Why I Believe Men Belong in the Feminist Movement

Emily Heist Moss believes that creating a culture where women are complete members of every facet of society means enabling men to be complete members of every facet of society as well.

Feminism is a tricky word to nail down. As frequently as I find myself aligning my beliefs with men and women who eschew the label, I find myself meeting self-identified feminists with whom I share very little ideological ground. It’s a big, problematic, often contradictory tent.

Given the online company I keep, in the last few weeks I’ve read many a piece on whether or not there is a place for men in the leadership circles of the “Feminist Movement” (as if it were such a monolithic thing). Some very smart people think the answer is no. The extremists among them believe allowing men to affect the trajectory of feminist activism is nothing short of fraternizing with the enemy. Among the more moderate bunch, there is a very strong belief that the progress of women needs to be controlled exclusively by women; supportive men are welcome as foot soldiers, but should not exert influence. Ceding leadership positions that could be filled by females to even the most progressive men is viewed as fundamentally problematic for the upward mobility of women. On this issue, I disagree with both cohorts.

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There is a commonly cited comparison between men leading feminist battles on behalf of women, and white supporters leading Civil Rights battles on behalf of African Americans.  Men and white people, respectively, are viewed as patronizing influences that undermine the very people they’re trying to assist. When it comes to race, I see the merit in this worldview. In the Civil Rights movement, white people are not advocating for their own advancement, so they inevitably end up having to speak for someone else, which leads to accusations of condescension.

To me, this is where the comparison falls apart. I don’t want men speaking for me, because I would find it patronizing if they assumed to know my experience. But, I do believe men have their own very real, very significant stake in equality between the sexes. They don’t have to speak on behalf of women to be involved; they can just speak for themselves.

My feminism (and like I said, it’s a big tent and I don’t speak for anyone but myself) is about abolishing heteronormative and sexist gender assumptions to allow people to reach their full potential, both inside and outside the workplace, as diversely talented, multi-faceted human beings. By my definition, men and women can both benefit from a feminist agenda.

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I believe our current societal structure oppresses women. I believe it’s significantly worse in other parts of the world, but even in the United States, I believe that women are often viewed and treated as emotionally ill-equipped people that require protection, prizes to be coveted, or objects to be used.

I do not believe our society oppresses men, but I do believe it restricts them. We see these restrictive views in commercials that portray fathers as inept idiots or emotionally stunted cavemen. We see them in laws that all but automatically grant custody to mothers, even when fathers are present and involved. We see them in pornography that shows teenaged boys that being manly means being aggressively and exclusively heterosexual. The Good Men Project attempts to expand our definitions of goodness and of masculinity, and the fact that we need such a forum only emphasizes how unfairly pigeonholed men really are.

The dichotomy that man equals provider and woman equals caregiver is damaging to both men and women. Historically, this dichotomy has done more and greater damage to women, since the sphere of female influence has been smaller and more tightly monitored than that of men. But, if we feminists want more and more equal access to the world beyond the home (which we do), part of that means breaking down the barriers to men’s involvement in the home. Some of those barriers are cultural relics (the emasculation of stay-at-home dads), and some of them are legal (how do we expect men to take an equal role in infant care when most companies don’t offer paternity leave?).

Progress towards creating a culture where women are full and complete members of every facet of society means enabling men to be full and complete members of every facet of society as well. I don’t want men standing up in feminist circles and beginning sentences with “Women feel like… “or “Women should always….” But I do want them in those circles speaking for themselves. I, for one, am very interested in what they have to say.

photo montage: centralasian and stephen sheffield

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About Emily Heist Moss

Emily Heist Moss is a New Englander in love with Chicago, where she works at a tech start-up. She's a serious reader and a semi-pro TV buff. She writes about gender, media, and politics at her blog, Rosie Says. (Follow her: @rosiesaysblog, find Rosie Says on Facebook). 

Comments

  1. Okay there are so many comments on here, I’m worried I might be failing to respond to something someone said. If I did fail to respond to something from someone, then don’t think I’m ignoring you. Please just e-mail me at [email protected] if you want to continue some part of the discussion I have stopped talking about. For some reason the gravatar link thing isn’t working for my picture…so that’s why I’m posting my e-mail here. :)

  2. @JohnD – I actually don’t think women should be more protected than men. I think kids should be protected. I think groups which suffer discrimination should be protected against that discrimination. But I don’t think that one gender should be more protected than the other.

    And as for what you’re saying…I think you’re forgetting the bits back in our other conversations where I’ve acknowledged that feminist policies have done a lot to hurt men. But that wasn’t what I was referring to in that comment. I was just saying (in a somewhat frustrated tone) that I hear what sounds to me like two opposing arguments.

    One the one hand: feminism is big and popular and so totally in line with patriarchal traditions that it’s managed to pass all sorts of legislation. (Which ignores the difficulties a lot of feminist policies initially faced…no I’m not including domestic violence policies). On the other hand: most women aren’t even feminists because they hate it so much. Feminism has been widely hated for decades.

    That is where the disconnect is for me….it’s so popular everyone hates it. Say what? I’d say it’s much more complicated then that. Part of it worked within the patriarchal view of the world (with regards to domestic violence and parental rights)…and part of it really didn’t (with regards to voting, careers, military, etc). The bits that everyone eats up like candy are the bits that do stick with traditional ideas of women as being protected…which is why I think we see so much support for women’s domestic violence issues and maternal rights. But the bits that people hated and railed against where the bits that went against it – again, voting, military, etc.

    Also, loved the porn analogy cuz it was pretty damn funny. :)

    • Julie,
      Hindsight is always 20/20. What we’re seeing now is the results of feminism (from rads being at the wheel) after 40 years. In other words: we can all look back NOW and say Galileo was in the right. We can all look back NOW and say the klan was messed up. But, the church’s persecution of Galileo may have resonated with people. It was a common belief that mankind was god’s children and we were the center of the universe. The concept that we were on this mudball hurtling around the sun may have been scary for lots of people.

      There was also a time when the Klan was very popular and every politician had to be a member to get elected.

      My point is that since feminist largely package laws differently than what the laws ACTUALLY STATE what you are seeing now is the hindsight of most Americans that feminism is destructive. Feminism WAS popular, but not so much anymore.

      Additionally, you paint the picture that feminism used to be a good movement, but morphed into something bad. I disagree with this. I will agree that there were issues of restriction of women’s choices that feminism did address in the beginning (like workplace harassment).

      However, I do not believe that feminism morphed into something worse. From what I can tell the manhating radical feminists are the core of feminism (not a fringe) and they have been since nearly the inception.

      I don’t know if my post that’s been in moderation for a couple of days got out or not, but here it is again:
      ht tp://www.fatherhoodcoalition.org/cpf/newreadings/2001/feminist_hate_speech.ht m

      Look at these hateful quotes by the founding mothers of feminism. There is valid proof that the haters were always present in feminism since the 60’s. Also, I think there is a BIG difference between openly hating a specific birth-group, and a birth-group opposing a POLITICAL ORGANIZATION which blatantly attempts to destroy the birth groups rights.

      I will agree that what is needed is a third movement that sees everybody as human. However, until that day comes men are going to have to put their eggs into the MRM as even this article makes very blatantly evident.

      Emily wants men to join feminism with the caveat that SHE gets veto power of what constitutes oppression (and it CAN’T be men which seems to be one of the pillars of VERY NEARLY *all* the strands of feminism).

      THIS. SIMPLY. IS. NOT. ACCEPTABLE. as a solution to men’s issues. This article falls very very short of the mark when we talk of equality.

      Once again thanks for letting me bend your ear and for the interesting conversation.

      • Holy crap.
        Sorry heather. I tagged a reply to you with Julie. I have a lot of errands to run right now, and a lot of things on my plate today, and I haven’t had any coffee.

      • “Additionally, you paint the picture that feminism used to be a good movement, but morphed into something bad.” – Yeah I do paint it that way. But I suppose really I see it more as something that spawned from a good idea, and became mired down in it’s own beliefs. Because as Chris Rock said in Dogma – “You can change an idea, changing a belief is trickier.”

        “There is valid proof that the haters were always present in feminism since the 60′s.” – Yeah but the 60s isn’t the beginning of feminism. I think the radical version of feminism is sitting in the political sphere right now…but the majority of people I know who call themselves feminists are much more egalitarian and centrist. Not all of them…the the vast majority. That’s where I see the problem at the moment – somehow politicizing egalitarians.

        “Emily wants men to join feminism with the caveat that SHE gets veto power of what constitutes oppression (and it CAN’T be men which seems to be one of the pillars of VERY NEARLY *all* the strands of feminism).”

        Yeah her use of the terms ‘oppression’ and ‘restriction’ are quite problematic. The devil is in the details, as they say. I think that the general sentiment of what she’s saying is valid – that men should have a voice in feminism. I think where there are problems in how she’s depicting that role, yeah. Which, eternal optimist that I am, is something I think should be discussed and worked out. I don’t think we should chuck the whole idea, though.

        And I like chatting with you too. :) And no worries about calling me Julie, I’ll take that as a compliment. ;)

        • Emily gets points for trying to be inclusive.

          Remove the qualifier that men have to agree that they aren’t oppressed to have a voice in feminism and you’re on to something good.

    • Tom Brechlin says:

      One quick comment … Men should “protect” women. We are hard wired to do so.

      • Alright I was trying not to make the assumption that what you wanted was to return to strict gender roles, but that’s what it sounds like.

  3. Tom Brechlin says:

    @Heather <— cool, I just figured that out.

    So, you really don't know anything about MRM's? In some of the groups I'm in, we can smell a feminist a mile away and accordingly, will more then likely put them on blast. The smallest hint that someone may be of the feminist persuasion, tghe red flag is thrown. If I look at many of the things you've said, and this is not to offend, you would appear to be a feminist. The fact that you have such astrong opinion and view of what an MRM is, without actually knowing them, draws some concern on my part. From what I can tell, you appear to be a wonderful kind hearted person with everyones best interest in mind but it's sad to say that you have to take the rose color glasses off and see what's happening in real life. I would appreciate people not addressing MRM's unless they know of what they speak. Last note for the moment … ya'll are pretty cool people and I'm enjoying this platform. But for now, I have dinner on the stove.

    • Mate, I only ever am talking about things from my perspective. I apologize if I don’t always put in “from my experience with MRMs…” but that is always what I mean. From my experience and from the experience of other people I know with regard to MRMs…that is where I draw my conclusions. I’m not claiming to be an expert, I’m just discussing what I’ve observed and what I’ve discussed with other people.

      “The smallest hint that someone may be of the feminist persuasion, the red flag is thrown” – which is exactly in line with my experience with MRMs. Like I said, I dipped my toe and immediately found that the water was ice freaking cold, and I left. I am a feminist, but I’m sympathetic to men’s issues….and the anti-feminist atmosphere made it so I’m very unlikely to ever attempt to actually join a group.

      And you know…any time I’ve made a generalization about MRMs based on my experiences and it’s been wrong…I apologize. But at the same time, I’m reading all sorts of generalizations about feminism that aren’t entirely accurate either. Yet again I’d argue it’s a two way street.

      • Re: 2nd paragraph. that was my same experience with the feminist movement. Except the reason for hostility against me was due to how I was born.

        “But at the same time, I’m reading all sorts of generalizations about feminism that aren’t entirely accurate either.”

        Not entirely accurate, or just not applicable to 100% of the feminist population? there is a distinct difference. Because, to be honest, I’ve seen a lot of generalizations about feminism from feminists that are also not applicable to a great measure of the feminist population.

        • “That was my same experience with the feminist movement. Except the reason for hostility against me was due to how I was born.” – yeah and for me it was because of a perceived ideology that I do not actually espouse. My point is that hostility based on assumptions is bad all around.

          “Not entirely accurate, or just not applicable to 100% of the feminist population?”

          Well I don’t know all feminists. ;) But in my experience, the more hardcore political groups do not actually represent the feminism of the majority of the people I talk to. Now, I dunno…maybe that’s just because I am not particularly friendly with radical feminists…but then, my extended group of friends and acquaintances is pretty damn diverse…so I’d think that if there are that many radical feminists actually out there, I’d have befriended one at some point. My own experiences leave me to believe that seriously hardcore radical gynocentric feminism is a dying ideology….at least numbers wise. Politically it’s still roaring and doing whatever it can to make itself felt.

          • Mark Neil says:

            “Well I don’t know all feminists. But in my experience, the more hardcore political groups do not actually represent the feminism of the majority of the people I talk to…..”

            this largely sounds like you’re saying “it’s not 100% applicable”, as opposed to actually being inaccurate. This is an important distinction.

            Furthermore, even you admit that the “radical” feminism is still politically “roaring” and doing plenty, to which many of the criticisms are accurate. So most peoples views of feminism will be formed by those politically active radical feminists. More importantly, it is those feminists who are shaping the laws and policies that are hurting men. So when people say feminists are hurting men, it actually IS accurate, regardless of how much you don’t like it. While it may not be accurate to all feminists, it is accurate to those people see.

            “my extended group of friends and acquaintances is pretty damn diverse…so I’d think that if there are that many radical feminists actually out there, I’d have befriended one at some point.”

            Not true. There is no reason to believe that you would ever befriend someone with conflicting core beliefs, especially given you likely would not spend time in the same circles. Furthermore, most feminists, even the radicals, still put on an egalitarian face. I don’t know how often I have been told “feminism is about equality” in response to my assertion feminism is about female empowerment (to what degree varies by the individual, and the opinion of men also varies by the individual), and when I asked what feminists have done for men’s issues (anything all all, that wasn’t just a side effect of helping women, or an attempt to make men more like women (IE men should be able to express emotions like women)), I inevitably get one of two answers: 1) men don’t have any real issues. or 2) why should feminists help men. Nether of these answers truly represent the “feminism is about equality” assertion originally made (though do fit the feminism is about female empowerment). So while most feminists may say, and even think they believe, that feminism is about equality, very few will actually be able to stand behind that assertion when push comes to shove. Even you have said feminism focus’s on women’s issues because, well, it’s in the name (but you haven’t claimed feminism i about equality, and instead say there is a place for the MRM, so you’re not being contradictory.). The point of this is to say, you may very well be friends with several of these types and nether you, nor they, realize it because their beliefs have yet to be challenged.

            “My point is that hostility based on assumptions is bad all around.”

            But it’s not based on assumptions. Feminists have caused men a lot of damage. At least the feminists most in the public eye, and with the most influence (and thus, identified as the most common, even if that is no longer true, which is hard to determine). Furthermore, you identify as a feminist, with no way to distinguish you from the other type. And believe me, there are plenty of bigots on the internet, and you admit you’re relatively isolated from it, so you need to consider that as well. Sure it’s not nice, but nether is fearing to be alone with someone due to rape or false rape alligation concerns.

            • “Furthermore, even you admit that the “radical” feminism is still politically “roaring” and doing plenty, to which many of the criticisms are accurate.”

              I just think it’s important to make direct these criticisms toward those who are actually causing the problems. When I hear about how all feminists are doing such-and-such…or about how feminism as an idea has cause this or that problem, it makes me less likely to want to hear the rest of what is being said. Now if I hear about how political feminists have cause a problem, or about how radical feminists have caused a problem…well then okay. It’s like the difference between hearing how “men are horndogs,” versus hearing “some men are horndogs.”

              “Furthermore, you identify as a feminist, with no way to distinguish you from the other type.” – I identify as an egalitarian feminist, actually. And hostility is based on assumption…it’s assumed that by identifying myself as a feminist (even an egalitarian feminist) I’m actually a man-hater. It’s like…this comment that I made right here. – it is assuming that a label that has all sorts of different connotations and meaning associated with it, is actually just the worst aspects of that label and that’s it.

              With regards to my friends – yeah when I say diverse I include in that some people with completely different core beliefs than mine. This is particularly true when you take into account my acquaintances. Like for example, one of them actually is a staunchly conservative Catholic…we aren’t great friends but we are acquaintances, and actually a lot of our conversations centre around our different world views. I guess it’s possible one of them is more radical but is hiding it (regardless of the fact that one of the things I discuss most with friends is differing ideologies)…but I doubt it. The basis for most of my friendships and acquaintances is discussing our different beliefs. (My closest friends usually share certain ideologies with me, yes…but that doesn’t hold for the rest of them).

            • Mark Neil says:

              “When I hear about how all feminists are doing such-and-such”

              Are you sure it’s not you sometimes adding the word “all” into the equation (I see this far too often). Sometimes yes, but more often than not, i see generalizations stating feminists are doing such and such…. if even a few femnists are in fact doing such and such, the statement is not wrong, and to inject “all” into it so you can feel justified in defending against it only places yourself as a shield for those very feminists doing that act. you end up putting yourself between them and the criticism they deserve, simply because they didn’t put the unnecessary quantifier “most” or “some”.

              There was one woman on youtube that claimed to be an egalitarian feminist, that, when I challenged her assertion that feminism was about equality, and pushed (because she kept evading the questions) actually ended up telling me she thought every (and yes, she did use that quantifier) man would eagerly rape an 11 year old girl if they thought they could get away with it. So saying you are egalitarian is not a valid response to “there is no way to distinguish”.

              And among all my friends and acquaintances, I don’t actually know any feminist activists (and only, maybe, 1-2 that even identify as feminist. and I’ve only been active in men’s rights a few years, so it’s not like they are just avoiding telling me). does that mean feminist activists are a myth, or exceptionally rare?

            • “Are you sure it’s not you sometimes adding the word “all” into the equation (I see this far too often).”

              This is a case where it’s all about the interpretation of the words being said. Because even if the word ‘all’ isn’t used it can be implied. I don’t inject “all” as a means to defend the feminists who actually do espouse ideas I think are harmful, though I’m sure there are those who do. I, personally, interpret it as meaning all because without a signifier, it _can_ mean all. It’d be like saying – lesbians are masculine. It is implied that it means all lesbians are masculine, which is false. It is true that some lesbians are masculine, but without that qualifier the exact meaning of what is being said is difficult to determine.

              The use of language is extremely important, and I’m not saying I don’t fall into similar traps myself. But when we are having discussions about such personal opinions and ideologies, it is crucial that we all be as specific and careful in our word choices as possible. So if someone is talking about political feminist groups specifically, it’s important to qualify that.

              On that same note about language – your example of an egalitarian feminist with that opinion about men and 11 year old girls brings up the problem with any label…and that is that individuals within any label will vary. I’ll again go back to lgbt labels cuz I’m familiar with them. A butch lesbian, for example, encompasses a fairly wide range of attitudes, behaviours, and aesthetic styles. No label would have any meaning at all if we were to invalidate it based on every single outlier. – instead we agree upon certain general meanings as a short hand to express our ideas.

              So feminism – ideology about fighting for women’s equality and rights. Egalitarian feminism – fighting for actual gender equality, but focusing on women’s rights. You will get people within either label that don’t actually fit…and yet we still continue to use those labels. Now, if you were to tell me you came across a few egalitarian feminist groups online that all spout rather radical rhetoric (oo alliteration), then that would be a point to re-examine the definition and use of the term.

              “Does that mean feminist activists are a myth, or exceptionally rare.” – look…there isn’t any sort of national (or international) survey of feminists or MRAs to determine who is part of which subgroup and who exactly believes what. So all we have to go on are personal experiences. Even if we were to look at the number of people who donate for NOW or something that still wouldn’t tell us much. It’s easy to write a check for an organization you sort-of agree with. So…in my personal experience is that while there are many political and radical feminist groups out there…they are not the majority.

            • Mark Neil says:

              ” I don’t inject “all” as a means to defend the feminists who…”

              Never said that was a means, just a result. Let me give you an example. If someone said “feminists are pushing through anti-male laws” and a feminist jumps up and says “that’s not true, feminism isn’t anti-male, it’s about equality for all” and proceeds in a back and forth about what feminism is about, does one of the results of this exchange not appear to be the shielding of the feminists who are pushing through anti-male laws? May not have been the original intention, but it is one of the results.

              ” interpret it as meaning all because without a signifier, it _can_ mean all.”

              It _can_ also mean a few. But then again, when you identify as a feminist, people might be hostile towards you because you possibly _can_ be a man hating radical.

              ” It’d be like saying – lesbians are masculine. It is implied that it means all lesbians are masculine, which is false.”

              No, it implies that most – the magority – are masculine (not agreeing with the statement, just using the example you provided). Without the quantifier “all”, there is room for exception, even a significant quatity ofexceptions. When “all” is injected into a statement, it removes the potential for exceptions, and makes a generalization into an absolute. This is a dishonest debate tactic by painting the original commentor as extremist and irrational (and when I see someone say “all feminists are such and such”, that’s how I see that commentor, as an extremist).

              Furthermore, I would like to note that your original comment spoke of “doing such and such”, not “being such and such”. Accusations of what feminists “are” is a little more open to the “all” interpretation (though I still disagree with the use or injection of all even here) than accussations of what feminists are “doing”.

              Now, if you hear someone talking about what feminists are, and you don’t aggree that it fits even the magority, then take it from there, but injecting the “all” accusation distorts their original comment into something far easier to debate, and is both unreasonable, and dishonest. And doesn’t promote the very “listening” you espouse.

              ” it is crucial that we all be as specific and careful in our word choices as possible.”

              And it is equally important not to inject words specifically not used as well. If there is room for multiple interpretations, it is better to get clarification than to make assumptions of their intent. And that itself is a bit of a test… if you would feel stupid asking someone if they meant “all”, then chances are, they didn’t.

              “and that is that individuals within any label will vary.”

              Are you suggesting that thinking all men want to rape 11 year old girls is just a variance of egalitarian feminism? or is it instead a radical cloaking themselves within the egalitarian label in order to hide their bigotry? I saw no other feminist speak out against that comment.

              “No label would have any meaning at all if we were to invalidate it based on every single outlier.”

              No label has any meaning if we accept such extreme variances to the point we dilute it’s very meaning. What is an egalitarian feminists, if we are to accept such a person who believes all men will rape an 11 year old girl if given the chance as being within that label? So ether claiming the egalitarian label is meaningless because it’s meaning is too diluted to mean anything substantial, or else it’s meaningless due to the ease in which others can claim it to mask themselves. My poont is, claiming to be egalitarian isn’t enough to stem the hostility, many bigoted feminists hide behind the egalitarian label. If you don’t like that, perhaps you should speak with those bigots tarnishing your label?

              “Now, if you were to tell me you came across a few egalitarian feminist groups online that all spout rather radical rhetoric”

              Not groups, I can’t find any egalitarian feminist groups online (which says a lot for how common or not they are). But I do find a lot of people claiming to be egalitarian that, when pushed, show their bigotry (youtube comments often have these types). I was simply using the most egregious example that came to mind. Others here have also encountered these types, and I believe have said so within these very comments.

              “So all we have to go on are personal experiences”

              and yet, even your experiences tell you that the most visible, politically active feminists are of the radical/bigoted variety, but still feel compelled to insist those who base their opinions on feminism based on those same visible/politically active feminists don’t have the know of it. Your saying “most feminists aren’t like that” is even more aggregious then others saying most feminists are, because you need to rely on what you know to be personal experience to counter what is clearly visible to all. That’s what I’m trying to point out. You seem unwilling to accept the possiblility that it is your group of feminists that are the anomoly, not the political bigots.

              It really comes down to this… just as you feel if bigoted feminists were more common, they would be better represented within your social sphere, others believe if egalitarian feminists were more common, they would be better represented within the political sphere…

            • “Does one of the results of this exchange not appear to be the shielding of the feminists who are pushing through anti-male laws?”

              Ah yes, I see what you are saying. And I would say that the problem with both those statements is that they are not specific enough…because at face value neither of those statements is quite true. Or at least…neither of those statements manages to express the whole truth.

              I think our disagreement about the use of the term “all” or a lack of any qualifier is really just all about the very subjective aspects of reading and interpreting a text. I honestly do not interpret a “feminists are…” comment to mean “all” as a means to attack the commenter. That is just how I read it. And I believe that you interpret it to mean “a majority.” – are there people who construct a comment (and a response) as a way to take advantage of the ambiguity of a statement without a qualifier such as “all”? Certainly. But for you and I….I really think it’s just a matter of the two of us reading a text differently.

              And yeah with the feminist with the 11 year old rape example – I was suggesting it was a radical cloaking herself in egalitarian feminism (perhaps subconsciously, or perhaps purposefully).

              With regards to youtube comments – those are a pile of pants anyway, most of the time…regardless of the subject. Not that it invalidates them…just that they tend to show the worst side of people. And not that it excuses it…I’m just saying, gotta look at them in their context.

              And as for labels and having their meaning diluted because anyone can claim them. Well…yeah but it’s the internet. I could go onto any website and claim to be any label I want and then say something completely insane. It’s the anonymity which makes it troublesome…which is why I’m liking GMP so much. It’s the internet, yes…but people are having serious conversations exploring these issues.

              Anyway – yeah actual egalitarian feminists aren’t exactly organized around a rallying point. But then, how often is the centre of any issue organized into a cohesive group? Rarely. It’s something that a few of us are actually working to fix…but it’s not like we can just pop up one night and BAM all the egal feminists in the world will join a website or something. :)

            • Tom Brechlin says:

              “Like for example, one of them actually is a staunchly conservative Catholic…we aren’t great friends but we are acquaintances”
              Whereas you have an acquaintance who is a “staunchly conservative Catholic”, two of my oldest friends is a gay couple whom I’ve known for 35 years. One of my business partners is gay. And let’s add this to boot, I work with a group that provides meals to people with AIDS (some women, mostly men) where I personally deliver meals to the home bound. Ya know what? MOST of the volunteers in this group are from the local church goers. Maybe you need to listen to these people more?

            • I actually know plenty of gay Christians too…because obviously being gay and Christian is not mutually exclusive. And Christian feminists. And gay conservative Christians…well one. etc. etc.

              My whole point in bringing up the Christian conservative right, was to say that making generalizations about the people who are part of it is inaccurate. That is my point.

          • Tom Brechlin says:

            “My own experiences leave me to believe that seriously hardcore radical gynocentric feminism is a dying ideology….at least numbers wise”
            How about this then?? “(WOMENSENEWS)–More than 50 women’s rights organizations will be using
            March 1, the first day of women’s history month, to announce a
            voter-major mobilization effort for the 2012 elections”
            Women’s rights? 50 organizations???? Men’s rights are struggling with keeping a handful together. “Women’s history month?”

  4. @Mark – I think a lot of the problems in our dialogues are about the period of time we’re talking about. I treat this article as something that calls for a change in the future of feminism. I see it as someone who acknowledges some of the failings of feminism (although she uses problematic terms), and is saying it’s time to change that. I think either MRAs or feminists ignoring each other isn’t an ideal solution either…working together would be best. Which, I’d like to highlight that I’m not suggesting that it’s likely to happen…I’m just saying that it should be the goal.

    Somewhere else on here I mentioned something about feminism and patriarchy. I’ll quote it: “Part of it worked within the patriarchal view of the world (with regards to domestic violence and parental rights)…and part of it really didn’t (with regards to voting, careers, military, etc). The bits that everyone eats up like candy are the bits that do stick with traditional ideas of women as being protected…which is why I think we see so much support for women’s domestic violence issues and maternal rights. But the bits that people hated and railed against where the bits that went against it – again, voting, military, etc.”

    So that’s how I see it – yeah some parts of feminism played into traditional views of women and their needed protection, and others haven’t. Unfortunately just at the minute, the big issues of domestic violence and reproductive rights are bits that play into those traditional views.

    And like, with regards to the fact that a similar call for men to be able to do what they will, and define masculinity as they will, isn’t really happening…well yeah and I think that should change. Again, a lot of what I’m saying isn’t about what is, but about what I think should be.

    And thanks for not making personal attacks on feminists…I really didn’t mean to suggest you did. I was just saying it’s a lot of the reaction I have felt.

    • Mark Neil says:

      “I think either MRAs or feminists ignoring each other isn’t an ideal solution either”

      Perhaps not the ideal, but for the moment, it is likely the best we can do. There is too much hostility on both sides. If the MRM could be left alone to establish itself and do what they felt was needed, without the constant shaming and attacks, possibly even with the occassional support, it would go a long way towards bridging that gaps. but so long as feminism attacks the MRM, the MRA’s will point out how damaging the political feminists have been as a counter. I point you to an issue in Juneau Alaska (a few years back) with regards to a social club called Men’s Crisis Center (based on a song) that had adopted a section of highway and put a sign up. Feminist groups took offense to having a Men’s Crisis Center sigh on the highway, attributing it to a website (unrelated) with jokes on stereotypes of both genders, and calling it offensive to women. At no point during an investigation did anyone actually speak to any members of the club to get clarification. This is what men’s groups face (and this was nothing more than a social club, not active in any advocacy)

      http://juneauempire.com/stories/120508/loc_364003458.shtml

      “I’m just saying that it should be the goal.”

      I prefer to deal in acheivable goals, and adapt and adjust my goals as things change. I think this is a distinct difference in these conversations, that is causing some conflict. What “should” be is nice to think of an all, but really, the world doesn’t work in “should”‘s and “ideal”‘s.

      “But the bits that people hated and railed against where the bits that went against it”

      I don’t see so much railing (with the exception to women in combat) as just a confusion and lack of support/appathy. Because the desire to help and please women part of patriarchy still drove them to want to help, but where the end’s didn’t align with patriarchal norms, the momentum stopped. only when it actually went against patriarchal values did anyone actually rail against women’s issues (specifically, combat). There are no women’s issue’s I can think of that steps have not been taken to address. perhaps not to the satisfaction of some feminists (but as we can see, anything short of totalitarian domination is short of what “some” feminists will be satisfied with), but that isn’t the point, the point is where help was provided or railed against.

      • “I prefer to deal in acheivable goals, and adapt and adjust my goals as things change.”

        I’m more of a…have pie-in-the-sky goals, and then create achievable goals as stepping stones to that ideal. But always keep that ideal in the back of your mind, or else you might forget the point of it all. Just different world views and personalities, I suppose.

        “I don’t see so much railing.” – well this is an oldie but a goodie…women’s right to vote wasn’t exactly helped along by traditional gender norms. The narrative at the time was that politics was too rough and tumble for ladies. It was a fight to achieve it. So I think there have been a few issues where there has been active dissent against equality.

        Alright that being said…at the moment the only issue I can I can think of that falls into that category is with regards to women in combat. In part, because I personally see that as one of the final ways in which institutionalized discrimination against women still exists. Everything else has been kaput (sometimes too far, as in the case with affirmative action). – and you are right that every women’s issue has had steps taken to sort it out. Which is why I think feminism needs to shift to reflect this. The rah-rah make a sign and start a protest, form of feminism isn’t the way forward. Neither is the political lobbying, I don’t think. That’s now how you change society – and it’s social constructions of gender that should be focused on now…not policy (not for women anyway).

        So yeah…I sort of get what you’re saying about letting the MRM do it’s thing. Feminists could take a chill pill with regards to policy and let the MRM come in and fix things where they went astray. But really…who ever gives up political power willingly? So like either the MRM could try to shove feminism out (and in the process alienate more centrist and egalitarian feminists)…or it could be sneaky and try to figure out a way to include it somehow. (I’m just brainstorming here…thinking this up as I write it really). Hmmmm.

        • Mark Neil says:

          Re: pie-in-the-sky… I just find it more difficult to adapt to changing circumstances when I reach too far ahead. But as you say, this is just personal preference.

          “women’s right to vote wasn’t exactly helped along by traditional gender norms.”

          Lack of support is not the same as opposition. railing against something is opposition. Strong opposition. My point was that, with the exception of combat, when feminists goals didn’t line up with patriarchal values, the worst that happened was it canceled out the patriarchal drive to support and help women, leaving apathy, not railing against. the only exception being military service, and even that women have been granted all the benefits of military service, just without being aloud to join in combat duty (they are still able to get the same ranks and pay as those men going out on patrol, just without the same degree of danger).

          “But really…who ever gives up political power willingly?”

          What happened to that pie-in-the-sky and what should be/what is ideal attitude?

          “So like either the MRM could try to shove feminism out (and in the process alienate more centrist and egalitarian feminists)”

          How is shoving a form of feminism that does not represent the interests of centrist or egalitarian feminists, out of political power, alienate those egalitarians or centrist feminists, unless you feel more aligned with their beliefs, goals and policies then with equality? I would think that if you truly believed in equality, you would want those out that hurt men AND women in their drive for feminist supremacy, which you have acknowledged on a number of occasions are who run the political feminist movement. I would think egalitarian feminists supporting the MRM with removing these bigots from power would actually do a lot more towards establishing a balanced gender discussion then opposing the MRM (and thus helping to silence them) by demonstrating some feminists really aren’t like that and don’t support those attitudes, as well as ensuring once the feminist bigots are out, there remains some (balanced) feminist ideals within the discussion.

          It is this instinctive resistance to outing any feminist, regardless of their ideals, that makes it hard for MRA’s to accept egalitarian feminists even really exist.

          “or it could be sneaky and try to figure out a way to include it somehow.”

          As implied above, how can the MRM hope to include egalitarian feminists when those feminists still seek to protect the bigots in power, as you suggested (by saying outing those bigots would alienate centrist/egalitarian feminists)?

          • “Lack of support is not the same as opposition.” – True. My use of the term ‘railing against’ is problematic. I know there was opposition to the idea, but I don’t know how much of it was an organized opposition. Anyway…the point still stands that there are multiple aspects of feminism that aren’t in line with traditional gender norms. Exactly how much they deviate is a variable. (And yes there are also aspects that are in line with traditional norms, such as gender-based protection against domestic violence).

            “What happened to that pie-in-the-sky and what should be/what is ideal attitude?” – Nice. ;) I mentioned having more grounded goals as a stepping stone…and this is sort of where I think that fits.

            What you’re saying about egal feminists helping the MRM…well yeah…except for the problem that often a feminist who actually uses that label feels extremely unwelcome when trying to approach the MRM (or at least I did, and I’ve heard it from others too). Not because they won’t agree with us…and not because they aren’t doing what we want…but because of the general anti-feminist mood and rhetoric often used. That’s what I mean when I say the MRM would need to find a way to integrate feminists…not that they need to bend over backwards to welcome radical feminists. (And the same could be said of feminists and the MRM. For those egal feminists who do want men and the MRM to cross over…then they (well really, we) need to recognize and respect men’s points of view. (So like this essay…except that it managed to really miss the mark with it’s use of the term ‘oppression.’)

            Outing radical feminists as anti-men is not what I’m saying would alienate centrist bigots. It’s the difficulty, and sometimes flat out inability, to be seen as separate from these radical bigots that causes the alienation. It’s the general hostility that causes the problem. Or, as you say, the fact that some MRAs won’t even accept that egalitarian feminists exist…so we end up spending time just proving we’re real. It’s not a welcoming environment. Do you get what I’m saying?

            • Mark Neil says:

              “Nice. I mentioned having more grounded goals as a stepping stone…and this is sort of where I think that fits.”

              Sorry. just needed to point out consistency helps in discussion. When you are always looking from an ideal “should be” perspective, suddenly switching to a more practical, achievable goal (without clarification) causes problems.

              “except for the problem that often a feminist who actually uses that label feels extremely unwelcome when trying to approach the MRM”

              Except there is no need to approach or get approval from MRA’s to speak down of the radicals and gynocentrist. It shouldn’t matter what the MRA’s say about you, that should have no impact on your own need to stand up the radicals that smear your ideologies name. After all, only a small portion of those who dislike feminism are actually MRAs.

              PS, Christina Hoff Sommers (amongst others) identify as feminist, yet is highly respected amongst the MRM due to her willingness to speak out against the bigots within the feminist movement. Furthermore, she is reviled by many feminists, and is even identified in the anti-feminist section on the feminism page of wiki (An exile no radicals need endure).

              You also keep speaking like it is the MRM that must make the first move towards being balanced, but the MRM IS a response to feminism, is it really reasonable to ask the response to level itself so as not to reflect the severity of the cause? More importantly, the MRM balancing itself to what you would like to see will do absolutely nothing to repair the femnist reputation. So it’s actually in your (egal feminists) best interest to act against the radicals, be damned what the MRAs think. Perhaps then, once it can be seen egal feminists are standing up against radicals, you will begin seeing MRA support, much as Christina Hoff Sommers does.

              “It’s the difficulty, and sometimes flat out inability, to be seen as separate from these radical bigots that causes the alienation.”

              Again, Christina Hoff Sommers has no issues being seen as seperate from the bigots. And really, if you can condemn the bigots, instead letting them go about their hatred unopposed in your name, why should you be seen as seperate?

              “Or, as you say, the fact that some MRAs won’t even accept that egalitarian feminists exist”

              Not quite true, most MRA’s won’t accept claims of egal feminism on face value. CHS is a perfect example of an egal feminist, and holds a great deal of respect among the MRM.

              “so we end up spending time just proving we’re real. It’s not a welcoming environment. Do you get what I’m saying?”

              Yes I do, what I don’t understand is why it needs to be a welcoming envirounment, right now, at this very moment (again going back to long term pie in the sky vs short term achevale goals). We’re not asking you to join the MRM, we’re asking you to prove what you claim to be, and condemn the radical portion of the feminist movement, such as the links I provided, you did acknowledge it here as being harmful rhetoric, but as far as judy’s overall comment goes, you just let it slide, and Jasmine actually defended her.

            • “Sorry. just needed to point out consistency helps in discussion.” – I didn’t mean that ‘nice,’ sarcastically…I meant it genuinely. As in, nice catch…cuz yeah the use of language is important, and I sometimes fall into the trap of not being clear or specific enough.

              Well the reason I didn’t comment on Judy’s comment is because I didn’t read it until you provided the link. I didn’t ‘let it slide,’ so much as I just didn’t see it. And I’m not saying the MRM needs to be welcoming, exactly…I mean I’m not expecting a parade and a welcome wagon. I’m saying it’d be helpful if it were less hostile…yes some feminists do end up supporting the MRM…but then there are also men out there who support radical feminism. Which is to say…the hostile environment doesn’t turn everyone away, just a lot of people.

              And as for why some of us egalitarian feminists would like a less adversarial relationship with the MRM…well because working together achieves more. That’s the main thrust of this article…let’s work together. Instead of creating an environment that pushes people away in the fear of allowing a falsely egal feminist in…why not accept the egal feminists who come, but just be aware of the potential. It’s like the difference between and optimist and pessimist outlook on pretty much all relationships. Do you push everyone away so that you know only the people who really care join? Or do you let a wide range of people join, but be on your guard? I’m more for the second one.

              I’m not a political person, I’m not a leader of any community…I am doing what I can to promote and ‘prove’ all of my values, including egal feminism. I have joined GMP (which, although not an MRM site, is a site concerned with men) and made comments defending men’s rights. I have expressly condemned radical feminism and the ideologies espoused by radical feminists. I have attempted, though not always successfully, to show that I do actually empathize with men’s issues. I am doing what I can to ‘prove’ my egal feminism…and yet I still get told by a couple of people that they don’t think I’m actually an egalitarian feminist, or that they don’t even believe egal feminists exist. (Not saying that’s what you’re saying).

              It is frustrating, and a bit tiring…and I haven’t even been part of GMP that long. And, as I’ve said, I understand where that comes from. I comprehend the need to have people who claim to be egalitarian feminists show that they actually do believe it. But…again not saying it needs to be welcoming…but it is extremely difficult to defend the ideas from a group of people who are hostile toward you. Perhaps more egal feminists would vocally support MRM ideas if they didn’t feel as though the MRM was against feminism completely.

            • Mark Neil says:

              “And as for why some of us egalitarian feminists would like a less adversarial relationship with the MRM…well because working together achieves more. ”

              It most certainly would, but again, small steps vs pie in the sky. But I need to point out again, Speaking out against the radical viewpoints isn’t about supporting the MRM, it is about helping to repair feminists reputation, so that people (not just MRA’s, but including MRAs) are less hostile.

              “That’s the main thrust of this article…let’s work together.”

              But as even you acknowledge, it is a “lets work together under my authority”. Quite a few of the MRM are former feminists who have already tried that, others are not willing to join under those circumstances/conditions, particularly given how pervasive the radical viewpoint is, even amongst some of those calling themselves egalitarian (such as this author or Jasmine).

              “Do you push everyone away so that you know only the people who really care join?”

              Oh, believe me, I do have an issue with how quickly many MRA’s strike at people, lashing out in anger. I have spoken up about it and had Paul Elam tell me to “get the fuck off his site”. But that said, the odds are not in favour of being open to those who claim the feminist label. Very few of the very many who have claimed the egal feminist label ever actually stand by it, and most try to suggest the idea of abandoning the MRM for their egal feminism, which is destructive when done subtly from within.

              ” I am doing what I can to ‘prove’ my egal feminism…and yet I still get told by a couple of people that they don’t think I’m actually an egalitarian feminist,”

              I’ll admit, I was one of those that have said I don’t believe you are truly egalitarian. You have since convinced me otherwords (you may notice I haven’t used the “alleged” qualifier recently). Part of my confusion was with your difference from many other egal’s, which didn’t come to my attention until this very thread… You see egal feminism as about equality for all, but with a focus on women and an openness towards the MRM… Whereas most egal feminists I’ve encounter say egal feminism is about equality for both genders… full stop. There is no focus on women, there is no place for the MRM.

              But you admit you haven’t been here long, and I suspect you receive far less hostility now then when you first began. As you prove yourself, we become more open to rational discussion. Perhaps this need to prove yourself isn’t ideal, but it is what it is.

              “or that they don’t even believe egal feminists exist.”

              Easy answer to this is point them to Christina Hoff Sommers. Her Wiki and all her bio’s says she identifies as feminist.

              “but it is extremely difficult to defend the ideas from a group of people who are hostile toward you. ”

              But you’re not defending the ideas of the MRA, you’re defending the ideas of your own egalitarian feminism. You don’t even need to acknowledge the MRM exists and there is still plenty of reason to take a stand against the radicals, and doing so would end up proving egal fems do exist, and in larger numbers then what is visible in the political sphere at the moment.

            • “But you’re not defending the ideas of the MRA, you’re defending the ideas of your own egalitarian feminism.”

              No right…but I’m just saying I’d like to be able to point to different parts of the MRM and be like – yeah I support this too. Because, particularly with domestic violence and the definition of rape…I am very much on the side of the MRM. Being an egal feminist and supporting the MRM are two different things…but it’s like…maybe there are egal feminists out there who would call out more radical feminists on their crap if they thought it was worth it. But if you think that the only place for you in the fight for gender equality is with feminists, then maybe you’ll put up with more crap from them. I’m not saying that’s a good thing (cuz it’s not). It seems to me the MRM would have a vested interest in positively promoting egalitarian feminists.

              And I just don’t see egalitarian feminism as something that needs to exist completely separate from the MRM. This sort of goes back to my really-freaking-unrealistic dream of like this egalitarian movement that has feminist and MRM branches, or something. (Now it’s time for the group hug and the bongos).

              “But you admit you haven’t been here long, and I suspect you receive far less hostility now then when you first began.” – From some people most certainly, but not from others. Thanks for the Christina Hoff Sommers name-drop though…I’ll keep her in my back pocket. :)

              As for the differing definitions of egalitarian feminist, even…I think that’s a misunderstanding of the language. Any of my friends who actually take on the label of egalitarian feminist see it more like I do…because well yeah, like I said…it’s in the name. (Just like the MRM…it’s in the name).

            • Mark Neil says:

              “maybe there are egal feminists out there who would call out more radical feminists on their crap if they thought it was worth it.”

              This is where I’m getting stuck, why do you need MRM approval for this to be worth it? Wouldn’t promoting a more balanced, equal outlook, that helps both men and women, make it worth it? wouldn’t combating the very real negative views of feminism, and making crystal clear that not all feminists are like that, to the general populace, to the politicians and to the media… wouldn’t that make it worth it? Wouldn’t preventing harmful policies like VAWA be worth it? If the only reason one deems it worth it to oppose radical feminism is to get on MRA’s good side, there is a serious problem, because that should be on the bottom of the list for someone who claims to be an egalitarian feminist.

            • “This is where I’m getting stuck, why do you need MRM approval for this to be worth it?”

              Alrighty lemme take a step back because I’m beginning to say things that are being read in ways I don’t mean. Maybe it’s because I keep replying so early in the morning for me (its 4:30am now lol).

              Okay so we have been focusing on egal feminists calling out radical feminists, and I’m trying to say that for an egalitarian feminist to do that sort of on his/her own is a bit daunting. If you think that the only option you have in the fight for equality is to become part of feminism, then you might put up with more crap from feminists…cuz it’s the only shop in town (or at least the only shop that’ll open it’s doors to you). I suppose a more organized egalitarian movement would work to create the sort of, network that supports people who take on the label.

              But see I also got bogged down in discussing a point and sort of lost focus a bit…which is to say that I don’t think calling out radical feminists should be the top priority. We should all do it, obviously…just like she should call out radical anythings on their hateful speech. But I think the priority should be in fixing the problems…fixing the policy and the social norms that have been created that harm men (and any other category of people, but specifically here we’re talking about men). So that is where the desire for less-hostile environment of MRMs really comes in.

              Egal feminists and MRAs working together to fix shit…which would be made easier if egal feminists did actively separate themselves from radical feminists…but it would also be made easier if MRAs weren’t so hostile toward anyone who takes on the label of feminist. Which, again, isn’t to say that one side needs to go first.

  5. Tom Brechlin says:

    This quote was recently posted on one of the groups I’m part of. I assure you that it wasn’t prompted by me or anyone … “When you love a woman, you love the smell of her hair, the taste of her neck, hearing her voice and feeling her soul. By Steven Iavarone” And the gentleman that posted it is VERY active in men’s rights, more specifically, fathers rights. Does this sound as though the is anger toward women? Many are assuming that MRM’s are all about anger and revenge, they aren’t !!

    • I don’t think MRMs are about anger and revenge on women (though I have seen that in a couple people). I think a lot of the rhetoric and discussion I have seen shows anger toward feminists. Not all women…but toward feminists. And I’ve already discussed why I think this is problematic.

  6. Mark Neil says:
    • I think I’m the only feminist left commenting on this article. lol.

      And I think my reply would be pretty obvious…le sigh. (not at you, but at those comments). That is precisely the kind of rhetoric I’m against.

      • Nope, I keep checking in and continue to be amazed by the amount of comments this article generated.

      • Mark Neil says:

        And yet, Jasmine defended the views of Judy. She presumed they were coming from a place of balance, equality, and justified her words based on the presumption, but as you could see, it was not a place of balance. when those claiming to be about equality wil still stand behind (or in front of, shielding) those with this type of rhetoric, it becomes very difficult to tell one type of feminism from the next. Please understand, this is why so many are hard pressed to accept claims of being egalitarian feminists from people such as yourself, because others doing the same clearly don’t stand by their claims. That was the point I was hoping to make by pointing to those comments. You have noted a few times that you don’t understand why you encounter such hostility despite claiming to be egalitarian.

        • Eric M. says:

          Mark, you have here explained far better than I have the point I was inarticulately trying to make to Jasmine, except I didn’t have a specific example involving her to point out.

        • “You have noted a few times that you don’t understand why you encounter such hostility despite claiming to be egalitarian.”

          Ah. It may have sounded like I don’t understand why…but I do, at least on a cerebral level. I do comprehend – it’s all well and good for someone to say ‘no I don’t think men are evil,’ but then when that same person defends a comment made by someone who essentially said ‘men are evil,’ it’s difficult to trust what anyone says. I get ya.

          But here’s where my pie-in-the-sky attitude comes back – I hope we can figure out a way to all move beyond that. Actual egalitarian feminists need to call out radical feminists when they say such harmful and hateful things. And the MRM needs to be able to recognize that not all egalitarian feminists are such enablers. At least that’s my opinion…that it works both ways.

          At the risk of pissing people off by again mentioning lgbt rights…I’m going to. It’s the one example I can use to show that I do understand what you are saying on a personal level. One area of contention between me and one of my best friends (a liberal evangelical Christian youth minister), is with her defence of certain televangelists. She supports lgbt rights, and yet she also supports a couple of televangelists who are vocal in their opposition of lgbt rights. (It’s somewhat different because she’d never defend what these guys are saying about lgbt rights…but she does defend a lot of the other stuff they say. She just sort of ignores what they say about lgbt people). And I also get that it’s different because I’m talking about an individual who is one of my best friends – but again I’m only trying to illustrate that I do empathize and understand.

          • Mark Neil says:

            “Actual egalitarian feminists need to call out radical feminists when they say such harmful and hateful things. And the MRM needs to be able to recognize that not all egalitarian feminists are such enablers.”

            And you don’t see the later as being a potential result of the former, when talking short term/achievable goals? why must these both be done simultaneously, or the MRM make the first move (IE, to accept, based on nothing but your words and the promise of actions not yet taken, your claims to egalitarianism (and by “your” I mean egal feminism, not you specifically))?

            • I do see the latter as being a result of the former, yes. But just because it’s the result, doesn’t mean it’s not problematic. Because…when I get called out for being a feminist (in any sense of the term), and when I get told by someone that they don’t actually believe I’m an egalitarian feminist…that makes me want to circle the wagons, it makes me feel a bit defensive. Just like, I’m sure when someone who takes on the label of egalitarian feminist defends someone who says such harmful things, it probably makes you feel like battening down the hatches, not to make assumptions. But then…the result is that when two people try to have a dialogue (a proper egalitarian feminist and a reasonable MRA)…both come to the party already on the defensive. (I’m trying to think logically about emotions and then explain it here, which doesn’t always work well…)

              I’m also not saying the MRM needs to make the first move…I’m saying someone does, and that when someone does the other side needs to be able to see it as the olive branch it is. Ya know? Otherwise it turns into a cycle…it’s like the classic trope of two people in a fight and giving each other the silent treatment, and neither one is willing to speak first.

            • When you claim to be egalitarian, which means supporter of equality for all, the what is the purpose of adding the term feminist to it???

            • Because I personally have focused on women’s issues. So egalitarian (I believe in equality) feminist (I focus on women’s issues)…not to the exclusion of men’s issues, and not to say that men’s issues are less important…but that’s just where my focus is.

              I suppose to be more accurate I could call myself an egalitarian, centrist, feminist, lgbt-rights advocate, sex-positive person. But seeing as we’re talking about gender here, I’m simply shortening it to egalitarian feminist.

            • My objection to the term “egalitarian feminism” is that you cannot play for a team (feminism) and be the referee (egalitarian) at the same time. I hope you know the term “conflict of interests.”

            • Mark Neil says:

              Heather’s acknowledged that here definition of egalitarian feminism is equality for all, but a focus on women and support for the need for the MRM (though the hostility she experiences makes this part difficult). Unlike many other egal feminists who feel the MRM should be subsumed into feminism, she believes there is a place for the MRM, not within feminism, but within the gender discussion, alongside egal feminsm. At least, this is how I understand her position.

            • When feminism and MRM are most often on the collision course, then using the term egalitarian feminism seems more like a Trojan horse.

            • Mark Neil says:

              and this is clearly where you missed the bulk of the discussion. There are two types of feminism, most fit into the feminism you’re speaking of (gynocentrism), some use the egal fem term like a shield (or as you put it, a Trojan horse), but some, like Christina Hoff Sommers, actually do promote the beliefs in equality they espouse.

            • Yeah Mark, that’s pretty much my position, thanks :)

            • Tom Brechlin says:

              I’m more apt to go with the Trojan horse idea … not at all saying the Heather herself has any ulterior motive but this “come to our camp and let’s talk” is, in my view a Trojan horse. Nonetheless Heather, you said it yourself, your focus has been on women’s rights and that’s what the feminists have and continued to do. No true interest in leveling the playing field. And I can honestly tell you, real MRM’s though there are a few fringe groups that don’t fit the mold, men are simply interested in getting back what they have lost, interested in getting a break where it comes to fatherhood. I’ve been involved in two groups that have been around for more then 20 years, these are the groups that I’m talking about. Heather, you have a good heart but you are naïve and I would suggest you take the rose collar glasses off and see 2012 feminism for what it is, not what you would like it to be. You have a long battle within the feminist ranks you have to get over before you can begin to settle into what MRM’s are all about.

  7. HidingFromtheDinosaurs says:

    I will find no truce with feminism until its adherents see fit to acknowledge the harm they have done and to make reparations for that harm. The characterizations presented in this article are childish and spiteful, reeking of stale rhetoric and designed to silence opposing viewpoints, especially the male viewpoints it claims to invite, rather than fostering discussion. As a male victim of systemic child abuse by women (unlike most feminists, I can use the word “systemic” correctly. In this case the abuse was perpetrated over a period of more than ten years by social workers in the employ of the public school system with the knowledge and consent of its administrators), I have found nothing but silencing and re-victimization at the hands of feminists (“can’t you see how absolutely terrified that group of grown women who routinely held you down and beat you for hours before you were old enough to shave must have been?”, “But don’t you see, they had no choice but to file false reports of misconduct and put you on medication that destroyed your mental well being”). Why should I or any man align with a movement preeminently concerned with continuing to further restrict our accepted gender roles, deny us equal legal protection in cases of abuse and rape and erasing our sufferings, experiences and points of view from discourse?

    The pillars of feminist belief are founded on lies, refuted by pile upon pile of reliable data. They have gotten it wrong, and gotten wrong from the start. If they now refuse to pay for it because “Don’t you see? We’ve always been about equality, never mind all those influential writers and highly placed leaders advocating legally enforced sexism and sometimes even the systematic murder of men”, I see no reason why anyone should humor them in their delusions.

  8. A man’s involvement in feminism is most needed in speaking to other men, just like whites folks were most needed to influence other white folks in the civil right movement.

    Women want rights. There aren’t too many women out there who don’t want an equal piece of the pie. It’s us dudes’ turn to get in on spreading the good word to other guys that being nice to women is where it’s at. Most of the guys out there who have a hard time getting on board with that idea are a lot more likely hear that message if it comes from another guy (particularly an older one). It’s an important thing for us men to talk about. What effect do we want to have on the world: increasing suffering or creating happiness? It’s a good question to start with for just about any interpersonal sticky wicket.

    Sure the ‘where do we go from here?’ conversation will go on simultaneously and after we’ve straightened out us menfolks, but this is one area where the division of labour among the sexes makes sense.

    One love, hippies.

    p.s. I probably won’t check up on this again, so I’d like to preemptively say that the men’s conversation isn’t supposed to be among themselves abut the future of feminism, but rather about promoting willingness to work with women and take their wants/needs as seriously as we do our own.

    • Mark Neil says:

      “Sure the ‘where do we go from here?’ conversation will go on simultaneously and after we’ve straightened out us menfolks, but this is one area where the division of labour among the sexes makes sense.”

      The problem is actualy the assumption, by feminists like yourself, that menfolk don’t respect women and put their needs on par with their own, or that think us “menfolks” need to be “straightened out”. Perhaps if you could stop projecting malice onto us long enough to take an honest look, you’d realize the problem isn’t men (not women ether). The problem is the preconceptions that you yourself are perpetuating.

      “p.s. I probably won’t check up on this again,”

      Not surprised. Race in, tell men how they should behave (of course, that being in a manner subservient to women’s needs/desires), use shaming language and broad brush accusation against all dissenting opinion, then race off so you don’t need to face those challenging your views.

      “so I’d like to preemptively say that the men’s conversation isn’t supposed to be among themselves abut the future of feminism, but rather about promoting willingness to work with women and take their wants/needs as seriously as we do our own.”

      And may I ask, who’s taking men’s needs seriously as they are wrapping a noose around their necks or pulling triggers against their temples because their children have been stripped away from them? Certainly not feminists. When Dr Farrell tried to speak about those kinds of issues, feminists attacked him and barricaded his event http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iARHCxAMAO0&feature=share&list=FL6fHSPERiljq-R3axj9289Q.

  9. Okay, I just read some of the other posts, and most of those guys are exactly the folks that need a nice sit-down chat with a buddy who can help them put down some of their hang-ups (e.g. women are trying to brainwash me, women wanting to take all your stuff and leave you with no well-defined role and so on…).
    Great examples guys.
    Oh, one other thing, it sucks that that guy got beat up a ton by social workers when he was young. But, it’s certainly not hard to do a little research and find out that the vast majority of violent crimes are perpetrated by men, whether the violence be against other men or women. I get that it’s easy to focus solely on your own history. Who doesn’t, right? But take a second and try to think about percentages here. Let me stop you before you say it. Yes, I’m sure lots of abuse goes un- or under-reported by boys and men who are embarrassed (by restrictive masculine ideals, one might add) and coerced into silence, but no more than girls and especially women. You want reparations? You better have your wallet handy too.

  10. Hi Mark,

    I figured I wouldn’t return to this because the most recent post before mine was from March. But, I’m glad to see that you took the time to respond.
    I’m not attacking men. I am one. My best friend is one. So’s my dad. There are tons of great guys out there. But, there are also a bunch of guys who have trouble seeing women as people with boundaries that need acknowledgment and respect, much like they themselves have. Much of what I am saying, and I should have made this clear, is about folks treating each other decently on a day-to-day basis and affording each other freedom in a space that lets them grow and be their best selves.
    There are of course the big Patriarchy questions out there that get really murky really quickly, but for the intents and purposes of this post I’d like to put those aside.

    “And may I ask, who’s taking men’s needs seriously as they are wrapping a noose around their necks or pulling triggers against their temples because their children have been stripped away from them?” Okay, a couple things here.

    1) Sure it sucks if your ex gains custody of your kids if you would have been an equally good choice. I’m sure it happens often. However, just because custody is awarded to a woman doesn’t necessarily mean that the decision was made because she was a woman. It’s the flip side of the same idea that MRAs use when challenging the gender bias when it comes to hiring (sometimes the man’s hired because he’s just a better candidate). When parents split up, the kids have to go somewhere, and the mom getting them just because she’s a girl is as bad a reason, as a guy getting a job because he’s a man. I’m with you on that one. BUT, just because there is sometimes an inequality here doesn’t mean that the women getting harassed on the street or in their workplaces have it coming to them. Treating all women as a group that shares each member’s trespasses, and extending your gripe with one segment of that group as a reason to condemn them all is bad. We’re not trying to make sure that everyone is equally harassed, we’re trying to get everyone as happy as can be.
    *it’s also worth noting here that the default position of ‘woman gets custody’ is an artifact of patriarchal thinking (i.e. women are all homemakers and child raisers).

    2) No, a person in the role of feminist isn’t going to be the one dealing with the suicidal estranged father. (Although are there really that many of them? You’ll probably have some number for me here). But that same feminist in his or her role as brother or sister are going to be taking that individual’s needs seriously, no?
    Maybe you’d be good at it. Maybe the answer should be you. Not by yourself, but if you’re passionate about suicide prevention, you could volunteer at a hotline or drop-in center. The point is that everyone has their own battles, and just because feminists aren’t fighting yours doesn’t mean that they’re not doing good work with theirs. And on that note, they have plenty of battles, not just ones with unhoused fathers.

    ‘The problem is actually the assumption, by feminists like yourself, that menfolk don’t respect women and put their needs on par with their own, or that think us “menfolks” need to be “straightened out”.’
    I’m not assuming anything here. Girls get yelled at on the street all the time. I’ve seen it plenty of times, and you probably have too. I know lots of women who have been sexually harassed and who have had that experience normalized in their day-to-day life. I wouldn’t put up with it; why should they have to? I’m not talking about all men all the time are wrong about everything, I’m just saying that a noticeable population of men are used to thinking of women not as equals to engage with on equal social footing, but as objects of their desire. I’m certainly not advocating a sexless society, it’s more an issue of learning about other people’s comfort zones and improving your timing (e.g. don’t yell at strangers, don’t grope strangers, don’t intimidate people…). On paper, we probably can all agree on this, I hope.

    And no malice here. Honestly, I’m friendly. If we met we’d probably get along well.
    Have a good one Mark.

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