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.

 

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About Joanna Schroeder

Joanna Schroeder is the type of working mom who opens her car door and junk spills out all over the ground. She serves as Executive Editor of The Good Men Project and is a freelance writer whose work has appeared on sites like xoJane, hlntv.com, and The Huffington Post. Joanna loves playing with her sons, skateboarding with her husband, and hanging out with friends. Her dream is to someday finish her almost-done novel and get some sleep. Follow her shenanigans on Twitter.

Comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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 ?

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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:

      @Amaranth

      “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.

  6. 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:

              @JH

              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.

              http://www.outpatientsurgery.net/issues/2010/01/the-ENT-surgeon-who-gave-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.

  7. 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.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Victoria_Stafford

    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.

  8. 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.

      http://goodmenproject.com/author/joanna-schroeder/

      • 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. “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.

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