the construction, if you see what I mean!)

    As an aside, I think that failure to understand the distinction between A/ a social category as a group, and B/ a generalisation about individuals, is one of the biggest problems in explaining sociological phenomena, it comes up remarkably often & leads to vast numbers of people shouting pointlessly across each other across the internet.

    Out of curiousity, do you offer the same advice to women vis a vis men’s anger?

    Yes. Often.

    The entire thing has been derailed for decades, and we are only recently finding out via statistics on male sex abuse where that has gotten us. I’m not derailing anything. I’m putting up a guard rail on the sides of the discussion to prevent further enabling of the abuse.

    Really not sure what you mean by that. Yes, we have in recent decades found out a lot about sexual abuse, including sexual abuse of men. Almost all of that has unfolded and opened up as a consequence of a conversation which began with talking about the abuse by men of women and girls.

  21. That Guy says

    DLZ, I don’t fully get what you’re saying, or in fact what you’re suggesting.

    Let’s do a thought experiment, what’s your desired goal? Let’s say you’re king of twitter, and you can use your magic powers to alter the conversation being had to whatever your whims currently are.

    To recap, the current #metoo conversation being had is largely about women being exploited by economically more powerful or influential men, usually in the workplace. It’s gone beyond hollywood, in part because the culture of this sort of abuse is so endemic, see also the rise of ‘sex for rent’.

    You swish your twitter wand, (tempered glass with a USB-c core) and the conversation is now changed. What is the conversation now?

    Is it the same, but now everyone has an asterisk after their tweets along the lines of ‘*not all men are abusers, and in certain select circumstances, sometimes men are abused by women in this way, but due to the economic disparity between men and women, it’s more usual for men to be abused by economically more powerful men’. thus turning every conversation had about this form of abuse into a wall of disclaimers?

    Or do you want the conversation as it currently is to totally stop, and instead we talk *only* about men being abused? Women talking about sexually harassed at work are automatically muted?

    Or do you want to populate twitter with bots that every time they detect a woman sharing her experience of workplace sexual abuse, leaps into her computer and flashes a big yellow and black warning sign, “DONT FORGET! MEN CAN BE VICTIMS TOO!”

    Maybe your heart is mostly in the right place, and you just want for men to be able to share similar or even tangentially related experiences, but you want them to do so in a conversation already happening about women, and you don’t want anyone to accuse you of derailing or pulling focus from that specific issue. Even though you are. With the best of intentions, but you are.

    What’s the end goal? I’m honestly curious

  22. Ally Fogg says

    Marduk [19]

    Yeah, not really seeing your point, sorry.

    When you say “caught up in this movement” what do you mean? The pushback against sexual violence?

    If so yes, sure, but I’d have thought Polanski, Woody Allen, Corey Affleck & dozens of others would make for more compelling examples.

  23. Ally Fogg says

    WineEM [18]

    Here’s the thing, even after [counts] six comments here, you have yet to make a single unveiled, honest statement about what you think yourself, and you have yet to ask me a single relevant direct question about what I think. You made some weird passive-aggressive allusion to something about ogling, to which I replied:

    my position is that ogling in itself is fine but doing it in such a way that the other person notices and is made to feel uncomfortable as a consequence is not OK.

    And now you say you want to “discuss the ethics” of that.

    What is there to discuss?

  24. says

    I am disappointed by this article for much of the same reasons as DLZ mentioned. So I’ll take the liberty to address the questions you posed to him as if they was posed to me too.

    * No, I do not refuse to support women while also supporting men. I do take a somewhat dim view of those supporting women while refusing to support men and an even dimmer view of those telling male victims to shut up.

    * No, I want all to consider the abuse of men and boys alongside the abuse of women.

    * Yes, the abuse of men and boys is part and parcel of a culture of abuse and will begin to be alleviated when we are prepared to challenge all abuse. An exclusively female metoo is not challenging all abuse.

    * No, I do not want to derail and undermine the efforts to challenge a culture of endemic abuse of women – I want the endemic abuse of boys and men to be include in this effort

    I am explicitly saying we should be discussing and challenging the abuse of men and boys in its own right, bearing in mind that I am explicitly saying it is good and welcome to raise the abuse of men and boys providing we do so in a way that adds to, rather than detracts from the issue of the abuse of women and girls, what is it precisely you are not on board with?

    The above comes off as lip-service considering that you say this elsewhere in the article:

    for now, today, tomorrow, this week, the story is about women being abused, assaulted and harassed by men. Deal with it.

    So, speak up about/as male victims, but don’t do it today, tomorrow, this week? Is next month OK? Next, year? Next decade?

    Either male victims are included, or they aren’t. They can’t be both.

    It very well might be that I’ve grown too cynical by being kicked in the teeth too many times on this issue in the last 25 years, but I am tired of lip-service. Tired of people dismissing male victims outright or assuming that I am derailing and questioning my motives when I talk about male victims/female perpetrators for only to turn around and say “I am sorry that happened to you” when I come out or are outed as a male victim myself. It comes off as insincere.

    the culture that allows men and boys to be abused is the precise same culture that allows (or expects) this to happen to women. If you make efforts – any efforts – to prevent exploitation and abuse of anyone you will, even incidentally, help prevent exploitation and abuse of everyone.

    I was told basically the same thing 20-something years ago and have been told that countless times since then. The trickle-down effects is no more effective in social justice than it is in economics. Nothing happened until male victims themselves started to speak up. To either outright say or imply that male victims shouldn’t talk (today, tomorrow or next week) is beyond pale.

    I’ve heard other male survivors tell getting skewered on twitter and facebook for posting metoo about their experience so your statement that it’s safe for male survivors to do so is not accurate. Too many still think including male victims dilute female victimization. That line of thought reveals that they think male victims are worth less than female victims..I won’t accept that.

  25. Ally Fogg says

    Tamen

    So, speak up about/as male victims, but don’t do it today, tomorrow, this week? Is next month OK? Next, year? Next decade?

    Yes, yes and yes. And as you know because you’ve read the rest of the post, I’m not even saying men can’t discuss their abuse this week in this context, I even gave an example of how it can be done. What I am saying is that if you are doing so, please be careful to add to the experiences of women, don’t undermine them.

    If you know of male survivors who have been doing this and have still nonetheless been ‘skewered’ on Twitter and Facebook then I would stand with them and support their right to speak out.

    What I have seen is a lot of men (none of them, to the best of my knowledge survivors) using male victims as a way of undermining and challenging disclosures from women.

  26. Ally Fogg says

    Just to reiterate & clarify, I’m not denying this far less condoning it, just saying I haven’t seen it.

    Would genuinely be interested in examples of it happening, which we could discuss.

    I’ve heard other male survivors tell getting skewered on twitter and facebook for posting metoo about their experience so your statement that it’s safe for male survivors to do so is not accurate.

  27. Carnation says

    @ Marduk, WineEM, Tamen, DLZ

    Here’s an account of a boy in Hollywood being abused, it’s retold here in 2016;

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3611046/I-molested-passed-Corey-Feldman-details-horrors-Hollywood-pedophile-ring-reveals-Corey-Haim-just-11-raped-leading-life-drugs.html

    And, because of the press attention on abuse in Hollywood, here’s the piece being revisited (as it is on numerous other articles);

    https://www.thedailybeast.com/hollywoods-other-open-secret-besides-harvey-weinstein-preying-on-young-boys

    What people of your ilk fail to realise is that not everything is a conspiracy against males. There exists in western society an invisible but very real block on men displaying vulnerabilities. This can be as trivial as crying when they’re upset (or even acknowledging with words that they are) and as serious as blaming themselves for not “defending” themselves from being abused. (This invisible block, by the way, is known as patriarchy or a variation thereof.)

    Now, not so long ago, there was a scandal that rocked the world of football. The perpetrators were men, the victims were male. Those fuelling the patriarchal (and often homophobic) discourse around this were also male – the despicable tweet from the darts player, for example. But through it all, some progress was made.

    And now, we have scores, probably hundreds by the end of this, victims of one exceptionally powerful man. He will have victimised men, too, of course, but in different ways.

    Surely the best course of action, for male victims, is to encourage and enable victims, who this time are female, to tell their story, be believed and acknowledge that this goes on, and it goes on all the time.

    And who knows, maybe one day the reporting of female teachers having sex with (or, more accurately, raping) their male pupils, will be reported without recourse to salacious tabloid nonsense.

    Or, and this is possible in the nutty political world that we live in, the Mike Buchannan’s of this world will be listened to and victims will be, as a matter of course, disbelieved.

  28. DLZ says

    “Tired of people dismissing male victims outright or assuming that I am derailing and questioning my motives when I talk about male victims/female perpetrators for only to turn around and say “I am sorry that happened to you” when I come out or are outed as a male victim myself. It comes off as insincere.”

    Shit, I know exactly what you mean. That same phrase, every time. It makes my flesh crawl at this point.

  29. DLZ says

    “What people of your ilk fail to realise is that not everything is a conspiracy against males.”

    That is NOT what we’re saying, though you can point to people like Mary Koss as evidence to a conspiracy in some cases.

    When this all started coming out, my stance was that we finally had a golden opportunity to shine a light on the corruption in Hollywood, and that by everyone coming out together and hopefully at some point naming names something could be done. That lasted all of a week before everyone started coming out of the woodwork telling other people to shut up because they HAD to be the biggest victim in the room. Even Anita Sarkeesian is back beating the drum about how harassed she is. Now it’s all going to hell, like Occupy and other movements did, for all the same reasons. Tanked because of divisive politics.

  30. Ally Fogg says

    When this all started coming out, my stance was that we finally had a golden opportunity to shine a light on the corruption in Hollywood, and that by everyone coming out together and hopefully at some point naming names something could be done. That lasted all of a week before everyone started coming out of the woodwork telling other people to shut up because they HAD to be the biggest victim in the room. Even Anita Sarkeesian is back beating the drum about how harassed she is

    Really not trying to be argumentative, but I find that a really, really strange reading of what has happened over the past week.

    Who are all these people who have started to come out of the woodwork telling other people to shut up? What I have seen is a huge wave of people (mostly women) disclosing awful things that have happened to them and offering solidarity and support to each other.

    The only negative and corrosive stuff I have seen has been from men who seem unable to deal with any kind of criticism of patriarchal and oppressive social norms.

    And what has Anita Sarkeesian done this week to offend? Beyond continuing to exist, much to the annoyance of MRAs, that is?

    And what is this movement that is “all going to hell?”

    What I see is a sea-change in prevailing attitudes, and a long-overdue and highly welcome rejection of sexual harassment.

    Genuinely asking here. What precisely has happened over the past week that you think is a bad thing and why?

  31. Carnation says

    @ DLZ

    “That lasted all of a week before everyone started coming out of the woodwork telling other people to shut up because they HAD to be the biggest victim in the room.”

    This sounds like inane hyperbole. Can you back it up, or is the anguished emoting of a someone who thinks everyone is a conspiracy against men?

    “Even Anita Sarkeesian is back beating the drum about how harassed she is.”

    Are you denying that she is harassed? Because if you are, you’re at best too stupid to take part in and at worst supportive of the trash that do harass her.

    What’s Mary Koss got to do with anything?

  32. scoobertron says

    “Terry Crews pitched this just right last week. His disclosures underlined and emphasised the prevalence of sexual harassment in Hollywood. He was not seeking to undermine disclosures from women and I don’t think anyone criticised him for adding his own experiences to the mix”

    In my view, the reason Terry Crews pitched this just right is precisely because it opened up the discussion to include male victims. So a response which says ‘right now we are talking about women’ rather than ‘lets encourage all victims to share their experience’ seems wrong-headed to me. And I doubt that the current ‘how men can avoid being predators’ discussion is creating a climate for other male victims to come forward. And lets not forget that the other big open secret in hollywood is the abuse of underage boys, as revealed by Elijah Wood and Corey Feldman, so I’m pretty sure there is no shortage of male victims.

    It is frustrating when ‘what about the men’ is used to shut down discussion of women’s experiences. But if the discussion of women’s experiences serves to reinforce the notion that sexual abuse is something that is exclusively done to women by men, then that I find that equally frustrating. I simply fail to see why we can’t welcome discussion of all victims, and try to avoid using language that erases victims of one gender. I don’t see why that is so hard.

  33. FeedTheBeast says

    >It’s the difference between saying “You don’t have a point because this can happen to men too” and “You **do** have a point **and** this can happen to men too.”

    The thing is, men including their stories as apart of #MeToo does not detract from women’s stories. Men including their stories IS doing the second one “all these stories are unfortunate. Here’s my own”. So there should be no problem with men joining #MeToo

    A lot of times it just seems that any man telling his own story, thus challenging the “female victim / male abuser” narrative, is accused of derailing from the supposedly more pressing problem of male-on-female rape

    >And they are right to be angry with men as a group because all too often men as a group have behaved fucking abysmally.

    Except men as a group do not behave abysmally. A minority of men do, just as a minority of women do. It’s not most men or men in general or men as a group. Also, this contradicts what he said earlier
    >By and large, most men don’t do these things, at least not habitually.

    If the worst most men do is misjudge a flirt or make an advance that turns out to be unwelcome, then, no, women are not right to be angry at men as a group anymore than men are right to be angry at women as a group for their unwanted touching or flirtatious advances or off-colored jokes

  34. DLZ says

    You know, let’s get right down to brass tacks. A lot of you seem really comfortable with blaming men for victimizing women. But are you really willing to break this subject down all the way? Are you willing to break it down by race?

    Let’s find out where the line between progressivism and and political correctness really is.

  35. Ally Fogg says

    scoobertron [33]

    In my view, the reason Terry Crews pitched this just right is precisely because it opened up the discussion to include male victims.

    …without undermining, discrediting or detracting from what women were saying. That bit is important.

    So a response which says ‘right now we are talking about women’ rather than ‘lets encourage all victims to share their experience’ seems wrong-headed to me.

    How about we rephrase that as ‘let’s encourage all victims to share their experience in a way that is mutually supportive and respectful of the sensitivities of all involved.’

    Which, I’d argue, is not a million miles from my position. The only difference, perhaps, is that I am saying men – support women this week, share your experiences next week, and appreciate that women will support you just as you supported them.”

    I’d also ask directly about Terry Crews, since other people have brought it up on this thread, that I haven’t seen anyone, feminist or not, challenge him, object to what he said or in any other way ‘skewering him’ on social media. Have you?

    It is frustrating when ‘what about the men’ is used to shut down discussion of women’s experiences. But if the discussion of women’s experiences serves to reinforce the notion that sexual abuse is something that is exclusively done to women by men, then that I find that equally frustrating. I simply fail to see why we can’t welcome discussion of all victims, and try to avoid using language that erases victims of one gender. I don’t see why that is so hard.

    Again, I don’t think your position is very different to mine. I don’t think it should be hard or need be hard.

    To give a very simple instance. I honestly don’t have a problem with men posting their own tweets or FB updates or whatever, saying they have survived abuse or harassment, just saying #MeToo or whatever else. I think it might be more tactful & constructive to do it next week rather than today, but no biggie.

    I do have a big problem with men replying to women’s messages, in an argumentative or hostile tone, telling them to shut up already because this stuff happens to men too. And that is something I have seen a huge amount of. That’s really what I am discussing in this post.

  36. Ally Fogg says

    FeedtheBeast [34]

    The thing is, men including their stories as apart of #MeToo does not detract from women’s stories. Men including their stories IS doing the second one “all these stories are unfortunate. Here’s my own”. So there should be no problem with men joining #MeToo

    See my reply to Scoobertron, immediately above.

    Except men as a group do not behave abysmally.

    I’m guessing 10,000 years of warfare, interpersonal violence, ownership of other human beings, sexual exploitation, economic exploitation and social oppression have passed you by?

  37. Ally Fogg says

    DLZ [35]

    Tell you what, I’ll do you a deal.

    You:
    A/ Answer the questions put to you my Carnation and me in [31] and [32]
    B/ You confirm that you have read and understood my remarks in [20] about the sociological distinction between an indeterminate number of individuals and an operant social group
    C/ You provide the links to any evidence you have which might make you think there are specific racial and ethnic elements to this debate about sexual abuse and harassment
    and then
    D/ I will be happy to discuss them with you.

  38. scoobertron says

    @ally

    “I’d also ask directly about Terry Crews, since other people have brought it up on this thread, that I haven’t seen anyone, feminist or not, challenge him, object to what he said or in any other way ‘skewering him’ on social media. Have you?”

    I’ve not, but I’ve not been keeping tabs on this.

    “I think it might be more tactful & constructive to do it next week rather than today, but no biggie.”

    I struggle a bit with how discussions get bounded, as it often seems a bit arbitrary. If this week is about Weinstein, does that mean it was tactless of Mckayla Maroney to talk about her abuse as this wasn’t perpetrated by Weinstein and was outside of Hollywood? If not, what makes Terry Crews’ disclosure tactless – as this was another Hollywood example, and therefore seemingly more closely related to the Weinstein allegations? Why is gender the overriding lens for this discussion?

    I think we are actually on the same page, but I am very sensitive to the suggestion that male and female victimisation are completely separate unrelated topics, which seems to be implied by setting boundaries to this discussion.

    And this is what I find frustrating about the articles like the one you linked. It looks as though a lot of writers have taken these revelations as an excuse to perpetrate the myth the sexual abuse is something exclusively done by men to women – a myth which I see as actively harmful. When I read your post, it felt as though you were implying that we shouldn’t challenge these writers for perpetrating this myth because we are only talking about female victims this week (and I recognise that this reading is very uncharitable).

  39. Ally Fogg says

    I struggle a bit with how discussions get bounded, as it often seems a bit arbitrary.

    I think this is a very good point and fair criticism. It is often arbitrary and I don’t think there are any firm boundaries.

    I can also imagine that the OP is frustrating for people because I am being quite vague about what is acceptable & what isn’t. For the same reasons.

    I hope it is really clear that I’m not chastising male survivors for speaking out. With hindsight, I wish I had included a paragraph to clarify that I believe that male survivors are absolutely free to disclose or talk about their experiences in any way they see fit, at any time, and should be supported in doing that when they are ready. However I do always encourage all survivors to support and respect each other, and I suspect all survivors do get that.

    And this is what I find frustrating about the articles like the one you linked.

    Do you mean the list in the Guardian? Yeah. TBH I’m surprised more people haven’t been yelling at me about that. It’s pretty rubbish. But it comes back to the point about women being really justifiably angry right now. We’re seeing some pretty extreme points of view, of course we are. But if your concern is with men and boys affected by abuse, I genuinely believe we will make far more progress if we wait for the immediate storm to subside.

  40. DDS says

    “I’m guessing 10,000 years of warfare, interpersonal violence, ownership of other human beings, sexual exploitation, economic exploitation and social oppression have passed you by?”

    Oh, that was men as a class now? It was men as a class owning and benefiting slaves? Men are just the DV offenders despite stats showing it’s at least equal? Sexual exploitation when it’s shown that men via their use of the #metoo that? Economic exploitation? Such as? Social oppression in a system where the average woman undoubtedly has more social power where they can initiate a lynching of a 13-year-old boy?

    Your phrasing is just weasel words at the very *best* painting most men as being responsible for this system of ostensible oppression. So is it some men, Ally? Is it most? Be clear and own it.

  41. DDS says

    Ally, in what world do you live in where women’s ‘voices’ are not the ones constantly given precedence in sexual assault discussions?

  42. DDS says

    Ally, in what world do you live in where women’s ‘voices’ are not the ones constantly given precedence in sexual assault discussions?

    “But it comes back to the point about women being really justifiably angry right now.”

    Women are justifiably ‘angry’ as a class, meaning that they are being irrationally sexist and willing the paint because a very small minority of men. Thing is that you’re ignoring that with so many men also using #metoo is beginning to paint a picture of men having the same excuse to be sexist, something I am sure you’d take immediate umbrage with.

    “But if your concern is with men and boys affected by abuse, I genuinely believe we will make far more progress if we wait for the immediate storm to subside.”

    We apparently live in so much of a patriarchy that we have to wait for the feelings of women to subside before we can even hope to address men’s issues. Right.

  43. Ally Fogg says

    Oh, that was men as a class now? It was men as a class owning and benefiting slaves?

    Well yes. Obviously.

    The class called ‘men’ was not the only class that owned slaves, of course, but yes, men as a class did own slaves. More to the point, they also owned women and children. Throughout most of human history, in most places in the world, women and children were literally the property of their husbands, fathers etc.

    Are you surprised by this news?

  44. Ally Fogg says

    Your phrasing is just weasel words at the very *best* painting most men as being responsible for this system of ostensible oppression.

    Sigh. You’re not very good at this, are you?

    No. It doesn’t paint most men as being responsible for oppression. It paints a social structure, a system of human and economic interactions as being responsible.

    Hope this helps.

  45. DDS says

    Women and children were never the ‘property’ of their husbands, they were their wards, which is a substantial difference which I notice you are also ignoring the context of vis-a-vis women literally not being able to take care of themselves in this environment due to the realities of the work and pregnancy, and men thus being required. But again, men did not own their wives and children. They were not owned legally. Conflating the two is disingenuous, and you know it. Women were slaveowners, many of them, and directly profited from it. Hell, look at modern sex slavery rings and who the top echelons are, as well as the amount of “Madams” who directly are controlling them on the street. They are very often women. Are women as a class behaving abysmally?

    I have a question for you. It is an unequivocal fact that, in the U.S., black murdererers comprise a hugely disproportionate amount of murderers per capita. Is it black people as a class who are responsible? Are they behaving abysmally? What about the Jews and how so many of the people in positions of power which we know is in and of itself routinely abused by its nature? Is it Jews as a class here as well? Afterall, Weinstein is a Jew, and Hollywood has a massively disproporionate amount of Jewish people in power who, at the very least, protected the man.

    Is the anger against the Jews and Blacks justified here? No? Why not? What’s the difference? Be specific.

  46. DDS says

    “No. It doesn’t paint most men as being responsible for oppression. It paints a social structure, a system of human and economic interactions as being responsible. ”

    One perpetuated by men as a class given they are the direct beneficiaries given they are supposedly the ones in power, and their way of operating vis-a-vis masculinity supposedly entrenches and perpetuates that system . Your little critical-theorist sleight of hand is well known to anyone who took a Sociology 101 course.

    When you say “as a class”, it is implicit that you are taking about the majority of the contituents of that class, as that is what the word means.

  47. DDS says

    Let’s break this down, since you’re having such trouble. You believe women are righteously angry and have the right to vent their anger as men ‘as a class’, meaning they have the right to be angry at men as individuals by default given that ‘male’ is an immutable shared identity characteristic. You are an apologist for sexism.

  48. redpesto says

    Ally Fogg: “Alternatively buy my new E-book, Advanced Unobtrusive Ogling for the Woke Feminist Man – complete with foreword from Hugo Schwyzer 😉

    As for ‘that list’: were ‘we’ meant to laugh because it was from the Reductress; share it on social media (its most likely fate); take its advice that men should simultaneously speakout/shutup/buttout/calloutyourbros seriously (despite it being from the Reductress)?

  49. scoobertron says

    @Ally

    “I hope it is really clear that I’m not chastising male survivors for speaking out.”

    That is clear. And I do agree with your point about some forms of speaking out being attempts to silence discussion. But I’m not comfortable with the idea that male victims who speak out in a supportive way are being tactless, or should wait until the focus is back on men. For me this goes a little too far. But I suspect your vagueness in the OP may reflect difficulty in pinning down where you want to draw your lines.

    “Do you mean the list in the Guardian?”

    Yep, as well as Zoe Williams’ “Sexual Harassment 101”, which effectively defined harassment as something men do to women. I don’t understand why this is any more acceptable than defining it as something that happens to cis people, or straight people, or whatever. It would be unthinkable to write an article about scientists and use the male pronoun throughout and equating ‘scientists’ with ‘men’. I have no idea why it is acceptable to equate ‘victim’ with ‘women’ in the same way.

    “it comes back to the point about women being really justifiably angry right now”

    But does that really justify writing about sexual assault (in general – not in specific cases) in a way that deliberately erases male victims? Or directing that anger at men as a group? A lot of people were justifiably angry at the Rotherham abuses. But directing that anger at asians, or asian men specifically, just sounds like bigotry. If I wrote an “Asian men, here’s a list of ways not to groom and abuse white girls”, then I would expect to be roundly criticised. I doubt it would be much of a defence to say to offended asians that if they don’t groom and abuse white girls then it is not about them.

    There is a question of pragmatics here. I am hugely disappointed by this aspect of the discussion – particularly coming from a movement fighting for gender equality which I consider to be my side, but this isn’t the time to make this argument (at least not elsewhere). However, there is a gap between saying that, and saying that this kind of behaviour is justified or acceptable. I shudder to think what it must feel like to be an abuse survivor and see myself written out of the discussion of sexual abuse – or to read a ‘Men – Here’s how not to be a predator’ article as I’m trying to work up the courage to speak out about my abuse.

  50. redpesto says

    scoobertron: Yep, as well as Zoe Williams’ “Sexual Harassment 101”, which effectively defined harassment as something men do to women.

    She (just about) qualified this by referring to what happened in most examples and a (very brief) reference to Terry Crews, but (a) it’s not how the law works (it has to be gender neutral/inclusive) and (b) as I understand it, that isn’t how the classic feminist definition works, where harassment/sexual violence is a crime of power, not gender (on a bad day, I think some writers/activists argue it the other way round).

  51. RussellsTeapot42 says

    A lot of us in the networks of men who talk about their experiences as harassment and abuse victims feel that what this amounts to is another demand for men to wait their turn. Keep that kind of discussion to the dark corners. Don’t be counted, we don’t want to know how many there are.

    The #Metoo campaign seems to a lot of us like something that we shouldn’t be forbidden in participating in just because we aren’t the right gender for it. And it seems like this mythical ‘men’s turn’ to have their victimization counted and acknowledged in the mainstream will never materialize.

  52. Ally Fogg says

    A general note to everyone commenting here.

    I really don’t give a fuck about the hurt feelings of people who feel like all men are being accused of being this or that.

    That is not what this post is about.

    This post is about the people who experience sexual abuse, sexual harassment, sexual exploitation. It is about what is best for them.

    This post is also about the people who perpetrate sexual abuse, harassment etc. It is about how we respond to them and how we prevent anyone else from behaving in that way.

    I welcome comments about any of that.

    There are important issues here. How do we empower male (and for that matter female) survivors to speak out about their experiences as they want to, without fear, in an atmosphere of support?

    How do we as men, as women, as society as a whole, challenge the systematic marginalisation and invisibilisation of male victims while still supporting female victims and survivors?

    As I said to Scoobertron above, I don’t claim to have all the answers. I’m genuinely interested in the thoughts of others. All those questions are very legitimate, all of the concerns raised by some comments on these points are welcome.

    But if your main concern is that you’ve had your fee-fees hurt because some woman at the Guardian has implied you might be abusive, just because you’re a man and statistics show most men are totally innocent?

    Nah. Couldn’t give a fuck. Not interested. Not saying you’re wrong, not saying you’re right. Just saying I really couldn’t care less. Bye.

    Comments may be edited or deleted in accordance.

  53. DDS says

    “There are important issues here. How do we empower male (and for that matter female) survivors to speak out about their experiences as they want to, without fear, in an atmosphere of support? ”

    Clearly the answer is to let women once again dominate the conversation and give men a turn when, like, some other time not in a campaign directly about suppression of experiences of sexual assault because this time, women are talking. Men need to wait their turns because, like, derailing or something.

  54. scoobertron says

    @Ally

    “There are important issues here. How do we empower male (and for that matter female) survivors to speak out about their experiences as they want to, without fear, in an atmosphere of support?”

    Do you really think that this is unrelated to the way the public discussion of sexual abuse paints men, as a class, as perpetrators of abuse and ignores the existence of male victims?

    I dont take personal offence at these kinds of remarks (though they do regrettably affect my willingness to engage with these kinds of issues), but I recognise that their prevalence contributes to a climate that is hostile to male victims.

  55. Yvonne says

    I’m not surprised but still disheartened by some of the comments, even though they’re predictable. It seems as if some of the people on this thread just want to find some reason, any reason, to be righteously angry at women/feminists. How dare they not explicitely include men in every issue that is (also) about women! Never mind that one of the women who started the #metoo hashtag, Alyssa Milano, explicitely said that men are welcome to use it, too. For the handful of people I saw who said thay prefered to have the limelight on women for this one (as far as I said none of them said there are no male victims), I’ve seen dozens and dozens (if not more) messages that supported men using the hashtag. I just feel that the anger in this thread is really misplaced and that Ally’s article is ignored by some people just so that they can vent. (For what it’s worth, I’m not a victim of sexual harrasment and I couldn’t care less wether people who use that hashtag are men, women or monkeys).

  56. Ally Fogg says

    scoobertron

    Do you really think that this is unrelated to the way the public discussion of sexual abuse paints men, as a class, as perpetrators of abuse and ignores the existence of male victims?

    To a very large extent, yes. It is unrelated. Or rather it is related, but in the other direction.

    For starters, outside of the most bitter radfem fringes, I doubt you’d find any female/feminist commentator who isn’t aware and concerned that very many men are victims of sexual exploitation and abuse. They would be quick to point out that in the vast majority of cases the perpetrators of that abuse are also male (as an aside, I think just about everyone on all sides probably underestimates or is unaware of the extent of female-perpetrated abuse, but even when fully considered, that is *still* a small proportion of the total.)

    So when (for instance) Zoe Williams writes about male violence, or men’s violence against women, or whatever phrase she uses, it is because she is talking about male violence against women. That is a perfectly legitimate topic of discussion. Of course Zoe Williams knows that other forms of violence exist and other forms of sexual violence exists. They’re just not her topic of discussion.

    So why do the vast majority of commentators, whether feminist or not, rarely talk about men’s violence against men or even women’s violence against men? Why do politicians not have a violence against men strategy, as they should?

    It’s not, primarily, feminism. It is, primarily, the patriarchal bullshit that says men are disposable, men don’t cry, men don’t complain, men should be happy to suffer, men should accept their lot, men don’t talk about their weaknesses, men don’t talk about their vulnerabilities, men don’t talk about their problems, etc, etc.

    All of that shit is riven through patriarchal society like letters on the Blackpool Rock. It long, long predates feminism, and to a large extent the only reason we know now as much as we now do about male victims of sexual and other intimate offences is because they have come to light because of the stones that have been turned over by feminism.

    That is not to say feminism is the solution, or that feminists have always been helpful & supportive (they haven’t) or that these issues should be left to feminism to address. Regular readers know that is the exact opposite of my position. It’s up to men to challenge this stuff ourselves, feminists have got enough shit of their own to deal with, but if we are going to do so effectively the first thing we have to understand is that the primary obstacles in our way are not feminists but other men and our social values.

    Carnation made a very telling point earlier that when the football abuse scandal came to light, it was entirely about men and boys, those speaking out were men and boys. The *only* people who were in any way obstructive or dismissive were crusty old male chauvinists like Eric Bristow, an army of Twitter trolls, and rightwing libertarians like the psychopaths at Spiked.

    You’ll see similar things every time a story comes up about, say, a schoolboy being sexually abused by a female teacher. The comments at the bus stops, in the pubs, on Twitter, Facebook and the newspaper comment boxes will be jam-packed with comments saying “hurr hurr, lucky bastard, wish we’d had teachers like that when I was at school” etc etc, and believe me, *none* of those comments are coming from feminists, pretty much all of them are coming from men.

    So yeah, there is a long way to go before advocates for male survivors and feminists have stopped squabbling with each other. There are still huge political & policy issues for male survivors and the VAWG sector is often still sadly obstructive. We have a lot of conciliation to do & a lot of common ground still to find. We are indeed still fighting against feminist activists who would prefer to deny us funding, feminist politicians who would deny us space to talk and feminist policy-makers who would find it more convenient if we didn’t exist. I’ve written about all of this at enormous length in the past and will doubtless do at enormous length in the future.

    However for all that, those feminists are not the reasons men are abused and they are certainly not the reasons abused men are marginalised and ignored.

    If we do genuinely want to challenge the social culture that instils and enables sexually abusive behaviour, then I return to the OP. We will get a lot further a lot faster by supporting and amplifying the stance that is now being taken by women against sexual harassment and exploitation in Hollywood and beyond than we will by trying to derail or undermine that discussion.

  57. RussellsTeapot42 says

    Sadly, I have read a number of reports of men who, when they related their own experiences being sexually harassed, abused, or even raped, were shut down by people who felt that their doing so was ‘derailing’, even when they’d been explicitly invited to.

  58. Ally Fogg says

    Sadly, I have read a number of reports of men who, when they related their own experiences being sexually harassed, abused, or even raped, were shut down by people who felt that their doing so was ‘derailing’, even when they’d been explicitly invited to.

    I’ve read those reports too. It can happen. But usually when I look into them it turns out that they had not been ‘explicitly invited’ at all and that what they were in fact doing was derailing or detracting from someone else’s disclosure in a really, really clumsy & harmful way.

    However right now I could go on to Twitter or Facebook and find you 10, 20, 100 examples of men disclosing their abusive experiences or talking about their own experiences of abuse and not a single one of them would be getting criticised or ‘skewered’ for doing so.

    I could also find you 10, 20, 100 examples of men who are not actually taking about their own experiences at all, but who are weaponising other men’s experiences of abuse to attempt to close down women’s disclosures.

    But as I said to someone else earlier, if you want to point me to any of these examples (ideally from over the past two weeks) of men having their own disclosures shut down, I’d be genuinely interested to see those and to discuss them.

  59. WineEM says

    Ok, so they had quite a good discussion about all this on the Moral Maze last night, and the point was made that the concepts of ‘abuse’ and ‘harassment’ had been broadened out to mean an extraordinary range of behaviour, including all kinds of things that might in other circumstances simply be called loutish or boorish. Giles Fraser put forward an interesting point of view, in saying that the only legitimate manifestation of (or expression of) human sexuality could only be in a personal relationship (which I suppose, in theory, might run contrary to the Foggian ‘olging is ok if not noticed’ algorithm.) But then maybe his is a religious perspective, and thus arguably a bit extremist.
    There does, meanwhile, seem to be an intriguing backlash against the #MeToo hashtag on Twitter from some free thinking women such as Ella Whelan, the truly wonderful ‘SithLord Sabrina,’ Belinda Brown etc.
    who, interestingly, seem to see it as sowing a kind of mistrust in interpersonal interactions between men and women, and thus potentially quite disempowering from a female point of view.

    But I think there probably is an interesting conversation to be had, more generally, around whether so called ‘objectification’ of women should inevitably be seen to be a sort of harassment of the image of women in the public sphere, and the ethics and moral distinctions, say, of: looking at women through binoculars on a beach (providing they don’t notice); buying pornographic magazines; taking upskirt pictures of a woman in a covert manner (if they are, say, in the first place, flaunting their stuff and quite ostentatiously sitting with their legs wide apart in a public place). The last one I’ve noticed progressives say should be punished by a specific criminal offence which would probably result in a prison sentence.
    (Which in itself, is an interesting point of view, since it suggests that the moral harm done to a man as a sex offender in prison is outweighed by the moral harm of taking those kinds of pictures.
    Which, perhaps ironically, rather aligns them in this specific case, with a Philip Davies point of view towards criminal sentencing for this kind of problem.)

  60. Carnation says

    @ WineEM

    It’s uncomfortable, but not without amusement, to watch you and yours squirm, bend-over-backwards, obfuscate and emote words and phrases in a vain and vainglorious attempt to offer some kind of counterbalance to the undeniably positive phenomenon of victims of a range of sexual harassment and abuse finding the confidence to articulate their experiences and thoughts in public.

    It also shows how shamefully pathetic you are; how grubbily solipsistic your narrow worldview is and highlights your general lack of humanity. You, and people like you, enable and encourage the scum of the internet to harass and hinder victims, male and female (arguably more effectively male) victims to speak.

    Slow clap, WineEm.

  61. WineEM says

    @Carnation 61. I was merely describing and referencing a range of point of views. (The progressive left really must get away from this dullard literalism, which had been their habit in recent times.) Just because I outline the view of Giles Fraser for instance doesn’t mean that I share exactly his opinion.

  62. scoobertron says

    @Ally

    A lot of your comment doesn’t seem directed at anything I’ve said. I’ve not, for example, talked about feminism’s role in the public discourse about sexual abuse. Even if the majority of people writing men out of the public discussion of sexual abuse, I don’t think that would justify anger at feminists as a class.

    Surely the narrative that men are perpetrators and never victims of sexual abuse – and that they can be blamed as a class for sexual abuse despite the likelihood that there are many more male victims than male perpetrators, is part and parcel of the patriarchal bullshit you are railing against. So why do the Weinstein allegations make this particular patriarchal bullshit acceptable? And for that matter, why shouldn’t it hurt men’s ‘fee fees’. I agree that we need to be constructive but I don’t see how asking for the public discourse on sexual abuse not to exclude a sizable subset of victims because of their gender fails to be constructive.

  63. Ally Fogg says

    WineEM [60]

    Ok, so they had quite a good discussion about all this on the Moral Maze last night, and the point was made that the concepts of ‘abuse’ and ‘harassment’ had been broadened out to mean an extraordinary range of behaviour, including all kinds of things that might in other circumstances simply be called loutish or boorish.

    I have very, very little patience with this argument. The bottom line is that “loutish” or “boorish” behaviour is, pretty much by definition, anti-social, intimidating and damaging to the safety and wellbeing of those on the receiving end of it. A lot of behaviour that is called ‘loutish’ or ‘boorish’ is in fact a criminal offence for many reasons, but even if it is not specifically criminal, it can still be massively socially corrosive and it is perfectly legitimate to challenge, condemn and seek to eradicate loutish and boorish behaviour.

    I didn’t hear the Moral Maze last night but I’ve seen this argument made by columnists too…. basically saying “hang on, this conversation is covering everything from violent stranger rape to blokes making clumsy and offensive chat-up attempts in bars.” and yes it is and there is nothing wrong with that, because the behaviours that cause (usually) women to be intimidated, coerced, harassed etc range from everything from violent stranger rape to blokes making clumsy and offensive chat-up attempts in bars.

    some free thinking women such as Ella Whelan, the truly wonderful ‘SithLord Sabrina,’ Belinda Brown etc.

    A Spiked libertarian psychopath, a “Conservative Woman” moron and a Gamergate FemRA. Fucking spare me.

    “But I think there probably is an interesting conversation to be had, more generally, around whether so called ‘objectification’ of women should inevitably be seen to be a sort of harassment of the image of women in the public sphere, and the ethics and moral distinctions, say, of: looking at women through binoculars on a beach (providing they don’t notice); buying pornographic magazines; taking upskirt pictures of a woman in a covert manner (if they are, say, in the first place, flaunting their stuff and quite ostentatiously sitting with their legs wide apart in a public place). The last one I’ve noticed progressives say should be punished by a specific criminal offence which would probably result in a prison sentence.”

    What the fuck are you gibbering about? This is like some kind of word salad. “around whether so called ‘objectification’ of women should inevitably be seen to be a sort of harassment of the image of women in the public sphere”

    You cannot harass an image.
    You can harass individuals.
    You can exploit individuals.
    You can intrude on individuals’ privacy and violate them by, for example, spying on them with binoculars or taking upskirt photos (as an aside, are you seriously suggesting there is some kind of debate to be had about the ethics of those? WTF are you on?)

    (if they are, say, in the first place, flaunting their stuff and quite ostentatiously sitting with their legs wide apart in a public place

    Careful now, I think your piss is boiling from all the misogyny.

    The last one I’ve noticed progressives say should be punished by a specific criminal offence which would probably result in a prison sentence.

    Progressives say taking upskirt photos of strange women in a public place should be a criminal offence. Yes, they do, self included. On the other hand, you apparently think it is a fine, healthy hobby for a red-blooded man?

    Tell me what, WineEM, just for once, confess to what you actually think. Don’t hide behind “there’s an interesting conversation to be had” – you have left about 10 comments on this thread and you have yet to share an actual opinion, just a bunch of snide, passive-aggressive allusions, dog-whistles and ‘just asking questions’ JAQ-offs.

    Tell us your opinions. Just so we can see what a running sewer is there between your ears.

  64. That Guy says

    I think there’s an interesting conversation to be had about the ethics of you being wrong about everything, ally, and me being right.

    I of course would also like to have an ethical discussion about the hypothetical scenario where a hetpat blogger (whom I have the good grace to not name) left a comment on a news website ten years ago, on page ten.

    Hypothetically of course.

    It’s a weird thing that in this thread, the people getting mad about male victims being sidelined are not mad at the abusers, as the women and feminists are, but mad at hypothetical feminists who have allegedly shut down a man disclosing abuse.

    You’d think with how universal this sentiment seems to be amongst some of you that you’d be able to show a concrete example.

    I haven’t seen anybody chuck a shit when Terry Crews came out, but I did see some people (white women) acknowledge that rather than being a strictly powerful man abuses vulnerable woman thing, there is also a racial element in the way we react to victims of abuse. It probably also helps that Terry Crews hasn’t been on the twatters wearing his fingers to nubs as he replies to every #meetoo post with MEN CAN BE ABUSED TOO. I have (unironically) enormous respect for the man.

  65. Ally Fogg says

    scoobertron [63]

    Surely the narrative that men are perpetrators and never victims of sexual abuse – and that they can be blamed as a class for sexual abuse despite the likelihood that there are many more male victims than male perpetrators, is part and parcel of the patriarchal bullshit you are railing against.

    That men are the only perpetrators and only women are the victims? Yes, I agree, 100% patriarchal.

    This bit is a bit more complicated though – “and that they can be blamed as a class for sexual abuse” because people on both sides (ie including feminist writers) can be a bit sloppy in eliding responsibility with blame, with eliding the group with individuals and all that kind of definitional stuff. It’s a really important point (that most feminist commentators would agree with if you pinned them down) that the person to be blamed for any act of abuse is the person who perpetrated it, no one else. However the blame for creating the social conditions which allow abusive behaviour to emerge in toto, the blame for creating abusive cultures, lies with the dominant social group in that context, which here happens to be the patriarchy (or ‘men’ in simplistic terms).

    But I accept that we’re pretty deep into theoretical concepts here that will fly past the radar of most people

    So why do the Weinstein allegations make this particular patriarchal bullshit acceptable? And for that matter, why shouldn’t it hurt men’s ‘fee fees’.

    It probably should hurt men’s fee-fees. I never said it shouldn’t. I said that I don’t care that it hurts mens fee-fees, which is not the same thing!

    I agree that we need to be constructive but I don’t see how asking for the public discourse on sexual abuse not to exclude a sizable subset of victims because of their gender fails to be constructive.

    Let me try explaining this way. There are several distinct conversations going on at any given time, which need to be going on at any given time.

    1/ How does our society continue to enable, encourage, tolerate, secrete etc sexual violence & exploitation, harassment etc against women by men and (occasionally) women ? How can we prevent that happening in the future and ensure justice, support, healing etc for its survivors?

    2/ How does our society continue to enable, encourage, tolerate, secrete etc, sexual violence & exploitation, harassment etc against men by other men and (occasionally) women? How can we prevent that happening in the future and ensure justice, support, healing etc for its survivors?

    Now those conversations are, in many (though not all) important respects, profoundly different. Male survivors have different needs & problems to female survivors, the social environment is different, they have different popular myths and misconceptions to deal with. The interpersonal cultural dynamics which inform the situations are different. In brief, a lot of the issues which are really important to male survivors (eg issues around sexuality & homophobia, masculinity, cultures of disbelief etc etc) do not apply to female survivors and vice versa.

    At the same time as those two conversations, there is a third, distinct and different again, which needs to happen separately to both, it is this:

    3/ How does our society continue to enable, encourage, tolerate, secrete etc, all kinds of exploitation, abuse, traumatisation, violence. How do different forms of violence and exploitation feed off each other and cross-fertilise, how do violence against women and violence against men feed off violence against children or homophobic hate crimes, how does social and economic marginalisation and exploitation directly inspire interpersonal violence, etc etc etc.

    Now, I think all three of these conversations should inform each other. Those involved in each conversation can learn a lot, and in particular, if we can make significant progress on any one of those questions, the consequences will include progress on the other two, which is the point I made in the OP.

    However they do remain distinct & separate questions. Now, it is probably fair to say that Q1 gets a lot of media and political attention. Has done so for about 30 or 40 years, and has been getting an awful lot of attention over the past week for obvious reasons.

    Q3 is the mainstay of academic sociology, criminology etc, but gets very little popular media attention.

    Q2, is still discussed far too little, although enormous progress has been made over the past decade or so. However I am quite convinced that the reason it is under-discussed has little or nothing to do with the fact the Q1 is widely-discussed. It is not zero sum and it is not either/or.

    If feminism didn’t exist. If literally no one was talking about men’s violence against women, it would not mean that everyone would be talking about Q2 instead. On the contrary, it means NOBODY would be talking about Q2 either.

    Any clearer?

  66. scoobertron says

    @Ally

    “However the blame for creating the social conditions which allow abusive behaviour to emerge in toto, the blame for creating abusive cultures, lies with the dominant social group in that context, which here happens to be the patriarchy (or ‘men’ in simplistic terms).”

    That is far too simplistic for me. ‘Patriarchy’ is tends to be a very slippery concept meaning different things in different conversations, but the idea that it is simply a route to blaming men for the existence of sexual harassment strikes me as a leap at best. I don’t want to get started on a whole conversation about this, but I will note that there are people who would argue that the dominant social group in the context of Hollywood are Jews, so the blame for Hollywood culture being abusive lies at their feet. If the form of argument you suggest is legitimate, then I don’t see why their line of argument isn’t similarly legitimate.

    “Male survivors have different needs & problems to female survivors, the social environment is different, they have different popular myths and misconceptions to deal with.”

    I am unsure how true this is, at least, I doubt that it is true enough to prevent us from discussing male and female victims side by side. Is the abuse of Terry Crews really so substantially different to similar abuse experienced by a female actress that we need to treat it as a completely separate and unrelated issue, and relegate his experience to a different conversation to be had at some unspecified time in the future? We’ve disagreed about this before, so I suspect this just marks a point of divergence for us, but my feeling is that victims of sexual abuse share much more than they differ and this bounding of conversations along gender lines just feels arbitrary. And this links back to the point above about why Terry Crews’ revelation is tactless but Mckayla Maroney’s isn’t. After all, we could just as well say that Terry Crews is tactless because we are talking about white people right now. If we end up in a position where we have an inclusive discussion of sexual abuse that doesn’t erase the existence of large numbers of victims for having the wrong genitals, then I would more than welcome an attempt to drill down into the particular issues faced by each particular social group. But suggesting that we shouldn’t have an inclusive discussion of sexual abuse because the abuse faced by people of different genders is completely different and we can only discuss them one at a time feels wrong-headed to me.

    To put this point another way. I strongly suspect that women abused by women face some different issues to women abused by men (and similar remarks could be made for straight/gay or trans/cis) women. It seems incredibly arbitrary to me to say that this means that we can’t discuss female victims as a whole, but should treat the abuse of each as a completely separate issue, and have separate conversations for each.

  67. Ally Fogg says

    ‘Patriarchy’ is tends to be a very slippery concept meaning different things in different conversations, but the idea that it is simply a route to blaming men for the existence of sexual harassment strikes me as a leap at best.

    Certainly is a slippery and often ill-defined concept, but the rest of this sentence bears no resemblance to what I said or meant. Of course it is not simply a route to blaming men for anything!

    I don’t want to get started on a whole conversation about this, but I will note that there are people who would argue that the dominant social group in the context of Hollywood are Jews, so the blame for Hollywood culture being abusive lies at their feet. If the form of argument you suggest is legitimate, then I don’t see why their line of argument isn’t similarly legitimate.

    Fallacious logic. The dominant social group in Hollywood is not “the Jews” so any arguments about legitimacy are bogus from the off.

    Won’t do a line-by-line on the rest because we’ve covered most of it, but must stress that at no point have I said Terry Crews was being tactless, quite the opposite, I praised him for his tact & sensitivity & for being an object lesson in how to get this stuff right

    To put this point another way. I strongly suspect that women abused by women face some different issues to women abused by men (and similar remarks could be made for straight/gay or trans/cis) women. It seems incredibly arbitrary to me to say that this means that we can’t discuss female victims as a whole, but should treat the abuse of each as a completely separate issue, and have separate conversations for each.

    Again, we’ve skated over this already, but I am not saying that those three conversations are the only conversations we can be or are having – as you quite rightly suggest we could break them down and break them down and break them down again.

    And I’m really not saying that each of those conversations should be fenced off from each other and entirely separate, as I said explicitly, they should be feeding into each other and informing each other and supporting each other. But in all cases, some of the most important and difficult aspects are in the areas where the conversations diverge and I worry that when we just muddle them all up into one conversation, those very significant distinctions tend to get lost in generalisations.

  68. scoobertron says

    @Ally

    “Certainly is a slippery and often ill-defined concept, but the rest of this sentence bears no resemblance to what I said or meant.”

    What you said was:

    “the blame for creating the social conditions which allow abusive behaviour to emerge in toto, the blame for creating abusive cultures, lies with the dominant social group in that context, which here happens to be the patriarchy (or ‘men’ in simplistic terms).”

    I don’t think that men, as a class, can be blamed for creating abusive cultures that allow abusive behaviour to emerge, and I don’t see this as a constructive contribution. The Jews example might be a poor one, but I do think that this legitimises a line of argument that is used to blame e.g. Muslims as a class for the Rochdale abuses. If the problem with the Jews analogy is simply that they aren’t the dominant social group, then you seem to agree that if they were the dominant group, then they would be legitimate targets of blame. That seems wrong to me. Do you have any other examples of instances where we can blame an entire group for the actions of a minority?

    Aside from anything else, there is a pragmatic argument here. Assuming we share a goal of getting men to support female victims and divulge their own experiences of abuse, how does it help if the only way men feature in the discussion of sexual abuse is as targets of blame?

    “But in all cases, some of the most important and difficult aspects are in the areas where the conversations diverge and I worry that when we just muddle them all up into one conversation, those very significant distinctions tend to get lost in generalisations.”

    There is truth here, but I’m more concerned about distinctions being drawn without difference. To take an example, a lot of people have talked about how women are afraid to speak up about their abuse because of the power wielded by figures like Weinstein. This is presented as an issue for women, but I fail to see how the situation is different for male actors, like Crews. So why not just say ‘victims are afraid …’. These are fine distinctions, and we are clearly largely on the same page, but it bothers me when the public discussion divides male and female victims at the outset – and then largely erases the former. Where there are differences between male and female victims, this needs to be explicit, not assumed. Otherwise the effect, as it alway seems to be, is to erase male victims.

  69. Carnation says

    @ DLZ

    For once, I broke my “avoid-Reddit-as-it’s-acesspit-of-humanity rule and then saw this;

    You know what? Ally Fogg isn’t a member of this sub, so I think I’m allowed to say he should burn in hell.

    “Are you serious, Ally? Are you actually serious with this? Your proposed method of helping male victims of sexual violence is… more Male Stoicism. Sit down, shut up, let women talk, etc.”

    DLZ, that you actually suggested people go to that thread tells people everything that they need to know about you.

    Like I said about WineEM, your subscription to that MRA Reddit shows how shamefully pathetic you are; how grubbily solipsistic your narrow worldview is and highlights your general lack of humanity. You, and people like you, enable and encourage the scum of the internet to harass and hinder victims, male and female (arguably more effectively male) victims to speak.

  70. Ogvorbis: Swimming without a parachute. says

    DDS @43:

    Ally, in what world do you live in where women’s ‘voices’ are not the ones constantly given precedence in sexual assault discussions?

    I am not answering for Ally, I am answering for myself.

    This world is the one we live in. A world in which the press, and the legal system, worry that a sexual assault or rape conviction will follow and offender for his whole life. A world in which a 9-year-old tells his another scouting adult that the scout master is doing things to other boys and is told that the accusation could cost this good man, a man with two little children, a professional, a church elder, his job, his marriage, his life. A world in which accusations of abuse, or harassment, or rape, are routinely swept under the carpet so the child will not have to testify in court. A world in which the sleaziest behavior is dismissed, or minimized, or denied if the man has the wealth, the power, the social currency to demand it. A world in which what the abuser, the rapist, the harasser, says is given far more currency than the testimony of the victim, the survivor.

    When a woman accuses a man of sexual assault, or rape, or harassment, whose life is it that is put under a microscope? When a woman accuses a man of sexual assault, or rape, or harassment, who is more likely to by the subject of character assassination? When Bill Cosby was accused of rape for the umpteenth time (this time it went public), how much time was spent interviewing his defenders? How much time was spent interviewing the victims? Far more time is spent in the court of law and the court of public opinion exonerating the rapists, abusers and harassers than is spent actually listening to the survivors, the victims, the women.

    Only recently have women’s voices been heard to any real extent. Those who have been raped, or assaulted, or harassed, or treated as less than human, treated as things, treated as prizes to be one, are finally speaking out (to my mind, one of the real positives of the existence of the internet). Unfortunately, the internet has also given harassers yet one more forum for abuse and harassment. Those of us who tell our stories, our experiences, often find ourselves the target of multi-year on-line harassment campaigns, doxing, memes, even entire websites devoted to attacking the victim.

    But, by your statement I quoted, women are the only ones listened to in the court of public opinion or the court of law. I disagree. They are only heard when the voices become too strong to ignore.

    I am a survivor of rape, abuse and assault. I am a man. I do not see Ally’s essay here as an attempt to erase me. Or tell me that I should shut up. Or ignore me. And I thank you, Ally, for your writings. They have helped me in ways that I wish I didn’t need.

  71. redpesto says

    Fogg #63:

    However the blame for creating the social conditions which allow abusive behaviour to emerge in toto, the blame for creating abusive cultures, lies with the dominant social group in that context, which here happens to be the patriarchy (or ‘men’ in simplistic terms).

    Is the use of ‘Men’ rather than ‘the patriarchy’ the result of the former being ‘too abstract’ compared to the much easier to spot examples of male abusers as an explanation (am I using ”availability heuristic’ correctly here?)

  72. Paul says

    Research from Victim Support and elsewhere has repeatedly concluded that when men are victimized -by either men or women-they’re less likely than victimized women to seek help and they’re less likely than victimized women to see themselves as being victims.And even when they’ve been seriously injured.

    I don’t know how we go about changing that.But i absolutely agree that putting more focus on male victimization mustn’t be at the expense of women who’re victimized.And that people who believe that more needs to be done to help and support male victims must remain resolute in their support of female victims.It’s not a competition -an either or situation.

    Some feminists have little or no interest in the issue of male victimization.But i don’t believe that’s representative of the way most women think.Just as i believe that those MRA’s who primarily target feminists as being the most guilty of providing the biggest obstacles to greater recognition of male victimization have got it badly wrong.

    There’s something in our society that goes wide and deep which encourages gender-specific behaviour.And just dismissing it as the patriarchy is too easy and simplistic in my opinion.For there’s both overt and covert types of power and influence in our society.And the two are often inter-dependent on each other.So if we want to face up to why female victimization is deemed more worthy of attention than female victimization we surely need to accept that both sexes have contributed to underpinning that double standard either through the overt or covert power and influence they wield.

    To conclude i passionately believe that male and female victimization should be treated equally and even when one sex is more likely than the other to be subjected to certain types of victimization.

  73. Paul says

    Correction

    So if we want to face up to why female victimization is deemed more worthy of attention than female victimization …..

    Should have read :-

    ”So if we want to face up to why female victimization is deemed more worthy of attention than male victimization ……”

  74. DeathToFlowers says

    @Carnation

    Way to quote-mine without context and then misrepresent a debate forum as an MRA site. You couldn’t be more duplicitous. People like you suck.

  75. RussellsTeapot42 says

    Ally, if you’re going to be moderating these comments anyway, it may be worthwhile to remove Carnation’s rather vile personal attack above. That kind of rhetoric will literally accomplish nothing but hardening hearts and minds.

  76. Carnation says

    @ Paul

    This;

    “Research from Victim Support and elsewhere has repeatedly concluded that when men are victimized -by either men or women-they’re less likely than victimized women to seek help and they’re less likely than victimized women to see themselves as being victims. And even when they’ve been seriously injured.”

    Is one of the reasons, I think, that prisons are disproportionally overpopulated with men. It’s also toxic masculinity in action and it’s an on-going and multifaceted tragedy that destroys the lives of the victim, the victim’s victims and both sets of families.

    @ DeathToFlowers

    I misrepresented a Reddit thread called FeMRA Debates as an MRA thread? Look up what duplicitous actually means and come back when you’re actually able to challenge something.

    @ Russels Teapot42

    Challenge me directly if you like. I can and will justify every word that I’ve written

  77. RusselsTeapot42 says

    I think I’d rather just check out than try to hold a discussion with someone who considers my humanity in question for my association with a subreddit. I’m sad to see that Ally agrees with you, and I suppose I was mistaken to think better of him.

  78. Carnation says

    @ RusselsTeapot42

    Such a snowflake. If you buy into MRA (or FeMRA) theorizing around this issue, or indeed around victims of sexual assault, then I do indeed consider your humanity questionable. If you can point to some MRA (Or FeMRA) theorizing that comes from a place of genuine empathy and humanity, then I would be interested in discussing this point further.

    You have said that you are a victim of sexual abuse and yet you don’t condemn a collection of individuals who, as an article of faith, ridicule and question the integrity and truthfulness of victims and loudly proclaim that they “don’t give a fuck” about said victims. These actions display a disturbing lack of humanity, and a very, very obvious one at that.

    And I’m afraid to say, that anyone who doesn’t see that immediately, suffers a similar problem. I pity their miserable existences, but they do nothing to improve themselves or help others.

    Sorry for this Paul, Ally, ThatGuy and others, but this nonsense needs pointed out to those that would derail.

  79. That Guy says

    Was it really his comments that made your heart hard, or are you just happy to see me? 🙂

  80. WineEM says

    @82 Well since Ally seems to be calling pretty much any woman who dissents from his
    views a FemRa (I mean, calling Sabrina Harris a FemRa surely requires some incredibly weird reasoning), you may at some time want have a discussion with or look at the views of the following):-

    (Queue Ally, once more: I did not literally say that, how dare you joke or generalise, froth, froth, fume, enter into
    progressive liberal dullard literalism mode again, etc, etc…)

    https://twitter.com/bbhippopotamus

    https://twitter.com/LPerrins

    https://twitter.com/SabrinaLianne

    https://twitter.com/Ella_M_Whelan

    I’m not saying I agree with everything they say, but do raise some interesting perspectives, which are surely worth thinking about (and to say they simply want to ‘side with’ abusers is plainly overly simplistic. This can, after all, be a complicated area – that much is for certain.)

  81. Danny Gibbs says

    @ 82.
    “Such a snowflake. If you buy into MRA (or FeMRA) theorizing around this issue, or indeed around victims of sexual assault, then I do indeed consider your humanity questionable. If you can point to some MRA (Or FeMRA) theorizing that comes from a place of genuine empathy and humanity, then I would be interested in discussing this point further.”

    Sure right in the same post where out of over 100 comments you decided to choose one where Ally was insulted and try to pass it off as representation of an entire reddit and an entire movement.

    “I usually like what I see from Ally Fogg, but like everyone else, I just can’t get behind this.
    #MeToo is supposed to be a way for victims who have bee pressured into silence to come forward, right? All the stats I’ve seen say that men are even more likely than women to be pressured into silence. The original goal was to shed light on how common sexual assault and harassment is, right? A few high profile men like Terry Crews have come forward, and I’ve seen a few men on my facebook post using #MeToo, and quite a lot of the responses have been “I didn’t think it could even happen to men.” If you want to surprise people with how common it is, there’s not much that’s more surprising than finding out it’s common among the half of the population you thought was immune to it.
    Simply put, I can’t see any reason within the stated goals of the movement to exclude men. Male victims fulfill all the same criteria, and deserve just as much support.”

    Genuine empathy, genuine humanity, no insults or attacks.

  82. Carnation says

    @ Danny Gibbs

    Nope, try again dude. I described, accurately, Reddit as a cesspit of humanity, and then quoted a comment from the thread. I didn’t say it was representative, but as I have highlighted above, it *is* an MRA (FeMRA) thread and therefore, as I previously stated, it is part & parcel of a mercifully microscopic ideology that lacks humanity, empathy, decency and sense.

    I just had another look, and frankly can’t be bothered to pollute my mind with the utterings of internet trash who hitch their wagons to anti-feminism. They can stay on Reddit and stew in their own inadequacy.

  83. Ally Fogg says

    WineEM

    I have a new policy. From this point onwards I am not replying to or engaging with anything you write unless you actually express an opinion, make a statement or ask a direct question.

    And I might just delete your comments out of sheer annoyance if they’re the usual passive-aggressive allusions and sideswipes.

    Hope I have made myself adequately clear.

  84. Danny Gibbs says

    Carnation I don’t have to try again because you are simply making declarations based on tiny sample size.

    You’re more than welcome to wallow in your ignorance while claiming to be somehow above Reddit.

  85. Carnation says

    @ Danny Gibbs

    “Carnation I don’t have to try again because you are simply making declarations based on tiny sample size.”

    Nonsense. I’m making declarations based on the obsessions and articles of faith of MRAs (and FeMRAs), who were hosting the thread that you’re defending.

    “You’re more than welcome to wallow in your ignorance while claiming to be somehow above Reddit.”

    Not a problem. I *am* above Reddit, as an MRA/MRA apologist, you aren’t. It’s your spiritual home and ideological equal. You’ll crawl over to Gab sooner or later, I’d expect.

  86. mostlymarvelous says

    The bottom line is that “loutish” or “boorish” behaviour is, pretty much by definition, anti-social, intimidating and damaging to the safety and wellbeing of those on the receiving end of it. A lot of behaviour that is called ‘loutish’ or ‘boorish’ is in fact a criminal offence for many reasons, but even if it is not specifically criminal, it can still be massively socially corrosive and it is perfectly legitimate to challenge, condemn and seek to eradicate loutish and boorish behaviour.

    Absolutely. To boringly repeat, yet again, my own views on such matters, I think we’d do well to see and to think about verbal, physical and sexual abuse or harassment in terms of bullying. Bullying is also quite clearly about people being powerful or vulnerable and those feeling their power abusing the less powerful rather than using their social or physical power positively.

    Bullying is a concept familiar to practically everyone* and, just as sexual harassment can cover anything and everything from uncomfortable chit-chat all the way to clearly criminal rape, bullying can include anything and everything from stupid name-calling through to assault with deadly weapons. Anti-social, intimidating and damaging is a pretty well perfect description or definition of bullying.

    It’s very obvious with a despicable person like Weinstein. His domineering abuse of power both in the workplace generally and in individual interactions with women can easily be described as sexual bullying and workplace bullying (and for some unfortunates, sexual bullying in the workplace). But he’s just an easy, exaggerated, near cartoonish, illustration of the point. If you look at sexual harassment as sexual bullying in all environments – within families, workplaces, clubs and social environments, on the streets and public transport, in conversations, discussions and casual interactions – it’s much easier to see the initial, semi-harmless teasing and innuendoes as being the possible-probable-likely-inevitable precursors to more overt and/or dangerous actions.

    We know that people who’ve been abused in various ways can all suffer consequences – depression and anxiety, drug or alcohol addiction, PTSD and, fortunately not many but certainly some, suicide. Using bullying as the universal descriptor for abuse, and then identifying/specifying whether it is/was family, social, workplace, online, verbal, physical or sexual bullying-abuse might take some of the heat and confusion out for some people. More importantly, it gives us opportunities to teach and develop appropriate behaviours and attitudes in children from a very young age.

    There is absolutely no need to teach 3 year olds about sexual assault or rape … they should be taught to avoid hurting others and they should be taught that they have a right to insist that others not hurt them. A child who’s taught both to stop, or to entirely abstain from tickling people who don’t want to be tickled and, in turn, is able to insist effectively that they refuse to be tickled (or to kiss granny) if they don’t want to, can more easily learn more subtle and sophisticated rules of other kinds of interaction as they grow older.

    Sexual bullying. Makes things clearer. It’s also easier to use strategies like don’t be a by-stander and others generally applicable to any form of bullying.

    *But schoolteachers, of all people, seem far too often to underestimate or dismiss it in unhelpful ways.

  87. Ally Fogg says

    Fantastically well put MM, thanks.

    Although your asterisk – I get the impression that in the UK at least, schools & teachers are now (finally) mostly really, really good on anti-bullying policies and attitudes. Certainly if my boys’ schools have been anything to go by,

  88. StillGjenganger says

    So, after Harvey Weinstein, women are angry with men – all men – blame men – all men – and see a good opportunity to knock men out of their social position and get some women in their place. Ally deploys a lot of sophistry to convince us that men have a duty to support this anger, accept this blame, and to back the fight of women against – well, against us. But then, he always thought that masculinity needed to be razed and rebuilt in a more female-friendly fashion, so that conclusion comes easy. Others conclude that this is all about patriarchy, and so Harvey Weinstein proves that men have a duty to fight against their various pet peeves, from page three girls to ogling. And earnest men in the Guardian confess that once at sixteen they may have touched a girl who may not have been enthusiastic about it, and call for their fellow men to call out all dubious actions by anybody around them. My conclusion was that if this is all about making all men feel guilty and fearful of doing or saying or passing on anything that might possibly be taken as offensive by a woman, then the #MeToo campaign was clearly against our interests, and we should fight back against it – openly.

    Fortunately, I was wrong, just as Ally is. As an Italian friend pointed out, Harvey Weinstein is not about patriarchy, or even harassment and rape. Harvey Weinstein is about power, corruption, and omerta’. The sex only comes in because (well, yes) people in power are more likely to be men, and because sex is a commodity that all men want more of and that aspiring actresses are particularly well placed to supply. A straight woman with the same position (and morals) as Weinstein would be likely to demand something else, is all.

    The ethics of dealing with corruption and omerta’ are well understood in Italian debate. The main point is that corruption is a system, and that each individual has a personal interest in playing along, or at least not rocking the boat. The Weinsteins get their pleasures and ego-massage, and the actresses get film roles and fame in return for a short, unpleasant interlude. The biggest victims are women now working as waitresses, because they did not come across and so lost that breakthrough role to someone more accommodating, but they find it hard to prove anything. And anyone is better off keeping quiet, instead of making powerful enemies in a fight that is unlikely to succeed. My friend could even tell me why this is happening now: Weinstein is much less powerful than he used to be, and so his enemies are rising against him.

    Going against a corrupt system is a costly and thankless task – that is why people shy away from it. But, in order to get a decent society to live in, we all have a moral duty to do it and pay the price. The powerful must forgo some of their pleasures, bystanders (or either sex) must speak up (and take the consequences), the actresses must say no and speak up (and take the consequences), and politicians must refuse help from the wine stains. It is hard, but anyone who falls short has some share of guilt.

    This only extends to those who are actually involved, though. Men do not become responsible for abuse of power in Hollywood because they refuse to police the manners of their colleagues in Bradford. Which is why men should refuse to support the cultural supremacy of women, but can, and should, fight the Weinsteins all the same.

  89. StillGjenganger says

    @91 MM

    Yes, very good. I concur. Just one lone addendum. Bullying is something we understand well enough that we can distinguish betwen serious and sustained cases and the odd teasing or boorish remark. We do not zealously police all more or harmles innuendos because they might escalate into bullyuing, or contribute to a climate where bullying is insufficiently stigmatised. We can use the same approach to sexual bullying too.

  90. Ally Fogg says

    Gjenganger, hello!

    So, after Harvey Weinstein, women are angry with men – all men – blame men – all men – and see a good opportunity to knock men out of their social position and get some women in their place.

    Imma stop you right there.

    That is a stunningly cynical, repugnant and transparently false summary of events.

    More accurate would be this:

    So, after Harvey Weinstein, women are angry with men – all men – blame men – all men – and are determined to do what they can to ensure that they themselves & no other woman should ever have to put up with the kind of shit that we’ve been hearing about over recent days and weeks.

    Do you think they are wrong to feel like that?

  91. Ally Fogg says

    Oh go on, here’s the rest

    But then, he always thought that masculinity needed to be razed and rebuilt in a more female-friendly fashion

    Nope. He’s always thought that masculinity needed to be razed and rebuilt in a more male-friendly version. While accepting that this would also be good for women, admittedly.

    My conclusion was that if this is all about making all men feel guilty and fearful of doing or saying or passing on anything that might possibly be taken as offensive by a woman

    That little word “if” is doing a lot of work there. Why do you conclude that? Which revelations that have come to light, via Weinstein & then the accompanying #MeToo etc over recent weeks are you happy to categorise under “anything that might possibly be taken as offensive by a woman”
    The rapes?
    The sexual assaults?
    The coercion into sexual activity?
    The indecent exposure?
    The sexual harassment at work?
    The groping?
    People having careers ruined for being insufficiently compliant?

    Or are you suggesting that because in the midst of all the hundreds of thousands of disclosures, reports & testimonies someone somewhere included something that you personally find a bit petty & NBD in their list, so we should just discount all of it? Is that your position?

    Fortunately, I was wrong, just as Ally is. As an Italian friend pointed out, Harvey Weinstein is not about patriarchy, or even harassment and rape. Harvey Weinstein is about power, corruption, and omerta’. The sex only comes in because (well, yes) people in power are more likely to be men

    The sex only comes in because people in power are more likely to be men. Right. So that’s OK then is it? So what is your position? That because people in power are more likely to be men it is OK that they rape, assault, abuse, molest, exploit who they like?

    Because, you know, I think most normal people would go through your logic above and come to one of two conclusions: Either the people in power have to stop raping, exploiting and abusing whoever takes their fancy, or else we have to put different people in charge.
    Which one of those positions are you taking?

    And to an extent, yes, Weinstein is about power, as I said in my last blog on this. But this story is no longer just about Weinstein if it ever was. It’s about literally millions of people in all walks of life who have been abused or harassed or exploited by someone with a bit more power (whether physical, workplace, economic or whatever) deciding that this gives them free rein to sexually exploit who they like. So, once you’ve done asking your Italian friend about what happened to Asia Argenta this week, you might want to ask him whether the same Omerta applies to all the other millions of women who have experienced their own sexual harassment and abuse in their own walks of life?

    This only extends to those who are actually involved, though. Men do not become responsible for abuse of power in Hollywood because they refuse to police the manners of their colleagues in Bradford.

    You are right. Weinstein is about Weinstein. But the hundreds of thousands of MeToo messages were not about Weinstein. What are your thoughts about those? Do you give a shit about the people affected? Do you have any sympathy? Do you want to do anything at all to make sure it doesn’t continue to happen to anyone else?

    I’ll look forward to your replies.

  92. mostlymarvelous says

    StillGjenganger

    We do not zealously police all more or harmless innuendos because they might escalate into bullying …

    Yes we do … at least as parents or carers of pre-schoolers and primary aged children, we should. We should intervene when Lucy kicks over Bobbie’s lovingly crafted, tottering pile of blocks. Lucy has to apologise (whether she means it or not) and she has to promise not to do that in the future – and not just for Bobbie’s activities and constructions, for everyone’s.

    We also stick up for littlies who don’t want hugs, tickles or kisses from playmates or relatives. We can teach adults to accept blown butterfly kisses instead of big hugs with big kisses as well as teaching the kids themselves how to blow a kiss while ducking out of an unwelcome embrace. We can teach them how to refuse and avoid such unwanted attentions when they’re playing with their friends or classmates, as well as teaching them that everyone’s different. So if a friend says no to a friendly hug or a surprise tickle or kiss they have to respect that. Just because you’re a friendly relaxed child who loves physical contact with other people doesn’t mean that you can expect others to change to be exactly like you. You can still be friends with people who don’t hug, not hugging someone doesn’t necessarily mean not liking them.

  93. mostlymarvelous says

    StillGjenganger

    This only extends to those who are actually involved, though.

    Everyone _is_ involved though. When people refuse to police the manners of their colleagues in Bradford they are making a choice of their role in the group. You can be a bully (sexual or otherwise), you can be a victim or you can be a bystander.

    When you choose to be a bystander, bullies, both potential and overt, will presume that you support them. Victims, potential or actual, will presume that you _don’t_ support them. Remember the famous quote from this video message from Chief of Army Lieutenant General David Morrison in Australia

    The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.”

    You don’t have to imitate the unblinking fury of Morrison if your Bradford workmate is a bit pushy or indelicate or downright coarse. But it’s very easy to insert a Steady on, mate or That’s a bit close to the edge/ over the top or whatever the group and the occasion dictates.

  94. Sans-sanity says

    Ally said: “So, after Harvey Weinstein, women are angry with men – all men – blame men – all men – and [eminently fair and agreeable stuff].

    Do you think they are wrong to feel like that?”

    With regards to the un-redacted section, well, yeah, I do think they’re wrong to feel like that. Collective blame by demographic is wrong. Being angry at an entire gender is sexist. You know that, Ally, but you don’t care because you believe it’s unimaginably small potatoes. I don’t particularly care either, but I can understand some people’s frustration at the general hypocrisy on display.

    I mean, when conservatives suddenly all take the rights and wellbeing of women very very seriously when its one of their outgroups that’s being misogynistic you notice it and you comment on it – and it doesn’t take anything away from the seriousness of the incident that you do. So now some op-ed writers are getting annoying comments on their use of sexist generalisations where they’d normally decry them. I don’t care. If there are any potatoes smaller than the original anti-male generalisations it’s the pushback.

  95. Koken says

    Having had a look at the Reddit thread linked, and at the sub it’s in, I would like to add my voice to those above stating that Carnation’s characterisation of both is so outrageous it’s hard to understand how it could be honest, and that I am genuinely shocked by Ally’s endorsement.

  96. Carnation says

    @ Koken

    I’ll respond, simply because doing so is incredibly easy and because it is vital that a simple message gets repeated.

    MRAs (and FemRAs) hold dear, as an intrinsic part of their ideology that people reporting sexual abuse are in a high percentage of cases lying. Furthermore, those wretches with the highest MRA (and FemRA) profiles have loudly proclaimed that they simply don’t care about victims of sexual abuse.

    Therefore, those who endorse with or espouse MRA (and FemRA) ideology have rendered themselves incapable or unwilling to understand the essence of the debate.

    Because of this hindrance, and also crass stupidity, they interpreted what Ally has written with a frankly astonishing level of ignorance. It’s always about them, and their inane and shunted worldview.

    And you, Koken, are as wretched, miserable and pathetic as them.

    Have a lovely day, snowflake x

  97. Koken says

    I’m pretty sure that the term FeMRA, as in the title of the Sub, refers to debates between feminists and MRAs. It appears to have people on it actually arguing both sides of things with some reasonable level of civility enforced. This seems like a pretty good thing in the world.

  98. StillGjenganger says

    @Ally
    This will not be a long discussion. For one thing I am on holiday and almost off-line. For another we already know we will not agree. I find the idea of razing masculinity and replacing it with something completely different but ideologically preferable simply unacceptable. Much like you would find the idea of putting all the women in burqa, I assume. That is what makes me a bigot – remember? My main reason to comment is that it is no good to stay silent and wait till this MeToo stuff goes away (like a lot of men are surely doing). If you disagree – and in the current form I do – you need to say it openly.

    For clarification: Yes, I am very much against the abuse of power. Which is the problem here. Let us fight the abuse of power wherever we see it. The problem here is not masculinity, or patriarchy (or rudeness) so let us *not* fight masculinity wherever we see it. And I do think that it is forcing the issue to use Weinstein as a good argument to fight against patriarchy, because patriarchy is defined to include such a multitude of different things. People may well be sincere in saying that patriarchy is the problem, but ultimately that argument still reduces to “We must ban page 3 girls in the UK because soldiers are raping women in the Congo” Uh? Sure, women are angry. Why should they not be? Why should they not push for not just a barrier against rape but all kinds of changes to gender roles? After all it would make their life easier, and if most of the cost is borne by men that is just an added bonus. But, pretty much by the same token: why should men agree with them? Why should we not have our own ideas on what kind of gender roles we want and what kind of trade-offs we will entertain? And what we think is the right way to fight the Weinsteins?

    @MM
    Are we talking about child-rearing here? I would tell my children all the things you say. And i would also tell them to avoid crisps and fizzy drinks, do enough exercise and avoid wanton waste. I would be more reticent with other people’s children, and I would not say this to adults. Which standard are we applying here?

    My guess would be that most of the specific things you are arguing against here would make me feel uncomfortable, and that the men around me would notice that I do not like them. That is the kind of signal I read and adjust to myself, and I assume that other men do as well. I would not accept a duty to define my own standard and enforce it on everybody else. And I would absolutely not leave it to the movement that brought us micro-aggressions, safe spaces, and no-platforming to define what rules I should enforce.

    And yes, MM. If you define the battle lines so that anyone who is not actively enforcing your chosen set rules is on the side of the bullies – well, then I am on the side of the bullies. As always I hope that there is a third alternative, and that I may be allowed to choose it.

  99. mostlymarvelous says

    … make me feel uncomfortable, and that the men around me would notice that I do not like them.

    Lawks amercy! I feel like I’m in a time machine.
    Two stories from 40ish years ago, one a few years more than that, the other a few less.

    Story 1. A woman union official was the one and only woman attending a national conference of a union dominated, hugely dominated, by older, conservative, Catholic men. During a morning session, one speaker happened to say f**k and, desperately embarrassed, promptly apologised to “the lady in the room”. When she returned from lunch, a bloke turned up and asked if she minded if he occupied the vacant seat beside her. Very clearly and firmly she announced, “Only if you don’t say f**k”. What she couldn’t say openly back in the 70s was that she couldn’t care less about swearing and profanity – but she knew very well that there were many men attending who were offended regardless of whether there were women present or not. The dominant, dominating culture of the group, though, didn’t allow them to say so in that environment without losing face or causing a ruckus or both. (It wasn’t me, by the way. It was my children’s godmother.)

    Story 2. A large office of 20+ accountants and lawyers had a few posters on the walls which most people would expect to see only on the walls of a mechanic’s workshop. As it happened, all those people were men, but they weren’t the only people who used the space. There were dozens of women who came in at times for a whole variety of work reasons. Some of them complained about naked women being displayed, or splayed if you prefer, across the work environment. OK, said a couple of these smart alecks, we understand you don’t like them being naked. They’d deal with it. So they did – by leaving the posters where they were with bandaids over the nipples and genitals. Hahaha, very funny. A huge row ended up with the boss of the whole sordid show (as well as a couple of other perfectly fine offices) telling the blokes to take them down and not replace them. What nobody said out loud, but which was blindingly obvious to anyone who knew all of the men concerned, was much the same as the first story. There were several men who were constantly offended and embarrassed about these posters being imposed on them in their workplace but they couldn’t speak up for fear of being labelled weak, or a poofter, or a prude or some other kind of weirdo or killjoy.

    In both of these instances, men were afraid to state their opinions or feelings for fear of becoming a target of name-calling or teasing (otherwise known as bullying). This is toxic masculinity in a nutshell. 40 years ago! It’s got nothing to do with whether they did or didn’t like the people they worked with. It’s all about being decent. Surely to god we could have improved – just a bit – in the 4 decades since. Apparently you’d rather have been a baby boomer like me. You’d have fitted in just fine with most of those clowns, apparently. (Though I’d hope you’d neither tell nor laugh at their rape jokes, they were such fun. Not.)

  100. Carnation says

    @ Koken

    “I’m pretty sure that the term FeMRA, as in the title of the Sub, refers to debates between feminists and MRAs. It appears to have people on it actually arguing both sides of things with some reasonable level of civility enforced. This seems like a pretty good thing in the world.”

    Are you stupid, delusional, both, or are we reading different threads?

    Aside from the death wish I detailed above, that thread is littered with chronic misunderstanding of what Ally has actually written. It’s so blatant that I have difficulty believing that even MRAs can be that stupid, and can only conclude that at least for some of them, they’ve chosen not to understand so that they can emote with an audience.

    I will grant you that, by Reddit standards, it’s not as nauseatingly awful as many MRA threads, but since they set the bar so low, this isn’t hard.

  101. Carnation says

    @ Koken

    Just briefly, and then I’ll stop.

    The reason someone posted this thread, and the reason you defend it, is one of legitimacy. You and yours crave legitimacy. You crave being taken seriously. You want to be afforded the same respect as educated commentators, MRAs would love to taken as seriously as feminists.

    This is why I speak out. There is no legitimacy. The whole wretched manosphere needs described accurately and put in its place; on the looniest and fringiest outpost of the lunatic fringe.

    So, no, Koken, you don’t get to defend a delusional Reddit thread that was posted in a serious discussion about victims of sexual abuse, not without getting called out on it. robustly and firmly. You want to defend scumbags who enjoy their anonymous online emoting, that’s your own weakness. Don’t bring it to me, thanks.

    Those that promote the further victimisation of victims should have no recourse to the debate that is taking place.

  102. Ally Fogg says

    Gjenganger

    “I find the idea of razing masculinity and replacing it with something completely different but ideologically preferable simply unacceptable.”

    Well considering I’ve never suggested such a thing, this shouldn’t be too much of a gulf between us. How do you feel about masculinity evolving to become less violent, less brutal and brutalising, based less obsessed with hierarchical power and less emotionally stultifying?

    That is what makes me a bigot – remember?

    Ah, so you are still sulking about that. You do at least acknowledge that I specifically and explicitly said I wasn’t talking about you, and if I did think you were a bigot I wouldn’t have wasted so many hundreds of hours talking to you over the years. Still, whatever, if your victim complex keeps you company go for it.

    Yes, I am very much against the abuse of power. Which is the problem here. Let us fight the abuse of power wherever we see it.

    Cool, good. So you will have been as horrified as I am by the hundreds of thousands of stories in recent weeks where women have described the way their male bosses have exerted and exploited their professional, physical or structural power to sexually harass, coerce and assault them? You will be as determined as I am to hear those stories, act upon them, and do our best to ensure no other women should have to put up with it?

    Because that is exactly what we are talking about here.

    “We must ban page 3 girls in the UK because soldiers are raping women in the Congo”

    There must have been several million comments, statements and opinions expressed about Weinstein & #MeToo and I am pretty confident not a single one has said that or even anything like it.

    Honestly mate, if you have to make stuff up to justify your position, your position probably isn’t a very good one.

  103. StillGjenganger says

    @MM 104

    Sure. And now men are afraid to state that they are against positive discrimination in favour of women because they are afraid not of name calling, but of being fired and internationally humiliated. You could discuss which set of methods is the more acceptable. But ultimately it comes down to the fact that a group, any group, has a set of norms, and that someone who goes against them is resented a little. And someone who insists on a major change from everybody else is resented a lot. That is not toxic masculinity, that is simply how group norms work. That is a constant that you will not be able to change. The rest is a matter of which group(s) sets the norms, how much compromise is made with other groups, and how tolerant people are of those who do not fit in (but do not insist on changing everybody else). There is room for improvement here, but only up to a point. Clearly we have moved from a time where public behaviour norms were pretty much set by men to one where both sexes contribute – and rightly so. The question is where we are going to move from now.

  104. StillGjenganger says

    @Ally
    Well, you did say this:

    [I’ve] always thought that masculinity needed to be razed and rebuilt in a more male-friendly version. While accepting that this would also be good for women, admittedly.

    I thought it followed logically that you wanted to replace it with something completely different (otherwise why raze it), and anyway it fits with what you have said in other cases. I am happy to take the masculinity we have, preserve the advantages, and try to improve it a bit. It is my culture, after all, and I rather like it. But, as we have often discussed, our ideas of a desirable outcome are different and incompatible.

    As for the ‘bigot thing’ I think you misunderstand my point. You have never called me names, personally; but I am by the standards of many progressives a bigot, a misogynist, a racist, an islamophobe, a transphobe, and a few other things – and I have no problem with that. That is just how progressives use language. I am not antisemitic (being pro-Israel), and I am not homophobic, because ‘heteronormative’ describes my position better. But for the rest my opinions are what they are, and I do not care what people call me. Life is too short to argue about semantics. I do care that the people I debate with are willing to actually address my arguments. And I learned from the Damore debate, and our subsequent discussion, that on this no argument I can make will be ever listened to. It is the unshakeable conviction of yourself and many others that (e.g.) women as a group have a right to half of all desirable positions of any kind, and any shortage of qualified female candidates is not just irrelevant, but in itself proof of prior discrimination. Arguments cannot change that stance, and no matter how much I try, the best answer I can get is something like ‘”I do not accept arguments in favour of bigotry”. And at that point I stop. We are on opposite sides. I am not a qualified discussion partner but just one of the infidels – no matter how tolerant you are and how much consideration and respect you show me by spending time on the discussions.

    The ‘page three girls’ comment is my distillation of a Guardian columnist a couple of years ago. You know the genre – a long list of the evils of patriarchy spanning horrors from 4-5 continents to show why patriarchy is an evil that all have a duty to fight. And then cut to the UK, where page 3 girls are a feature of patriarchy and therefore needs to be fought as pitilessly because, somehow, by doing so you are improving the lot of rape victims in Africa?? It was a better example than I could find from the current debate (not having followed it all that closely).

    But there, as here, there are two questions in play *). One is about the abuse of power, corruption, coercion and rape. That is something that we are all against regardless of who are the perpetrators and who are the victims. You do not need to invoke patriarchy to mobilise against corruption, not even if most of the perpetrators in today’s society happen to be male. The other part is about culture war. Women, as a group want to have more plum jobs for their group, and to change public norms so that they better reflect their interests and their particular culture (which is different from male culture, vide Deborah Tannen). Nothing wrong here – just like there is nothing wrong with devout Muslims agitating for better representation in the corridors of power and the introduction of Sharia law. Just that males (or non-Muslims, as the case may be) have every right to fight their own corner, and no obligation to fight for the competition instead..

    So, if women are angry at all men, and blame all men, I resent being held guilty for things I never did, never favoured, and do not like. If there is something to do that has to do with serious and specific abuses, then I have a duty to lend a hand. But I refuse to accept a moral duty to redeem myself for the original sin of being male by working for the interests and cultural preferences of women generally.

    You will be as determined as I am to hear those stories, act upon them, and do our best to ensure no other women should have to put up with it?

    OK. But if the matter is put in a way that makes the two questions inseparable, I claim the right to refuse to collaborate, if that is the only way to refuse to accept the blame. If you want a different answer, try asking a better question.

    *) Marduk made a similar point recently, when he said that progressives used to argue in terms of universal rights that applied equally to minorities – whereas we now have identity politics where every group has its own right to get what it wants. In the absence of a universalist argument I am simply claiming my right to fight for my own group: straight white men.

  105. That Guy says

    @ StillG

    For someone who’s on holiday and mostly offline, you have written an awful lot of mince.

  106. Ogvorbis: Swimming without a parachute. says

    Ally @73:

    That was a really moving post, Ogvorbis, thank you.

    You’re welcome.

    As you’ve most likely noticed, this is a really close issue for me. Well, not specifically the #metoo hashtag, but this whole idea that
    (a) real men don’t get harassed, abused, raped, or assaulted,
    (b) if something did happen, you are not supposed to react to it, you should just man up and forget it, bury it,
    (c) you should never, ever, ever talk about it because it is so shameful and feminizing, and
    (d) conversely, you can use it as a weapon to shut women up when they have the temerity to discuss the harassment, abuse, rape, and assault to which they have been subjected.

    And I really don’t see a way out of this except by expanding what it means to be a man or a boy, straight or gay, bi or asexual, whatever. I feel like I am trapped, just as much as my wife and my daughter, in the morass of what I am allowed to do, to feel, to express. In other words, the patriarchy is real and it hurts men and boys, too (and no, I am not minimizing in any way what women and girls go through on a daily basis — for me, it was couple of bad years, not a lifetime of harassment (so why am I complaining and telling my story (where appropriate)?)).

    Sorry. This made sense in my head. It really did.

  107. Carnation says

    I think this story essentially vindicates Ally’s stance, and demonstrates, yet again, that deeply held patriarchal attitudes (and the squalid online “men’s rights” loser collective) are a quagmire that ensnares men;

    https://www.buzzfeed.com/adambvary/anthony-rapp-kevin-spacey-made-sexual-advance-when-i-was-14?utm_term=.oaoVv2aQN0#.uc7vPmQyeY

    For what it’s worth, I believe both sides of this account. I don’t doubt Mr Rapp’s account, and neither do I doubt Mr Spacey’s lack of recollection. Heavy emphasis on enthusiastic consent would render these instances to the dustbin of history.

  108. WineEM says

    Wow, this is forcefully expressed by your Men & Boys Coalition colleague, Belinda Brown, Ally:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QctN7sGru4&feature=youtu.be

    What fascinates me is that there seems to be so much anger on either side here (either side
    meaning those who are for the campaign and those who are against), and everyone seems convinced in their mind they are
    right for thinking what they think.

  109. WineEM says

    So Chris Bryant said something today in the Commons, which I guess might have some relevance to the #MeToo and #IbelieveHer/Him hashtags. (Well, I guess the combination of support for those kinds of hashtags together, really….)

    I’ll just try and type it out here, verbatim, from a recording on the Huffinton Post. He is speaking on the subject of sexual impropriety allegations in and around parliament:

    “My biggest anxiety of all is, you have to have justice for both sides, and if we just have trial by the newspapers, or trial by front page [I presume, actually, that this would extent to social media as well…] that is not justice for the young people who feel that they have been abused and want to make allegations, nor is it justice for those at the other end. I remember in 2003 a journalist from the Daily Mail coming up to me in the Strangers’ Bar and saying ‘we’re all taking bets on when you’ll commit suicide. I hope it will be before Christmas”.

    So, interesting times. One reading – perhaps – might be that forces are being unleashed here, which people are keen to stoke, but no-one can actually control, and ironically, it might end up being some of the leading lights of ‘progressive’ causes who end up having their lives viciously torn to smithereens by those forces in question.

  110. Ally Fogg says

    WineEM

    What do you think Bryant said that is in anyway controversial?

    Who do you think believes there should be trial by press or social media?

    Who do you thinks believes there should be no justice & due process for people accused?

    Who has been accused and then wrongly treated?

    Because as far as I can see, there have been dozens of people accused of varying levels of inappropriate, harmful or illegal behaviour in recent weeks.

    The vast majority of those accused have not even attempted to deny what they have been accused of. They’ve admitted it, apologised profusely & what has happened next has very much depended on the circumstances of the offences committed .

    Where people have denied the allegations against them, the response to those denials has been fairly appropriate, I think. The powers that be (whether that be a political party or the police or whoever) have said “OK, well this is going to have to be investigated” and they’ve set about the (often long and difficult) process of trying to get to the bottom of what has happened.

    The Carl Sargeant story was obviously a horrific tragedy but I have yet to see evidence that proper & reasonable procedures were not followed. I’m not sure what anyone thinks should have been done differently.

    So I guess I would ask you directly – who do you think has been treated unfairly in recent weeks. Name names?

    One reading – perhaps – might be that forces are being unleashed here, which people are keen to stoke, but no-one can actually control, and ironically, it might end up being some of the leading lights of ‘progressive’ causes who end up having their lives viciously torn to smithereens by those forces in question.

    I find this pretty disturbing line of thinking. If and when a leading light of progressive causes has been sexually harassing or exploiting others, that person instantly stops being a leading light of progressive causes. I don’t care whether someone is on my side, politically, or not. I don’t want people who sexually abuse others to be in positions of influence and authority.

    Do you?

    If not, what is your point?

  111. WineEM says

    @115 Well the thing is that obviously you have two distinct concepts here: one is the technicalities of the law and the legal process – and the concept for ‘fairness’ and due process in that sense; but another, important, distinct concept (the one that Chris Bryant was talking about above) is the concept of fairness for people in public life (and presumably also not in public life), and how it affects them when they are pressurised or intimidated by stories involving all kinds of claims, which can be very difficult to defend against (not legally, necessarily, but in terms of the concepts of ‘mud sticking,’ and of people instinctively believing there will be ‘no smoke without fire’.)
    Indeed, the #IbelieveHer hashtag is something you have yourself supported, and involves believing these kinds of allegations by default (until and unless someone has been proven innocent by a court of law). Interestingly, though, that didn’t count for Ched Evans, when – even when – a court of law eventually found him innocent, you and your pals still appeared to imply that he was guilty.
    Why should it even be necessary to give specific examples of people here, why can’t we accept that the phenomenon that Chris Bryant is describing might be real, and that he’s not feigning or fabricating the degree of psychological pressure this can give rise to? (His words do, after all, suggest that these pressures might not be mild, and that even he, as a seasoned parliamentarian, might not be entirely indifferent to their effects.)
    But as a general illustration of the kinds of viciousness that lurid claims can give rise to, just think of Christopher Jeffries, who at one point was publicly harangued regarding the sexually motivated murder of Joanna Yates. Ultimately, he was exonerated, but the point is the process of hounding people in the media or in social media can still cause serious harm which cannot be undone (especially if the person in question ends up taking their own lives). Yes, I do recognise that was not part of #IBelieveHer, but it’s still nonetheless an example of claims or suggestions being readily taken up or accepted without question.

    So, I think you will find this a rather difficult, subtle concept, but just because people might embark on a moral crusade, in a spirit of supreme, high-handed arrogance, does not automatically make them right – or exclude the possibility that they might be doing terrible harm to others either.

    (You just have to look to Ian Duncan Smith as an example of this, albeit in a different context. He was so focussed on the concept that he wanted to rid the world of a type of what he perceived as ‘evil’ that he could not comprehend that he was doing significant, widespread harm in the process. In that case, it was when he was making the benefits system tougher, but there are elements of arrogance and blinkeredness, which seem to me very similar in nature to some of the #IBelieveHer/Him brigade and their mentality as well.)

    And yes, Kelvin Hopkins is another example of someone who it appears has been treated extremely unfairly. How is it possible that another colleague should be able to damage his career by sharing letters in which he (shock, horror) asks her out to lunch and (shock, horror) says that he has had a ‘dream’ about her?

    Perhaps it is not impossible for people (especially in politics, or in our highly competitive society generally), to abuse the power of potential victimhood in some contexts as well.

  112. Ally Fogg says

    OK, so ignoring entirely unrelated and qualitatively different cases from the past…

    You appear to have concerns about only one case from the past few weeks (ie the current ongoing situation.) Kelvin Hopkins.

    Kelvin Hopkins has admitted that over a 20 year period he sent inappropriate sexually provocative texts and letters (without any reciprocation or invitation) to a fellow MP. He has also admitted sending inappropriate sexual text messages to a second woman. That woman also alleges he touched her inappropriately, which he denies.

    He has currently been suspended from the Labour Party while the complaints are investigated.

    The media has reported the allegations and the circumstances around them.

    What do you think has happened here that shouldn’t have happened? Where is your problem?

  113. StillGjenganger says

    @Ally, WineEM

    1) I share WIneEMs preoccupations based on past examples (Tim Hunt, Damore, …), and the comments of various feminist columnists. But in reality – this time around the people who have been hit do seem to have pretty much deserved it. Even Fallon – if that had really been about a single episode of knee-touching (rather than being a systematic pest) I suspect he would still be in the cabinet.

    2) I would not get carried away on Ched Evans if I was you, WineEM. People have been fairly silent since he was acquitted (whether he deserved the hounding he got after having served his sentence is arguable either way, but it is a different question). And anyway, he barged in in the middle of a drunken session with someone else, acted in a way that was highly likely to make his bedmate feel like shit, and indeed raped, and put himself in a situation where no jury was likely to believe him. OK, so he had consent, but if you stretch the elastic that far you should know you are taking risks.

    3) Ally, how about Carl Sargeant and indeed Charlie Elphicke? Do you think it is fair and correct procedures to suspend people, very publicly, while refusing to tell them what they are accused of, let alone by whom?

  114. Ally Fogg says

    Gjen

    Ally, how about Carl Sargeant and indeed Charlie Elphicke? Do you think it is fair and correct procedures to suspend people, very publicly, while refusing to tell them what they are accused of, let alone by whom?

    Yes, I don’t have much of a problem with that. If a report has been made, it is absolutely normal that an investigation should be launched and the person suspended while investigations are conducted. Of course the person being accused should find out as promptly as possible what it is they are being accused of and (usually) by whom, but I’d expect that to be within some reasonable number of days, which I think is what was happening. Obviously the Sargeant case was interrupted but I’m sure he would have found out exactly what it was he was being accused of.

    As for the fact that this is happening publicly, through the media, that is a consequence of the nature of this type of offending – often the institution / company / whatever is part of the power structure, the reasons why people don’t (or didn’t) report these offences still applies.

    And more generally, I think the scale and extent of these allegations could only have been revealed by public reports. If the original Weinstein or Spacey or Fallon allegations had happened discreetly & anonymously other people would never have been emboldened to make their own reports.

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