Feminism Catch-All (with FAQ)

SixteenBlue wrote:

Are there any actual examples in western society of misandry that don't stem from patriarchal misogyny?

I guess I should have expected the, "But all sexism is misogyny" response, and yet I was somehow surprised.

Bloo Driver: Still: Can you suggest an example that doesn't stem from either: 1) the presumption that certain fields of work are "women's work" and that therefore men who aspire to those fields are suspect, or 2) that certain behaviors are non-masculine (i.e. feminine) and that men who exhibit them are less than real men. Even things like rape come up against this: the bus stop that I wait at to return from my therapy had scrawled on it for several months "real men rape" (which, honestly, got to me much more than a little.) I'd be very interested to hear of a single example of the deprecation of men in any field whatsoever that didn't involve "that's women's work".

I think it is quite reasonable to argue that the presumption that men are [em]inadequate[/em] at certain tasks because they are physiologically inferior at "caring for kids" is misandrist. However, there are tons of things attached to that. And primary among those is that this alone would not motivate suspicion of men who desire to take up those responsibilities. Only the assumption that men are absolutely capable but that they are [em]fit for better things in a way that women are not[/em] explains that. With one you have "well, I'd rather that a woman teach my child, because I think she'll be better at it." With the other you have "well, I don't trust a man to teach my child, because I think he must have some ulterior motive to want to be a teacher instead of having a [em]real job[/em]."

Does this hurt men? Sure. But at the same time, it is absolutely grounded in the assumption that certain tasks are the domain of women [em]and inferior to those that are the domain of men[/em], and that therefore no man would accept those tasks for their face value, because he's capable of so much "more".

While that hurts men, it is not misandry (the assumption that men are worse at some things) but rather misogyny (the assumption that women's work is undesirable) that is at the heart of the problem.

So: I would love to see an example of the converse, of a scenario where either men are discouraged from a field because women are assumed to be better at it but without the assumption that men *could* do it if they wanted to, or of a scenario in which women are assumed to enter a field which is less than they could achieve if they wanted to, if only they didn't have ulterior motives.

(Disclaimer: I am horribly drunk right now, so apologies if my wording is less than adequate.)

Bloo Driver wrote:

Actually, the article itself seems to do this - at one point acknowledging men's issues exist but are separate, and then later trying to point out it's all systemic of the patriarchy. Agh.

This is in no way inconsistent. "Hey, stop hijacking every discussion to shift the spotlight away from those hit hardest by these problems, especially since these issues come back to you as well."

Bloo Driver wrote:

I guess I should have expected the, "But all sexism is misogyny" response, and yet I was somehow surprised.

I'd swap this around - indeed sexism isn't all misogyny, but in our culture, especially on a cultural and institutional level, it stems from a traditional view of the roles and essential natures of both sexes that has largely dehumanized women while exalting men. This system was nearly entirely created and enforced by men, and has largely pampered and privileged them as well as granting them agency that women are STILL only just getting. And the term for that is patriarchy. In our culture at least, sexism tends to be patriarchal and falls hardest upon women, though it has also had devastating effects on men. And the men who cry MISANDRY loudest have classically been ones denying the very notion of patriarchy and indeed are simply recoiling at the strides women have taken in the past few generations, and thus after a while the term becomes about as well-loved as "REVERSE RACISM!". Racism doesn't simply fall upon black Americans, but that tends to be our go-to reference because of the sheer horror of how it has affected them in our history and our present day. In the same way, misogyny, sexism and patriarchy tend to get used almost interchangeably. So you know, you probably shouldn't have been all that surprised.

Hypatian wrote:

(Disclaimer: I am horribly drunk right now, so apologies if my wording is less than adequate.)

It all made sense to me, and for being drunk was a very even tempered response to an incitement.

Question of terminology--when, if ever, should one use "sexist" as opposed to "misogynist?"

Context: My book club is reading Bossypants, which led to me watching a bunch of 30 Rock, which led to me thinking about Liz Lemon in contrast to other fictional women and their tropes. Seems an increasingly common character in hacky sitcoms and especially webcomics is the wife/girlfriend who is capable and confident, and puts up with the bullsh*t of the male protagonist with supreme patience and a "I love you, you wacky, incorrigible man-child" smile. Like the Louie segment "Oh Louie" where Louis CK is in a hacky sitcom, and stops production because the wife character responds to his character being an ass with "Oh Louie, I love you," rather than "I'm leaving you."

It's a character that seems to have evolved out of Woman's Supremacy at Home tropes, still, these are modern characters so they tend to have jobs and the like. Would the character be more properly called Sexist, or would Misogyny still work?

EDIT: Thinking about it myself, I guess the contempt for this character type's inner life makes misogyny fit.

Sexism vs Misogyny.

That's not only the top google result, it's a good and varied exploration of the issue. #rare

I've always understood sexism to be a more general and lighter term, whereas misogyny is more specific, harsher and more based around an idea about the essential nature of women. But it's murky. Degrees and caveats.

Ophelia Benson has a good way of putting it: sexism can include hostility, misogyny IS hostility. So take that as you will.

bombsfall wrote:

That's not only the top google result, it's a good and varied exploration of the issue. #rare

Pft! Why put all the work of going to google and searching myself, when I can just puke out a rambling, digressive stream-of-consciousness to reach the same effect?

That's intended as a self-deprecating Oh Cool, hopefully it comes across.

bombsfall wrote:
Bloo Driver wrote:

Actually, the article itself seems to do this - at one point acknowledging men's issues exist but are separate, and then later trying to point out it's all systemic of the patriarchy. Agh.

This is in no way inconsistent. "Hey, stop hijacking every discussion to shift the spotlight away from those hit hardest by these problems, especially since these issues come back to you as well."

It's completely inconsistent in the article itself, though, which is what I'm pointing out. The article compares misandry to a fantasy boogeyman that doesn't exist, and then goes on to make a comparison that those problems do exist, but they stem from misogyny, and then also takes the tactic that they are separate and shouldn't be discussed together (though it was just discussed as connected). That's the inconsistency, and that's what is frustrating to me. I mean, it literally goes through that laundry list. So, which is it? Who can tell anymore!

Hypatian wrote:

Bloo Driver: Still: Can you suggest an example that doesn't stem from either: 1) the presumption that certain fields of work are "women's work" and that therefore men who aspire to those fields are suspect, or 2) that certain behaviors are non-masculine (i.e. feminine) and that men who exhibit them are less than real men. Even things like rape come up against this: the bus stop that I wait at to return from my therapy had scrawled on it for several months "real men rape" (which, honestly, got to me much more than a little.) I'd be very interested to hear of a single example of the deprecation of men in any field whatsoever that didn't involve "that's women's work".

I think it is quite reasonable to argue that the presumption that men are [em]inadequate[/em] at certain tasks because they are physiologically inferior at "caring for kids" is misandrist. However, there are tons of things attached to that. And primary among those is that this alone would not motivate suspicion of men who desire to take up those responsibilities. Only the assumption that men are absolutely capable but that they are [em]fit for better things in a way that women are not[/em] explains that. With one you have "well, I'd rather that a woman teach my child, because I think she'll be better at it." With the other you have "well, I don't trust a man to teach my child, because I think he must have some ulterior motive to want to be a teacher instead of having a [em]real job[/em]."[/b]

And I get that a lot of the "men are bad at X" usually points to X being something that we undervalue as a society. That is very certainly a clear after-effect of misogyny. We undervalue nurturers, caregivers, planners, emotional mediators, and anything attached to thinking or what we refer to as (derisively or not) "soft" sciences. Not coincidentally, those tend to be female-dominated fields, so you have women who are given "their place" and men are given "their place", and in the end result, we tend to cherish the men's place stuff across the globe. This is certainly understood*.

I wrote some paragraphs and deleted them and wrote some again because this is a place where I have to tread carefully - that's just the reality of it. The bottom line, to me, is that I think people just don't get how insulting and dismissive it is, as a man, to be told that problems I encounter because of my gender are misogyny. Women's problems. I can grasp that they are, by and large, man problems caused as a blowback effect of misogyny, but I am not a woman. The problem certainly includes women, but I don't grasp how you can have a group that understands the othering of always saying "him, his" etc but have no qualms of saying that a problem that affects a man needs to be called misogyny, if you really think about it. What that says, again, is "your problems aren't real, they're actually my problems, you're fine", which is an unfortunate thing. It's a nuanced topic that is done a great disservice by just smoothing it out to "it's all misogyny". It's a weird double dip and makes me think of political run-offs when some party does something obviously shockingly inconsistent or logically wrong, but people get behind it anyway because giving ground is the same as losing.

Anyway, it's more of a thought exercise to me. I try to tread carefully around this sort of thing because people get weary of any pushback - and for good reason. This sort of pushback is usually just the pre-cursor to someone finally firing both barrels of "the patriarchy is a boogeyman" or "men also have problems, QED, sexism is equal across the board". I just guess I don't like the zero-sum attitude, but in the end I guess people nitpicking over a word is going to be what it is. People trying to nitpick that it's "actually misandry" are, at a guess, 95% of people who are doing that as a step to diminish the importance of recognizing misogyny. I guess I just think one needs to be careful with saying "it's all misogyny" and then trying to point out the inconsistency with calling it "humanism". They're very similar lines of thought in that it's one word that applies to everyone.

With that, drunk Bloo is done making his meandering craply to drunk Hyp?

(*I hesitate to go further down this road, because I think the inconsistency is there and I want to talk about it, but I don't want to try and be the guy flailing around proving man problems are a thing. I do want to point out, however, that as a man who deals in counseling and education professionally, there is a strong bias against men, and it's not because people think they/I should be doing something more worthwhile. It's because there's an institutional belief that women are just superior at empathy and conveying knowledge. I have, literally, gone to the point of having my first name put down as an initial so that I can get my foot in the door with some groups. Men are treated, at best, as anomalies that need to prove themselves over and over again to the next woman in a position of authority or gatekeeping, or, at worst - probably child molesters. This has near-zero to do with the argument I am making above, as I'm sure we both agree that guys get hit by some of this either directly or collateral damage and I don't think anyone is trying to dismiss that fact. Just a data point for you, I guess?)

Yeah, basically what you said, SpacePPoliceman. You can draw a sort of line down from "sexism" to "misogyny", much like you can draw one down from "equal rights" to "rejection of gender discrimination" to "feminism" to "women's rights". And that's why "sexism" gets assumed to be about "women's rights" a lot of the time.

On one side, you have a well established discrimination that predominantly privileges men over women. it doesn't always privilege men, but it mostly does. As a result, most of the agitation is for improving the situation of women, since women are the people who bear the brunt of the burden from that discrimination. On the other side, you have an analysis of the roots of the problem, and I honestly can't think of any circumstances where the "gender inequality" doesn't distill down to "misogyny" in the form of considering "men's work" to be superior to "women's work" and men to be capable of doing anything women can do and more (but being discourage from certain things because they're not worthy of a man.)

This specific example you gave is somewhat connected to the part of "rape culture" where we blow off the behavior of boys and men with "Oh, that's just the way guys are" but presume that women should know better and avoid tempting the men. On the one hand, you can look at this as saying that men are constitutionally incapable of controlling their sex drive, which is insulting to men. On the other hand, though, it's also denigrating the concerns of women by saying that "Oh, women ought to naturally want to look sexy for their man, but you also have to be careful that you don't go to far and draw the attention of *other men*." All of the burden is on women: both to be sexy because that's what their guy wants, and to not be sexy because it could cause any guy they meet to be unable to resist raping them.

It's kind of ridiculous when you look at it that way, isn't it? And yeah, it basically says that women are at fault always, and men are at fault never. And that should kind of clue us in that there's something wrong with this picture.

People who decry rape culture? They don't argue that men shouldn't be men. They argue that all people, [em]including men[/em], should be expected to [em]not rape other people[/em]. It just so happens that most of the rapists are men, and most of the people who are raped are women. But honestly, the same rules ought to apply to everyone. And yeah, it's kind of sh*tty that masculine-acting people are assumed to want it all the time, which implies a certain social pressure... but that doesn't change the fact that people shouldn't rape other people, period, and that most of the people who rape are men and most of the people who are raped are women. That doesn't mean all men are bad, any more than it implies that all women are incapable of defending themselves. But it does mean that our society has a [em]problem[/em].

So how about we try to fix that problem?

Hypatian wrote:

This specific example you gave is somewhat connected to the part of "rape culture" where we blow off the behavior of boys and men with "Oh, that's just the way guys are" but presume that women should know better and avoid tempting the men.

...Well, that went dark fast. But, I quite see it, even though CK's character just opened his beer bottle on the table edge rather than with a church key.

Bloo Driver wrote:

I do want to point out, however, that as a man who deals in counseling and education professionally, there is a strong bias against men, and it's not because people think they/I should be doing something more worthwhile.

Bloo, I've worked in education, and yes, it's a field that can be problematic for men--largely because it's regarded as Woman's Work, a maternal and nurturing field. So, yeah, it ties to misogyny.

SpacePPoliceman wrote:
Bloo Driver wrote:

I do want to point out, however, that as a man who deals in counseling and education professionally, there is a strong bias against men, and it's not because people think they/I should be doing something more worthwhile.

Bloo, I've worked in education, and yes, it's a field that can be problematic for men--largely because it's regarded as Woman's Work, a maternal and nurturing field. So, yeah, it ties to misogyny.

Thanks for the rundown!

Bloo Driver wrote:

I wrote some paragraphs and deleted them and wrote some again because this is a place where I have to tread carefully - that's just the reality of it. The bottom line, to me, is that I think people just don't get how insulting and dismissive it is, as a man, to be told that problems I encounter because of my gender are misogyny. Women's problems. I can grasp that they are, by and large, man problems caused as a blowback effect of misogyny, but I am not a woman. The problem certainly includes women, but I don't grasp how you can have a group that understands the othering of always saying "him, his" etc but have no qualms of saying that a problem that affects a man needs to be called misogyny, if you really think about it. What that says, again, is "your problems aren't real, they're actually my problems, you're fine", which is an unfortunate thing. It's a nuanced topic that is done a great disservice by just smoothing it out to "it's all misogyny". It's a weird double dip and makes me think of political run-offs when some party does something obviously shockingly inconsistent or logically wrong, but people get behind it anyway because giving ground is the same as losing.

Anyway, it's more of a thought exercise to me. I try to tread carefully around this sort of thing because people get weary of any pushback - and for good reason. This sort of pushback is usually just the pre-cursor to someone finally firing both barrels of "the patriarchy is a boogeyman" or "men also have problems, QED, sexism is equal across the board". I just guess I don't like the zero-sum attitude, but in the end I guess people nitpicking over a word is going to be what it is. People trying to nitpick that it's "actually misandry" are, at a guess, 95% of people who are doing that as a step to diminish the importance of recognizing misogyny. I guess I just think one needs to be careful with saying "it's all misogyny" and then trying to point out the inconsistency with calling it "humanism". They're very similar lines of thought in that it's one word that applies to everyone.

With that, drunk Bloo is done making his meandering craply to drunk Hyp?

(*I hesitate to go further down this road, because I think the inconsistency is there and I want to talk about it, but I don't want to try and be the guy flailing around proving man problems are a thing. I do want to point out, however, that as a man who deals in counseling and education professionally, there is a strong bias against men, and it's not because people think they/I should be doing something more worthwhile. It's because there's an institutional belief that women are just superior at empathy and conveying knowledge. I have, literally, gone to the point of having my first name put down as an initial so that I can get my foot in the door with some groups. Men are treated, at best, as anomalies that need to prove themselves over and over again to the next woman in a position of authority or gatekeeping, or, at worst - probably child molesters. This has near-zero to do with the argument I am making above, as I'm sure we both agree that guys get hit by some of this either directly or collateral damage and I don't think anyone is trying to dismiss that fact. Just a data point for you, I guess?)

I do think that there is this bias towards thinking of this as "women's problems". But I'd like to point out that this in itself is an example of minor-misogyny. This is a big reason that I disagree with a lot of radical feminist deconstructionist thought about gender, even though I do have some sympathy for the idea at the heart that "we need to tear this sh*t down completely, because it is f*cking [em]broken[/em]".

And this is a big reason why I felt the need to emphasize in the original post that feminism addresses the issue of sexism towards men--because I do think that it is the trend of modern feminist thought to see that there's a whole complex of problems that hurts [em]everybody[/em] that is rooted in misogyny. The further problem, the minor-misogyny I alluded to before, is that misogyny is then considered a "women's problem" and something that either shouldn't or can't be addressed by men. And that, in itself, is a problem.

The trouble, of course, is that it [em]does[/em] in fact dilute the message to just think of this as "gender inequality"--because it's absolutely true that women feel the impact much more than men do. And that's why people resist the idea of trying to change the name and focus away from "feminism".

As a trans person, I read a lot of stuff about gender issues, and I see a lot of hurtful sh*t from both sides. As an example, both many MRAs and many radical feminists claim that trans women are really just men. And, yeah, neither one of those groups gets it at all. The idea of two such opposing camps both seeing people like me in the same way. It makes me weep. I struggle daily with questions about how I ought to act: whether I should keep on behaving the way I always have, or moderate my behavior to that more befitting a woman. I stress over what it's going to be like at work when I come out: whether people will expect me to behave differently. Whether I should behave differently. Whether it will be a betrayal of my feminism to behave differently. Whether, when someone respect my opinion it will be because they still see me as a man, or because they equally respect the ideas and opinions of women. It's... messy. It's really, really, [em]really[/em] messy. I basically can't put into words how confusing and complicated this is.

But at the end of the day, all I can really come back to is the idea that everybody should be treated equally. Everybody should be held to the same standards. Everybody should be shown the same respect.

And I can't see anything to call that other than feminism. I can't see any path better than to spend more effort on upholding the rights of women first and foremost, simply because everything else is... smaller. I certainly won't overlook it if an acquaintance or colleague is passed over for something because they're a man... but I'm not going to spend my effort on men as a class over women as a class, because I know that when I act in a broader less specific context, the majority of the disparity hurts women more than men. Whenever I [em]personally[/em] see inequality, I'm going to call that out--but I can't be everywhere at once, so my action-at-a-distance through the causes I support will be less precise. When I see a problem between a man and a woman, I will consciously take the woman's side until I know the details, because I know that the system is weighted against her. When I know the details, that may change, but without the details I do the best I can.

And yeah, that's not perfect. It's just... the best I can do.

We recently hired a new person at work, and I do wonder, looking at my thoughts, whether I preferred her over an alternative hire because I knew she was a woman. I feel like her performance was better than his, that it meshed better with my ideas about how a software developer in our group should behave than his did. But I doubt. So I check, and check, and re-check how I decide that she was the better choice. And in the end, I'm satisfied... but I still know it will have an impact on how I treat her as she begins work with our group. And I still re-check and doubt my choices, because I know there was a certain bias to my preference, even if that bias is part of a conscious attempt to avoid allowing less conscious biases to take hold. I find I do not trust myself. And I know that if I had chosen a male candidate I wouldn't be having these worries, because I would know that my bias was contrary to that choice. So, in a way, my counterbias has itself teased out in me a thread of misogyny.

I really really look forward to the day that this isn't the case: when I won't feel the need to be more vigilant for women's rights than for men's. But... honestly, I'm really sad to say that I don't expect to meet that day within my lifetime. I really hope that I recognize it if it does come to pass. And I have faith that if I don't, then younger generations will recognize it for me, and that their enthusiastic voices will drown mine.... just as I feel that the enthusiastic voices of women of my generation and those after are drowning out the voices of women who bonded themselves to even stronger biases.

In the end, we do the best we can--and if we're good people, we apply our full faculties to every case that we can address personally. For the rest, we try to communicate our principles fairly, and place our hope in those we communicate with, including those who come after us.

Wow, that last post of mine was maudlin. Yay, booze.

I just wanted to put a final boozy note in on this subject of biases. I've remarked before to some people personally that I worry about "mansplaining". It is... a very awkward position to be in. I am someone who has always felt strongly about feminism. At the same time, I have lived my life perceived by the majority of people I interact with as a man... and perceiving myself very much as a woman. That makes for some pretty impressive cognitave dissonance. So, I hope that anyone who has grown up as a woman, who has internalized the rules of gender as a woman does, will feel free to correct me if I'm an arrogant ass about anything. (See: Sex Educations: Gendering and Regendering Women (A radical transfeminist) for more thoughts about how trans women learn different things about gender than cis women do.))

I will try not to bring this up again, but... well, I'm rather stressed about my gender identity in this context, so I felt the need to say something. I hope that my attitudes aren't completely broken, and that perhaps my perspective will be enlightening at times when a cis perspective would not. But please let me know if my trans perspective is ever getting in the way. I have yet to really understand what it means to feel threatened by "men's spaces". I think I'm going there soon, but... I'm not there yet. And when I get there, it won't be the same way that cis women get there. So, I worry.

At the least, I hope my voice is as compelling as those of people like bombsfall who have done a pretty good job at being advocates for women without drowning out the voices of women. And at best, I hope to be able to relate how harmful stereotypes about men are to someone who is both expected to live up to those stereotypes and at the same time feels compelled to flee them. (And for the gripping hand: Fully satisfies both sets of stereotypes in a number of confusing ways. I love logic. I love people. I love practicality. I love fashion. And now, having read that, try to understand how conflicted I feel about [em]every single one[/em], because my attitude towards every single one involves either embracing or rejecting the gender assigned to me or the gender that I identify with. I do not believe that the loves conflict in themselves. But... they do conflict in social expectations, and within my very essence.)

Now I'd better go to bed before the contradictions make me explode.

(P.S. All of the specialists in harder math in my group at work are women... if you count me as a woman. pgroce++ for remarking on that once upon a time. P.P.S. Lowering inhibitions is both good and bad. P.P.S. Who invented pre-mixed mojitos? They are a wizard. P.P.P.S. Yeah, I know that mojitos are totally a stereotype, too. But I'm too drunksjo to care.)

Bloo Driver wrote:

So, which is it? Who can tell anymore!

Again, I would argue that this is not inconsistent. Here are things the article is clear on.

1. Men have issues, but misandry doesn't exist in the same way the misogyny does, no more that "reverse racism" exists on the same level as "actual racism" does. Actual misandry exists in pockets and in personal interactions, but it is orders of magnitude smaller than misogyny. And it is largely an inflated monster in the minds of a few very vocal men and even fewer very vocal women.

2. Misandry is most often used to counter feminism, and this is pretty stupid as many of the real issues dudes have can be traced back to problems feminism has been already working on for decades. And oddly enough, the article touches on the anti-dude problems you see in your career, which sound terrible btw:

"Feminists do not want you to be viewed with suspicion when you take your child to the park (men frequently insist that this is a serious issue, so I will take them at their word). The assumption that men are insatiable sexual animals, combined with the idea that it's unnatural for men to care for children, is part of patriarchy."

Women can be enforcers of patriarchal BS. Women can see other women as nurturing earth mothers and men as a walking penis plague. An amusingly overblown term I love for this is "footsoldiers of the patriarchy".

Also, remember that the article is specifically speaking about the dudes crying misandry on the internet, who tend to be just the worst. It is very much about misandry as a boogeyman. A more nuance discussion of how it applies in specific instances is needed elsewhere, but the overall point stands - these issues exist, feminism attempts to address a lot of the root problems behind them, and those who see it under every rock are deluding themselves and often attempting to shift the discussion.

In the same way that we can speak about how in this field or that people of color may be unfairly favored, but overall when discussing racism anti-white racism is a boogeyman.

I'm not really here to defend this specific article - there are plenty of articles about feminism and men's rights I think are just nuts, and I think this one could be less Jezebel-ish. Jezebel DOES tend to go for the snark - they did a write up about my cartoon a few weeks back and definitely snarked it up quite a bit such that I got hatemail that was more arguing with them instead of me. But I think you're being a bit uncharitable and point-of-ordery about it when it's reasonably clear what her overall point is. But YMMV and I'll stop arguing that you read it the same as I do.

Edit: Also +10 what Hypation said.

/MANSPLAINATHON2013

Edit 2: One thing I hate about these discussions is that it's easy to come off as a line-toeing ideologue who can only see every problem through one lens. This stuff is complicated, inconsistent and imperfect, as is feminism. So yeah, let's all keep that in mind (including myself).

I wasn't making my point to dismiss the idea that there are cases where men have it difficult. I personally think they should be talked about, albeit without being the focus. Collateral damage is still damage and, while some disagree, it's probably a worthwhile endeavor to show everyone how they benefit from feminism, not just women.

The reason I asked the question is because of what you said, Bloo Driver. "It's a strange, difficult argument to make when people decide to try and convince others that all sexism is somehow sexism against women in a roundabout way. " It's not a strange, difficult argument. It's actually an easy, logically consistent argument and you've yet to show any examples that it's not.

Bloo Driver wrote:
SpacePPoliceman wrote:
Bloo Driver wrote:

I do want to point out, however, that as a man who deals in counseling and education professionally, there is a strong bias against men, and it's not because people think they/I should be doing something more worthwhile.

Bloo, I've worked in education, and yes, it's a field that can be problematic for men--largely because it's regarded as Woman's Work, a maternal and nurturing field. So, yeah, it ties to misogyny.

Thanks for the rundown!

Hahaha. I admit to being guilty, occasionally, of absolutely missing a nuanced point in a long post just to post a "nuh uh", but wow, this one was a textbook example. SpacePPoliceman, it seems like you completely missed the entire central argument Bloo made.

SixteenBlue wrote:

I wasn't making my point to dismiss the idea that there are cases where men have it difficult. I personally think they should be talked about, albeit without being the focus. Collateral damage is still damage and, while some disagree, it's probably a worthwhile endeavor to show everyone how they benefit from feminism, not just women.

Sure, and I agree with that. I don't disagree at all with the notion that feminism makes crap better all around for men and women.

The reason I asked the question is because of what you said, Bloo Driver. "It's a strange, difficult argument to make when people decide to try and convince others that all sexism is somehow sexism against women in a roundabout way. " It's not a strange, difficult argument. It's actually an easy, logically consistent argument and you've yet to show any examples that it's not.

Well, I did, but I guess you just either didn't like it, didn't read it, or just want to dismiss it without actually explaining why. Don't worry, though, you weren't the first - SPP quoted one line and then made an argument that seemed to imply that the following several lines after that just didn't exist. The issue I'm having here is, again, this notion that we can't say misandry, misandry is fake, and really it all should be called misogyny or sexism against women. The idea that sexism against men is related to sexism against women in many cases is factual in my experience, sure. But that's different than saying, "Well, we need to say it's all sexism against women." Sorry, but no. When people make selections and biases against men because they are men, there's a word for that. It's not misogyny, no matter how cleverly people want to lawyer around it. It might be part of misogyny, in differing ways and degrees based on the circumstance, but I don't go into talks about misogyny and say, "Oh, sorry, that's not misogyny. See, what's happened here is you're a victim of tribal monarchy, under which misogyny falls. Please stop using that term."

It's always interesting to me that political and social discussions like this are, in the end, a war of language. People bristle at the term "privilege," because it feels like an attack, but in the end, that's the word. It's privilege. MRA folks rail hard against that, though, mostly because well, it makes them all pouty and sad when the word is used. In a similar vein, it seems that feminists would rather just pretend misandry is not a thing at all, and people are very good about being careful to say, "Well things do happen to men, too," but that's about as far into the subject it goes. It feels like something people don't actually believe especially when this sort of issue comes up - "no no, that doesn't happen to you, it's actually happening to someone else, stop trying to make it about you," is about as condescending and dismissive as one can get when you're talking about someone's personal experiences. It's odd to me people just can't grasp that, but in one of the locked feminism threads, there was about three pages or so that got pretty contentious around the basic idea of empathy in this regard, so it doesn't particularly surprise me this time.

In the end, anyway, there's words for what's going on, and I worry when we try to redefine or destroy words to win the argument. I don't disagree with the ideas people are trying to get across, but unfortunately I guess when people try to tell me that the exact word used to describe something is the wrong word, I get a little confused. But there's really not an argument to be had, in the end. Words have meanings, and that's really all I can say about that.

I think there are some variations in usage as well. I don't generally use the term "misogyny" to refer to individual acts. In those contexts, I generally reserve it for outright hate speech where the intention behind the words is absolutely clear. And I use the word misandry that way as well: when somebody really off the wall says that all men are animals who ought to be put down? Yeah, that's misandrist.

More often, I refer to speech or actions as sexist. That's because most of those acts aren't really done out of hate, they're done because that's the way we're conditioned to behave. Now, when I start drilling down to the root causes, that [em]is[/em] when I start using the term misogyny again. Because to me, when I'm using it in that specific technical context of social criticism, it's no longer about hate in the same way it is if it's used to refer to individual acts. Here it's being used as a shorthand for "things relating to women are considered less valuable than things relating to men". And at this level, you'll find very very little evidence of systemic misandry. (And that's the thing I would love to hear an example of.)

And yes, not everybody makes such a firm distinction between the levels.

Hypatian wrote:

So, I worry.

My obviously imperfect take on this is that your perspective is unique and distinct from cisgendered folks in general and that means we all have work to do when talking about this stuff. But that's not a bad thing or anything, it's just where you enter into this. I'm not a woman, but I can empathize and defer. I'm not trans, but I can try to put myself in your headspace and listen to what you say and not try to tell you what you're going through from my second/third/fourthhand perspective. And women can only try to do the same with men's problems. We all do the best we can.

So much of feminism is just brass tacks stuff - how do you respect a woman's sexual agency, how do you respond to a sexist joke, what are you saying, what are you making, what kind of space are you contributing to, who/what do you support, etc. Ha ha, does every woman in a video game have to behave according to certain tropes? But it does get complicated and uncomfortable and indistinct and inconsistent quickly the further in you go (just like anything, I suppose), especially when you are dealing with something so non-user-friendly as being transgendered. So hats off to you. I can't even imagine it. And good for you for being proactive on these issues. Wait, that sounds condescending- I mean so many people just don't think about any of this stuff very much, everything from their identities to issues of privilege and so forth. It's inspiring and cool to see someone so openly dealing with both. I'm sure (he said as if he had any clue) that it will become far easier over time (he said as he looked around nervously and went back to never having to think about this kind of thing). Not that I mean you're in a bad place or anything but YAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH you know what I mean.

In the end, we do the best we can--and if we're good people, we apply our full faculties to every case that we can address personally. For the rest, we try to communicate our principles fairly, and place our hope in those we communicate with, including those who come after us.

This. Easy to get dogmatic, but we're all just making this up as we go along, looking to others to see what they've made up, and trying to sort out the useful and constructive bits.

Bloo- This is more a clarification and nuancing than a straight disagreement with you. I do think we are indeed stuck on some semantics here that are prone to blowing up into bigger issues than they have to be.

I also tend to bristle at the obsessiveness over words when talking about this stuff. I'm actually not particularly super interested in whether someone calls themselves a feminist or not, I'm more just interested in ideas and actions. The terminology can snag us. But as you said, words have meanings. And misandry has a meaning and a context that has been pointed out several times now. I'll keep going back to this well, but while there's nothing particularly wrong with the concept of "white pride" it's not exactly something anyone is going to be tossing around because of how it is generally used and the culture and history in which it exists. So that's one reason misandry isn't a term most people are using. And wishing the word didn't have that context in gender issues circles is just howling at a brick wall. It does because that's how the most people have used it. Bummer, but yeah. See also a billion other terms.

I'll reiterate that there are a few connections here that I think are a bit off. Many forms of misogyny = patriarchy = many forms of misandry is not the same as misogyny = misandry. There often are, but aren't always mirror images involved here. Sometimes men get it asymetrically in one issue or another. And let's be real here- not every possible problem is the result of patriarchy. If you trip over a rock the patriarchy didn't put it there. But when someone says "your problem here is with patriarchal bs", they are NOT saying your problem is actually someone else's problem. That's not what the article said and I'd wager that's not what I'm saying, certainly. What I and many other feminists are saying is not that we have the same problems, but that we have the same Problem. Your problems of course matter, as do mine! I'm a dude! I have dude problems! But in the instances where one can say "this dude problem is the bizarro world version of a prejudice against women", that doesn't mean "shut up this is women's business". It means let's labor together on this. And generally that's what most feminists, whatever gender, try to do.

bombsfall wrote:

I also tend to bristle at the obsessiveness over words when talking about this stuff. I'm actually not particularly super interested in whether someone calls themselves a feminist or not, I'm more just interested in ideas and actions. The terminology can snag us. But as you said, words have meanings. And misandry has a meaning and a context that has been pointed out several times now. I'll keep going back to this well, but while there's nothing particularly wrong with the concept of "white pride" it's not exactly something anyone is going to be tossing around because of how it is generally used and the culture and history in which it exists. So that's one reason misandry isn't a term most people are using. And wishing the word didn't have that context in gender issues circles is just howling at a brick wall. It does because that's how the most people have used it. Bummer, but yeah. See also a billion other terms.

As someone who is presumably someone who disagrees with how some people use the term feminism to be a shorthand for elevating women to a superior status and/or punishing men, I have to say I find the response of "Bummer, but yeah," to the idea of a word getting hijacked by abuse a little dangerous. Same with the comparison of misandry and "white pride" - I guess it's just a foregone conclusion to some people that "misandry" is really only shorthand for "I am an idiot who thinks feminism is a problem and the patriarchy is either a sham or extremely overstated".

The priority of what words are worth fighting for is pretty interesting, but I think I already showed in that conservatism thread that I'm prone to just diddling myself over word definition and use. And, like in that thread, I'll do the polite thing and try not to do it in public so much.

Bloo Driver wrote:

The priority of what words are worth fighting for is pretty interesting, but I think I already showed in that conservatism thread that I'm prone to just diddling myself over word definition and use. And, like in that thread, I'll do the polite thing and try not to do it in public so much.

I had like 4 paragraphs of response to this but I'm scrapping it because I think we're in a rabbit hole scenario. I think it's less about terms and more about your feeling that men's (and your) particular issues aren't being addressed with enough respect and care. Which I get and obviously sympathize with because yeah, I'm also a dude with my own dude problems. Which is a different topic altogether, even if it does dovetail into this one. It's also the topic that every feminism thread eventually spirals into. Funny, that.

And if this is solely about your irritation that "misandry" has a lot of baggage from how it has been used for years, that's also probably another thread where we talk about all of the terms like this. I will say, since you made the comparison, that while feminism is a boo term in some circles, it also has a history, a policy record, entire scenes of culture, and readily identifiable ways it has made our lives better. So while it is hated in some circles, it has that history and context to fall back on. Misandry has no such backing, largely because it is mostly used in the very context you object to it being used in. Not your fault, not my fault, but it is what it is and if you want to launch a "take back Misandry" campaign, knock yourself out. Unfortunately you may not like who shows up to your rallies.

This is like when I read conservative commentators saying "Today's GOP aren't even conservatives!". Yeah, no sh*t, but that's what the word is here and now and if that's the hill you want to die on then go right ahead. But maybe better to direct your energies to combating what is making that term what it currently is.

EDIT - UGH I hate how stern this sounds. Imagine I'm responding over a nice plate of cookies and making jokes while I do it. I hate text for this stuff sometimes because everything comes off as a sternly-written letter to the editor. I really do get where you are coming from but see it differently. Does this emoticon help? 。◕‿◕。

I think you're reading an implication or sarcasm in my previous post that really isn't there. When I say I find this sort of thing interesting, I am not saying, "I think your blase' hypocrisy is amusing, yes, yes, tut tut." I literally just think it's interesting. For the reasons you've described, people are willing to let one word go but not another. That is interesting to me.

I tried very hard to make it clear I was more examining the edges of the word and its use in a technical way and not trying to go down the rabbit hole of "but, but dude problems," so I find myself a little sadfacey that I get this -

I think it's less about terms and more about your feeling that men's (and your) particular issues aren't being addressed with enough respect and care.

... thrown at me anyway. My part in this was, again and again, just a bit of surprise that people don't see how that sort've ends. I suppose it gets muddied when I say it comes off as dismissive and insulting, but let me assure you - the power of this forum is insignificant compared to the power of my ego. Or the Force, whatever. So I'm not particularly worried on a personal level. I guess it's just a failure of communication on my part. Obviously, just further proof that the word itself immediately throws up red flags that people are unwilling, unable, or uncaring (don't have to just pick one) to push aside.

I really only brought it up to begin with because the FAQ-ing nature of this FAQ-ing thread seemed to be more about technical approaches and explanations, but I managed to spiral it back into dude problems with my admittedly low-value discussion. So, sorry about that. No sarcasm.

Forums are probably the best possible invention for talking past one another. It's cool, and sorry if I misread you. This is charged stuff, tone doesn't always carry, blah blah blah.

Here is a cute bear: ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ

I'd like to respect the spirit of the cute bear, but I really do have to say before you start bandying about accusations of point-missing, and dismissal and what not, well, there's a bit from this book about a mote in the eyes. Consider it.

Just when I thought we were making progress, I stumble upon this: http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/05/09/women-strip-men-judge-their-bodies-on-danish-tv-show/

The show, Blachman, was named after its creator, Thomas Blachman, who is the Danish version of Simon Cowell, according to the Telegraph, as well as an award-winning jazz musician and judge on the local edition of The X Factor. Blachman purportedly created the show to get “men discussing the aesthetics of a female body without allowing the conversation to become pornographic or politically correct.”

There are just so many things wrong with this, I don't know where to start... Treating the female body like a piece of meat, for starters... I really don't see the discussion value of a show like this, but I haven't seen it firsthand, of course. Opinions?

wherein I butcher and paraphrase what bombsfall wrote:

I think it's less about terms and more about (the) feeling that men's...issues aren't being addressed with enough respect and care.Which is a different topic altogether, even if it does dovetail into this one. It's also the topic that every feminism thread eventually spirals into.

I wanted to comment on this particular trend, in general, regarding forum discussion about feminism. I'm going to refer to this as Item 1, later. First, though, I'm going to kiiiiiinda white knight Bloo because I cannot resist l letting that kind of delicious irony go unnoted.

We're ganging up on him a bit, so I want to note that I think Bloo's opinion and experience are valuable to this discussion because of his professional insight into human psychology. I hope he'll continue to be a part of this conversation. He's going into detailed and nuanced territory that may be of interest to other readers. So by highlighting bombsfall's quote, I'm not trying to pick on Bloo so much as draw a tangent from their dialogue to comment on something that isn't particular to any one person here.

Item 1: Thoughts.

I think the "but what about the men" comes up in every feminism thread for a variety of reasons, which unfortunately by its nature creates a framework for discussion that assumes a zero-sum situation where "if we're taking about unequal power-balances for non-male people vs. males, then there's no room for the rights of males also harmed by this cultural imbalance." That it is a men vs. women issue, which just isn't true.

The problem with taking a conversation about feminism in the direction of men's rights is that it's often used as a diversionary tactic of MRA's and trolls to derail a discussion about the things that feminism does attempt to address. There's a definite level of... fatigue regarding the subject for folks interested in feminism. So when the men's rights are inevitably broached, it has a chilling effect in participation from women and even the very men disenfranchised by misogyny that appropriates femininity as a negativism to their particular role in society. Because there are people out there using it to intentionally deflect attention from a specific scope of conversation to muddy the issue. Hands are thrown up, threads may be locked, and everyone walks away from the experience with nothing gained but a distaste for the conversation. Which is sometimes the intended effect.

Edit: Oops, accidentally a word. Not even drinking, wtf.

I question the insistence that Bloo's point is "what about the men". I question it because Bloo has denied it four times now, has carefully detailed that it's about a word - misandry - and bent over backwards supporting that point without making the mistake we saw on pages 1-3 of this thread.

I also don't see anything in Amoebic's recent post contradicting that, though. Every observation made I consider accurate, just not in any way applicable to a careful discussion of which words we use when and where, and which words we try to redefine, and why we do that.

Yeah, I did kind of ramble around the fact that this was tangential to a comment from their earlier conversation, and was more about current trends in discussing feminism than the most current deviation of a recent conversation.

Not to be callus, but what they're talking about is personal experiences, which are valuable in their own right but aren't necessarily directly feeding into a FAQ for conversations in feminism. I felt the need to frame my comment so that it was relevant to the OP as a FAQ.

To be clear, I also understand that what Bloo's detailed has been not that, and why I was trying to avoid being someone who's accusing him of it. Fell flat on that one. Apologies.

Will finish posting detail later, trying to post from phone at length is garbage/bugged. Feck.

I think the assumption that a discussion about "why are people dismissive of the term misandry?" is actually a discussion about "why are people dismissing men's issues?" is a pretty understandable one. Bloo was just interested in the terminology, which is an interesting convo in and of itself. But in the context of this discussion and how they tend to go here and other places, it was easily mistaken for literally every other time someone brings up that kind of point. Especially since Bloo did bring up his own personal struggles against gender stereotypes and talked about how infuriating it was to be told that they were related to misogyny instead of misandry, one could easily make that jump from a discussion of terminology to a discussion of the broader issues here. But whatever, we could go around and around on this and there's nothing to be gained except all of us airing what we thought he meant after he's has already told us. Hence cute bear: ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ

I was about to write a paragraph expanding on what Amoebic said but then I remembered she is a humanoid who can probably do that herself.

...or is she?

I have to point it out. That bear is adorable.