Monday, February 26, 2007

Mean Girls, Part III: A Guy Walks Into a Bar

When I first started teaching, I used to ask my students if any of them were feminists. I'd get a few tentative hands, usually from angry-looking young women with short hair. I'd then ask who believed that women deserve the same pay, opportunities, and rights as men. All the hands would go up. I would smile wisely at my students and tell them that they were all feminists. I'd point out that the things I'd mentioned--equal pay, the right to own property, equal opportunities--were the essential tenets of feminism.

My students liked me, so they tried to be kind. They gently pointed out that feminism was the bastion of women in overalls with ugly haircuts and uglier shoes. Feminism was the rallying-cry of the man-hater, the supremacist, the bigot. Clearly, I was behind the times.

I, in turn taught them that what they were talking about was radical feminism, but that mainstream feminism was merely a push for equal rights. I think I swayed a few students, but most of us had to agree to disagree.

Over the years, my dedication to equal rights has grown stronger, but I have stopped teaching this lesson, largely because I think that my students might have been right. I think that the popular conversation regarding feminism has been co-opted by a radical feminist outlook. The goal of the women's movement no longer seems to be parity between the sexes, but rather primacy for women. Everywhere I turn, I see feminists making claims to moral, intellectual, and spiritual superiority. In other words, feminism has become exactly what my students claimed it was: an anti-male movement.

The saddest thing about this process is that the original goals of feminism have not yet been realized, and the battle for equal rights is far from over. There are still dinosaurs who believe that a women's place is in the home and that childbirth is punishment for original sin. More important, the literal enslavement of women is on the rise, with the sex trade kidnapping thousands of women every year, and the brutal treatment of women under fundamentalist Islam is horrifying. However, rather than mount a concerted attack on worldwide brutality against women, I see the women's movement in the United States wasting its energy by taking cheap potshots against men. On the rare occasions that it addresses the larger issue of female abuse and slavery, the primary goal seems to be to draw connections between women under burquas and women who feel insulted in the workplace.

Many contemporary feminists seem bent on becoming exactly the caricature that their conservative critics paint: shrill, humorless, sexist chauvinists with a cruel agenda. In the meantime, I have had to seriously reconsider my identity as a "feminist." If the feminist movement has become frankly anti-male, than any "feminist" male is, de facto, a traitor to his gender and himself. Now, I think that people, regardless of gender, deserve the same rights, and I refuse to prioritize one gender's needs over another's. Under the current situation, I think that makes me a "humanist."

Every so often, I think about Valerie Solanas. Best known for her attempted assassination of Andy Warhol, she was also the author of the infamous SCUM Manifesto. Largely ignored at the time of its creation, the SCUM Manifesto has become revered in some circles as a classic radical feminist tract. I see it as the most cartoonishly over-the-top anti-male statement ever committed to paper.

It is probably worth noting that "SCUM" stands for "Society for Cutting Up Men."

One of the key arguments in the SCUM Manifesto is the idea that men are genetically inferior to women:"The male is an incomplete female, a walking abortion, aborted at the gene stage. To be male is to be deficient, emotionally limited; maleness is a deficiency disease and males are emotional cripples."

This idea doesn't seem so radical anymore. In fact, I found it echoed in a couple of jokes floating around the internet:

What do men and sperm have in common?
They both have a one-in-a-million chance of becoming a human being.

What is that insensitive bit at the base of the penis called?
The man.

Solanas amplifies her argument that men are emotionally stunted sex maniacs, stating that "The male is [...] incapable of love, friendship, affection or tenderness[...]The male is, nonetheless, obsessed with screwing; he'll swim through a river of snot, wade nostril-deep through a mile of vomit, if he thinks there'll be a friendly pussy awaiting him. He'll screw a woman he despises, any snaggle-toothed hag, and furthermore, pay for the opportunity. Why? Relieving physical tension isn't the answer, as masturbation suffices for that. It's not ego satisfaction; that doesn't explain screwing corpses and babies."

Of course, one doesn't have to go far to see this vision of the romantically-challenged, bestial, sex-crazed man echoed in popular culture. Here are some jokes that make the same point:

What's a man's definition of a romantic evening?

A woman of 35 thinks of having children. What does a man of 35 think of?
Dating children.

Why did the man cross the road?
He heard the chicken was a slut.

Solanas proceeds to argue that men are actually sub-human: "[The male] is a half-dead, unresponsive lump, incapable of giving or receiving pleasure or happiness; consequently, he is at best an utter bore, an inoffensive blob, since only those capable of absorption in others can be charming. He is trapped in a twilight zone halfway between humans and apes..."

This idea, too, is echoed in popular culture:

What do you call a man with half a brain?

What's the difference between a new husband and a new dog?
A dog only takes a couple of months to train

One might wonder if, in Solanas' view, there are any good men. Actually, there are: "SCUM will kill all men who are not in the Men's Auxiliary of SCUM. Men in the Men's Auxiliary are those men who are working diligently to eliminate themselves, men who, regardless of their motives, do good, men who are playing pal with SCUM. A few examples of the men in the Men's Auxiliary are [...]faggots who, by their shimmering, flaming example, encourage other men to de-man themselves and thereby make themselves relatively inoffensive...

Of course, culture seems to agree:

Why is it so hard for women to find men that are sensitive, caring, and good-looking?
Because they already have boyfriends.

Solanas is kind enough to suggest a course of action for ridding the world of this menace: "Just as humans have a prior right to existence over dogs by virtue of being more highly evolved and having a superior consciousness, so women have a prior right to existence over men. The elimination of any male is, therefore, a righteous and good act, an act highly beneficial to women as well as an act of mercy.

Even this bizarre and brutal "final solution" has its echoes in contemporary humor:

How can you tell when a man is well hung?
When you can just barely slip your finger in between his neck and the noose.

How do you save a man from drowning?
Take your foot off his head.

What do you call a handcuffed man?

Perhaps I'm just being oversensitive, but it seems to me that one can only read so many of these jokes before the message becomes clear: all men are stupid, insensitive potential rapists. All men are guilty until proven innocent. The really funny thing is that these jokes didn't come from a Valerie Solanas fan site or a radical feminist blog. Rather, I found them with a simple google search for "men jokes." Once upon a time, one could be reasonably sure that brutally anti-male humor was the limited purview of a few half-crazed radicals on the outer fringes of society. Now, it seems like one sees it everywhere.

In Spreading Misandry, Paul Nathanson and Katherine Young outline six forms of misandry that are becoming prevalent in American culture. I'm not interested in rehashing all of them, but one form is male-bashing humor. Another is the common assumption that men have it easier, or are somehow cheating women.

I got a feel for this recently. Jean works across the hall from me. She's a nice person, if a little too quick to assign blame to white men. Still, we get along well. A few days ago, she told me that I looked thinner and asked me if I'd lost weight. I thanked her for noticing and mentioned that I've lost fifteen pounds this year. Her immediate response was to tell me that "You men have it so easy. All you have to do is exercise a little, and the weight drops right off."

Thinking of the hours I've spent in the gym and on a treadmill, the massive changes I've made in my diet, the gallons of water I've guzzled, I smiled and told her "Well, if women could restrain themselves, they might lose weight, but you girls are incapable of even the slightest amount of self-control."

Okay, I didn't really say that. What I really did was smile and went back to my office. I restrained myself for three reasons:

1. The comment would have been rude and mean-spirited; as much as I can be an asshole from time to time, I try to be a nice asshole.

2. The comment would have been untrue, and I'm smart enough to know that broad generalizations are unfair and unproductive.

And the real kicker:

3. You can't fight misandry with misogyny. Or, to put it another way, you can't hope to conquer prejudice with more prejudice.

Number three seems like a pretty simple equation. I'm surprised that it's so hard for people to understand.

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  • Bravo!!! The CEO pointed me to this series you've been writing via his blog.

    This is a refreshing read. I've been amazed at the number of female professionals who pepper male insults into their daily work practice. I've pulled contract jobs from two of them because of it and never did tell them the real reason...because I knew, I would be seen as a traitor to our kind. Ugh!

    The problem lies in magazines. I'm convinced. My eldest sister grew up reading Cosmo. When I got older, I started picking up her discarded copies. That magazine made me sick. Honestly, I cannot believe it's still being published today. It warps more minds than Oprah.

    Anyway, great series. Thanks for writing it. As a person with brothers and a father, I can't imagine hating men. Maybe women today just need more siblings...or something.

    By Blogger Echomouse, At February 26, 2007 at 8:53 AM  

  • Your series reminded me of a blog post I've been meaning to write for several weeks now: the growing trend of the TV commercial in which the wife emasculates her husband in order to sell a product.

    I think it goes along with what you're saying here, and you've now inspired me to actually write about it.

    By Blogger Mrs Pinchloaf, At February 26, 2007 at 9:18 AM  

  • This spoke to me. I supported a girlfriend financially while I worked and we both attended graduate school. Afterward, we both got new jobs at the same time and she left me.

    When she left, she wanted to know one thing: how much was I making.

    It's not lost on me that women talk game about equal pay and opportunities but then many of the still wish to "marry up" and love men who make more money than them and drive nicer cars.

    Anyway, this woman actually slapped a restraining order on me to intimidate me from asking for any money. I had to hire a divorce attorney (though I wasn't married) who was a bulldog of a woman making a good living defending men. That's my kinda woman.

    By Blogger Matt, At February 26, 2007 at 9:35 AM  

  • "childbirth is punishment for original sin."

    In a strictly allegorical way, it is, no? We ate the apple of knowledge and our craniums grew too large, too fast for pelvises to catch up--which may be why I'm attracted to women with a high waste-to-hip ratio (but not TOO high).

    It's a great story and a great analogy developed through the ages but I'm amazed whenever I come into contact with literalists.

    By Blogger Matt, At February 26, 2007 at 9:40 AM  

  • Excellent Post, It's still a mans world!

    By Blogger tkkerouac, At February 26, 2007 at 9:47 AM  

  • The radical feminism you quote is simply intellectual garbage. Sub-human? There can be no ying without the yang. We must all claim responsibility for one another.

    By Blogger Matt, At February 26, 2007 at 9:47 AM  

  • Crankster, as an angry-looking, young(ish) woman with short hair, I admit that you really got to me here. I'm breathing slowly and deeply so hopefully I'll calm down soon...

    I couldn't disagree more.

    Solanas was nuts. And I don't know many women who have time for her, Dworkin or many of the other radical feminists. Your classroom exercise revealed that many people are still ashamed to call themselves feminists, because at some level, the belief that women aren't equal to men persists and standing up against that is seen as wrong. Our culture has embraced the idea that prejudice is wrong but it still hasn't eradicated prejudice itself.

    Humour is often used as a tool to dissipate cultural anxiety about a topic. Your sexist jokes - many of which I've heard before and passed on - strike me as the equivalent of the festivals of misrule of the Middle Ages - let the proles think they have power then oppress them for the rest of the year. And there are as many jokes against women as there are against men.

    In polite circles, maybe the men don't make sexist remarks, but in the world I inhabit, they are part of the job and frightening because these men are physically strong enough to back up their remarks and jokes with actions. Yes, I do feel intimidated at times.

    Now, women complain about men being useless all the time, because it's easier than really tackling the problem, but why don't they tackle the problem? Why moan at your friends about how your husband doesn't do enough around the house instead of talking to your husband? I would suggest that has a lot to do with power and with ingrained ideas about roles. It is easier to complain about something than change it. Disempowered people complain. Empowered people act.

    People are people - we are all good and bad in some measure and we all bear some responsibility for the world we live in. Women are still more likely to be the primary child carer and women raise sons, thus women bear some responsibility for the way men are.

    Sorry. All rather truncated and muddled. That's what happens when I get cross and bothered.


    By Blogger Glamourpuss, At February 26, 2007 at 10:58 AM  

  • Crankster,

    Thought-provoking as usual. I have to agree with Puss on the Solanas thing. To use the rantings of a raving lunatic homicidal psychopath to illustrate your point that today's society views men as "subhuman" doesn't quite pan out. A quick Google search could also ferret out hosts of jokes against women, blacks, blondes, Asians, and most certainly Poles.

    I agree with you that man-bashing is the new black, but it may just be that it's finally caught up with all the other bashings that we petty humans force on each other.

    By Blogger Lee, At February 26, 2007 at 12:05 PM  

  • Actually, puss, I fail to see how you disagree with Crankster at all.

    Well, you have a point about the Solanas thing, which I did point out to him last night before he posted this... she was obviously unhinged. On the other hand, I read the SCUM manifesto in pretty much every single class I had on feminism, and also in quite a few classes that ostensibly weren't supposed to be about feminism at all.

    Crankster, as I see it, has two points here.
    1. Popular feminism is turning into a very dichotomistic philosophy. Women = good / men = bad.
    2. Man bashing isn't going to improve the situation of women in the world, and it isn't exactly advancing feminist causes when women are using the same oppressive techniques against men that men have (and still are) using against women. Let's go for some positive leadership and role modeling here, not sticking to the negative.

    And shit, as a society we do view men as sub-human. We've been doing it for years. It's just now manifesting itself more in popular media.

    By Blogger misanthropster, At February 26, 2007 at 12:27 PM  

  • Echomouse-
    Thanks for the encouragement! As the son of a strong woman, the brother of three strong women, and the husband of yet another strong woman, I understand where you're coming from.

    Mrs. Pinchloaf-
    I really, really want to read it. Please write it soon!

    Sorry to hear the girlfriend story. That kind of thing give me nighmares. Regarding the yin and yang, I think the key is recognizing the necessary balance between forces. If one discounts the value/necessity for balancing forces, then it's open war. I think you might have gotten to the central problem here.

    Thanks for dropping by!

    I'm sorry that the short-hair comment upset you; it was intended ironically. I appreciate your willingness to continue the discussion.

    Regarding the rest, I think the problem is that you and I live in very different worlds. My world is female-dominated, and I have to face the reality that, were I to mirror the comments of my female co-workers, I would be out of a job.

    As far as feminist identification is concerned, I think that many of my students would argue that the original goals of the feminist movement have been attained. This is clearly untrue, but I've found that optimism seems to overrule reality when the current generation of students views the advancements of equal rights.

    I specifically chose Valerie Solanas because she is so outlandish. I find man jokes to be similarly outlandish. I would very much like to prove that American society has embraced the tenets of moderate, mainstream feminism as they were expressed 30 years ago. However, I think that this is, simply, untrue.

    Regarding the rest--I recognize that I tend to be a little overly sensitive about all this. To be honest, the "well-hung" joke got to me. If it makes a difference, I'm similarly unamused by jokes that advocate violence toward women.


    By Blogger Crankster, At February 26, 2007 at 4:23 PM  

  • You are right...I wouldn't brand myself as a "feminist" in this day and age because I associate the word with angry, easily offended women who are lookin to pick a fight. Personally, I teach my boys to hold doors open for girls, not because they can't do it for themselves, but because it's a nice thing to do. Brands are dangerous.

    By Blogger Lee, At February 26, 2007 at 7:46 PM  

  • Extremely provocative and gusty series of posts.

    In discussions I've had with radical feminists, it becomes clear rather soon that the hatred of men in general quite often boils down to displaced hatred of one or two men in particular.

    Radical femininsts might be well served by resolving their issues with dear old dad.

    By Blogger Mystic Wing, At February 26, 2007 at 8:28 PM  

  • I was just wondering, why all of a sudden you are so charged up in this matter. Did some recent event tip the scale?

    Actually, if all the women want, they go and live in a separate continent and become superior lesbians! This is so silly, don't get all worked up on this. Let them have some fun.

    By Blogger ramo, At February 26, 2007 at 11:09 PM  

  • Sexisim towards any gender is wrong either way and to be honest will only diminish unless there are better laws, education and general shift in way we teach our children. Yes it seems to progressing to which its fashionable with a lot of women towards men to 'manbash' them. But Puss makes a valid point ; instead of bitching about your partner why dont they talk to them and if they cant change or wont change, you either didnt know them or you have changed your agenda of expectations from them which is kinda unfair to anyone in a relationship. Lee Makes a good point too, I love chivalrous deeds (opening doors, giving up a seat) and its not because Im a woman or the weaker sex, it shows caring, thoughtfulness and good nature in a person and reminds me its not such a cold place out there in the world. Mystic wing I think has hit a thought provoking nerve too, many feminists that Ive known have harboured unimaginable hatred for most of their lives towards one or two men also. A lot of people may feel that the roles may be turning in the 'isim' but for quite some time to come I dont think its going to change radically for mens views on women and vice versa. I respect feminisim and their ideals. What I find worrying is that in an increasing PC world we live in, very shortly it will not be acceptable to laugh at ourselves regardless of race, sex, color or beliefs. That surely is a bigger crime in my book than 'man bashing' or a 'bloody woman' remark.

    By Blogger Judith, At February 27, 2007 at 5:19 AM  

  • Mate, you didn't upset me, I was just having a little dig about gender sterotypes ;-)

    Education is one of the few professions where women often dominate, business is still very much a male world. Mind you, saying that, I have been patronised by a man pretty much every day of my working life, and, as you know, I was a teacher for seven years.

    Feminism has become a perjorative term. One could suggest this is precisely because a small group of theorists have given the cause a bad name through their radicalism and narrow-mindedness. But I don't for a minute believe that their power has been such as to tip the balance in mainstream culture towards male-bashing. I don't see too many positive or healthy representations of women in the mass media either. Maybe we've just become far more critical/self-deprecating as a human race...

    I do not agree that we have ever viewed men as sub-human. If you look to mainstream cinema and video games - the two largest-grossing mass mediums on the planet today - both consumed more by men than women, both full of representations of the male as hero. To illustrate this point, look at the billboard poster for Blood Diamond - it clearly signifies the gender/race pecking order in our culture today.


    By Blogger Glamourpuss, At February 27, 2007 at 5:36 AM  

  • I looked at the post and it did cross my mind that it is too long to read now:)...but then I started the first sentance and I could not stop reading: I have been hurt in weird and wonderful ways by men, but this book seems as if she ra ra'ed herself into a crapload of shize.
    I agree we all are equal,
    I agree we need to look at the inhuman things that happen across the world and try and make it better than rather trowing mud at men.....if you look on while others suffer you are guilty too, woman or man.
    I believe there is good men out there, my granparents was married for 65 years before my gran past away, and he still today cries over her death(3 years)......
    if one search for the bad in others that will be all that you will find:)
    This was a good post, I enjoyed reading it:)

    By Blogger etain_lavena, At February 27, 2007 at 5:46 AM  

  • Sorry to join the discussion late - but I do have asomething to say.
    1. If you watch tv, men in sitcoms and commercials are made out to be lazy and stupid. They are supported by their frustrated wives and girlfriends.
    2. Having a son has taught me more about male mentality and sensitivity than any classroom could do.

    Now, I enjoy 2 1/2 men and appreciate the stereo-types. the ridiculousness of the show makes me snicker and sometimes giggle. However, I also understand that isn't the average guy being represented

    Since having a son and daughter,I feel I can honestly say, my son is WAY more sensitive than my daughter ever was or is. Granted, my daughter can bring drama and cry on the spot. But that isn't being sensitive, that is working a room for control.

    as an example:
    a kid is walking down the street, there are a group of girls playing in the court to the left and a group of boys playing ball in one of their driveways. the kid trips and falls down. The girls laugh. the boys ask if he's okay.

    Since witnessing this at the time my kids were itty bitty, it has stuck with me. I've seen that scene play out similarly so many times since.

    Men still have a hold on the world and there is little equality happing here. But, I have to agree that fighting it with prejudice is the wrong way to go.

    By Blogger Pickled Olives, At February 27, 2007 at 9:17 AM  

  • Everyone-
    Not to be a kiss-ass, but thank you all for the excellent and thought-provoking comments. Obviously, this is something that has been much on my mind of late, and I appreciate your willingness to dive into a difficult topic with me.

    I appreciate the fact that you're raising your sons to be well-mannered. My parents did the same. However, I have also had the joy of being yelled at for holding doors. Prepare your boys!

    I used to think that brands were dangerous because they made us vulnerable to objectification by others. Now I'm worried that they make us vulnerable to objectification by ourselves.

    Mystic Wing-
    Gusty, eh?

    Isn't it amazing how we all try to turn the broader world into a battleground for our childhood battles? Maybe we all need some therapy.

    Actually, it's a lot of little things that have added up lately.

    Your idea is outstanding, although I'd send all the idiots, both male and female, to another continent. I'd name the place "Assholia" and mark it on the maps with the legend "Here there be dragons."

    Some very solid remarks. I think that, at the end of the day, we probably all need to have someone to bash. This is unfortunate, of course, but it might simply be a basic fact of humanity. For me, the problem comes when political correctness determines that some of us are open targets, and some of us aren't. Clearly, I could probably do with a thicker skin, but I'd appreciate it if we all were permitted to laugh at each other.

    And here's where we disagree. I think that, at the end of the day, it is still very much a "man's world." Real power is still, by and large, clutched in the meaty claws of a few elites, most of whom have penises.

    However, men, for all their power, are considered legitimate targets of female attack, and this situation is not reciprocal. Moreover, when men are attacked, the general perception is that they deserved it, or that they're whiny babies who can't take a joke.

    In these circumstances, if you were a man, would you be inclined to share power?

    Thus, the situation perpetuates itself...

    Etain Lavena-
    Thank you so much for the thoughtful comment and the visit. I hope to see you again!

    I think that you and I are pretty much in agreement on this one. Thanks for weighing in!

    By Blogger Crankster, At February 27, 2007 at 12:38 PM  

  • I think the feminist movement has lost vision as a result of trying to please too many sub-groups at the same time. Also, it's been my experience that in ANY group of people, it's the dumber ones who talk the loudest and the most, leading to a general 'dumbification', if you will, of policy.

    By Blogger walkinhomefromthethriftstore, At February 27, 2007 at 1:01 PM  

  • As a male who has been through divorce court, I think that it is woman, not men, who are better off in western society. I went to court to try to prevent my ex from moving our childen 3000 kms away. I should have saved the $12,000 in legal fees for airplane tickets.

    So I ask, who is better off: a woman who will always be able to watch their children grow up, or a man who might make a better wage?

    Enjoyed reading post.

    By Blogger frankdog, At February 27, 2007 at 4:23 PM  

  • Glamourpuss,

    Yeah, but...

    I get your point. However, when I say the following words, and you picture the archetypal person in your mind, what gender/sex/whatever are they?

    child molester/pedophile
    war monger
    homicidal maniac

    I could go on. Were you ever warned by a well-meaning older person about being careful around boys, because you "know what they're like" or something along those lines? "you know what they're all after" or "They only want one thing"

    The default image of men, at least in my experience, is that of an uncontrollable sex maniac who'll just as soon drop a roofie in your drink and rape you, as open a door for you.

    And, I'm just as guilty of that. STILL. Today, walking towards the subway station in Harlem, there was a group of thuggy looking young men shouting and carousing around the entrance. I felt a little apprehensive. For whatever reason. The boys all stepped aside, I even got an "excuse me ma'am" and one of them carried George down the stairs in her stroller for me. He asked if I needed any more help getting through the turnstiles or getting on the train. Then he went back upstairs and started shouting and laughing and carrying on again.

    Why did I feel apprehensive? What was going on there? I had to stop and ask myself exactly what kind of assumptions I was making about these young men. Was it because they were black and latino? Was it because there were a lot of them and I was a little vulnerable with my young daughter, my purse and various other accoutrements? Was it because they were male? Strangers? Young? Loud?

    Shit, I'm a feminist theorist and a semiotician. I've studied concepts of the gaze, empowerment/disempowerment and the "other" and all that happy crappy. I've analyzed it, written papers on it, included it in my master's thesis project. I use it in daily life. I'm building my own fucking catholic (in the lowercase sense) system of philsophy off of these blocks. And yet, I still, in daily practices, am confronted with my own goddamn societally mandated (and I don't use mandated lightly) prejudices, that until a few years ago I was completely blinded to. Now I'm only a little blind about them.

    Obviously, I'm a little close to this issue.

    What I'm trying to say, after a very long-winded post, is that yes, crappy attitudes towards women still exist and they still suck, and yes, I am affected by them on a daily basis. However, I feel like not engaging in conversation about the prejudices towards men (or fat people, or the retarded, or the Spice Girls, or whomever else I/everybody might still harbor some prejudicial attitudes towards) is kind of like what happened with regards to black women in the civil rights movement in the 60s. They were told by quite a few important men in the movement (I'd look it up, but I've already spent a half hour on this and I need to get to work on my novel at some point tonight) that it "wasn't their time" and to wait until the inequalities towards black men were eradicated.

    I'll stop now. Really. But I'm glad that we're having this conversation. (You and me, GP, and everybody else) It's a good thing. Talking is a good thing. Getting angry about this shit is a good thing. Now let's stop all the bullshit and get to hating everybody in humanity indiscriminately.

    By Blogger misanthropster, At February 27, 2007 at 10:10 PM  

  • goddamn Canadians.

    Blame Canada.


    By Blogger misanthropster, At February 27, 2007 at 10:12 PM  

  • Now that I don't have schoolwork claiming all my time...
    This is such a Pandora's box of issues!! (read...long comment ahead!)

    So many men still treat women like crap. I think that women are somehow abused by men much more than most people would realize. But like you said, it doesn't make it right for women to retaliate by doing the same thing. As many jokes as you found about men, you can find about women (if not more???) Not to forget jokes about nationality, job, religion, ethnicity etc....

    Solanas was insane. I mean really...a world without men?? NOOOO!! Like Matt's the whole yin and yang concept, but it goes further. Everyone has both characteristics that are traditionally considered "masculine" and "feminine." Being aggressive and active and bossy are considered masculine...while being passive and caring/emotional and nurturing are considered feminine. (and who came up with those labels? PUUUHLEEEZE!)

    Then society enforces these from an early age and we get told "boys will be boys" and "act like a lady," which really doesn't do anyone any good. Little girls are given dolls, boys are given trucks and tools. (I remember wanting Leggos as a kid and then I got a baby doll. Who was a really pissed off 5yr old??? And then I got scolded for being pissed off!!)

    Some things that aggravate me from both (I've either had it happen to me or seen it...)
    -Men that perpetuate the macho tough guy image and will tear down other guys that display other characteristics (like those beer commercials "real men drink beer" stuff)
    -Women that act helpless or stupid because "gee, i'm a girl, I couldn't possibly do it on my own..."
    -Men that will say a woman is a lesbian if she isn't interested...(because God forbid she doesn't want to have sex with him!)
    -Women that will try and sleep with any guy that someone else is interested in or that use sex as a power trip

    Men can be sensitive and caring and women can be strong and assertive. Why is that such a problem for so many people?
    I could go on but for now...enough.

    By Blogger Claudia, At February 28, 2007 at 12:23 AM  

  • “However, men, for all their power, are considered legitimate targets of female attack, and this situation is not reciprocal. Moreover, when men are attacked, the general perception is that they deserved it, or that they're whiny babies who can't take a joke.”

    Crankster, I really don’t believe it is any different the other way around, we are just attacked for different things. Men do tend to lose out in court cases relating to child custody, but women killers receive far harsher sentences than men and are far less likely to get parole.

    At the end of the day, the human race still clings to the notion of difference as a hierarchy. We are all one, and our challenge lies in accepting that our differences do not make us better or worse than each other.

    You know, this is the kind of discussion we need to have face to face, sitting around a table with a bottle of wine. There’s too much to get my head around in a tiny comments box?

    Actually, I was the girl mothers warned their sons about...

    There is a wider debate about media representation and how we, as individuals, relate to one another, but I think men are on pretty weak ground if they want to start claming they are victims of systematised prejudice.


    By Blogger Glamourpuss, At February 28, 2007 at 8:14 AM  

  • Walking Home-
    Thank you for dropping by! I'm with you on the whole "dumbification" idea, although I'd add a corollary:

    If you take the average IQ of a group of people and divide it by the number of people in the group then you will attain the effective IQ of the group.

    Thanks for the visit and the comment. I've had a few friends who have been through the hell of child-support court battles. Frankly, I have to agree with you: based on my experience, it seems like, from conception to the age of 18, the child is effectively under the control of its mother, and the father has very little legal say. It's been hellish watching my friends try to deal with these somewhat grim realities.

    As always, you make the point more elegantly and succintly than I. Thanks!

    Thanks for the thoughtful comment. I liked your examples--we have such a strong tendency to link gender and behavior; thanks for the reminder that these linkages are cultural creations, not absolute realities.

    Fair points. I guess the key is that we need to get everyone around the table with a bottle (case?) of wine.

    By Blogger Crankster, At February 28, 2007 at 4:24 PM  

  • When the Feminist Movement first started, men weren't allowed to be Feminists. I am still an Egalitarian, everyone is equal, with the same rights. It's the only way I know to change things.

    By Blogger The CEO, At March 1, 2007 at 1:00 PM  

  • CEO-
    I think that my "humanist" is your "egalitarian."

    By Blogger Crankster, At March 1, 2007 at 2:53 PM  

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