Yet Another Man Who Called Himself a Feminist and Clearly Wasn’t

(Content note: discussion of abuse)

I started listening to Citizen Radio back in, I think, 2012… or possibly earlier. It was the very first truly left-wing podcast I had ever heard. In fact, I think it was the first podcast I ever listened to at all.

At the time, I was still pretty right-wing/Libertarian in my thinking. I found them while looking for something that would challenge my thinking/worldview, and, as should be obvious by now, it worked. Through them I found Radio Dispatch, Democracy Now, Tell the Bartender (and through that podcast I found The Struggle Bus), and Best of the Left. Through Best of the Left I found This Week in Blackness Prime, and through them I found The Black Guy Who Tips, The Read, the Three Fifs podcast, Keith and the Girl, Applying it Liberally, the Friend Zone, and many more.

So I always rather loved Allison Kilkenny and Jamie Kilstein. I even saw Jamie live at one of his improv shows in NYC.

So maybe that’s why, despite the fact that, in hindsight, I really shouldn’t be surprised, this was like a punch in the gut to me:

What I’m about to say didn’t really register consciously to me over the years I was listening to Citizen Radio. However, looking back with hindsight, it becomes clear…

I’ve always felt that Allison Kilkenny was the heart and brains of the CR operation. While it did seem, when I first started listening, that both pulled their weight equally, over time it became obvious that Allison was the one doing all the work and research while Jamie was just making it about him. And he got more and more ridiculous while Allison always brought the news, facts, and information.

Subconsciously, I began looking forward to the shows Jamie wasn’t in, like Lady Power Hour. They were just… better. Allison seemed… almost… freer… during those episodes. And when Jamie was there, things just seemed… well… not right.

Now I know why. Now I know exactly what I was hearing. Now I know exactly what was going on.

And as PZ points out in his post, this isn’t new. In fact, it’s disappointingly familiar, and infuriatingly common.

This kind of thing is why I’m not calling myself a feminist anymore.

Yes, I still support and believe in the movement. I still believe that men and women are equals, and they should be treated as equals. I’m not rejecting any of it at all.

But “feminism” is not a label; at least, not for men. I now see it as more of an action verb. As a label, it can only be given to me, and to all men, by women, based on our actions. Just like a lot of women, I no longer trust any man who loudly, and constantly, proclaims himself to be a feminist.

And… further… no one should trust me.

In fact, I’ll say this:

Don’t trust me.

Why should you? I’m yet another straight, white, cis-gendered, able-bodied man. I am the living embodiment of Patriarchal White Supremacy. Yes, I know my intentions. I know my mind and what I believe. But intent isn’t magic.

And how can you know them, anyways?

You don’t. You can’t. You aren’t psychic. And if previous experience is anything to go by, my words (perhaps even my actions) tell you nothing about me. I’m not insulted if a woman doesn’t want to be alone with me, or even be around me. I’m the one who has to earn that trust, and if I fail to, it’s nobody’s fault but mine. If I were to blame anyone besides myself for that, it would be Patriarchy.

It all goes back to to the idea of Schrodinger’s _________. Remember Schrodinger’s Rapist? A lot of people, men specifically, lost their minds over that. A lot of #notallmen went around. But they missed the damn point.

We have no problem with the idea of Schrodinger’s Thief/Mugger. It’s why we lock our cars and our homes, and protect our valuables. We have no problem with the idea of Schrodinger’s Murderer. It’s why we protect ourselves when we go out.

But Schrodinger’s Rapist was a bridge too far?

And now we have Schrodinger’s Pseudo-Feminist Abuser (really, a subset of Schrodinger’s Rapist). Because it’s happening far too often for trust to just be given willy-nilly by the people who could potentially be victims, and the people who are victims. Too many men are calling themselves feminists in public while, in private, being utterly horrible to the very women they claim to support. Feminist communities become a hunting ground for these men, and they think they can hide behind their very public protestations to being a “good ally”.

To wrap up, I 100% believe all of the women who have come forward, hasn’t yet, or chooses not to at all. I hear them, I believe them, and I support them. And I will continue to forever.

As for Jamie Kilstein… he can go fuck himself sideways into the ocean with a cactus.

(You can read more at the Daily Dot.)

*So… I think I made a mistake. Those of you who’ve read this between March 1st and March 10th might have noticed a change. I named three of the women who came forward because they had been named in other publications, and I assumed they were okay with that. However, a recent Jezebel article was written about this, where they all were kept anonymous. As such, I have removed their names from this article, and I’m truly sorry for publishing them in the first place.


  1. sonofrojblake says

    Don’t trust me. Why should you? I’m yet another straight, white, cis-gendered, able-bodied man.

    And if any of those things were different, they should trust you? Those are the things that make you untrustworthy? Fuck that.

    What makes you untrustworthy is that you are not me and I am not psychic. Straight, white, cis, able bodied man? Don’t trust you. Gay, black, trans disabled woman, bad news -- don’t trust you either. Trust is earned, and people who look like you don’t have the monopoly on douchebaggery.

    If you go round just trusting people because of what they TELL you they are -- “feminist”, say -- then Pollyanna, you baffle me. I’m not saying you deserve what you get -- I don’t blame victims. But if atheism and rationality teaches you anything then surely one of its main lessons is that the universe is a bleak unfriendly place that doesn’t want you in it and most people are shits. I don’t get why anyone’s default assumption is trust.

    Of course, there’s an upside. Judged on their actions, over time, some people are not shits, and those people are to be cherished.

  2. neroden says

    As they say in the X Files — “Trust no one”. Marion Zimmer Bradley ring a bell?

  3. says

    So you think acknowledging the fact that there is a bigotry problem here is beyond the pale? Fuck you. That is what Nathan was doing there, being explicit about coming from the group associated with the problem. It’s fucking rational to allow people to consider a possible source of bias.

    So how about you get explicit and quote where Nathan acted like they simply trusted based on labels. So far you seem all bark and no bite. Just name calling.

  4. says

    Being from the white, male, cis, straight group gives some advantages in looking for places where that part of your culture is bigoted, or acting in some other inappropriate way towards a group of people. We got the bigot software installed to one extent or another and that lets us introspect and identify it so we can exercise our in-group psychological advantage in calling out bad behavior in that in-group.

    So it’s not only rational to mention that you are part of a group with bias problems, it’s strategically wise and necessary for dealing with problematic social behavior.

  5. polishsalami says

    As someone who is somewhat of an outsider to “Social Justice” atheism (more “Dirtbag Left” tbh), I think your community has improved its handling of these problems in recent times.

    The knee-jerk defensiveness that some people had regarding Richard Carrier’s behaviour at FtB has been replaced with a willingness to cut people loose if their actions didn’t meet their words.

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