[Discussion] Men talking to men about Feminism

This thread is for people who believe that when it comes to feminism it's important for men to listen to women and to talk to men.

In this thread we assume Feminism is something you wholeheartedly support or want to support. Questions about the validity of Feminism are for somewhere else.

Increasingly, I'm very taken with Certis' tack on his dad. Because while he may not have been attacked, I've been harassed. By men and women. In the dating and sex environment, framing partnership as consent may be a problem in and of itself. It's something I have a problem with in many of these accounts. Women say, "f*ck me!" Why not "Let's f*ck together!" like Voltron? But sexier.

Sex shouldn't be something you do to someone else. It's something you do together, with policies to make sure you're sharing power equally.

Flintheart Glomgold wrote:
cheeze_pavilion wrote:

Even if these are grey areas, that's still a problem, and here's why: for sake of argument, let's say pushing into 'grey areas' a couple of times is an understandable mistake. If you keep pushing into 'grey areas' over and over, though, that's not a mistake. That's willful ignorance at best, and a slimy, intentional tactic at worst.

For the record I mean grey areas as in the story is not concrete, as my example above shows "said something like..." doesn't mean anything more than she meant to say one thing but wasn't sure what was actually said. It is poor writing.

If you think it's poor writing, you should stick to saying it is poor writing, and make it crystal clear you're not saying anything about (edit) whether what Aziz Ansari heard in the moment was ambiguous or not. You can't have your unreliable narrator cake and eat it, too.

cheeze_pavilion wrote:

If you think it's poor writing, you should stick to saying it is poor writing, and make it crystal clear you're not saying anything about (edit) whether what Aziz Ansari heard in the moment was ambiguous or not. You can't have your unreliable narrator cake and eat it, too.

Sorry(?) for being a poor writer.

The poor writing makes it ambiguous not because of what Aziz Ansari heard but because the piece even makes it ambiguous what was even said.

Here's the thing as I see it:

Even if there's no truth to it (for the record I find it very believable) it's an important conversation to have and since none of us know Ansari, arguing the veracity of the story is pretty much congruent with arguing whether these kind of stories are true.

I think it illustrates that men don't equally balance "not getting laid" with "I was sexually assaulted". There's not an even balance here. Men aren't owed sex. You haven't lost out on something if she doesn't say yes. The alternative is she's going home in a cab crying and feeling f*cking awful because you thought you getting your rocks off was more important than her emotional well-being.

None of your "I wasn't sure" stories should ever, ever be anything other than "so I didn't have sex that night". Do you ever want to tell the other version of that story?

For me ignoring non-verbal cues isn't any different than ignoring a no. I'll stress ignoring because non-verbal cues are not difficult to pick up on.

Edit: There’s no chance Aziz didn’t realize how uncomfortable this woman was. He just rationalized it away and kept pushing until he got what he wanted. I’m baffled by the notion that’s a “bad date”.

JeremyK wrote:

For me ignoring non-verbal cues isn't any different than ignoring a no. I'll stress ignoring because non-verbal cues are not difficult to pick up on.

Worth reading the link danb posted upthread. Men can read non-verbal cues just fine.

I had a man grope my posterior and fondle my jewels once upon a time. He applied quite a degree of pressure as he tried to check my prostate so as my doctor wouldn't have to. My clothing offered little resistance. It hurt. It was prolonged. Once I made some space between us, which I hope was unpleasant for him, he smiled and motioned to a blow job. He sleuthed away confident in himself.

I was honestly half in a daze before I realized what had happened. Someone pointed out it was sexual harassment. I shrugged and pondered what could be done. I thought about catching up to and looking to bleed him as the pieces came together. Obviously I did not.

I have one friend, a man, who was almost raped by a group of men. They were chased off as his trousers were around his ankles. His jaw was broken and he was in a bad way. He has never spoken of it.

I swear I live in the Twilight Zone where everything is inverted.

Wow a lot of pace in this thread. Thank you Maq for starting it.

Thank you to everyone for sharing your stories. For coming in and reading this thread. Because I think a major part of the toxicity we have today is driven from men having nowhere to ask for advice (treated as assumed knowledge or otherwise misdirected by venture capitalists making money off of male insecurity) and a cultural taboo on speaking about sexuality, masculinity, feminism, and just generally a lack of how to be a good man for dummies resources for boys and men.

For those who think the conversation is weird or is getting weirder, this is exactly what I think this space is for. It's for demystifying things and open/frank discussion about men and feminism. It's about confronting things we feel uncomfortable about approaching. Asking ourselves hard questions. Sharing what we haven't shared with others. Teaching and learning.

I've shared previously how shaken I have felt after experiencing racial abuse just walking down the street. It lasts for a few hours but I shake it off and move on confidently knowing they are isolated incidents that occur once maybe every 3 to 5 years.

Compare that to women. Years ago, my sister confided to me that she would get propositioned at gas stations, grocery stores, you name i t- minding her own business and someone would approach her. She now works in our family's business which operates in a male dominated environment. She still gets unwanted advances from lechers even in front of my brother and mother. She is in her mid-30s. My wife has previously described to me how men would constantly push the boundaries of friendship and it was difficult to maintain friendships with men because they couldn't read signals and kept pressing when she wasn't interested but didn't want to be put into the position of having to say NO. Her only recourse was to politely change topics, pretending to ignore what was said, or eventually just avoiding them.

To put it into context, then, one needs to imagine how it feels like to constantly be vigilant and having to fend off unwanted advances all the time. I can't stop all men from being detestable. But I can change my own behaviour, and I can teach my son. He's turning 9 this year, had his first girlfriend at 7 years old, and I've already had discussions about etiquette, body space, dos and don'ts. I'm prepared to have even more uncomfortable discussions about courtship, the role of foreplay and sex. Because if one thing is certain, he will eventually access porn, whether it be at home or at school, and I don't want him thinking the scripted scenes he will see is representative in any manner of what he will experience in reality.

Lastly, Maq, is it a good idea to expand the scope to clarify what is in and out? What I just typed above is my liberal interpretation of what's to be discussed herein, but happy to be guided on this.

JeremyK wrote:

There’s no chance Aziz didn’t realize how uncomfortable this woman was. He just rationalized it away and kept pushing until he got what he wanted. I’m baffled by the notion that’s a “bad date”.

Since I'm pretty sure this is in reference to my honestly given opinion, I have to respond.

There is certainly a chance he didn't know how uncomfortable she was. I wasn't there, neither were you.

He didn't get what he wanted, he made it clear he wanted penetration when he said he was going to get a condom. She agreed to go further in another direction with him. He kept going for what he wanted, thinking after a bit of foreplay she'd be ready too. He stopped when she made it clear that she did not want to. According to the story, at that point he said, let's just chill, this time with our clothes on. I'm not going to give him a bunch of bonus points for not kicking her out of his apt, but it speaks to his intentions when he got dressed and watched Seinfeld with her. Maybe that's what made her cry, I dunno.

Obviously, it was a bad date. I'm baffled by the notion that it was not a bad date. Certainly wasn't a good date. Wasn't random assault. Wasn't workplace harassment. Are you prepared to say this was date rape? I mean, I don't think it was, but if you think it was then it was defintely a bad date.

I'm not here to defend Aziz Ansari or anyone else. But, my opinion is valid, and it wasn't given carelessly. I've given a lot of thought to this particular story because of where I see it on the spectrum of sexual assault. I believe he acted badly, I believe it upset her. I don't believe he assaulted her. People that disagree are free to do so in their own words, but don't trivialize my opinion. My opinion is neither ludicrous nor beyond the realm of possibility.

I realize some may ask for my feminist card after expressing my apparently unpopular opinion, but I've been carrying it for an awfully long time, so maybe consider what I'm saying a bit more before dismissing it as unfathomable.

I would have quoted you if I was referencing you. The bad date stuff is the popular narrative that I’ve seen pushed in a few articles and reddit in response to the story. I certainly do not agree with it. I don’t know where on the line this falls before sexual assault but aggressively and repeatedly violating someone’s boundaries in order to have sex is way beyond what I consider a bad date.

edit: eh, yeah, probably shouldn't have posted that.

I share just about the same opinion, SillyRabbit. Did he assault her? I don't think so. However, I do think he made some assumptions which led to her feeling violated and she's completely valid in feeling that way. I take issue with those assumptions and his apparent lack of awareness. They weren't criminal, but they were wrong. If he doesn't learn from that and change his ways I'd be comfortable in calling him a sh*tty person.

With fame comes a degree of power. To me that means you have to be more aware and careful of abusing others with it. He should have known better.

LarryC wrote:

My own wife sometimes likes that aggressive play, but that's something that's negotiated over a long time and often very explicitly. It's kind of like light S&M at that point. You have to say what you want, and you need to establish how to say you're done with it.

So sometimes I'll be touching her all over and chasing her around the house and she's all like "No, no!" but she's laughing and giggling the whole time and she waits for me to catch up when I have to pause because I'm caught on a railing or something. This isn't something you can do as a pick up game with a stranger.

(Yeah, that's how far back in the thread I started writing this.)

There are so many things to say branching off from here, including a good bit that might come off as (or simply be) advocacy for kink communities and philosophy, and as making broad generalizations about kink communities, kink philosophy, kink people and their kink practices. So let me just begin with a big disclaimer that kink communities are just like any other kind of community. They are made up of regular old people, and as such have all the wondrous and terrible variances of perspectives, practices, experiences, etc, of any other kind of community. While I personally think there are a lot of valuable lessons that broader society could learn by examining the common practices and behaviors in kink communities, they are by no means infallible in any respect, even (hell, especially) where it concerns what I and many others consider important, foundational building blocks of kink philosophy. Sadly, predators exist everywhere — although kink communities often have unique strengths and weaknesses when it comes to identifying and dealing with them — and just as importantly, well intentioned people can still make bad choices that have serious consequences even in the best of circumstances.

Further, whether I mange to communicate it properly or not, everything I say here is based on my personal experiences with the small pieces of the kink community I've been a part of in the San Francisco bay area and the greater Sacramento region (and online, of course) over roughly the past half decade or so — and the regional stereotypes both good and bad are in many ways relevant here — so any perceived generalizations you might see are probably intended to be summaries of my own personal experiences and anecdotal observations from what might be some of the more progressive, developed examples of kink communities.

And with that said, where to begin?

A thing that strikes me both about various bits of conversation here in this thread, and in the public conversation in general, is just how much I wish others could experience a shift in general cultural understanding about consent and communication about sex and sexuality (and related intimate and personal desires and relationships) like the one I had when I began to dip my toes into kink communities. They really are years ahead of the rest of our culture about exploring how to functionally implement the kind of culture shift I think we'd all like to see. (The same can be said of queer communities, which have a deep Venn diagram overlap with kink communities, but my personal experience is more specifically with kinky queer communities, so I'll just say kink as an inelegant shorthand.)

On its face, it doesn't seem like it should be such a revolutionary thing: the simple, clear minded, unswerving insistence that enthusiastic, ongoing consent should be at the heart of every interpersonal interaction, and that intentional, explicit communication of desires both upfront and on a continuing basis is vital both in enabling such consent to exist and more generally in making sure all parties involved are having the best possible experiences whenever possible. I mean, that's progressive sexual politics 101, right? Well, at least for me it was a very different thing seeing how the kink communities around me actually put it into practice, stripping away all the bullsh*t that gets in the way of acting on those concepts, and replacing it with tools and guidance about how to do it well.

Granted, given the things that people in kink communities do, it's very a important point of focus. Attend any good BDSM beginner's course, or read such a guide on the internet, and it will begin, end, and middle by emphasizing that trying to stumble your way through the often edgy and psychologically challenging activities kinky people enjoy doing together without ongoing negotiation and consent being of central focus is asking for trouble (and if you see a class or guide that doesn't hammer on that point, you should probably run away screaming). But more savvy educators will also lean on the point that I think is more salient here; you don't have to be playing with intense power exchange dynamics or engaging in physically demanding activities for interpersonal relationships to be a mine field, and having a few common sense tools in your pocket can make all the difference towards setting you up to have fun, successful intimate interactions even in the most vanilla of contexts.

The most obvious example is the concept of safe words (and the closely associated concept of check ins). I know, our culture loves to draw laughs from the concept that people would want to do something so extreme as to need some special, silly word to break out of some intense role play. But holy hell, if the generally accepted systems in my communities were more broadly accepted and applied in our culture, it feels like so many situations of mismatched desires and expectations could be navigated with so much less strife — perhaps even the situations like the one currently being discussed regarding Aziz Ansari. Basically, safe words (and check ins) if done right are more than a safety release valve — they can be an invaluable cornerstone for establishing and maintaining trust and communication in a very powerful way, especially when they are an ingrained part of your in group culture.

In my communities, and in other local communities I'm aware of through gatherings, parties, and online communication, there is no "banana" or whatever. Or, maybe there is, but it's for sh*ts and giggles. Our accepted and expected system is based around the nearly universally understood concept of stop light colors. Green means go ahead, everything is good. Yellow means that something is getting too intense, or needs to be adjusted, but things can probably continue outside of that. And red means hard stop. Simple as that. You call a color if there's a problem. You check in if you think there's a problem. If you're playing in a public (by which I generally mean private, but shared) space, you know everyone around you knows what you are communicating, so even if you don't know a new partner well you DO know that others can step in if need be. If you are comfortable enough to be playing in private, you know you have a shared cultural understanding and expectation that regardless of what else might be happening in your encounter, you can trust that if there are problems you have a precise and clear way of communicating with each other.

And again, the need for this is very clear when engaging in activities with more intense power exchange dynamics. But, whether we like it or not, that vast majority of our interpersonal — and especially our sexual — encounters involve some measure of power exchange. I mean, at the most basic level, when you engage in intimate physical activity with a person of a different physical stature than yourself, there is an inherent power imbalance, and that's before you throw a thousand layers of acculturated behaviors and expectations on top of that. So, in kink communities we choose to counter that with our own cultural construct: if anyone says the word red, everything stops. If you ignore that, you don't get to play anymore. If someone says the word yellow, you refocus on communication and don't proceed until everyone involves says green. If you ignore that, you don't get to play anymore. Period.

Further, we try to build a culture where checking in and safe wording are both felt as a right and a responsibility regardless of what part you are playing in an encounter (i.e., tops should safe word if they feel uncomfortable, bottoms should check in if their partner seems iffy, not just the other way around — power dynamics for play don't abdicate you of either responsibility). By committing to safe wording, you are not only committing to taking care of yourself, you are taking care of your partner — whether you are a top or a bottom or any thing in between, the last thing you want is to harm your partner, emotionally or physically, and safe wording saves your partner from doing that to you unknowingly. And by committing to checking in, you are making sure you keeping your partner's well being at the top of mind even when things get intense, but you are also committing to caring for yourself, and keeping yourself from doing something you might regret.

The enemy in being able to parse so many situations like the Aziz Ansari thing is ambiguity of communication, particularly when operating in poorly (or un) negotiated states of power exchange. But, there is no ambiguity in our culture if a safe word is called, or if partners are actively checking in when there is any question how things are going. VERY worth saying, of course, that if you sense something is wrong, you stop, safe word or no, but building a culture that encourages and rewards actively checking in and directly communicating when there are problems does wonders towards empowering people on all sides of the power spectrum to take better care of themselves and their partner's well being. And creating a culture where protecting the well being of yourself and your partner is more important than protecting your egos or prides helps move the needle against all the puritanical and patriarchal crap that creates situations ripe for painful and unfortunate results. Certainly it doesn't stop predators/abusers from existing, but it creates a framework were it's at least a bit easier for well intentioned people avoid making bad choices and regrettable mistakes.

Well, crap, I got way off on a tangent there (shocking, I know), and I'm out of time to talk about other things the kink world has to offer to the broader culture, such as:

- Various other tools and constructs that help protect and reinforce consent and communication culture.
- How the old saw of "negotiating kills the mood" can be completely turned on its head. Negotiation creates the mood, if you do it right, and makes sure everyone involved enjoys the mood to the fullest.
- The painfully obvious value of changing the "game" from being about tricking or coercing people into doing what you want to being about agreeing on the things you both want and then enjoying them. F*ck pick up culture and everything to do with it. You want to have some crazy, sexy fun, you find people who feel the same and do it mutually. They're out there, I assure you.
- The emotional, psychological, and cultural benefits of accepting and understanding your relationships with power dynamics, and of creating safe spaces to explore and challenge them. It's good for the soul, and good for dismantling the patriarchy.
- My theory that a great many people are a good deal more kinky than they admit, even to themselves, and could find a surprising amount of fun, happiness, and liberation from just letting go of their reservations and opening up to the people they care about what excites them.
- My thoughts on how long it's been since the last "Welcome perverts!" post on the front page.

Anyway, not really sure where to end this, other than to say that I really encourage people who are interested in changing the culture around sex, gender, and power dynamics to take a look at what kink (and queer!) communities have done in that regard. Hell, maybe even encourage younger adults in your life to look into it too, and (scandalous!) maybe even educate your teenage kids about some of the stuff us perverts have come up with too — I know I wish I had been able to see some of these attitudes and practices modeled for me earlier in my adulthood.

I probably shouldn't have made that post, I apologize Jeremy and everyone else. I will now try to add something that may enhance the conversation rather than make it adversarial.

My very first car date was a bad date. I was a freshman in high school and the boy was a senior. Before he asked me on a date, he came over to visit my house a few times, he was very polite and not the least bit forward. He was really cute, not a sports stud or anything like that, seemed really nice. He met my mom, she thought he was nice too. When he asked me out, which I thought I wanted him to do, I was scared to go. We all knew what boys really wanted, but I did like him and he didn't seem like that. So, asked Mom, I was kinda hoping she'd say no, but, she said yes. So, he comes to pick me up, he drove an older mustang, not a fancy one, but still a fun car. He said he wanted to go for a drive and he drove straight to what I realized was intended to be a make out point. This is exactly what I was afraid of. I didn't know I was prepared for it, but somehow I was. I remember kind of freezing up and being scared, but I accepted a beer thinking we could talk or something (this was not the first time I had drank, I could handle a beer). We were out on a dark country road. He began to move in on me and pushed I him away and said no. He got angry and I thought for a moment it was going to be a put out or get out situation. But, he drove me home, never saying another word. It was clear he was angry. I went in and said nothing to my mom about it. He eventually came back around - probably a few weeks later - apologizing and wanting to try dating again. I just said no. I didn't go on many dates after that. I think having older sisters had a role in me learning how to say no. It still wasn't easy, but at that age, I knew nothing about verbal clues - no was all I had to go with.

There is no moral to this story. Just something I keep thinking about and thought I'd post it here.

I'm gonna be Matt Damon and shut up*.

*Edited to add: but I am NOT getting in the back seat.

No worries. I wasn’t offended. I felt bad you took my viewpoint as a direct attack against you.

Holy hell, zeroKFE! That's an amazing post. Check ins are definitely something we could all use.

RnRClown:

Lucky Bastard Syndrome is real. When we're assaulted by women, our violations are minimized and gaslighted by saying that we got it good and we should just appreciate the attention. And even if it goes through that, you're ridiculed for losing to a woman. As if that were ever shameful.

If you admit having been assaulted by a man... you lose a lot of status for a very, very long time.

So that's why men are never assaulted and it's impossible. It never happens. Ever. There's just a whole lot of Lucky Bastards.

Yeah, that was really detailed and informative, zeroKFE. I'm glad you felt comfortable enough to share this with us. Maybe Jonman can get in here and tell us what the poly check ins are.

Traffic light reporting is something I've previously come across in the professional world, and it works - culturally, we have trained ourselves to apply universal road behaviour on those three cololurs. If memory serves, the human brain reacts most swiftly to the colour red, probably because that's the colour of what spills out of a broken body, be it our prey or your own.

So then we need to ask ourselves, why is it that three colours resonate so easily in a decision making model, yet when it comes to something like consent, which constantly shifts and where "yes" and "no" (let alone other phrases) can be misinterpreted, or people don't stop to take the time to check the traffic light?

Bfgp wrote:

So then we need to ask ourselves, why is it that three colours resonate so easily in a decision making model, yet when it comes to something like consent, which constantly shifts and where "yes" and "no" (let alone other phrases) can be misinterpreted, or people don't stop to take the time to check the traffic light?

I think it has less to do with the colours resonating better than yes/no, and more the culture (BDSM). BDSM, for it to be safe and continued and enjoyable needs to have continual and well-defined consent, as well as well-defined boundaries and limits. Both the sub in what they are willing to allow be done to them as well as the dom/domme in what they are willing to do. When you are dealing with things like breath play, bondage, whipping/caning (to name a couple) that can cause serious harm/death if not done properly, you need to have very clear, open and continual communication.

That is something that "normal" relationships don't enforce.

LarryC wrote:

Holy hell, zeroKFE! That's an amazing post. Check ins are definitely something we could all use.

RnRClown:

Lucky Bastard Syndrome is real. When we're assaulted by women, our violations are minimized and gaslighted by saying that we got it good and we should just appreciate the attention. And even if it goes through that, you're ridiculed for losing to a woman. As if that were ever shameful.

If you admit having been assaulted by a man... you lose a lot of status for a very, very long time.

So that's why men are never assaulted and it's impossible. It never happens. Ever. There's just a whole lot of Lucky Bastards.

I’ve had one experience in my life that I’ve really never discussed with anyone before. It happened when I was 12 and living in apartment complex. I was in the rec center in a small side room with a pool table waiting for a friend when one on the local older kids, probably 16 or 17, came in and started talking with me. Out of nowhere he whipped out his penis and put it on my knee and started rubbing it against me.

I was in shock and before I even had a chance to react he grabbed the back of my head and tried to force it onto his crotch. At this point I started fighting back and ended up on the ground with him on top holding me down with his knees to my chest. Then we heard my friend entering the building and he hopped off me and said he was just joking around and walked out of the room to start chatting with my friend. He laughingly joked to him that I tried to grab his dick. I remember feeling more ashamed in that moment than I ever had in my life. I’m not even sure exactly why. Anyways that’s the last time I ever saw that kid. Now I regret not telling my mother at the time but it never even crossed my mind. I just wanted to pretend it never happened.

I haven’t thought about that moment much, or at all really, in the last 25 years but when I read this comment it just kind of sparked the memory and felt like sharing it. Hope it wasn’t too graphic or personal.

Bfgp wrote:

Lastly, Maq, is it a good idea to expand the scope to clarify what is in and out? What I just typed above is my liberal interpretation of what's to be discussed herein, but happy to be guided on this.

I think there's plenty of scope here to talk about masculinity (toxic and otherwise) and other issues that affect men as a result of societal gender expectations (like our increased suicide rate). These are definitely feminist issues and are the ones it's up to men to address.

What I didn't want to do is say "Mens' Issues" up in header cos that's like the frickin' Bat Signal for redpillers.

(Edit: clarified the scope in the OP)

JeremyK wrote:

I’ve had one experience in my life that I’ve really never discussed with anyone before.

How do you feel now that it is out there for others to see? If different at all?

I left out details and chose less intimate terms so to gloss over my experience, to have it seem less real than it were. Maybe to convey how I wanted it to appear I dealt with it. Anyway. It got the point across. I read what you wrote and I must salute you for remaining earnest.

Most of all I'm sorry you had to go through such an ordeal, at such as age.

RnRClown wrote:
JeremyK wrote:

I’ve had one experience in my life that I’ve really never discussed with anyone before.

How do you feel now that it is out there for others to see? If different at all?

I left out details and chose less intimate terms so to gloss over my experience, to have it seem less real than it were. Maybe to convey how I wanted it to appear I dealt with it. Anyway. It got the point across. I read what you wrote and I must salute you for remaining earnest.

Most of all I'm sorry you had to go through such an ordeal, at such as age.

I'm not sure really. As I was writing it I got a little upset and nearly deleted it before posting it. Now I mostly feel relief that I got it off my chest. I don't think I realized I was still angry about it until I actually saw it in writing.

JeremyK wrote:
RnRClown wrote:
JeremyK wrote:

I’ve had one experience in my life that I’ve really never discussed with anyone before.

How do you feel now that it is out there for others to see? If different at all?

I left out details and chose less intimate terms so to gloss over my experience, to have it seem less real than it were. Maybe to convey how I wanted it to appear I dealt with it. Anyway. It got the point across. I read what you wrote and I must salute you for remaining earnest.

Most of all I'm sorry you had to go through such an ordeal, at such as age.

I'm not sure really. As I was writing it I got a little upset and nearly deleted it before posting it. Now I mostly feel relief that I got it off my chest. I don't think I realized I was still angry about it until I actually saw it in writing.

This is exactly why we all need to talk more often! Props. And bravo!

JeremyK wrote:

I'm not sure really. As I was writing it I got a little upset and nearly deleted it before posting it. Now I mostly feel relief that I got it off my chest. I don't think I realized I was still angry about it until I actually saw it in writing.

That's one of those things which can get heavier the longer you carry it, to the point where it can start altering your course without your meaning it to. Someone else chose to put that weight on you. Now you know it's there. I sincerely hope you continue to find ways to put it down and leave it behind. Forgetting it is out of the question, but forgiving the tortured soul who did that to you (even if you can only do so in your mind) can put the weight where it belongs - on them. They owe you that debt. Don't carry it for them.

About Ansari:
NYT Op-Ed: Aziz, We Tried to Warn You (Lindy West)

In 1975, 42 years before the comedian Aziz Ansari reportedly brought a date home to his apartment and repeatedly tried to initiate sex with her after she told him “next time” and “I don’t want to feel forced,” Susan Brownmiller published “Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape.”

“All rape is an exercise in power,” Brownmiller wrote in 1975, “but some rapists have an edge that is more than physical.” Sometimes, the 1975 text suggests, rapists “operate within an emotional setting or within a dependent relationship that provides a hierarchical, authoritarian structure of its own that weakens a victim’s resistance, distorts her perspective and confounds her will.” “Against Our Will” has been available in American libraries since its publication, which was in 1975.

Ansari would have been 7 or 8 years old in 1991 when a feminist group at Antioch College fought to establish the school’s Sexual Offense Prevention Policy (informally the “Antioch rules” or, more commonly, the “infamous Antioch rules”) requiring affirmative and sustained consent throughout all sexual encounters, and he was 10 when “Saturday Night Live” mocked the Antioch rules in a sketch that cast Shannen Doherty as a “Victimization Studies” major.

RnRClown wrote:

I've often wondered if men internalize and process being a victim of sexual harassment, and sexual assault, in a different way to women. Or if it's the same. Shame at being targeted. Shame at not being able to overcome it. Shame at allowing it to shape them.

I'd say yes, because the systemic forces are different. On a systemic, cultural level men as a group have more power and aren't subject to the same form of systemic assault--as a random example, men are less likely to get cat-called walking down the street. Flip side is that because of the other aspects of patriarchy being a victim is seen as a personally shameful thing. So as a group it's less of a problem, but that doesn't help the individual male victims of sexual assault who get clobbered by both internal and external toxic masculinity and other aspects of the patriarchy.

But I think you understand that better than I do.

LarryC wrote:

So to establish a baseline, here's the article.

A red flag from that whole thing that other people have pointed out to me:

After arriving at his apartment in Manhattan on Monday evening, they exchanged small talk and drank wine. “It was white,” she said. “I didn’t get to choose and I prefer red, but it was white wine.”

It's not a date-ender, exactly, but it set a pattern of ignoring her preferences. You read the next few bits and there's more ways that he wasn't communicating with her, just rushing through the motions.

Bfgp wrote:

Because I think a major part of the toxicity we have today is driven from men having nowhere to ask for advice (treated as assumed knowledge or otherwise misdirected by venture capitalists making money off of male insecurity) and a cultural taboo on speaking about sexuality, masculinity, feminism, and just generally a lack of how to be a good man for dummies resources for boys and men.

Yeah, that's a big aspect of this. One thing that happened to me was that back when I was actively looking for dating advice (because I was both young, had no clue how to start, and was nerdy enough to research it) was that there were very few people offering men dating advice aside from pick-up-artists. So I read a lot of those. I didn't act on it, but I read it. (There's way better resources online now, who are at least starting to offer healthier perspectives).

The PUA stuff is a combination of how-to guides on violating boundaries, some bad pop-psychology, an inferiority complex because they felt like they were being told that they should know how to get sex automatically*, alt-right recruiting, and a bunch of people trying to work through their sexuality with inadequate tools and little support.

They were wrong about a lot of stuff, but they were right that they were looked down upon because people around them assumed they should have the knowledge. They misidentified the cause and didn't realize that was yet another aspect of toxic masculinity, so they blamed feminists for it. Even though the actual feminists doing research had the theories that could have led them out of it.

But the way people attack the cartoon version of feminism is part of the problem. And it ignores all of the actual feminist writing which is both really good and has a lot to say about this stuff.

* Framing it as "getting sex" is, of course, part of the problem.

I’ve been debating if I share some of my misteps and at times sh*tty behavior from my late teens early 20s. I’m trying to have some self-sympathy given I was using sex and love to deal with really sh*tty childhood trauma and also undiagnosed bipolar. (Untreated mania makes for some really poor decision making). I guess I’m trying to figure out what was fair mistakes and growing pains and what was toxic masculinity.

That being said, I don’t want to over share or make this about my issues.

jdzappa wrote:

That being said, I don’t want to over share or make this about my issues.

Your issues pertain to men. Some more. Some less. Men's issues can be, but are not always, applicable to women's issues. (And vice versa.) It's all connected.

Men inspecting their past, their views, their behavior, and asking questions shouldn't be so strange. It is. I know. I feel it, too. Women get together to discuss men, the shortcomings of men, and how it all impacts and affects women. Men can be more involved. We can listen and contribute. We are a part of it. Half. We can also ask how or if it affects us. The desire is the same. Understand. Improve.

I'm not a man, nor is the author of this piece, but I thought it might be some good food for thought:

In The Midst Of #MeToo, What Type Of Man Do You Want To Be?
(Ijeoma Oluo, The Estabishment, 2018-01-18)

Who decides what men are? Is it decided by decree? By popular vote? Or is it decided by you, individual men?
Hypatian wrote:

I'm not a man, nor is the author of this piece, but I thought it might be some good food for thought:

In The Midst Of #MeToo, What Type Of Man Do You Want To Be?
(Ijeoma Oluo, The Estabishment, 2018-01-18)

Who decides what men are? Is it decided by decree? By popular vote? Or is it decided by you, individual men?

It's an excellent article Hypatian. I understand your concerns about not being a man and for a woman to say these things. Her intentions are amazing, but it sends the wrong message. Just as some of what we want to say in the Feminism thread can't be said and taken the right way because we are men. It is why women must lead that part of Feminism.

But here we must lead our own. The frustration many women feel is because they are not men. Part of it is just the patriarchy being the patriarchy, but part of it is also that women cannot speak to our experiences, simply because of their womanhood, just as this is also true for us. We cannot speak for women. This thread is important for that, and it's a great thing though perhaps understandable that so many of our womenfolk here grok that instantly.

What is it to be a man? A great deal of redpilling and PUA preys on low self esteem and isolation. Women are preyed upon by fashion and cosmetics and, frankly, men. Men are preyed upon by ourselves. Most PUAs do not assuage their self worth and do not find healthy relationships. It is not an enviable existence. To prey and yet be miserable, to hunger and yet never be sated while preying on others - it's a demonic structure.

To give love, we must feel love. So if our output seems to concern with the welfare of men, it is because of that. A man who does not love himself - truly love himself and not merely be narcissistic - cannot give it out. When PUAs seem not to care, it is because they don't. They hate themselves and that hate is grown and then directed outwards.

While a woman can ask whether we want to be better men for women, I would like to say that we should simply learn how to live well for no one else's sake but our own. After all, not every man will choose to date women. And we harm ourselves just as much.

Most of the sexual harassment I've experienced came from gay men. I do not hate gay men because I know many straight men behave exactly the same way regarding their sexual interests.

jdzappa wrote:

I’ve been debating if I share some of my misteps and at times sh*tty behavior from my late teens early 20s. I’m trying to have some self-sympathy given I was using sex and love to deal with really sh*tty childhood trauma and also undiagnosed bipolar. (Untreated mania makes for some really poor decision making). I guess I’m trying to figure out what was fair mistakes and growing pains and what was toxic masculinity.

That being said, I don’t want to over share or make this about my issues.

I wanted to respond to you earlier, but I didn't know how to say it.

Most of what you did that harmed others was probably very toxic masculinity. You can't be blamed for that because that is what you were taught was right and you were given no better instruction. This is still true for most men today at all ages. That's why I don't feel it's fair to blame only Ansari for his actions even though if he did do them, he must be held to account. It is most likely that he doesn't know any other way to act. Would you order a sh*t sandwich when a steak is on the menu? Surely not. And this is why the larger picture is far more important for us here. We were that guy. We could still be that guy. I could still be that guy.

The PUA community grew explosively precisely because that instruction was lacking. Ultimately, I'd like to replace the pick up community with the check in community. That is, men who score victory in sexual encounters because they are good at communicating and ensuring a good experience for everyone.