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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Gender Issues » Dealing with sexism from "nice" males (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Dealing with sexism from "nice" males
Beppie
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I've been reading a lot in various blogs lately about both small and large acts of misogyny that contribute to the disempowerment of women in education, the workplace etc. Plenty of people, both women and men make some very astute observations about these incidents, but frequently, in these discussions, a man or three will post a comment to the effect of "What are you all complaining about? Most of these issues aren't real! I'm a nice guy and you all hate men!"

The thing that gets me is that these "nice guys" do geniunely believe that they are non-sexist beings. They have simply been indoctrinated to believe that if you put something in the context of a "joke," then it's meaningless, cannot possibly have subtext, and that anyone who thinks that they do are reading too deeply (possibly due to PMS). Similarly, comments about a woman's body, dress and make-up are considered to be "nice" things to do, without subtext, free of gendered ideology.

One example that I've personally encountered recently is a man who told me the "joke": "I like feminists... especially when they have big tits!" Upon hearing this (and he's repeated it to me several times) I've found myself unable to come up with a response that would open up a dialogue with this man about how wrong this is-- I've made it clear that I don't think much of the joke, but he clearly dismisses my opinion because it comes from a feminist perspective. I honestly think that this fellow does not believe that he is actually being sexist in saying this-- he justifies it by pointing out that his home country, New Zealand, was the first nation to give women the vote and has a female Prime Minister-- therefore, he couldn't possibly be sexist.

So, I'm looking for any tips/discussion points about how women can respond to these things and be taken seriously: how can we enter into a dialogue with sexist "nice guys" who simply have been brought up to believe that sexism isn't actually sexist?

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origami_jane
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I'm glad you brought this up, Beppie, because I've been struggling with this too. My friends, male and female, make sexist remarks all the time, and when I try to tell them off, they call me a man-hater. I've explained several times that I don't hate men, I hate attitudes (which unfortunately seem to be encouraged and rewarded most in men).

Maybe ask him why he thinks "big tits" make a feminist preferable to any other. That'll invariably lead to a discussion of lookism (probably).

Stephanie McMillian (who drew that great Bill Napoli / salad dressing cartoon) had another one where someone was pestering the character for reading Dworkin because "we live in a gender-neutral society." And she just pointed out that there is still a wage gap, women are still not in control of their bodies, rapes still go unreported... etc etc etc.

But I think asking them why they think that a joke is so funny would help a lot of things. Sometimes they aren't able to explain it, and that's when you see the flaws in their arguments.

As for his New Zealand argument, remind him that there usually sneaky reasons for doing things. For example, in the States, we often credit Pres. Woodrow Wilson for "giving" women the right to vote. However, he was a notorious sexist and white supremacist. He was only caving to public pressure to save himself.

I'm not really familiar with the situation in Australia right now, so I think this might actually pertain more to the States, sorry!

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likewhoa19
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No kidding -you know what else annoys me, those guys who consider themself nice-guys and then whine about how feminist power in society has taken away their right to be masculine. My cousin has started buying into this idea... I think the idea that men and women have essential, natural differences in personality and that biologically men are dominant is just too prevelant in our society.
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Bobolink
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American author Ti-Grace Atkinson addressed this in her book Amazon Odyssey. She wasn't too much interested in what men said. However she was very interested in what men did in support of the advancement of women. I read her book in my early 30's (1970's) and was profoundly influenced by it. So I never much cared for what I said (although I have always tried not to give offense) but carried on my own gueurilla war within my employer to get women promoted to positions of responsibility and jobs women had never held in my industry. In this case, my model was my father who in a much more senior position with his company worked to see that women and racial minorities got an equal shot at promotions. My father has always been a political conservative but he still believes that equality rights are a conservative issue.

So if you want to measure a man on his sexism quotient, look at his deeds.

[ 04-16-2006, 10:24 AM: Message edited by: Bobolink ]

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I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.

- Galileo

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likewhoa19
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Sorry Bobo, but I don't think anyone meant to man-bash here. I think what a guy says IS his deeds, or at least a modest part of them. If jokes about big tits make some girls feel bad, well? Because the thing is, girls generally DON'T go around making jokes about how some guys aren't attractive (at least around guys). At least that has been true for the vast majority of my experience. Anyway, it's good your dad worked to see that women and minorities got equal shots at promotions. I hope when he was defining equal, he took into consideration the incredible strain raising children put upon many women in the professional world. For what it is worth, one of the best guys I know in terms of keeping egalitarian attitudes with females always is a bit wary of pro-feminist and particularly progressive language. I've tried to get him to see it as non-threatening though, and I think I've made some progress.

[ 04-16-2006, 07:23 PM: Message edited by: likewhoa19 ]

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LilBlueSmurf
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So if you want to measure a man on his sexism quotient, look at his deeds

While i can see where you're going with this, it still doesn't make much sense to me. If one (male or female) working towards a cause so hard, why bother making 'jokes' to this effect? It's not funny and can be downright hurtful. You would think that someone 'working for the cause' would not want to add more work for themselves (and i do think these 'jokes' do move us the wrong way ...)

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Beppie
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I think that it's important to look at speech as a deed, which many people do not. This is why it can be so hard to bring up, particularly when you have a person who does try to be non-sexist in some areas, but doesn't recognise that their speech contributes to sexist ideologies.

For instance, once at a place I used to work I overheard a male talking/joking to another male about women in the staff room in a way that I felt really reduced all females to sex objects. On that same day, we had some problems with a security guard who made inappropriate comments to all the women who worked in the store. This same fellow was totally supportive of the women making the complaints, stating unequivocally that the way in which the security made women uncomfortable was easily reason enough to request that the security contracter send us someone else.

I think that his support of his female co-workers in this instance was laudable, but how does one address the issue when his deeds of speech contradicted this stance (and he possibly had simply never been requested to interrogate the way in which his speech could be harmful to women). What is an appropriate way of opening up such a dialogue?

The sad fact is that so many people see speech and language as something powerless in terms of ideology (when it's really central to it) that saying something like "I think that was a sexist thing to say" will simply be met with a brick wall of denial-- a lot of people genuinely cannot believe that words have power.

I did not actually attempt to enter into such a dialogue, for fear that it would be seen as knocking his support of his female co-workers, and it is possible that if I had done so, he would have reconsidered his speech-- I certainly can't make a judgement on how he would have reacted as an individual. What I do feel comfortable saying though, is that, if he chose, he would have had the socially sanctioned option of using his support for women in one circumstance to deny that any of his other actions-- including his speech acts-- were sexist, just as in the other example I talked about, the man used his support for a female Prime Minister to excuse his sexist joke.

(Just as a side note, I will admit that I too have done this sort of thing in the past, which I am not proud of, and I do understand how easy it is in our society to get away with discrimination and harrassment in the form of a "joke." For instance (VERY NOT PROUD OF THIS), I used to feel that making blonde jokes was consistent with my feminism, and my stance that women should not be harrassed for their appearance. The fact that I opposed sexism in other ways does not make my former perpetuation of these jokes okay-- in many ways it makes it far worse. As such, I'm not asking that anyone enter into a process of thought and reflection about language that I have not been involved in myself.)

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LilBlueSmurf
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I think that his support of his female co-workers in this instance was laudable, but how does one address the issue when his deeds of speech contradicted this stance (and he possibly had simply never been requested to interrogate the way in which his speech could be harmful to women). What is an appropriate way of opening up such a dialogue?

Well, he needs to see that his speech is contradicting his actions. But HOW? That is the real question ...

And I don't know.

He could very well use one (his actions) to justify the other (his speech) ... I'm sure i would do the same thing if i truly did not understand the difference.

I think it's important to make clear that you, personally, do not find those jokes funny. Hopefully this will create an environment where other women feel comfortable enough to speak up too, and hopefully he'll get the message. It's not funny, it's sexist, and it's hurtful.

If you end up 'the crazy feminist who can't take a joke' ... so be it. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. Maaaany t-shirts. But i'm not going to allow people to degrade me, and women everywhere, and think it's funny. So. Not. Funny.

... I know the point was to really make him understand, and i think i've kind of swayed from that ... I just don't think there's any real answer to that. I don't know the guy. And whether or not he understands that what he's doing is wrong does not mean anyone should have to put up w/ it until he does.

[ 04-16-2006, 09:39 PM: Message edited by: LilBlueSmurf ]

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greengem
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I think part of the problem is that they teach boys to care about action and not words. Lots of guys talk a line of overblown swagger and don't think too much about it, since they've been taught that what matters is what you do when it comes own to the crunch. Add this to a certain amount of casual trash-talking of friends, and you get some pretty crude comments that the guy doesn't take seriously.

Of course, on the one hand, they teach women to talk seriously about emotions, so they're liable to take "you dumb blonde" as a personal judgement and take offense when it's not meant. On the other hand, that kind of casual insult reveals real prejudices — maybe he doesn't think all blondes are dumb, but it's probably a sign the he assumes they're dumb until they can prove they're smart. But if he's used to ignoring trash-talk from his male friends, he's not going to look closely at what he's saying.

Finally, when you've never been discriminated against, it's hard to appreciate the damage quite subtle forms of discrimination can do. "Nice guys" will certainly agree that denying women the vote harms us. But if they've never been denied anything because of who they are, they may not appreciate the power of jokes and attitudes to do harm — particularly if they've been trained to think of harm in terms of bruises and broken bones.

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Gwaihir
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"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me."

Yeah, freakin' right. That little sing-songy quote from my childhood is the most untrue thing I've ever heard and the one I hate most of all. In most cases, I think words do the MOST damage. It can take people years of therapy to undo psychological damage and that's if they even decide to seek help at all.
I think people seriously underestimate the power of words, jokes, little jibes and such.
I've heard it said people make these jokes that make light of an otherwise serious situation (sexism, racism, etc) because they're scared or insecure about the subject, be it women, people of a different sexual orientation, etc. . and laughing at it is a way for them to deal with their insecurities. . .though I don't think it's a very good way.

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Heather
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Pat as it sounds, I generally have found in my life that anyone, of any gender, who TELLS me or anyone else how nice they are; what good people they are?

Usually isn't.

In fact, almost every guy who has tried to coerce me into sex or a date when I wasn't interested has at some point, always inserted the line, "Oh, come on, I'm a good guy."

quote:
So if you want to measure a man on his sexism quotient, look at his deeds.

And I just have to say, I don't agree with this. I see what you're saying, Bob, and I hear you. And I agree, actions are ALSO important. ALSO.

But someone's deeds don't override someone's words or negate them, and how someone chooses to speak about women IS a deed.

[ 04-17-2006, 01:53 PM: Message edited by: Miz Scarlet ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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tman
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im a 16 year old aussie
one thing i find particularily
confusing is how some women get
upset wen u hold the door open
for them i see it as a sign of
respect and just plain being nice
any thoughts???

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logic_grrl
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Well, if you only hold doors open for women, that's a custom based on an old stereotype, about women being poor frail delicate creatures who should be grateful for manly men being chivalrous and opening doors for them [Big Grin] .

Not surprisingly, many women get annoyed by that.

Personally, I go for opening doors for everyone.

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"Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it." - the Talmud

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zeta
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I believe the actual original question was, how can we convince a "nice guy" who's been brought up to believe that what we perceive as sexist comments are not sexist, otherwise?

Well, I've been in argument with plenty of guys who I in fact think are nice, and who did make sexist remarks, anything from rape jokes on onwards. I told them that some of my friends have been raped, that they were badly messed up about it, that the concept terrifies me, and that consequently it's just not funny. Since they were naive but nice, they got it, and actually challenged guys who made similar "jokes" afterwards. Some guys just are that misguided, and can be corrected simply by "I am a chick, that freaks me out for reasons x y and z, you care about me, why would you wish to hurt my feelings? Please don't".

A guy who refuses to listen to the "why would you want to make me uncomfortable?" argument does not care about women and therefore is not nice.

I mean, sure, guys really do make insane remarks, and chicks do, too, simply because they're brought up to think it's okay. They do deserve to be told, sanely and calmly, why what their fathers taught them to laugh at is just not acceptable -if they're attacked, they're likely to not understand. They cannot know if no-one ever explained it. But if they're not open to change in order to make women around them more comfortable then they're not nice by any understanding of the word, no matter what they say.

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Bobolink
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I just wanted to revisit the "deeds, not words, arguement that I advanced. I meant to refer to a man who is willing to put his arse on the line when it comes to supporting a feminist position. I know Miz S does not consider me to be a feminist and I don't define myself as one. However, I remember the first time I was given a hiring responsibility and was told to hire "male and white". I replied that I could not accept this restriction and did not know if I would walk out of my boss' office with my job. But I knew that I had to follow my father's example.

As it turned out, I did keep my job. I also hired a woman and started a trend, not only in my company but in my industry (specialty steel)in Canada that led to more women being hired for technical jobs and moving up the ranks to greater responsibility.

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I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.

- Galileo

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Beppie
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Bobolink, from what I know of you, I can't imagine that you would go around making sexist comments to your female employees and colleagues. However, let's say you had a hypothetical brother who like you admirably stood up to his boss, but when he'd hired the employee, he'd greet her at work every day by saying "nice *** baby," or something similar.

The point I was making is that even though he has done the right thing in standing up to the boss and employing her on her merits, she should still be able to object to that language. However, I'd be uncertain as to how she'd be able to approach that, because I have experienced a prevalent attitude among a lot of men (though again, I stress that I really don't think this applies to you Bobolink) whereby their doing one non-sexist thing somehow cancels out any other sexist act that they do, including speech acts-- as though the reasoning goes "Hey, I did a non-sexist thing, therefore NOTHING that I do or say can be classed as sexist."

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Bobolink
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I guess I'm not very good at expressing this. I meant to say that anyone can talk a great line. There is little or no risk. But when the rubber meets the road, you should want someone whose actions you can rely upon, someone who can make a committment then go out and fulfill it.

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I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.

- Galileo

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Joop
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Do not bother to explain things to a man who is not listening. I find a man who has just amused himself by shocking you with a sexist comment is not interestd in the heavy sex inequality of the world.

If you want to keep your dignity just fix them with an icy stare and silence as if they have offended the Queen Abbottess. Till he apologises.

Be sweet and quaint by saying that Feminism is about being female (blink blink) and being female means putting people and care first. Not tits (blink blink angelic look of offence)

If you are a little more rougher and don't care about his opinion say "I don't hate men. I just hate Pricks." or "Lets not talk about tit sizes, let talk about prick sizes" "How's yours?" Then stare. I can't say this but older women know how to give a man a stare which will shrivel his willy and make it want to crawl back into his a$$ and hide.

After 48 years I have found men aren't listening because men don't care. Keep your answer short. Either to say such talk is disdainful, that people are more important or to give a equal verbal swipe back. PS: After most of my life being an egalitarian I find most men have a fetish for Bitches who can take them apart. (Can I have your phone number? Do you have a uniform? groan...." "Get back to your hole worm or it will be extra thrashings" usually works. Ok he will follow you home and your will never get rid of him camping on your doorstep.

Had a horrible one today abotu where a woman's place shoudl be. I looked right in his eye and said "If I was black would you be calling me nigger and saying I should be back on the plantation?" "If I was homosexual would you be calling me poof or dyke?" "If I was disabled would you be saying I should be put down at birth or be locked up in a home?" He looked aghast. "Then don't tell me who or what I should be as a woman and telling me it is a joke." I am offended just as they would be offended

Good Luck.

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Joop
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Do not bother to explain things to a man who is not listening. I find a man who has just amused himself by shocking you with a sexist comment is not interestd in the heavy sex inequality of the world.

If you want to keep your dignity just fix them with an icy stare and silence as if they have offended the Queen Abbottess. Till he apologises.

Be sweet and quaint by saying that Feminism is about being female (blink blink) and being female means putting people and care first. Not tits (blink blink angelic look of offence)

If you are a little more rougher and don't care about his opinion say "I don't hate men. I just hate Pricks." or "Lets not talk about tit sizes, let talk about prick sizes" "How's yours?" Then stare. I can't say this but older women know how to give a man a stare which will shrivel his willy and make it want to crawl back into his a$$ and hide.

After 48 years I have found men aren't listening because men don't care. Keep your answer short. Either to say such talk is disdainful, that people are more important or to give a equal verbal swipe back. PS: After most of my life being an egalitarian I find most men have a fetish for Bitches who can take them apart. (Can I have your phone number? Do you have a uniform? groan...." "Get back to your hole worm or it will be extra thrashings" usually works. Ok he will follow you home and your will never get rid of him camping on your doorstep.

Had a horrible one today about where a woman's place shoudl be. I looked right in his eye and said "If I was black would you be calling me nigger and saying I should be back on the plantation?" "If I was homosexual would you be calling me poof or dyke?" "If I was disabled would you be saying I should be put down at birth or be locked up in a home?" He looked aghast. "Then don't tell me who or what I should be as a woman and telling me it is a joke." I am offended just as they would be offended

Good Luck.

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Idir
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Again, I'm not a man of big words, but I am a man with a nifty bookmark collection with comix in it:
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I know there is an over the rainbow for me.

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Joop
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I like intelligent "nice" people who can hold an arguement with a bit of quick wit and a bit of old fashioned sexist banter which is not nasty.

I also argue with men who keep trying to be nice to women who are nasty you need to set your boundaries too and expect respect and good behaviour back.

Seen many a man being verbally taken apart and his every gesture and attempt treated with contempt in public. I would not let anyone shame me in such a way.

Don't keep being nice. Have respect and walk away. Just don't come out ith some verbal swipe about violence and sexual assualt of women just to hurt and win points.

If I had had a bad day and was taking it out on the fella I hope he would have enough respect and elf esteem to stand up for himself and say that although he is prepared to listent to him and be a sounding board for some of the shit he is not willing to be my puch bag just because I am in a bad mood.

Good Luck. Intelligence will be on the Rise again. Sometime this century.

JunieXXX

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daedalus_rebuked
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Hardest comic I've ever had to read. If I'd read this even a few months ago, I'd have been so pissed I wouldn't know what to do with myself--because its true. Good timing, that.

Having just recently started the process of 're-wiring' my thinking on these issues, I can't give any useful input on dealing with 'misogynists-masquerading-as-feminists.' I can't think of anything that could have been said to 'cause' me to empathize with what women deal with as a result of the established patriarchy, beyond the lip service that I thought would endear me to a given woman. It happened during the process of some crummy stuff I've been dealing with over the past two years.

Basically, I had other (non-feminist) reasons to start questioning the motivations behind my actions. Because of the conclusions I came to, feminism now feels like a movement that is naturally and obviously a part of the advancement of humans (and maybe non-humans too?).

It occurs to me, though, that there may be ways of smoothing the path for potential feminists. Perhaps if I'd more fervently challenged the accepted notions of how 'vulnerable' a man is allowed to be, I'd have come to these conclusions a little sooner. Which doesn't help with the immediate issue--dealing the the misogynist that's in your face--but might facilitate progress in the long run.

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Heather
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I hear you, daedalus.

I'd just make sure that what's being asked of feminist women isn't effort on the part of women to make feminism more palatable for men, or to "fix" men who are misogynist. That's not our job: that's their/your job.

Women still don't have equal rights in most of the world, including right here in the west, and that's still mostly because we're still having to fight men in order to get those rights FROM men, as men usually remain the folks with the power to grant them to us. So long as we're still having to beg or fight for our basic equality, that's where our efforts need to primarily go as feminists, as well as to helping women who suffer under inequality in patriarchy.

In other words, when it comes to what men need, I think women as a group have spent most of our history taking care of men's needs, thanks. As part and parcel of equality, it's critically important that men start to take care of themselves in this regard, rather than suggesting there's one more thing women need to do for them, if you know what I mean.

[ 12-28-2008, 12:19 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Joop
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Do you know. I actually someone who says they are a racist, mysogynist ot homophobe. I know what I've got then. its when I have a "nice" man who protests withing seconds that he is non sexist, non racist, non-homophobic, etc etc that I then have the problem of thinking "What have I got here?"

Last time I had one of them he became vile and aggressive in minutes ranting on at me about what I knew about sexism and discrimination and abuse. Told me I knew nothing as he was a Fleet Street journalist who had been reading and writing about it for years. Even went into detail about how is wife had been Asian too. He really got nasty.

Yea I don't know anything. You white middle class and think reading about something is same as knowing. I have been a female all my life. Also I have a few foreign lovers in my bag with exotic origins. But do you know I don't pronounce my sex life to the rest of the pub. PS Why was it your wife left you? You were and are an alcoholic ******* with the insensitivity of a Jackass - i rest my case.

What is the nastiest a "New Man/Nice Man" has got to revealing his true nature? Prefer mysoginist halfwits - much more safer. At least we are not pretending.

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daedalus_rebuked
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Regarding palatable feminism--I followed a palatable form of feminism in the past. It was misogyny. So yes, making it palatable for men is neither womens' responsibility, nor is it even remotely productive, beyond maintaining the status quo.

I don't think it's women's responsibility, as a group, to take on the task of helping men deal with the process of understanding feminism as a positive, human-advancing vehicle. I do think that men need help with those issues, though, and I feel comfortable saying that, without comparing this mens' issue to women's issues, and without diminishing the difficulties imposed on women in general, that educating men and helping them to process their difficulties can facilitate the advancement of feminism.

(On a related note, I'd love to have some insight on how, as a man, I can better articulate feminism as 'people-ism,' (or is it even necessary?) without stripping it of its validity as a mechanism for the reduction of the suffering of women specifically. I guess what I'm asking is, how do some of the women here feel about it? Is it disrespectful, uncaring, etc. to recognize feminism as a human movement? It seems like a silly question when I re-read it, but I hope that my meaning isn't lost. What key words can I use to convey what I'm describing? Maybe I'll make something up...I want to call it anthro-feminism, in context of anthropology, a study of humans that is inclusive of all genders (ideally!). But doesn't anthro- have a male connotation? Or am I thinking of andro-?)

Lastly, it occurs to me that having this perspective could help me relate to other men who are dealing with this, and that's something that I can endeavor to do as a tiny cog in the big machine.

--It also occurs to me that there's something terrible happening to a woman right this moment, and that's maybe the perspective I REALLY needed.

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Heather
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In terms of educating men, I do think it's worth looking at who HAS primarily done that when it comes BOTH to feminism AND to deconstructing masculinity and other gender roles and norms and helping men to do that work for themselves. Hint: it's mostly been feminist women already.

Honestly, defining feminism and having language for what feminism is for someone is something I think we all kind of have to self-design.

Personally, I don't dig calling feminism humanism: I think of feminism as a subset of humanism, and I also think the urge to do that seems to often come from a desire to make feminism more marketable or less "scary." Since I think inequality is what's scary, and women having equity and equality is not even remotely scary, I, personally, have little interest in diluting my language and find feminism the perfect term, and calling it that also honors the history of the movement for me. As well, I think some of people actually valuing feminism and women's equality involves people DEALING with their fears and insecurities, rather than trying to gloss over them or avoid dealing with them. Know what I mean?

If I'm pressed to define my own feminism more specifically, at this point I tend to consider myself an anarcha-feminist or a socialist feminist. What your feminism is or how best to describe it, I couldn't begin to say.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Joop
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You cannot reduce feminism down to "peopleism" You are then saying there is no difference to how we live and experience life and how we are treated due to being female. Because there is difference and power and social inequality - and violence in that. You cannot say it is "peopleism. That is like saying being black is like being white except for the discrimination.

The vast majority of the world and males and even our own females see and put women in a secondary position. Even to the point that you do not have the right to basic freedom from violence, sexual assualt or infanticide or murder for not fulfilling sexual values set by males. You cannot equalise discrimination.

Many men do not know what it is like being a woman. They think we are all soft and nice and think that's because our lives are like that. The only ones who have got close to understanding are those who have cross dressed as women or changed into women. They say they are shocked just how scarey it is being a woman and how vile and nasty and sick men are. They say that when they go out they are aware just how pedatory it is and are made to feel like meat. Welcome to the club boys. did you really think it was going to be Scarlett O Hara and love and passion all the way? If the men say it is different why try and say it is not. Viva difference. Just not Viva Violence.

PS In finding common ground do say that the man who is pejuduce and beats up on hos wife is also usually the big bully and thug who beats up on the quiet man and decent man, the fat geek, the asian and the homo. But don't try and equate it. The sex thing is a big thing between males and females. Men really do think of ******* you rather than loving you and being affectionate. Its hormonal Just some take more charge of it than others.

When female to male transexuals start having the hormones they say they lose all their loving caring wanting to bond feelings and have an enormous all over effect of wanting to have sex NOW!!!! Don't underestimate just how strong and powerful that feeling is in evry man even when he is being decent. Give respect to it. Don't ignore it and don't accidently or carelessly torment him.

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pcwhite
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weighing in on feminism. I think it's useless to try and invent a new word for "feminism," because it would just be a euphemism and it would end up being confusing and (in my opinion) cowardly. The last thing feminists should be doing is APOLOGIZING for being feminists. If we make people uncomfortable, too bad. People don't change unless you shake them first...if we bent over backwards to make men comfortable, then we'd probably just convince them that they're already so progressive and fair and wonderful that their work is over; it's those OTHER men who need to change.

I like the word "feminist." It's aggressive, it's pissed off, it's honest.

I'm sorry if this sounds like a rant...I don't mean to attack anybody, but this is an issue that I get very passionate about. I think men do need some extra priming before they're ready to dive into feminism, just because it's difficult to understand someone else's oppression if you have not lived it and breathed it every day of your life. BUT - that is not feminists' job. What I think men need before they become feminists is a solid sense of self, and the personal strength to withstand harsh criticism without freaking out and getting defensive. You have to be able to take hard truths and apply their lessons. And all this is work that is very personal and very intense...I think it's unrealistic to expect feminists to do all this work for our own oppressors, don't you think?

as to the original question, I think this video does a really good job explaining how to approach a bigot and call her/him on bigotry: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0Ti-gkJiX . It's within the context of racism, but it's an approach you could extend to any form of bigotry, I think. [Smile]

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Heather
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Joop: please do try and have this discussion without broad generalizations. Statements like "Men do X" as if men were monolithic aren't within our guidelines at Scarleteen when it comes to safe space for everyone.

Thanks!

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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A Posteriori
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I hate to make this post mostly first-person, but that's probably the best way to explain my views on this matter.

I have a highly sensitive, some would say *oversensitive* internal barometer of how others are feeling. I hate to admit it, but I'm the classic (and pathological) people-pleaser. I can't like myself unless others like me, and while I'm doing my best to change it for now I'm admitting it.

So, how does this relate to feminism and hidden misogyny? Well, it's just that I take these debates very personally sometimes. When someone makes a claim like "Nice guys are actually misogynists," it's hard not to resent that. First of all, what the heck is a "Nice guy?" Are you referring to a kind man? Cause if you are, you've just totally offended me with an unjustified, non-sequitur generalization which might infer some kind of cause and effect.

If I'm "Nice," then I'm a misogynist? EXCUSE ME?! I treat all of the women I know with a tremendous amount of respect. If I say anything offensive with a sexist slant (which I almost never have) I apologize profusely and make an effort to change my thinking so that it doesn't happen again. That said, I think that deep-down I'm not a sexist person. I don't view women as fundamentally different from me, just that different things (rightly or wrongly) are expected or them, and they have every right to take issue with that. But as long as I respect them for who they are, agree that not every convention about gender ought to be accepted but evaluated somehow, no-one has any right to accuse me of being misogynist simply because I am "Nice."

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pcwhite
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hey, a postiori...when we're talking about "nice guys," the quotes should really come along with the term. A "Nice Guy" is a particular brand of person who is only nice to a girl because he wants to get into her pants, and he never really did value the friendship / personal intimacy he cultivated with her in the first place. (the "nice guy" type exists in queer circles, too.) It's not a term that applies to genuinely nice people...I think we can all agree that genuinely nice people are a pleasure to be around. [Smile]

Where the misogyny comes in with a "nice guy" is that he feels entitled to sex as a payment of sorts for all his hard work -- you know, just being decent to this woman and acting like her friend. This is why you'll see a lot of antipathy and resentment towards "nice guys" out there -- they are NOT nice guys.

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Heather
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I also think it might be helpful to really read Beppie's initial post.

It seems very clear that she isn't talking about men who are actually BEING kind or nice, but who are suggesting that anyone who calls them to the carpet about any misogyny is invalid because they identify themselves as "nice" guys, or who are going on about how nice they are as a way to silence women or discussion of sexism or misogyny (which I think we can all probably agree, is not nice at all).

[ 01-05-2009, 12:09 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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A Posteriori
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I actually did read the very first post before responding, and a few after. I guess that the term "Nice guy" (quotes I suppose are very important here) is a new one to me, and I just had NO idea what anyone was talking about. Oops. Sorry 'bout that. [Big Grin]
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-Lauren-
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Yeah, Posteriori, it's often put into quotes or with the little R trademark, due the prevalence of said jerks insisting on calling themselves such despite being the total opposite. [Smile]

I can't tell you how many "nice guys" I've been stuck in the consoling position with after being turned down by "this total __________ (insert bitch, whore, c***, every ugly female-aimed insult imaginable)" who just wants jerks that treat them like crap, meanwhile gentle, righteous knights like HIM are alone and unhappy.

I usually end up in the "total" category by prompting them that sitting around steaming about women, calling them names, and acting so entitled to anything more than friendship (if that; I don't want it) is NOT what a nice guy is; that's a potentially abusive jerk. That's just a "Nice Guy".

[ 01-05-2009, 02:14 PM: Message edited by: *Lauren* ]

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-Jill
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xkcd had a strip that reminded me think of this thread.

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“I would have girls regard themselves not as adjectives but as nouns.” --Elizabeth Cady Stanton

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