The (Quiet) Feminist Revolution

Joanna Schroeder advocates both individual responsibility and an understanding of the realities of the society we live in.

Winter in West Michigan can be dreadful. Snow falls almost continuously due to “Lake Effect”, and as you can imagine, it’s really flippin’ cold. It was one of those days: grey, bitter cold, and dumping snow. My father and I were driving on a rural road. A rusty pickup truck squealed to the side of the road in front of us, and out jumped a young woman holding a baby in a snowsuit. There were no houses in sight and a storm was coming in. The pickup squealed off, its tires spinning and spitting snow into the air in front of us.

My father and I looked at each other. I was about fourteen. He turned to me and said, “We’re going to ask that lady if she needs a ride (there were no cell phones at this time, of course), but I want you to ask her so she’s not scared.” I understood.

We pulled up, I asked her, and she replied, “Aww no, honey, thanks. He’ll be back.” She smiled at me, but her face was puffy and streaked with tears. We drove away, but we looped back around to be sure she was fine, and of course she was climbing back into that truck just a few minutes later. My father pulled the car over after the truck was gone and explained to me why he had me ask the lady if she wanted help. He said he would’ve offered help regardless, but she’d be more likely to take it from a man with a female in the car. He also said that I shouldn’t get in a car with a man I didn’t know. I already knew that, of course.


Last week, after holiday shopping on the crazy-busy Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, I went for lunch alone at Tender Greens. This restaurant is set up cafeteria-style, where the majority of the seating is at a bunch of long tables. While in line, a nice guy said something to me like, “Isn’t this restaurant cool?” and we chatted a bit about how awesome it is that restaurants focusing on local goods are sprouting up.

I took my tray and sat down, and after he paid, he sat down by me at one of these long tables. Not directly across, but diagonal. We ate quietly for a bit, but eventually got into a really interesting conversation about the music his record label makes and how he chooses to run his label in a socially-responsible manner. I talked to him about the GMP and solicited him to submit an article about an album that a tough-guy singer is about to release that focuses around the pain of having been bullied when he was younger. We shared emails on our phones and were off on our separate ways.


So why did I tell you these two relatively uneventful stories? Because I’m trying to pull together both sides of this debate about the Presumption of Male Guilt (a special section of GMP I recently co-led), and say that Hugo Schwyzer is right… and so is Lisa Hickey.

In a recent Twitter debate between a bunch of people, including Tom Matlack, Hugo Schwyzer, and two well-respected feminists, Jennifer Pozner and Amanda Marcotte, Hugo asked Tom “your daughter has a choice: she can accept a ride from a strange woman or strange man. Do you care? What advice do you give?” to which Tom replied, “I would not tell her to base it on gender. Don’t get in cars with strangers period…” I think this is foolish, stubborn advice based in a theoretical argument rather than reality. There are times in which we need help, we all need help, and though Lisa is so right when she says, “The best way to overcome fear is to gain competence” in her piece, When Women Fear Men, that is not always an option.

I flashed back to what my father taught me both with his words and his actions that day on the side of that country road in a snow storm. Sometimes we have to ask for help, Tom, and sometimes there are only strangers around. There may be a violent-looking woman and a very kind-looking man to choose from, and in that case your daughter should defy gender stereotypes. She should follow her instincts. But in general, your daughter should play the numbers and know that if she is going to be raped or murdered, it is most likely going to be by a man and make a choice based upon that.

My father, without naming it, understood that in Rape Culture, he was presumed guilty despite being completely well-intended. He was willing to shoulder that burden and wasn’t angry about not being innately trusted.


I think what is misunderstood about Hugo’s message in In Rape Culture, All Men Are Guilty Until Proven Innocent, is that in recognizing the reality of a world in which women are (in general) physically weaker and the police and courts systems are (in general) dominated by men, you do not have to feel guilty. You do not need to feel bad about yourself because of what other men have done. There is a difference between Feminists trying to make you feel bad about being a man (which is dead wrong) and us asking you to recognize the way most women feel, and asking you to respect that.

Hugo, it seems to me, is calling men forth to demand more from one another. Sure, you shouldn’t have to do this, but this is the way society changes. As a feminist, I ask women to stop doing the things that damage society and ourselves. Yes, we are complicit too. It isn’t about self-hate, it’s about taking responsibility. The woman in that pickup was probably in an abusive relationship (whether it was him abusing her, or them abusing one another) and she needed to take responsibility for being there and needed to change her life, especially for her baby. That’s her job. Resources are available, and it’s our job, as a society, to offer those resources. We all have responsibility here, and feeling guilty (on a micro level) is merely going to cripple our ability to make change (on a macro level).


To Lisa’s point, in her rebuttal Rapists, I have Known, “Presuming guilt in males is not good for males and it is not good for females”, being suspicious of men does harm all of us in a day-to-day way. When I was in line at Tender Greens, I could’ve assumed this guy, Jacob, was a perv or a creep or only out to sleep with me. But on a micro level, on a personal level, I had a strong feeling he wasn’t. I trust my feelings. Even if he had a sliver of intention to hook up with me, all I had to do was say “no” (I’m married). We were in a restaurant in a bustling city and I am an intelligent and resourceful woman.

I assumed the best about Jacob, and I was rewarded by meeting a nice person who regarded me as a human being and a professional. Maybe someday he’ll become a contributor to The Good Men Project and he will show us yet another way in which men are good. Am I defying what Hugo says about Rape Culture in doing what Lisa says we should do (not pre-judge men, become competent myself)? Am I denying Rape Culture by trusting a man, any man? No, Rape Culture is real and Good Men are real.

I don’t intend to speak for this relative stranger, Jacob, in saying that he took responsibility for Rape Culture in his short interaction with me last week. But in my mind, he did. He spoke to me as an equal, he did not step into my personal space, he did not mention anything about my physical appearance, he didn’t touch me or follow me, or ask for my number (I volunteered my email after talking about contributing to GMP someday). I don’t think he treated me like I was a man—I think he treated me like I am a human. And, if I may speak for women for just a moment, that is what we want.

I think this is something most of you guys do every day. As Hugo maintains, “Good guys hold themselves and other men accountable, in public and in private.” Good guys act how Jacob acted, and they hold other men accountable to act the same. Those simple behaviors are the start of a revolution.


About Joanna Schroeder

Joanna Schroeder is a feminist writer and editor with a special focus in issues facing raising boys and gender in the media. Her work has appeared on Redbook, Yahoo!, xoJane,,, and more. She and her husband are outdoor sports enthusiasts raising very active sons. She is currently co-editing a book of essays for boys and young men with author and advocate Jeff Perera. Follow her shenanigans on Twitter.


  1. “recognizing the reality of a world in which women are (in general) physically weaker and the police and courts systems are (in general) dominated by men, you do not have to feel guilty”

    There is no escaping it once a light has shined on to your privilege as a male, at least for me there was no escape of guilt. And, I would also think that I am not alone in this. A well-meaning, caring, compassionate individual who has been conditioned to treat women as inferior, sex objects as a way part of life gets a huge dose of reality when they find out this isn’t ‘normal.’ This ‘recognizing’ the fact that you’ve been adhering to strict gender definitions, specifically the ‘guy code’ by acting out with sexist & misogynistic behavior toward women inherently due to your own conditioning of ignorance would (I believe) lead any decent human being toward a feeling of ‘guilt’ for the wrong they’ve done and contributed to.

  2. van Rooinek says:

    Rape Culture is real and Good Men are real.

    Three quarters right. Rape is real. Good men are real.

    However, “Rape Culture” is a brazen feminist lie, consciously known to be a lie by all who propoagate it, and created solely for the purpose of falsely implicating the vast innocent majority of men, so as to put “all men” in the oppressor box for neo-marxist political reasons.

    In particular, the lie-meme of Rape Culture embodies slanderous accusation that the vast non-rapist majority of men are somehow complicit because men…
    (a) could stop the rapists if we really wanted to (SELF EVIDENTLY FALSE),
    (b) chose not to, because rape threat somehow keeps all men in power (FALSE),
    (c) benefit somehow by the rape threat (FALSE), and
    (d) could somehow put an end to rape by cooperating with leftist social engineering.

    Item (c) is literally insane. Women would be much more approachable for dating, etc, if rape did not exist. Men would not worry if their wives, daughters, friends were 5 minutes late getting home, if rape did not exist. Men would not have to live under a cloud of suspicion if rape did not exist. Men would not have to warn their daughters (and sons) to avoid strangers, if rape did not exist.

    Item (d) is equally insane. The cold hard reality is that the rape-vulnerablity of women is an unfortunate fact of nature — it is NOT a social construct and it cannot be socially reengineered away. Men who resist feminist social engineering are not rapists, nor perpetuating a rape culture, by such resistance. They are just refusing to engage in a pointless endeavor.

    It’s much more effect to teach your daughters to shoot.

  3. Hey you know what? I give up. If I had a daughter and she was stranded I would rather she take the ride with the woman. I fucking understand.

    But that doesn’t make it any easier to wake up every fucking morning to a world where I get treated like a default rapist. It doesn’t make it any easier to see women visibly intimidated by me and giving me suspicious looks just for being. I accept this fucking mantle of presumed guilt and will continue to walk on eggshells around women because they are so fucking scared of me. But don’t you dare turn around and tell me that I should go help women in need. Don’t you dare tell me I should mentor girls. Don’t you dare tell me that I should give women the benefit of the doubt. Because If you don’t trust me, fine, then I don’t trust you either.

    • So the world you seem content to live in, Jimmy, is a world where it’s ok for all women to assume all men are rapists? And it’s ok for all men to assume all women will falsely accuse them?

      Cause that’s not a rational world.

      All men are not rapists. In fact all rapists are not always men!

      All women are not false accusers, and in fact all false accusers are not always women!

      There are, come to find out, people in the world who don’t rape or falsely accuse. Lots of them. And there are people who rightly accuse those who have committed assault upon them. And there are people who do assault, but they don’t make up the majority of people in this country. And there are people who trust and interact with folks on a daily basis without the fear of assault or the fear of false accusation.

      Most people are decent people most of the time.

      Your choice- you can live in the world where you maintain a healthy and cautious attitude around people in general, trusting folks to the point where you can maintain actual friendships and connections and trusting yourself enough to know that you can take care of yourself when something difficult arises, or you could live in a world where you maintain no friendships (because remember, men can assault and betray other men as well), no relationships, and hide out. That sounds like a very personal prison.

      There are no guarantees, that’s true. We cannot tell just by looking at a person if they are good or bad. We can control ourselves though and decide how we want to live. You know? I could be assaulted tonight. You could get falsely accused tonight. But I’m not going to live my life like there is a rapist behind every tree waiting for me because I’d go out of my mind with anxiety and it wouldn’t be a rational way to go through life.

      • Honestly, it’s a safer world when one trusts no one else. You might be surprised to hear that I actually have friends – I’m married, for god’d sake! The fact that I don’t and I can’t trust others in no way precludes me from forming relationships.

        Now, am I happy about it? Not really, but this is what works for me right now. Being vulnerable means that hurt and betrayal are inevitable. When I get to the point of feeling strong enough to put up with betrayal, I’ll look into learning to trust.

  4. Interesting point. And to clarify it with others:

    Would we say it’s okay to play the numbers with a black man? Because that dynamic works the same way.

    I did like the OP’s reference to abusive relationships and how the victim should take some responsibility of getting out of it. But yeah, I started getting lost at the whole “play the numbers” bit. For instance, it’s a common argument to “play the numbers” on domestic abuse campaigns, so they show a girl crying and a man shaking his fist. But that statistic is something like 45-55, with men only being slightly more likely to become abusive.

    But then again, maybe even THAT is just playing the numbers. If men face far more violence, would it not make sense that, by the numbers, WE shouldn’t trust people by default?

    I mean, I certainly get the point the OP was trying to get across, and I think that should be the primary discussion in these comments. But using statistics to justify discrimination or mistrust is the whole reason discrimination exists in the first place.

  5. So… then every prejudiced person on the planet is right? I mean, they make this same argument – play the odds: a black man is more likely to be a mugger than a white one! Or, hey, a gay man is more likely to molest my male child than a straight one… so I have to assume the gay guy down the hall is a bad person.

    The reality of it is, the chance that any of those folks are dangerous is vanishingly small. That guy walking down the street late at night? White or black, chances are that he’s just going to get a pack of smokes. That guy down the hall? Gay or straight, chances are that he prefers grown-ups. And that person offering help? Chances are, male or female, that person is actually just trying to help you.

    You can talk about playing the odds, but that’s not what you’re doing – odds are, you’d be just fine either way. What you are doing is choosing to fear men. And I’m sorry, but people can’t fear something for very long without learning to hate it. Which brings me back to that first paragraph, and why the arguments you make sound a whole lot like the arguments that people like that make.

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      Hey Soullite

      Just so you know, this is an old article written by me. I hope you’ll look into things I’ve written since then.

      I hear your rage, I really do. I believe there is a middle ground between what you’re saying here and what I’m saying in the original article.

      • Soullite says:

        Yeah, I see now that it was from a while back. It was just trending, and I didn’t read the time stamp. To be honest, I didn’t even know this site existed last December.

        I’m not that angry, though I can understand how I’d come off that way. I’ve never had a personality that came across well on the internet. Whenever I try to sound pleading, it only ever comes off as enraged. Mostly it’s just frustration. I don’t get why people spend so much energy trying to rationalize their emotions (which aren’t rational), instead of trying to understand them.

      • I wish I hadn’t read this article. I used to like you, Joanna; now I don’t trust you anymore.

  6. John Sctoll says:

    When ever I read about this story I can’t but wonder. Did the painting of men as perps and women as angels help to kill this little girl.

    She was abducted by a young, pretty white women and now according to court testimony killed by her as well.

    Was Torri Stafford taught to not trust men BUT it is ok to trust women.

  7. As much I agree on an intellectual level that individuals should “think the best” of people offering assistance in the instance of a women getting a lift from a strange man I think it is best for her to err on the side of caution and decline the assistance. We don’t live in a perfect world and although the majority of people we meet have good intentions it is tricky to tell them apart from the few who don’t and sometimes the best strategy is assume the worse. For the indignant MRAs in the discussion let’s flip this a little using a less dramatic scenario as the one presented in the article. How many MRAs would want their partners to sign a prenuptial agreement before marriage, not because they didn’t love them but because they were concerned that in the case of a divorce their partner would turn out to be in the vindictive minority of women you would take them to the cleaners? If you answered yes to the prenup then I suggest you stow your indignation.

    Sadly prejudices and social stereotypes do colour our responses to the world, and ultimately it comes down to individual choice as to how you act in certain situations. If you wish to act on those prejudices that is your own choice and you shoulder the responsibly of that choice as an individual.

    Where these prejudices do become important is in the legal world, if we let stereotypes and prejudice colour our enactment of the law then we are in trouble.

    • J.G. te Molder says:

      You don’t get it. MRAs don’t tell men to get prenups, they tell men not to marry at all. Prenups, well, they don’t really mean much, hell, you should be careful even when you didn’t get married. The system we live in (and the SYSTEM is the problem, not the woman, indeed, the same would go for homosexuals) doesn’t care much about prenups; judges, and lawyers will happily argue and accept that the prenup exists because you’re a misogynist who doesn’t trust women, and the prenup is null-and void. Hell, don’t be too generous in a relationship without being married; the judge will happily decide your relationship resembles marriage enough, he’ll treat you as if you were married.

      Once again, it’s not distrust of women, it’s distrust of a system, and if you are adamant at getting married you should get a prenup regardless of the gender you’re with.

      This article however, argues only men should be distrusted, even though women are every bit as bad, and in certain things, most notably (sexual) child abuse, worse. If the argument was, you shouldn’t trust either men or women, you would have a point, hell, then we’d agree, but that wasn’t the argument, the argument was that only men should be distrusted.

    • Honestly, if we were talking about any other form of prejudice (and that is what we’re talking about here), would you hew to this line of thought? If we were talking about some wannabe klansman, would you say ‘Well, he could still be a good guy. It’s not like his opinions are the law or anything’?

      Would any other group of people be told that they don’t have a right to resent people who are clearly prejudiced toward them?

      • Soullite, I’m not saying that prejudice or stereotyping is right. I think I made it clear that if you as an individual decide to act on that prejudice then you take the responsibility of that action. Using the example you posit in your post below, if an individual assumes that a black man is more likely to mug him than a white man and therefore avoids him then he is making a judgement born of his prejudice and will be considered racist which is a consequence of his action. A women not accepting assistance from a man because she thinks that man might rape her is being sexist and you have a right to think that of her, that is the consequence of her action. It is my opinion that people have a right to make these choices but they have to accept the consequence of being called out on their prejudices.

        Where these prejudices become an issue is if they are used to enact the law, for that reason I feel that laws like VAWA are sexist and should be repealed as they are based on prejudice. All just laws should be gender and race neutral.

        If a women declines your aid because she thinks you may be a potential threat that does not endanger your life or rob you of your freedom, it is her choice and you are free to think that she is sexist and move on with your life.

        If on the other hand you are provably denied a job working with children because the employer thinks you are potentially paedophile without any reason other than your gender then there are laws in place for you to get justice.

        I don’t like the fact that someone might think I intended to harm them purely based on my gender, but I don’t know of any way to fix this issue other then calling them out on their choices but I must also be prepared to be called out if I do something similar. As far as I’m concerned if my freedom isn’t challenged and I’m not harmed by the act I’ll accept that people can be judgmental assholes and just move on.

        • It does rob me of my freedom. I’d like to be a nicer person than I am, and I can’t be, because I have to worry that people will see that and assume (like the author of this article) that I’m a ‘pervert’. I can’t be the person I’d like to be – one who doesn’t harm anyone – because women will blame me for it. How is that any different then men trying to decide for women how women should act or be?

          And tell me, how do you separate these issues? You think a woman like that doesn’t take her opinions with her into the ballot box? Do you think that female politicians don’t bring those opinions when they cast votes or issue policies? How could they? If you’re serious about stopping institutional bigotry, then you can’t ignore personal prejudice. They can’t be separated out like you think they can be. It’s all one big ball of S%^#

          You just can’t argue that women have the right to fear men, but that men have no right to resent women. If one group of people have a right to misguided emotions, then everyone does. If a woman can know how illogical it is to live in fear of something that isn’t likely to ever happen, but she still fears men because of it anyway, then I have the right to understand where she’s coming from, and still hate her for it.

        • It does rob me of my freedom. I’d like to be a nicer person than I am, and I can’t be, because I have to worry that people will see that and assume (like the author of this article) that I’m a ‘pervert’. I can’t be the person I’d like to be – one who doesn’t harm anyone – because women will blame me for it. How is that any different then men trying to decide for women how women should act or be?

          And tell me, how do you separate these issues? You think a woman like that doesn’t take her opinions with her into the ballot box? Do you think that female politicians don’t bring those opinions when they cast votes or issue policies? How could they? If you’re serious about stopping institutional prejudice, then you can’t ignore personal prejudice. They can’t be separated out like you think they can be. It’s all one big ball of Feces

          You just can’t argue that women have the right to fear men, but that men have no right to resent women. If one group of people have a right to misguided emotions, then so does everyone else. If a woman can know how illogical it is to live in fear of something that isn’t likely to ever happen, but she still fears men because of it, then I have the right to understand where she’s coming from and still despise her for it.

          • In regards your last comment.

            1st paragraph: It does not rob you of your freedom or ability to be nice, that is your choice. I have had situations where I felt I was unfairly characterised by someone and I called them out on it. It made them look silly and I went on my merry way, if someone treats me like shit and won’t listen to reason then I choose not to hang out with them.
            There is no point blaming other people because it takes away any of your own power and ability to direct yourself. If however it is forced on you by the state then it should be addressed.

            2nd paragraph: Read my last post again, I think you’ll find I said “laws should be gender and race neutral”; if they are not then they should be repealed. Any member of government should work to ensure that laws and legislation treat people as individuals and not groups. I do not doubt that individual prejudices do come into play but that is why we have several members of government making laws and that the laws must go through a strict selection process. Is the process perfect… no, do some bad laws get passed… yes e.g. VAWA. That is why people protest and put pressure on the government to repeal these laws and I’m entirely in support of anyone acting to remove unjust inhumane laws.

            3rd paragraph: I was not arguing that men have no right to resent women, in fact I said several times men do have that right and that is one of the consequences from acting through prejudice.

            I still stand by my conclusion that people can believe what they want and do what they want as long as they do not cause physical harm, prevent them from getting or doing a job, or deny them their freedom. If a women declines my offer of help, however well intentioned, for fear of being raped that is a sad situation on that we can both agree, but ultimately her choice does not affect my daily life and says more about her than it does about me.

    • John Anderson says:

      @ Jill

      “How many MRAs would want their partners to sign a prenuptial agreement before marriage, not because they didn’t love them but because they were concerned that in the case of a divorce their partner would turn out to be in the vindictive minority of women you would take them to the cleaners? If you answered yes to the prenup then I suggest you stow your indignation.”

      For the majority of guys, this isn’t an issue. I know some guys who were “taken to the cleaners”, but they didn’t sign prenups. As for me and most guys, it’s probably a non-issue because we don’t have significant assets. I think a more pertinent example would be would you request same gender care for intimate medical procedures? If you say yes, why the double standard? A related question for the feminists would be would you support same gender care for men if it meant that female nurses would lose their jobs in favor of male nurses for no other reason than their gender because gender then becomes a BOFQ? If you say no, why the double standard?

      • @John Anderson.

        I don’t see how you’re example is applicable. The offer of help from the hypothetical man, as described in the article, is merely a kind gesture and not that man’s job. The declining of the offer is based on the hypothetical women “assuming the worst” of the man. My example is a based on the hypothetical man “assuming the worst” of the hypothetical women, therefore an adequate counter example.

        I’m assuming same gendered medical care for intimate procedures is based more on embarrassment than fear of rape; I have no evidence for this so if you have any evidence to the contrary please put it forward.

        For the record I’m a man and I’m not called Jill, nor do I consider myself a feminist.

        • John Anderson says:

          @ JH

          My eyes play tricks on me.

          Based on what I remember reading on the patient modesty/privacy blogs, the reasons people request same gender care varies. Some have cited past female perpetrated sexual abuse. Some have stated that female nurses have in the past been less concerned with their modesty issues such as leaving the curtains open when performing the procedure or leaving them more exposed than necessary. Some implied that the nurses got off on it. It sometimes seemed to stem from the nurse’s desire to be in control or to have power over her patient. Things eerily similar to what some people may consider motivations of rapists, but many times they attributed it to simple indifference to the patient’s feelings. Many posts cited instances were female burses have protected the modesty of female patients, while being indifferent or hostile to the modesty issues of males. One person cited past abuse of a sexual nature perpetrated by a female nurse during a medical procedure. Others cited religious reasons.

          Patients who request same gender care aren’t embarrassed by the nudity or someone handling their privates. They object to an individual of the opposite sex doing it. That indicates that the embarrassment has an aspect of sexual violation attached. Personally, I would demand same gender care for intimate procedures especially in a situation where I would be unconscious and would decline medical care if not available. Your job doesn’t prevent you from experiencing human emotions or desires. One difference between the two is that the perceived violation for intimate procedures in a medical setting is guaranteed to occur, while the perceived violation in our disabled car scenario only might occur.
          So if a woman has an irrational fear of men it’s justified, but if a man has an irrational concern that a woman might sexually abuse him, it’s not.

          • I’ve never heard of any abuse like that by nurses, do you have any references for the story? If it is true then it would be a terrible abuse of power by the nurses and such a issue would be worthy of its own article. Have you thought about writing up on the subject and sending it into good men project editors for a featured article?

            • John Anderson says:


              If I remember correctly he posted as flyer58. Going from memory by what he wrote, it occurred when he was in his teens. I gather that he is in his 50s now. He got an erection during a medical examination with a female nurse and she proceeded to beat on his testicles. He mentioned that this caused permanent damage to his testicles. An easier example to find would be then female ENT who gave unconscious male patients genital exams.


              I tried to find the original news source that put this out. A link provided on another site was dead, but the story is mentioned in other sites like allnurses. I’m pretty sure it’s legit. Police officers commit crimes, accountants steal, and priests molest. I have little doubt that this doesn’t go on to some degree.

              I flew through a couple privacy blogs and didn’t find flyer58’s posts. It’s a blog post, but again I have no reason to believe that it wasn’t experienced. If I have time, I’ll go back through more, but this particular grad class is killing me with its work load and I still have the chalice and the blade and untying the gender knot books to read as recommended by some feminist poster here. The patient privacy blogs make for interesting reading if you’re interested in hearing both sides of the debate. Modesty concerns tend to go both ways, but only one gender gets realistically accommodated.

              As men and individuals who believe in gender equality, we probably should insist on same gender care whether desired or not so that others who need it can get it. Adovkate2 had suggested that men request same gender care, refuse medical treatments if it can’t be provided, and cancel appointments/procedures if promised and not delivered.

      • J.G. te Molder says:

        Those who have no assets should be a more worried about marriage and divorce than those who are loaded. Those who are loaded can afford the alimony and child support, those who are poor do not, and that means you go to jail.

  8. A couple of points:

    1) I’m female. My car breaks at a meeting where I don’t know anybody. Two strangers offer me a ride. One is male and one female. I trust them equally, in the sense that I know neither of them from Adam and in general I think men and women are about equally likely to do evil things for no reason. If they’re average, they’re both bigger and stronger than I am. If they’re average, the man is MUCH bigger and stronger than I am, the woman only slightly. There’s a roughly 90% chance that the man has sexual impulses toward women (possibly me) and about a 10% chance of same from the woman. Experience suggests that, for people in general, craziness often runs with sexual impulses the way electricity runs with metal. Experience suggests that if the woman has evil intentions, her only weapons will, most likely, be language and emotion — not 100%, but most likely. And if she attacks me with those things she hasn’t got a chance.

    I’m going to take the ride with the woman. It isn’t because I think she’s a better person. It’s partly because I think she has less reason to hurt me, and partly because I’m betting she CAN”T hurt me.

    This has nothing to do with misandry.

    2) Guys who are upset with Johanna, here: a thought experiment—

    You’re walking through an unfamiliar city neighborhood at night. Nobody much around. You hear someone walking behind you — the person is walking slightly faster than you are, catching up with you. You glance back, and see:

    a) a guy who’s quite a bit bigger than you
    b) a woman about your size

    are your feelings different in the two cases?

    • I’d be nervous at both of them, how do I know they aren’t carrying a weapon? Everyone is dangerous with a weapon even the 110lb 5ft tall female. I can’t be certain there are no weapons, and weapons are used quite a lot in crime so size differences are far less important.

      Here’s one for you. The anti-abuse campaigns for quite a while had the 99% of rapists were men moniker, most child sex abuse was perpetrated by men, etc.
      You have the option of a male, or female child-carer. Which do you choose and why?

      Now lets do something many feminists go extremely silent on, let’s start telling people the stats where females and the mother especially are most likely to commit child abuse in any form.
      Which gender do you now choose for your child carer?

      Now let’s take a look at the CDC stats on sexual abuse, in the last 12 months there are 1.1% of men and 1.1% of women who were forcibly penetrated or forced to penetrate someone (both together I will refer to as rape even though the CDC doesn’t consider envelopment rape, but other sexual assault). Basically gender of the rapist came down to 60% male, 40% female.

      So these men, who on average are larger, are raped by women at pretty significant levels by women who are smaller, they’re overpowered, coerced, all that strength becomes useless. The stats also show physical violence between partners is pretty similar (32% female, 28% male victims if I remember correctly).

      So what exactly does males extra strength do? Obviously there are other elements in abuse going on and strength isn’t everything, it’s easy to view men are bigger, more violent, and view women as vulnerable but is that really the case? I see a society that treats women like victims, treats them like they are weak, so much that women underestimate their own strength and ability to defend themselves. I see a society that treats men as perpetrators, treats them like they’re so strong women can’t hurt them, they would probably over-estimate their strength compared to a woman.

      So I will ask you, why do you feel unsafe even with a bigger male? If you feel unsafe do you attend self-defense classes? Size isn’t everything, speed is quite handy and visible size doesn’t mean they are stronger. Muscle fibres can be quite densely packed and the strength required to do some serious damage is easily within most women’s ability, if you can lift a baby up you can break an elbow of an opponent. Personally I’d like to see women start doing strength training, you won’t bulk up massively n look like a male because of testosterone differences but you can still gain a lot of strength naturally. I think we as a society should stop treating women like they are weak and vulnerable, there are women that scare the hell out of me and i am 6’6 300lbs. There are vulnerable spots on the body that require very little force to cause a lot of pain, the testicles for men can be hurt SO EASY and it hurts bigtime, putting most men into the fetal position.

      Men are not untouchable gods, women are not weaklings, my female cousin dropped a guy in 1 hit in a fight. What society teaches about the dangers of men and women, I find to be lacking and has severely under-estimated the threat of women, and probably over-estimated the threat of men.

      Finally I will ask: If you are under threat from an attacker, regardless of gender, which gender do you think is more likely to come in and try to defend you?

      • J.G. te Molder says:

        >There are vulnerable spots on the body that require very little force to cause a lot of pain, the
        >testicles for men can be hurt SO EASY and it hurts bigtime, putting most men into the fetal position.

        Never, ever, ever, ever go for the balls unless you have no other choice left:

        1. Sensitivity in the balls varies from time to time, one moment it may be extremely sensitive, the other times it will barely feel anything. Hitting it may not do much at all.

        2. Men going into a fetal position is a Hollywood myth, men usually grab ahold of their testicles for a moment and then force themselves through the pain.

        3. Men expect it from women, they will be prepared to defend themselves against such an attack.

        4. You just made thins personal.

        If you absolutely have no choice left but to go for the balls, as an utter last resort, don’t simply hit them, grab a hold of them, squeeze/bit, and do not stop until he is down. One hit may not do much if his testicles aren’t sensitive in that moment, but continued inflicting of damage will eventually severely hurt. Then once he’s down, run, don’t stick around, run, and call the cops. If he man manages to dislodge you before he’s down, you’re a lot worse off then if you hadn’t.

      • Amaranth says:

        Hi, Archy —

        You wrote:
        I’d be nervous at both of them, how do I know they aren’t carrying a weapon? Everyone is dangerous with a weapon even the 110lb 5ft tall female. I can’t be certain there are no weapons, and weapons are used quite a lot in crime so size differences are far less important.

        It makes sense to me that the possibility of someone having a weapon would make the physical-size thing less of an issue. My working hypothesis, however, is that any given random guy is more likely than a given random woman to be armed. I believe this for two reasons: 1) among the people I know, probably 75% of the gun owners are men. 2) the research I’ve seen suggests that a man is about four times as likely to own a gun. (see, for example — Hepburn, Lisa; Miller, Matthew; Azrael, Deborah; Hemenway, David. “The US Gun Stock: Results from the 2004 National Firearms Survey.” Injury Prevention. 2007 13:15-19) The reasons for this are, I assume, complicated. Probably higher rates of gun ownership are both a cause and an effect of men’s higher chances of being murdered.

        You wrote:
        Here’s one for you. The anti-abuse campaigns for quite a while had the 99% of rapists were men moniker, most child sex abuse was perpetrated by men, etc. You have the option of a male, or female child-carer. Which do you choose and why?

        This is a tough one. Partly it’s tough because I don’t have children, so I’ve never actually been through the process of trying to assess people as threats to my children, while I’ve been through the process of looking over my shoulder and deciding whether or not to duck into a store and let the person pass by. But thinking about this in theory I’d say: for a child-care person I’m going to do my homework in a pretty massive way. I’m going to have lots of information about the candidates, where their gender is only a small part of the picture. This is not at all the same kind of decision-making process as the other examples we’ve talked about, where the only information you have is the stuff that’s evident-at-a-glance, as gender (usually) is. That said, if I’ve got two child-care people who seem exactly the same to me in every other way, after I’ve done my homework, and one is a physically average man and one physically average woman, I’ll probably pick the guy because 1) In the event of some crazy thing like the house collapsing in an earthquake, he’s more likely to be able to lift a roof truss off my child & get out of the house, and 2) I know my hypothetical kid has a great mom, and I think it’s healthy for him/her to also get the experience of being cared for by men.

        You wrote:
        Now lets do something many feminists go extremely silent on, let’s start telling people the stats where females and the mother especially are most likely to commit child abuse in any form.

        If you mean, by “feminists”, “people who have some agenda about proving men are evil”, then I don’t think they are silent on this point. What I’ve often heard said on it is, roughly, “Yes, men only commit 40% of reported child abuse. But they also only do 10% of child care, so per hour spent with a child they’re 4 times as likely to do something awful”. For my part, I have never researched this, and I don’t know how to evaluate those statistics. As far as my personal experience goes, I tend to be more instinctively suspicious of mothers than I am of fathers, because my own mother was awful in ways I’m not going to discuss here. I’m aware of this as an irrational anti-female bias in my own thinking, and I try to keep an eye on it.

        You wrote:
        Now let’s take a look at the CDC stats on sexual abuse, in the last 12 months there are 1.1% of men and 1.1% of women who were forcibly penetrated or forced to penetrate someone (both together I will refer to as rape even though the CDC doesn’t consider envelopment rape, but other sexual assault). Basically gender of the rapist came down to 60% male, 40% female.

        Again, I haven’t researched this myself, and I’m not sure how to evaluate the statistics. But assuming that you are 110% right on the point you are making — women are just as likely to be rapists as men — that doesn’t answer the question of who is more likely to be a danger specifically to me (a female). And when I’m deciding whether or not to catch a ride with a stranger, I’m very focused on that exact question. I’m not trying to answer some general question about whether men or women are more good / evil — I’m not sure what such a question even means. If the person driving me home is Jane the Ripper, and she drops me off and then returns to her subterranean dungeon where she’s forcing envelopment on a room-full of helpless male victims she has immobilized with her firearm and martial-arts skills, well, that’s extremely creepy, and evil, and she belongs in jail. But it has no effect on my getting home alive. Jack the Ripper, different story.

        You wrote:
        So what exactly does males extra strength do? Obviously there are other elements in abuse going on and strength isn’t everything, it’s easy to view men are bigger, more violent, and view women as vulnerable but is that really the case?

        Well, if people believe it and it affects their behavior, does it matter whether it’s actually true? I don’t mean, does it matter in the bigger picture, because obviously it does. I mean, does it matter when assessing a real person as a physical threat? Because a woman can really be physically dangerous eight days a week, and if she thinks she’s not, she isn’t going to attack you. And a man can be weaker than you are and think he’s stronger and it takes away from his sense of risk. The perception is actually what drives behavior, not the reality.

        You wrote:
        So I will ask you, why do you feel unsafe even with a bigger male?

        Generally, I don’t. My experience and my reading both suggest is that violence is actually very, very rare, at least where I live. Also, that most of the time violence breaks out because people scare each other — that is, the person who gets shot, for example, has usually frightened the shooter (as in the recent example of the crazy white guy shooting the black teenager — this is why it’s important for people to be more rational about evaluating threats). My own appearance (tiny, middle-aged, female, white, accent suggesting lots of education, generally look like I might be about to bake a pie) works in my favor on this point — NOBODY perceives me as a threat. So the only violence I’m likely to experience is either 1) random, like crazy-person-bombs-library random or 2) a Jack/Jane the Ripper type who is seeking out harmless-looking victims.

        If you feel unsafe do you attend self-defense classes? Size isn’t everything, speed is quite handy and visible size doesn’t mean they are stronger.

        I get the idea. I’m not really a great candidate for this kind of training, not because of my gender but because of other, medical issues. If I felt I needed better security I would probably either change my situation for a safer one or carry a weapon.

        You wrote:

        Men are not untouchable gods, women are not weaklings, my female cousin dropped a guy in 1 hit in a fight. What society teaches about the dangers of men and women, I find to be lacking and has severely under-estimated the threat of women, and probably over-estimated the threat of men.

        On the whole, I agree. But this can be true, and it’s still true that men are more of a danger to me. The two ideas don’t contradict each other.

        You wrote:
        Finally I will ask: If you are under threat from an attacker, regardless of gender, which gender do you think is more likely to come in and try to defend you?

        A man, definitely. Again, this may be relevant to some general question of whether men are good or evil (I myself am fond of men, so far as I can generalize about a group of nearly 4 billion people) but I don’t think it’s relevant in either of the situations we’ve been discussing.

        • Thank-you, funnily enough you reassured me that you aren’t purposely singling out men and it varies upon situation, it’s interesting to see you choose men for the protection as well.

          I do wonder if people have much fear of their partner, if we go purely by statistics then I’d feel safer around strangers than I would around a girlfriend. What point do the stats become unhelpful though, this question burns in my mind at the moment.

          The size difference issue I think is reinforced too much, our society pushes size as the big benefit but I wonder if size is the big risk or if there is another. I guess it’s a bit harder to see personality when first meeting someone, instincts based on their behaviour kick in (Mine do quite a bit, some people feel very off) and it’s important to acknowledge that. What I find troubling though is turning abuse, violence into a gendered issue. In Australia we have “violence against women, Australia says no” campaign, white ribbon campaign, and all these different awareness campaigns painting abuse as done by men towards women. All of my intelligence leads me to believe that this reinforces the male perpetrator AND stronger, female victim and weaker stereotype and feel this has some impact of the fear women have around men. What I worry is that the fear gets elevated to a level that is unhelpful, that it begins to harm normal social interactions between people.

          A good example of how fear of abuse really fucks up society is men with children, I myself feel a fear around kids because I don’t want people to mistake my intentions so I avoid it where possible. I am in my late 20’s but I’ve missed out on interacting with kids, feel a major sense of fear around them, I change MY course if I am walking if there is a lone kid in my way (especially at shopping centers). I see the way my male and female friends interact with children, and females are FAR more involved and less anxious. On some airlines men cannot sit next to children that aren’t under their care, schools are desperate for male teachers and the earlier grades are even worse. What is the point of all this fear?

          When I see articles showing ONLY the stats for abuse against women at quite a high rate I wonder is this creating too much fear in women? I see a culture that portrays men as violent and as a danger, not enough emphasis on the compassion, love n care a man can have. How much of this elevates fear in women? I totally can understand those who’ve been abused, or witnessed abuse to have fear but I wonder if it’s good to encourage the fear of those who haven’t? I myself am a victim of bullying and abuse, I’ve seen the damage fear can do in robbing me of a “life” and wonder if our culture itself is teaching fear vs facing fears n overcoming.

          Would we have women as afraid of men if they realized that a lot of women abuse men? Most women I’ve heard from don’t seem to realize women can abuse men, or at high rates, hell I don’t think many realize a woman can rape a man….wouldn’t that appear to them as if women can’t hurt men due to male strength? I have a feeling that if women knew the true vulnerability of men, they may not be as afraid…they may not think men can overpower them so easily, because I sure as hell would think men to be very strong compared to women if I never knew the male victimization rates…After learning them it made me realize that women can be FAR more dangerous than I previously thought, I actually felt more vulnerable myself since there is proof there are many women who can abuse men. Maybe fear between the genders wouldn’t be so different if we all knew both can be vulnerable, AND both can be strong, or abusive, or loving, caring, compassionate, etc.

    • John Anderson says:


      “I’m going to take the ride with the woman. It isn’t because I think she’s a better person. It’s partly because I think she has less reason to hurt me, and partly because I’m betting she CAN”T hurt me.
      This has nothing to do with misandry.”

      Sure, it does unless as a man, you believe a woman would be more likely to hurt me because there is a 90% chance she’d have some sexual attraction to me and only a 10% chance she wouldn’t.

      “2) Guys who are upset with Johanna, here: a thought experiment—
      You’re walking through an unfamiliar city neighborhood at night. Nobody much around. You hear someone walking behind you — the person is walking slightly faster than you are, catching up with you. You glance back, and see:

      a) a guy who’s quite a bit bigger than you
      b) a woman about your size

      are your feelings different in the two cases?”

      Absolutely not. I’m unafraid of either, but if I was sexist, I’d wonder why a woman was moving so quick at night with no one else around except me (catching up to a man at least her size), when she could hang back a safe distance and probably not be noticed by me.

  9. I really appreciate this article. It would be really nice to think that human beings could recognize the feelings and needs of eachother. That’s what this article speaks to. The needs of human beings. If all beings were feeling supported and getting their needs met, then we would not need a feminist revolution. It is crazy to me, but true, that some don’t see a need for any enlightenment on the issues of women when it seems so obvious to me (as a woman). We have to be able to step out of our own woundologies long enough to see eachother as human, understand the needs of another and then find what works for ourselves. To just stand behind your anger or fear without any excavation of your emotions and woundologies is not helping us heal. Comments like some of the above give more evidence to the need for feminists than suggest there is nothing to discuss. Great! Thanks for the clarity!

    • J.G. te Molder says:

      Funny, you claim we should recognize the feelings and needs of EACHOTHER, and promptly spend the rest of your post talking only about the desires of women and feminism and completely disregard the needs, and feelings of men.

      Funny enough, the MRM is the only movement that actually brings enlightenment on the issues of women; and actually champions for women as equals, not a pampered, entitled status of supremacy.

  10. John Anderson says:

    Apologizes to Joanna and Julie, but I’d have left you for dead too. Not because I’m a callous human being or want to prove some MRA equality point, but because of the assumptions that I would make. The assumption being that if you declined my offer for help that it is because you didn’t need it. It would have never occurred to me that you were in fear of me.

    Now that I know better, I’m not as certain, but I’m leaning toward leaving you to your fate. I still don’t see myself assuming that you needed help, but were afraid to accept it. I’d suspect that a woman, who was truly afraid, would most likely pretend that help was on the way already anyway and if I stuck around to make sure you were OK, wouldn’t that make you nervous anyway?

    It’s a tough call, but all of life is a risk. When you’re too careful, you lose out on a lot of possible enjoyment. Could I have gotten injured kick boxing? I sure could have, but the experience was well worth the risk. Each person has to weigh the risk and reward for themselves. I won’t criticize you for fearing me unnecessarily as long as you don’t blame me for your unnecessary fear.

    • Transhuman says:

      Part of being an adult man is knowing that adult women are fearful; the second part of being an adult man is not owning the fears of women. I will offer assistance to a person, women or man, and if they refuse then I just move on. They are strangers after all, whether they live or die, flourish or fall doesn’t directly impact my portion of the global village. I understand it is important to the stranded individual but I will not take ownership of their insecurities.

      Part of resisting the feminist rape culture meme is refusing to be swayed by it.

      • Poester99 says:

        Well, written, it’s foolish to tie yourself into a knot for something you can’t control.

  11. I would ask the author and other supporters of misandry….which is what you’re talking about. Do the same rules apply for blacks vs whites vis-a-vis criminal activity ? Is it ok to not trust blacks because they are statistically more violent ? Do you support the same thought process about muslim’s ? Is it ok to not trust a muslim because it’s more statistically likely they could be carrying a bomb ? Do you support racial profiling ? When I was growing up, I remember hearing the message that women and in fact all people should not be stereotyped because everyone was an individual and it wasnt right. Now we have feminists arguing it’s ok to do….but just against men. If that’s acceptable I say…shouldnt the author be home taking care of her babies rather than writing this article ?

  12. DavidByron says:

    Of course. Men are always put in a double bind by feminists. Evil if you do, evil if you don’t. Plenty of examples around but I think the way they turned on Tom is as good as any. Men are evil if they are “manginas” and evil if they are anti-feminists.

  13. Recently, the site had an article about professional men not being willing to act as mentors to female subordinates because of the fear that they’d be accused of inappropriate conduct.

    Here, the article essentially gives another example of “women are going to treat men as attackers by default.” Again, the rational man’s conclusion would be the same: avoid all contact. In this case, smart men should refuse to offer assistance to ANY woman, again for fear that they would be treated as an attacker.

    Curiously, though, the mentorship article still managed to blame men for not ignoring such fears and doing what would help women _regardless_ of how they’re treated in return. Would this author say the same? Would most feminists?

  14. DavidByron says:

    Btw? If anyone actually thinks that feminism is an equality movement still, please tell me why I just had to define “discrimination” to a feminist and tell her why it was immoral. Please tell me why a member of a so-called equality movement can come up with an argument like, “but treating men worse than women is OK if I get an advantage out of it” and have no clue at all why anyone might think that was wrong.

    Come on this is just farcical now.

    • Not being trusted by someone who doesn’t know you isn’t discrimination. Taking a ride from someone isn’t giving them something (like a job, or scholarship or what have you). Giving a ride to someone isn’t a right or even a privilege. It’s doing a favor, and missing out on being able to do a favor for someone does NOT make anyone disadvantaged in any way.

      It would be nice if women did not need to weigh and judge and worry about whether someone offering to do a favor might have ulterior motives. It would be nice, but the world being what it is, they do have to. Being concerned about your own safety is not, cannot, should not be comparable to being offered a competitive advantage.

      • “Discrimination is the prejudicial treatment of an individual based on their membership in a certain group or category. It involves the actual behaviors towards groups such as excluding or restricting members of one group from opportunities that are available to another group.”

        “Educating” others that they should be more fearful of one group to the point it has very real impacts on them in society is discrimination. You don’t have to take a ride from anyone, but the mere fact you use prejudice to profile that person IS the problem. Eg, fearing ALL muslims over terrorism, fearing ALL men as abusers, teaching children that men are LESS trustworthy than females because let’s face it, that’s exactly what people are doing.

      • DavidByron says:

        Not being trusted by someone who doesn’t know you isn’t discrimination

        So you think it is OK to eg. follow black women around your shop because they might be shoplifters? Or arrest Latino looking people because they just might be illegals? Or stop and frisk black people in New York because they might be selling drugs? Or tell gay men they can’t work with children because they might be pedophiles?

        Just because the bigotry is your bigotry doesn’t make it OK.

        • All those things you list are aggressive, overt acts someone takes against another individual. They are not decisions made by someone to protect their own safety. Those are actions taken with the backing of an entire power structure that you expect to back you up if you find the person has done something wrong, not the action of someone on their own (a person who if they WERE sexually assaulted, is likely to find their lives significantly worse if they DID report it to that same power structure). Equating “not getting in the car with a stranger” with tactics that I can only describe as at best “abuse of power” (and several are actually “police harrassment”) is just….failure.

          Is there potentially harm in the idea that unknown males represent more harm than unknown females? I don’t know anyone who would argue with that. Is it (for now) a necessity? Ditto. Is there a HUGE distinction between institutional injustice represented by things like racial profiling and stranger danger paranoia and alarmism in schools and the job market compared to measures taken by individuals to cut down on their risk? Obviously. Is anyone here SERIOUSLY equating the two?

          Until and unless the world changes, the potential harm of not making those calculations far far outweighs not making them. The woman who goes into a dicey situation and is assaulted will surely be clucked at (and probably a lot worse) for NOT turning down that ride.

          • DavidByron says:

            You are not the first person to justify their prejudices.

            All those things you list are aggressive, overt acts

            You think prejudice is alright as long as it is subtle? And telling your kids to fear a certain minority group counts as “subtle”?

            They are not decisions made by someone to protect their own safety

            They all are. Icky people are frightening. They have cooties. You just don’t know what they will do. Fear is always somewhere around. But in any case would you say it’s OK for someone to teach kids that black people were dangerous? Or Jews? Or gay people? Hypothetically of course. I can’t imagine anyone ever telling kids that gay people were dangerous can you? But if they did of course where’s the harm in that?

            Those are actions taken with the backing of an entire power structure

            The middle two were. Immoral actions by the state are especially dangerous. Do I take it then that you would say it would be wrong for the state to make a PA film that expressed your own views — because your views are immoral? But you should be entitled to be immoral in your own private life? I agree that making a law to ban evil “thoughts” is a bad idea. But it is a good idea to tell people to quit being prejudiced.

            I’m glad that you recognise that what you are advocating is both discrimination and harmful. You’re simply saying you have a right to discriminate against men and hurt them. I agree you have the right. And I have the right to point out you are sexist.

            Btw – I’m guessing you’re a feminist and you’re all about gender equality?

            • It’s none of your business what my political identity is (of course I’m a feminist). That’s a deflection (as is calling me a sexist). The fact is, this entire argument by you and others is one giant deflection. If you can find one single “wrong”, “bad”, or “sexist” thing to point to, well, then all the arguments are invalid, “look, someone discriminated about the poor menz.”

              The sheer fact that this is the thing you harp on about puts you on the wrong side of the argument. Oppression, prejudice and discrimination are big, institutional issues that need to be addressed on a global level. Noone has yet addressed HOW women taking measures to protect themselves would harm a man. When I said that there’s “potentially harm” in the idea that an unknown male is more dangerous than an unknown female, for me it’s kind of an academic thing. I would prefer to live in a world where that’s not necessary. In reading many discussions of this kind of thing NOONE has ever demonstrated what the actual, real world, relevant harm is. I’ve been curious why that is. Is it that there is none?

              Or is it that discussing how being feared and mistrusted is harmful requires that a man reveal feelings and emotions in a public venue (much the way it does for a woman to reveal she has been assaulted, or is fearful of being assaulted does)? Could it be that women have found a way to lay what’s inside them in public and found that ultimately it was a good thing (even though it was scary and sometimes hurt), but men have not yet done so?

              It’s OK. You can have feelings. Some people will respect them, and listen, and learn. Some won’t; fuck ’em.

              • DavidByron says:

                Of course the harm is “an academic thing” to you. Your white female privilege means you will never suffer from this sort of prejudice. You’re at the top of the hierarchy. Instead you are the one with power hurting other people.

                So now you are asking what is the big deal about discrimination? What is the harm in hurting people from minority groups? Why is everyone down on me using my privileges to step on peoples necks?

                The answer to this requires you learn a skill called empathy.
                It is not my place to teach you that.
                I can’t do it because I had to be mean to you.

                I can only suggest you read more of the stories about the lives of other people, and especially the people you are hurting. (Gee. Wonder where you could find a web site featuring stories about men?) However I can assure you that what you are doing is very hurtful and does have real life consequences for your victims and for others.

                • Deflect, deflect, attack, make stuff up, provoke, make a nice big strawman, set it on fire (your *victims*, really?). I’m not going to rise to it, because I know you don’t know the slightest thing about me. I can tell something about you though. You like to paint yourself as the heavy. At least twice in this thread.

                  I’m not seeing any substantive contribution to a discussion on whether there’s a real issue here or just hot air. When feminists (and others who value human rights) discuss institutional oppression, discrimination, prejudice, there’s very real explanations of WHY this hurts people, and HOW it could be better. I maintain there’s 2 options: Either this is not a real issue, or you’re not willing to say how and why it’s a real issue. Which, when it comes down to it, was the same problem with Matlack’s post on Dudes.

                  The only thing I’d respond to further is something that addresses that point.

                  • When feminists … discuss institutional oppression, discrimination, prejudice
                    I don’t think I’ve ever seen that. Feminists just blather on about “the patriarchy” or “male privilege” or “rape culture” and never have any actual issues. I keep asking people to name a specifically feminist issue and I never get an answer.

                    I’m not going to give you an answer because there’s a dozen other places on this very thread where people have already done it for you. To say nothing of the rest of the web site.

                    I’m not going to give an answer because to any human being with a shred of compassion or empathy it’s obvious. Might as well ask me to explain why calling Jews tight-fisted smelly hook-nosed cheats could possibly be considered racist. I mean how could that possibly harm anyone? Right? It’s not like I say that to a Jew. I just tell my kids to watch out for Jews is all. How can that be racist?

                  • J.G. te Molder says:

                    Institution discrimination? You mean affirmative action quotas that have women hired as fire fighters even when they can’t make the physical requirements? No, I don’t mean the male physical requirements, I’m talking about the lowered female physical requirements (which incidentally is already getting women hired that are physically incapable of performing the job), they still have to be hired. As a result endangering the lives of her mostly male colleagues (but they’re just men right), the people she’s supposed to save, and her own.

                    I’m sure you and other feminists are fighting against this institutionalized discrimination, right?

                    Or how about the women’s health departments everywhere, including the friggin’ army where they are but a minority; yet, not a single one for men.

                    I’m sure you and other feminists are fighting to either have these abolished, or have an equal number of men’s health departments, right? At the bare minimum in the army?

                    How about joint custody for men? The women get punished with equal sentences to men? That a paternity test is taking standardly during child support cases, hell, that judges can order such a test and that women be punished for their attempt to defraud men by claiming he’s the father, when he isn’t?

                    Oh, no, wait, the feminist organization NOW is campaigning against paternity tests on the grounds it would significantly hurt women. The feminists acknowledging the massive institutionalized discrimination against men, and that a large amount of women defraud men, and campaigning that women should continue to be able to do that.

                    And those are just the tips of the iceberg.

                    It seems it’s women that are the beneficiaries of massive institutionalized discrimination against men, and that women and feminists wield it. And that no, they are not fighting against it, they’re fighting for even more of it.

              • The harms. Men less likely to offer help, a young child died and the last person to see the child was a man who was afraid that offering help would have him seen as pedo/childabducting monster and the child later drowned (I believe he only noticed her alone, not in or near water until it was too late). Severe lack of male representation in childcare and primary/preschool jobs, even the Scouts I believe are having a hard time finding adults. Male parents getting dirty looks at playgrounds, accusations of abuse being enough to destroy a career and reputation, airlines forcing men to move if they are seated next to minor’s not in their care, and probably a lot more.

                • All those come from women being wary of getting in a car with a stranger or not smiling at every guy they see? Does that seem likely?

                  Or maybe they are caused by institutional paranoia (companies do not want to be sued for a real or imagined abuse case) and conservative social values (childcare is an acceptable menial job for women, and women who are afraid of men will be more constrained in their behavior and options).

                  Which one of those is more universal?

                  There are plenty of women who would behave cautiously when alone with a stranger, but would also have no problem letting a man care for their kids. Their caution surely isn’t what’s driving stranger danger paranoia. What is?

                  • You really can’t be serious can you? It’s not the fact women aren’t getting into cars or smiling at strangers, it’s the reason WHY they aren’t if it’s towards men only that matters. I don’t expect anyone to jump into strangers cars, but I also don’t expect people to start profiling most likely abusers whilst conveniently ignoring some hard hitting truths.

                    “There are plenty of women who would behave cautiously when alone with a stranger, but would also have no problem letting a man care for their kids. ”
                    Read the comments and even articles on the goodmenproject, we have people advocating play the odds, teach your kids to be more fearful of men. The fact that companies are taking this paranoia into account and don’t want to be sued are directly helping to reinforce the paranoia. Humans probably have always feared strangers and the unknown, moral panics have come about over witchs, pedophiles, communists, terrorists and caution turns into paranoia. If we have more and more people educating others that when they need help they need to goto a woman first, it reinforces the paranoia.

                    The fact there are plenty of women and men who do have a problem with men caring for their kids, it’s an increasing problem. Yes there are other social factors such as belief childcare is a woman’s job that help keep gender roles in place, but the fact is the paranoia is caused by releasing stats of violence and rape against women and kids, but either not studying male victimization or not talking about the stats that show up to 20% of child sex abusers are women for instance, or how mothers are most likely to kill children.

                    If we talk only about one side of the abuse equation and only talk about the bad one gender does, we can easily create suspicion around men for instance. If I went on a crusade and told everyone that children are most likely to die by the hands of their mother, told everyone, had major campaigns and equal rights movements to help spread the message do you think women would be trusted with children as much as men who apparently are less likely to kill the child?

                    Our culture seems to be quite fear based, sensationalist and negative headlines are the popular ones, ARE YOUR CHILDREN SAFE? FIND OUT AT 7pm! ht tp:// Here is some info on it, just google Pedophile Paranoia.

                    It’s a really easy concept to understand. Advocate that people should be more trusting of a female automatically assumes the male is less trustworthy, given the climate of fear we live in this results in paranoia and males find it harder to get into roles with children for instance. The other problem with stranger danger as I’ve said many times already is that strangers are less likely to harm you than people you know, so if it’s about safety why aren’t we telling people to avoid their friends n family like they’re boogiemen?

                    • I stand by what I originally said. Feminists object to people (I’ve only seen presumably male posters saying this, but obviously that’s not verifiable) characterizing certain actions as “sexist” or “prejudiced”. Those actions were specifically things like “not getting into a car with a strange male” (in this article) or “not smiling at every passing male” (in Hugo’s article). Presumably we can see the difference between those things and things like “teaching children to fear adult males”, yes?

                      Also, we can see the difference between an adult woman and a child? Between institutions and individuals? Between one person’s safety concerns and a pattern of injustice?

                      Pretending we can’t, and ad hominem attacks add nothing to the conversation. If the honest desire is truly equal rights for humans, then whole swathes of people should not be vilified and insulted for choosing to try to make the world better for people of all genders. Accusing an entire movement of bad faith and lack of empathy accomplishes exactly zero. Oh wait, it does accomplish something. It pushes us further apart, and makes the divide bigger.

                    • I support and expect feminism to exist, we need masculism and feminism to work together along with the various racial rights groups, etc. The combined effort becomes equalism.

                      “Accusing an entire movement of bad faith and lack of empathy accomplishes exactly zero.” Exactly, and accusing and treating men to be of bad character in profiling them as less trustworthy than a female accomplishes not zero, but a negative effect on males in our culture. It also causes a backlash by people offended by the notion of men being more dangerous so lets teach our kids to avoid them, or teach women should be afraid of men. Plenty of evidence to be afraid of women, even adult men should be afraid of adult women but what exactly will this fear encourage? There is a difference between teaching caution, and teaching to avoid a gender or race. Can’t you see this is similar to what you just said on accusing the whole on bad faith and lacking empathy?

                  • DavidByron says:

                    Do any feminists exist who say men should be treated as well as women. If there were any would they be savagely attacked by the others?

                    As the decent people abandon the feminist movement the remainder is getting more and more obvious.

      • John Anderson says:

        Actually, there was a group of people in my old neighborhood; I think they were Mormons, who told me that they were required by their faith to do good deeds. I don’t remember if it was monthly or weekly. I’m just bringing this up because denying someone the opportunity to do a good deed, may very well be denying them an opportunity to practice their faith. I also heard about a group of monks who go around begging to give people an opportunity to do a good deed. I don’t know if that would rise to the level of discrimination, but to some people it’s more than just doing someone a favor.

  15. Joanna, your article basically comes down to saying that it’s perfectly moral to be a racist or a sexist if you can get some personal advantage from it for yourself. Do you think that is a fair summary of your reasoning in the article? And if it is not please say how your reasoning is different.

    Do you realise that such a perverse logic would undermine just about every advance that liberals have ever made in fighting prejudices against just about any group? Endless examples could be made but let’s pick one you might “get”. Currently the law says that an employer cannot refuse to hire someone based on their gender. Your logic says that law should be overturned. Let’s say you want a job with an employer and because you are a woman they think to themselves,

    Well this is a woman and she might get herself pregnant and drop out of work costing me money to find some new person. I don’t want to take that risk. it may be a tiny risk. It may be that not all women are going to do that. Maybe hardly any women would do that but with a man i can be certain it will not happen.

    Do you support changing the law so employers can always refuse to hire women if they feel such a tiny advantage might be in their interests?

  16. Uncle Woofie says:

    “My father, without naming it, understood that in Rape Culture, he was presumed guilty despite being completely well-intended. He was willing to shoulder that burden and wasn’t angry about not being innately trusted. ”

    I made that point in comments behind BOTH the articles Mrs. Schroeder referenced. Including steps to simply “defuse” concerns over help offered by an unknown, lone male with at least SOME style and grace.

    Let it be known though, that I despise the term “rape culture”. It is an ugly, desperate term for an easily understandable concern for all women’s safety from either gender’s reasoned viewpoint.

    However, other than that, Mrs. Schroeder’s article was a breeze of fresh air over issues surrounding “good male comportment” strategies as well as “confident female behavior” by way of her pleasant story of an unexpected, unknown male that followed simple, common sense “Rules of Engagement”, resulting in a pleasant, delightfully unexpected casual lunch encounter.

    Now, SEE? This is the kinda thing we should ALL be striving in this here joint.

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      Thanks Uncle Woolfie! And I’ve enjoyed all your commentary. Would love to work with you someday and completely understand your sentiments about the term Rape Culture. I, too, don’t love it, but I’m not sure of a great synonym for this phrase. Completely open to brainstorming a new phrase with you.

      • Uncle Woofie says:

        “male threat culture”….will keep trying onna back burner…I wanna drive a stake through this one REAL bad.

        • Uncle Woofie says:

          I’m back…

          I batted that comment out real quick…as a matter of fact TOO quick and too tense for the kind, warm response you gave me, Miss Joanna ( a term of cordial affection, forgive me).

          This seems to be a trademark that the entire staff and now some of its major contributors have seen fit to grace me with. This goes all the way up to Lisa Hickey & particularly Ryan, the managing editor, has given a guy that dropped in here like a rock, bitchin’ about no permanent “divorce” section…

          I think you should know that I’ve been eyeing them “twitter debates”…haven’t read one yet much less participated, but I will..and soon.

          New suggestion: “physical threat culture”…although my first re-name attempt (male threat culture) is beginning to grow on me. It may be three words rather than two, but I still maintain that ANYTHING (I WILL track down how to use italics in these responses, so help me) is better than “rape culture”

          Since I don’t wanna get in the bad habit of cross-posting stuff from other responses I’ve made, please view the ones I made at both Mr. Schwyzer’s and Miss Lisa’s articles that you mentioned for a better explanation of how I feel about dealing with this important issue.

      • Simple question
        Why does female vulnerability translate into male accusation
        If my presence as a man causes you to feel vulnerable, how am I to know that
        and respond appropriately. If I default to accepting a womans violent definition of me
        why would I want to be around women at all, doesnt it just make me vulnerable to your fears, assertions and eventual accusations. If your fears and beliefs are based on statistics do they decline when statistics do.

        • DavidByron says:

          A lot of feminists are sex segregationists. They want to divide men and women so they never meet up. So they spend a lot of time sewing fear and hate. Your response is perfectly as expected I guess.

    • ““My father, without naming it, understood that in Rape Culture, he was presumed guilty despite being completely well-intended. He was willing to shoulder that burden and wasn’t angry about not being innately trusted. ”

      Then your father had been brainwashed and sadly failed to realize it. Being presumed guilty is NEVER acceptable and should NEVER be permitted to go unchallenged.

      Most men are simply not going to accept being treated as second-class citizens (or worse, criminals) on the basis of their gender. If feminists were still concerned with equality and justice, they wouldn’t accept this situation either. Instead, many seem to take a perverse delight in promoting such toxic attitudes.

  17. David, take a deep breath and relax.

  18. DavidByron says:

    This article needs a disclaimer like this:

    WARNING : not all women are like this one!

    Because I come away from reading this very angry indeed at women. And it isn’t their fault. It’s not all women who are this disgusting and sexist.

    You know what? If it was me in the car and Joanna was the one stuck in the snow going to freeze to death I think I’d tell her.

    Oh what? There’s no nice woman to save you today? You want to get rescued by the potential rapist do you? Oh I am sorry but I couldn’t possibly put you through that risk. No, no, you can stay out here waiting for a woman. I wouldn’t want to contribute to the rape culture.

    And then drive off.

    • I understand that frustration. I am a very tall, very large male, I am aware it’s quite intimidating however I’m more likely to belt an abuser up than ever harm an innocent. Where they see potential rapist, they should also see potential savior, potential good samaritan. I have first-aid training and I am quite aware of not only violence against women, but violence against men yet automatically we think potential rapist, potential negative, even though it’s more likely to be potential help.

      I don’t pick up hitch hikers, if kids are lost I sit there worrying like hell over what to do (though I’ll probably call police if there carers aren’t there, or seek a FEMALE to go ask simply because society doesn’t see females as a threat). I can’t even goto my cousins soccer games to take photos for him because of silly fears of what I could be, yeah, a guy taking photos of his cousin playing sports who is in a camera club and has an interest in portraiture and photography as a whole. People justify these prejudices by saying the stats, but they fail to realize the stats don’t show most men as the problem so why punish them? This fear culture is becoming as harmful as any rape culture and that is sad.

      • DavidByron says:

        Ironically if all women were like Joanna they’d never be a choice between a man and a woman because the Joanna’s of the world would never risk rescuing anybody. What if that hitchhiker is a potential rapist? It’s a non-zero risk. Her father was willing to take that risk, even with his kid in the car, on a perfect stranger that he had an inkling might be in a violent relationship. Would Joanna?

        And yes as a practical matter since it’s men who take the risks and do the rescuing, any woman who has a knee-jerk prejudice against men is likely to be increasing her risk.

        • The logic in this is actually scary but true. I fear for the future with how stats are used in ways to damage our relationships with men. What’s sad is usually the people who do it, end up speaking out about how bad it is men don’t help with the kids and cries of sexism, gender roles, etc. Yet they can’t see how they are reinforcing those gender roles which assume a woman is a better child carer.

      • Of course not all men who offer a stranded woman a ride are rapists. But some are (read the news if you don’t believe me). Don’t you guys understand, why would I ever take a risk that has even a small chance of getting me raped and killed? (Especially if I have other options , like calling a friend to pick me up.) If you were in my shoes, would the risk be worth it? Ask yourself that. Seriously, really think about it. If there is an 0.1% chance that the person offering you the ride will kill you, do you accept the ride? Or do you say no thanks, I’ll wait for my friend and the tow truck? What percentage of risk is acceptable to you, personally? Remember we are talking about a risk of being seriously hurt and/or killed.

        This is not about stereotyping men it’s about taking reasonable steps to preserve one’s PERSONAL SAFETY. Which is far more important to me than someone else’s hurt feelings.

        • Do you understand what discrimination is?

          I feel I have to explain it to you. OK. Many people feel that treating some groups of people badly just because of how they happened to be born is unfair and immoral. For example someone who says they will hire only white people is discriminating on the basis of race. That is called “racism”. You are advocating discriminating on the basis of gender. That is called “sexism”.

          Don’t you guys understand, why would I ever take a risk that has even a small chance of getting me raped and killed?

          Because your actions are discrimination and hence they are immoral.

          But am I allowed to discriminate if I think it will get me a tiny advantage?

          No. People who discriminate usually believe it gives them an advantage. Typically they have stereotypical beliefs about the minority group.

          • If the choice is my safety or making some kind of “point” to myself about how I am not discriminatory then I will take my personal safety. I was just reading in the paper about a girl in a earby city who accepted a ride from a guy after her car broke down and he tried to rape her. Luckily she escaped. I don’t know the stats but I’ve read enough cases like that to conclude it is not particularly uncommon.

            • So basically you want to criticise others for sexism but when you do it then it’s OK?

              • It is not sexist to be concerned about my personal safety. How many times do I have to say that?

                But this argument really isn’t going anywhere so, DavidByron, what do you suggest I do if my car breaks down and a man stops to offer me a ride? How to I determine if he is “dangerous” or not?

                Do I just blithely assume that no man is ever dangerous (because otherwise I’d be sexist) and get into the car? Every time?

                Is that what you would suggest your daughter, sister, or mother should do?

                Or should I use some criteria do decide whether or not to get in the car? What would those criteria be?

                Should I consider the time of day or night, the neighborhood, the make/model of car, what the man looks like?

                What would you tell your 15-year-old daughter? I am really interested in your response.

                • Well the views you are telling others stops many good men from stopping to help because they don’t want to be assumed to be bad and have the very uncomfortable experience of putting a woman in fear. So we have women afraid of being hurt by men, men afraid to help women for fear of those women being afraid of them and how this will harm them.

                  Internal instinct is helpful but be careful of bias. Are you afraid of your friends, your mother for instance? Being as mothers are most likely to kill a child you should probably teach the 15 year old daughter to avoid her mother. Then also teach them to avoid friends and family who are most likely to abuse them. You see from what I’ve seen of the stats is stranger attacks for women are more rare, it’s usually men who are more at risk of being attacked by a stranger, and women more at risk of someone they know quite well. So if you’re teaching your daughter about safety then teaching her to avoid strange men is less helpful overall, than teaching her to avoid any men she knows, and her mother, and if we add in bullying stats then any male or female, add in illness by communicable disease and you pretty much avoid all humans, add in danger of car accidents then avoid driving or being in a car.

                  In the interests of safety I hope you also teach your daughter to eat very healthy foods and avoid obesity. Avoid smoking too, but that’s a given. Does this illustrate the point of how fear can get out of control? If you’re that worried of asking help from a male, learn self defense and carry a gun if you can, learn how to use it and you’ll probably drastically reduce your chance of harm. I really do not understand why people keep pushing stranger danger when we’re more at risk by our loved ones…

                  • You are completely avoiding my question.

                    What would you tell your daughter about whether she should accept a ride from strange man. What criteria should she use. This is a real life situation and thinkimg about abusive mothers and nutrition is not helpful for deciding what to do at 2 am on the side of the road.

                    • P.s. I’ve taken self defense classes, and they always tell you to (a) trust your instincts and (b) never put yourself in a risky situation that you can’t get out of. A car is a classic example of a place where you are trapped if something goes wrong. Self defense advice = don’t get in the car if your instincts tell you it’s dangerous.

                      They also tell you not to rely on weapons. Even if you are carrying a gun (illegal in most states without a concealed weapons permit), it has to be accessible, you have to know how to use it, and itis fairly easy for someone to take it away from you at close quarters. Now the rapist has a gun that he’s pointing at you.

                    • I’d tell my daughter to be cautious of all people but don’t profile them, if she’s in dire need of help at 2am then ask a man or a woman for help. I can’t tell her to choose only women because women aren’t some bastion of safety, they’re human like men and humans can be both great and also bad. Because naive attempts at safety don’t particularly make her much safer, I’d have to hide her from all people to make her safe.

                      Question is why are your instincts telling you it’s dangerous? Do they tell you it’s dangerous to be around your family too?

                    • John Anderson says:

                      How would you feel if you told your daughter that if she had a choice between accepting a rider from a man and accepting it from a woman, she should always pick the woman and that choice just happened to be the wrong one the time that she made it? How comforting would it be to know that she was playing the odds? Right or wrong, most men would probably tell their daughters not to be out alone at 2 AM. It’s unfortunate that we’d let our daughters miss out on a lot of life out of fear.

                  • van Rooinek says:

                    the views you are telling others stops many good men from stopping to help because they don’t want to be assumed to be bad and have the very uncomfortable experience of putting a woman in fear

                    Yeah, had that happen once. Stopped to help a stranded woman, and terrified her instead. Learned that the hard way.

                    Now, with universal cell phones, it’s not necessary. But back then (80’s) she could have been stuck on that freeway median for a long time. I’ll never know – I cleared out of there as soon as it was clear that I wasn’t wanted.

            • J.G. te Molder says:

              Actually, it is extremely uncommon. You see, I do know the stats. Rape, especially from male on female, is the least violent crime perpetrated in our society. It is all but non-existent. In fact, so unlikely is it that someone picking up someone who’s car broke down would turn out to be a rapist, that I don’t believe the story. Coupled with the high number of false rape accusations, she was probably lying.

              • Random_Stranger says:

                A little late to the comments here…but has everyone fallen off the turnip truck?

                Yes, thieves, rapists and murderers are a tiny fraction of the population, but its not like hitchhikers and their drivers are representative of the overall population. Getting into a car with a stranger is super dangerous and most reasonably aware and well-intentioned people self-select out of the activity, ensuring the remaining population of enthusiastic participants are almost surely psycho.

                And we’re talking a false choice here, this isn’t a gendered division. As a guy, I wouldn’t accept an unsolicited ride from a strange man OR women. I’d wonder what’s wrong with them, if they had a gun, or an accomplice lurking in the trunk or back seat.

                If they’re well intentioned, they’ll accept my request to inform the highway patrol instead. But pretty much the only way I’m getting in that car is if I’m already left for dead anyway.

            • John Anderson says:

              That’s a tough one because if nobody took risks for equality, I’m pretty sure equality will never be achieved. Should I point out sexual harassment when I see it, I might lose my job or be retaliated against? Should I object if someone tells a sexist joke, they might get violent? What if someone were being raped in the car? Should I stop to find out? What if they were just having sex? I could have two very angry people on my hands. Should I take down the license plate just in case? If I read about a woman being raped and killed a couple days later, it may lead to the rapist’s capture, but would taking down the plate have done her any good? What if they were both women? Would that make you less likely to think a rape was occurring?

              Ultimately the question is what are we willing to risk to make the world a better place?

        • “Don’t you guys understand, why would I ever take a risk that has even a small chance of getting me raped and killed? (Especially if I have other options , like calling a friend to pick me up.)”
          Do you bother reading statistics at all? Your friend is more likely to harm you. You have a risk with every single human being pretty much of being raped, killed, tortured.

          In fact you probably have more of a chance to be badly injured or killed in a vehicle regardless of who drives it, vs being attacked by some stranger in a vehicle. I haven’t seen the exact stats for murdered or raped by accepting lifts however so this may or may not be true, but it’s to illustrate that there is the very real possibility that you take FAR FAR FAR more risk to your life than posed by some stranger. This is why the discrimination is bad, you should be more fearful of your dating partner vs some stranger and sadly enough your boyfriend should be fearful of you according to latest stats on abuse if you are to be fearful of him. Everyone should be afraid, let’s never take risks and see how life goes then.

        • John Anderson says:

          I think that a very reasonable compromise is that women have a right to turn down assistance from men as men have a right to turn down assistance from women, but they have a right to think, not necessarily say, that you’re a jerk for doing it.

          I look at the issue of same gender care in healthcare. Men have a right to expect same gender care in hospitals just like women for intimate procedures as outlined in the patient’s bill of rights. Men should be allowed to decline intimate medical procedures and hospitals should be accountable in ensuring that men receive the medical care they deserve, whether that entail balancing the gender composition of their staff, bringing in male burses on an “in call” basis or transferring the male patient to another facility at their expense where he can have the procedure done.

          I’ve just stated a real life example of how women’s employment opportunities can be adversely impacted by a man’s insistence on same gender care for intimate procedures. Do men have a moral obligation to undergo cross gender intimate care treatment, if that is all that is available rather than risk injury, death, or a substantially reduced quality of life? Does it change if the hospital has to pay him restitution? What if he’s afraid that the female nurse is going to molest him? He has a right to it, but should he have a right knowing that if a man doesn’t than a woman shouldn’t either.

          Considering this, does anyone want to change their position?

      • Good point, Archy. I’d offer to help any stranded person, but if they responded out of some rape-suspicion, I’d just laugh in their face and drive off.

        Yes, you (random man-hater and man-fearer) may have irrational and prejudicial fears.. but they’re YOUR problem, not mine. I don’t have to show your bigotry any respect or consideration whatsoever.

      • van Rooinek says:

        I understand that frustration. I am a very tall, very large male, I am aware it’s quite intimidating however I’m more likely to belt an abuser up than ever harm an innocent. Where they see potential rapist, they should also see potential savior, potential good samaritan

        I have no patience with leftist “rape culture” nonsense, but I have to challenge you on this point. I, too, am a very tall guy, and women who don’t know me SHOULD be wary of me. They can’t read my mind, they can’t know that I wouldn’t harm a hair on their head.

        Once or twice I’ve told people that they were unwise to trust me: “I know I’m a good guy… but YOU don’t. You might make a mistake next time!”

        I don’t blame them when they cross the street upon seeing me after dark. I blame the criminals. The crime of rape “shouldn’t” exist., but IT DOES. Welcome to the real world.

    • Julie Gillis says:

      That’s an amazing comment, DavidByron. I’m not sure what purpose it serves to relay a fantasy in which you’d allow anyone to die who held opinions you find abhorrent. By that pattern, perhaps I could say the same thing about seeing you stranded. I wouldn’t leave you to die/stay stranded though, because I’m not nihilistic like that. Perhaps you wouldn’t even accept the ride from me though. In which case I’d call 911 and wait for them to arrive, leave, fully aware of your disdain for me, but safe in the knowledge I didn’t let you come to harm.
      Peace, David. I wish all of us could calm the F down and find a little peace. That’s not nearly so much fun is it though.

      • DavidByron says:

        Obvious it is rhetorical. I don’t think people deserve to die for having prejudices. I don’t even think George Bush deserves to die, much less Joanna.

        Still, as I say, following Joanna’s own “logic” nobody would ever stop to help anyone else ever because doing the right thing is never worth it if there’s even an infinitesimal chance it might cost you something.

        I’m not sure what purpose it serves

        It serves the clear purpose of communicating to Joanna that her opinion is unacceptable and immoral. If you saw someone expressing a racist opinion would you not do much the same?

        Btw I hope you were not asking rhetorically. If you don’t know why I am doing something you can always ask.

        • Julie Gillis says:

          To me, “Still, as I say, following Joanna’s own “logic” nobody would ever stop to help anyone else ever because doing the right thing is never worth it if there’s even an infinitesimal chance it might cost you something.” this serves a purpose.

          What you said, as a rhetorical device, seemed to me (in my opinion at least) to serve the purpose of being inflammatory. A “zinger” of a comment if you will. And so as much as my question could itself seem rhetorical, I didn’t know what purpose you thought it meant. If you felt her work was unacceptable and immoral, I think telling her so plainly, asking her to engage you in discussion, would get you farther in terms of an actual resolution.

          In this case I think it just made you look provocative. If that was your purpose, so be it.

          I enjoy reading a lot of your posts. Many of them seem clear, direct, intelligent and even if I disagree with you, I can deal with where you are. But posts like that often just seem to be mean for mean’s sake. And that obviously is your right and choice. I don’t approach dialogue in quite that way, but if you do, then there may be posts we’ll only find ourselves at loggerheads over.

          • Julie Gillis says:

            Anyway, your example didn’t seem fantastical enough for satire to make your point. It just seemed nasty. Maybe that was your point though.

            • DavidByron says:

              Well that’s your fault frankly. You think I LIKE beating up on people? It makes me feel like shit actually. But I know if I don’t do it nobody will. You could have told her all that same stuff and you could have done it much nicer because she’d have taken it from you. Instead it was left to me so I had to be the “asshole” (which is also in part because a man “attacking” a woman always looks like an asshole).

              You think it’s easy to go around telling people they SUCK all the time?

              And as for telling her directly in case you missed it there’s several such comments from me and others both on this thread and the other one.

              • Julie Gillis says:

                That made me laugh out loud.
                I see. You beating up on Joanna is my (or someone’s) fault. I (or someone) made you be an asshole. And you’d rather other people be assholes and beat up on people so you don’t have to be an asshole because it makes you feel like shit. Truly one of the most narcissistic things I’ve ever read.

                You have every control over whether you beat up on people, sir.

                Nothing was left to you to do. So far as I know there isn’t some organized request for David Byron to beat up on commenters when other commenters don’t behave as David Byron thinks they should. That’s all you.

                • DavidByron says:

                  OK you’re not listening now so I will end this. But if you are able to listen at some point in the future I will explain. At any rate I’m glad you’re laughing.

      • DavidByron says:

        By that pattern, perhaps I could say the same thing about seeing you stranded

        But you don’t find any of my views “abhorrent”, do you? You just think some of my views are incorrect.

        There’s no symmetry in this stuff. Only the feminists on this board are advocating sex discrimination. Nobody here is saying treat women worse. The debate is between those of us who want equality and those who want to treat men worse.

        • Julie Gillis says:

          First of all. I”m a feminist. Secondly, I’m advocating equality for men, boys, etc. That’s why I’m here. You can disagree all you want, but I’m a feminist and I’m for love peace plenty great sex less war (no war!) wonderful educations for kids, a world where gays and straights and trans can live together and rainbows and unicorns fart fountains of gold chocolate.

          I don’t know quite enough about you to know if all of your views are abhorrent, but I can’t say I prefer your debating style. I have been listening, and the last thing you said was in reference to how it’s the fault of people like me that you have to be an asshole. And I think you can well choose to be an asshole without any help from the rest of us.

          Or was that satire and a very dry non-American wit. Are you from the UK? If that’s the case perhaps I”m simply misreading your humor style, but dude if not…

          I’m truly not making you do anything. In fact, I’ve been trying to engage you kindly for the most part. I like Joanna. Is she perfect? No. Is this entire set up on the comments designed for mutually beneficial conversation right now? Doesn’t seem to be. Good luck to you and I”m quite sure I’ll be reading you onwards. You’ll be reading me too.

          • DavidByron says:

            Well I am English, but the problem may be more that (as is well know) feminists don’t have a sense of humor?

            It is possible to misread a lot of stuff ; if you don’t ask then you won’t know.

            I didn’t ask if you thought all my views were abhorrent.
            I asked if you thought any of my views were abhorrent.

            I like Joanna too. But she is advocating that men be treated worse than women here. As I said, no person on this board is advocating that women should be treated worse than men, but many people are advocating the reverse. I didn’t say you.

            • Julie Gillis says:

              I answered your question. I also commented further. Surely, you don’t mind additional commentary? I know what you asked.

              I’m an improvisational comedian, emcee, and I run a comedy festival. You should check it out. It’s filled with women!

              I can’t always read tone, David. My guess is, as silly as it is to assume, that if I’d heard you say many of your statements I’d have found you humorous or even charming. As it stands, and given the heated nature of the last few days, it was relatively easy for me to see the words without charm. I think all humans wind up getting treated terribly at some point. I for one, and I believe Joanna too and the writers, male and female that I’ve met through writing here all would like people to be treated better online and in person, in custody and in work and in sex. How we go about that is obviously contentious.

              I’d never leave you in the road if I found your views abhorrent. I do think, though there have SO many posts and so much to read that I’m gobsmacked at this point, that I think (at this point my brain is clogged with too many comments to deal with) I find your thoughts on feminism (at least the feminism and feminists I’ve been around, known etc) distasteful. And I am clear you find feminism, at the very least, distasteful. So I suppose we are even.

              I have to go to rehearsal now and be funny. 🙂 I won’t be commenting until tomorrow at the earliest.

          • I’m a man. If you and I share the same environment YOU are safer than you would have otherwise been. So are the inanimate objects, every element of the flora and fauna and everybody else within that sphere of influence. You, meanwhile, disdain me for the very things that lend me the capacity to provide you this safety and comfort.

            In essence you are unworthy of my protection. Nonetheless I would give it because the things I have for free oblige their use for others.

            Unfortunately this was a lesson I learned from the patriarchy so it’s destined to be misunderstood.

          • “I’m for love peace plenty great sex less war (no war!) wonderful educations for kids, a world where gays and straights and trans can live together and rainbows and unicorns fart fountains of gold chocolate.”

            I wouldn’t be eating THAT chocolate!

    • Hey DavidBaron. I think you may have made some great points in some comments, but I think it’s really important that you take a moment and realize that you are talking *to a human being* in these comments. Just because I am a person who has chosen to write for a publication doesn’t make me inhuman. It doesn’t make me your punching bag.

      You would *leave me to die*? Would you say that to my face if I were to tell you that story about my father, if we were at the home of a mutual friend? Would you say that to me in front of other people whom we both knew?

      You extrapolate what I’ve said into me saying NO ONE should ever help anyone? Again, would you say this to my face? You don’t even know me, did you read the other pieces I’ve written for GMP even? Have you seen my blog? Get to know me a little, just a little.

      I’ll tell you guys a few things: I am a Feminist, I have been one since I was very young. I was raised in a town where girls in my high school were raped by jocks and everyone knew it, though no one reported it. One girl was terrified and people, even adults, shamed her into silence, publicly. I spoke out and was called a slut, a whore, a bitch, a Feminazi. All the while, my best friends were almost all guys. I didn’t blame them. I loved them, they were my oasis in a sea of madness, which was populated also by females.

      I am also a wife and a mother. I worked to pay my way through UCLA, I worked 50 hours a week and took classes all day long on my two days off, and wrote papers and read my work until 2 am every night, then woke in the morning every morning to go to work. My father worked in a factory almost his whole life. My grandfather is alive in his mid-90s. I have dogs, my son has a lizard. I used to sing. I’m writing a novel – a love story. My favorite movie is Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I laugh at nerdy word-humor.

      Why am I telling you ANY of this? I don’t actually care if you know any of it, most of it is completely unimportant and has nothing to do with my writing or my work. But I want you, and all of the hate-spewers on here, to know that even when you disagree with me, I am a PERSON.

      If you could find a way to speak respectfully to me, I would love to hear what you have to say. As it stands, I *cannot* hear you because you *told me you would leave me to die*. Would you listen to the legitimate arguments of someone who said that?

      I’m not even hurt by what you said, I’m significantly stronger than that. But I want you to see that where you may have had the opportunity to help me grow in a way, you instead made me think badly about you and discount any important thing I may have been able to learn from.

      • Lisa Hickey says:

        Bravo, Joanna!

      • He used dramatic language to illustrate his point, and I’ll admit it’s over the top but I am really not surprised by it given how many women and even men have tried to justify misandry. What’s worse is they pick and choose the stats to believe and ignore the others which suggest people are safer with strangers than their friends and family.

        No one is obligated to help if they feel at risk or threatened, if he views someone as a bigot who is adding to the culture that is harming him and doesn’t wish to help them at all, can you really blame him? You speak from a place of privilege where female trust is a given with children, so you may not truly understand how offensive it is to profile men as less trustworthy than women but countless comments here illustrate it. His point was also most likely sarcastic but if you read it carefully you might pickup something here, men are now much more reluctant to help out especially with kids. ht tp://,2933,190586,00.html – This is what happens when you start telling people men are less trustworthy.

        Advocating to your children to play the odds/numbers would mean you would forfeit the ability to care for them due to the danger of being around parents. So why don’t you do this if it’s in the interests of the child’s safety? This is why it’s silly to be teaching children to fear men because the odds game if played correctly would have children raised by the state with many many levels of protection mechanisms in place. Letting your children ride in the car with you is probably far more dangerous than leaving a child with a strange man, how far does this safety initiative go? Or is it only the boogiemonster strange-danger man that is the fear? Do you teach them to avoid muslims because lately they’re probably more likely to commit terrorism (though you could swap this for other religions that commit it)?

        Asking for respect as a human being whilst also advocating being suspicious of an entire gender simply because of their gender and the actions of the FEW in that gender, those men are person’s too but you aren’t affording them much respect if you perpetuate fears of them? Don’t forget to teach them to avoid 18-40 year olds which I believe would be the highest in violence stats at age of offending, so they should find a physically weak old woman to be safe with? If you want respect, you need to respect men first (and women too of course) and profiling on gender is not respect.

        Funnily enough as soon as I saw you say “But in general, your daughter should play the numbers and know that if she is going to be raped or murdered, it is most likely going to be by a man and make a choice based upon that.” it made me feel something similar to this “I’m not even hurt by what you said, I’m significantly stronger than that. But I want you to see that where you may have had the opportunity to help me grow in a way, you instead made me think badly about you and discount any important thing I may have been able to learn from.”

        • Legit points, Archy. Even if I disagree with some of them, I respect your presentation and because of that, the thoughts will germinate within me and I may come around, who knows? 😉

          I did already concede, like in the third comment up, that I should be using the term, “families with kids” over “moms with kids” in teaching my children about whom to trust were they ever lost. You guys are 100% right on that.

          • Thank-you Joanna. Hopefully more people can make small adjustments and the fear culture of men will dissipate allowing them more trust in childcare, which in turn should help reduce the gender-role pressure of work and family. 😀

            • Starting to really like Archy!

              DB – No feminist humor huh? What a downer it’ll be when we take over the world!

              Mwah huh huh huh huh (that was my Mr. Burns laugh).

              • Was that sarcasm? I’m bad at detecting it:P
                I basically roll with the view of seeing the damage of too much emphasis on gender, in my world men, women, children, black, white, green blue red, etc would have adequate coverage and funding towards stopping all forms of abuse regardless of who gets it worse. The cycle of abuse can have a male be abused by a male then later goes on to abuse a female, or female abused by a female and later abuses a male, and bunch of other combinations. This basically means to stop abuse against women, we’d have to also rally together and stop it against men too and vice versa because when both genders are safer, they’re less likely as far as I know to want to harm others. So I hope people don’t think I’m trying to be all whataboutthemenz, simply i am whatabouteveryone as I don’t want any victim to suffer in silence and not have help, nor do I want perpetrators to also not have access to the support they need to lower recidivism. This goes for all abuse, crime, mental and physical health, everything. Cover everyone so no one get’s left behind. 🙂

                • Joanna Schroeder says:

                  Yes Sarcasm: Feminists taking over the world and Mr. Burns laugh.

                  No Sarcasm: Starting to really like you!

                  And for what you say above as far as caring for all victims and preventing all abuse and that being a mutually-beneficial system, I agree wholeheartedly. And though I knew it intrinsically, I hadn’t yet found a way to express it, or fully even understand it before you said it. I said that over in LIsa’s piece where you commented the same ideas.

                  • That’s the problem we’ve got now in we’ve heard violence against women by men sooo long and sooo much it’s given a perception that the opposite direction happens so little that it’s insignificant, and other variables. It’s basically hearing under half of the whole picture if it’s male attacker female victim, we know that beating a dog can increase the risk of it biting back without battign an eyelid but that same principle can be applied to humans.

                    In my family I knew of a lot of violence in my uncles, one in particular would beat his kids, throw them against the wall, girls n boys, to the point one of his boys aimed a fully loaded .308 at him when he was holding his daughter against a wall and I thought omg what a monster. Then I heard about his father, my grandpa and he was even worse, the violence he put my uncles and I think even my aunt through must have been extreme. And no doubt my great grandpa probably beat the hell out of his kids.

                    Thing is my dad was the baby of the family, so his brothers were in their teens and pretty much would have killed grandpa if he ever laid a finger on him, they would speak up if my dad did something that would get him in trouble and the brothers would take the blame, and thus the punishment. He was the only one to goto college and when he had us he NEVER EVER abused us, the cycle was broken.

                    My abuse mainly came from severe bullying in schools, as an adult I have had time to reflect and my bullies were most likely abused at home as they have troubled homes. I see this cycle of violence and abuse so often, but I rarely ever hear about stopping this violence against men yet I know 100% in my heart that if we could step in and say No, violence against men is wrong, even women can do severe damage to men that we would see a major increase in how many men come forward and seek help for abuse they suffer.

                    It may still be that more men commit abuse but it will at least teach us as in society that women’s violence isn’t to be overlooked, males are not invincible and we need to realize everyone can be violent, everyone can be a victim. I hear so commonly that men are stronger than women, when women talk about male abuse many will say the typical slap or light abuse vs the heavy abuse from men as if women are incapable of doing major damage. A single punch, or slap can put someone unconscious, they can fall and hit their head and bam, they’re dead. The psychological damage of even light slaps, punchs, biting, etc can be much worse than the few bruises n scars.

                    It’s absolutely vital that people understand that physical impact isn’t the only harm. The psychological bullying affected me 100x more than the physical, being through quite a bit of therapy I’ve finally realized how dangerous words alone can be, stick n stones may break my bones but words can definitely cause people to hate themselves, or others (history is full of people using words alone to encourage violence), and these effects can stay with someone lifelong especially if they have no help. It helped cause a social anxiety disorder which made me fear everyone, keep me away from others quite a lot and made it very hard to trust and have any friends let alone partners. I am a very tall and very large male, I’ve been told I look very physically intimidating but truth be told I get quite nervous (a lot more in the past) around even very small women, I didn’t fear they would attack me physically, I feared they would cut me down with words or worse….become my friend and later abuse that trust. Goes to show that even the biggest man can be living a life totally in fear.

                    Thank-you though for seeing it. It means a lot when others understand this cycle of abuse harms us all regardless of who abuses who.

                    • Lisa Hickey says:

                      Archy, would you like to write a post about your experience? We’d love to have you contribute if you would be willing. I appreciate your comments quite a bit. Email me lisa at goodmenproject dot com if interested. thanks.

                    • Hey Archy, that good guy I wrote about in the original piece, Jacob, is currently working with a musician who was also bullied as a kid. He is writing an album all about the scars of that abuse and how he overcame it. I think even something small like that – activism through music – can change a kid’s life. To hear what pain you cause someone when you commit violence like that, the harm you cause when you allow it or discount it, and also for the kid (or adult man) to hear a successful, tough guy say “hey, this happened to me, too, and I’m a surviving, just gives people hope.

                      And you speaking out about it now, talking about that cycle, those are where real changes come from, I believe. Even if just on an case-by-case basis.

                    • I’ll possibly do it when I can remember more of it to give a better understanding, it amazes me that 10 years later I still remember things that seem new. I guess trauma likes to block itself out.

                      @Joanna, I totally agree. I really hope to see both men and women, victims and abusers to write down their experiences and hopefully lend aid to more study into the field. I still find people who are shocked to learn women can be abusive and men as victims, it’s clearly indicative of how silent some can be.

                      To be honest this is probably the first place I’ve ever read men open up on abuse, Especially with female abusers which totally rocks the conventional boat and the fact that men and women have opened up is very refreshing and encouraging to see. I searched around for quite a while to find somewhere that I, as a male, would be able to read about other men’s and talk about my own experiences. To be able to talk about women’s issues and men’s issues to me is very important, the cross gender issues like abuse where on some sites either focus solely on women, or men. It’s extremely inspiring to see women speak up on men’s issues, men speak up on women’s issues and also their own genders respectively and I think it’s a very important thing that needs to happen more. When we both see how we both are affected, we can actually stop the silly gender wars and fight together.

                • Lisa Hickey says:

                  I am right there with you on this Archy. Thank you!

        • DavidByron says:

          You’re an iFeminist?

      • DavidByron says:

        I am not the one spewing hate. You are. You simply refuse to accept that fact. Plenty of people have tried to tell you in a more polite way Joanna. You ignored them all. I thought maybe a more emotional approach might reach you. At least you reacted to it. Perhaps that is progress. Maybe you at least having finally figured out that something you are saying is making people angry? But you are still deep in denial. It can’t be me you say to yourself. It must be this other guy. And all the other guys.

        I would love to hear what you have to say.

        Joanna, you’ve already heard what we have to say.

  19. DavidByron says:

    your daughter should play the numbers and know that if she is going to be raped or murdered, it is most likely going to be by a man and make a choice based upon that

    Again this is sexist. It is discriminatory, pejorative and irrational.

    You know its rubbish from what you said in your example. If your dad had not had a kid with him would he have left the woman to die in the snow? And would he really want his daughter to die in the snow rather than get a lift from a man?

    All you are doing is rationalizing prejudice.

    But for the sake of argument lets pretend that your claim has some factual merit. What of it? You are then in a position of consciously deciding to punish and discriminate against all men. You are consciously spreading a vicious stereotype about men that you know is false. And you are working hard to justify your actions. That is not how someone who cares about equality would act.

    Ugh. OK I am just too disgusted to continue with this comment.

    I think anyone who uses the phrase “rape culture” will just get dumped in the bigot file after this. The only rape culture I see is inside the heads of feminists. It’s a hate culture.

  20. The Diamond Dazzle Stick ad on the right is hilaroous….

  21. Yes, folks, we men can be friendly and sociable with no ulterior motives.

    • “with no ulterior motives.”

      Do you define ulterior motive as wanting sex. Because I don’t define that as an ulterior motive…I define it as a fantastic motive.

  22. How foolish are some of you to believe that simply calling somoene out on their behavior is gonna do anything ?

    You disapprove of their behavior ? so what, you’re not the first and won’t be the last person to tell them that.

  23. Liz McLellan says:

    “. There is a difference between Feminists trying to make you feel bad about being a man (which is dead wrong)”

    There is a difference between some women trying to make you feel bad about being a man….

    Suggested edit for accuracy and de-escalation….

    • Peter Houlihan says:

      Male feminists do it too, it is a bit of a running theme in feminism, if not a defining characteristic. I suspect that will change as male perspectives enter the gender debate more.

      • Male voices will not be allowed in.

      • Seriously: giving men a voice is entirely different from giving women a voice. Giving men a voice would be a radical action that would be of concern to the ruling class. Feminism never did anything that bothered the ruling class. Women are not prisoners. Women are not the homeless. Women are not veterans. Feminism was always a whiney wealthy white women’s movement. No threat whatsoever to the elites.

        They looked like a threat for a few years because feminists (gender essentialists that they all are) claimed women were more moral than men and when they got the vote all sorts of radical stuff would happen. Starting with prohibition. So the elites blocked women’s vote for business reasons — they believed in the myth of angelic women too — really its only in the feminism movement that Victorian prejudice persists. Once prohibition passed anyway women’s vote followed. Then everyone figured out women just vote the exact same way as men and for ever after the elites were very happy having feminists to bash down men for them.

        Because men form the underclass. And the last thing you want is to let the underclass think they have a voice.

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      Hey Liz,

      I totally get what you’re saying here, and it would seem more accurate, but in fact I’m speaking of both male and female Feminists (specifically as this article references Hugo Schwyzer). What I probably should have said, if I was being ultra-careful was “some Feminists”…

      However, what I am answering is the claim that “Feminism” and “Feminists” are trying to make men feel guilty. I am speaking for Feminism, but as it is such a broad umbrella, I hope that people are able to know that of course I do not speak for *all* Feminists in that. (of course you and I both know that most people who escalate commentary in this type of setting are not looking to be reasonable).

      I’m not even looking to de-escalate. Honestly, as I said before (above) I’m not trying to sell anything so I don’t care if the MRAs or other people who don’t like my message don’t “buy” it. I’m speaking *my* truth, and when met with logical and respectful comments (Lisa, or you) I am 100% willing to concede my shortfalls (of which I have many).

      These guys (gender neutral) neither bother me nor scare me. My truth is my truth.

  24. Feminism is not at all serious about ending violent and abusive behavior in adults.

    If it was it would be drawing our attention to the fact that women commit most child abuse, and female perpetrated violence instead of always glossing over it.

    The fun feminists are being used by the radical feminists, to spread their men are the only problem and rape culture hate propaganda.

  25. There is a difference between Feminists trying to make you feel bad about being a man (which is dead wrong) and us asking you to recognize the way most women feel, and asking you to respect that.

    Speaking from experience, there really is not a difference. Anytime you hold individual men responsible for other men’s actions just because they are men, you are going to make men feel bad for being men. It does not matter how you try to soften the blow, feminists still blame all men for the actions of a few, and expect men to take responsibility for that.

    I am responsible for a lot of things. I am responsible for my own actions. I am responsible for the things that directly result from my actions. Like feminists, I agree that I am solely responsible for and deserved the abuse I suffered as a child, although we disagree on the reason why. However, I am not responsible for anything that I did not cause or affect, nor am I responsible for things that occurred long before I was born or without my knowledge. I am certainly not responsible for the way some women choose to feel.

    And the curious thing about this request is that it does not apply in the reverse. No feminist accepts responsibility for the violence or views of other feminists or women. It is strange for people to ask someone to do something they will not do themselves.

    As for respecting what women feel, it is unfair to demand that men respect being thought of as inherently dangerous. People are entitled to feel whatever they want, but you cannot tell others that they have to agree with horrible views about them.

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      If your friend were making lewd jokes about a woman, giving commentary excusing rape, getting into the personal space of a female or making a female uncomfortable, would you say something to him? Would you say “this isn’t right”? Would you ask the woman who is made uncomfortable by a man if she needed any assistance? Would you report a crime against a woman, even if it were your friend or colleague or boss who committed it? Would you call for the removal of judges, police or other authorities who do not follow proper procedures in the cases of women?

      These questions actually should be asked of ALL crime and inappropriate behavior. But in this case, I’m asking strictly about women.

      That’s what I’m calling you to do. That’s it. Hold other men responsible to the same level you hold yourself. I do that with women, and I don’t feel guilty about what women do to men, children or other women. I simply expect them to do better when they’ve failed and call them out on bad behavior.

      • Joanne

        I keep reading and finding these Polarities of men have to hold men accountable and women hold woman accountable.

        I don’t think it’s your intent to create a divide, far from it, but the same thing keeps on happening and frankly is getting in the way.

        I’m human first and male second. If I see action which needs to be taken for the welfare of another human I act. The gender focus seems to get in the way.

        It even alienates groups who fit into the list of questions you have asked. Disabled, Elderly, Children, Race …. the list goes on and on.

        You say “I do that with women, and I don’t feel guilty about what women do to men, children or other women. I simply expect them to do better when they’ve failed and call them out on bad behavior.”

        Forgive me, but I keep getting confused by what appear to be mixed messages. Can you clarify, is your position, to paraphrase, that men should police men and women police women?

        I’m not being cute or as someone has called me “Micro-Aggressive”, but I would like to get it clarified so that I understand your views and the points you make.

        … and I actually feel resentment ( not aimed at you ) that I now feel obliged to start apologizing for asking questions or making points due to the levels of “Micro-Aggressive” behavior that so many round here do display and project onto others. P^/

      • Allow me to answer your questions with a question: why you assume that I and other men do not already do these things for everyone?

        To ask me those questions implies that you are judging me not by my own actions, but by the what you assume all or most men do.

        As for you not feeling guilty for other women’s actions, I suspect that is because no one blames women for other women’s behavior (or for their own behavior), particularly not feminists.

  26. Kirsten (in MT) says:

    While we’re looking at data and data sources, here’s a request for the “play the odds and avoid strange men” advocates: where are you getting your information on the alleged odds? What specific odds are you talking about and what is your source for that information? Are we really talking about playing the odds or merely about playing based on assumptions?

  27. Would you move in with a man or a woman?
    Who is more likely to file false accusations against you and clean out your house while you are trying to get out of jail?

  28. Kirsten (in MT) says:

    Let’s take a closer look at this notion of playing the odds. I’m posting references but not as hyperlinks so I don’t end up in moderation queue limbo.

    Bureau of Justice Statistics evidence from 1993-2008 indicates that women are more likely to be victims of both fatal and non-fatal violence committed by non-strangers than by strangers.

    In other words, if we are truly playing the odds, we must recommend that women prefer help from strangers over non-strangers whenever that is an option. How many of you suggesting that women should “play the odds” and prefer strange women over strange men agree with this? You would recommend that your daughters, sisters, girlfriends and wives, and so on look for a strange man to get a ride from rather than accepting one from a male they know? If you don’t recommend this, then you really don’t believe in blindly playing the odds.

    • Kirsten

      Using those stats is dishonest.

      Everyone in this debate knows that NCVS is problematic, that one gender is far more likely to report a crime and that there are far more reliable types of surveys for getting actually rates of victimization.

      • Kirsten (in MT) says:

        Fine. Go ahead and post your data on stranger vs. non-stranger violence. Let’s look at that, too.

      • Kirsten (in MT) says:

        And, I just double-checked that report I cited. The fatal violence data does not come from NCVS. It is from the Uniform Crime Reporting Program which does not draw on the NCVS at all.

        • DavidByron says:

          Crime reporting is not a survey. In addition the UCR has even more sexist definitions like saying men can’t be raped. The NISVS survey is the latest and greatest for accurately measuring this stuff. It is actually a good methodology and although it remains female biased it is much less so than others.

          • Kirsten (in MT) says:

            Okay, like I said, feel free to post your own data showing that non-strangers are less dangerous than strangers. I’m still waiting to see anyone show that we are advocating making these sorts of decisions based on any kind of actual data instead of collectivist assumptions.

      • She only mentioned women, so if it’s only women reporting the crime it’s still valid.

    • Peter Houlihan says:

      Theres a problem with that: the only way to avoid violence perpetrated by someone you know is not to know anyone, which isn’t how humans work.

      Avoiding violence by someone you don’t know is easier, as Joanna paraphrased Lisa’s advice: Credit Card, Gas, AAA Card and Cell Phone. That and obvious things like avoiding bad areas and not getting hammered off your face in a bar and sleeping with strangers. Nothing can keep you completely safe, but those narrow the odds alot.

  29. Excerpt:
    “He also said that I shouldn’t get in a car with a man I didn’t know. I already knew that, of course.”

    It seems to me that feminists see rape everywhere. Feminists remind me of the kid in the 6th sense.

    “I see rapists, they’re everywhere!”

    It seems to me the VAST majority of women seem much less concerned about rape than do most feminists.

    These women take almost NO precautions against getting raped. Millions of women nightly get into cars with men on first dates, or take them home (or go to the man’s home) on the first date.

    The rampant hookup culture belies 1) the concept that all women (rather than just feminists) are concerned about rape and 2) that rapists are indeed everywhere.

    The simple fact is that feminists use rape (whatever itls level of scarcity or abundance) as a club to beat men over the head and try to make them feel guilty about their gender or libido.

    I’m not buying it.

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      Lucky for you, John D, you don’t have to buy it.

      I’m not selling it.

      I’m telling my experience and my opinions. Don’t want to buy it? Don’t. Doesn’t bother me one bit.

  30. Kirsten (in MT) says:

    Re: getting into cars with strange men

    I recently did this. At 3 o’clock in the morning. In the middle of rural nowhere. Without any other person present.

    No matter how well you take care of your car- believe me, my 378,000+ mile Honda Element is treated quite lovingly -at some point many of us are going to need help. For me, it was when my alternator died on I-90 in Montana about 15 miles from the nearest town and about 50 miles from home in the middle of the freaking night. I called a tow truck.

    You want to talk about playing the odds? Guess what happens in Montana if you call for a tow truck? Odds are good that a man will show up driving it. Odds are also overwhelmingly good that strange men you interact with will not harm you.

    So it is not surprising that when the tow truck arrived, a man I didn’t know showed up, he drove me and my car home, and very predictably I came to absolutely no harm. I had gotten into his vehicle without so much as knowing his last name. Nobody would have missed me for at least a couple of days had something happened. Even by the odds-if we’re going by real information and not scare-mongering stereotypes-I was very safe through this whole encounter with a stranger.

    Nonetheless, gender stereotypes are a crude tool to use, often misleading, and unnecessary when we have more information available to us. My advice for accepting help is this: don’t rely on primitive gender profiling by scary stereotype but on your own intentionally-developed powers of observation, your intuition, and so on. Judge individuals based on their own individual behaviors and your assessments thereof. And be prepared to get out of a situation you’ve gotten into-with a strange man or a strange woman-should your assessment have been in error.

    • Thank-you for not automatically assuming the male is more of a risk. It really makes me wonder why parents talk about the odds, and stranger danger when the stats clearly show it’s the parents who are most likely to abuse or close friends/relatives. Seems less about odds and more about desperate attempts to satisfy their fears, but it’s a pity because teaching the children that behaviour simply causes fear and usually it’s fear of men. We don’t focus enough on how many men and women are good, sacrifice themselves daily to protect others but instead we live in a climate of fear…Terrorists (omg it’s a muslim, run!), pedophiles (oh nooo a man! lookout!), use to be witches but hooray science, communists, rogue states with nukes!!!111, etc.

      Nothing wrong with being cautious but those stereotypes aren’t helpful, they were used once to demonize black men and now it’s simply any man can be a rapist!, prejudice is alive n well and the stats are used to justify it.

    • Peter Houlihan says:

      Theres probably a difference between being wary of strangers who just happen along and strangers that have a reason to be there (like mechanics), but good attitude!

  31. Joanna–I’m so glad you posted this. I’ve been thinking of responding to some of the recent articles, but just couldn’t get my thoughts together in one place! Here is the crux (for me): “There is a difference between Feminists trying to make you feel bad about being a man (which is dead wrong) and us asking you to recognize the way most women feel, and asking you to respect that.”

    I, in no way, look at all men as being dangerous–that would be plain self-destructive, wouldn’t it? And I have actually taken rides from both men and women. Here are two examples: When I was a little girl, about six, I left my elementary school to walk home. There was a torrential downpour happening and I had only my raincoat and my little umbrella which was no use in the strong wind. I had quite a walk (don’t ask me where my mother was or why she didn’t come to get me) ahead of me. A woman, who I knew worked at my school (but I had not ever spoken or met), pulled up next to me and asked if I wanted a ride home. I said yes. I proceeded to direct her to my house where she dropped me off minutes later. My mother, needless to say, was furious with me–I had gotten in the car with a “stranger.”

    There was another time, in my early thirties, when I had been roller-blading and got very sick and nauseous. I literally could not stand up without getting dizzy. I was close to a small boat club and went in. A man there offered to give me a ride home–I said yes. I trusted my gut which told me he was a good guy. He dropped me off at my apartment and that was that. In both cases, my instinct told me that I had nothing to fear. Of course, there have been countless times that I have assessed a particular male who I’ve noticed either following me, or one who gave me that eerie feeling, and walked the other way. I believe that it is called “fight or flight,” and is a defense mechanism we all possess. Without it, we wouldn’t even know when to cross the street.

    I have been hyper-aware of the dangerous world we live in since I was a child (including the fear of being raped)–and I believe that awareness has served me well. The bottom line is that we must trust our feelings. I did appreciate Lisa’s piece–but I have to say, I don’t know any women who are afraid of ALL men. I plan on teaching my daughter to trust her instinct–not to be fearful of men in general, but to know when something doesn’t feel right, that feeling is right. I don’t want her to think she might be offending someone in the process. At that point–she needs to trust her instincts.

    Thanks again for your post.

  32. Julie Gillis says:

    I recall reading or seeing a show (I think it was a tv show) on a woman who had been abducted after hitchhiking. She’d gotten into a car with a man and a woman because she thought it would be safer. It was an outlier kind of story. She wound up being with this couple in a most distressing circumstance for several years apparently.

    The thing is about monsters is you ca actually see that they are monsters right? Huge ugly things. Wings, warts, claws. We created fairy tales about them to keep kids safe, yes? Trolls under bridges. Witches with candy houses. Snow Queens imprisoning children. Dragons.

    But anyone sociopathic enough to abuse a child or rape a person or kill someone or traffic humans or grift or run a mob or whathaveyounomatterthegenderetc. Well, they look like people. They don’t have wings or claws or breathe fire. They are gay, straight, white, black, hispanic, old, young, male, female, and they all are in human bodies.

    We don’t want to believe that the person we are with is evil. In fact, even when confronted with evidence that a person is probably acting oddly to you (like in a work place and someone is selling you out or bullying you) most of us (in my experience) do this thing were we figure its our fault.

    So what do we do? If you can’t see who the monsters are you have two choices.

    Trust no one.

    Trust everyone.

    Both choices have problems. This is the nugget of the whole schrodinger’s rapist thing. It could well be schroedinger’s murderer, or schroedinger’s liar or anything. One doesn’t know. One cannot tell just by looking at someone if they are a good person or not. One has to make a best guess, be prepared for a wide variety of outcomes, and try to trust.

    We need to reward people for trusting (while being prepared) and not blame them if they get caught by a monster. We need to blame the monsters.

    Good men and good women can do this, I feel certain of it. Most of us do this all the time. We trust as best we can and try to take care of each other when bad things happen.

    I don’t know what other choice there can be if we want to live in the group structures we live in.

    • Peter Houlihan says:

      Well said.

      On the point of wanting to trust the people we know, that woman (if we’re thinking of the same one) continued to live with her abductor for years after she was freed.

      Theres other examples of child abductors using other children at bait. That said, looking for families is probably good advice in general, even if I disagree that women are necessarily safer than men.

  33. Joanna, while I liked all of the other articles on this topic, this is the one that most spoke to me and my own experiences and ways of being in the world.Fantastic! I really can’t thank you enough.

    I have a daughter too, and for me, I’d rather advise her in the way my gut tells me will increase her odds on safety than in a way that is more “socially appropriate,”or whatever, because I have raised her well to be an open-minded, non-bigoted person, and she totally is–she is AMAZING in this way. She well understands that all men are not rapists or dangerous to her. She also understands crime statistics.

    I have always advised her that if she were lost or in a situation where she needed help, and she had a choice between apparently kind looking people, she should just play it safer (safe-ER) and go to the woman. I simply do not agree that there is anything wrong with this.

    In the past few days, I have asked my husband, my father, my two brothers, and my male next door neighbor what they thought about this debate, and they all agreed 100% with me and Joanna and said this is how they all advise their own daughters. They do not feel persecuted by women or that women believe they are rapists. They understand why women might have fear, and do not think it is too much to ask of them to understand and respect that and not challenge it. They don’t take it personally, and some of them laughed at the idea of doing so. They absolutely did not feel it was bigoted. I had LOTS of great conversations with men I love and trust.

    Now, on a philosophical level, I agree with Lisa and Tom. It is worth working towards having a better world where this would not even be an issue. And teaching girls competence is important. But it feels like a deflection of Joanna’s question to say, “I would just say not to get in ANY strange car” or “I would teacher my daughter to fix her car.” Both of those are great pieces of advice. BUT…if my daughter ever CAN’T fix her car and DOES have to get help and make a choice, I want her to play the odds. Why? Because her literal life is more important to me than teaching her a lesson in gender-neutrality AT THAT MOMENT.

    There are millions of other moments for those positive messages, and she gets them, and they outweigh any minor “damage” done to her view of men by my and my husband’s advice. But, she is our CHILD. I know she is statistically more likely to suffer violent crime from a man than a woman, and my job as her mother is to protect her as best I can. So I give her the advice that increases her odds (and there are no guarantees because a woman can hurt her too, but this is about ODDS) and THEN ALSO I teach her in many ways, at many times respect for both genders,and all races, and all that other good stuff.

    All of the men in my life that I love and respect (and have checked in with) have the same view. This is not only a “feminist” view nor a uniquely female distorted view of some type, MANY men hold the same view.

    Joanna, thanks for articulating what I wish I could have. You totally nailed it–for me. And if this is about INDIVIDUALS and their stories, and individual human beings and their rights to be good humans as they see fit, without being gender-policed by one group or another, then I feel that I (and all those male relatives and friends) can advise the girls and women in our lives as we see fit out of out love and responsibility towards them.

    • Peter Houlihan says:

      “I think this is something most of you guys do every day. As Hugo maintains, “Good guys hold themselves and other men accountable, in public and in private.” Good guys act how Jacob acted, and they hold other men accountable to act the same. Those simple behaviors are the start of a revolution.”

      This bit bothers me. I know it isn’t what you took from it, but that article really does read like men are responsible for women’s safety and other men’s actions. As a concept it belongs in the 1800s when women were viewed as the weaker sex and men were all expected to be the manly virile champions of society. Assuming men to be guilty until proven innocent covers up female complicity and male goodness.

      As for the practical issue of keeping kids safe, I’ve no problem with offering practical advice, but I don’t agree that telling kids to trust strange women over strange men makes them safer. I can think of several instances where it might endanger them or encourage them to act against their best instincts. Stranger danger is genderblind.

    • I really hope you are all for gender roles to remain in society then and women to be seen as the primary child carer. What you advocate, is that males are less trustworthy around children. You teach your children this, other parents teach their children this and it becomes a society-wide belief. It DIRECTLY helps to stop men from being child-carers, causes suspicion of male daycare employee’s for example, makes men themselves afraid to open up to their own children. We have men so afraid they stop hugging their teenage daughters because others might think they’re doing something wrong, people who ask for male preschool teachers to be fired, and yet people still complain that men aren’t doing enough of the child-caring and spending enough time with the kids?

      I really do not know why we even bother talking about gender roles, no one wants to drop them. Instead of believing it’s a woman’s only job, we just change it to women are safer with kids and nooo we can’t trust men, if you have boys I wonder how they will feel growing up being afraid to interact with children? You either drop the anti-male prejudice, or you accept that women are always going to be considered the primary childcarer, you can’t have both. It’s a constant pressure on men to avoid any job or role with children, because of one of the last remaining acceptable prejudices. Why bother trusting your husband with your kids? Stats show either you, or him, are most likely to abuse and hurt your child? Do you raise them to be afraid of yourself? This is the part that many people fail on, they will gladly demonize STRANGE men who are statistically less likely to harm their kids whilst blindly trusting their friends, family.

      Go on, tell your husband, father, brother, neighbour that they’re the most likely person to sexually abuse your daughter for instance, see how they respond. Do you trust them 100%? Because that trust you have for them is exactly how abuse can happen without response. See what fear could do? See how stats can be used in very harmful ways? I’ll be surprised if this post is let through but hopefully someone reads it, I really want to know what they think on playing the odd’s because to me it sounds like a total lie if you ever read stats on abuse. The odds point out clearly that the people around them the most, are the most likely ones to abuse them and usually it’s parents yet parents will gladly talk about how they don’t trust strangers, especially the boogieman male stranger in the trenchcoat.

      • I’m a moderator. I don’t delete comments because they disagree with my views.

        I do not blindly trust family and friends because you are right that they are more likely to abuse a child than strangers. I’m talking about the circumstance of being alone by a broken down car and having a choice, which often is not even present. But if it is, I do believe that among strangers, a male is more likely to violently harm my child than a female. More men commit murder, robbery, and other violent crimes than women.

        You are free to disagree with my view, but it comes out of love and protectiveness for my child, and parents are like that, which is good.

        I was careful in my post not to generalize that you can’t trust men. I have also written extensively on the insidious and damaging effects on male teachers and child care givers. I’m am publicly on record as being against this stigma being put on men. I spent many years as a school administrator actively seeking men to hire. Your assumption about me advocating that men are not trustworthy to care for children is 100% the opposite of my view. You know what they say about people who assume.

        I feel you have taken one small slice of my parenting and generalized it to some all-encompassing negative view of men. The body of my work–my writing, my commenting, the way I live my life–does not support your assumptions.

        But please understand–I am entitled to my view, as you are entitled to yours. I do not know you. I would not make sweeping generalizations about you based on an internet comment. Thank you for weighing in. I accept your view. It is one possible view among many, as is mine. I love men. I devoted seven years of my life to working almost exclusively with men and boys in an educational setting where I was in an extreme minority and was passionate about improving the educational and life outcomes for boys.

        I wish more people withheld judgment and did not jump to conclusions, but I’m used to it. All I can do is try not to do that myself.

        • But that’s the thing, those small slipups in not teaching gender neutrality are what help to keep the gender roles going. By playing the odds, you’ve implied there is less safety with men. Odds are a man will be more likely to be violent but so are black people it seems. Would you also advocate they avoid them and go for the white person? I’m sure you can understand what I mean when I say those small slipups keep gender roles going, because teaching people that in any case it’s safer to be with women because of odds directly harms the ability to trust men whether it’s true or not.

          I have no problems with people trying to educate against abuse and stop it (although all versions must be taken into account), but when I as a male am trusted less with a child and thought to be under suspicion because of my gender and because a minority of men did horrible things it’s quite offensive. Playing the odds gives reason to take kids away from parents, but good luck at that ever happening. You’re entitled to your opinion of course but I am glad that you do try to think about the consequences and see the effects on men in childcare roles but do you also see how our culture portrays men as LESS trustworthy? Believe me, men do feel this, and it’s the good men who get annoyed because it goes against quite a bit of equalism teaching we’ve heard on prejudice and profiling.

  34. “she can accept a ride from a strange woman or strange man. Do you care? What advice do you give?”

    My advice is to accept a ride from neither. Call your mom, me, your grandfather, grandmother, uncles, aunts, cousins, any one of our hundreds of friends who know and love you. In most cases, strangers will help not harm but why place your hope in a stranger when you have far better options. My job as a parent is to ensure my girls have better, safer options than relying on the kindness of strangers should they get into some type of trouble.

    This kind of thing is a life lesson. My girls have seen, and we try to teach them that solving problems is not just a point in time exercise. Having a good relationship with family and creating a large tight circle of friends helps one along when problems arise. As an example, a young lady friend of ours recently had her car break down twice. Within minutes she had several friends there to help her. Because of the way she lives her life, she did not need to depend on the kindness of strangers, as well intended as they might be.

    • Peter Houlihan says:

      But what if she were in a situation where she couldn’t call?

      Personally if she were in a situation where it was impossible or dangerous to walk out I’d tell her to take the first ride out of there she can. If theres no gardai, take a taxi and I’ll pay for it when she gets home (this is what my parents always told me to do, they’d go crazy if I took the hour long walk home from the bus), if theres no taxis then its a matter hitching a ride. If shes in that situation I wouldn’t want her to pass up a ride from a safe looking stranger just because they were a man or black, only to find no further offers or to get a ride with a white woman who turns out to be drunk at the wheel.

      Keeping kids safe isn’t as simple as trust women, be careful of men. Theres multiple factors involved.

  35. ” I think this is foolish, stubborn advice based in a theoretical argument rather than reality”

    Based on what, your bigotry lack of understanding of what the stats. say?

    Women are more likely it abuse children – physically. emotionally and psychologically.

    And professionals on female sexual abuse consider what we know about it to be the tip of the iceberg and believe that most of it remains hidden because of residual religious and patriarchal beliefs about women, and the sort of myths about abuse that feminists preach to society.

  36. (whether it was him abusing her, or them abusing one another)

    Yet why is the presumption that in all cases the guy has to be guilty? Why couldn’t it be she’s the lone abuser in group? That old saw” If she hit him what did he do to deserve it ”

    Almost any guy that’s ever dated / loved a Bi-polar woman has had to learn that.

    • Peter Houlihan says:

      In that particular case, I would imagine it was because she was the one running away (assuming I read it right). If she were the sole abuser it doesn’t seem likely that she’d be trying to get out.

      I agree that the dynamic you’re speaking about (female on male abuse being ignored and covered up) is real and troublesome, but I don’t think this is an instance of it.

      • Ever dated a Bi-polar person? The I hate you I’m getting out / leaving right now……followed by ….Why didn’t you come back / stay drama. In cases like this there is a natural assumption, that doesn’t mean it’s right.

        • Peter Houlihan says:

          Fair point, I take it back, and no I haven’t.

          • Joanna Schroeder says:

            I think that this was probably a mutually abusive situation. I’ve seen a lot of abusive relationships and am pretty good at assessing what’s happening pretty early on. I think a lot more relationships are mutually abusive than we know.

            I feel VERY strongly on the issue of men being abused by women and I know for a fact how often this happens. I mean, I know to the degree that one can know, due to underreporting and lack of research.

            In this case, I feel pretty confident, even in retrospect. Just the body language of terror as opposed to indignation or drama.

  37. According to lots of ‘studies’ and ‘research’ people who pirate music also BUY more music.

  38. Jasmin Nazarian says:


    Thanks for this article. I have been reading all the GMP posts on the discussion of Presumption of Male Guilt. And I have tried to comment more than once. But I found myself unable to articulate the many thoughts occurring to me all at once. Your article though seems to capture closest to where my opinion lies: somewhere in the middle. You are so right when you so that rape culture is real and so are good men. I read the articles by Lisa, Hugo, Tom, etc. and agreed a lot and disagreed a little with all of them. Thats why I had such a hard time deciding how to comment!

    I agree with you that it is the responsibility of an entire society (men and women) to fight rape culture. I hope that will be one of the things most people take form this conversion.

    But wherever we land with this discussion, im glad we are having it. Things start to change on the macro level because we discuss things like this together and contemplate our actions and feelings of the day to day.

    It made me a little sad to see that people became so aggressive or angry or accusatory on twitter (people on both sides of the debate) ,especially because as its already been pointed out, the individuals getting aggravated with each other really seemed to agree on most points. But, I can understand it. When you talk about the hard to talk about, it is bound to be personal and people will be passionate and that will manifest in many different ways.

    Still, just thought Id comment on your article because I think this is a great example of how this discussion can be had 🙂

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      Thank you so much Jasmin.

      The hard thing about the internet is that we are so detached from one another. When I was reading the Twitter feed, I was reminded of what I know about Tom – which isn’t a whole ton. But one thing I know is that he is the best friend of two men that I know and respect very, very much. I also know that he started this project, the book and the site, and that his heart is very, very good.

      Even when things he said made me wince, I went back to what I know to be true about him. It made me want to sit across from him and buy him a coffee and just take a break, take a breath, and find our common ground and then take small, slow steps from there.

      On the Internet we can’t do that, and we lose sight of one another’s hearts. Mostly because we don’t know the others’ hearts. But that deep breath, that step away from the screen, that moment to collect thoughts — they can still be utilized and can help us say something more effective than our anger leads us to.

  39. Lisa Hickey says:

    Hey Joanna,

    Thanks for such a thought-provoking piece. In both of the stories you tell, I can imagine myself in just those situations you describe.

    I want to start by answering this — which to me connects the stories and issues you choose to tell here:

    “your daughter has a choice: she can accept a ride from a strange woman or strange man. Do you care? What advice do you give?”

    My advice to my kids starts with the bigger areas of 1) always be aware of your surroundings 2) know the escape routes 3) don’t panic 4) Think twice before getting into any situation you can’t get out of.

    And – I am with Tom – I would say “don’t get into cars with strangers, period.” I honestly can’t see the benefit to giving my children guidance that they should be more fearful of men than of women. They seem to be able to pick that up just fine without me.

    I really would rather teach my kids skills for self-competence. Often it’s more about thinking through to the future – get a good job so you can buy a car that doesn’t break down. Keep it maintained. Make sure your phone battery is fully charged – especially on long road trips. Always tell someone where you’re going. Don’t drink, or be super responsible when you do – drinking impairs your judgment, you might be drunk AND stranded somewhere without a ride. In other words — *Create a life for yourself where you probably won’t have to worry about getting in cars with strangers.*

    I just have a really hard time with “make sure you have enough gas, don’t forget to charge your phone, and oh, be careful not to get raped.” I know no one overtly says those things, but it seems to me that’s the intention.

    I am honestly trying to understand the benefits to teaching my children to be more cautious around men rather than teaching them a whole host of other things they might learn to survive and thrive.

    But here’s the other piece of this that’s interesting to me Joanna. What you do with SheSaidHeSaid – your column on sex and relationships – THAT does it for me. That talks about – well, sex and relationships. So it talks about all of the ways to navigate through the complexities, gives a view of sex through both sides of the male and female experience, and lets people know that it is important and good to talk about the difficult issues.

    And what that brings up is that really – when teaching – be as specific as possible. Not just what to be afraid of, but what to do in a whole variety of situations you might find yourself in. That’s what is so powerful about shared storytelling.

    This long comment – sorry, it should have been a post! — does not negate the joy I got from reading your stories, thinking them through, and forming conclusions in my mind about what is the appropriate way to respond.

    • Lisa, I agree with you almost completely about specifics and being prepared. I don’t know what it’s like to have a daughter, I really don’t, but the way my fathers raised me (father and stepfather) was to be exactly as you teach your children to be. Prepared, confident, competent, and they both actually taught me to be ferocious. Maybe a little too much (someday I’ll tell the story of how I ended up with a restraining order against a paparazzo).

      Of course I tell my kids not to get into cars with anyone, ever, aside from the three people who pick them up from school. I prepare them for danger, we even practice stranger danger just as we practice what to do when we encounter rattlesnakes or coyotes (hello, Southern California). But I’ll be honest: I tell my kids that if they ever cannot find me or someone they know, they are to find a mama with kids and ask her for help. I know that can be seen as sexist, but I’m purely playing odds here. I tell them the second safest person is a daddy with kids.

      Izz got lost at the zoo once and ran through the crowd until he found a family (mom, dad, kids, grandparents) and showed them where I’d written my phone number on his arm. I was on his tail, I could see him twenty feet ahead of me in the crowd, so I saw the whole thing while running to try to catch him. Perhaps I should’ve said “family with kids” but I guess he knew what I meant. I don’t regret this choice in language, but as my kids become teens I like the idea of what you’re saying: Gas, credit card, charged cell phone, warm jacket, AAA card.

      And I’m dealing with boys here, so it’ll all be different for me, but I like what you’re saying, I really do.

      • Lisa Hickey says:

        Ferocious, that’s great! i’d take that as a compliment any day!

        I do have a son, and I do remember that same panic when losing him at an aquarium one day. Argh!

        But I do think I’ll have the conversation with my son (age 24) — and give him the two examples (your father and meeting a stranger in a public place) and seeing what he says he’d do. It will also be interesting to see if he even gets the term “rape culture” — and whether his friends have ever once joked about rape or implied that it was in any way shape or form close to OK. If previous discussions are any indication, he’d be disgusted with the idea. So again — to me — the solution wouldn’t so much rest on trying to get normal “good” guys to step up and hold others accountable — because, from the people I’ve talked to it’s just outside their realm of of experience. But I think addressing the underlying causes — previous abuse, alcohol and drug abuse, mental disorders, social isolation — might be a better path to stoping rapists from raping.

      • Peter Houlihan says:

        Theres a real problem with that: It sends a message that fathers are less trustworthy than mothers. This is prefectly justifiable if only men abduct children, or married men with children were likely abductors, but neither statement is true.

        I won’t tell you how to raise your kids, and I don’t have any of my own (yet). But if and when I do I’ll tell them to keep away from strange adults and to look for uniforms if they get lost (police, security, nurses etc.) followed by families.

        • Joanna Schroeder says:

          Purely anecdotal – my husband and I don’t tell them about uniforms (aside from firefighters) because my husband had a dear female friend when he was young who left his house in a very safe neighborhood to walk home. She was raped and murdered by a security guard whose uniform looked almost exactly like a police officer (including gun).

          The screening that security guards go through is almost nothing, and their training is also almost nothing. A mother or father with kids, to us, is a much safer bet.

          As I said, I’d be willing to accept that “a family with kids” is probably a better choice. That’s what he chose anyway.

          • Peter Houlihan says:

            Good god how awful! I thought of security guards on the basis that they’re usually in charge of the PA, plus thats where I’d bring a lost kid if I came across one, or look for one if my kid were missing (god forbid). Maybe I’ll think twice about that.

      • If you have boys then I’ll ask you to read the CDC stats showing they’re highly at risk of sexual abuse, even by females (very high risk of rape even if you count forced to penetrate as rape). Their risk of physical abuse is also very high, depending on stats you read up to equal levels of domestic abuse, psychological abuse by partners is also a 50:50 split. Then we come to risk of violence in society as a whole, and according to the W.H.O males suffer from violence about 2.2-2.5x more overall.

        But who is safe with our kids? Mothers are the highest rate of child abuse, fathers highest rate of sexual abuse (though mothers making up to 20% according to some stats), there are stats to make every human, afraid of every other human. We can realize that men might be more likely to harm them but we can also realize that most males aren’t harmful, most males will protect that kid from abuse if they can and have the strength apparently to back it up. But alas we judge the many by the few, a we fear men because of a “hyper-fear of men culture”. We’ve grown up hearing the stats, listening to parents justify their prejudice of men because of those stats yet we’re at the point where men are so scared to be around kids that they won’t go and check on them if there is trouble. So who are your boys safer with? From what I remember of stats females were more likely to murder the children, and females more likely to kill boys at that so are they really safer being with a woman vs a man?

        There was a case in the UK I believe of a young girl who went walkabout at daycare, a man saw her but feared what people would do but then she ends up falling into water and drowning I believe and he was unable to help at that point. I realize parents are very afraid for their children but seriously, this society hurts the majority of men because of the minority and we’re facing a generation of kids who will grow up being petrified of men, losing out on normal human interactions, lack male role models in schools because of the fear of abuse. As Peter says, it sends a message that fathers are less trustworthy and when people who advocate against sexism have so much prejudice for men where they are educating their kids to goto WOMEN with kids instead of Any parent….Seriously? Why should men care about sexism against women if they’re so willing to use it and justify it with stats based on the few?

        What many fail to understand is that a culture of fear can cause very real harm, muslims after 911 are a prime example. There are cases of innocents being targetted for vigilant justice because the previous tennant is on the sex offender registry and they didn’t update it. We have fathers who get dirty looks FOR DOING THEIR JOB AS FATHER and spending time with them at parks. But no, we can’t trust the men even though history is full of men who sacrifice their lives protecting everyone else. Military, police, fire services, are primarily full of men but no, men are less trustworthy.

        If the majority of men committed abuse, and the majority of women DIDN’T commit abuse then you might have a cause for concern, but we have stats of abuse from both genders that are at parity for some forms of abuse and even show females more likely to abuse in some cases yet still they are granted automatic trust.

        And parents, ask your daughters about if they joke about rape or even realize men can be raped, the new cdc stats are shocking in how much rape women are doing now and it isn’t as high as the male abusers but it’s still a very huge concern when equal levels of men and women (1.1% or 1.2million Americans for each gender) in the last 12 months were raped pretty much, and the males report 79.2% of their attackers were FEMALE. And of course educate the male children on abuse, educate everyone on abuse and don’t do the typical male attacker female victim scenario only, do ALL of the scenarios.

        It saddens me that I even have to reply to this on a site that has so many fights over sexism and equality, with people who fight for equality and ending sexism. Is it only equality in a pick and choose fashion? Is it only sexism against females that matters? This double standard is what annoys people and quite frankly it seems to be a common theme in feminism, which doesn’t surprise me of why people are hostile towards it. An acceptable prejudice can exist as long as men are the victims it seems, question is WHY? ALL it’s doing is continuing the gender war that funnily enough was a topic a few weeks back, so why is it so important to paint men as less trustworthy as women? It contradicts the desires to get men to drop gender roles if they aren’t allowed the freedom and trust in being a full carer of children without suspicion!

      • Jonna – You said:

        “But I’ll be honest: I tell my kids that if they ever cannot find me or someone they know, they are to find a mama with kids and ask her for help. I know that can be seen as sexist, but I’m purely playing odds here. I tell them the second safest person is a daddy with kids.”

        They are your kids and as a parent you are responsible for teaching them. I do have a concern though, which may not be valid as I don’t know the ages of your children, but it’s that “Told” which is the concern.

        As a child I was told – result = sexual abuse. I have dealt with many people who have had to deal with so many situations and I am always wary of that word Told. It can get in the way at critical moments. It’s a very rigid word that can trap people when they need to react to fluid situations.

        I have seen it used very effectively and It has saved lives. I think of Rick Rescorla who worked at the world trade center as security manager. He told people if they did not feel safe then they were to act. They would not be punished for being wrong. He did not tell people to have limited views, but to have wide views and trust their own instincts. His Told gave people fluidity.

        I also remember a self defense seminar I took some 30 years ago. There was a very interesting point raised. If you are in need of help you never ask a person who can help “Can I Trust You?”. If they have, for want of a better term, evil intent they can breeze over the question very easily. Their intent overrides normal human reaction to the question. They react in the same way that a none dangerous person would. But if you ask them “Are you going to harm me – attack me – abuse me” the none dangerous person will react with shock and even confusion. It also places the relationship on a different power balance. It also allows things such as body language to be reacted to. You use the fluidity of the interpersonal dynamic to see if someone had a rigid intent.

        As I said – I’m not telling you how to raise your kids – but there is a difference between being told and being empowered. P^)

  40. Tom Matlack says:

    Joanna a very well articulated piece. I don’t necessarily agree with everything here but I feel like I learned something by reading this and understand your POV better. I honestly wouldn’t want my daughter to get in a car with a stranger. And yet I am sure there are times when she needs help and she would need to make a judgement. Should she more scared of a black man than a white one? Based on numbers I suppose she probably should be, but I’m enough of an idealist to not want to act on that because I actually think she could tell more by looking at what kind of individual she was dealing with than the gender or skin color of the stranger, just like Jacob did with you–as stranger but a nice one, despite being a man. That doesn’t discount in any way what you express in terms of what it is like to be a women in a world where rape etc does happen too often. I do think the language around male guilt has gotten screwed up and perhaps we are all agreeing but just not finding the right way to talk about it. Hopefully this piece helps clarify some of that, as was my attempt in mine.

    • Julie Gillis says:

      See my piece below, Tom. I think one way we deal with the fear of “not knowing who the monster is” is by creating categories for trust. We do this with race, gender, class etc. We manage the anxiety of not being able to see into another’s intentions by lumping groups of people together.

      “A white lady in a suit will be safer than that hispanic lady with no shoes.”
      A black lady with kids will be safer than a white man traveling alone.”

      How do we know that? We don’t. That white lady in a suit might be responsible for some horrible corporate oil spill that killed the gulf. That hispanic lady might help you and treat you to a home cooked meal. We have NO idea.

      We hedge our bets and we do it awkwardly. We claim stats and numbers to justify our choices.

      We also filter our own experiences and create nano second judgements based on unconscious things.

      What if you had an amazingly kind piano teacher that looks like the man at the gas station. What if you also see an Asian older woman who reminds you of something in your past that was not so pleasant. Do you know you are filtering those thoughts? You don’t know which person is the kind/safe one.

      (in statistical likelihood they both probably are the kind/safe one).

      Gift of Fear was a great book that broke down a lot of the micro-second information that people manage all the time. There could be, and should be a Gift of Trust book too maybe.

      I see, in all of these discussions, so much anxiety that I wonder if it isn’t coming up, burbling to the surface from a deeper well. I’m not sure what that is, but I do know it feels really painful to watch, it must be painful to experience (as the arguments attest), and I’m not sure how to make things better.

      I do appreciate this article Joanna. Thanks.

  41. It unrealistic to set a standard for an entire group, fulled with people who’s life you know nothing about.

    That goes for woman and men.

    It’s unreasonable to tell someone to be accountable for someone else, let alone a total stranger.
    You can have your opinion about the way a man lives his life, but unless he wants to change and is seeking your help it’s all for nothing.

  42. Thank you Joanna.


  1. […] and I first met online at The Good Men Project in the comments section of a piece I wrote called The (Quiet) FeministRevolution. I was pretty sure I had written something so deeply based in common […]

  2. […] and I first met online at The Good Men Project in the comments section of a piece I wrote called The (Quiet) FeministRevolution. I was pretty sure I had written something so deeply based in common […]

  3. […] and I first met online at The Good Men Project in the comments section of a piece I wrote called The (Quiet) FeministRevolution. I was pretty sure I had written something so deeply based in common […]

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