How Feminism Screwed Up My Love Life

Terri Trespicio’s personal memoir of how she accidentally conflated being strong with being single.

Feminism has done a lot of good–for you, me, all the women you know, and all the women you’ll never meet–as far as social issues, birth control, employment, and your right to do anything and be a woman at the same time. I’m all about girl power, and go women. Yes.

But there’s one area where feminism has not served me well.  And that is dating. Why? Because, having been raised in the 80s, I came of age with the strong impression that men were basically up to no good. In the movies, TV shows, general cultural messages, men were by and large aggressive, incorrigible boors. They could hurt you. At the very least, they might get in your way. The good news was you probably didn’t need them.

Men Not Required

This was easy for me to believe because I went to an all-girls’ private and progressive catholic high school. Training grounds for the “men not required” mentality. I wore a uniform, no makeup, and had not an ounce of concern for boys, as they were not on my radar, and not deemed central to my life in any real way. Sure, we talked about them, but they were more like attractions than people I had relationships with. Beings I’d ogle and wonder at from the stands of a high school football game or at a dance. They were infrequent visitors in my life and I was in a tourist in theirs.

I’d heard about how girls were cowed by the boys in public schools. Girls who didn’t get a shot at leadership, or acted dumb. I felt bad for them. I was certainly better off. For instance, we never mooned about waiting for someone to ask us to a school dance because when our school hosted one, it was on us to do the inviting. Every day was Sadie Hawkins day. We were running the place. And we would run the world.

As students of Oak Knoll High School, we were weren’t just students. We were “women of promise.” We were the promise of a better future. I took this as a promise not to let anything, or anyone, get in my way.

During our senior year, we were shown some horrible video about how to avoid being the unfortunate drunk girl who gets date raped at a frat party. Stay sober, stay smart, and if someone goes to rape you, run for ze hills, screaming your head off.

That was my prep for dealing with men.

I got the impression that I could, should, and would run circles around guys. I’d be smarter, stronger, and savvier. And I was sure as shit not going to let any of them hurt me. Probably a good idea not to let any even get near me.

 

I’m Embarrassed This Happened

And guess what? I succeeded. I sneered at, and even humiliated men as a teenager, and if a guy liked me, I fairly resented him for it. At 14, I had what might be considered my first boyfriend. I’d met him at a spelling bee (not kidding). After two daytime dates held within earshot of parental supervision, I invited him to a dance at the boys’ school.

That night, I had a change of heart. I realized that if he showed up, he was officially my problem and I would in some ways be responsible for him. I panicked. As I saw him lean cautiously through the auditorium door in the flickering disco light (skinny kid, blond crew cut, windbreaker), I felt my heart ball up in a fist, and thought, No, no this was a mistake.

Except, instead of greeting him and talking to him and being civil, I decided to ignore him. I returned to the safety of my friends and we watched him amble from one poorly lit corner of the room to the other, looking for me. I passed him once, and waved hi–and kept walking. I felt bad, but the way I see it now, not bad enough.

I left this boy stranded and friendless, at a school dance where he knew no one but me. I am not proud of this. It remains one of the cruelest things I’ve ever done. I went home that night and said nothing–until the phone rang at 11:30 (which in the days of one-family land lines, was a big deal), and it was him. He was shocked and furious–as he should be. I had nothing to say–I shut down. I had no defense. When my mother got wind of what happened, she scolded me, pleaded–”What is wrong with you? How could you do that?” And I had no answer. I felt tough, and cold.

Then the letters started–scrawled black ink on both sides of thin looseleaf, declarations of love and war, promises to kill himself (“And if you don’t hear about it, I either didn’t do it, or nobody noticed.”) I balled them up and threw them in the back of a drawer. I ignored and ignored, until he went away. I resented his neediness, his melodrama. I liked him a whole lot better when I didn’t know if I could have him, but once I did, I was done.

(I’ve since Google-stalked him and was happy to find that he was working as a computer technician in San Jose. I’m sure he never thinks of it–at least I hope he doesn’t.)
I can’t blame feminism for my piss-poor behavior of course, which I chalk up to fear, insecurity, and anything else that rules the mind and emotions of a 14-year-old girl. But it was reinforced by the notion that men were something to be dealt with, but not at all necessary or required.

I’m Not Proud of This, Either

But it was a bit of a pattern, it turns out. During my first year of high school, my best friend introduced me to her cousin–a sweet strawberry blonde track star from the boys’ school. I knew he liked me, and so of course I was suspicious and guarded. What did he WANT? I enjoyed the attention in an eye-rolling way, and was amused and compelled in ways I didn’t know how to handle except to keep some distance. The night my friend and I double-dated with him and his friend to a Seton Hall hockey game, I walked ahead of him and only hesitantly accepted his varsity track jacket to keep me warm, quickly returning it afterwards.
…And Why This Became a Problem

Flash forward to adulthood and you can imagine how this might set me up with a bit of a handicap. Little did I know the inability to accept anything from a man–attention, love, a jacket–would become a bigger problem. I guarded my virginity jealously, well into college, up until the bitter end, in fact. I believed to share “it”–sex, intimacy–was to give it away to someone who likely didn’t deserve it.

I’ve come a long, long way since the ensuing years of tense serial monogamy in my 20s, and have far to go. So while everyone was up in arms over Suzanne Venker’s article on foxnews.com (in which she says, essentially, that feminists are to blame for the lack of marriageable men), I acknowledged the nerve she struck in me. Because she’s right–I have been angry and defensive for a big chunk of my life, and I’m not even sure why.

Anything But Needy

I’ve worked so hard to be independent, thinking that, as the anti-chick, I would need nothing and no one–and that men would somehow love this. The very last thing on earth I ever wanted to be was a needy, awful girl. I figured if I needed nothing, I’d win. I just didn’t realize the cost of winning.

I certainly don’t regret how feminism has served me: I’ve learned to be aggressive, tough, resilient, and have had many successes in my life as a result. I never have let a man get in my way–are you kidding? No one ever stood a chance. But now I’m trying to unlearn some of that–to learn what it means to soften, not weaken, and to expand, not constrict. To have power without the shiny, hard outer shell. This is incredibly fucking hard.

The notion that some post-fem fallout is to blame, well, that makes sense to me. I swung really hard in one direction and am gradually finding my way back to a more balanced state. My understanding of feminism has evolved, too–in that you don’t have to hate men or beat them in order to be a powerful woman.

Make no mistake–I wouldn’t undo feminism. And I have no regrets about the choices I’ve made in my life (except, of course, for the school dance episode, and a few others to be sure). But I’m well aware that my tendency to fight and compete and fear losing to men has made it incredibly hard for me to love the way I know I could. Even though marriage has never been a goal for me, how silly to think that you can–or should–get through life without loving, as often and as intensely as you can.

Of course, love requires all the things that scare me most: vulnerability, need, want, rejection. It’s hard for me to turn down a challenge–but I’m facing an entirely new one now. Because the softening and revealing and opening up that love requires is the very thing I’ve been steeling myself against. And I’m discovering that to win at not wanting, and not having, may not be a game worth winning, in the end.

This article originally appeared at territrespicio.com.

Photo—sara biljana/Flickr

About Terri Trespicio

Terri Trespicio is a media personality & lifestyle expert, and regular contributor to local and national media, including the Today show, Dr. Oz, Anderson Cooper, and The Martha Stewart Show, and on Sirius XM, where she hosted a live daily show. A former senior editor at Whole Living magazine, Terri contributes to a range of publications and writes regularly on dating and relating as a single person in the modern age. She lives in Manhattan. Visit her at territrespicio.com and @TerriT on Twitter.

Comments

  1. FlyingKal says:

    Thanks for sharing.
    And I mean this in the good way.

    (On a side note, I find it slightly amusing that you write about dating. But that might just be my weird sense of homour. Or maybe I got the article all wrong.)

    • Hi! thanks! Wait–why is it funny that I write about dating?

      • FlyingKal says:

        Hi again Terri.
        This. Terri contributes to a range of publications and writes regularly on dating and relating as a single person in the modern age.

        I first interpreted it as you were writing *advice* on dating, which I found a bit contradictive to your experiences in the article above.
        But then again, maybe you are, and it was just a quirkiness of mine to find it odd… IDK.
        Anyway, I like your writing.

      • Mr Supertypo says:

        Terry somebody teached you the wrong things, im glad to hear you got smarter with age.

  2. I’m sure he never thinks of it–at least I hope he doesn’t.

    I am sure that he likely does think about how you treated him. Things that happen at that age, especially when they are first time events, tend to stick with you. I think the broader point is that what you did probably affected his trust in women, and I suspect that many men who have problems with women probably experienced something like what you did to that boy.

    As for feminism’s affect on your behavior, I cannot speak to your experiences because I do not know you personally, but I find it hard to imagine that hearing the constant refrain that men are up to no good would not have a direct affect on how one treats them, even if one is unconscious of that. That kind of bigotry and sexism, which is what it is, finds a way into a person’s general behavior. That it seems to happen with many feminists suggests that there is something about the ideology itself that prompts it.

    While I do not date feminists, in my general interactions with them I have noticed that many feminists who assume the worst of men do not realize how they come across and how that can hurt others.

    • I was going to say this exact same thing. I’m sure he thinks about it all the time. It probably continues to shape how he treats women. I regularly think of the slights and poor treatment I received from women growing up. I use them as personal and professional motivation just so if I ever run across them again they can see what they missed out on and hopefully regret their actions.

      Petty? Maybe, but it’s great motivation and a constant reminder about taking note of what women do and not what they say.

    • It’s funny but my husband, before me had a policy of not dating anyone who wasn’t a feminist, because he found that women who weren’t feminists, tended to buy into society’s rather narrow minded view of gender and gender roles, and expected him (an artist) to be the breadwinner and so on.

      I’m happy to be the breadwinner, in fact I think I slightly prefer it (partially just because I’m terrible at keeping house, though I do like to cook).

      I go out every day into the big world, and when I get home I get to have this amazing guy waiting for me, so I can sit in his lap and unwind.

      • @Madeira…..

        Good for you!

        I think if most married men had a steady daily stream of hot sex and blow jobs waiting for them, they would be equally eager to “go out every day into the big world.” The reality is most married men have pretty crappy sex lives.

        • LOL she didn’t exactly said she has steady daily streams of hot sex and cunnilingus. She did not mention sex at all.
          In fact, I always find it hilarious that straight men can only think about oral sex FOR THEM, and most never reciprocate. When they do, never in the same amount. Pathetic really. And they still want their wives to keep feeling satisfied with less and longing for that type of selfish sex. Men have to understand sex is also about women’s pleasure before whining.
          And yes, if most married men have crappy sex lives (I do not believe MOST), that means most married woman also have crappy sex lives. And I do believe that is mostly because of what you just displayed – male entitlement and phallocentrism.

    • “I am sure that he likely does think about how you treated him. Things that happen at that age, especially when they are first time events, tend to stick with you. I think the broader point is that what you did probably affected his trust in women, and I suspect that many men who have problems with women probably experienced something like what you did to that boy.” -Jacobtk

      I agree. Although it may not seem like much, I guarantee he still remembers it. Did she even apologize? About a year ago it was the first time that I had asked a girl out. The next evening she was kissing a guy for alcohol. She later told me about it, and I forgave her. She later came out and told me she hadn’t liked me for awhile and gave up trying to tell me without actually making sure I knew until she was long gone. I still remember it to this day and it is still painful. I will remember it until the day I die. If your first time gets ruined, a man never forgets and that turns his whole life upside down. It will be a long time before I ask another woman out again. From the pain and depression I went through, I will not allow myself to consider another woman until I take care of myself first.

  3. But I’m well aware that my tendency to fight and compete and fear losing to men has made it incredibly hard for me to love the way I know I could.

    For a long time I struggled with this too. I think part of it stemmed from a natural shyness and another from the idea that “all boys lie, cheat, and steal.” I was in relationships or situations where sharing some part of myself rather than pulling back and deferring to the easy way out meant the loss of that relationship or other possibilities. It meant being vulnerable and trusting the other person to do something positive with that action instead of seeing it as a weakness like I did. Changing isn’t easy, but working on it has made a change in the quality of how I feel.

  4. Alice Skeptic says:

    I know you know this really, because you’ve half-alluded to it several times, but none of this is really about feminism. You were immature. You had ‘baggage.’ Now, hopefully, your views and behaviour have evolved. It happens to us all when we grow up.

    ‘Feminism’ as an ideology is not about hating men or being superior to men. It’s about equality and equal opportunities for women—no more and no less.

    Yes, perhaps you took certain messages of female empowerment to heart in a way that was unhelpful, but—as sad as your story is about the boy at the dance—the person you were primarily hurting was yourself. You were disenfranchised by by your confusion about gender roles, and by the very fact that society makes such a strong division (needlessly) between male and female identities. It’s great that you can look back and reflect on aspects of your behaviour as a teenager that were unpleasant. At the same time though, you were not alone in your ‘pathology’. It sounds like your entire school was running to this tune to some extent (“boys and girls are different and shouldn’t have too much to do with each other.”) You can bet the boy was dealing with much the same at his school. Do you think he wasn’t also being influenced by poisonous beliefs about girls? (Sluts versus good girls, dogs versus foxes, etc, etc) This explains the intense way that he fixated on you—a girl that he barely knew—to the point of blaming you for his suicide. This is not healthy or reasonable behaviour, any more than yours was.

    In other words, in all your need to write a self-castigating op ed, don’t get carried away. All teenagers are idiots.

  5. Sorry, but I see you blaming feminism for several things – your parent’s choice of a single-gender school, a Catholic one at that, and a lack of knowing (and liking) boys and men for who they are.

    Your story is not one of feminism failing you, it is the Catholic church’s educational system instilling in you a fear and suspicion of the opposite gender. God forbid you should actually have known some middle school and high school boys, both those who might be cruel to you, and those who might be nice to you. If you knew them as people, you might not have feared them as much as you did, or at least for as long as you did. I’m glad to know that you have developed some balance in your life

    (And for the record, I am a Catholic feminist, married to a feminist man who had a single-gender Catholic high school education. I know from whence I speak.)

  6. “I’ve worked so hard to be independent, thinking that, as the anti-chick, I would need nothing and no one–and that men would somehow love this. The very last thing on earth I ever wanted to be was a needy, awful girl. I figured if I needed nothing, I’d win. I just didn’t realize the cost of winning.”

    I can definitely relate to this. I still struggle with that way of thinking at times (men are all the same, uber-independence is superior, desiring companionship makes you weak, etc.), but have found myself trying to find the balance between the beautiful dialogue that vulnerability presents and maintaining my independence. I find it ironic that I have scrutinized chronic-dating female friends, thinking I was somehow “superior”, when in reality I’ve had my own set of insecurities that have gone under the common radar.

    That balance is tough when when it comes to allowing yourself the desire of companionship, or even displaying softness and general friendliness towards men, when you’ve convinced yourself that it’s a sign of weakness, as evidenced by guarding one’s virginity as something to “win”, constantly competing with men for fear of appearing inferior, or cultivating emotional impenetrability, amongst other things. It’s truly a struggle to reverse that kind of thinking, but focusing on combating the *real* struggles (openness and vulnerability being key traits) is where transformation happens.

    Regardless of whether this is primarily a reflection on feminism or one’s upbringing and environment, I think the lesson is that when we practice these behaviors, we end up hurting ourselves (and sometimes others, as exemplified in your story) and stunting our potential for human connection, which when embraced, is a *true* sign of strength and accomplishment, in my opinion. Vulnerability is a beautiful thing and something I hope I can devote more attention to in my own life. Thanks for sharing your story!

  7. ” I’m sure he never thinks of it–at least I hope he doesn’t.”
    I had a girl ask me out as a joke to her friends, that stuck with me for a long time especially as I didn’t have much luck with women. Judging by what you said you did, if he didn’t get much luck after that with ladies it could very well have been a very bad experience for him. It’s the kind of shit I hear about from guys who end up hating girls in their youth, end up thinking women just wanna fuck them around and don’t care about them. Stuff like that can stick better than barnacles to a boat. Hope all you want but you probably did cause this guy some pain, imagine how it’d feel to be invited by a girl you like to a dance then get ditched all night in a place you have NO friends, you walk around as a loner and that is especially hard when you’re 14. I’m glad you realize how bad it is though, in Australia we call that stuff a real C*** act (non-gendered version of the word aussies use a lot), as in bad to do to someone.

    THe issue with burying yourself in feminism or masculism is that some can look so much at thenegative and forget to look at the positive. If you sit there seeing men controlling women, men doing this n that to women but fail to remember it was a very small percentage of men that did enormous damage to both genders (eg leaders that sent men to war, fucked up laws against both genders, armies that killed men and took the women, etc) but forget that most men loved their wives and wanted to protect them at all costs then you could easily form a bigoted view towards men seeing them as monsters. I do see this in some feminists, they have so much anger towards straw-men and what they think men are because of the treatment of women in the past without realizing most men were nearly as powerless as they were (sometimes more powerless eg in conscription, sometimes less).

    If you hang around people who only talk of men in a bad way, such as discussing the harms men do to women then where are you going to get good experiences with them? I see this same shit with the bitter guys I know who hang together and they resonate the same pain off each other, “women are bitches, cheats, liars, gold diggers” and they just reinforce their bitterness n bigotry. This is the number one reason I read about both how good and bad EACH gender got it in the past to try balance it all out. It can get so bad that some feminists hate men so much they have no sympathy for male victims of rape for instance.

    Keep that in mind and you’ll probably be ok. Try to balance out everything, don’t view women as the only ones who’ve suffered attrocities and you will see more common ground between the genders that way.

  8. mmeetoilenoir says:

    I was going through the same thing, right across the street at Kent Place…ha! To this day, I have HUGE problems with discomfort and mistrust issues pertaining to men. Granted, I’m also a victim of molestation, but the messages that I learned as a young woman have really hurt me in the present.

    Thank you for writing this. I never thought about how my schooling may have contributed to my thoughts about men. There is some journal-writing in my future that needs to happen.

    (My older sister, a graduate of the coed Morristown-Beard School, never had these issues and is married. Go figure.)

  9. Wow. Thank you so much for sharing this. I can’t relate to your upbringing as such but that feeling of inherent distrust, the concern with appearing ‘weak’ for liking a boy, the fear of losing your perceived power and your hard-won freedoms if you let them into your life. That, I can relate to. Oh and the occasional really, really awful behaviour episode (which I’ll come back to).

    I definitely spent a lot of my teenage years and early twenties with a ‘shiny, hard, shell’ on, the difference was I desperately wanted a boyfriend but had no idea how to do that without revealing myself as ‘vulnerable’. The problem was, the way men are portrayed in women’s mags, in teen films, and in culture generally led to me believing for the longest time that they were out to trick me or to hurt me, that there was no way they *really* wanted to date me, that it must be a dare, a bet, a joke, that they were probably sleeping with someone else at the same time because men were ‘just like that’. And if it turned out they really did like me, oh heaven forbid! How unmanly to actually declare your feelings, how creepy! No self-respecting, self-sufficient, independent woman would EVER let herself be liked by a guy (except… except… except… I did want to be liked). Yeah, it was a mess.

    Ok, confession time: I spent one summer of my university holidays working in a bar in Greece. For three months a guy pursued me but I refused to go for a drink with him because I didn’t think it was cool to be ‘tied down’ for the whole summer. In the last two weeks I gave in because basically he was really cute and we’d become good friends (and it really is as simple as that if I could only have seen it at the time). We had a whirlwind fling and he was absolutely charming but he was undeniably more into it than I was and even though we agreed to meet up in Athens (where I was spending the last week of the summer and where he was returning to uni) I ignored his calls and didn’t reply to his texts. I just decided it was too embarrassing to have this guy proclaim his undying love for me and I didn’t want to have to ‘deal with him’. So I never saw him again and when, about four years later, he found me on Facebook and sent me a really friendly, totally non-creepy message, I ignored that too. Because I was empowered? No, because I was an immature fool who thought that by being as hard and cruel as I’d been taught men were, I would somehow ‘win’.

    So yeah. I definitely know what you’re talking about. But I don’t think feminism itself is at fault, I think it’s the misappropriation of feminism… by us, by our friends, by our educational environment, by the media. Of course feminism does not mean the rejection of sensitivity, of kindness or even of emotional vulnerability but it takes a more nuanced understanding (such as teenagers rarely possess) to pick through the negative, destructive messages and pull out something that actually leads to a better, healthier situation for everyone. But then you could say that about all areas of life. Ultimately, I think this is less a story about feminism than a story of growing up.

    (PS I went to a pretty liberal, socially diverse co-ed in the UK so… not sure what we can conclude from that.)

    • Wow….that is a very very horrible way to treat someone, I hope you’ve learned from your mistake because that shit is way beyond cruel. I want to warn other women that doing stuff like she did here is a bad idea, and is a good way to turn a decent guy into a hurt n bitter asshole as I’ve seen before. Put down that poison called women’s magazines, I swear women’s magazines are far far more harmful than men’s if they are teaching this hard to get bullshit. If someone loves you, let them down easy!, don’t ignore them, don’t act like a jerk to them. Just treat them with respect so they can at least not be confused, have some closure and move on.

      Ugh…

      • Wow. All due respect…I was 14. (Hardly a “woman.”) And scared. Youth is what mistakes are for–and, this article is part of what I learned. Also, I wasn’t learning how to treat men from women’s magazines, so not sure what that has to do with it. I did have a subscription to Seventeen, but I mostly read the lipgloss ads. I’m not proud of my behavior, I assure you. What I find interesting is that you’re one of several people here who believe that I am to blame now for whatever bitterness and difficulty this man has faced in his lifetime. I imagine that was the least of it–we’ve all gone on to suffer hurt in relationships since then. Also, it’s a bit of a victim mentality, no? I mean, do you feel the same way about women blaming men for the countless hurts and scarring they’ve suffered at the hands of men? We all have to be accountable for what we did. But fact is, I blew him off, but in the scheme of things, it’s hardly as damaging as, say, someone who was raped, would you agree?

        • The comment I wrote to you, Terri starts off like this
          “Archy says: … February 5, 2013 at 11:33 pm

          ” I’m sure he never thinks of it–at least I hope he doesn’t.”
          I had a girl ask me out as a joke to her friends, that stuck with me for a long time especially as I didn’t have much luck with women.”

          This one “Archy says: … February 6, 2013 at 10:33 pm

          Wow….that is a very very horrible way to treat someone, I hope you’ve learned from your mistake because that shit is way beyond cruel.” was for Francesca Da Rimini says: … February 6, 2013 at 9:34 am

          “What I find interesting is that you’re one of several people here who believe that I am to blame now for whatever bitterness and difficulty this man has faced in his lifetime.”
          No, you probably played a large part but nothing is certain, he may have brushed it off or it may have plagued him. You didn’t mean to do it of course but intentions but unless he knows your intentions then it can really mess him around.

          “I imagine that was the least of it–we’ve all gone on to suffer hurt in relationships since then. Also, it’s a bit of a victim mentality, no? I mean, do you feel the same way about women blaming men for the countless hurts and scarring they’ve suffered at the hands of men? We all have to be accountable for what we did. But fact is, I blew him off, but in the scheme of things, it’s hardly as damaging as, say, someone who was raped, would you agree?”

          It may be hard for you to hear this but something as simple as what you did can have long lasting consequences, remember that he was 14, he was just discovering his sexuality, relationships, learning how the opposite sex will treat him in dating and that ditching him could easily send a message early on that women will fuck you around. Did he know you did it because you were scared? If he doesn’t know that he has to guess why you did it, insecurity will play a part here and he may think you were doing it as a joke to mess with him, or you may have done it just to hurt him. If you went to dance with someone else for instance he may have thought you were ditching him for someone better.

          He was 14 and still unsure of the world so an event like that can colour his view of how women are, it’s easy to look back and think it wasn’t very significant but even small things can have lasting consequences. For example in my past I had a pretty girl ask me out as a joke to her friends who all laughed about it, I was already a shy guy but that made me feel like I was just a joke and no one wanted me. I didn’t ask anyone out for a long time over one or two incidents like that. I became bitter at women for a while in my youth partly over that and other issues with bullying, but I do know of guys that have been messed around as well and it’s left em bitter at some time in their past. I also know girls with the same, it’s not gendered but I’d say it can be a significant event in a VERY important time in someones life. As a teenager we’re changing from children into adults, we have adult level feelings but a child’s level of emotional reasoning and handling so it can be quite difficult to understand such events clearly, hence some people can get very bitter over a seemingly small event.

          Yes it’s hardly as damaging as rape but don’t try to think of it as nothing, it’s significant, but so is a moon-size asteroid crashing into the world vs 9/11, the scale of events doesn’t matter as much since we all react differently. The same thing that happened to me might be easily brushed off by someone else who has more confidence, but my own insecurities latched on and made it worse. If you had done that to me for instance I would have felt quite hurt, felt like I was a joke, because at the time I felt very ugly anyway and that event would be seen in my mind as proof just as it was when I was asked out as a joke. If I had known you had done it because you were scared though it would be worlds different, it’s the difference of thinking someone doesn’t care about you and wants to mess with you, vs someone running away from fear. The latter wouldn’t make you feel uglier, and you could actually work it out with them but if it’s all left unsaid then the guy’s mind will think up various reasons of why it happened, some may be good but more likely to be bad seeing as so many teenagers are insecure.

          This is what people need to realize, their actions can have siginificant impact. You don’t need to be raped to suffer significant pain, I avoided dating a lot because I was asked out as a joke n used as a joke a few times between a few girls, logically it was maybe 5-10 girls but at the time it felt like all women would just fuck with me and left me afraid of being rejected and worse, afraid that women would treat me as a joke so I gave up. Responsibility lied with me and those who did bad shit to me, responsibility lies with you to tell the guy what was wrong. You wouldn’t cause his pain alone but you may have played a part if he is in pain and bitter etc.

          What you did though is no where near as bad as what Francesca said she did, she lead a guy on pretty bad n ditched him, what’s worse is she refused to take his calls and even reply to him 4 years later. She was purposely being cruel, that is why I said “Wow….that is a very very horrible way to treat someone, I hope you’ve learned from your mistake because that shit is way beyond cruel.”. What you did Terri though wasn’t really your fault, fear makes us do stupid shit, I may fault you for not telling him what happened later if you didn’t but you were 14 and no one expects a 14 year old to have a perfect grasp on human relationships. Just be aware that it’s a crucial time in human development and your actions may have had pretty bad consequences, or started the guy on a bad path, which of cours you didn’t intend. This is why communication is extremely important since people can only guess what the person who ditched them is like if they aren’t told they’re a scared 14 year old.

          If you really want to picture it, imagine being afraid, running n tripping over a cord into someone, you may not hurt them, you may break their bone, you may knock them over and they fall off the edge, end up a paraplegic. You didn’t intend to hurt em but they may have been hurt, been hurt permanently (not everyone has a great emotional resilience), might have been hurt for their teens/early 20’s, the hurt may have been a little bit of annoyance or sprung up a bitterness. All I ask is the people reading this try to avoid it by communicating if you’re afraid, don’t let the other think you’re purposely trying to hurt them. Even Francesca’s fling would have benefitted greatly by knowing she had the world’s shittest advice because it changes the perception of her being an evil wench to just another person who is unsure of how to handle themselves.

          • 14 is a horrible age. 14-year-olds do all kinds of things and they have no idea why. Their brains are immature and they are loaded with hormones and emotions they don’t understand and can’t handle. I agree that what happened to the boy in Terri’s story could be a terrible memory he’s carried with him forever. However, that doesn’t make Terri a horrible person. If we were all judged but what we did at 14, you could pretty much write all of us off.

            • I wasn’t calling TERRI a horrible person. My god, people, read the comment nesting. The “horrible” comment was to Francesca.

            • Sorry, I was kind of responding globally to the comments on this issue, but it ended up looking like a direct reply to you.

        • Why did you need to compare someone’s hurt to rape? No one else compared what the boy went through to that? Why use rape as some kind of cover so that you don’t have to address why a man or boy could be hurting from a bad experience?
          In the articles and comments men can bring up nearly any kind of emotional or physical pain and hurt they’ve experienced for any reason, yes, often because of women, but it seems to never be as important necessary to talk about because “it’s not rape” or some variation of it.

          Your article and Archy’s comment had nothing to do with rape at all. Why bring it up?

        • so women can do anything to men, even hurt his feelings, anything, because OTHER MEN WAS RAPED WOMEN????

          yes I know rape is the most horrible crime, but really? ” at least its not as bad as raped’ REALLY?????

          thats why I hate feminism…..those…those victim playing and men blaming

          but I dont agree with Archy. If a guy likes you and you dont like him, its not your fault hes hurt because he feel rejected. But if you like him also and you reject him because of your own fucked up idea about men being RAPIST, yes youre a jerk and IDIOT

          • “but I dont agree with Archy. If a guy likes you and you dont like him, its not your fault hes hurt because he feel rejected. But if you like him also and you reject him because of your own fucked up idea about men being RAPIST, yes youre a jerk and IDIOT”
            That’s pretty much what I said. I didn’t find Terri purposely at fault, but her actions can hurt the guy. Intention is the difference.

        • Mr Supertypo says:

          yesyes, young people do mistakes, but they are also supposed to do. Thats the age when they are learning. They learn from other people around them, they learn from the media, from they parents, friends and their own skin. Actually im more aware of people who claim they never did mistakes in their life’s because they either are lying or they are psychos/sociopaths.

          But beside that, a lot of people, both boys and girls who got burned, especially at the first date or experienced something humiliating in a crucial time of their life’s (usually when they are teenagers) can screw entirely the view of the opposite gender, sometimes if not corrected for life. And they are like vampires, they bite people spreading vampirism (not literally of course) You were bitten in the girl school, and then you bite that boy who maybe in turn bite other women and the women will bite other guys etc. And they all do that in fear and contempt. Some choose to hide, others go rampaging. A few can brush it off.
          Ok you can agree or disagree, but I hope we can agree that emotional pain its hard to heal. I have a question for you, did you try to contact that guy again? It could be a good idea if you did that, maybe he dont remember maybe he does. But its worth a try? dont you think. And the same thing is true for everybody, not just you :-)

      • I’ve been saying this for years about women’s magazines. Those things are full of some really horrible advice when it comes to dating. Women need to stop reading them and listening to their magazine reading friends as well.

  10. Thank you for this article – It really struck a chord with me. I grew up in the late 1970’s and 1980’s surrounded by women, including my mother (who was a stay at home mom, ironically), telling me to be strong, be independent, be smart, never be one of those dumb girls who spends all her time chasing boys and fussing with her hair. Those girls end up with nothing to show for their lives except a passel of brats, in Scarlet O’Hara’s immortal words.

    My mother was a frustrated feminist. She felt trapped by marriage and family and by my traditional, domineering father. She didn’t want me to “give up on my dreams” as she always put it. She wanted me to have all the opportunities she didn’t. This was a message I got from a lot of female teachers as well. They were wmen largely living traditional lives but they wanted more for us. My generation of girls had a lot of expectations on us — the first generation of girls to grow up after the feminist revolution (I was born in the late ’60’s)

    I had a boyfriend my junior year in HS, but we fought constantly. I remember he was very upset because I didn’t want to wear his class ring on a chain around my neck. That’s what cheerleaders and dumb girls did. I wasn’t one of those girls! I also refused to wear makeup or high heels. I did shave my legs, but felt conflicted about it.

    I don’t think I was ever cruel to boys who liked me, but I remember feeling resentful of their attention. I felt like they patronized me. When I was a little older, I ruined a lot of dates by trying to be the anti-chick. I’d dress frumpily and talk about intellectual stuff. I thought this would weed out the men who only wanted dumb girls. It was pretty effective. I rarely got a second date!

    I’m now in my 40’s, and I’m in a good relationship, but I still struggle with my tendency to push him away to prove that I am hyperindependent. My mom is disappointed that she never got any grandchildren. I have a successful career but I honestly don’t know if all those opportunities and dreams I was supposed to be pursuing all these years have really panned out. I think my mother had an unrealistic idea about what that meant. She imagined me becoming a famous poet or winning the Nobel prize. She didn’t realize that having a professional career is a lot of hard work and often not that fulfilling in the long run in some ways. It’s a grind and mostly you are serving other people’s needs, not your own needs. My mom was trapped by her family’s needs and I’m trapped by my employer’s needs and my need for a paycheck. I’m not saying I would have preferred to be a SAHM, not at all, but I wish someone had talked to me about finding balance in my life rather than trying to prove something.

  11. Yes. Feminism screws up such things!

  12. mr. wavevector says:

    “My understanding of feminism has evolved, too–in that you don’t have to hate men or beat them in order to be a powerful woman. ”

    Too late. Way too late. Because the understanding many men have gained from personal experience dealing with feminists like you is that feminists are horrible, hateful people. You will get no second chances from us.


    • Too late. Way too late. Because the understanding many men have gained from personal experience dealing with feminists like you is that feminists are horrible, hateful people. You will get no second chances from us.

      Believe me when I say I totally understand what you mean by gaining from “personal experience”.

      For the longest time I was coming across feminist after feminist that had a nasty disposition towards men and to make it worse the ones that weren’t directly nasty were nasty in an indirect way (how many have you come across that instead of owning up to the negativity that exists in their movment will do all that they can to deny it, claim it doesn’t exist, “you didn’t give feminism a fair chance”, and lord knows whatever other excuses they can come up with to put the blame on someone else other than their own movement? in fact expect to see a few pop up in this very thread.)

      But let us be thankful that there are some who are actually willing to cop to the existence of the negativity that does exist in the movement rather than just pretending we’re making it up or that it must have been caused by something other than feminism (ever notice that feminism is only ever a monolith when it comes to casting it as a positive monolith from which apparently no negativity has ever come?).

      I understand the desire not to give them another chance. It’s pretty painful to think about what would happen if you gave feminism another chance just to get burned by it again (the whole “fool me once shame on you…..” bit comes to mind). I totally understand why one would want to just say to the devil with them and their hateful hypocrisy.

      But let’s try to give them a second chance nonetheless.

      That’s what I’ve been doing and I’ll be honest there are some pretty nasty feminists out there and they have only be getting more and more brazen and there is a chance that you will get burned again and again and again. But every once in a while you come across some that actually do to work towards a better tomorrow for everyone.

      Choosing wisely is the key. Give them a chance to show you where they are coming from. If they come from a bad place then drop them with a clear conscience and move on to the next one.

      Here’s a tip. When talking about the ill will that comes from feminism keep an eye out for the ones that will do everything in their power to remove feminism from their nastiness. Look out for such things as the “those people calling themselves feminists”, “self identified feminists”, “those individual feminists”. Doing what they can to separate the person from the ideology. Almost but not quite calling a feminist out on their bad behavior (because feminism had absolutely nothing to do with that bad behavior) in a way similar to the way they would praise a feminist for their good behavior (because when they do something good then the top priority is to remember to thank feminism). They aren’t about acknowleding the bad and saying to stay away from it. They are about trying to make feminism synonymous with anything that might be considered good.

  13. Saying “no” up front will save you a lot of grief in the end….I have regretted saying “yes” and not respecting my own intuition in the past….If you’re not that into him, just say so….

    It’s like watching SATC….if those women just said “no” to a lot of those guys (and there were so many), they would have saved themselves a lot of angst…You can see some guys are trouble right away….why ignore the signs and waste your time?

  14. wellokaythen says:

    One way that hetero relationships have gotten off-track is when people equate “don’t need men” with “keep men out of your life.” Then, in reaction, many men feel insulted when they are told that they are “not needed” or “unnecessary.” (As in the book _Are Men Necessary?_)

    My question is, why is “being necessary” the be-all and end-all of a person’s existence? I understand many people have a strong desire to feel needed, and many people have a strong desire to focus only on the things they need out of life, but just meeting your needs cannot be your entire life, not if you have any choice in the matter. There’s no rule that says something that is unnecessary is therefore worthless. Being unnecessary is not the same as being garbage. Being independent of something is not the same as being better off without it.

    It would be most healthy to keep some distinction between being independent of men and discounting men as not worth the effort.

    Many great things in life are not really necessary, they’re just enjoyable. They make life better, and we’re fortunate to be able to experience them. Bacon, chocolate, men, whatever. I have no problem being told I’m not necessary. Fine with me. You can consider me a luxury. In romantic/sexual relationships, I prefer to be wanted more than needed. Don’t need me, relish me.

    In some ways, declaring men unnecessary just reinforces a traditional view of masculinity, the idea that men are primarily to be considered in utilitarian terms – what can a man accomplish, how much money he makes, what he tangibly adds to society, is he just a waste of space, etc. Why is it not enough just to exist and be a human being in the world? Why do men have to justify their worth by proving that they’re necessary?

    • This is such an excellent point. Love it. I’m going to think about it more. You’re right–the idea of needing vs. wanting, and do we “need” men, do men “need” women, and are we necessary as a rule? Such a great take on the topic. PS – check out Katie Roiphe’s book “In Praise of Messy Lives”–it’s excellent–and in it she has a chapter in which she takes down Maureen Dowd in about as lovely a way as someone can. You will love it.

    • “You can consider me a luxury.” – wellokaythen, I love that!

      • wellokaythen says:

        I just kept thinking that being needed isn’t always such a great thing. There’s a reason why calling a man a “tool” is an insult…..

  15. I dated a bunch of girls in my late teens/early twenties. I ended up marrying my college sweetheart who I met when I was 21 (we married when I was 27). Fast forward 10 years, and I am now divorced and dating again. A lot of the women that I meet are really smart, independent, social butterflies, workout a lot, etc. If I were looking for a business partner or workout buddy, I’d feel great with any of them. But I’m looking for a romantic partner with whom I can be intimate and vulnerable and who makes me feel like I am special and important to them by showing their vulnerabilites, hopes, dream, insecurities, etc. These type of women don’t really show that to me. They are just all professional all the time. There is probably a shit ton of selection bias and confounding in my small sampling, but this has been my slightly depressing experience.

    • “I’m looking for a romantic partner with whom I can be intimate and vulnerable and who makes me feel like I am special and important to them by showing their vulnerabilities, hopes, dream, insecurities, etc”

      G, I used those exact same words ‘intimate’ and ‘vulnerable’ with a man not too long ago. It was opposite of what he said he was looking for. He claimed that he wanted an independent woman and something casual and non-emotional. But he had already been burnt by two independent, business-woman, feminist ex-wives, who were very careless with his heart. From all indications, he was in pursuit of a third.

      I showed him my vulnerabilities and insecurities, running a huge risk of being judged, criticized, or rejected. Oddly enough, he admitted he is closer to me than he was with either of his ex-wives. I feel very close to him. It takes strength to be intimate, open, and vulnerable with another person. Unfortunately feminism did not teach women how to be vulnerable and open to men. So, be patient with these independent, feminist women. It takes a strong man to admit he wants intimacy, vulnerability, and closeness. Good for you…you’ll find it.

    • Ah yes. I hear you. I like to think of it as all of us being soft on the inside, with all diff candy-coated shells. I have mine, for sure. If you saw me at the gym, I’d look downright business minded and no-bullshit. But if I’m getting to know someone intimately, a whole different side comes out. I think the challenge for men is to break through that facade–b/c trust me it is one.

  16. I’m glad that at the end you mention that your idea of feminism has changed to mean that you don’t have to bring men down to lift women up. Feminism is not about putting men beneath women, it is about lifting women up to be equal to men in our society. It’s not about thinking that you don’t need men. It’s not about not having a romantic partner. It’s about ensuring that women have equal rights, equal pay, equal opportunities. To think that it means that men are obsolete, useless, or that women are better than men, is a misuse and misrepresentation of the word ‘feminism.’

    • I find feminism is nowhere near as monolithic in that belief of equality. Some of the largest feminist site are just as vile as some MRA sites. Example would be radfemhub.com at first look everything is okay but After Reading little deeper I found a deep seeded believe that until all men are striped from power and made second class citizens feminism has not gone far enough.

      That is another ‘brand’ of feminism and it has been known to influence law and politics.
      On top of that some issues are too complicated to be summed up simply trying to make things equal. For instance Ideas such as ‘preponderance of evidence’ seeks to increase the male conviction rateby removing the idea of innocence beyond a shadow of a doubt.

      • Hey Bobby, I just wanted to say that while I’m not personally familiar with the site you mention, it sounds like that’s leaning towards an extreme form of feminism. Extremism comes along with everything (unfortunately) and as a feminist who believes in the equality of women and men in society, it is disappointing that extremist groups use the word feminism in their labels and therefore give the general feminist movement a bad rep. Reverse sexism and feminism are not the same thing, but they are often linked together because groups who advocate for reverse sexism use the word ‘feminist’ in their label. It’s disappointing to us feminists who seek and fight for equal pay, an end to street harassment, an end to domestic violence and equal opportunities to be linked with extremist groups. I would never advocate for men to be second class citizens like you mentioned, and it only hurts our cause to be linked to those who do. Even sites like Jezebel are slowly moving to extremism in many eyes and it just serves for the larger message of the feminist movement to be buried.

        • Jezebel, ugh, that place breeds anti-feminism when you see the level of petty sexism thrown at men and the dismissal of issues that can occur. I wonder if their staff still find domestic violence against their bf’s funny?

          • I know. I stopped checking Jezebel completely recently when they ran an article written by a woman who boasted that she loved putting down what she considered to be idiot men and publicly correcting their opinions. She writes that she interrupted a conversation a guy was having with his friends in a bar to tell him that his opinion was wrong and then when he became upset and lashed out at her, she used his reaction as an example of misogyny. Um no, it’s not misogynistic to disagree with women. Maybe he overreacted when he started shouting at her, but she instigated it by interrupting him and telling him that what he thought was wrong. I made a comment as such on the article, and was told to kill myself. Other commenters who had the guts to say the same point that I had were told to choke on a fork and die, oh, and get raped. So yeah, I quit Jezebel completely.

    • Sabrina, you’re 100% right. As someone else commented here, it’s not feminism, but the misappropriation of feminism that’s to blame. It shd be power TO, not power OVER. I do not believe by any stretch men are obsolete–and to make that the goal or point would be to make feminism just a different flavor of sexism.

      • Yes! Thank you.

      • wellokaythen says:

        I don’t think being considered “obsolete” is the end of the world, either. There are lots of things today that appear to be obsolete but still have their fans: conversation, the missionary position, fresh vegetables from the garden, baking your own bread, snail mail, etc. Let’s say as a man I really am obsolete. That just means I’m an antique. The women who love me are antiquarians. I have a cult following. I’m a niche market. I’m out of style, but I have sentimental value nonetheless. Think about all the valuable items on Antiques Roadshow that are completely “obsolete.”

  17. Just a thought that sprung to mind as I’m reading this piece and associated comments:

    When women are included in any place intended to be a primarily or exclusively male space, the tone/tenor/dynamic of said space will inevitably turn its focus to what women want from men. Every. Time.

    • wellokaythen says:

      I think that’s one of the connotations inherent in the phrase “good men.” Good men, as in what other people want to see in a man, or as in how to tell a good man like you can tell a good melon in the supermarket, or how to make yourself more marketable as a man.

  18. Mark Sherman says:

    “I certainly don’t regret how feminism has served me: I’ve learned to be aggressive, tough, resilient, and have had many successes in my life as a result. I never have let a man get in my way–are you kidding? No one ever stood a chance.”

    A very interesting piece, which really got me thinking. I must say, as someone who taught on gender issues from around 1980 to 1997, and continues to read and write about them all the time, I have found much of feminism to be anti-male, all the protesting from many thoughtful women notwithstanding.
    But as for the line I quote above, just see how it reads if you were to make it a male talking:
    “I don’t regret how masculinism has served me. I’ve learned to be aggressive, tough, and resilient, and have had many successes in my life as a result. I’ve never let a woman get in my way — are you kidding? No one ever stood a chance.”

    We would deplore such a comment from a man. And to zero in one two words, “aggressive” and “tough,” it seems to me that progressive masculinity (as often espoused on the Good Men Project) asks men to get rid of or at least tone down their aggressiveness and toughness. In other words, as men, we shouldn’t let these characteristics be an important aspect of our lives.
    But for the author, and, I suspect, many other feminists, it’s okay, admirable in fact.

    This just doesn’t seem fair to me.

    • I suppose 70’s feminism meant acting less like a (traditional gender normed) woman and more like a (traditionally gender normed) man. And of course there were the Alan Aldas doing similar reversals. To be successful as a woman meant abandoning some of the traits that were perceived as weak, vulnerable, compassionate, gentle because to succeed in “a man’s world” you had to play the game as a man.

      Of course now we live in a culture that is highly aggressive, non compassionate, focused on bottom lines, business and success and not too keen on vulnerability at all. WIN!

      So, I’d say things are and were out of balance and it’s less about men/women and more about power and force and what we value.

      • It sounds like the article and many of the comments aren’t talking about feminISM but are really talking about feminINITY. What secondwave/70s-80s/GloriaSteinem feminism was primarily (myopically perhaps) focused on was breaking the femininity-as-chain bonds that forced women to stay in traditional roles. And the movement (mostly) succeeded in breaking the biology-is-destiny hold on women. But in doing so, every other piece of the gender puzzle was dislodged too. So while the movement helped women move into traditionally-male spaces and display masculine attributes, everything else became muddled (at best) or vilified (at worst).
        Could women choose to be more masculine and take on non-traditional roles? Hell yes!
        Could women continue to choose feminine ways of being and traditional roles? Um, well, that’s just “internalized oppression,” isn’t it?
        Could men continue to choose masculine ways of being and traditional roles? Um, well, that just perpetuates patriarchy, doesn’t it?
        Could men choose to be more feminine and take on non-traditional roles? Um, sure, I guess.

        It seems to me the main problem this conversation points to is the lingering confusion about the value of femininity. It was demonized in order to break it’s strangle hold on women, but the whole-cloth negativity left everybody with a bad taste in their mouths. Femininity was passive and weak, masculinity was oppressive and violent. The positive aspects of both femininity and masculinity got lost in the scuffle.

        Fast forward 20 or 30 years. There’s now a whole generation of adults who grew up in an era where there were no predetermined rules and we’re trying to arrange our lives and relationships and it’s confusing (at best) and disastrous (at worst). I think we are realizing more and more that we need to piece back together a positive understanding of what masculinity and femininity can be. It seem like that’s what this article is really about and what several commenters have pointed to – how can we (each of us, male and female) nurture and integrate our best masculine and feminine traits to be a more whole person?

  19. Terri, thank you for writing this. As a girl who grew up in the 80s as well, your comments about the tension between cultivating (and absolutely valuing/appreciating) our “girl power” style independence and allowing ourselves to enjoy intimate relationships with men absolutely resonate. At 34 now, I’m still unravelling the beliefs that sneakily accumulated into genuine (and confusing/often frustrating) ambivalence around dating/relationships: Do I even WANT to be in long-term intimate relationships?? is still the question being massaged. I’ve just recently come to understand for myself that if I’m able to confidently own and express my need (/desire) for space, since freedom/independence ARE so important to me, and there are some male prospects out there who genuinely respect and accept that request, that I would indeed want to be in relationships. It’s only when I fear my freedom (or strength) will somehow be taken away by a relationship that I stiff arm the prospect. I genuinely believe we’re at a tipping point with male-female relating. And feminism, like you said, launched us widely to one end of the spectrum, while old gender roles were at the opposite end of the spectrum. I truly believe we’re finding a more balanced way of men and women relating, where both parties’ needs can be met in an interdependent (vs. codependent) way. And I believe that’s incredibly important. And while it’s been a struggle for me to sort this stuff out in my own life, in a way, I feel kind of honored to be a sort of change agent in intentionally seeking a “win win” for both parties. I think this is an incredibly important and not-enough-discussed topic; thanks for bringing it to the surface.

  20. It seems to me that your title should really be How STRAW Feminism Screwed Up My Love Life –because lady, let me tell you, you were NOT a feminist. A feminist is someone who fights systematic oppression of gender, sex, race, and sexuality. No where in this essay do I see you talk about how you did any of those things. HATING MEN has absolutely nothing to do with feminism.

    Please continue to educate yourself, and don’t mislabel Feminism, even to make what you THINK Is a valid point.

    “The typical straw feminist promotes radical ideas: she says that all men are evil, advocates castration for rapists, and makes inflammatory statements which are more representative of the fringe of the feminist movement than of mainstream feminist. She is the “fat, man-hating lesbian” who inhabits the nightmares of conservative commentators, embodying every imaginable stereotype about the feminist movement. The form of feminist represented by the straw feminist is shrill, strident, and often lacking in logic, in sharp contrast with the thoughtful, outspoken, and often very logical face of the feminist movement.

    Most feminists are simply trying to create equal rights for women, and to promote respect for women which protects them from de facto sexism as well as de jure issues. They want to see equal pay for equal work, for example, or crackdowns on harassment of women in the street, on public transit, and in the workplace. Real feminists come in a wide range of socioeconomic classes, shapes, sizes, and relationships, just like everyone else.

    The straw feminist argument is extremely frustrating for many feminists, partly because many people buy into it. Some women who actually have very feminist ideas are reluctant to call themselves “feminist” because of the negative perception of feminism, and criticisms of the feminist movement, even from informed people, often sound suspiciously like discussions of straw feminism. For example, many people claim that second wave feminism “goes too far,” not realizing that bulk of second wave feminists focused on addressing de facto inequalities which plagued women, not on creating a “womyns utopia” without any men.” http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-straw-feminist.htm#did-you-know

    • Thank you!

    • In its original form, feminism was a relatively egalitarian movement in support of equal political, economic, and social rights…but Civil Rights legislation took care of women’s political and economic rights. It’s the feminist social movements that are in question. Today, mainstream feminism is a collection of special interest social groups; many of which are random and are cause for scrutiny. I completely disassociate myself from feminism…because I can’t tell you what their platform is, what their unifying goal is, or what their mission statement is. It appears to be a hodge-podge of special interest groups and an umbrella for extremists groups to hide under the banner of ‘equal rights’.

      For example, in mainstream feminism, not straw feminism, you’ll find glaring hypocrisy. One site in particular, the feminist.org, there was one article on feminism and chivalry—the same group who killed chivalry 20-30 years ago, now says chivalry is okay. Chivalry has nothing to do with equal political rights or economic rights but it’s a mainstream social cause and it affects daily life. A man helping a woman should be okay in daily life, but helping women has become a social guessing game for men. The common man is damned if he helps a woman and damned if he doesn’t. Where does mainstream feminism stand on men helping women?

      Another example of hypocrisy from mainstream feminists, they want to eliminate the burkah from Middle Eastern culture because they believe it’s oppressive. To whom? To a Muslim woman, donning a burkah is as simple as putting on coat when she leaves the house, out of respect for herself and her husband. But these mainstream feminists have completely disregarded the Muslim traditions, sanctity of marriage, political, economic, religious, and societal beliefs of other cultures, and Islamic law by waging war against the burkah. Really?? Not to mention what they are trying to impose in other countries with regard to contraception and abortion. These mainstream feminists are oppressive in other countries and violating other’s rights. Where do feminists stand on violating other’s rights?

      Another example of mainstream feminist promoting misinformation is the wage gap. They pull random stats to bolster the 85 cents on the dollar wage gap, but fail to include critical wage survey data and gender differences in work styles. They don’t include facts such as men and women compete differently and need different coaching techniques on the workplace. Nor do they include gender data such as delaying marriage and family has a negative impact on income for both sexes but affects women’s wages more severely. Thus single men and women have a tendancy to have lower wages. Where do feminists stand on marriage and men’s income?

      Another example of mainstream feminism that talks about rights, rights, rights but fail to talk about responsibility, is the Selective Service in the US. Every US male citizen must register by his 18th birthday, why are these feminists not joining the military in droves to protect our rights and freedoms? Only 11% of US population serves in the military and only a small portion of the 11% is female, but over 56% of women in the US claim to be feminists. Where do feminists stand on protecting rights and freedoms?

      In my opinion, the Civil Rights movement did more to further equal rights and drive-in the substantive legislation for equality. The feminist movement has outlived its purpose a long time ago and can die off just like the communist movement.

    • Are you honestly trying to pull a notruescotsman/notruefeminist would do that fallacy?
      “HATING MEN has absolutely nothing to do with feminism.”
      Yet there are many feminists who do exactly that (not the majority but significant numbers). Google the Agent Orange Files, google the SCUM manifesto groups, look at radfems who absolutely hate men and are extremely transphobic.

      But I have to ask who gets the right to define feminism? What right do you have to tell this person their feminism is not real feminism? You are dictating what feminism is to a self-identified feminist who believes she was a feminist.

      The reason feminism has such a bad name is partly because so many feminists try to explain away radicals, etc as not being true feminists, they often fail to address n call out the extreme elements within feminism and others see this as ignoring the problem or worse accepting those peoples views.

      “Real feminists come in a wide range of socioeconomic classes, shapes, sizes, and relationships, just like everyone else.”
      Real feminists also include radicals and extremists who wish to abort male fetus’s, who wish to have only 10% of the population as male, who openly hate men and are extremely transphobic. Real feminists include those who have threatened others with death (Lookup Christina Hoff Summer’s death threats against her), real feminists include those who actively peddle gendered domestic violence statistics using stats which are dishonest, those who lobby to get sexist laws brought in that fail to help a huge portion of DV victims because they have a penis.

      You may disagree with their views, but how does that not make them a feminist? Out of all the times I’ve seen women try to define feminist it seems some will define it as egalitarian, some define it as a safe space for women only, some say it should only address women’s issues, do you consider all of those true feminists? Is Hillary Clinton a real feminist when she said the primary victims of war were women n girls because they lost their family members? (An extremely sexist statement). Did the woman that shot Andy Warhol classify as a real feminist?

      Maybe you don’t consider them to be real feminists but they use the label, and there does exist a lot of people who do hate men, who do perpetrate hate crimes against men, who do keep sexism and bigotry alive who call themselves feminists. Who are you to say they are or are not feminists though, are you the president of the feminists? Feminism evolved over time to encompass more than just women’s rights, some offshoots address male rights n issues, some offshoots evolved to be extremely misandric and full of bigotry. Who is the correct feminist?

      “The straw feminist argument is extremely frustrating for many feminists, partly because many people buy into it. ”
      Because there are so many bigoted feminists full of hatred for men, very vocal yet sadly the “good” feminists seem so reluctant to call them out. Point me to the masses of feminists who speak against the scum manifesto, the extremists, the bigots, etc? Point me to the masses of feminists who spoke out against the original VAWA adaptations, the Duluth model of DV which uses sexist views and fails to address male victims and female perpetrators? Point me to the masses of feminists who call for greater equality in family courts, ending selective service.

      Point me to the masses of feminists that even looked at the recent CDC NISVS 2010 rape statistics which showed equal numbers of men n women were raped in a 1 year period, and lifetime being roughly a 1:4-1:5 ratio women:men of rape victims, with 20% of rapists in lifetime category and up to 40% in the 1 year period being female perpetrators. You see if the “true feminists” are as I have been told, they would be egalitarian feminists who rally to protect men and women from abuse, they would know those statistics, they would campaign to show male victims and female perpetrators in anti-rape campaigns.

      Where are these true feminists? I’ve searched for them but they are hard to find. This site probably has the most egalitarian feminists I’ve ever met. I’ve heard feminism defined in a few different ways, some will tell men point blank feminism is the movement to address male issues and then blast men for daring to speak about male issues and run them off their websites.

      Quite frankly feminism is in utter fucking shambles atm, there are so many feminists who are directly causing a hatred of feminism. Every anti-feminist person I’ve seen has had bad experiences with feminists, and seemingly the good ones are very quiet about it. To their credit I sometimes see feminists tell others to stop bigotry towards males, calling out how stupid it is to say feminist is for male issues whilst some push men out but they aren’t very common. The feminist websites vary so much, some are great, some though are full of snark n bigotry and directly breed anti-feminism. I most often see people try to defend feminism by saying these bigots are just straw feminists, not all feminists are like that, but I don’t see much calling out the bad behaviour but more of a silence towards the extremists.

      Hell even muslims call out their extremists quite often, christians too, but how many feminists are standing up each time a man comments on a site and gets run out because he dared to speak? The sad thing is many of the women I know say they aren’t feminists, they say feminism went too far, they’re women who are egalitarian yet do not want to use the label feminist because the label has been tarnished badly. That should signal there is a huge problem in feminism when women, especially women in power who have benefitted from SOME feminists actions say they are not feminists and seem to dislike it (CEO of yahoo for example I believe did this recently).

      Portraying feminists only as ever being the good feminists, egalitarian, etc, quite frankly is what I call straw-feminism. You are purposely generalizing feminism as a good movement by picking out the good things and ignoring the bad, trying to distance yourself from extremists by saying they aren’t true feminists? It’s this refusal to accept some parts of feminism are fucking toxic which really shits me off, and shits other people off. How often have people told feminists there is a big problem in the movement with bigotry n sexism towards men? How often do folks like me have to point this shit out until we see a lot of feminists fight to reclaim the good in the name and call out the bigots? Instead of labelling it straw-feminism, how about saying how much you detest the actions of extremists n bigots? Show me a well known feminist website doing this, with a large viewership. Hell show me a youtube video of a well known feminist telling the bigots to pretty much fuckoff or change their ways to something beneficial like compassion n understand instead of blind hatred for men. That is how you regain the good in the name, that’s how you restore faith in feminism. When most people can see clearly feminists fighting the good fight and actually fighting against the sexism in feminism itself, fighting against it’s own internal bigotry, you might stop seeing so much of these straw-feminists.

      But until then the largest creator of anti-feminism is the unchallenged bigotry that plagues feminism itself, is it really that hard to see the damage done by extremists that are unchallenged? Where do you think the straw-feminist ideals are born??

      • Sorry that should be death threats against Erin Prizzey, who basically started the domestic violence shelters, not Christina.

      • Archy- you said it. That is exactly why I disassociated from the whole movement. It would take a heck of a lot to restore my faith in feminism. Within 20-30 years our family structure, gender identity, institution of marriage, and dating has been negatively affected –primarily by–women’s social empowerment. I am total supporter of equal political and economic rights and EO. Men and women should have a right to vote, hold office, own property, file suit, have a job, fight for their country, assemble…etc, etc. but not at the cost of women dictating ‘social behavior’…depending on the whim of HERstory. It’s random, oppressive, and can lead to dangerous consequences. Not to catastrophize, but to send a warning flare.

        When people hide under a blanket of equal political and economic rights and then swivel into social action to justify random behavior and then go to extremes with male-bashing and castration, I have a moral dilemma with it…any critical thinking person would.

        If one side of feminism talks about EO and the extremist factions talk about male castration and have the ‘social power’ not to be judged or called-out as a hate group…it sounds like mixed messages coming from the whole feminist group. Yikes, I don’t want any part of it. It’s no different than a person throwing a white sheet over their head, burning a cross on the front lawn, and then talk about equal rights.

        People can follow whatever ‘ism’ they choose…but when it affects millions of people and encroaches on common things like dating, the institution of marriage, income, re-designing relationships, men and women’s behaviors in society; it’s no wonder people are dropping out of the feminist movement like flies and special interests are the only groups left clinging to it. It’s a loose ideology gone unchallenged.

        Even Terry, the author of this post, has had dating problems because of the ‘social’ issues of feminism, not because of her civil rights. Like you said Archy, it sends a huge signal when men and women across this globe in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s see the fallout in their own lives and are shaking their heads.

        • Would you please explain to me how this works?

          “I am total supporter of equal political and economic rights and EO. Men and women should have a right to vote, hold office, own property, file suit, have a job, fight for their country, assemble…etc, etc. but not at the cost of women dictating ‘social behavior”

          How do we get the EO and political power without also gaining power in social spheres? What are you particularly objecting to? Should women have equal political power but remain unequal in the home? Are you objecting to redesigning marriage which has been redesigned many times over the past 2000 years? What is it exactly that women should let go of while still somehow remaining political equal?

          • I think she means women dictating social behaviour fully, without men’s input instead of a 50:50 mix. Men have to adjust their behaviour to suit women without women having to adjust their behaviour to suit men or both working to a common ground.

            • Exactly, women have become the arbiters of social behavior to the point where men (and women) must play guessing games.

              Take a simple example of a man helping a woman in public. It’s anyone’s guess what the response will be today. If a man helps one woman carry an item, he’s hero and receives gratitude. The next woman he tries to help carry an item, he gets an earful that he’s stereotyping her as a weakling. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Feminism has made helping women, a weakness??

              Take for example a man whistling at a woman as she walks by. Some women find it flattering attention, while other women consider it public harassment. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Feminism has made attention and flattery, a form of harassment??

              Same thing as mentioned above, in Sabrina’s post. “She writes that she interrupted a conversation a guy was having with his friends in a bar to tell him that his opinion was wrong and then when he became upset and lashed out at her, she used his reaction as an example of misogyny. Um no, it’s not misogynistic to disagree with women. Maybe he overreacted when he started shouting at her, but she instigated it by interrupting him and telling him that what he thought was wrong. I made a comment as such on the article, and was told to kill myself. Other commenters who had the guts to say the same point that I had were told to choke on a fork and die, oh, and get raped.” Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Feminism has made disagreeing with women, a form of misogyny??

              I think men need to set these women straight and start taking back some control.

            • “Feminism has made disagreeing with women, a form of misogyny??”
              I swear Juliar Gillard (Prime minister of Australia) uses the word misogyny loosely to try smear her opponents, I’ve also seen others who think criticism of a woman = misogyny, or even criticism of feminism is somehow misogyny. Hell I got accused of misogyny for posting stats about male victims of domestic violence on my own facebook, told that I must hate women cuz I talk about male victims a lot….what the fuck?

            • “I think men need to set these women straight and start taking back some control.”
              I’d rather both share control n work out what is acceptable and what isn’t.

          • The Civil Rights movement, with help of the early women liberators and activists, put the laws in place for political and economic equality and addressed the social issues of getting women out of the kitchen and secretarial pool and into the boardroom and much more. For all intents and purposes we became equal in the eyes of the law and quite rapidly.

            But the problem I see is that there is no unifying goal within the feminist movement, it has become a collection of special interests. Every self-proclaimed feminist that I’ve talked to has a different utility for calling herself or himself a feminist. Whether the purpose is to stay out of the kitchen, she wants lactating stations at the workplace, domestic violence issues, harassment concerns, she wants to be a breadwinner, higher wages, better divorce laws, healthcare for gay partners, after-birth pills delivered to 3rd world countries: the list goes on and on. But those problems are solved through our legal channels, not Jezebel social activists. Worse, in the midst of this chaos, extremist groups (like castration proponents and male-bashers, which is not you or I) have aligned with feminism and hide under the umbrella equal rights.

            It’s time to raise the BS flag and ask provocative questions. Like what’s the unifying goal of feminism, who’s leading it, and can both men and women trust their leadership? I can’t align with a movement that I can’t even define and I’m certainly not going to endorse a movement that allows extremists to creep in and bash men. Because, I still need and love men. And you still love men and your kids still need a father. Our country still needs our men and good fathers.

            • So, its early and I may not do a good job at this.

              I’m not sure what all these: “Whether the purpose is to stay out of the kitchen, she wants lactating stations at the workplace, domestic violence issues, harassment concerns, she wants to be a breadwinner, higher wages, better divorce laws, healthcare for gay partners, after-birth pills delivered to 3rd world countries: the list goes on and on.”

              Mean that feminism is un-unified-all those things concern what makes for equity as a human being.

              I try to think critically about how our cultural stories get told.
              Legally, is one way, yes. And all those things above have been duked out in courts of law. But courts of law don’t always quickly sway other culturally based narratives “the court of public opinion” let’s call it.

              Thus things like Jezebel, which frankly, I”m not really fan of but for many other reasons like…the entire Gawker media is built to make money, not break real stories. Their journalism is based in snark across the boards, quick posting of stories to beat other competitors, headlines scandalous enough to catch everyones eye and get you to click the link.

              This is how most online journalism is going because its pageview based and as such, measured boring fact based articles don’t get views, thus no money.

              So while Jezebel is focused on feminism-they are twisting it (and use of celebrity culture etc) in the service of a bigger problem which is all journalism online is going in that direction.

              So our stories, that are being told online, are getting snarkier and snarkier, filled with less compassion across the boards, less critical thought and more reactivity. And yes, looking at feminism (and MRA) through just that lens?

              Looks pretty bad. This is a cultural journalism problems because the bottom line is money and corporate ownership (which will use whatever it takes to get the money) rather than real news, real facts and investigations.

              But that’s not necessarily what’s happening in daily life, in schools, in legal circles, in classes, in marriages. Fathers and sons are a huge part of my life. I see men in women’s lives all the times, and happily so. I see men everywhere and in the urban centers I’ve lived (not coincidentally the more highly liberal and more at ease with a wider range of “roles” that men and women play) the men I’ve met are really happy. Stay at home dads who are not given any shit, male parents in the school and on the PTA, men working and women staying home, both parents working, poly families and so forth. I don’t doubt that in more traditional and conservative areas, especially those influenced more by religion, there are people struggling with cultural change and how men and women’s roles have shifted. But shift they have and shift they will for nothing in history has really ever stayed the same.

              Well, except for our penchant for violence. That seems to be sticking around.

              As for radfems that discuss aborting male babies and castrating people? Who are they? How many? Is it a website populated by under 1000 people? Do they actually have real political influence? Sit in seats of actual power? Are they actually making laws or are they complaining and posting radical academic theory that will never see the light of legal day?

              I’ve never EVER come across such a person in real life. A few nasty corners of the internet yes. And so far as I know, there isn’t a national push to abort males. As for aborting female babies though, that’s actually happening a great deal in places like China and India.

              I have no idea who the castration people are. I’ve never met anyone who felt that castrating anyone was a good idea. I mean really. I believe there are some damn crazy people out there but I’d laugh in the face of anyone who proposed such a level of violence against a man. Or frankly a woman. Forced sterilizations has been happening to Ethiopian women (Israel was requiring it for new settlers) and there were long time advocates for tubal ligations or permanent BC for women on welfare in the US. I don’t know as I’ve ever heard of enforced vasectomies for men on welfare.

              Men are half the human race. I’d rather focus on ways all of us can move towards peace, equity, mutual respect and seeing each other as vital human members of the same team then put all my energy into websites from MRA or Radfem that seem to me to be nothing but violent fantasies spurred from unhealthy minds.

              Real progress in real time is what I’m after. I’d say most of my feminist friends would agree with that.

              And get the corporations out of journalism so news can tell real truths.

            • Correction. There were castration and vasectomy measures in place under the Eugenics laws (mainly for criminals, the mentally retarded, and anyone of color that wasn’t considered good stock) of the early 20th century as well as the forced sterilization of at least 25,000 native American women. Lawsuits occurred and WW2 cast a very negative light on eugenics in the US.

              Interestingly, the US and Puerto Rico began a sterilization program for women in PR. Some 34% women of childbearing years were operated on by the early 70’s.

              So it’s interesting to me that many governments have actively done this work both against women and men, though it appears primarily to women in the US and women of color, and in a systmatized way for decades, but people are upset about a extremely small group of women who are not part of a normative political system that could gain actual power that appear, to me, to be posting fantasies that have little chance of happening.

              Then again, one never knows. I abhor any mention, concept, implementation of forced sterilization for men or women, think the US’s role in it has been inhumane, racist, and immoral and would and will fight against any group with enough political power to create such a fascist state.

              Given our current corporate oligarchy, I don’t think rad fems rising to power will happen. No money in it!

            • what I hate from feminism is the way they always said male hating and misandry is a myth. And no, its not about male castration or online red fems or anything like that. Why men hate feminism is just because we feel that feminist ( not rad fems, just feminist ) always put all men in one spectrum, bad guys. Just look at nice guys syndrome theory and shaming from feminist. Yes, thats what I called misandry and men hating, a believe that most men are bad, most men just want sex, most nice guys act nice just to get into women panties, thats. You dont need to talk about radical feminism and male castration fantasies to talk about men hating. You just need to know what feminist thought about MOST men ( not ALL Men )

              You dont need to talk about radical femnism to know how feminism screwed what women believe about men. And yes, its not only an online fantasies, ITS REAL. This article are not fantasies, this is reality, the fact that many women get screwed opinion about men because of feminism.

            • I wonder why I know hundreds of feminists who love their husbands and sons then. Seems odd. I don’t doubt you, John. But I do doubt trusting modern media to tell you how real people feel. I”m a feminist. Have been one for decades. Love men. Write for GMP. Have sons. Think they and their dad (been with him 20 years) are awesome. Am smart enough to know that all human beings are quite varied in their behavior and attitudes. So…it’s not this overarching hatred thing you posit.

            • This is “not my Nigel syndrome”.

              “Not my Nigel” is the habit of people who make broad generalizations about a class of people, but then say but MY NIGEL is the exception to the rule. It is a problem of corrupt schema. In this case, the schema that has been advanced by many feminists includes things like men are violent, men are selfish, men are testosterone poisoned, men need to be rescued from their toxic hegemonic masculinity, men are unfaithful, men are …. well whatever. Most feminists to not subscribe to all of these, sometimes only a couple, sometimes none at all. In their aggregate, however, it presents as men are evil.

              Oh

              except for my sons, my brother, my husband – it is those other men that are the problem.

              It is unfortunately, a pretty common human process that as we develop abstractions and drop individual characteristics, we stop evaluating the evidence and overreach. Hence, corrupt schema.

              I try my best to not use the word women or men – I hate them both, absolutely loathe them, despicable sub-human morons all of them. On the other hand I can count on one hand the MANS that I did not like and respect, and on the other hand, the WOMANS that I did not like and respect.

            • I don’t want to speak for Joan, but I think what shes saying is that the civil rights movement was a group of people working together to achieve some very specific goals. After those goals were completed in the late 60s and 70s the movements more or less disbanded or splintered off into groups focused on specific things. With the woman’s rights movement they had specific goals and mostly achieved them, but they also created a label, “feminist”, and asked that everyone who believed in gender equality refer to themselves as such, something the black civil rights activists never did (whats the word for someone who believes in racial equality?).

              Now the word feminist is used, like Joan, said as a catch all banner for a number of special interest groups. I’ve had feminists tell me that they will continue to use the label until abortion is widely available and those rights are no longer threatened. But some feminists are pro-life and don’t agree with this. Others have said the feminist movement is needed until the wage gap is gone, but now several sources have shown that this is grossly overstated. Others have said the term feminist should be used until women have equal representation in government and other positions of power. But while sexism may no doubt be a factor in unequal representation those feminist often dont take into account other factors like the choices men make versus those women make. Others have told me that its about getting rid of certain cultural sexist attitudes, but this is something thats difficult to measure and quantify.

              So I agree wtih Joan that there is no unifying goal and in addition to this there are aspects of common feminist theory that I find myself in disagreement with. But whenever anything about feminism is critiqued a feminist can simply say, “well I’m not like those feminists”. Feminism is a constantly moving target and it seems disingenuous when people say its purely about a belief in equality and don’t take into account the cultural connotations the word has taken on. I’ve got no problem with others that want to use it, but I don’t need a label to let people know I’m not sexist anymore than I need a label to let them know I’m not a racist or prescribe to any other form of bigotry.

            • That’s much more clear, thanks.

            • Now the word feminist is used, like Joan, said as a catch all banner for a number of special interest groups.
              If they were just using it for a catch all banner I’d be fine with it. Unfortunately it goes beyond that.

              During the whole twitter fiasco over the #ineedmasculism tag (which by the way plenty of feminists came out and openly made fun of the tag while actively refusing to engage, even made posts about how proud they were of such brilliance) I managed to get the attention of one exact feminist who gave me a bit of an insight.

              Plain and simple there are a lot of feminists out there that want ALL social justice to be under the banner of feminism. They are even willing to go to the point of tarring and feathering other efforts that are being done outside of feminist solely because they are outside of feminism.

              To be sure I got the usual: “If you believe in equality for all people then you’re a feminist”. But for some reason she could never answer my response question of “Why must all positive change be done inside feminism?”

              But I did finally get something out her between her mischaracterizations, lies, and insults (which once again apparently it’s okay to call people dicks because of their behavior, this is why I have a hard time being conerned over use of the word pussy for cowardice).

              She told me point blank that for men to speak up on their own outside of feminism is to imply that men have been oppressed but they really haven’t and doing so serves to do nothing but diminish the voices of women, distract from the issues at hand, and deny male privilege.

              I straight asked her multiple times when I did those things during our 5hr twitter chat but oddly she never gave a solid citing of me saying those things but she was hung up on the implication.

              Now of course this does not describe all feminists but at the end of the day.

              When coming across multiple feminists that hold this attitude why in the world is it so hard for some feminists to understand why there are people (not just men) that would rather work with the good parts of feminism and not call themselves feminist? I think the answer is because they have this illusion in their heads where feminism is a perfectly all good monolith and acknowledging the bad would wreck their illusion.

              But oh well I’m pro MRA, I’ll work with the good feminists as I come across them and call it a day. If someone, feminist or MRA or otherwise (although in my experience the “but why don’t you claim the title of….” and “but you’re really a…..” type of speak comes solely from feminists) can’t hang with that then good day to them.

            • I read much of your twitter argument. I think twitter is useless for dialogue. Too short, too weird to type in limits of characters, no ability to stop ask real questions.
              It was frustrating reading your posts and her responses. Don’t buy that the posts are good examples of what both of you were trying to get across but both not hearing/seeing.
              Twitter is inherently flawed in that regard and I won’t participate in conversations that should build (on already difficult ground).

            • Too short, too weird to type in limits of characters, no ability to stop ask real questions.
              While I can agree it might not be possible for people to have a full out discussion I do think that Twitter has contributed to people putting more effort into making their points as clear and consice as possible, meaning that in a some (or maybe a lot of) cases you’re getting someone’s real questions and answers.

              Twitter is inherently flawed in that regard and I won’t participate in conversations that should build (on already difficult ground).
              For some people (such as you for example) I would agree with that. However when someone:

              1. Apologizes to a person for calling me a dick not because of the wrongness of such an obviously gendered insult but because they took it personally.

              2. Can’t go 5 tweets without using an insult in general.

              3. Shows repeatedly that they would rather actively choose to believe an implication rather than the actual intent when it’s explained to them multiple times.

              4. Has no problem generalizing MRAs (as in purposely uses an incorrect definition) in worst while simultaneously crying foul about the same being done to feminists.

              5. Cannot answer the simple question, “What is it about men speaking up on their own that inherently diminishes the voices of women?” despite repeated making that claim.

              I think it’s safe to say that they are making their points and positions very clear.

              A lot of feminists jumped in on trolling that tweet the other day but precious few of them actually choose to engage with civil conversation. Not many of them actually showed any sign of agreeing with the points. No they chose to attack the tag, brag about the tag, and then act like there’s nothing bad/ill going on in feminism.

              Oh but the next time an MRA somewhere gets out of line there will be no shortage of “MRAs are so terrible.” lamenting.

              To the feminists that were behind that trolling I’ll say this.

              You had one job, and you failed.

            • I haven’t been so disgusted for such a long time than I have yesterday reading twitter with the stupid war between bigots and a few decent folk in between. It’s sad to see people laugh about real male issues, I swear many of them just see men as this one being, a rich white CEO/president type with heaps of power who beats n rapes his wife n kids n thus has little sympathy. Doesn’t seem many care of the men swallowing the barrel killing themselves, dying in dangerous jobs, being conscripted into wars they don’t believe in, being raped by men n women, being abused by men n women without much support.

              Men n women are more alike than so many believe, it’s sad really…this us vs them mentality doesn’t help at all. A male n female victim of rape aren’t magically different, they’re both victims of rape, help them ffs.

            • ” It’s sad to see people laugh about real male issues”

              And they said male hating and misandry is a myth.

              Sorry, Julie, or other feminist, just because you’re having a husband and a son doesn’t mean your cant hate men. Just like because you’re a father and have a daughter doesn’t mean you cant hate women. All those feminist that laugh at men issues and saying male abuses is not important ( because women are always the victims ), are all of them lesbians and not married and not have a son? NO, because its not important. You could still attracted to men while hate them

            • Thanks guys, it is more clear. GMP eats my posts and I start again and it turns into a mess.

            • I don’t have an axe to grind with corporations or the media having a profit-motive, I’m not waging a war against basic economic principles. It’s the feminist label where I disassociate myself. Hopefully the extremists don’t get funding or press.

              “Men are half the human race. I’d rather focus on ways all of us can move towards peace, equity, mutual respect and seeing each other as vital human members of the same team then put all my energy into websites from MRA or Radfem that seem to me to be nothing but violent fantasies spurred from unhealthy minds.” I totally agree, BUT…feminists have a stigma today and it isn’t all rosie, because some pockets have taken it to extremes.

              You’re asking great questions. “As for radfems that discuss aborting male babies and castrating people? Who are they? How many? Is it a website populated by under 1000 people? Do they actually have real political influence? Sit in seats of actual power?”

              I haven’t met a castration woman either, but I have heard plenty of male-bashers and woman-bashers showcasing their increasingly snarky attitudes in public discourse. Does that mean all feminists or all women are male-bashers? No, it means HER-male-bashing has tainted the image of women and feminists, hence the stigma.

              But haven’t met a KKK member either, but last time I checked the headquarters of the Klan is in Indianapolis, IN and every once in while they still conduct a lynching. Does that mean all white people are racists? No, it means white people get a stigma attached to them every time these idiots march around in white sheets and exercise their entitlements and rights. We have to be vigilant to ensure pockets of extremists don’t get political leverage or over-entitled at the expense of others.
              Especially when we start tinkering around in other cultures assuming OUR way is the right way. I don’t have problem raising the BS flag every f**king time these over-entitled women push their attitudes on everyone else and hide under egalitarian banner, then change their minds 5 minutes later.

              Here’s how stupid petty it is in social aspects that effects common attitudes. 10 years ago I was labeled Betty Crocker and Susie Homemaker, by some snarky women who had a bad attitude about the kitchen, because I brought cookies to work. Who made cooking, cleaning, and cookie baking a damn stereotype? My great grandpa was a baker back in the day. 10 years ago, I had already broken through many of the oppressed-woman stereotypes, because I had put myself through two college degrees, worked a full-time job, joined the Army Reserves, served my first tour in combat, took flying lessons, etc, all traditional male things on my own dime…as single woman, but I still enjoy being in the kitchen, having a clean house, and doting on a man.

              Little did these judgmental women know that because of the chemicals I was exposed to in the military, I lost my privilege to bear children, be a mom or a grandma someday. Nurturing and breaking bread with others is my way of expressing my woman-ness. I’m not sitting in some ivory tower, because I have emasculated men by virtue of being an independent woman and growing up with the same messages we all have. But most people are sick and tired of this women’s rights talk at the expense of men, which unfortunately gravitates around the feminist label.

            • I’m sorry that people treated you badly. That wasn’t kind or fair of them. I wish human beings could cut out the microagressions which only seem to happen when people want status or to devalue others. That’s a human thing, and pervades all the “isms.”

              I don’t believe that I emasculate men by having had a full life filled with messages that I can work and create and produce and be independent while also choosing (happily, mind you) to create an interdependent life with a husband and family. I don’t hold any ill feelings towards families of all types and varieties.

              I’m glad you can find community in things like baking and care-taking. I do as well. I”m also glad that you had the right to serve your country and work jobs traditionally male. I’m glad I’ve had those too.

              I wish perhaps people could reach a point where we asked the other what really works for them and listened to the answer.

              Anyway, I’ve reached the end of my tether, don’t feel the need to dialogue any more about this. I’m a feminist and imagine I always will be. And I love men, and support them. So, there you have that.

            • I wish there were far more feminists like you in the pubic eye to combat the stigma of the label. I believe you would champion a much better version of VAWA for instance, problem is I fear the gynocentric feminists have the dominant hold on political influence for feminism and even a few radical/extremists seem to have some power there too. If it were just egalitarian feminists like yourself in power I wouldn’t be worried at all but I don’t want to see another gendered VAWA, or yet another anti-abuse action where we ignore up to half the victims because they have a penis.

              It saddens me that we have people clamor so much the equality label yet so few in power seem ready to enact truly equal but proportional actions to end abuse. The final days of VAWA with the updates made to it were a start but still the lack of activism after the CDC NISVS2010 stats for instance showing male victims of DV and rape really have crushed my hopes a lot with men being supported by anyone, let alone feminism. I hear lipservice by many feminists saying feminism is for male issues for instance yet see fuck all male issues discussed or promoted, seems to be more of a “we’ll fix women then we’ll worry about men”.

              Locally I know you do good work for the college for ending abuse and being gender-neutral, but across the globe that seems to be rare. That is what crushes me the most, that the ones who should have power n influence apparently don’t. I expect a president to shit bricks when he/she see’s the NISVS2010 stats and immediately ensure a proportional response to ending abuse for instance, hell run 2 ads for women, 1 for men to be proportional if you have to, just make sure you show both genders as being victim or perp.

            • Archy,

              I understand your frustration, but suspect you are making a couple of fundamental mistakes.

              The first is that power of any kind tends to be conservative, in the sense that it acts to conserve itself. The segments of the feminist world that have power, act to preserve that power. In this case that power is either through the courts,or is derived from government by way of political power. The standard narratives are used for political marketing, and challenging those threatens the perception of political weight that feminist power wielders bring to bear. VAWA was created using a narrative, and they will not let that narrative go.

              The second mistake is that ideas have a gestation period. Once the public forms an understanding of an issue, it is exceptionally difficult to change it – frankly, it can take a generation or two. You can see this in economics, in sociology, in education and in political philosophy. As matters stand the generation of feminist ideas are locked in to ideas that had their gestation period in the seventies, with the development of patriarchy theory, understandings of rape and consent, domestic violence, and the nature of masculinity. The replacement ideas have barely been touched on in academia, or in the press. It will take time to generate those ideas, and considerable time for them to gain any traction. In the meantime, legislation is slow to react, so we are likely to be with the current legal approaches for quite some time to come. The courts are a more likely avenue.

              Those individuals who are self-identifying as feminist, but are NOT involved in power, and are not in academia (call them non-aligned) can easily adopt positions that fit the facts on the ground – rape, DV, family courts, but still hold on to root ideas like rape culture, and patriarchy theory. But they are not at all the same people as the others. Hence Julie and some others here. Some here work very hard at it.

              They have NO ability to change what the academics and power wielders are doing or saying, even if they are aware of what those two groups are doing. How many non-aligned feminists are aware of the involvement of feminist power groups in the changes to the FBI rape reporting structure? Or the efforts made on the stimulus program advanced by Pres Obama? Or the advocacy and training done be feminist groups on police training and judge training? Or the practices of some of the shelter personnel?

              Unfortunately, their defense of the word feminist leaves the power wielders with their power base, as speaking, not just for feminist, but for women as a whole.

            • @rezam – That is such a great comment – distinguishing between feminists within existing power structures and feminists outside them. I would add that within academia there may be also be an important difference between a gender/women’s studies 101 type class and the latest feminist theory being offered by academics at the front edge. It takes a long time for the newest, best ideas to filter down into the mainstream curriculum.
              On a different thread I noted the difference between theory, advocacy, and individual feminists, but I was thinking after reading your post this morning that there’s a culture piece in here too. With all the blogs and zines and so on, that’s a whole other dimension and often (at least the online versions) includes the most vicious elements.

            • Agreed. I’m a “regular” person in the world. Do not sit in hallowed halls of power, nor frankly do I want to. Often what one has to do to achieve that kind of conservative power is trade in the activism and advocacy that got you started in the first place.

              The reason Archy doesn’t see more women like me is because they are just out there doing what they do, and not commenting online. Just like there are men doing work for men out there where it doesn’t turn into some of the most vitriolic of the MRA posts. That which is visible gets named the norm, but that isn’t always true.

              Given new technology and the speed at which it works, it’s all up in the air.

            • rezam:
              The first is that power of any kind tends to be conservative, in the sense that it acts to conserve itself. The segments of the feminist world that have power, act to preserve that power. In this case that power is either through the courts,or is derived from government by way of political power. The standard narratives are used for political marketing, and challenging those threatens the perception of political weight that feminist power wielders bring to bear. VAWA was created using a narrative, and they will not let that narrative go.
              Now the interesting part is that in spite of this feminists often comment that they have no power or influence. if we are going to acknowledge that there are parts of the feminist world that have power and are acting to preserve it then how can we say that feminists have no power (@rezam I know you didn’t claim that feminists have no power/influence this is a generic question).

              The second mistake is that ideas have a gestation period. Once the public forms an understanding of an issue, it is exceptionally difficult to change it – frankly, it can take a generation or two. You can see this in economics, in sociology, in education and in political philosophy. As matters stand the generation of feminist ideas are locked in to ideas that had their gestation period in the seventies, with the development of patriarchy theory, understandings of rape and consent, domestic violence, and the nature of masculinity. The replacement ideas have barely been touched on in academia, or in the press. It will take time to generate those ideas, and considerable time for them to gain any traction. In the meantime, legislation is slow to react, so we are likely to be with the current legal approaches for quite some time to come. The courts are a more likely avenue.
              In relation to this about the gestation period of change I think there is another similarity. When feminist ideas were beginning to gestate in the 70s they faced forces that fought against them. Now I think we are seeing a case where (at least in the gender discourse itself) were feminist ideas are being challenged and questioned and there are feminists that are fighting tooth and nail against those changes.

              Look at how a lot of them will try to make anything good synonymous with feminism. You’re a guy that decided to put on a dress to go out tonight? That’s so feminist! You’re a man that helped his friend when was being abused by his wife? That’s so feminist. You’re a woman that decides when and when not to put on make up of her own free will? That’s so feminist. And my personal favorite. “You want equality for all people? Then that makes you a feminist.”

              It’s spin, PR, control, or whatever you want to call it. When something has power and wants to keep it they will do whatever they deem necessary in order to keep it. Well what better way to keep it than by trying to make your label synonymous with all that is good?

              Part of the reason “the replacement idea have barely touched on in academia or the press” is because feminists don’t want them to catch on. That’s why you saw the other day during that #ineedmasculism tweet fiasco there were way more feminists that decided to cry foul and shout insults than those who chose to take it as an opportunity to have a civil conversation. No it was the internet equivalent of turning your nose up at someone. All that trolling was for one purpose and one purpose only.

              To smear something that wanted positive change but was happening outside of feminism. Funny thing is a lot of today’s feminists are acting like the people that feminists from the 70s were up against. Smear tactics, personal attacks, diversionary tactics, bullying, etc….

              (In comparison what did feminists have to say about the people that bullied and personally attacked Sarkessian when she brought up her Tropes in Video Games topic? I specifically remember them being quite rightly bothered over it and speaking out trying to get a civil conversation going about a real topic. I guess in their eyes you have to be a feminist in order to be deserving of respect. Maybe that’s why they act like that feminism is an entity that has the copyright/trademark/patent on the concept of equality for all people.)

            • Whoa, comment of the month! You sound like a very strong woman, sorry to hear about the chemicals though. :(

            • @ Julie Gillis
              ” Forced sterilizations has been happening to Ethiopian women (Israel was requiring it for new settlers)”

              It would be nice if you were able to explain this.
              Sterilization is the permanent elimination of the ability to reproduce. There is NO known pharmacological offering that acts as a sterilization drug. There are two types of process used for female sterilization – surgical tubal ligation, and transluminal processes that block the Fallopian tubes.

              You are alleging that Israel was conducting tubal ligations or transluminal procedures without consent (forced sterilization).

              The story as advanced by an investigative reporter for an outfit called Educational Television advanced the claim that the women were told they were inoculations, based on interviews with 35 Ethiopian women.
              The “inoculations” were Depo-Provera, which is a long lasting contraceptive. How long lasting? The shots have to be taken every 3 months. At worst, apparently a woman’s mentruation cycle can take a year to re-regulate. This is NOT sterilization.

              Please see the 2005 study conducted by the Women’s Health and Action Research Centre, published in the African Journal of Reproductive Health (ISSN: 1118-4841, Vol 9 Num 3 pp 15-26.) titled ” The Potential Impact of Community-Based Distribution Programmes on Contraceptive Uptake in Resource-poor Settings: Evidence from Ethiopia”.

              ” Because contraceptives may introduce social discord, leading at times to intimate partners’ violence amongst African couples, women of low bargaining powers often resort to family planning methods that are suitable to covert use.30-31 Women can take injections of depo-provera while visiting a health facility and remain protected against unwanted pregnancies for three months. This may be done without their husband’s knowledge and without the bother of having to remember to take the pill or to undergo clinical procedures that are involved when opting for implants or intrauterine devices. Consequently, a general pattern that has been observed in the contraceptive method mix in sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere in the developing world is the predominance of injectables.32-34 ”

              The injections were provided at in-transit facilities in Ethiopia,
              ht tp://elderofziyon.blogspot.co.il/2013/01/did-israelis-force-contraception-on.html
              __________________________________________
              Forced Sterilization is a crime against humanity under the Rome Statute, and is within the mandate of the International Criminal Court.

              I am not at all sure that it is your intention to accuse Israel of Crimes Against Humanity.

            • “Do they actually have real political influence? Sit in seats of actual power? Are they actually making laws or are they complaining and posting radical academic theory that will never see the light of legal day?”

              That’s the thing, in Australia I hear they do. The extremist MRA’s though do not have that power, they seem to just run their mouth off online.
              http://radfemhubexposed.blogspot.com.au/ this site talks about it, not sure how legit it is, haven’t read it all but the first bits and especially “the plan” which is the proposed VAWA equivelent to Australia I guess looks pretty fucking scary at it’s lack of protection for men but also pushing gendered views of DV which FAIL miserably.

              “I’d rather focus on ways all of us can move towards peace, equity, mutual respect and seeing each other as vital human members of the same team then put all my energy into websites from MRA or Radfem that seem to me to be nothing but violent fantasies spurred from unhealthy minds.”
              From the surface it seems only the radfems are involved with making law though, that’s the scary part. I don’t think people would worry as much if they just ran their mouth off online since that’d be easy to ignore.

              When feminism influences shit like the early versions of VAWA, or Australia’s “the plan”, that is when feminism appears to be harmful to men. Yes I said it, harmful, if you push shit like the duluth model which pretty much portrays men as the aggressor always then you are harming male victims and failing to help female perpetrators as well. Egalitarian actions without gendering shit though does help, but feminism isn’t all egalitarian. There are those who grew up hearing feminist dogma from individuals which has caused them to internalize a message of men = bad, that is harmful. There are ways feminism has harmed men but there are also ways it has helped men, just depends on the type of feminism and the people speaking it just as christianity has helped some but harmed others.

              It’s pretty obvious to see some people go overboard and promote a message that men are harmful, “men are responsible for war”, “all rape is by men”, “all sex is rape”, and other bullshit (Hey females, both genders are responsible for war). I see this absolute view of generalizing positive about feminism, how feminism helped women, and men, etc but yet why can’t we generalize negatively about it too? Some parts of feminism help, and some parts are NOTHING but hatespeech.

      • Mr Supertypo says:

        Thank you Archy, I’m still looking for that place with the “real feminists” but I haven’t found it. The closest was NSWATMz and the GMP. But following some “feminists” these place aren’t feminist sites but MRA. And some feminist have even placed a boycott to GMP. Now are they good feminists or posers? Some time ago postulated that good feminists are not online because they are working in the real world. But we can easily dismiss that claim (as I wrote in another threat) we are living in 2013 not 1996 everybody is online (yes there is more on the internet than Facebook). If I didnt knew better after surfing the net I would consider good feminists at pair with fairy creatures like unicorns, elves, gnomes etc. But fortunately I know better, but I understand who doesn’t.
        If its true that feminism is for equal right and not just some fluffy congregation of wants by some women, then there is no way around for the good feminists to call out the bad one.

        Because as I see it right now, the worst enemy of feminism is the feminist it selves. They generate anti-feminism they generate misunderstandings, they generate bigotism, they generate confusion you name it. I even want to take it further and claim if all feminists were like the textbook, there would n be any MRA at all, even Paul Elam from ‘A voice for men’ claimed that, when feminists start working for real equal right, he would join them. MRA came around because of the failures of feminism not because of the victories.

        But I dont like to give the wrong impression, im not after feminist or feminism, there is alot good in there. But I wish all these problems today could be avoided IF they would call out the bad ones. But this sadly rarely happens. So Hurra for the one who does 😀

        • Some time ago postulated that good feminists are not online because they are working in the real world. But we can easily dismiss that claim (as I wrote in another threat) we are living in 2013 not 1996 everybody is online (yes there is more on the internet than Facebook).
          I know right? Apparently we can get live up to the millisecond tweets of slut walks, symposiums on gender issues, and everything else between but “real feminists” aren’t online?

          If its true that feminism is for equal right and not just some fluffy congregation of wants by some women, then there is no way around for the good feminists to call out the bad one.
          Actually I’ll lower the bar. If they are for equal and fair rights then at the very least they can quite trying to deny the negativity that exists in feminism. Its fine if they don’t call it out. But it’s not fine that all they have to say about it is that it doesn’t exist.

    • wellokaythen says:

      And, very minor point, thanks for saying “straw feminist” instead of “strawman.” I’ve always been annoyed at the selective gender-neutraling of language. The words with “-man” in them that describe things to be beaten up and destroyed (“strawman”) or people with unattractive jobs (“trashman”) seem to have been left alone, while chairperson, salesperson, etc. have proliferated.

  21. This is soooooooo good. I love every word. And I am passing it along to all my single lady clients. The art of being feminine – something I am fascinated by and am so grateful you out how important it is for dating into words. My favorite is the last line “And I’m discovering that to win at not wanting, and not having, may not be a game worth winning, in the end.” And the shout out to your insecure teenager – Amen!

  22. Oh my god. Your school, ‘leading’ private Catholic girl’s school. That was my school too, years on and I am still hopeless with men. Boys were never on my radar until weirdly at the late blooming stage of 18 when they suddenly were…and I did not have a clue. I used (still almost do and I’m 22) see men as a different species. I don’t know if it is just feminism but more the emotional stunting of never growing up in a normal unisex environment. It’s true men are demonized in all girl schools and these days even the few male teachers there are in these schools walk on eggshells.
    Terri I totally get your reaction to all of this stuff. Mine was slightly different. I was, for years petrified of the opposite sex. Then and maybe still, quite addicted to everything about them…ie the unhealthy flip side of years of subjection to the idea of men as the forbidden, denial of ‘sin’.. ‘they are only after one thing…-well why not bloody give to them then’ …like reverse psychology or something.
    Still I don’t think I resent them, so much as the idea that they get away with so much more then women in some ways because they are ‘biologically wired’ to be that way- especially when it comes to sex and relationships.
    Single sex education on the basis that the opposite sex is a distraction to studies only leads to the development of unhealthy attitudes and incorrect ideas (between genders, evident when they eventually mix), and yes I think it has screwed me up forever when it comes to romantic relationships.
    I just don’t understand men..because one never sat next to me in maths class I guess.

    • “I just don’t understand men..because one never sat next to me in maths class I guess.”
      When they get hardon’s, they rape everything in sight! (sarcasm)
      Not all men are the same, but just talk to men and ask about their lives. Read this site and you’ll find out quite a bit, I am pretty open about my fears, insecurities, and stuff that affects me in life.

    • Mr Supertypo says:

      “It’s true men are demonized in all girl schools and these days even the few male teachers there are in these schools walk on eggshells.”

      To me it seems that these schools reinforces gender stereotypes, didnt you had gender courses? or they were also faulty? I wonder what happens in boy schools, anybody went there?

      • What year was she in this private school? I could see this in the 60’s maybe

      • Nope no gender courses, I’m not sure I know what that it either? A tiny mention of the beauty of the union of marriage in religion class every now and then. Also occasional, patchy, awkward of the teachers part, sex education in heath in PE in the final years where they just told us all forms of contraception were bad and we should monitor our ‘natural’ cycle to try predict, coz all else is ‘damaging’ and not the way God intended us to use our bodies….marriage. We had a lecture from a lady from a religious centre with a powerpoint and everything, oh the horror.
        Yeh very very conflicting messages.
        Interesting how a lot of the girls in my year turned out. I know of a stripper, ‘glamour’ model, teenage mum- leading private catholic girl school eat your heart out.
        The most we really got is
        ‘there are a lot of bad boys out there who will try to take advantage of your good virtues’

        • Mr Super”typo” .. sorry about that … my typo. Also want to say that it is sad that Catholic schools have fallen into the secular feminism.

      • Mr Superhero …. Demonizing men is what they do in many women’s study programs as well. Higher education simply mask it better.

    • Thank you for sharing, Stacey.
      I’m a man about twice your age, and like you, I’ve mostly been fascinated by the opposite sex.
      But constantly being ignored or ridiculed in my attempts to get in contact with them I’ve grown to become more or less petrified of women.
      I hope that you will fare better with age than I have done.

    • my school too! exclusive all girls grammar school….

  23. wellokaythen says:

    Sometimes when I come across extremist sites I wonder if they’re pulling my leg. Maybe I’m too naïve or too cynical, but sometimes I suspect such things are caricatures created by people who want to discredit whatever the larger group is. If someone wanted to discredit feminism or show that there are feminists who have gone off the rails, these sites would be the perfect anti-feminist propaganda. It’s the anti-feminist Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Or, maybe more playfully, these sites are like the “Yes-Men” stunts, pushing the envelope to see how far people will buy into it.

    As someone writing under a pseudonym, I am always conscious of the fact that you can’t really know who’s writing in to a blog. How does the Jezebel site really know that a commenter is a woman, much less a feminist? How do we even know that the editors didn’t write all the comments themselves?

    • wellokaythen says:

      This was meant to be in response to one of Archy’s messages.

    • Mr Supertypo says:

      “As someone writing under a pseudonym, I am always conscious of the fact that you can’t really know who’s writing in to a blog. How does the Jezebel site really know that a commenter is a woman, much less a feminist? How do we even know that the editors didn’t write all the comments themselves?”

      I stumbled in the same pattern of thinking as you, lots of time. Perhaps all the time, naaah its just a joke, naah they cant be serious. But then the question arises in me: where the real feminist? are they always joking? is feminism a joke for them? when do they get serious?
      The joke hypothesis, can only work if feminism is monolithic. But it isnt. :-(

    • I’ve wondered how much of both the extremist feminist AND mra sites were simply trolling. I find both movements pretty depressing atm, I wish they’d just team up already and end the bullshit but it seems very little trust exists between them….

      • As the fiasco over the #ineedmasculismbecause tag today on twitter has shown there are a lot of problematic elements on BOTH sides of this.

        • Reading the jezebel and the original thread now. What an epic clusterfuck. Bigotry like crazy, generalizations of what each movement is, how is it helpful? Call out the misogynists n misandrists but people should celebrate those truly interested in equality. The MRA’s and Feminists need to call out the extremists, kick em out, do whatever, they need each other to truly fight inequality n sexism.

          A circumcised guy said circumcision isn’t that bad…..You’re missing the point, the point is that as an adult you should be able to choose but as a child you should be left intact. Go tell those who have major problems from botched surgery that circumcision isn’t bad. Would people perform labiaplasty on babies too? It’s just a bit of excess skin right.

          http://jezebel.com/5982901
          “Hilarious”
          Feminists Are Savagely Trolling This ‘Masculism’ Hashtag on Twitter
          So the tag was made as a joke and now SOME feminists onboard are making a joke of it, I have a question for them though. For the legitimate concerns, is it funny? Seems to be quite a few people taking it more seriously, hopefully I’ll see some feminists comment about that and agree instead of the focusing on the negative alone. But what is the point in trolling it further? Joining in on the “fun”? This goes beyond picking out the misogynist comments and pointing out the bad, it’s sinking to a lower level and really just shows how petty some feminists are acting along with the trolls and some of the MRA’s.

          • I avoid feminist sites as well as MRA sites because I’m with you, most of it is incredibly depressing. A bunch of angry people bitching about the world in an echo chamber of negativity.

            • Who was saying women should stop reading women’s magazines? Y’all really need to stop ingesting the poison of hate-sites too. As Dr. King said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” Find the love, people! :-)

            • Thing is, where are the non-hate sites? Most major sites linked about the SPLC calling men’s rights a hate movement, an act which generalized about MRA’s. If I did the same towards feminism I could call feminist a hate movement based off the radfemhub site. But that’d be stupid…yet some of the major sites use nothing but bigotry to talk about mra’s, makes me wonder if one should consider them as a hate site. Which sites are hate-free?

            • Trolling or doing recon? Checking out various sites allows people to see what’s going on and when the opportunity presents itself, why not comment? Where as I see many people be okay with a variety of feminists sites/groups, I see little consideration given toward MRA’s/MRM’s. I still ask, as I have many times, please provide me a list of these MRA(M)’s? They’re talked about as though they are this overwhelming force.

  24. Can we PLEASE stop using so many generalizations. Saying “feminists are this” isn’t any better than saying “men are that.” Every label is going to be as diverse as the individuals who use it. Looking for “real feminists” or “good feminists” is the same as saying “where are all the real men?” or the “good men?” which if you have read anything on this site you know is a fractious question. If you are going to argue that “feminists say this” or “feminists do that,” PLEASE have the decency to find a specific example, like the comments about Jezebel and other specific websites.

    Which brings me back to a question I posed on another thread – what is any movement supposed to do about the extreme elements in it? Do the Black Panthers negate the importance or success of the Civil Rights movement? Do Gay Republicans undermine the sincerity of the religious right? Do hate-feminists define feminism or rapists define masculinity?

    You all keep asking for feminists to “call out” the negative impacts of the movement. Hello! [waving arms in the air wildly] Over here! I’m a feminist and I’ve said on other threads (and will continue to say) the feminist movement caused a lot of problems when man-bashing became the primary method of deconstructing patriarchy. Ignoring male victims of violence is wrong. Gatekeeping around childcare to keep fathers in second-banana status is wrong. Denying men’s experiences and wounds and perspectives is wrong. So, apparently, that makes me an “egalitarian feminist” – whatever. I’m still a feminist and I’m calling out the detrimental effects of the movement (and I’m not the first or the last to do so).

    • Alice Skeptic says:

      Wow, thanks so much, Kari. I don’t really have time to be writing comments on here because I’m on a deadline but if I had’ve I would’ve (tried) to say exactly that. Spot on.

      You can’t claim that feminists don’t disavow ‘bad feminists’ without giving specific examples of the ‘bad’ feminist doctrine to which you refer. Otherwise you’re guilty of the same kind of fuzzy thinking of which you accuse others.

      • I’ve given examples, others have given them. Radfemhub, agent orange files, etc. Find me a mainstream feminist article that tears radfemhub apart for their bigotry and not just a single person in a comment. What I find interesting is SO MANY feminist websites do exactly that, generalize negatively about the MRM/MRA’s calling them hateful, dangerous, etc. Should I ignore those feminists too?

        The silence of many feminists about their extremists allows those extremists to keep working with the name, but worse it means those who come into contact with them will see negative behaviour yet it seems quite often many mainstream feminists ignore this and dismiss it. It’s the major source of anti-feminist behaviour, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that feminism’s reputation is damaged heavily by extremist behaviour, extremist comments, hypocrisy and other negative behaviour within the movement. Ask men here for instance about their experience on feminist websites that with one breath say they are for male issues and in another will treat a man like shit for raising male issues. Ask about how “privilege” gets used to silence people and how “whataboutthemenz” is used to insult male issues, where it’s not just used to point out derailing but used to belittle men. Or how about the issue of hearing “the poor white menz” as if men have nothing to complain about (hello selective service, terrible support for rape n DV, etc). Not to mention the snark which does no one any good.

        Feminists should be asking themselves why so many anti-feminists exist, especially when those anti-feminists aren’t annoyed at women getting equal rights but what they perceive as wanting MORE than equal rights such as special protections men cannot get from issues that men too suffer.

        I’m not anti-feminist, I am critical of some feminists but love egalitarian feminists but I can plainly see there is a big problem with feminism atm with it’s reputation where high profile people are afraid to take on the label.

        “So, apparently, that makes me an “egalitarian feminist” – whatever. I’m still a feminist and I’m calling out the detrimental effects of the movement (and I’m not the first or the last to do so).”
        I’m glad you do, care to write an article about it? Can you point to any major feminist websites running articles like that? I see a few in the comments calling it out which is great but it needs to move from comments into wide-spread articles and gain major publicity. I or another man could write one but it’d probably be written off as “MRA” yet it’d have significant impact on a frontpage feminist site written by a feminist woman. Quite frankly feminists should be pissed off bigtime at the extremists, and the unchecked bigots even in the comment threads of some sites, they are influencing perceptions of feminism. The negative stereotypes exist for a reason, they need to be challenged and proven wrong. Both feminism and the MRM need to get off their ass n do this to save their reputations.

        • Lucy Montrose says:

          Feminists should be asking themselves why so many anti-feminists exist…

          A lot of anti-feminists exist because they made the calculation– like the author did, though she’s not an anti-feminist– that feminism would hamper their romantic lives. Or their capacity to be good parents. I can easily see, for instance, a feminist woman whose love of her life just happens to be a Southern Baptist or a member of Focus on the Family (these things happen) making the pragmatic-in-her-mind decision that her marriage, love life and happy family demand that she make herself similar in some way to her husband/lover. Therefore, she sees giving up some self-determination and essential freedoms as a worthy price to pay for the presence of love, romance, and children.

          Another question we should be asking ourselves is this: why do so many people find traditional gender roles sexy and attractive, evern today?

          There are a lot of hidden coercions and contingencies in relationships; and what most of them seem to have in common is the idea that being attractive to me requires you be like me. Unfortunately, there is a wealth of scientific evidence proving this is true– attraction and liking requires something in common. The rub is in what you DO to “become similar”. How much similarity does your partner require? If their love depends on you having to compromise your core values a lot, or changing into someone you don’t like looking at in the mirror; then you have a problem. How many Focus on the Family wives sneak away from their husbands and kids to vote Democratic on election day?

          I, for one, would like more and more of that “becoming similar” reduced to the following: We like/love each other. We want (or don’t want) to have each other’s children. We commit ourselves to each other’s best interests. That way “similarity” doesn’t have to become a social and romantic straitjacket.

        • Again, I ask where all these radical MRM(A) sites are …. Can someone please post them so I can look for myself? We’ve identified a couple of radical feminist sites but where are all these, all so powerful, men’s sites?

          • Lucy Montrose says:

            Try going to manboobz.com and looking at the “Boob Roll” on the right,

            • Even one needs to actually look at the sites themselves and make their own decision because the Manboobz crowd has a chronic case of If-its-MRA-then-it-be-bad-itis.

      • you could find bad feminist anywhere, especially in popular media. Jezebel for example.

    • It’s always amusing how the same movement that gave us patriarchy theory, “the personal is political,” the oppressor/oppressed worldview, “systemic prejudice”, etc. etc., suddenly demands to be treated as individuals when the shoe is on the other foot.

  25. And just so I’m living up to my own request – a highly-visible and *specific* example of a feminist giving an internal critique of the movement is bell hooks. She “called” the movement on its racism over thirty years ago.

    • Thank-you, I also know of Christina Hoff Summers, are there any more recently? Any major sites like feministe, feministing, jezebel, etc?

      • Archy –
        Usually internal critiques are launched by the fringe toward the mainstream, not the other way around (that would be so distracting and time consuming to address every tiny group at the edges of a movement). Many feminist-overview-type works include the main internal critiques of the movement (dissecting radical feminism too) – like Rosemarie Putnam Tong’s work (the fourth edition of her book comes out this spring). Much third-wave rhetoric includes criticism of second-wave feminism (and it’s anti-male mistakes). Third-wavers like Rebecca Walker and Jennifer Baumgardner are putting out great stuff these days. Katha Pollitt (now at The Nation) is great, too.

        • Thank you for this, Kari.

        • Mark Neil says:

          Thanks for providing some examples we can look into. In the interim, do any of these criticisms of previous iterations of feminism include self reflection of the current to ensure those “anti-male mistakes” aren’t just being perpetuated?

          As to who’s doing the criticism… can you please clarify on what you view as the “mainstream” and what’s the “fringe”? As many view the mainstream as those opposed to equality for men .

    • Lucy Montrose says:

      bell hooks criticied through having an eye to making feminism better. Her criticism is not another way of saying “feminism is bad and needs to be scrapped” like Hoff Sommers’ is.

  26. Feminism is actually dangerous to a womans sexuality because she has been taught that she is a victim of men.

    To be penetrated is to be vulnerable so you must be able to give trust but you cannot give trust to a member of the group (men) that has “victimized” you..

    The problem with labelling any group as victims is you than take their power which as a group was done to blacks and women.

    Make a person believe they are a victim and you break their spirit and steal their confidence.

    Women have sexualized themselves to stop men from sexualizing them much like how blacks call each other N….r to take the power out of the word.

    Women have been taught to hate their sexuality as vulnerability so now use their vaginas as penises so they have more power than their oppressors.

    Women have adopted male sexuality as a behavior for themselves so are becoming enstranged from their femininity, the true source of their power.

    This has stolen their capacity to love as women which men experience as rejection.

    The more power women want because they are victims the less power they actually have.

    Once you believe you are a victim and something is owed to you your power has been taken from you and placed in the hands of someone else.

    Being told you are a victim and than not doing anything about it causes internal self hate because you are told you are weak if you do not stop being a victim but the only way to stop being a victim is to give up your sexuality since your sexuality is dependant on your oppressor.

    A woman cannot give up her sexuality so she must become more of an oppressor than her oppressor resulting in modern marriage and female hyper sexuality.

    Equality as a concept of victims and oppressors is dangerous if it results in passivity.

    Feminism mixed with cowardice results in hate.

    • Read a book before spewing ignorance.

      • I thought Erik’s comment was very well thought out & showed he has read something to form his opinions. It was thought provoking & something I find worth contemplating on. I

      • Mark Neil says:

        It could likewise be said to you to start thinking for yourself and stop accepting what you find in books as the gospel truth and only way to view things. Much of feminist writing is little more than opinion and theory.

    • I like the comment and emphatically agree on many points :)

    • “Women have been taught to hate their sexuality as vulnerability so now use their vaginas as penises so they have more power than their oppressors.”
      Using… vaginas.. as penises… what the hell… is that? lol!

      “To be penetrated is to be vulnerable so you must be able to give trust but you cannot give trust to a member of the group (men) that has “victimized” you.”
      WHAT THE HEELLLL AMERIKA! Just so you know, women are not penetrated, only their vaginas are – if they want to, because that is not a necessary part of sex. But then again, vaginas also embrace and chews the penis, and taking that approach also makes the action of having your penis being embraced vulnerable. But in the end, anything can be vulnerable – or not.

  27. Lucy Montrose says:

    I don’t think it’s just feminism that has imparted in women’s minds to need to not be needy. The taboo against being desperate and (too) vulnerable is all over the dating and romance world. And so it’s socially de rigueur to affect an attitude of nonchalance in the early stages of dating, only being allowed to unleash passion or intensity once the other person has decided they know us well enough. Depending on our partners’ preference and comfort level, “early stage” could last indefinitely.

    For people who identify as passionate and intense and/or love those parts of themselves, this is a big problem– in order to respect others’ boundaries, you have to put yourself in an emotional corset?! And the rationale is “so you don’t scare people”… first of all, why is “not scaring people” held as more important than, um, actually being loving? Because it’s seen as a prerequisite? And also– if you must keep yourself bottled up so as to be a “safe” person… how might we rework the rules so that we can loosen our stays a bit, be more passionate, and still be safe people?

    Ah, but that’s American culture; so in love with emotional stability we will chuck love, compassion, possibilties, even common sense to attain it. The only person in our culture who’s acceptable being flamboyantly romantic is Spanish Buzz in Toy Story 3. And he’s fictional.

    • there is a covert social system of oppression where one is humiliated/shamed for feeling ’emotion’. a disvalue of the trait which is traditionally seen as ‘feminine’. until and unless this value can be respected universally, and instead of shunned be an attribute to aspire to, the oppression (and victimisation) will continue. so called ‘rights to privacy/non contact’ are seen as can do no wrong, and is commonly used as a tool to abuse without accountability, while the rights of ‘recipiency’ are not even addressed.

      • Women where not shamed for exhibiting emotion at all before the advent of feminism. TO the extent women are shamed for it today it is because of feminisms atempt to make women as masculine as possible.

  28. wow this is something new to me. as a female in her mid 30s i can say the opposite – that women are the ‘foreign territory’ for me. its only men who have always been there for me in my life. only men. they were the ones who stood by me, supported me, stuck up for me, respected me and were always there for me when i needed someone to talk to, a shoulder to cry on or someone to confide in. not women. ever. women have only been two faced, resentful, bullies for the most part (99.99%) – nasty, petty and catty – by women, ive been abused, excluded, bullied, and betrayed. what can i say? i sound like a mysoginist lol but most women i do know feel the same as me. nowadays i feel so awkward and uncomfortable in a group of women its embarrassing. but i guess its only natural after being only around men socially for so many years. when i was a little girl i did have only female friends like most; i was unhappy and frustrated. my only regret is i didnt discover men sooner – i would have had a better experience growing up. thank god i fought tooth and nail to avoid going to a girls school, possibly one of my better decisions in life.

  29. This was me a year ago. I was recovering from an abusive relationship and was absolutely convinced that I could not accept anything from any man because he would use it against me later like my ex was prone to do. It took about a year of being with a trustworthy guy to get that out of me.

  30. I’ve got absolutely no problem with all of what you’re saying. As with so many ideas, often when you first pick them up you go a bit nuts with them. University students who are introduced to existentialism, for example, often go a bit mad with “NOTHING MATTERS AHHHH!” So yeah, I get that.

    I am not a fan of the title, though, as it plays into the idea that somehow feminism itself is antithesis to romantic relationships…as though feminism makes a woman unattractive. If that is indeed the case, I think that says more about the negative ways in which we define female attractiveness than it does feminism.

    What really gets me about these kinds of articles, though, is that you always get women writing them. – Because of feminism I thought I didn’t need a man, but turns out I do. Now I’m too hard/confrontational/aggressive, so I’m needing to unlearn that to get a man. – You don’t ever get articles written by men saying the opposite (or at least not outside of niche feminist websites). Something along the lines of, “Oh I thought I didn’t need feminism because I am a man, and I could get chicks without it. But turns out I’m too aggressive/patriarchal/etc., and not soft/nurturing enough, so I’m needing to unlearn that to be more attractive to women.”

    And that’s not a critique of your own personal story, Terri…that’s just me noticing the one-sided nature of this sort of discussion.

    • You don’t ever get articles written by men saying the opposite (or at least not outside of niche feminist websites). Something along the lines of, “Oh I thought I didn’t need feminism because I am a man, and I could get chicks without it. But turns out I’m too aggressive/patriarchal/etc., and not soft/nurturing enough, so I’m needing to unlearn that to be more attractive to women.”
      Are you by chance saying that there should be articles like that?

    • HeatherN, umm ever ready anything by Hugo Schwyzer, Dr Nerdlove, etc? They have talked about male privilege, how men act etc and it’s relation to attractiveness. I’ve seen articles by men telling men to be more feminist to be more attractive.

      “And that’s not a critique of your own personal story, Terri…that’s just me noticing the one-sided nature of this sort of discussion.”
      Probably because there are many women that want patriarchal men still. Thing is this article was more about how some feminism can be pushed on women and cause harm to their success in dating. Eg, the recent episode of Californication has Marcy? becoming very anti-male, her and 2 others get hit on by men and her and the other man-hater (she calls herself that) end up using a bitter tone to talk about a stereotype of men which ends up scaring em off. I’m sure there are some who got that message from the feminism they read, were introduced to, if you start to believe misandrist shit and have a bitter attitude then that will scare off a lot of men just as there is no shortage of misogynists scaring off women. If a woman wanted to date me, but start spouting shit from the radfemhub or even the jezebel type of feminism I’d be saying goodbye to her because I don’t wanna listen to sexist bullshit.

      Being hyper-aware of rape statistics for instance about girls only can lead some to create a misandrist view of men, they take Schrodinger’s rapist to a whole new level and become fearful of ALL men. That is going to harm your chances of getting a boyfriend if you’re deathly afraid of them. It’s part of why it’s bad to have gendered campaigns without hte other gender’s vulnerability made aware, it creates this view of men being monsters, women being vulnerable porcelain dolls that a man can easily overpower and creates a binary view of the genders. Think arnie before and after the blood scene in predator, if it bleeds we can kill it. If you view men as pretty much invincible and that women can’t harm men then you will probably feel far less equal to them, and feel very vulnerable around them.

      Not all that go through feminism (or any ideology) will get like that but it does happen to some and will harm your chances at romance if you see the other gender (or the gender you are attracted to) as demons instead of humans. There are women who will flat out refuse to date MRA’s become of a bigoted view of them, just as there are men who flat out refuse to date feminists because of bigoted views towards them. There is plenty of hatred put on MRA’s in the feminist circles, and the same for the reverse, it lowers the pool of people to date if you view them as the enemy instead of looking at people as individuals.

      Not all feminists act the way you do, nor how the OP says, feminism isn’t even a monolith but a basic term for a wide variety of views so yes feminism can screw up your lovelife if the version of feminism you use isn’t a good one. Not sure there really is a comparison, maybe men denouncing the MRM? But the MRM is bloody small compared to feminism, and hasn’t been known as long so it’ll be rarer to find such an article.

    • Jonathan G says:

      You don’t ever get articles written by men saying the opposite (or at least not outside of niche feminist websites). Something along the lines of, “Oh I thought I didn’t need feminism because I am a man, and I could get chicks without it. But turns out I’m too aggressive/patriarchal/etc., and not soft/nurturing enough, so I’m needing to unlearn that to be more attractive to women.”

      Funny thing is, Heather, that I hear just the opposite from women in the city I live in: Men here are too passive and sensitive, they need to learn to be more aggressive to be more attractive to women, they’re not men. I guess we’re all SNAGs.

  31. Revo Luzione says:

    Great article, Terri.

    I think many women in your age cohort are realizing how much feminism has screwed up their love lives. This is especially true in progressive cities with large gender imbalances: NYC, DC, and SF come to mind. Marriage rates in those towns are low, and fertility rates are abysmal.

  32. courage the cowardly dog says:

    Half a loaf is better than none. I have been waiting for an avowed feminist to admit feminism’s failings for some time and while this article does not go far enough, I suppose I should be thankful that it acknowledges a major failing in that feminism has utterly failed to deal with initmate relationships between the genders. I have always viewed “The Feminine Mystique” as The Feminist Manifesto and this article attacks a core principle of that work that women should focus more on their careers than finding suitable man to marry. I looked at Ms. Trespicio’s website and it is largely focuses on dating and relationships, topics that Ms. Friedan suggested women should focus on less. The pendulum is, I believe, starting to swing away from feminism. Too late for me, but not for my sons, Thank God!

  33. courage the cowardly dog says:

    Feminism didn’t just screw womens’ love lives it screwed up their lives by shifting the earning burden on to them. Case in point see this http://boards.askmen.com/showthread.php?57450-Secret-lives-of-breadwinner-wives

  34. The article made me think of this essay:

    http://www.menweb.org/femexpos.htm

    • samantha says:

      I give this woman kudos for airing her laundry in front of the world. I give her no respect. I find her attitude just awful.

  35. No sorry, this doesn’t convince me one bit that it will screw up a love life. If a man is so threatened by a woman being a feminist then he’s not worth it

    • I think she was actually saying that it was about how feminism made her view herself…. not about men being threatened by her being a feminist…just saying

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