Tired of Talking To Men

15 Mar

I am tired of talking about feminism to men.

I know that I’m not supposed to say this. I know that as a good little third-wave feminist I’m supposed to sweetly explain to you how much I love and value men. I’m supposed to trot out my husband of nearly five years, my son, all of my male friends and relatives and display them as a sort of badge of honour, proof that I am not a man-hater. I’m supposed to hold out my own open palms, prove to you how harmless I am, how nice I am. Above all, I’m supposed to butter you up, you men, stroke your egos, tell you how very important you are in the fight for equality. This is the right way to go about it, or so I’ve been told. As my mother would say, you catch more flies with honey.

But still. I’m tired of talking about feminism to men.

I’m tired of explaining to men that the feminist movement will, in fact, benefit them as well as women. I’m tired of trying to hawk gender equality like I’m some kind of car salesman showing off a shiny new sedan, explaining all of its bells and whistles. I’m tired of smiling through a thousand thoughtless microaggressions, tired of providing countless pieces of evidence, tired of being questioned on every. single. damn. thing. I’m tired of proving that microaggressions exist, tired of proving that I’m unfairly questioned and asked for proof. For a movement that’s centered around the advancement and empowerment of women, why do I feel like I’m supposed to spend so damn much of my time carefully considering how what I say and do will be taken  by men?

I’m tired of men who insert themselves into feminist spaces with claims of hurt feelings. I’m tired of men who somehow manage to make every issue about them. I’m tired of men like the one who recently stopped by a friend’s Facebook thread in order to call feminism “cunty,” then lecture the women involved for being too “hostile” in their responses to him. I’m tired of men telling me that my understanding of feminism and rape culture are wrong, as if these aren’t things that I have studied intensely. I’m tired of men who claim to be feminist allies, then abuse that position to their own advantage. I’m so fucking exhausted by the fact that I know that I will have to, at some point in this piece, mention that I understand that not all men are like that. I will have to note that some men are good allies. And all of those things are true! And all of you good allies get cookies! But honestly I’m tired of handing out cookies to people just because they’re being decent fucking human beings.

I spoke today on a panel about rape culture, and while the whole experience was fucking fantastic, I was totally disheartened by how many of the other presenters went out of their way to convince the men in the room that rape culture affected them, too. The phrase “rape culture isn’t a women’s issue, it’s a everyone’s issue,” kept coming up, and though I understand why it could be valuable to frame it that way, the rationale behind that makes me kind of sick. Because what we’re really saying is that if rape culture is understood to only be a woman’s issue, then it won’t be as important to men.

Rape culture is something that men should care about not because it might affect them, but because it affects anyone at all. Men should care about women’s safety, full stop, without having the concept somehow relate back to them. Everyone should care about everyone else’s well-being – that’s what good people are supposed to do.

Is it really so hard to have compassion about something that might not directly affect you?

I find that the more that I engage in activism, the more men seem to think that my time belongs to them. There seems to be this idea that if I’ve set myself up as an educator about feminism and gender and women’s rights (and I know that I have, and by and large I enjoy that role), then  it’s somehow part of my job to take the time out of my busy day to explain basic feminist concepts to them. If I don’t, then I’m accused of all kinds of things – not properly backing up what I say with facts (though the facts are easily accessible to those who want them), not caring enough about “converting” men who might be on the fence (though they could convert themselves if they really wanted to), not being strong or smart enough to engage in a discussion (which we both know isn’t going to go anywhere). I used to burn myself out by patiently laying out my talking points over and over, directing people towards resources, never walking away from an arguments be it big or small. But I’m not doing that to myself anymore. This is my space; I get to decide what happens here. If I don’t want to reply to comments, then I won’t. If I don’t want to engage someone, then I’ll ignore them. Yes, I am here to educate and to explain, but I am not under any obligation to do anything that I don’t want to. That is not my job. If you want to learn more, then that’s your job.

I’m going to call on all the men out there who consider themselves to be allies and ask them to step up to the plate and walk their own talk. When you see a woman being mansplained, you be the one to step in and call him out. When you see a bunch of men making misogynistic jokes, you be the one to tell them to fuck off. When someone asks for “proof,” don’t wait for a woman to provide it – you be the one to offer resources. Show us what a good ally you are by standing in the line of fire for once, and when you do, don’t immediately turn around and ask us for praise.

I’m tired of talking to men about feminism, but it doesn’t have to be like this. The burden of this discussion doesn’t have to be on women; we don’t have to be the only ones fighting the good fight. So please, men who are reading this – instead of the usual knee-jerk reaction towards these types of posts, instead of rolling your eyes and saying, “great, another feminist shitting on men,” I’m asking you to instead get involved and do what you can to affect change. I’m not going to condescend to you and try to explain why that will make the world a better place; I trust that you’re all smart enough to figure that out by yourselves.

This image came up when I googled "mansplain" and I'm just going to run with it.

This image came up when I googled “mansplain” and I’m just going to run with it. ETA: this is apparently Milan Greer, a sort of cat whisperer from the 50s. Apparently he was pretty rad and feminist so why someone tagged his picture as “mansplain” I’m not sure. WELL YOU LEARN SOMETHING EVERY DAY AM I RIGHT?

 

268 Responses to “Tired of Talking To Men”

  1. alm383 March 15, 2014 at 1:25 am #

    النساء شقائق الرجال

  2. betternotbroken March 15, 2014 at 1:51 am #

    I don’t know what you were going for here, but between the photo and the title I really had a hearty laugh. I myself am tired of listening (to mansplaining.) Work with the ones that will work with you, not the ones that define themselves by blameshifting their personal deficits and those of society on “feminism” and we are good to go. Have faith, we have come a long way. Still laughing. Even when you love some men, if you don’t cooperate with their agenda you are called a man-hater so I look forward to not getting upset aka listening to the knee-jerk reactions that are destined to follow.

  3. hecnevill March 15, 2014 at 1:51 am #

    Very well said. Men (and here I know that I am guilty as well), are too quick to define everything through their own gendered lens–everything tends to be realized in terms of how it relates to the masculine. Patriarchal society is built on this and reinforces it. Feminism, to be true and effective, must always challenge and, whenever necessary, subvert this paradigm. So no, feminism is never about men’s needs or condition. Yes, men can and do benefit from feminism, but if we are to be true and effective allies, we must either help break down the very societal and personal constructs that have traditionally, yet unfairly benefitted and continue to give us as men even the most subliminal sense of privilege, or else step aside. Either way, this is not about us. And yet, in every way, it is…

  4. Belle March 15, 2014 at 1:53 am #

    A-friggin-men

  5. keepanopenheart March 15, 2014 at 2:00 am #

    Your writing slices to the heart of the matter. In this post, you illuminate the frustrations associated with male allies. Given the scope of your writing, I imagine you’ve written similar posts about feminist divas– women who have rigid understandings of what it means to be a feminist or a strong woman, yet whose rigidity and judgmental elitism is ultimately highly self-serving and counterintuitive to feminism’s true purpose. I was wondering if you might point me in the right direction with searching the archives for this sort of material (feminist divas, divisiveness within feminism, etc).

    I’m trying to wrap my mind around a troubling relationship in my life and anticipate that your articulation on the subject would add another level of perspective.

  6. Foghorn The IKonoclast March 15, 2014 at 3:57 am #

    Stop spewing hate. Disagreeing with your rants is not proof of anything but the total astonishment at your own hatred. Poor Miss Thing, such a hard life and so wise for your years (you assume) that years from now you will read your divisive hubris and be ashamed. You will mellow out and have a clue and I hope it happens sooner than later because you are going to have a stroke.

    • mgpcoe March 15, 2014 at 4:33 am #

      I keep seeing you around here… have you really subscribed to new posts, just so you can show up with fresh attempts to cut someone down who’s trying to make the world a better place?

      I hope to God that you’re simply trying to be an asshole because you’re a troll, and that you don’t actually believe this shit, because honestly? If anybody’s liable to have a sudden heart condition, it’s going to be the chronically angry person, not the woman who’s trying to make the world a better place for everyone and who’s getting sick and tired of the haters.

      • Foghorn The IKonoclast March 15, 2014 at 8:02 pm #

        No one cares what you say or think but you. As far as calling people trolls “The Belle Jar” is one of the biggest trolls. The men-hate reflects upon you and her because you seem to like to co-enable her dysfunctionality.

        By the way, I am no longer following her insecure blog. She is the hater. She is no victim. Lose a baby prematurely and then tell me her shit matters to anyone but her and a few losers.

      • Foghorn The IKonoclast March 15, 2014 at 10:57 pm #

        the world a better place… I seriously doubt that she can walk and chew gum. lol -please

      • mgpcoe March 17, 2014 at 2:53 pm #

        “No one cares what you say or think but you.”

        I agree. As do, I imagine, the 8000-odd people subscribed here, the ~4000 from Facebook, and the 1000+ on Twitter.

    • Left Eye Right Eye March 16, 2014 at 4:32 pm #

      You’re the worst troll ever.

  7. Jason Gregory March 15, 2014 at 4:18 am #

    Agreed. We are tired of listening to you femsplain. Your decision to not do that anymore is a good one.

    • Left Eye Right Eye March 16, 2014 at 4:34 pm #

      “Femsplain” LOL.

      Women talking about our own lives – feminism.

      Men explaining our own lives back to us – mansplaining.

      Hope that helps!

    • David Parsons March 17, 2014 at 10:14 am #

      If this weblog isn’t to your liking, perhaps you can, um, just not read it?

      • speakeasy25 March 23, 2014 at 11:12 pm #

        Or Jason could, you know, f*** off. Pretty simple, really.

  8. auntiethis March 15, 2014 at 4:27 am #

    “Stop spewing hate”: an excellent – and unexpected – segue into spewing hate. Thanks for the appropriate name: should have warned me off immediately.

    The blog is excellent. Thanks for the refreshing honesty; thanks for putting yourself out there in a world full of foghorns.

  9. HaifischGeweint March 15, 2014 at 5:04 am #

    Reblogged this on HaifischGeweint.

  10. hessianwithteeth March 15, 2014 at 6:33 am #

    This is a great post. While it is important to educate people where possible, it is not one person’s job to spoon feed the knowledge to others. We all have the internet at our fingertips, so we are more that able to educate ourselves too.

  11. nikeyo March 15, 2014 at 6:44 am #

    You’re not alone. You are definitely strong and something else, also, to be able to admit these feelings. Sometimes, it’s an uphill battle. I felt this way yesterday, I was just so sick of men. I was trying to have a discussion, level-headedly, about rape and consent and too many sickening comments were thrown my way by men, while women are private messaging me their personal rape-stories…. and man, I just wanted to throw my hands in the air and walk away. It was just too overwhelmingly ridiculous.

    You’re doing an awesome thing, and you’re speaking out for many women who are too afraid to say anything because they’ve been a victim of horrible things and can’t take any more hurt.

    Keep doing what you are doing, and thank you for taking the time to write this candid blog, and share your thoughts with everyone.

  12. Leeron March 15, 2014 at 7:38 am #

    This is so true: Rape culture is something that men should care about not because it might affect them, but because it affects anyone at all.
    Whenever I talk to men about feminism I always feel I have to relate it back to how it serves them to validate my point. But I never really thought about why. Thanks for pointing this out!

  13. Travis Bickle March 15, 2014 at 7:42 am #

    If these are your biggest problems in life than I suspect your life is pretty good.

    • speakeasy25 March 23, 2014 at 11:39 pm #

      Privilege alert.

  14. betternotbroken March 15, 2014 at 8:12 am #

    I missed your rebuttal to the high heels. I have been through a lot in the past six years and I finally got on Facebook only to subscribe to “feminist” pages to learn that because I do not dress like one I cannot ever be one because I love high heels and I guess boots are out as well. What people do in cold climates, I am not quite sure. My daughters are out of the club as well as they play with dolls that are unacceptable. It would be an interesting study to see if we could just accept all women and be tolerant instead of enforcing the definition of “feminist” like the gestapo. Wasn’t it at one time about choice? As for men, I make a conscious choice to keep an open mind and to not hate them, my history with them is not so pleasant. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

  15. StepsInShadows March 15, 2014 at 10:18 am #

    Reblogged this on Swift, like Shadows and commented:
    “I’m tired of trying to hawk gender equality like I’m some kind of car salesman showing off a shiny new sedan, explaining all of its bells and whistles. I’m tired of smiling through a thousand thoughtless microaggressions, tired of providing countless pieces of evidence, tired of being questioned on every. single. damn. thing. I’m tired of proving that microaggressions exist, tired of proving that I’m unfairly questioned asked for proof. ” – the Belle Jar, on feminism
    I feel like so much of this could apply to disability, to poverty – the constant having-to-explain, to tone-down, to show ‘no, no, we don’t hate [middle class/usually white/able-bodied people], we’re asking to be listened to without being shut down the second we open our mouths…’

    • speakeasy25 March 23, 2014 at 11:40 pm #

      Intersectionality.

  16. heatheremme March 15, 2014 at 2:25 pm #

    I had a fellow try to mansplain on my blog (and use it to link to his MRA blog.)

    This was some of my response:

    “Listen, you posted a link to your blog and I’ll let it stand. I visited it and it’s clear that you and I are coming from very different places on this, heading to very different destinations.

    As an MRA fellow, you are likely actively seeking out feminist blogs to comment on, which is an instinct I sort of understand because when I first left religion, I used to go onto religious blogs and spew like that too. That was a while ago and I really don’t play it like that any more.

    This is a space I created for my thoughts and it’s a blog I do to flesh out ideas and while some debate is fine, I’m not jumping down the rabbit hole of debate with someone who seems awfully settled in his way of thinking, especially when that way of thinking is at cross-purposes to mine.

    I’m cool with who I am. I do think I’m enough, but then you don’t know me so how could you know that? You know I’m a feminist and if you’ve read the rest of my blog you know I don’t like Rob Ford or fat shaming. Since I’ve only done 10 entries, that’s pretty much all you know.

    I’m not a kid. I’m not a person who has time to have these minutia mini-fights with guys looking to quash what I put out there.

    I get it. You are not a fan of feminism. It’s gonna pop up a lot on this blog, so if you don’t like it, you may not want to hang around.

    Thanks for taking the time to comment, but please remember this is my little corner of the world that I created and continue to create for free. It’s mine. It’s not part of a publishing group or a platform I’m providing. It’s just me. And that’s ALL I promise from it.”

    When he wouldn’t back off, my comments were just songs that I like. He got Everything Is Awesome-ed. That is my troll policy. When I’m done (you get one chance) you get earwormed. 😀

  17. Rocko March 15, 2014 at 2:48 pm #

    How replacing the words “man” “men” with “person” “people”. Saying “men” react a certain way and think a certain way is the very perspective you’re trying to get rid of. Some people might disagree with feminism, some people might agree with it. Not, most men disagree(or don’t understand) and most women do.

    • Left Eye Right Eye March 16, 2014 at 4:37 pm #

      But she’s not talking about people in general, she’s talking very specifically about men, and behaviour she observes in men, towards women.

      Pretending that gender is irrelevant to sexist behaviour patterns (!!) helps nothing.

      It is very clearly not ALL men – which the blog not only states about ten billion times but also points out that it’s SO BORING to have to keep pointing this out. Every. Single. Time.

      Your comment is exactly what the blog is about.

      • speakeasy25 March 23, 2014 at 11:41 pm #

        Yep.

  18. Jassie987 March 15, 2014 at 3:37 pm #

    Reblogged this on Thoughts And Views That Matter! and commented:
    Awesome one!

  19. Editor March 15, 2014 at 5:57 pm #

    Reblogged this on intersectionelle.

  20. Editor March 15, 2014 at 6:03 pm #

    Oh my, some of these comments….boots? replace men with people? You all are hilarious and exactly the people who make me sooooo tired. Unless you’re actually trolling, maybe do yourself the service of climbing down off your moral high horse of defensive indignation and try to put yourself in the shoes of the writer and offer some charitableness and try to understand what she’s getting at and how her experience might be difference than yours. Dolls? Are you fricking serious?

    Calling men out on patriarchal attitudes is not sexist. Feminism isn’t about hating women who wear high heels – what is this, the debates of 1986? Feminism as the gestapo? Maybe watch your words, because you are being terrible. Spewing hate – HA. It is to laugh. And then take a nap because dealing with the cavalcade of ignorance all the damn time is guess what, EXHAUSTING.

    I’m pretty sure we can sub in race or gender presentation in here anywhere and it’s exactly the same. Many many thanks to the Belle Jar. Solidarity.

    • speakeasy25 March 23, 2014 at 11:42 pm #

      Holla.

  21. Tashi March 15, 2014 at 6:30 pm #

    There is only one quibble I have with this entire piece; I find myself being hesitant to stride up to the front of the firing line because then I feel like I talking *for* women, using my white-cis-het priviledge to be the focus of the discussion, instead of the people to whom it matters most.

    • mgpcoe March 17, 2014 at 2:57 pm #

      How you do that is important. It’s important to emphasise that the talking points aren’t your own.. unlike pop-culture feminist men who seem to be commandeering the discussion.

  22. Bethany March 15, 2014 at 7:00 pm #

    Holy fuck, you took the words right out of my mouth, that.is.for.sure.
    Reading this was cathartic, thanks for your honesty!!
    Will be passing this on my man friends pronto.

  23. Patterson Hood March 15, 2014 at 7:14 pm #

    What a disgusting article.

    “I’m tired of men telling me that my understanding of feminism and rape culture are wrong, as if these aren’t things that I have studied intensely”.

    Wait a sec folks! You thought there was two sides to every argument? Well, there isn’t. Anne Theriault has studied this issue intensely, and she says there’s only one right answer.

    This is the type of non-sense you get from people who spend their whole lives around University Campuses in a world far removed from everyday logic.

    • Left Eye Right Eye March 16, 2014 at 4:42 pm #

      I work in a busy office and I have been out of uni for years. I totally agree with the article.

      You don’t think it’s rude for a dude to explain or lecture on rape culture as if they know more than the person they’re talking to , when they clearly don’t?

      And yeah sometimes the Other Side of the Argument has been considered, the first time it came up. And heard before. Again. And again. And again. And again. After a while it just becomes a totally pointless conversation.

      it’s like if someone pops up saying the earth is flat or black people are inferior to white people or gay people are evil. Those arguments are quite demonstrably false, it would be pretty reasonable to find it exasperating to have to engage with them patiently over and over and over and over…

      • Loathenstein March 19, 2014 at 12:40 am #

        We applaud science educators like Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye for their tenacity when debating evolution deniers. Why is it that when it comes to the social sciences it suddenly becomes commendable to cut off a debate because you are tired of explaining a concept? I don’t think you can call yourself an educator if you’re not willing to shoulder that burden.

      • speakeasy25 March 23, 2014 at 11:53 pm #

        @Loathenstein–Here is NDT doing what Belle Jar is doing: “The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.”
        ― Neil deGrasse Tyson

        Sometimes the willfully ignorant just have to be dismissed.

  24. tanjagrubnic March 15, 2014 at 9:48 pm #

    I think you raise really good points, but it’s important to talk about rape culture as something that affects everybody, not just women, because it actually does. In order to achieve equality among both genders, we shouldn’t pit men and women against each other because this helps to actually facilitate this culture of gender inequality. If feminism really could make life better for everybody, then you need to remember that so many men are unhappy too – which is why we try to show them that there’s a better way of living, if only they could imagine it.

    • tanjagrubnic March 15, 2014 at 9:51 pm #

      I’ve written a piece on rape culture, consent, and heterosexual desire on my blog that might be of interest to you.

    • Left Eye Right Eye March 16, 2014 at 4:45 pm #

      Yes but when something predominantly impacts men I never ever ever ever ever ever hear people saying to me “hey you know this has a negative impact on women too so you should care about it,” Why do you think that is?

      Rape culture is bad for men and bad for women but it isn’t bad for men and women equally, and it obviously benefits an awful lot of men, too.

      • tanjagrubnic March 16, 2014 at 8:57 pm #

        That’s a great point: rape culture doesn’t affect men and women equally. But then again, no rape affects anybody equally. I don’t really understand your first comment though, I think that’s a dangerous generalization. There are many men who care about how issues affect women too – and I know this because they’re my friends. But then again, that’s not to say that there aren’t lots of men who don’t care about how issues affect women too. One reason why some men may not feel like they need to explain to women how certain issues affect them too is a lack of real understanding/education in regards to (constructions of) (performances of) gender.

  25. Suzie March 15, 2014 at 10:58 pm #

    Everyone should care about everyone else’s well-being – that’s what good people are supposed to do. YES.

  26. V March 15, 2014 at 11:11 pm #

    “The phrase “rape culture isn’t a women’s issue, it’s a everyone’s issue,” kept coming up, and though I understand why it could be valuable to frame it that way, the rationale behind that makes me kind of sick. Because what we’re really saying is that if rape culture is understood to only be a woman’s issue, then it won’t be as important to men.” That’s very interesting. I have to agree that it shouldn’t have to be a men’s issue for us to expect men to care about it.

  27. saradraws March 16, 2014 at 1:58 am #

    You always get the best comment sections.
    I like to close my eyes and imagine the angry ones as those cans tied to the bumpers of cars of old-timey newlyweds. Noisy, useless, and utterly impotent without the vehicle to which they are tethered.
    I’m super deep. You can quote me. No charge.

  28. R.S. March 16, 2014 at 3:10 am #

    What a load of words that get nothing done , in the end it’s just talk of hopes and dreams of change.
    If this girl really wants to try and make a difference come and pick up a rifle stand in the front lines with the women here in the middle east .
    At least these women aren’t just taking they are fighting the men that actually feel that women are insignificant and should fall to the demands of men .
    The women I have served with in the military have earned my respect and not demanded the respect , I would go in to the combat field with them any time any where just as I know they would do the same for me .
    So if this girl is wanting to make a real difference come put on the uniform pick up the rifle and show us.

    • Left Eye Right Eye March 16, 2014 at 4:47 pm #

      The women in the middle east want western women to go and change their culture with rifles? Really? That hasn’t been my experience.

      Are people not allowed to say things or write anymore? Just shoot each other. Yeah that seems constructive.

      You actually think shooting and wars achieve social justice aims better than writing or activism. You. Actually. Think. That.

      You. Actually. Think. That.

      • R.S. March 16, 2014 at 8:02 pm #

        You would have a really different opinion if you walked into a shed to find 7 women tied to a wall stripped beaten and raped by mutiple men for days on end , just for trying to speak their mind.
        Do you feel that writing a letter of concern or talking to these men would have an impact ? Then go ahead take the trip and find out .

    • mgpcoe March 17, 2014 at 2:59 pm #

      So, what, because some people have it *even worse*, there’s nothing to justifiably complain about here?

      • R.S. March 18, 2014 at 2:20 am #

        No didn’t say that there was nothing justifiable about any of the compaints , all valid points but the question is what are you ladies gonna do to make it right ?
        Hiding behind a computer screen and typing away your thoughts may help you to get your frustrations out in hopes that someone in the general public will take notice and maybe some action.

        I’m the only male in my unit of 17 and have served with these women since day one , I have watched them go head to head with the men in field and not once did any of them compain about gender injustice.
        Instead they took matters into their own hands to prove that they have the right to be here in the front lines and have earned every ounce of respect and never demanded it.
        These women are true pioneers hepling to shape our armed forces for the future female soldiers , we are still over sea’s today and still helping the women of this region by physically being here to teach them skilled trades and empowering them to realize that they have a choice and a voice.
        The women of my unit made the chioce to stay longer at high risk to their own personal well being because they believe that women around the world should have the same equality as they have in North America.

        Make no mistake I’m not saying that your words are insignificant and bare no weight , there are many voices here on this blog that can help make the changes you desire .
        The question is what are you willing to do to make those changes ?
        Will you just keep writing letters of concern or will you physically take yourself to a coucil member sit face to face to make these changes reality.
        I know the ladies of my unit took action and have made a huge impact for the women in this region .

    • speakeasy25 March 24, 2014 at 12:00 am #

      Well, in your military, those soldiers who are women have an astronomically higher chance of being sexually assaulted by one of their fellow soldiers than of engaging the enemy. That sounds an awful lot like men “that actually feel that women are insignificant and should fall to the demands of me.” American men are ridiculous at best and malevolent at worst when they point to other countries as having problems with misogyny while the U.S. military are the great emancipators. Get your own house in order before you start extending challenges to join its ranks.

      • R.S. March 24, 2014 at 5:02 am #

        We are Canadian armed forces just so you know , before you start throwing insults .
        Not everything is what it seems on tv the media only tells you what they want you to know.
        I can’t belive that we are sent out to fight for the civil liberties for people like you , maybe one day you may find yourself in a situation where you may need the assistance of uniform personal whether it be military or EMS responders .
        I really hope they take their sweet time to help you.

  29. E March 16, 2014 at 2:24 pm #

    Reblogged this on Defeating Dragons and commented:
    Warning: Strong language.
    This post says everything I was trying to say in my last post, but a million times better.

  30. Left Eye Right Eye March 16, 2014 at 4:30 pm #

    Reblogged this on Libertarian Lou's Blog and commented:
    Oh, so much empathy with the sentiments expressed here.

  31. Michael March 16, 2014 at 6:40 pm #

    Okay, on the one hand I understand being tired of explaining feminism to some men. There are some guys whose micro-aggressions and adamant defensiveness drive me crazy and who you just can’t have intelligent discourse with. Some guys can’t wrap their minds around the idea that their female coworkers are paid unfair wages and that male privilege exist.

    On the other hand, many of those men get defensive and mansplainy because of the way feminists engage with them. Constant critique of the patriarchy and sexism can make guys feel guilty from benefiting from an oppressive structural problem that they did not create, the same way white people can get defensive over white privilege arguments from people of color.

    This is not me complaining about hurt feelings, because i understand that this is a structural issue not a personal one. But most non-feminist guys do not understand that and are going to get hurt feelings. I’m sorry if you’re tired of that but if you explain the problems differently i’m saying you might have more success. Giving up and complaining about how men don’t understand solves nothing. Change your method, and maybe things improve, maybe they don’t, but never give up.

    Also, rape is not a women’s issue. It’s everyone’s issue. Both because it enforces the oppressive patriarchal culture of violent masculinity that hurts both men and women, but also because male and female rape is a thing. Like you said, “Everyone should care about everyone else’s well-being – that’s what good people are supposed to do.”

    Sexualized violence is more prevalent among females in most populations, no arguments here, and the rape of women is an important issue to discuss as separate from the rape of men. But to say rape as a whole is solely a women’s issue overlooks many victims, and promotes a culture where you only ought to be sympathetic to one gender. Many female rape victims aren’t taken seriously, that percentage is even higher amongst male victims.

    “I’m tired of men telling me that my understanding of feminism and rape culture are wrong, as if these aren’t things that I have studied intensely.” I have studied these things too. Actually i’m that’s my current major in college. But if i’ve learned anything it’s that I constantly have room to improve my understanding.

    I am fighting for equality. I’ve done more as political and social activist than most people my age. I am fighting to bring down the patriarchy. I don’t give a shit if you think I deserve a cookie or not.

    • Blaue Blume March 17, 2014 at 1:30 am #

      Why is rape everyone’s issue? How many women rape men? How many men rape women? How many men rape men? Rape is an issue that men need to resolve. This is why male culture is so alienating for women. Why don’t men get together and start examining their own issues? Is it the competiveness of male culture that precludes them from actually helping each other and in turn helping women and children?

      • Michael March 17, 2014 at 7:16 pm #

        Well that is a good question. How many women rape men? A better question is: how many men have been raped by women?

        A study done by the CDC found that 1 in 21 men (4.8%) reported that they had been forced to penetrate someone else, usually a woman; had been the victim of an attempt to force penetration; or had been made to receive oral sex.

        Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/24/health/as-victims-men-struggle-for-rape-awareness.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&

        I never said that the majority of rapes weren’t committed by men, but the fact that you overlook an entire demographic of victims is repulsive.

        I won’t even talk about the fact that women can rape women as well which you also choose not to mention.

        And every time you are dismissive or belittling of those minority of victims raped by women, they are discouraged from coming forward. Could that possibly be part of why the numbers reported are so low or hard to find?

        Rape is an issue for everyone to resolve. That you refuse to see that women can be rapists is an issue for you personally to resolve.

      • Christian March 19, 2014 at 7:57 am #

        For sure, ideas of masculinity and patriarchy are the root causes of rape culture, but even though you cannot simply lopsidedly assign collective responsibility. There is no imaginary generation-spanning bank-book for assigning responsibility to individuals by physical and mental attributes. Of course, societal power brings responsibility, but sadly there is no heavenly instance that enforces those with power to act like it.

        Everybody is ethically obligated to fight rape culture like everybody is ethically obligated to be a feminist.

    • AMM March 17, 2014 at 7:06 pm #

      Michael: “On the other hand, many of those men get defensive and mansplainy because of the way feminists engage with them”

      No, they get defensive because feminists are asking them to change and aren’t willing to settle for them just pretending to change

      If feminists talk gently, the men in question figure they can pat the feminists on the head and keep doing what they’ve always been doing. If feminists talk plainly and firmly (a.k.a. ‘stridently’), those men get defensive — and also keep doing what they’ve always been doing.

      FWIW, if you were really an ‘ally’, you wouldn’t be making tone arguments, because you’d feel the same way. And you’d discover that those men will get just as defensive towards you, too, when you ask them to really change and refuse to be satisfied with pretend change.

      As for ‘mansplainy’: there’s no more connection between mansplaining and feminists’ tone than between racism and hot weather. Try again.

      • Michael March 17, 2014 at 7:29 pm #

        The feminists that do simply ask for men to acknowledge and change the structural inequalities and gender oppression, are often successful. I agree with you.

        That you think all feminists do just that, or come across that way, is ignorant bordering on idiotic.

        There are ways to be firm, gentle, and patient, without needlessly provoking defensiveness. It appears you simply do not know how.

        I do get frustrated with men who get defensive and don’t change, but I also attempt to change the way I interact with them. We all have much to learn and being too proud to admit you might be wrong prevents you from improving.

        As for mansplaining and feminists’ tone, there is a really strong connection. Beyond mansplaining as a pejorative, insulting term, it also means simply means when men lecture women about something gender oriented.

        I don’t call that mansplaining, I call that going into “lecture mode.”

        http://www.xojane.com/issues/why-you-ll-never-hear-me-use-term-mansplain

        Now, is it remotely possible, that when feminists lecture and accuse men, that men may get defensive and do the same thing back? MAYBE?

    • speakeasy25 March 24, 2014 at 12:05 am #

      Stop with the “Your approach needs to be more friendly” nonsense. Just stop. It doesn’t matter how we phrase it or how pleasant our voices are or anything else. That is just a derailing technique used since the beginning of time. You notice where being nice has gotten us, right?

      • Michael March 26, 2014 at 2:39 am #

        “It doesn’t matter how we phrase it or how pleasant our voices are or anything else.”

        If you ever study communications you might notice an interesting phenomenon. Many people don’t like people who make sense. They like people who they like. They like people who can touch them at an emotional level and form an intimate connection with them. Cold logic or impassioned accusation only works on some personalities.

        Some people won’t be convinced if you’re nice. Some people won’t be convinced if you lecture them in a condescending manner. My point is to try different things, but don’t ever give up.

  32. Fuz Zy Brown March 16, 2014 at 7:57 pm #

    Beautifully put. A lot, if not most, male allies need to up their game massively. I will continue to call out sexism where I see it and explain the basics of feminism to men who are too lazy to educate themselves. This article will be a valuable resource. Thank you.

  33. charlie March 16, 2014 at 11:05 pm #

    Rather then talking about “feminism” talk about equality. The idea of feminism ironically is inherently sexist as it discriminates based on gender. Feminism would want you to think that all men are equally to blame for the societal system that was put in place in the past and that all men support the “patriarchy”. If you as a feminist want to only help women who you deem to be repressed rather then helping humanity as a whole then why don’t you go to the middle east and Africa and spread your message where it makes sense and will actually help people rather than just massaging the egos of white women who actually got a fucking good deal when they got the right to vote but don’t acknowledge that. Please don’t confuse me for some kind of men’s right activist though, im a legitimately for equality.

    • mgpcoe March 17, 2014 at 3:00 pm #

      You’re promoting equality by saying, “but ladies! Ladies! You won! Fight’s over?”

      • charlie March 17, 2014 at 5:03 pm #

        You won? I don’t recall saying this was some kind of game or competition. I’m just trying to point out that “feminism” often concentrates in entirely the wrong areas. Its now illegal to discriminate based on gender in much of the western world so maybe rather than making up enemies to fight at home they should go deal with people who actually DO discriminate women and stop them learning.
        When the common man was first given the right to vote the price was that at a time of war we can be drafted. Women however did not need to make this deal to get the right to vote so you could argue that that is sexist as that is unfair to men. Fundamentally people should stop trying to group themselves together and just be human as playing the gender card is a slippery slop to go down and doesn’t actually do any good.

    • AMM March 17, 2014 at 6:30 pm #

      “Rather then talking about ‘feminism’ talk about equality.”

      Translation: “I’m tired of hearing how women get the short end of the stick. Let’s ignore any differences between men’s and women’s experiences.”

      Been there, done that. Thanks for playing.

      • charlie March 17, 2014 at 7:26 pm #

        Do you really not see the irony of a movement about equal rights that is based specifically on one gender?

    • speakeasy25 March 24, 2014 at 12:07 am #

      Any guy who has to clarify that they are not an MRA is an MRA.

  34. Katrina Begg March 17, 2014 at 12:16 am #

    Great post. I find it disheartening that the only way to get through to certain people is to make it all about them. I can see how it might be helpful to humour these types by saying “rape isn’t a woman’s issue, it’s your issue too.” However, I don’t think it’s helpful to give that message to young kids or anyone else who actually understands the difference between what is right and what is wrong. I don’t think it’s good to appeal to someone’s selfish side except as a last resort.

  35. oldmine March 17, 2014 at 1:34 pm #

    Feel better now?

    • AMM March 17, 2014 at 6:38 pm #

      oldmine: “Feel better now?”

      I won’t speak for Ms. Theriault, but a lot of us who agree with her won’t feel better until things actually change for the better.

      If you really want her to feel better, how about actually working to change the things she’s complaining about, rather than patronizing her?

      • oldmine March 18, 2014 at 2:02 am #

        I swear I’ve always agreed with the woman’s point of view. I was just affected by the vehemence of the presentation, and I really would hope the writing of that tirade would give her some relief while continuing the effort.

  36. Man March 17, 2014 at 9:00 pm #

    Your safety had social value back when there was a reasonable expectation that you would be a wife and mother. That expectation is gone. You have collectively abandoned your duties to men, children, society and the human race.

    Fend for yourself, I care not for your fate.

    • Michael March 18, 2014 at 3:54 am #

      Troll level: over 9000.

    • aem257 March 23, 2014 at 7:27 pm #

      Guess you couldn’t be bothered to read to the fourth sentence where she says she’s a wife and mother.

  37. saraspunza March 17, 2014 at 11:34 pm #

    Wow! I loved this post. I think one of the reasons I have been hesitant to apply the label, feminist, to myself has been directly related to the “responsibility to explain to everyone and their father” what that might mean for me. I am appalled by some of the comments you have gotten in response to your post. What a bunch of A-holes!
    Thanks for being brave (I think) enough to post this. Thanks for speaking for many people.

  38. guoshe March 18, 2014 at 8:42 am #

    Totally agree. (pro-feminist queer guy here)

  39. breakfasttobed March 18, 2014 at 5:13 pm #

    That picture is of my uncle, Milan Greer (Kuzmik) from the cover of his book, /The Fabulous Feline./ alas, he was a feminist in an era where that wasn’t popular. His wife was actually one of the first female television producers, working on Howdy Doody.

    • bellejarblog March 19, 2014 at 1:26 am #

      Whaaaaat? That is amazing! It was honestly just a random picture that came up when I did a google image search for mansplaining, and I thought it was such a weird, funny image to be associated with that word, so I used it. I’m happy to take it down if you like! I will edit to add his name 🙂

  40. breakfasttobed March 18, 2014 at 5:17 pm #

    Sorry, this is for a cat product ad he endorsed, his cover is less-jowly and more jolly.

  41. elletea102 March 18, 2014 at 6:51 pm #

    Love this post. You reminded me of when I lived with someone who referred to everything I said as ‘because you’re a feminist’ in a negative way. Anything. From tv choices to what I ate to any time I disagreed with him. Frustrating. Not everything should be a battle and you’ve demonstrated that well. ‘If you want to learn more then thats your job’ couldn’t agree more.

  42. jeremyvernon March 18, 2014 at 9:01 pm #

    Your post as sparked a rather lengthy Facebook debate in my circles.

    I had one question of clarification – when you say “I’m tired of talking to men”. Is this short-hand for the sort of incipient male unread in at least the basic issues relevant to feminist discourse, or simply all men, period.

    Much hinged on this particular interpretation thanks for any clarity!

    • bellejarblog March 19, 2014 at 1:21 am #

      Definitely short-hand for men unread in at least the basic issues relevant to feminism. I definitely don’t think that all men are like the ones I described in my article, but my experience has been that the vast majority of people like those described here are men. And it feels like there is this perceived obligation on my part to continue engaging and being nice and explaining, even when these people could easily find comprehensive, accessible online resources on basic topics like rape culture.

      What I would love would be for men to be empowered to step in and talk about gender, feminism, etc. to other men. I know that some men are hesitant to do so because they don’t want to speak over women, but I really would love to see more dudes calling out sexism, rape culture etc. when they see it 🙂

      • Misha March 19, 2014 at 1:39 pm #

        I actually felt a bit of a disconnect there, as well. You do say, repeatedly, that not all men are like that, but the emphasis on the unmediated “with men” read (to me) like a lump-all, and the (apparent) two sentiments seemed at odds. Of course, I don’t know that I’m necessarily the intended audience, but the ways I might not be the intended audience could be part of why your acknowledgement of dfferentiation among members of my gender isn’t being communicated implicitly.

        (BTW: Not a butt-hurt dude, and I’m not looking for cookies or shiny white armor. Just commenting on the rhetoric.)

        In the end, it’s really an interesting rhetorical situation, and might reflect as much on reader as on writer. I’ve tried to de-contextualize it (“I’m tired of explaining to women…,” “I’m tired of explaining to my students…”, “I’m tired of explaining to Asians…” even “I’m tired of cleaning up after dogs…”) with varying levels of receptivity.

    • speakeasy25 March 24, 2014 at 12:11 am #

      She clarified that in the piece–and also clarified how exhausting it is to eternally have to clarify that.

  43. Megan March 18, 2014 at 11:18 pm #

    I mean no disrespect but the rape culture is not a women’s issue, it’s a man’s issue. They are the perpetrators and without them the rape culture would not exist.

  44. hjbeedle March 18, 2014 at 11:29 pm #

    Reblogged this on hjbeedle.

  45. no March 19, 2014 at 3:43 am #

    I’ve totally been one of those guys you’re tired of talking to. I think I was pretty tiresome. But…I’m a better feminist for having been through the experiencing of engaging in those challenging, tiresome conversations. I guess I don’t know if helping to change my thinking was a useful part of the activism of the people who were patient enough to help me see past my own privileged perspective, and it’s not like I’m necessarily towing anything like a mainstream feminist line now…but still, it made a difference, and it changed the way *I* talk to people about feminism. If I had *only* been told “go read a book, asshole”, I don’t think that would have had the same effect. So while I don’t mean to argue that anyone is obligated to engage in dialectic about feminism or deny that doing so is tiresome and the necessity of pointing out injustice is itself unfair, I *am* saying that feminism is an attempt to change the world by changing how people think, and if you don’t like engaging with people who don’t think the way you want them to, I’m pretty sure that you can’t be as effective an advocate as you’d like.

  46. chromanoid March 19, 2014 at 8:05 am #

    Thank you!

  47. Jas March 19, 2014 at 5:20 pm #

    This is exactly how I feel after years of trying to explain climate science to climate change ‘deniers’. They are stuck with their view regardless of the mountains of peer-reviewed information out there. They only choose to see bits of information that support their beliefs. They do not understand science and it gets so extremely frustrating trying to give them an education on the subject time after time!! After my long-winded and detailed explanations they have nothing left they can logically deny so they usually end up simply saying, “no, you’re wrong and I’m right” or, “we’ll just have to agree to disagree”. Science isn’t a belief system! There are facts, and one should logically listen to all available information. If 1000 people jump off a bridge and 40 people live, are you going to listen to those 40 people saying that it is safe?

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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