The Context

Posted in Being a Feminist, Dudes, Feminism, Misogyny, Mysognistic Bullshit by Dizzy on July 20, 2007

I was recently informed by a friend, via a note passed to me at a party after I had reacted negatively (or, as he explained, like a chihuahua) to some sexist comment he made, that feminists are “bored and abused” chauvinists who have nothing better to do than to attack men and that I should not let anti-woman words have any kind of power over me. To be offended by misogyny is my choice and to do so makes me weak, apparently. (Now there’s a topic for another day).

And because I did not want to hear the same defensive, woman-hating bullshit that I’ve heard a thousand times by yet another man who claims absolute wisdom and righteousness in all matters human, I stopped reading about halfway through and gave the note back to him. I was then told that, by not being open to his opinions about feminism, I am essentially unwilling to grow and evolve and that I will tragically fail to achieve in my life the full and rich human experience because I refused to give credence to and appreciate his anti-feminist viewpoint.

Super! Not only does being a woman make me less-than, but being unwilling to listen to the defensive voice of male privilege tell me how wrong my beliefs are makes me even more less-than.

The thing is: From the minute I leave my house in the morning I am inundated by misogynistic messages, from the things I hear people say to the images I see all around me. For every one time that I make any sort of comment on these messages there are approximately 1,172 times that I’ve recognized something as sexist and not said anything. There are about 5,249 messages that I didn’t even pick up on.

Once I first really understood what the patriarchy was, it became the Framework. The Context. Everything fell into place and finally began to make sense. Once I was at that place, there was no going back to when I didn’t see and hear and feel a seething hatred of femaleness all around me. Feminism became the lens through which I viewed the world. And that’s that.

I am happy, or at the very least willing, to debate whether or not a certain act, behavior, word, or belief is inherently sexist or misogynistic. I am not, however, willing to debate the importance or necessity of feminism. Honestly, if you really truly think feminism is wrong, or that women just have it made these days and that we should suck it up and be grateful for the rights men have already granted us, then you’re a complete fucking tool. Period. No discussion necessary. I won’t ever entertain the notion, no matter how passionately you argue or how solid you think your points are. To try and argue with me about this would be like trying convince Neo that there is no Matrix.

I know it must be hard to fathom that a girl doesn’t care what a smart man thinks about the thing that she cares most about in the world, or that there’s a movement that exists that doesn’t much take into consideration what men have to say on the topic. I know I’m supposed to 1) nod thoughtfully as I process your wisdom, asking clarifying questions about your points just in case I don’t immediately understand something you say, and then 2) offer up some powerful and intelligent argument on why feminism is important, and then 3) try to prove my point with examples from women in politics and a few stories about my grandmother, but of course, in the end, 4) concede that yes, you have some very good points that I will certainly think about, and thank you for educating me about feminism and correcting me on those things I didn’t fully understand about women and the world.

Well, that conversation has been had before and is a bullshit boring ass waste of time that does absolutely nothing for anyone. Pretending to be open to the possibility that I’m a fool for believing what I do is wrong, dishonest, and disrespectful to everyone involved. Being polite and feigning interest, when I’m really thinking “Holy crap, what an indoctrinated, privileged prick he is. Where’s my beer?” is simply no good. Watching an ESPN poker game that I’ve already seen 3 times would be a far more productive, enjoyable, and and honest thing to do.

Patriarchy, among other things, needs to encourage the abuse and mistreatment of women on a heartbreakingly tragic scale and then make them entirely responsible for it in order to maintain the male-dominated status quo. The words, ideas, behaviors, and images that support the misogynistic gender roles that keep the patriarchy thriving must be acknowledged as such and then eliminated if we ever want to live in a world where women’s bodies and souls aren’t abused to such a horrifying extent.

That’s my entire motivation and the broad context to every feminist argument I make. I really don’t see a whole lot to argue about there.


91 Responses

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  1. baby221 said, on August 2, 2007 at 9:07 pm

    …is his name Nic, by any chance? :p

    But yeah. I’m done trying to “convert” people — if they want to be anti-feminists, fine. We’ll let the subject alone, and I’ll probably avoid their (oh, who am I kidding, his) company thereafter. If they’re on the fence and ask me an honest question, I’ll answer, and I’ll engage in dialogue as long as it stays respectful. But people like your boy? Hell no. I’d rather watch poker too.

  2. Kirsten said, on August 3, 2007 at 3:40 am

    Ack, yes.

    I’ve had male friends talk to me about feminism as if it’s something I’ve just made up, as if of course they know more than I do about what I think and why I think it. Grrr.

  3. baby221 said, on August 3, 2007 at 8:21 am

    …really?! Think he’s the same guy that’s been posting here and here? That would be … odd, but funny in an unintentional “wow what a small world” kind of way.

    I think you and I have some of the same friends :p Course I’m not really “friends” with the ones who insist on arguing the point with me anymore … I mean it’s one thing to have such a vast gaping gulf of differing opinion, and it’s quite another to have that gulf and to continue to widen it by antagonising one another. And I hate, hate that it’s just impossible to make them see that they’re acting as though they know me better than I know myself, and that this is a form of privilege that they’re enacting right here, right now, in front of me, and I’m pointing it out and they’re going, “dur, dur, what privilege?” It’s singularly frustrating.

  4. Emily said, on August 4, 2007 at 9:37 am

    This was a really satisfying post. Thanks.

  5. unitari said, on August 9, 2007 at 5:28 pm

    Great post:) I loved it.
    It’s very difficult to stay positive and and come up with a creative and sharp response sometimes. I wish there was a way to convey (on the spot) how much you look down on someone like him.

  6. Suzanne said, on August 12, 2007 at 9:28 am

    here via feministing — can i get an AMEN? linking to this on my personal blog — thanks for giving voice to something i’ve been feeling lately, but couldn’t properly articulate.

  7. Kelli said, on August 12, 2007 at 9:37 am

    Thanks for the post. Isn’t it funny how nearly every feminist has the same party situation? Just the other night I too was at a party and told that feminism just tries to make women better than men. I am so sick of these conversations. While I do want to spread feminism, there are times when I just can’t deal with all these people.

  8. Ancrene Wiseass said, on August 12, 2007 at 10:55 am

    Came here via Feministing, and I’m glad I did.

    I mean, I’m sorry you had to deal with this unbelievably wretched jackassedness, but talk about making lemonade out of lemons! It’s a fantastic post.

  9. Lizzie said, on August 12, 2007 at 11:53 am

    Also here via Feministing. Having just spent the weekend attempting not to alienate the men who happen to be my friends when they slip back into being chauvinistic dickheads, thank you very much for articulating what I was feeling the whole time.

  10. mysterybea said, on August 12, 2007 at 1:24 pm

    I read a book a couple years back (“Dance of the Dissident Daughter” by Sue Monk Kidd) that really opened my eyes to what you are discussing here as “the context”. It is amazing once you become aware of the fact that the whole world that we live in is set to the male default, where everything is in a patriarchal context. Too many women (myself included until my feminist awakening) are not even cognizant of this, and a lot of people tend to roll their eyes at me when I bring it up. I guess feminists get a lot of eye rolling. Your writing on the subject is fabulously unapologetic, and I especially liked your post including “the male priveledge checklist”. It is amazingly and sadly accurate.

  11. Joseph Clyde Foster II said, on August 12, 2007 at 1:56 pm

    What a bunch of pansies. So you’ll only spit truth when everyone listening agrees with you, now? Sounds awfully similar to like seen and not heard. Sounds a little like the shy retiring perfect picture of femininity. This is why they win; appointments, elections. This is why they are perceived to win arguments, even if they’ve not. They stay on message, and we throw our hands skyward in disgust. This is, roughly, how Al Gore carried himself during the 2000 debates and (conspiracies bedamned) it cost him oh-so-important swing because you alienate people when you dismiss them because they disagree with you. Consider a different topic; does an anti-choice advocate become disgusted and end the discussion? EVER? Or is it not worth it to tell a guy his wall of reasoned rational artifice is a glossy coat over the same sexist bullshit his grandfather believed about gender and equality? Who gives a fuck if you get angry. Be Angry. B-E A-N-G-R-Y. But don’t bottle it up for your blog, dudes, shit, have at ’em. You’ll likely never know if you made a difference in that guy’s perception but the small chance of success, to me, outweighs the likelihood you’re just a manhating dyke (or a closeted mama’s boy).

    Dizzy reponds: Hey cutie! Sorry for being such a pansy. Thanks for the kind-hearted suggestions and for giving me permission to get angry! GRRR! (hee hee) And yes, I’d really be SOOOOO mortified if anyone thought I was a “man-hating dyke,” so thanks for setting me straight, and also for letting me know that it’s my responsibility to not alienate the men! I totally didn’t know that! OMG, what would feminists do without guys like you to guide the way?


  12. thebewilderness said, on August 12, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    Some years back I began to recognize the subtext of that message. It is a threat. Not as bold a threat as submit, or die, but a threat none the less. A threat to withhold approval, among other things. Since then I confront the subtext head on. It has very gratifying results.

  13. Rock Star said, on August 12, 2007 at 3:54 pm

    I am also here through feministing, and seriously. I’ve had guys argue with me and another girl who said we were feminists that “no we weren’t, because feminists hate men.” ??? In fact, even in high school, I remember my history teacher junior asking everyone who in the room was a feminist, and no one besides me raised a hand. Then he said “a feminist is someone who believes in social, economic, and political equality for men and women. Everyone’s hand should be up right now.” I don’t get it…didn’t everyone else’s elementary school address feminism?

  14. Kuri said, on August 12, 2007 at 4:56 pm

    Excellent post! You’ve described this situation (which sadly happens too often) better than I’ve seen before.

  15. nothip said, on August 12, 2007 at 5:55 pm

    What does one do when said tool is your father?

  16. ahunt said, on August 12, 2007 at 7:25 pm

    Here via feministing and have bookmarked.

    I’ve noticed that the number of sexist comments uttered within my earshot has decreased as I’ve aged. Pushing 50 here, and I do have to wonder if crotchety middle age is an intimidation factor.

    Seriously. I’ve discovered that the fastest way to shut down boors is to calmly respond with:

    “What a remarkably stupid thing to say.”

    Hasn’t failed me yet. Usually the boor slinks off, tail tucked…or occasionally the boor attempts to justify the boorishness, digging himself into a shithole from which there is no escape.

    Either way, I’m entertained.

    To be offended by misogyny is my choice and to do so makes me weak, apparently.

    This twit reminds me of the pseudo-sophisticated college freshman who actually believes he is truly the master of all he surveys. What the little idiot fails to observe is that misogyny has serious,damaging real world consequences, whether or not one cops “offense.”

    not being open to his opinions about feminism, I am essentially unwilling to grow and evolve and that I will tragically fail to achieve in my life the full and rich human experience

    Because coddling inferior men is essential to the full and rich feminine human experience? What an ego!

  17. Hugh said, on August 13, 2007 at 12:34 am

    Firstly I am all completely in agreement with the concept of social, economic and political equality for women and I don’t argue that point. However it seems to me that the guy here was simply pointing out something along the lines of was that really so offensive to you must you bring this in the middle of a conversation. Then when you got angry he naturally got defensive. While its possible he was sexist this does not mean you should not listen to his point of view. An example from personal experience I am an Atheist and as such am repeatedly attacked by the religious who are attempting to convert me. When this happens I listen to their points and use if it is a common one I will already know the counter-argument if not, and this part is key I WILL CONSIDER IT and if it really makes sense I will doubt my beliefs until I find a rational counter argument or go religious. But one thing I never do is call them an idiot or insult them then leave. No matter how many times you have to do it give their arguments some thought and answer them logically you may just get some converts and there is also some principal.

    Also be polite to them this has very little to do with the actual argument it really pisses people off to never have an argument you can’t defeat and this is furthered if as they feel their side go to hell and the begin to lose you remain cool and polite. their continued visible anger and occasional extreme out bursts is a continual reward throughout the argument. Politeness also helps you keep the moral high ground.

    People who are completely confident of themselves will often lose arguments which is why I have never gone worse than a stalemate in a Theism-Atheism argument never stop doubting your beliefs.

    PS:Joseph Clyde Foster II’s post was awesome

    Dizzy responds:Hey buddy, thanks so much for the seemingly well-intended tips and for supporting equality. However, if you would have actually read the original post instead of rushing down here to teach me a thing or two about being a good feminist, you would understand that such instruction is about as welcome as an ass pimple. Now go away.

    And yes, that was me being polite.

  18. Jodie said, on August 13, 2007 at 6:50 am

    Great post — thank you!

    ahunt, thanks for “What a remarkably stupid thing to say!” No more being at a loss for words the next time I hear something jaw droppingly stupid.

  19. Ciccina said, on August 13, 2007 at 7:09 am

    Hi, I arrived here via Feministing as well and will be linking from my own blog as well.

    What you write about “the context” is so true. Once your eyes are opened, you can’t go back. Like you, I comment on a small fraction of the instances I see and hear each day and I still feel like its all I talk about.

    I must respectfully disagree on one fine point with the commenter Ahunt, above. While I don’t doubt that calling said boor’s remark “stupid” is more effective, its not quite the same as calling it “sexist.” The problem is that as a label “stupid” unequivocally equals “bad” or at least “something to be ashamed of”… Many people will cop to an inarguably sexist comment being stupid while still denying it is sexist. It doesn’t take advantage of the “teachable moment” so to speak – though one is certainly under no obligation to do so. So – just two slightly different things.

    I wholeheartedly agree on the benefit of age, though, especially when you reach the point where you’ve perfected the “withering glare.” That’s one of my faves. Far better than my college-age techniques, which often involved lobbing a piece of unripe fruit at the offending person’s head.

  20. Jay Bull said, on August 13, 2007 at 10:22 am

    I will be linking this to my blog shortly.

    I am also here via Feministing and I have to say I am glad that I followed the link. Excellent post and I couldn’t agree more. I have had that shored experience many times over, and I have on friend in particular who gets irate any time I mention being a feminist, as he feels I should be a humanist instead. It is mind numbing that he can’t see his way clear to being both.

  21. Princess Pointful said, on August 13, 2007 at 10:44 am

    Cheers! Also a Feministing arrival…

    Recently I have been making a strong point of to re-educating myself on feminist issues. However, it is entirely too frustrating on how much self-censorship you are required to engage on these issues to avoid the eye-rolling or automatic clenching up that most people do as soon as they realize you are talking about gender differences, or, *gasp*, the f-word.

  22. Aran said, on August 13, 2007 at 12:10 pm

    So, as a male I can never be a feminist?

    I’m glad you’re not writing ‘women’ as ‘womyn’, because that makes me nervous.

  23. Dizzy said, on August 13, 2007 at 3:40 pm

    Well heaven forbid I make a dude nervous! Because I totally care!

    I don’t know where you read here that men can’t be feminists, but I will offer this: You can call yourself whatever the hell you want, just don’t assume everyone’s going to take you seriously.

  24. Perkyshai said, on August 14, 2007 at 7:39 am

    I’m sick to death about being nice to misogynists and evangelists. I’m done. Seriously. I think it’s okay to be angry when others find valid a philosophy and behaviour that results in the death of your kind.
    Are there honestly any arguments that can excuse dead bodies? Anything less than other dead bodies is sophistry, ultimately.
    Patriarchy will not suffer casualties if women are given equal treatment. Gods have facilitated more deaths than any other establishment. There is no excuse for worshipping either one that can competently validate the body counts. Tolerance of past-trodden ground is tantamount to good people doing nothing. It validates the idea that there can be acceptable explanations for this sort of thing, and that the behaviour of glibly explaining casualties is acceptable.

  25. Russ said, on August 14, 2007 at 7:48 am

    Hey…also here via feministing, and wanted to post in support. Kudos for not giving the idiot any more space in your head than you had to.

  26. kate.d. said, on August 14, 2007 at 8:53 am

    holy shit. this is great. the four-point plan for the Patriarchy-Approved female intellectual conversation is priceless.

    i am also tired of feeling compelled or pressured to argue in a certain way. because it’s just so absurd, you know? like when, in grad school a few years ago, i found myself arguing with a male friend about his position that lesbians had it “worse” under patriarchy. talk about a fruitless conversation: a straight guy ostensibly telling me what it was like to be a lesbian under patriarchy, and me, a straight girl, going “um…what?”

    it was a ten minute converation that went on about nine minutes and 58 seconds too long. dude, just shut up.

  27. ahunt said, on August 14, 2007 at 2:50 pm

    Ciccina, thanks for the insight, and chuckling here a bit.

    Looking back. there was certainly a time when I would engage…and pointing out sexism (rather than stupidity) leaves room for discussion.

    These days, I’m old and knee-sore and cranky…and just not willing to put up with much.

    But bless your heart, you have reminded me that sniper shots are brutal, if quick…and may even be unnecessary. I should probably assess the “teaching opportunities before going for my killshot.

    That said… absent any evidence that discussion will penetrate, I’ll continue to end it before it starts. Basically, I’ve had it with making nice because that is what a woman “should” do.

  28. Martine Votvik said, on August 15, 2007 at 1:19 am

    Thank you, this post really ease my heart about some things I’ve been thinking about lately.

    You know it’s strange, I used to hold many misogynisic opinions when I was younger and I mostly made friends with guys of similar mind.
    Now I’ve shed my delusions, wisened up and seen that I cant go on with the hating, ’cause it’s myself I hate in consequense and that’s just not going to work anymore.

    Problem is I still have many of the same friends as before, and it’s difficult to argue points that I myself have helped cultivate within our group. Sometimes it is so I don’t really understand why I get pissed off at certain things, and I feel guilty about mouthing off and being pissy, but at the same time I can’t deny the way it makes me feel.

    The points that have been made in this post give me some good pointers, not just about how to avoid annoyance, but allso about how to phrase myself to maybe get the message across in a better way.

    Random idiots I brush away with ease, but long lasting friends I’m not so keen on giving up on.



    Somehow compared feminism with atheism(which some ways make an interesting point) and drawled on about how he always listen to religious people (as opposed to telling them to shut up) and that he was ready to concider their opinions if they made valid arguments.

    Sorry Hugh, that doesn’t sound like atheism you’re describing, sounds more like agnostisism to me. Do you sugest that we should be agnostic about our belief in feminism? How is that not misogny?

  29. Suniverse said, on August 15, 2007 at 9:08 am

    Well said.

    I’m so tired of trying to explain things to people that I’ve given up. It’s freeing, and much, much quieter.

    So, kudos to you. I applaud your post.

  30. alison said, on August 15, 2007 at 9:02 pm

    I still can’t believe he passed you a note.

  31. Martine Votvik said, on August 15, 2007 at 11:46 pm

    yeah, a note is so “elementary school”…

  32. Serene said, on August 17, 2007 at 11:04 am

    I think I love you!

    (More coherently: Yes, this is what separates the men I’m willing to engage about anything meaningful from the men I dismiss. The men who have the requisite clue listen to me, pay attention to their own privilege, and accept that patriarchy is the framework of our society, those are men I can talk to, even disagree with, without feeling despair for the human race. Extra bonus points if he understands that “feminism is good; patriarchy is bad” doesn’t mean “I’m good because I’m a woman and you’re bad because you’re a man.”)

  33. sistercoyote said, on August 17, 2007 at 11:28 am

    Serene (points up) pointed me here.

    I cannot say how much I agree with this. Although I feel I must question your use of the term “friend” – I certainly wouldn’t consider a person who handed me a note to chastise me a friend any more!

  34. Hugh said, on August 17, 2007 at 2:29 pm

    Hey Dizzy if you had read my actual post instead of reading my name and leaping through it so you could respond you might have noticed with your 4 braincells that it was about debating not feminism
    and if you want to change the world; ever you should probably either give it a try or take up arms against men you know the whole apocalyptic lets all destroy human life thing. Oh yeah and I’m real sorry you don’t like men on your forum but if you don’t want me to express my opinions maybe you should spend more time on human rights and less on women’s. However all that said, I have misread the context and apologize for being too easy on the antagonist in this case.

    To Martine Votvik (not angrily)

    1. Sorry for drawling I do have a bit of a habit of that on the internet.
    2. I disagree with your assessment of atheism/agnosticism real atheism is based on the scientific method, one of the principles of which is that you can’t be sure of anything, ever.
    3. Sorry for the inferred comparison between agnosticism and feminism I didn’t mean to offend and I apologies. In the case of feminism it is not a scientific matter so the method does not apply in this case and one must only consider the point in order to create an effective counter argument rather than to consider whether it is true or not.

  35. baby221 said, on August 17, 2007 at 3:22 pm

    Here’s a thought for Hugh and Junior —

    It’s not a woman’s job to educate men about sexism and male privilege. Expecting her to do so, especially when she’s made it clear that a. it is emotionally exhausting and b. has no effect anyway, is contributing to the problem of patriarchy.

    Also, it is probably not in your best interests as potential future commentors to insult the blogger. How rude.

  36. Sayna said, on August 17, 2007 at 3:52 pm

    (I also came here from Feministing.)

    I’m sick of the bullshit that people tell me for being a feminist. The “I’m a humanist.” and “No, I’m not a feminist, I like men!” and “I don’t like groups that focus on one minority like they’re the only victim.” and “Feminism is obsolete.” crap. I’m really tired of hearing it all, too.

    But I don’t think getting angry and ignoring them helps us to get rid of the stereotypes and misconceptions about feminism. It’s just going to further alienate people and reinforce the stereotypes that we’re irrational, hateful and stubborn with persecution complxes. That’s not what I associate with feminism, and that’s not what I want to portray it as. I’m struggling with people that don’t understand what feminism is, but I always try to be cool and collected when I explain it to them.

    Like Joseph Clyde Foster II said above, it’s not going to help our cause if we alienate people. it may be hard, but sometimes you just have to patiently explain your beleifs to people and hope that you can clear up their misconceptions.

  37. Hugh said, on August 17, 2007 at 4:58 pm

    Baby 221 you make a fair point it isn’t really fair to expect a woman to try and change the world BUT if you don’t try you will never get the respect and rights that you want life’s not fair especially on this issue. Oh and by the way if someone insults me I insult them, simple read the comment I was responding to then judge me. By the way thank you Sayna that is the exact point I have been trying to make.

  38. mythago said, on August 17, 2007 at 7:45 pm

    I was recently informed by a complete fucking asswad who is a former friend

    Fixed your typo.

    Hugh, if you are actually serious about wanting to get to a place where you care about equality, and not just playing bait-the-ladies, try this blog.

  39. Dizzy said, on August 17, 2007 at 8:22 pm

    Well, I don’t claim to speak on behalf of all feminists, nor am I a representative of some mythical Feminist Organization in which all members think the same about everything. Therefore, I thankfully do not carry the burden of making sure I don’t say anything that might alienate people from an imaginary organization, make all feminists look bad, or contribute to the patriarchy-sanctioned stereotypes about them.

    I do a lot of the patiently explaining my beliefs thing. A lot. But I don’t feel an obligation to do so at all times regardless of the hateful, irrational crap that comes out of peoples’ mouths. Or to apologize for those times when I just don’t feel like being polite and understanding.

    I think what Hugh is saying is that if women want men to agree with what we have to say on the experience of being a woman, and we want men to give us more rights, we’re going to have to listen to what they tell us and then thank them for saying it.

    I guess it’s good, then, that I’m not actually here trying to get men to respect me, nor am I asking for men to give me any other right than to express my frustration with the current state of gender roles and expectations, in a space I created for just that purpose, without being threatened, insulted, told that I’m a bad feminist, or given instruction on what I should believe, how I should behave, and what I should say.

    Actually, that’s not totally true. I’m also asking for the right to walk freely and without fear in a society that does not wish to punish me for being born female and that does not put men in the position of granting and withdrawing the basic human rights of women. In other words, I’d like an end to this thing we call the patriarchy. But that’s more of a long term thing and, I hope, goes without saying.

    And Hugh, I have no tolerance for comments that are hostile, condescending, needlessly argumentative, and poorly written. This isn’t about your gender, it’s about your attitude and your lack of punctuation. I would’ve booted you a while ago, but your comments were fairly helpful in getting me to be able to define what this blog is and is not about and where I will draw the line.

    As of now, however, you’re done here. Take Mythago’s advice and head on over to Fem101. They’re much nicer over there.

  40. Deanne said, on August 18, 2007 at 8:08 am

    Great post! I find that I just don’t want to spare the energy to engage anymore with someone who wants to discuss why feminism is no longer needed or is just plain bad. This is one area where RTFM is about all I can manage. Thanks for the link to Fem101.

  41. Marea said, on August 18, 2007 at 5:19 pm

    What a refreshing read. I was directed here by .

    I was lucky enough to be indoctrinated by several wonderful feminists when I was a teen, and took some Women’s Studies classes in college. Also I was able to watch (and contribute to) the evolution of my father from arrogant bastard to peacenik feminist over the course of his life.

    At age 50 I’ve been a capital “F” Feminist for a long time, so what you describe as the ‘context’ is the very framework of my belief system. I am currently isolated and never find myself in the company of anyone whose view of womanhood radically differs from mine, but I’m so out of practice I probably wouldn’t handle myself well if the moment were to arise. Reading this discussion has definitely started me thinking about it. ahunt, thanks for a good backup line.

  42. […] writes an excellent post about dealing with “friends” (sadly, she left out the quotes) who think it’s […]

  43. Lauren said, on August 18, 2007 at 11:38 pm

    Hugh, the point to all this is, I think, that the women like us have had those arguments so many times, that at some point you really just get sick of it. And at some point you will want to vent about it, hence the blog post.

    I think that’s pretty fair. You can only have the same argument so many times before you get sick of it.

    I don’t think that means that the original poster, or any of the rest of us, are going to stop having the argument altogether. It just means, sometimes, we’re just going to tell the guy to shove it.

    Is that the very most constructive response? No. But we’re only human too, and really, at some point you have to know when you’re just not getting through and call it quits.

  44. ahunt said, on August 19, 2007 at 12:28 pm

    (Spamming from Mythago’s blog here, but I just don’t feel like rewording.)

    Brought this case up with the BH, and reiterated my observation that I get very little in the way of stupid, sexist commentary these days (age-related, I believe). Husband suggested that these types of remarks are inevitably directed at young women who are just starting out, because it would take a total fucking fool to engage with older women who have paid their dues. Even very young men are not that stupid.

    This point makes me even crankier…cuz apparently, the recipients of this kind of nonsense are selectively targeted…it is a type of bullying that can indeed be difficult for young women to counter, simply because of the lack of life experience.

  45. ahunt said, on August 20, 2007 at 1:05 pm

    Hugh, I have zero patience with arguments for the sake of arguments. Permit me to point out that those individuals who engage in the practice are invariably seeking to feed their own egos and to establish dominance/ some sort of intellectual superiority, in their own minds, at least.

    The fact that women choose not to play is not an indication of weakness, but rather, the refusal to be used and manipulated by insecure, annoying people.

  46. […] not the only one who holds this view. A kindly blamer suggested I check out blogger Dizzy’s account of an encounter with one of these cretinous antifeminist buttmunches. At a party some guy actually […]

  47. Uhgh said, on August 20, 2007 at 1:46 pm

    As I said before Dizzy we now understand each others points of view and I will leave. However I don’t think any of my comments that weren’t responding to direct insults were hostile, condescending or needlessly argumentative. But any posts directed at me or insulting me I will respond to.

    Lauren: fair enough I guess my perspective is warped because I really do enjoy having arguments but I can understand if others don’t.

  48. Uhgh said, on August 20, 2007 at 1:46 pm


  49. Sarah said, on August 20, 2007 at 7:00 pm

    Why is it that many feminists are utterly convinced that men cannot appreciate the feminine concern? Isn’t feminism really about the destruction of the hegemonic? So by excluding a group or dictating who can and who cannot participate, aren’t you creating your own hegemonic condition? And ruining yourself?

    I’m posing a genuine question, more to do with how Lizzy responded to Aran about how “You can call yourself whatever the hell you want, just don’t assume everyone’s going to take you seriously” than Hugh trying to offer advice on debate etiquette for conversations.

    I’m relatively new to interjecting feminism into the everyday, although I am increasingly becoming aware of the patriarchal framework of the everyday, and how even as I am aware of it, I am missing and following so so many of the constructs. And I definitely get pissed.

    But I am also loathe to believe that exclusion is necessary and that my mistrust of it is a result of the construct itself…

  50. baby221 said, on August 20, 2007 at 8:51 pm

    Sarah —

    At risk of thread drift, I wanted to address your question. While I’m sure many feminists would give different answers, as a feminist myself, mine is quite simply thus: it’s not that men cannot, as in somehow lack the capacity to be able, appreciate feminism; it’s that they are generally unwilling to do so. For men to take feminism seriously is to call into question a great many things that have allowed men to benefit from our oppression and to profit from patriarchy, and in my experience, very few men are willing to take this step. It’s not that they’re lazy (although some are), or that they’re cowards (although some are) — it’s just that it’s a very serious step, to allow yourself for one moment to entertain the possibility that everything you thought you knew, is not. I don’t really blame them for not wanting to take that leap of faith … even though yes, I do find it very frustrating :p

    Add to that the fact that it is not uncommon for many people — men included, and more notoriously — to adapt and appropriate the language of feminism to their own ends, and the fact that feminism on the whole (not just male feminists/allies) is not taken seriously, and you may begin to appreciate the kind of response that many feminists may have toward men claiming to be feminist. And honestly? If a man really “gets” feminism, he’ll understand the scrutiny and the criticism — he doesn’t have to like it, and he may very well resent it, but he’ll understand why we’re wary and suspicious.

    Also, although I do not necessarily wish to speak for Lizzy, it seemed to me that Aran’s comment was nothing more than a reactionary statement intended to derail the thread and draw attention to himself. Sadly, it seems to have worked … c’est la vie.

    And Sarah this isn’t necessarily directed at you, but reading over the comments again — damn, isn’t it amazingly depressing how quickly a rant about “i’m sick and tired of talking feminism to men who refuse to listen to what i’m saying” has turned into an “omg teh femnazis hate menz”? Sheesh.

  51. RamblinRabbit said, on August 20, 2007 at 9:00 pm

    Thebewilderness: “Not as bold a threat as submit, or die, but a threat none the less.”

    I forget where I read about the importance of a threat of separating a woman from her community and how frightening it can be. I’m not going in to the “Women need community more than men” argument, but that community is vital, particularly when facing adversity. The threat of losing community is VERY real, and can definitely be put on a level with “submit or die” imho.

    Martine: I get that flustered, angered feeling as well. My current theory is that dealing with such situations takes practice. Practice identifying just what is wrong and practice putting it in to words. So I’m kicking myself less about not saying the right thing at the right time, and doing my best to be prepared for future episodes.

    In general: This post is excellent. I think I want to laminate it and put it on my office door, bathroom mirror, in random people’s mailboxes, etc. To those jumping in on an attempt to school those unfriendly, aloof feminists, could you have picked a worse thread to argue your point? Are you not simply providing a concrete example of the annoying behaviour just described?

    If there are people who are willing to get in to a discussion in situations such as the one described by the OP, that’s excellent. But it certainly shouldn’t be a requirement, it takes a helluva lot of energy that could have been spent somewhere else, and offers very little return.

    Sarah: I (and I am not speaking for everyone here) don’t think men need to be excluded, but I also don’t think it’s my responsibility to edumacate anyone who asks. I don’t think it’s my job to debate on someone else’s terms whenever I am challenged to a debate. Certainly, in the context of a thread describing how annoying and wearying such debates and attitudes are, one shouldn’t expect a friendly response to lecturing on why the OP is clearly in the wrong.

    Oh, I’m here via iblamethepatriarchy, thank you so much for this post!

  52. […] a Nutshell I couldn’t have said it better than Dizzy. I know it must be hard to fathom that a girl doesn’t care what a smart man thinks about the […]

  53. wren said, on August 21, 2007 at 5:52 am

    My humble opinion on this exclusion business is that it’s not all men, of course, but those who join the argument with a sentiment akin to “Let me tell you, a woman, about the experience of being a woman, because I know all.”

    These men are in general deluded, because patriarchy is constructed in such a way that it is continually reinforced in their minds that their privilege makes them the ultimate authority on all matters. And yes, it would be good to break that down, but it’s exhausting, and feminism is NOT ABOUT THE MENZ.

    It’s not anti-man. It’s just… not about men. And men, coming from a position of privilege, simply don’t know what that feels like, and are threatened. Which, again, as a feminist, is not my problem (see above, re: NOT ABOUT MEN).

    Why oh why can they not get that into their heads?

  54. Ruthie said, on August 21, 2007 at 7:53 am

    Here via I Blame the Patriarchy.

    I just want to point out to anyone who didn’t notice the utter absurdity of this (what did you call him? friend? is that a fancy polite euphemism for “asshat”?) said something offensive to you and then passed you a note to further annoy you by telling you it was your fault you were offended.

    Leaving aside the whole “men, women, feminism” thing, has no one ever heard of manners? The correct way to respond if you say something offensive to a friend at a party is to say, out loud, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you.”

    Right? This reminds me of reading The Female Man by Joanna Russ, a book from the 1970s that really ought to be out of date by now. The protagonist keeps going to parties where men say sexist things in order to provoke women. It functions as a personal put down to the one individual woman who is angry enough to speak up, and a way to put all the other women who aren’t willing to say anything in their places.

  55. TP said, on August 21, 2007 at 8:08 am

    I loved this post. It’s literally awesome when a woman gets a little wiser to the vast and multi-layered coating of male bullshit authority. We’ve been taught to believe that male voice of authority from birth, men and women. Little patriarchs are rewarded handsomely for appropriating this voice. I know I still use it, because it is ingrained in me.

    If a woman tells a man he has said something sexist, and he says anything other than “Oh, my god, you’re right! I’m sorry. It just goes to show how deep the training goes, doesn’t it?” then it might be fruitless to hope for anything resembling common sense to follow.

    We are all corrupted by a deeply misogynist world, and it does no good for men to hide their pointy little heads in the sand and pretend they are feminists anyway. In order for a man to even sympathize with feminism, he has to accept that he is deeply flawed in ways he can only see with the greatest difficulty. This is the way it is for any class that benefits from oppression anywhere you care to look.

  56. Kit said, on August 21, 2007 at 8:08 am

    Most days I walk around with a tight feeling in my chest because I have to STFU and listen to all the misogyny or dance through steps 1 through 4. I read this post and felt such a release of pressure.


    That is exactly how I feel.

    When people feel like arguing these points they should turn around and check who they are defending.

  57. ahunt said, on August 21, 2007 at 6:00 pm

    Dizzy’s thoughts have fired up a great discussion at the store, and I thank everyone here.

    Kit’s post saddens my heart, and takes me back to the much younger days when my responses were conciliatory, just to keep the peace and…just to be accepted. RR nails it! Speak up, and invite the shit in, risk losing community and yes, status…or suck it up.

    Upthread, I was gently reminded that “teaching moments” should not be so blithely discarded, even if I am a menopausal, emptynested curmudgeon.

    If so, then RR’s point cannot be overstated, and I think it should be incorporated into any discussion as the starting framework if a young woman does choose to engage. (We’re operating under the assumption that the Hughs of the world do actually want to hear what Dizzy, and Kit and the rest of us have to say.) By basing one’s position on this particular and fundamental reality, and gauging the reaction, a gal can quickly determine whether a conversation is worth pursuing. The failure of the “offender” to acknowledge that he is coming from a place of security and broad acceptence is the cue to disengage.

    Kit honey, please believe there will come a time when you will cease to give a shit. You will have achieved enough of your personal goals that your place in this world cannot be threatened. The time will come when the tightness is gone, and in its place is confidence and accomplishment. I hate sounding like your mother, but the freedom to speak without fear will come, and hopefully sooner than it did for me. Young “Dizzies everywhere are seeing to it.

  58. Amber de Katt said, on August 21, 2007 at 8:08 pm

    This thread brought back to mind a great post from Ilyka that was linked from I Blame The Patriarchy way back in March… it’s a kinder, gentler way of saying “it’s not about the menz!!” for those who want us wimmins to give them their binky and kiss their foreheads (paraphrase) when they get their widdle feelings hurt by the Big Bad Feminists.

  59. peter martin said, on August 22, 2007 at 6:26 pm

    i read with great interest you r article , being mysef a feminist. i want to mention simply that i have known many feminists that i think are closet misoganists. it is very popular now for women to refer to themselves as girls. this is discomfort with the word woman. hillary clinton recetly said, “then, i am your girl”. she is no girl, she is a woman . in paragraph 7 of the article , you could have written ” i know it must be hard to fathom that a woman dosent care what a smart boy thinks about the thing that she cares most about in the world… but, you did not. please be consistant. you are guilty of avoiding the term woman in popular usage , as are so many. . i hope this was a bad slip and, i think that avoidance of the word woman is vaguely misogastic. the word woman has become as deragatory as the word liberal. you too are guilty.

  60. ahunt said, on August 22, 2007 at 7:00 pm

    Relax Peter,

    I get the sense that english is not a first language for you, and please believe that this is not meant too unkindly. But just in case you missed the Dizzy’s point: feminists really do not need your advice regarding what language to use.

    Context is everything and “girl” is not, by definition, a perjorative. No really.

    Pushing 50, I go out with “the girls.”

    “Gal” reflects my southern heritage, and is invariably used with great affection and admiration.

    My “girlfriends” are a remarkable group of women, including some of the “girliest” of “girls.”

    Women get to speak as we choose, Peter, and to ease your concerns, my use of “girl” reflects my profound respect for girls.

    (SEE Ciccina…I can give dialogue a try… ;->)

  61. Dizzy said, on August 22, 2007 at 10:05 pm

    Oh dear. I think someone just called me a misogynist. Which, well, I don’t even know really how to respond to that. It’s so far off-base and out of line that I thought it was a joke at first.

    But just in case it’s not and there is truly someone out there that believes my word choice betrays a latent misogyny, let me alleviate all such concern by explaining that my use of the word girl in that particular sentence was sardonic and that I absolutely do not avoid using the word woman. Not in this post, any of my other writing, or my daily speech.

    Peter, you may have noticed my frequent and non-derogatory use of “woman” in this and other posts had you not been seemingly focused on finding something that you could use to thoroughly, inexplicably insult me.

  62. Uhgh said, on August 24, 2007 at 3:51 am

    You girls know I’m really Hugh right?

  63. […] of getting older Posted by jolt under Patriarchy , Assholes , Rage  So I was reading this post at this blog (so happy to have found it and I added it to the blogroll) and wondering why the types […]

  64. mythago said, on August 26, 2007 at 2:50 pm

    So by excluding a group or dictating who can and who cannot participate, aren’t you creating your own hegemonic condition? And ruining yourself?

    No and no. There, don’t you feel better? The boys will still like you.

  65. ahunt said, on August 27, 2007 at 12:31 pm

    You girls know I’m really Hugh right?

    Yeah, Uhgh…and not to worry.

    Most gals do have a sense of humor. :-*

  66. pdxstudent said, on September 2, 2007 at 10:17 am

    “[i]t isn’t really fair to expect a woman to try and change the world BUT if you don’t try you will never get the respect and rights that you want life’s not fair especially on this issue.”


    How about instead of women trying to gain respect and rights, men stop dis-respecting and denying the rights women already have, which is to say the respect and rights men are assumed to already have—not including arrogant, if subtle, chauvinism?

    As a side-note: the argument from instrumental reason is what holds back the better part of humanity from a better way of life. Revolution does not (categorically will not) come to the willing; it is not bloodless. Likewise, winning over the populace, especially those who are not simply won over (i.e. men), is not imperative to the feminist cause. It’s this ideological form over which must be won, wherein the surface field of knowledge and conscious acknowledgement (i.e. of course, women are people) must not be allowed to mask the subterreanean, while paradoxically more apparent, field of doing (i.e. treating women as if they were not people).

    People, though mostly men, live a kind of repressed cognitive dissonance: at once they hold the thoughts in mind that women are people and yet they are not. The latter is moved out of the field of consciousness, and into the unconscious realm of our actions before our very eyes. Like Oedipus, who was witness to the very crime he committed though he had no conscious knowledge of it, men must be forced to see, even if if it is blinding, how they really are the benefactors, if not the more than occasional cultivators, of Patriarchy.

  67. Biting the Apple said, on September 2, 2007 at 2:59 pm


    In reply to your comment about atheism, I have some thoughts. First of all, I like your comparison, but I disagree, at least in part, with your advice concerning informal argument.

    I used to entertain the idea of arguing with religious people, but after a certain point I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t productive for me. I was spending far too much time reading religious literature and encountering the same arguments over and over again. As an atheist, I can tell you that being so firmly connected with something that I strongly desired to avoid was supremely unpleasant.

    The problem, as I see it, is that arguing with religious people elevates them to a position that has not been earned. Even if you win the argument, the perception is that you’re treating their beliefs as being worth serious consideration, when they’re clearly absurd. As Sam Harris has noted on occasion, there is no other area of our discourse that requires us to treat unreason with respect.

    For most situations I think it’s more productive to be dismissive or practice what Harris refers to as conversational intolerance, in much the same way that we would deal with a holocaust denier or someone that claimed to have sexual relations with pixies on Mondays. That doesn’t mean I think people should be silenced, but I do think our responses should confront the ridiculous with vehemence.

    I do agree with you that insulting people should be avoided, not so much to spare their feelings, but because it takes away from the message you’re trying to send. Criticizing beliefs or being outright dismissive of them is not the same as treating someone poorly, no matter how much that person tries to spin it that way.

    I think I understand your uncomfortability with being dismissive. Perhaps you’ve thought to yourself “If I’m a critical thinker, I must entertain other viewpoints, or I’m in danger of becoming closed minded. I must be able to change my mind if there is enough evidence to warrant such a change.” If someone tells you that the Sun revolves around the Earth, I can’t imagine that you would take their claim seriously or consider the possibility that you’ve been wrong unless they were able to provide a mountain of evidence.

    Arguments with religious people do not involve the exchange of evidence, so there’s no point in engaging in such a battle. If a religious person brought evidence, rather than foolishness, then I would most certainly take their claims seriously, just as being presented with a live pixie would make me rethink my own position regarding mythical creatures, but all these people ever bring to the table is talk.

  68. Irene Kaoru said, on September 6, 2007 at 8:23 am

    Here via iblamethepatriarchy. Just wanted to tell you I loved this essay and recognized and felt it so hard I want to cheer. I have nothing to add but thank you for writing it.

  69. ozgal said, on October 6, 2007 at 4:41 pm

    Fantastic wonderful reading. Ahhhhhh….. I am not alone.

  70. whatsername said, on October 18, 2007 at 12:36 am

    This is such an awesome post. Seriously. I want to say something profound, but, it’s just, it’s awesome.

    I also have a blog and tackle some of this stuff. Judging from this and other posts I think I have some stuff on there you would find interesting. Check me out if you have a second.

  71. WORD!!! « Relentless Inquiry said, on October 28, 2007 at 1:08 pm

    […] August 17th, 2007 · No Comments Thought for the day: … I am happy, or at the very least willing, to debate whether or not a certain act, behavior, … […]

  72. […] January 9, 2008 A wonderful recounting of one dude’s bizarre yet all-too-common sense of entitlement and one blogger’s response Posted by starryeyedwonder under The Asshole on the Train   Dizzy from Ornamenting Away “[knows] it must be hard to fathom that a girl doesn’t care what a smart man thinks about the thing that she cares most about in the world.” Read the entire post: The Context. […]

  73. […] or understanding multi-syllabic words, there’s a really cute dog picture at the beginning. (The post she links to and quotes a bit of is really good, too. And some of the comments from the exact type of men she […]

  74. […] seriously, and you can’t seem to carry on logical discussions. READ MY COMMENT POLICY (and read this and this). If any of you can see past your anger for long enough to conduct a reasonable […]

  75. Lauri said, on August 24, 2008 at 8:13 pm

    Hugh — “maybe you should spend more time on human rights and less on women’s.”

    Thank you for clarifying that women aren’t human. I was pretty sure you were implying that before, but now I know. Even with my measly 4 brain cells *faints after forgetting to breath*

    (I know it’s far too late to join the conversation, but just discovered this post via IBTP and couldn’t resist)

  76. Lauri said, on August 25, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    *breathe* oops

  77. Caitlin said, on October 11, 2009 at 5:56 am

    Someone quoted this on Shapely Prose — the paragraph starting “I know it must be hard to fathom that a girl doesn’t care what a smart man thinks about the thing that she cares most about in the world…“– and I just wanted to say, THANK YOU. Oh, thank you. After the few days I’ve had I needed to be reminded of this in such an artciulate and awesome way. Point 1) is particularly true/hilarious. Well played.

  78. links for 2009-10-18 « Embololalia said, on October 18, 2009 at 11:05 am

    […] The Context « Syllogismism I know it must be hard to fathom that a girl doesn’t care what a smart man thinks about the thing that she cares most about in the world, or that there’s a movement that exists that doesn’t much take into consideration what men have to say on the topic. I know I’m supposed to 1) nod thoughtfully as I process your wisdom, asking clarifying questions about your points just in case I don’t immediately understand something you say, and then 2) offer up some powerful and intelligent argument on why feminism is important, and then 3) try to prove my point with examples from women in politics and a few stories about my grandmother, but of course, in the end, 4) concede that yes, you have some very good points that I will certainly think about, and thank you for educating me about feminism and correcting me on those things I didn’t fully understand about women and the world. (tags: feminism men privilege) […]

  79. […] they seem to expect, in which (to adapt from Dizzy, who originally wrote about this in her post The Context): I know it must be hard to fathom that a person of colour doesn’t care what a white person […]

  80. CL said, on October 21, 2010 at 10:58 am

    What do you do if it is your job to have those conversations? Whyyyyyyyyy.

    Thank you, I needed this.

  81. tinyweasel said, on May 15, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    Would it have made a difference if a women had handed you the same note?

  82. Dizzy said, on May 16, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    Well, first of all, I don’t think a woman would have ever handed me that note. I know that there are woman out there who hate feminism, but I’m reluctant to believe any of them would try to convince me that I’m just a dumbass who doesn’t understand how things work. ESPECIALLY not via note.

    And if a woman did? I would talk to her about it. Try to understand where she’s coming from. There would be a conversation and yes, I would be interested in what she has to say. Why? Because I am truly interested in womens’ viewpoints on feminism, whatever they are. Men’s? Not so much. I’ve lived 37 years in the American patriarchy. I know the male viewpoint very, very well. We all do. It’s the status quo.

    Men are socialized to think of women as misguided at best, that we all just need a smart dude to educate us on how the world works and to tell us what we can and cannot do to change it. The note was an exercise in male privilege.

    Which is, again, why I don’t think a woman would have ever written that note.

  83. tinyweasel said, on June 17, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    So you’re not interested in any men’s viewpoints because you already know what they think? Are all men exactly the same then? It seems like you’re biased against them based on their gender. Kind of undermines your argument a bit.

    • Dizzy said, on June 20, 2011 at 4:56 pm

      Ok you’re obviously new to feminism, but seriously? You’re not making any sense. The point of the blog post is that I don’t listen to men tell me what they think about feminism. You’re saying that my argument is undermined by the fact that I don’t listen to men tell me what they think about feminism. See? Makes no sense.

      Have you visited the Fem101 blog yet? Great reading for people new to feminist arguments. Here’s the FAQ entry on “Aren’t Feminists Just Sexist Toward Men?” Good stuff.

  84. tinyweasel said, on June 29, 2011 at 10:51 am

    There’s no such thing as a beginner feminist, either you are one or you aren’t. I can have the aim of equality for the sexes without having to read every paper on the subject. If your aim as a feminist is to get equal rights for women, then you must think that men are the ones causing the inequality problem. If so, how are you going to change men’s attitudes if you refuse to even listen to their opinions on the subject? Aside from that, the simple fact that you are dismissing an entire group of people’s opinions just because they fall into a specific group makes you narrow-minded and prejudiced, and I don’t understand how you can’t see how you are acting in a very similar way to the way in which many people that oppress women act.

  85. Rididill said, on July 19, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    Hi Tinyweasel. In fact you’re wrong about that. If it was just as simple as believing in equality for the sexes, then I think we would be there by now.

    Feminism is more than just a point of view, it contains a huge body of social theory on how systems of oppression operate. Feminism is more like a discipline than just a point of view, and like every discipline it contains certain core assumptions at its base, such as ‘women are human’. Once you start to get to know it, you’ll find the experience is rather like stepping through the mirror… everything you took for granted about the world and about yourself suddenly looks a whole lot different.

    Men are not causing the inequality problem exactly, patriarchy is. Patriarchy is a social system of dominance that privilieges men over women and masculinity over femininity. It is upheld by everybody, unfortunately, but it benefits and advantages men at the expense of women as a class. Men most certainly have more of a stake in patriarchy than women do and put a lot of effort in defending it. Women also uphold patriarchy. When a woman takes a dominant social role, she is not necessarily overthrowing patriarchy but frequently taking power as defined in masculine terms. Which does not get rid of the whole dominance and submission paradigm.

    You have to ask the question: equal to what? Equal to men, you might answer. Problem with that is that the default is defined in men’s terms. Women will never be equal to men when they are playing a game that is defined by, and biased towards, male interests and concepts. We need equal power in defining that game. And that is what feminism is all about.

    Dizzy, and none of us, have to listen to what men think about feminism, particularly if it does not come from knowledge or respect.

    Part of the fucking problem is that men are telling us what to think and denying our perspectives according to their interests the whole damn time and we are sick of it. This is just one more element of women’s oppression.

    We don’t to listen to men because they come in here and give us the same old oppression as ever WITHIN OUR OWN LIBERATION MOVEMENT. As you might have noticed there is at least one man here who knows not to do that (TP) and have you noticed, no one is trying to chuck him out! Because he GETS it. So, no, kicking out men because they are oppressive to us, is not, in fact oppressing them and it does not make us oppressive. If they could stop being so fucking oppressive there would be no need, but sadly there is.

    One of the massive elements of male privilege is that every man seems to think they are worth any woman’s time and energy, and that their opinion counts. Part of feminism of giving women enough self respect to realize that you don’t have to take this shit from people who don’t respect you anyway, and get on with more productive things in life. The opinion of the oppressor on those he oppresses, is not, as a general rule, worthwhile, but self interested and seeks to reinforce that oppression, however consciously and unconsciously. there are exceptions of course, but the onus is on you to show you are in good faith.

    You seem to be labouring under the misconception that feminism requires women to be nice enough to men for them to give up some of their precious power and stop oppressing us. that is not freedom, that is sucking up and we will be forever dependent on men’s good grace while this is still the case.

    Freedom starts in your own head. And we do more for women’s self respect and liberation from the mindfuck that is patriarchy by not being apologetic. By not asking nicely anymore, because in fact it doesn’t get you shit. By not giving time to the haters that drain our energy and sit there smugly going ‘ok convince me then!’ Once women have enough solidarity and self love to realise they no longer have to answer to men anymore, I am confident the rest will follow. True liberation comes from true power, not begging scraps from the master’s table. And it starts with self respect. And once men see that, they might start realising they better jump on that bandwagon.

    I’m aware of the irony of writing a long teaching post for guy who clearly doesn’t get it on a post about why we shouldn’t have to do that… but fuck, I feel like it today!

    Everyone else, thanks for being the ones who tell it like it is.

    • tinyweasel said, on July 19, 2011 at 12:52 pm

      It’s not ironic considering that I’m a girl, not a guy. I like how you just presumed I was male because I disagreed with you. I never mentioned kicking men out because they’re oppressive. I said dismissing someone’s point of view based on gender is oppressive. I know you’re not obliged to listen to mens’ opinions on it, but it should be based on something deeper than merely their sex. Otherwise you’re just implying that all men’s opinions are worthless and should be ignored. This sentence “every man seems to think they are worth any woman’s time and energy, and that their opinion counts”. Imagine if a man said “every woman seems to think they are worth any man’s time and energy, and that their opinion counts” and then proceeded to “not take that shit” from them. Everyone’s opinion is worth listening to, at least until you hear it and decide if it’s intelligently-made, and relevant. You can’t consider every single man in the world as your oppressor, and use that blanket generalization to dismiss all of their opinions. Don’t you realise men could use that kind of logic to dismiss all of women? How can you be so unaware of how you’d react to everything you’re saying if it was said by a man about women? Are you so incapable of putting yourself in someone else’s place? Also this: “You seem to be labouring under the misconception that feminism requires women to be nice enough to men for them to give up some of their precious power and stop oppressing us.” Did you read my post? When did I say anything like that? I actually had to check back to see if you’re replying to someone else’s comment because so many of your remarks were so wildly unrelated to what I actually said. I’m actually sick of arguing with feminists. It’s narrow-minded, dismissive ones like you that make me want to distance myself from the whole movement, even though I agree with your basic tenets.

      • Rididill said, on July 20, 2011 at 11:46 am

        All right you got me on that one, I did assume you were a man. Not just because you disagreed, more like how you disagreed. My bad.

        You may never have mentioned kicking men out because they were oppressive, but that was in fact what this post was about and why I referred to it. Men thinking that if we decide not to listen to their stupid theories (not all men, just the ones that have such theories which is lots) about why liberating ourselves is wrong and we all have it great anyway, that we are ‘narrow minded’ and ‘refusing to grow’, is oppressive. To feminists, to women.

        I think you are misunderstanding the nature of theories of class based oppression. Patriarchy benefits all men as a class at the expense of all women as a class. This does not mean if you put one randomly selected man in the room with one randomly selected woman, then he will necessarily be better off than her in general terms, or even that he will try and oppress her. It means he will always be privileged relative to her, and that privilege is often unnoticed. Because of that, men will frequently act in oppressive ways to women without realizing it, because that is the nature of privilege – the shit you don’t have to notice.

        Here is an article which explains male privilege.

        You misunderstand my argument, which admittedly was sloppily made by the phrase “every man seems to think they are worth any woman’s time and energy, and that their opinion counts”.

        Again, my bad.

        My point is that every man benefits from male privilege in the world in which we live. This is what male privilege is. This is the nature of class based oppression. I didn’t do that. Patriarchy did that. I’m just pointing it out. As I also pointed out, some men are able to see past this. It doesn’t stop them being privileged, but it enables them to work against it. Most men aren’t. I made a mistake by saying ‘every man’. As you may note, by indicating the presence of TP, I didn’t actually mean that literally.

        What I should have said is that:

        ‘according to the privilege afforded to men by patriarchy, they are encouraged to think that they are worth every woman’s time and energy, and that their opinion counts. Most men are unaware of this and may act it out during conversations, resulting in assholishness and time wasting. Particularly when it comes to things which question their privilege, like feminism.’

        I am not dismissing them based on sex, I am dismissing them because they cannot see past, and are acting out, the privilege conferred on them by an unequal society. By doing this, they are oppressing me. The advice of an oppressor, while oppressing me, is unlikely to be anything more than a waste of time and will not further my liberation. Therefore, I say, fuck that shit.

        I used ‘men’ as shorthand when what I actually meant is ‘men who are unable to see past their own privilege and are therefore oppressing me/feminists/women’.

        Because sadly, men who can actually see past it, are in quite a small minority.But it is a very important distinction.

        I think that I was unclear in distinguishing between how men/women functions as an unequal class based system of domination, and what this means for discussions about feminism, and men/women as biological sex. I apologise that i was unclear and will be more precise in future.

        I hope that has cleared that one up.

        Therefore, you ‘what if men said that about women’ thing hopefully no longer makes sense, because you can see what I am referring to is the unlevel playing field, not random sex based prejudice?


        ‘“You seem to be labouring under the misconception that feminism requires women to be nice enough to men for them to give up some of their precious power and stop oppressing us.” Did you read my post? When did I say anything like that?’

        Yeah, I did. Your reasoning was that if men are oppressing us, to get that to stop, we have to convince them, and that means we can’t dismiss their opinions:

        ‘If so, how are you going to change men’s attitudes if you refuse to even listen to their opinions on the subject?’

        This statement first assumes that we are dismissing all men, which is not what was argued in the post anyhow and not what I’m arguing even though obv i see why you thought that because it was kind of what I said but did not mean to… What was argued in the post is that listening to anti feminist men is a waste of time.

        But, you think we are going to end oppression by convincing them not to oppress us, through talking to them, and not dismissing them (i.e. being nice). This is what i mean by ‘being nice enough to men for them to give up some of their precious power and stop oppressing us’ – that we do not get to dismiss, we have to keep on talking to them even when they are assholes to us, and that is the way we will get equality.

        I disagree. Wasting your breath on guys like that is not ever going to convince them, because they do not want to be convinced and they don’t want to hear what you have to say. You are better off directing your energies elsewhere.

        I’m sorry i have made you want to distance yourself from the movement but i hope you will see that i have clarified what I’m saying and that the attitude is not dismissive or narrow… nor is it unrelated to what you said, just reading between the lines to the assumptions of what you said.

        i think we are more on the same page than it might appear…

        This is the crux:
        ‘Everyone’s opinion is worth listening to, at least until you hear it and decide if it’s intelligently-made, and relevant.’

        No one is arguing not to listen full stop. They are saying don’t be afraid to tell someone to fuck off if they are just spouting misogynistic bullshit, especially if it is a man. You don’t have to waste your breath trying to convince someone who is coming from there.

  86. good villager said, on June 7, 2015 at 1:59 pm

    Thank you for writing. Seriously. Your presence validates all of us who feel the exact same way, but have been shut down time and again by the helpful and much more knowledgeable menz and their handmaidens. Experiencing it almost daily is alienating, and unless you’re impervious, you just stop vocalizing altogether and retreat.

    I’m reading this years after you’ve posted, I realize. And while I’m so happy it is still here for us to read and bolster ourselves with, it saddens me that all of this still applies and that we haven’t progressed. I think it’s only getting worse.

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