People ask feminists why they’re so angry. But shouldn’t a sober look at how we treat each other tick us all off?
Editor’s note: Following Twitter conversations between me, Sarah Beaulieu and Anne Thériault, I asked Anne if she would express herself on the topic of female anger. This article is the result. The piece is courageous, sincere and important as both an expansion of and counterpoint to Sarah Beaulieu’s How I Stopped Being an Angry Feminist, and Started Loving Men; it presents one woman’s emotional and intellectual experience in a way that has implications for all of us. I understand that some men, perhaps especially those who have been hurt by women or believe women get a free pass to express whatever emotion they desire—this while men’s issues are pooh-poohed—will take exception. My advice is to go ahead and take exception but to also remember that Anne Thériault is a human being. She is, like Sarah Beaulieu or any other writer who tells intimate stories, taking certain risks and leaving herself vulnerable. Logging in to harass the author will only strengthen the point she’s making.
You might wonder what this post has to do with marriage. Sarah Beaulieu’s piece was about lessons in love she learned from her husband. Anne’s response, if it isn’t obvious, speaks to what we must overcome as a society if we’re to strengthen our institutions. And ourselves.
When Gint first asked me to write this post I was, well, hesitant, to put it mildly. I know that it will generate a lot of angry comments, some of which will likely feel quite personal. And as much as I wish that I could say that I don’t care, and that the comments won’t bother me, I do (perhaps pathetically) still care, and the comments do hurt, sometimes.
I know, I know, somebody call the wahmbulance and all that, but I figured things would be easier if I started out by being totally honest with you guys.
Anyway, Gint and I talked about how important this topic is, and although I’m not 100% convinced that I’m the best person to address it, I’m going to give it the old college try. So let’s get started, shall we?
I’m an angry feminist.
You know what, though? I don’t think that being angry and being a feminist are terrible things; in fact, I believe that the contrary is true. And I feel frustrated by our media and culture constantly representing angry feminists as psychotic, man-hating bitches. So when the Good Men Project posted an article with the title, “How I Stopped Being an Angry Feminist, and Started Loving Men,” I was upset. I felt that this just furthered the idea that angry feminists are Bad Women, and, honestly, I’m tired of reading stories about ladies who used to be angry feminists and then found redemption through the love of a good man.
I’m angry at the way that society treats women, angry at all of the big and little examples of casual misogyny that I see every day. I’m angry that our culture still puts so much value in a woman’s appearance, rather than focussing on her brains or personality.
I’ve since chatted with Sarah Beaulieu and understand that this wasn’t her intention, but still—intent isn’t magic, you know? And as much as I appreciate what she was trying to say (that anger wasn’t helping her heal from her multiple sexual assaults—love was, in the end, what gave her peace), and as much as I understand that she’s speaking about her personal experience (although she does make a few broad generalizations as well), I do think that the title and content of her article are problematic, even dangerous.
I’m not angry because I hate men. I’m not even angry at men. I’m angry at the system that, for the lack of a better term, most people refer to as the patriarchy. As far as defining the patriarchy, I don’t think anyone has ever done it better than Ashley Judd, so I’m going to use her words here:
Patriarchy is not men. Patriarchy is a system in which both women and men participate. It privileges, inter alia, the interests of boys and men over the bodily integrity, autonomy, and dignity of girls and women. It is subtle, insidious, and never more dangerous than when women passionately deny that they themselves are engaging in it.
I have participated in this system. I still do, really, as much as I try not to. I participate in it when I work hard to make myself sweet, smiling and non-threatening, even in the face of blatant sexism, because I know that that’s the easiest way to get through life. I participate in it whenever I tell a man that I’m a feminist and then feel the need to follow up by telling him that I don’t hate men. I participate when I shave my legs, put on makeup or wear a cute dress, because I am helping to further the idea that there is one narrow definition of how women should look. And sure, I like doing these things, but I also realize that I want to look a certain way because the idea this is what my appearance I should be has been pushed on me for my entire life.
I participate in the patriarchy when I write for the Good Men Project, trying to make my feminism safer, more palatable, in an attempt to convince you that I’m not like those other feminists, the feminists that some of you hate so much. And just to be clear, these posts have been my own choice to write, and I have come up with both the content and the subject matter, so don’t think that I am trying to obliquely criticize the project or its editors. I chose to try to sugarcoat feminism, and now I regret it, and I have to own that.
But make no mistake, I am an angry feminist. I’m angry at the way that society treats women, angry at all of the big and little examples of casual misogyny that I see every day. I’m angry that our culture still puts so much value in a woman’s appearance, rather than focussing on her brains or personality. I’m angry about lack of easy access to birth control and abortion, and the way that some conservative politicians seem to view women as nothing but a uterus on legs.
Anger is transformative, and can mean the difference between passively accepting oppression and waiting for someone else to deal with it.
I’m angry at the people who have told me that no one will respect me because I call myself a feminist.
I’m angry at the people who have told me that I’m too reasonable, caring and compassionate to be a feminist.
I’m angry that when I do call someone out on their misogyny, I end up being castigated for coming across as too outraged, too abrasive, just because I’m not always willing to kindly, sweetly educate.
I’m angry that the onus is always on women to explain, to be patient, to understand, when the person you’re being asked to educate could just as easily educate themselves, should they want to.
I’m angry at how often I find myself stroking men’s egos, promising them that promoting women’s rights will be a benefit and not a detriment to them.
I’m angry at how often I find myself excusing my actions and words based on the grounds that I’ll catch more flies with honey.
I’m angry at how often I feel obligated to be nice, because I feel that people won’t take me seriously otherwise.
I’m angry at the fact that there are tons of people who won’t take me seriously anyway, whether I’m nice or not, just because I’m a woman.
I’m angry at the way the patriarchy ingrains a deep-seated self-hatred in women, a hatred that begins at a very young age.
I’m angry whenever women feel the need to behave in a certain way just because they’re women.
I’m angry whenever other women happily take advantage of all the rights that they’ve gained thanks to the feminist movement, then turn around and say that they’re not feminists.
I’m angry whenever people talk about how good women had it a century ago, because social codes dictated that men had to be more polite to them or some bullshit. As if having someone feel obligated to hold the door open for you totally makes up for not being able to own property, vote or have any kind of bodily autonomy.
I’m angry when people say that women were “given” the vote, as if suffragettes didn’t fight tooth and nail, enduring prison, physical violence and sometimes death just so that we could have this right.
I’m angry about a lot of stuff, but I think that’s a good thing, not a bad thing. I think that anger can be a good way, sometimes the only way, to fuel change. Anger at injustice is often the spark that ignites political and social movements, and anger can keep you fighting the good fight even when all your other resources feel used up. Anger is transformative, and can mean the difference between passively accepting oppression and waiting for someone else to deal with it, and suddenly realizing that if you want to see change, real change, you have to be the one to stand up for your beliefs.
And yes, sometimes I am angry with specific men, when they’ve done or said something that’s sexist, misogynist or just plain hurtful. Sometimes I’m angry with specific women for the same reasons. But that doesn’t mean that I hate men or women as a whole. And sometimes it can be hard to maintain this perspective, when I’m faced with an onslaught of negativity about women and feminism, but still, I manage to separate the individuals from the group.
So my hope is that, while reading this, those of you who have had negative experiences with individual feminists will try to understand that the unfair actions of one particular person don’t mean that you should write off the feminist movement. Please don’t conflate your anger at things that have been said or done by people who label themselves as feminist with anger at feminism in general – because I promise you that no one single person (or even group of people) is representative of the whole.
Instead, maybe you could join me in directing your anger outward, to all the injustices that both men and women deal with in the face of the patriarchy and its desire to impose strict gender roles on all of us. Because I can tell you from personal experience that the patriarchy hurts men, too. Because I don’t want my son to grow up believing that being a boy means that he can only like certain things or behave in certain ways, in the same way that I don’t want to feel constricted by my gender, either.
Because honestly I think that if we were able to stop fighting with each other and instead use our anger to fight oppression, everyone would win.
Photo by painteverything
Anne…As I have argued and will continue to argue, until something else disproves my view that feminism isn’t in a position to criticize and dictate to others considering how unrealized they are. Yes,sexism is a social construct like racism: what now do we do with the information? Do we continue to view these problems that are interconnected in isolation or do we x change our tactics. If white women don’t even understand the needs of white men or women of color, how they then be trusted to understand the needs of men of color? For real? How does that work?… Read more »
ogwriter- I understand the frustration and many of the issues for men, especially men of color…it is a unique situation here in the US. (places like Chicago, Baltimore, Milwaukee, NY, Detroit, DC…) I never walked a mile as a black man, but I do have ears and a brain which function most days. I see how many women fail to recognize the patronizing and condescending tone to even suggest men solve problems the umbrella of feminism. This tone trickles down to daily life. There are a few of us moving forward. We can wait for women to find a leader… Read more »
John…Racism is a cultural construct:and like democracy,one can choose to beleive in it or one can choose not to.
Same with sexism, I guess 🙂
Archy…You speak of women’s issues,yet you have no vagina;not speaking on “black !ssues because your white or afraid is stupid.
There has actually been a lot of discussion surrounding this point in the fallout of The Onion’s tweet regarding Quvenzhané Wallis. White feminists have been shamefully silent, and women of colour have been angered by that silence. I wrote a bit about it here, if you’re interested:
I spend quite a lot more time around other women though which gives me a better idea of women’s issues than I do with black issues so it’s more guesswork. I see your point though, thanks for the comment.
I don’t blame him. I used to comment on racism a lot on left wing blogs, but the moment I refused to vote for Obama again (because, let’s be honest here, the man is a monster. He claims the right to summarily execute his own people. He fought for the right to perform cavity searched for even the most minor infraction — a clear forerunner to using sexual based punishments against dissenters), I was called a racist repeatedly.
So **** racial issues. I don’t blame anyone for turning a blind eye anymore.
She’s speaking about women’s issues because this an article about FEMINISM. Saying that she’s white isn’t a reasonable argument.
John…I suppose you are right in that racism works differently for Asian men than it does for other men.But what is gained from that realization?I submit that what is gained has minimal impact on affecting change. All the realization does is create another multilayered, elitist, sudo intellectual exercise that is designed at the end of day, to enhance the reputation of academics and to provide fodder for another set of useless theories, write another series of useless books and to give lectures that only academics understand or attend. There is no secret to dealing with isms. People around the world,… Read more »
I wonder how much racism is actually a cultural bias. I’ve dated two black women before in my teens and early twenties. The relationships didn’t last long. Yes, I did have people wondering why I would date a black girl and societal pressure may have had something to do with us breaking up. I’d assume that maybe she had some pressure of her own, but I think ultimately we weren’t compatible enough or mature enough to work through those incompatibilities. What drew me to the first was her love of Van Halen and rock music. I remember being perplexed. Wait… Read more »
One of the other major problems I’ve had with current feminist thinking and I concede that the problem may be that I misunderstand it, is this concept of intersectionality. I mostly agree with their concept. I think that these differences we have do affect the amount of “privilege” we have. My main disagreement and here is where I might misunderstand, is that privilege within a specific section is absolute. A woman can never be privileged over a man. A minority can never be privileged over a white and from an Asian standpoint, another minority. CIS people can never be privileged… Read more »
“Feminists will never intersection the situation because it counters their absolute oppressor/victim classes.”
You should read up on some current feminist theory. Seriously. There is a lot of talk about how to resolve the lack of intersectionality within feminism. I can give you some links if you’re interested.
I wonder though. Will the inclusion of intersectionality acknowledge how being male can work against someone on an institutional level? (I ask this because I’ve seen too often how feminists seem to want to separate maleness from other factors when talking about such things, as if being male can never be a factor.)
I guess it depends on what you mean by how being male can work against someone on an institutional level. Do you mean in terms of custody?
Yes custody (namely the wishy washy ways in which women basically allowed to dictate what role a man will have in his child’s life).
Being victims of rape/dv.
The Success Myth
The damaging lessons and ideals we are raised with (such as having lots of sex being a defining part of being a man and the idea that might actually does make right).
If you could provide some links, I’d be interested in reading them. I know that some feminists had brought up the concept of female privilege. I thought it was just a few and nothing influencing main stream feminism. I have no issue with doing my own searching. I’m just curious if our understanding is the same.
rezam…actually I am arguing against villifing anyone.
Annie..the Civil War was for south especially,a war of honor and shame was used frequently as motivation to get men to fight. In WW2 and WW1 sex, shame and fear of “our” women being raped by Germans was used in British war propaganda posters.These poster are easy to find.
Right, sentiments like honour and devotion, and scare tactics about Germans raping American women were for sure used to manipulate men into signing up. But those reasons weren’t the reasons WHY those wars were being fought. That’s what I’m pointing out.
I also want to know what “tribes” he’s referring to.
Anne …They certainly weren’t fought because a group of men decided to get together a have a war. One could argue quite convincingly that German women had as much to do with fermenting and growing the seeds of superiority that so greatly underpinned the German ideology, without which there would have been no 3rd Reich and no war. America got into the both wars as a last resort and tried every avenue available to avoid getting involved in both wars. Over the course of human history some women have used sex to both deny men and in the gifting of… Read more »
I have a question. Why is this filed under “Marriage?” That seems like a pretty weird place for it to be.
Because honestly I think that if we were able to stop fighting with each other and instead use our anger to fight oppression, everyone would win.
The only way this is going to happen is if everyone stops the fighting amongst ourselves. It doesn’t do much good for people on any side to call for everyone else to lay down their arms while at the same time firing on them.
Kari…I guess my point is that all of the crying about not being appreciated falls flat in the light of a broader context. Through this lens having a body image problem is the result of making a poor decision and having an inflated ego.
Kari…I meant as a thread inside a post. I have asked why do white women choose to view themselves through a lens they don’t like when other options are available?One woman shared that she never even considered how blackmen might view her beauty. How does that happen in 2013?
Kari…I have no expectation or concern that privileged folks will actually ever do what they need to do to be inclusive in their worldview and actions; people of higher rank in society,for the most part,expect to come first.
Kari…I have no expectation or concern that privileged folks will actually ever do what they need to do to be inclusive in their worldview and actions; white women,for the most,expect to come first.
HANDS. DOWN. The best opinion piece on feminism by a feminist ever written in the 21st century! This really made my day. And to the naysayers, Anne Theriault is NOT a “feminist apologist.” Anne’s piece here is the most insightful avenue into the mindset of most feminists and/or feminist thinking/leaning women, who by the way, DO NOT HATE MEN! Patriarchy hurts men, especially. Anne summed it up best with the following statement:
“Because honestly I think that if we were able to stop fighting with each other and instead use our anger to fight oppression, everyone would win.”
Thanks. That is really kind of you to say 🙂
Anne’s piece here is the most insightful avenue into the mindset of most feminists and/or feminist thinking/leaning women, who by the way, DO NOT HATE MEN! Anne’s piece does not show that most feminists and feminist-leaning women do not hate men. All it shows is that she does not think she and those like her hate men. The views she expresses, however, can be construed as hostile towards men. As for feminists hating men, that really is not hard to find. There are dozens of feminist articles on GMP alone that clearly express hatred towards men, most of which garnered… Read more »
Kari..my point is that the feminists discovery that the lives of people intersect is not a discovery at all but is a long overdue admission of cultural realities.
Kari…Well,thank you but I obviously know what it is and have for 43 years understood that people don’t live in complete cultural vacuums.Which is one of the reasons I tried to start a thread about how minorities have dealt with body image that really didn’t get picked up.I have for months tried to get all of these forward thinking intersectionists to view body image from the minority lens,there is no interest. They don’t have to care.
ogwriter – I’m sorry to hear that. Was this a thread on GMP? Can you post the link?
I think one of the problems with postmodern criticism is that it ends up getting too fractionalized to the point that every individual person is a unique data set because they are a unique combination of factors. So there’s a chilling effect on the conversation because people who don’t match the exact same set of factors don’t feel qualified to discuss how they intersect. I think people care, they just know what to say.
sorry, that should read “they just *don’t* know what to say”
Kari…I just remembered that Julie, in her infinite wisdom, did ask Jules to write about an African American male’s views on body image. Nonetheless, your point that perhaps the reason white people don’t comment on or include black perspectives on many issues is due to fear of insulting black people. I have heard this many times and certainly on the surface, that reasoning seems valid. But if one were to peel back the onion skin just a bit something else comes clear. Let me ask you something, how does someone like myself or Jules,both African American men of some vintage,… Read more »
Thank you for this. “I have spent most of my life learning about white people and white culture and I speak white people well. I have absorbed thousands upon thousands of movies, school books, novels, religious, political texts,poems, myths, legends and I have had hundreds of relationships with whites. It’s funny that whites have this fear of insulting blacks because by ignoring black voices they already have.” Yes we have. For decades on end. To our great shame and loss. Racism is a toxic river that whites swim in too, unaware that they are being poisoned. They don’t have to… Read more »
ogwriter – perhaps the reason white people don’t comment on or include black perspectives on many issues is due to fear of insulting black people The cynic in me says it’s worse than that – maybe white people aren’t so much afraid of insulting blacks as they are of being called racist. Personal example – I lost a bunch of weight a while back and was about 20 lbs away from my “goal” (as determined by a healthy BMI) and started getting a noticeable increase in attention from black men. I was flattered, for sure, since up to that point… Read more »
Kari…Perhaps I am being unclear: I don’t personally care whether white women are flattered by attention from black men.Not in the least. The main-thrust of my comments was meant to the challenge the dominant narrative that -white women are the standard of beauty one should identify with and try to emulate in western culture– by broadening the parameters of the discussion by including another narrative. It is interesting that feminists, after three reformations, can’t even seem to follow their own values,yet they demand, they scream, they cry foul, and rail and get angry at others who fail at the same… Read more »
“She tells us that feminism, like all movements (not true) grows and presumably gets better with maturity and therefore should be given a free pass concerning its inability to be free of the kinds of inequalities it says it is against-After reading this post,I don’t believe that at all anymore.” I sure didn’t say that feminism gets a free pass concerning inequalities within the feminist movement! There is a real debate within the movement right now regarding lack of intersectionality, and the dearth of white feminists who spoke up in the wake of The Onion’s tweet (I linked to my… Read more »
Here’s the problem: every time feminists want to discuss feminism with non-feminists, the main things that people seem to want to talk about are the failings of feminism. And it’s frustrating to be put on the defensive as soon as you try to open up discussion. I mean, hell, I was on the defensive before I even wrote this article. My first response to this was about to be, “Welcome to our world.”. A world where when we want to talk to feminists we are put on the defensive about how bad we are because we aren’t feminist. Because very… Read more »
I may have worded that wrong – I meant more so solving the problems within feminism, and I’m not sure that those can be solved outside of the framework of feminism, short of dismantling feminism. And that’s what I worry about when discussing shortcomings within the feminist movement here – that those shortcomings will be held up as reasons why feminism is terrible, rather than being seen as problems we need to fix in order to salvage the whole. Does that make any sense? But for all other issues, I’m happy to work with people who are interested in working… Read more »
I think Anne is articulating a distinction between “fixing” the problems of the feminist movement itself versus “fixing” social inequalities in the real world. In the case of the first, there’s hesitation to work on the failings of feminism when those failings are used only to disparage the movement and not to foster constructive conversation about how to improve the movement. In the case of the second, there is little or no hesitation (as least from Anne and me and other Fems at GMP) to work with people who don’t identify as Feminist on issues of social inequality in the… Read more »
Anne and Kari…For me, at this point in our history as a people, I am not interested in discussing how the next great movement is the answer to how badly we treat each other;it is not and It is illogical to think otherwise. If what you wrote about the feminist movement being, “,,, imperfect and,” isn’t wholly intersectional yet by a long shot.” is true, I have no idea why feminist act as if they are only victims! What makes you any better morally than the men you rail against? I believe that is flat out hypocritical. When leaders are… Read more »
“In the case of the first, there’s hesitation to work on the failings of feminism when those failings are used only to disparage the movement and not to foster constructive conversation about how to improve the movement.”
Trouble is this becomes a cycle to reaffirm the initial statements of feminists failing to address the extremists in their movement for instance.
Anne- respectfully, what are your real concerns about dismantling feminism? Why would men need to fall under feminism, says who? This is not an attack just honest questions.
Some men are suggesting creating masculism counterpart, I don’t agree with that either.
I believe the solutions are in partnership approach with men and women working together, instead of a partisan approach. Building camps only delays progress.
“Here’s the problem: every time feminists want to discuss feminism with non-feminists, the main things that people seem to want to talk about are the failings of feminism. And it’s frustrating to be put on the defensive as soon as you try to open up discussion. I mean, hell, I was on the defensive before I even wrote this article.” That would be because of the major lack of discussion on issues such as how VAWA in the early days actually harmed males, thus is one failure (which hopefully has been saved). How will we stop feminism fucking up again… Read more »
I’ve done some learning on aboriginal culture, I was fortunate to have aboriginal friends as a child and learned some from them but also some from school, we went on school trips to a learning center which was pretty much a place in the bush where they had the lil aboriginal hut/tent/forgot the name of them, we threw some spears with a woomera (the lil notched wood that helps throw spears further with leverage?), threw boomerangs. One of my friend’s mother use to make and paint aboriginal artifacts too, she made me a bullroarer (long distance calling device), a killer… Read more »
Archy…Using your logic should I, because I am black, not speak on so called white issues? I mean if I can know enough about white culture to make reasoned commentary without generally insulting someone over race, why can’t the same expectation be had of you and of others? Are you saying that there is no chance of me being caled a racist by a white person for giving my opinion? Of course, we all know that white people are far more reasonable than others and that would never happen. Racism is not an inevitable conclusion. Even at the height of… Read more »
I guess I’ve just seen the “privilege” used as shaming style of discussion way too much that it’s made me nervous to even dare say the words “black person” for fear of someone thinking it’s racist and somehow fucking up the discussion. What are your thoughts? Are white people ok to speak about it? Basically I don’t want to step on toes and end up pissing off people of colour.
This is my viewpoint as a white women (from part of a larger piece regarding the lack of intersectionality in feminism) on why we don’t speak up, but also why we should: “Is it because we worry that we’ll be co-opting women of colour when we speak out against something like what happened to Quvenzhané? Is it because we’re worried about making a misstep, about somehow accidentally being racist in our fight against racism? I would wager that the answer to this is yes, yes and yes. I’ve heard this same argument from several women as explanation of why they… Read more »
This comment is spot on, Anne.
Kari…So I am to understand that you think and or believe that feminism is egalitarian in how and who it gives considerations to policy objectives? If this past election was any indication, the women’s agenda In practical political terms, is still about white women and their world view,it is not about men and certainly not about men of color. Unless they drink the kool aid. If those groups and others are not represented in feminists policy agendas why do they continue to say that they are inclusive? How does one have that cake and eat it too? I do not… Read more »
Kari…I meant to write that Jules and I understand the differences between white and black aesthetic values. Lastly, the idea that someone has to come from a specific culture before one can speak knowledgeably about that culture is false, If that were the case there would be no need for the study of history.
Kari…The invention of intersectionality is such a shell game,someone should be arrested. What a joke.If I walk into a plate glass window that I,for whatever reason,didn’t see doesn’t mean I discovered glass.What a bs rationalization for racism,classism,etc.
ogwriter… Intersectionality is the inquiry into how two (or more) different factors combine and is designed to root out racism within sexism or vice versa (or any other combination of factors). Like when you brought up race within the discussion of beauty standards.
Ummm, this is what I understand the problem as being. Lets say you set up a matrix of some intersectionality factors. Sex or gender, SES, race, micro-culture, and belief system (religion, atheist…). There are five variables. You can run statistical tests for independence, and then various regression approaches to attempt to isolate the most dominant or influential factors. You can even come up with a pseudo equation to rank the power of the various intersection elements. You made an assumption in doing this. You assumed that they are either independent factors, or not. Unfortunately, in reality, sometimes factors are contingently… Read more »
rezam…actually I am arguing against villifing anyone.
well, you need to get in the spirit of thinks ogwriter, if we can’t vilify something, then the world will come to an end… how about lawyers, or maybe journalists, dog catchers…. DMV employees ?
Rezam – Perhaps the devolution into duality is the crux of the problem.
No way, I already have six or seven personalities as it is, I simply cannot handle any more devolution
rezam – well, that explains it! ;-D
Most war, which kills men, is started by other men too. I find this framing extremely offensive. Men fight wars so women don`t have to. Wars arise because of conflict over resources and land and the fear of both women and men on either side is that they will ultimately die unless they fight for land and resources. Women have supported most wars through the vote and so are fully responsible for them. Women in tribes shame men who don`t go to war and deny them sex. Women have every bit as much responsibility for wars as men do. Women… Read more »
Some truth to this, but it seems awfully reductionist when you consider all the reasons people THINK they are going off to war. There are leaders out to show they aren’t “wimps” (George H.W. Bush), because there’s a bad guy who tried to kill my dad (George W. Bush), there are ideological crusaders (Wilson), there are people who just refuse to relinquish something of deep symbolic value (a war over the Falklands? Seriously?), and even humanitarian operations. Did the U.S. really send troops into Somalia in the 1990’s to secure the country’s abundant natural resources? Seems extremely cost-ineffective. Unless we’re… Read more »
“Men fight wars so women don`t have to.” Until recently, women weren’t allowed in combat. “Wars arise because of conflict over resources and land and the fear of both women and men on either side is that they will ultimately die unless they fight for land and resources.” This is a very reductionist (and uninformed) view of why we have wars. “Women have supported most wars through the vote and so are fully responsible for them.” Women have had the vote for less than 100 years. And not all wars are decided by voting. “Women in tribes shame men who… Read more »
If you are saying men are responsible for war and women would not have caused wars had they had the power to that is a clear cut example of hatred of men. One is in fact then saying that the cause of war, the most destructive activity humans engage in, are caused solely by evil inherent in men and that the superior goodness of women would prevent that.
Nope, I wasn’t saying that at all. I was simply refuting your points.
Wars are caused by a few people at the top, and the common men (and women) pay the price.
“This is a very reductionist (and uninformed) view of why we have wars”
Since you disagree on the cause of wars being socio economical. Can you tell us what is your take? thank you.
I do agree that the causes of wars are socio economic and political. However, the crux of what the commenter above was saying seemed to be: “Men fight wars so women don`t have to.”
I appreciated this entry. It’s thoughtful and thought provioking. I find the discussion interesting and sometimes disappointing, but that’s part of what makes it interesting I guess. The last decade or so most people’s exposure to feminism has been on-line, as has been mentioned. Is there any topic discussed on-line that isn’t made uglier and more polarizing in this context? The internets pretty much harden and nearly spoil most things they touch. I think that has a good bit to do with feminism’s PR problem. Having said that, I think the system sucks for everyone, and it eithers consumes people… Read more »
@ Danna Here are the stats for parent killing their children. Children killed by father and other 19. Children killed by mother and other 108. Children killed by male partner of parent 34. Children killed by female partner of parent 0. I’m assuming that all couples are heterosexual. Fathers killed 198 children, 19 with another person and their partners have killed zero for a total of 217. Mothers killed 337, 108 with another person and their partners have killed 34. for a total of 479. http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/pubs/cm10/cm10.pdf#page=70 Page 60 table 4.7 So women can be as bad and sometimes worse than… Read more »
John, “Children killed by male partner of parent 34. Children killed by female partner of parent 0. I’m assuming that all couples are heterosexual. Fathers killed 198 children, 19 with another person and their partners have killed zero for a total of 217. Mothers killed 337, 108 with another person and their partners have killed 34. for a total of 479….So women can be as bad and sometimes worse than men.” Just curious: Why did you group children killed by male partners in with women and those killed by female partners (that is, none) in with men, while assuming that… Read more »
It actually is to illustrate who a child is safer with when it comes to custody. Even if we were to look at only those instances where a father or mother are at least partially, directly culpable for their child’s death. It would still be 217 to 445 or still over 2 to 1. The big point is there are instances where male perpetration is higher. Men commit 90% of the murders in the U.S. There are instances where the level of perpetration is the same among men and women. There are even a few instances if we look at… Read more »
You’re ignoring something pretty fundamental about the numbers you mention, and that is that they are not adjusted (as far as I can tell) against the total number of single parents of each gender caring for children, which makes them pretty much meaningless. Meaningful numbers would be the respective percentages of children in the care of single parents of each gender who are murdered by that parent. In other words, percentage of children raised by only fathers murdered by fathers; percentage of children raised by only mothers murdered by mothers; and then two additional numbers, percentage of children raised by… Read more »
Should you get those studies to review, try to bear in mind that the studies often group fathers, step-fathers, and father figure, into one number – look for the breakdown. I say this because the biological fathers in conventional relationships have higher oxytocin levels, and higher vasopressin levels, which have also facilitated bonding and entraining of the father with the child. Step fathers do not have this boost with respect to step-children (and I am not slamming step-fathers), and mom’s new boyfriend does not either. In fact, as a rule, the most common source of danger, IS from mom’s new… Read more »
The stats on fatalities were taken from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website. It took forever to find stats broken down by parent gender of course when I found them I immediately thought the government was trying to bury them as suspicious as I was, I didn’t anticipate the link dying. I try to find government sources or sources linked from government websites. Here is what I can find now. https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/factsheets/fatality.pdf#Page=5&view=Fit Page 5 “No matter how the fatal abuse occurs, one fact of great concern is that the perpetrators are, by definition, individuals responsible for the care… Read more »
@ S.Hammer “As they are, I think the only thing your numbers truly reflect is the reality that there are far more women raising children alone and raising children period than men.” Two things. One, read the comment you’re responding to. “As a general rule, I believe the generally accepted reasoning is that it is a function of power and access.” The possibility has already been acknowledged, however, the second thing is that it assumes that people will eventually offend, which is something that I don’t agree with. People are people. They’re fallible. They get angry. That anger may eventually… Read more »
“could be just me, but there seems a reluctance to break data down by gender of parent. The MRA in me finds this highly suspicious. If you find better stats, let me know.” I know what you mean by this. I find it very odd that the CDC report on Child Maltreatment 2010 does not have a breakdown of maltreatment type to gender or relationship of perpetrators to the child. The CDC clearly has this information as they have the relationship of the child to the perpetrator, the gender of the abusers with only 1.2% of perpetrators’ of “unknown” gender.… Read more »
@ S. Hammer @ KC Krupp
So I found them again. You can either click on the link I gave in my initial post, then click the child maltreatment 2010. link or you can jump to
On Page 82 Table 4.7 it gives the fatality rates.by perpetrator relationship
Father and Other 19
Mother and Other 108
Mother and Father 253
Mother and Father is the second largest at 253 so memory isn’t that bad.
If I have the energy, I’ll try to find the partner of parent citation.
Sorry, I should have been clear. I was referring to the fact that they don’t have a breakdown of type of maltreatment to perpetrator relationship for the non-fatalities. For example they never give the numbers for the number of mothers who were perpetrators of neglect or the number of child-care workers who committed sexual assault. They will say that the mother was responsible for 265,022 incidents of maltreatment and they give a breakdown of whether it was adoptive, foster, or biological parents by state, but they never give a full breakdown of perpetrator relationship to maltreatment type so we don’t… Read more »
Actually JENNIFER yes, I would because the children when with a stepfather are in the care and custody of the mother when they are killed.
You will notice btw, that a fair number of studies include step fathers, moms new boyfriend, mom one night stand under the heading of “FATHER”.
For my part, I’m generally disgusted with my species and wish them nothing more than extinction. This article did little or nothing to relieve that point of view.
So it goes…
There are days …
Other days, I just wish that I was extinct, so that my eyes would get some rest from some of the things I read… Having them bug out in incredulity gets tiring after a while !
Yeah, I can sympathize with that. Still though, I figure why should I die when it’s the rest of the world that’s so effed up?
@ Danna Here are the rape stats for those who don’t want to hunt them down. Let’s look at the CDC stats. Table 2.2 page 19 shows in the last 12 months an estimated 1,2670,000 men were forced to penetrate. That’s government fancy talk for they were raped. 80% of these rapes, over 1,000,000 were perpetrated by women. Table 2.1 page 18 women raped last 12 months 1,270,000. Higher by about 2% not quite the ifference you think it is. “The majority of male rape victims (93.3%) reported only male perpetrators. For three of the other forms of sexual violence,… Read more »
“When I’m faced with the onslaught of negativity about women and feminism, but I still manage to separate out the individuals from the group….” Excellent point…! I was at a conference honoring Anita Hill at Hunter College that featured different forums on various women’s and feminist topics: sexual harassment, street harassment, workplace equality, racial prejudice, etc. There were so many feminists in the auditorium: men and women of all ages and ethnic backgrounds, including Gloria Steinem, Eve Ensler, and Emily May (among so many others)….and we all argued about various topics…. there was not just one opinion on each of… Read more »
I think that’s too simple to say that everyone in that auditorium was exactly the same kind of feminist, because the truth is we were 100 shades (or maybe more) of feminism…..(Leia)
And this pretty much says it all.
I think that pretty much sums up the problems a lot of folks have about feminism.
Becuase as an organisation or a movement, it is mostly very quick and very vocal in taking credit for anything resembling progressive development in society.
Yet, any criticism, fallout or any sort of misconduct is always filtered down to individual opinions that have little to no support and are shared by only a precious few in the overall movement.
I’ve seen a version of this point several times now – that feminists can’t have it both ways by taking credit for individual opinions that improve the image of the movement and discount individual opinions that detract from that image. But why not? Isn’t it human nature that any group is going to be selective about what “counts” for the group and what doesn’t? How many times has some spokesperson for some organization come on TV to say, “that person(s) who did or said that hideous thing doesn’t represent the rest of us” even when it kinda looks like they… Read more »
“How many times has some spokesperson for some organization come on TV to say, “that person(s) who did or said that hideous thing doesn’t represent the rest of us”
The funny thing is MRAs wouldn’t have a problem with this. Feminists might say they don’t represent the rest of us, but they don’t say that the position they espoused is inconsistent with feminism. It’s just not consistent with their version of feminism. When a movement considers even hurtful or negative things as a valid extension of the movement, it loses the right to distance itself from those views.
“Which brings me back to a question I’ve raised on other threads – what is any movement supposed to do about the extremists within?”
Take a page from muslim clerics? after 9/11 n call out the extremism, put qualifiers in the feminist name so you know who is what, know where the egalitarians are, know who the gynocentrics are. Everytime you see it mentioned, call them out, call out the hate.
First, where I agree. I don’t being angry and being a feminist are inherently bad things. There’s this silly split personality in American culture when it comes to anger. Anger is either this totally crazy, dangerous thing that you should be ashamed of, or else anger is a sign of righteousness and gives you the authority of a moral high ground. Why can’t anger just be anger, not the end of the world and not an instrument of righteousness, just a common feeling. Why do we have to label angry people as either totally crazy or totally justified? Perhaps an… Read more »
Solution: Don’t have sex with someone whom you’re not in a committed relationship. That goes for women, too. The liars win – both male and female. It’s truly disgusting. However, going with lag time effects, it’s undeniable that rape as a method of oppressing women – the only gender that can be forcefully impregnated, and therefore disabled from fleeing – has been used for eons. Even today, marauding gangs of rapists in India….or in Steubenville Ohio….are terrorizing women. There’s 1000s of rape kits sitting in warehouses, not even tested – that’s how little our culture considers trauma to women, still.… Read more »
Danna: False accusations of rape are not rare at all. The most feminst friendly numbers put it at between 2 – 8 % , and in the real world, 2 – 8 % of something is NOT RARE. Let me put it this way for you that perhaps might clear this up. Lets say a new study comes out that shows that between 2 – 8% of women who report rape are killed for reporting the rape. Would YOU (or anyone else) say it was rare OR would you and a lot of other people focus on those women who… Read more »
Rape is often used as a weapon of war, dehumanizing both women AND MEN. Thing is not many people bother mentioning the absolutely huge amount of rape of men in the Congo, and the level of rape against boys in India which in one report for one area was double that experienced by the girls (under 18’s). “Men focusing on the relatively low incidence of women lying about rape, is, in itself, an illustration of patriarchal thinking.” First, it’s not that rare, getting hit by lightning is rare but the 2-8% stat above would leave quite a lot of people… Read more »
@ Danna Eugene Kanin’s study found that 41% of reported rapes were false. This was the only study that I am aware of that looked at every reported rape as possibly being false. For the math challenged, if I only look at 10% of rapes as possibly being false, the highest percentage of false rapes I could get is 10%. To get a true number, we’d need to look at all reported rapes as possibly being false. The thing with Kanin’s study was that police were not allowed to assume an accusation was false. For an accusation to be ruled… Read more »