[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.

Sounds your kid is living your tag.... butt-kicking for goodness. IMO, that was exactly the right way to handle it, and I'm glad your local director agreed.

Lots of people will wring their hands and say that violence is never a solution. That's not true... violence is rarely a solution. In this case, I think it was warranted, and that the problem is probably solved.

I anticipate strong disagreement.

Malor wrote:

Sounds your kid is living your tag.... butt-kicking for goodness. IMO, that was exactly the right way to handle it, and I'm glad your local director agreed.

Lots of people will wring their hands and say that violence is never a solution. That's not true... violence is rarely a solution. In this case, I think it was warranted, and that the problem is probably solved.

I anticipate strong disagreement.

Nah, it's basically what I do with my son who is in somewhat similar (my son is white) scenarios with others kids. He cannot start a fight, but we have told him he can and should defend himself when feeling threatened and he cannot get to a nearby adult (we also discussed if he saw someone else being attacked). The amount of force should be enough to disengage the situation and no more. If he gets in trouble at school while abiding by that, we will back him up. He still is hesitant to do so, since he likes following the rules at school. It's somewhat ironic as he's a black belt in TKD and likes sparring.

Yeah, violence should always be the last resort but never off the table either. Maybe your son exerted too much strength in this specific case, but that's also part of the learning process and as he hasn't caused any real damage it's okay I guess.

I'm not a parent so don't have a lot of standing here, but I'll bet that grade 3 kid, and other kids, will back off a bit after your son kicked him.

Sounds like everything was handled appropriately by all involved (except the aggressor). Good job, and glad to hear about a supportive staff for once.

So, over here in Aus most of our private schools are single-sex and we’re having a bit of a crisis where the rampant misogyny and sexual abuse culture of all-boys schools has surfaced to the point of public exposure. I can’t help but see the naked influence of puritan culture on same-sex educational doctrine, and I (a product of the public education system) definitely see a difference in language and general posture towards women between people with a same-sex and a co-ed education. The fact that girls are viewed as a temptation, something to be avoided and in fact deliberately segregated from in order to focus on your studies instead of just actual f*cking people strikes me as a dangerously corrosive maxim to be taking away from school. It’s one of the key reasons I will not be sending my kids to private school and I feel like it should be a waaaaay bigger deal than it seems to be. Is this a thing in the US? Does anyone else in Australia have opinions on this? It’s a weirdly difficult thing to talk about with my peers since most of them had a private education and get super defensive when the topic comes up...

DC Malleus wrote:

The fact that girls are viewed as a temptation, something to be avoided and in fact deliberately segregated from in order to focus on your studies instead of just actual f*cking people strikes me as a dangerously corrosive maxim to be taking away from school. It’s one of the key reasons I will not be sending my kids to private school and I feel like it should be a waaaaay bigger deal than it seems to be. Is this a thing in the US?

Most single-gender schools in the US are private schools. Most of them are also Catholic schools. They're the ones more interested in making sure people avoid temptation instead of helping them actually deal with it.

(That may be slightly unfair - but I don't actually know, I didn't go to one.)

DC Malleus wrote:

Does anyone else in Australia have opinions on this?

What you've said maps onto my personal observations. Both anecdotal of course, so take with a grain of salt, but I guess it stands to reason? Like, it makes sense that a person from one half of the population can't understand/relate to the other half of the population when they've quite literally spent their entire upbringing being forcefully excluded from the other half. Actually, not just excluded, but specifically told that it's in their best interests if they're excluded from them. Add to that the religious shame that Keldar alluded to, pre-existing stereotypes, pre-existing institutional sexism etc and you've got yourself a whole heap of toxic males.

Making this even worse, is that these private school boys are typically from wealthy, often powerful, families. Thus, we see so many examples of toxic males put in wealthy, powerful, positions. Hello Christian Porter!

I'm Catholic and I don't like single-gender schools (usually with very narrow gender role definitions). They have a bad influence on the people I knew who grew up in them, often leading to detrimental personality traits that need to be overcome later, sometimes with therapy.

LarryC wrote:

I'm Catholic and I don't like single-gender schools (usually with very narrow gender role definitions). They have a bad influence on the people I knew who grew up in them, often leading to detrimental personality traits that need to be overcome later, sometimes with therapy.

I went to a coed Catholic school and even there was a lot of the girls should avoid tempting thing. Which almost makes sense given how badly they (the school and related adults) teach appropriate coed peer behavior.

Mrs Rawk is a former Catholic High School graduate. She’s a very good rule follower. The only time she ever got a detention was because, like most of the girls at her school, she would roll up the waistband of her uniform in order to shorten her skirt line. She was, (and still is), a real looker. With legs up to here.

RawkGWJ wrote:

Mrs Rawk is a former Catholic High School graduate. She’s a very good rule follower. The only time she ever got a detention was because, like most of the girls at her school, she would roll up the waistband of her uniform in order to shorten her skirt line. She was, (and still is), a real looker. With legs up to here.

I too have pleasant memories of my wife in those uniforms.

lunchbox12682 wrote:
RawkGWJ wrote:

Mrs Rawk is a former Catholic High School graduate. She’s a very good rule follower. The only time she ever got a detention was because, like most of the girls at her school, she would roll up the waistband of her uniform in order to shorten her skirt line. She was, (and still is), a real looker. With legs up to here.

I too have pleasant memories of my wife in those uniforms.

It’s so wrong, yet so right! A paradox upon my existence!!

Guys. Feminism thread. Really?

yeah, this isn't the early 2000s!

Tanglebones wrote:

Guys. Feminism thread. Really?

Eh, I find the person I've known for over half my life and have been married to for nearly half attractive since I've met them which was at that time in our lives.

Tanglebones wrote:

Guys. Feminism thread. Really?

I totally get where you’re coming from. My post was wildly off topic and tone deaf to the thread.

But there is also a danger in denying the realities of feminine sexuality. (Adult) Feminine sexuality should not be denigrated or made taboo. I didn’t know my wife when she was a minor. That anecdote was a story from her past that she related to me.

My wife is absolutely gorgeous, but that’s not why I wanted to make a family with her. She is confident and intelligent and has values which align with mine. Furthermore many of her values challenge my default way of thinking and inspire me to see things in a new light.

I feel that there is a distinct difference between recognizing the strength and beauty of ones partner, and the dehumanizing behavior of over sexualizing and objectifying the general population of women. I feel that the former is a healthy expression of appreciation and the latter is what leads to horrific acts of violence towards women, such as the tragic murders of mostly Asian women which took place earlier this week.

I think that there is some nuance here that aught to be explored. I would be interested in hearing y’all’s opinions on the matter.

Well, going at it from the angle of, gee, she was hot in a schoolgirl outfit sure reads as the objectification end of things.

These are their wives. I think that's in bounds, personally.

By now, I imagine they would probably know if their wives disliked like being objectified a little, and trusting them to know where the line is seems reasonable to me.

Tanglebones wrote:

Well, going at it from the angle of, gee, she was hot in a schoolgirl outfit sure reads as the objectification end of things.

Yes. And focusing on that alone does suggest objectification. But we are human beings with pre-programmed desires. If I spent my life focusing on the sexual conquest of young women who look great in Catholic school uniforms, then you would have a valid reason to call my motives into question, but that’s not the idea that I’ve put forth.

I’m calling for an exploration of the nuance of this situation. You can cherry pick my statements and present them out of context in order to dunk on me, but that doesn’t move the conversation forward at all.

Anybody else?

Is there nuance to the situation sure? Does it belong in this feminism thread? Do you feel you have the experience and ability to determine the realities of feminine sexuality? I mean, the optics of a bunch of guys discussing that topic - it seems like maybe that is the reason we are asked to stay away from the other thread because we don't seem to realize when we SHOULD listen to the experts on the topic like that.

RawkGWJ wrote:

I’m calling for an exploration of the nuance of this situation.

You're right--it's definitely a situation worth exploring, with enough sensitivity to deal with nuance.

I'm always wary of bringing up any individual writer because I don't know who has said something super problematic because I'm out of the loop, and especially someone from Jezebel but...on the subject of objectification and how our desires get programmed, I've read some excerpts and heard some book talks from Tracy Clark-Flory's "Want Me: A Sex Writer’s Journey Into the Heart of Desire."

I haven't read it (I'm shrinking my book collection, not adding to it) but what I've seen of it is really interesting. To try and make a long story short and not get overly technical, in the early 2000s there was a pushback within feminism on the anti-porn elements within feminism. Some of the women who were part of that pushback are reconsidering how it all went down. They're not saying their critics were right, but they are saying they ignored some of the complexity of the relationship of feminism to sexuality in their zeal to bolster there defense of a more 'raunchy' (to borrow a term from the time) picture of sexual morality.

to really tl;dr, it's that both the 'sexperts' (another term from the time) and the other feminists criticizing them both missed the truth that liberation is never an individual goal achieved by a person acting on their own. Liberation is about the power of having more choices available to everyone, not just finding a choice that is personally 'empowering' to you.

There's a lot of excerpts and interviews and talk about there and different stuff will resonate with different people, so to give a quick bit of direction, this was my favorite of the interviews I read: Tracy Clark-Flory on What Society Continually Gets Wrong About Sex.

karmajay wrote:

Is there nuance to the situation sure? Does it belong in this feminism thread? Do you feel you have the experience and ability to determine the realities of feminine sexuality? I mean, the optics of a bunch of guys discussing that topic - it seems like maybe that is the reason we are asked to stay away from the other thread because we don't seem to realize when we SHOULD listen to the experts on the topic like that.

So a few things.
1. I stand by my above statement, but do acknowledge it is too throwaway for this topic without further context. RawkGWJ said a lot of what I would.
2. Related to the school girl and other teen related things (such as what Amoebic mentioned), as our relationship progressed from that young age to now and there is not an age discrepancy, I think in that case it does sidestep (at least some of) the problematic aspects of the schoolgirl trope. It's also why I think it's not weird that Ricci Wednesday Addams is/was attractive to me, but someone who is now that age(I went searching for current actors that age and didn't recognize anyone) is weird (or worse).
3. So while probably not the best way to get to this topic, I actually think it can be a productive area of discussion that could fall between feminism and non-toxic masculinity along with how some of those existing problematic tropes (is tropes the right term here?) can be made more positive.

As the progenitor of this particular conversation, I gotta say I was thrown when the thread veered straight into catholic schoolgirl ‘amirite boys?’ talk... I get that you’re attracted to your wives (and would be sad for you if you weren’t), but it very neatly encapsulates the ‘forbidden fruit’ aspect of what I was talking about and made me sad that this too may be a place that I can’t have a nuanced conversation about it

For clarification: I deleted my post because I felt it wasn't my place to speak, but it did mention some nuance that I now regret deleting. Sorry, Lunchbox

Amoebic wrote:

For clarification: I deleted my post because I felt it wasn't my place to speak, but it did mention some nuance that I now regret deleting. Sorry, Lunchbox :(

No problem. I'm hoping I can get out what I think is a valid and productive point without sticking my foot in my mouth.

DC Malleus wrote:

So, over here in Aus most of our private schools are single-sex and we’re having a bit of a crisis where the rampant misogyny and sexual abuse culture of all-boys schools has surfaced to the point of public exposure. I can’t help but see the naked influence of puritan culture on same-sex educational doctrine, and I (a product of the public education system) definitely see a difference in language and general posture towards women between people with a same-sex and a co-ed education. The fact that girls are viewed as a temptation, something to be avoided and in fact deliberately segregated from in order to focus on your studies instead of just actual f*cking people strikes me as a dangerously corrosive maxim to be taking away from school. It’s one of the key reasons I will not be sending my kids to private school and I feel like it should be a waaaaay bigger deal than it seems to be. Is this a thing in the US? Does anyone else in Australia have opinions on this? It’s a weirdly difficult thing to talk about with my peers since most of them had a private education and get super defensive when the topic comes up...

I hope y'all don't mind me posting here to respond to this.

In my part of the US, at least, schools segregated by gender are not very common. Even the private schools are typically co-ed. There isn't as much of a tradition of gender segregated schools in the American West.

That said, the private schools are almost universally religious institutions, and they teach a lot of the same purity bullsh*t and steep students of both genders in notions of sexuality and interaction between genders. (I don't normally use phrases like "both genders", but I do in this case because these schools will expel students for not conforming to typical gender norms. Students will also be expelled for not being heterosexual.)

I went to public school growing up, but I spent a year at a private university with a lot of students who had grown up in these kinds of private religious primary schools. Many of them had badly distorted notions of how to interact with other genders, both inside and outside the context of a romantic relationship.

One area where American students in both public and private schools are still very segregated by gender is the general area of extracurricular activities. Sports are almost all segregated, as are groups like choir, color guard (kind of a cross between dance and cheerleading), and outdoor scouts until very recently. A lot of problematic ideas can end up being cultivated in those teams and clubs that are carried on even after children leave school.

That’s a really good point that had not occurred to me Clock.... And it’s totally on point over here too. What a ridiculous situation...

I’m a little late to the party but wanted to give my thoughts as someone who went to an all boys high school, albeit a Jesuit one which was probably more progressive compared to some others.

I agree that there were sexual hang ups, but I don’t want to throw the baby our with the bath water. I also learned a lot of great values like community service, humbleness, compassion, a strong work ethic, courage and faith. I also had excellent history and philosophy teachers who opened my eyes to a lot of things and didn’t pull punches regarding real history.

The all male environment was also helpful for me working in male dominated fields like the military so there’s that. Granted, it may have hurt me some in a mixed corporate environment but it wasn’t all bad.

The only other thing I’d like to say is as guys we have a right to our own sexuality and turn ons too. There are bad actors who need to get called out, but too often I see the good men overcompensate and be afraid to mention anything remotely problematic. IMHO if you’re not forcing your desires on anyone or over sharing, it’s ok to sometimes talk about what interests you.

Tanglebones wrote:

Well, going at it from the angle of, gee, she was hot in a schoolgirl outfit sure reads as the objectification end of things.

There are a lot - a lot - of tropes about girls in schoolgirl outfits.

An interesting question here is wondering why the schools in question, which are supposedly trying to lead people away from temptation, continue to require this type of outfit in the first place.

I mean, you're teaching girls to embrace their femininity - which is great - but you're doing it without the experience of having to deal with the effect that femininity might have on people who are attracted to it! (Theoretically, at least, since - as others have pointed out - heterosexuality tends to be enforced within such schools.)

This definitely seems like it's going to lead to problems later in life, when these girls are suddenly put into a environment filled with people who are attracted to the very thing they've been taught to embrace, and they're unfamiliar and inexperienced with dealing with such attraction - and in the workplace you're not necessarily going to have a teacher to make sure everyone is behaving correctly, or to show you how to appropriately handle these situations.

I'm not saying they should make all the girls dress like nuns, but they do seem to expect them to act like them. Wouldn't both the girls AND boys be better served having the last year or two of their educations be at least mostly co-ed, so they can get used to working with people of the opposite gender - in a more controlled environment?

I guess that just makes too much sense, though.