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12 Helpful Suggestions for Men Regarding Conduct in Feminist Spaces


Dinosaur comics explains 'Male Gaze'

Because theory is easier to understand with dinosaurs.

Feminism101 on Male Gaze

The bit that made me want to jump up and down and shout "Oh! I think I get it now!" was this bit in the comments;
So when a woman is walking down the street, she self-consciously watches herself walking down the street, and modifies her behaviour for an imaginary ideal. In public situations, women define themselves as being constantly viewed and judged, in a way men don't have to.

Feminism101 on the role of men in the feminist movement.




My opinions and reactions to the actual theory presentedin these links intentionally left blank.

Comments

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
the_nita
Jun. 9th, 2008 07:29 pm (UTC)
From the final link....

"Just as there’s no easy answer to the question of whether or not a man should call himself a “feminist” or go by a different term"

Why does this have the taste of "what should gays call their union" to me?

curgoth
Jun. 9th, 2008 07:47 pm (UTC)
The difference is in the question of homosexual unions, it's generally the (dominant) outsiders trying to define how they will label the queers. In feminism, it's the group trying to define itself. A closer analogy might be the discussion in queer culture of whether or not it's okay for straight people to march in the Pride Parade, and in what situations it's okay.

Edited at 2008-06-09 07:48 pm (UTC)
the_nita
Jun. 9th, 2008 07:50 pm (UTC)
Fair enough - not entirely sure I agree (women in the dominant position(far as I can tell through the wonders of the internet) are the ones deciding what they can call themselves).

The analogy you present is reasonable though. I still can't say I care for the taste. Especially from people who are ostensibly saying "I should be as valuable as anyone else for my own merits".
curgoth
Jun. 9th, 2008 08:10 pm (UTC)
The reason for the reticence in letting men "in" to feminism is based on experience, from what I've read - it's not uncommon for men involved in feminism to want to come in and take over - they're trained from a young age that it's the right thing to do. So, one of the concerns is having a man come into a movement about women defining thier own identities and place in society, and telling the women that they're doing it wrong. It's a slippery slope because of the various ways in which various bits of patriarchal training can warp good intentions - men are taught to take control, be authorities and to "look after" women. If we fail to keep those tendencies in check, we end up trampling all over a movement that is, at its heart, by and for women. Feminism is, at least in part, about women trying to define thier own role in society - or, to put it in much different language, about dismantling the patiarchy. If men want to throw off thier own patriarchal yokes and define their own role in society as men, feminism isn't ther place to do it.

That there really isn't a good place for men to work at doing so is something that I put a lot of thought into.
the_nita
Jun. 9th, 2008 08:15 pm (UTC)
And again - if someone comes in and starts taking over, you can politely tell them to shove it without having to set down a set of rules for all men to follow...

Sweeping generalizations and all that.

Why do we need the men to keep their tendencies in check for us? Why can't we, as women, say "you (specific) are acting like a jerk (for some definition of jerk) - cut it out or don't let the door hit you in the ass?"

And I guess my long run upshot at this is an objection that there has to be a grand sweeping movement that we must all agree with - you are different than him than her than him than them. Why should the rules that we (as you and I) agree to have anything directly to do with anyone else? Use frameworks, but don't assume that any interaction with another human being MUST follow the same structure as your interactions with any other...
zingerella
Jun. 9th, 2008 07:58 pm (UTC)
I dipped my toe into the comments from the 12-Things link, and had to pull it right back out. There's a lot of Not Getting It there.
curgoth
Jun. 9th, 2008 08:12 pm (UTC)
I just ignored the comments entirely - I picked that one up while doing a lot of feminism101 reading, and had gotten to the point of just assuming that the comments sections would be pretty hostile to kl00.

Edited at 2008-06-09 08:13 pm (UTC)
(Anonymous)
Jun. 9th, 2008 09:13 pm (UTC)
The bit about self-consciously modelling my behaviour - I don't do it for my body. I do it for my head. I think about what other people would think about my thoughts. I figure that's more moulded by the societal pressures than male gaze. (For me, societal pressures are no-gender.)
night__watch
Jun. 9th, 2008 10:43 pm (UTC)
There is a male gaze for men, as well, though. I'm not saying our lives are more limited than women's as a result, just that the patriarchy enforces rules on everyone's behaviour ("take it like a man") and appearance.

Spoken as a man who still puts up with remarks about the length of his hair.

Still, I haven't ever had to a) shave my legs, b) call a walk home program in order to feel secure in walking down the street at night or c) put up with people whistling or fondling me in bars.
shelestel
Jun. 9th, 2008 10:56 pm (UTC)
There is a gaze for each child and in every society, but the patriarchal one regulates women and men somewhat differently. Differently in a way that pushes women towards a more passive self-identification than men. In our society, being active correlates in certain ways with general well being. Not in obvious or straightforward ways for sure, but in some. There you go, systemic discrimination.
curgoth
Jun. 9th, 2008 10:56 pm (UTC)
Yes, definitely. One of the things I'm interested in is trying to create a space or spaces where men can talk about challenging cultural assumptions about masculinity without usurping safe space for women to do thier own thing.
mycrazyhair
Jun. 10th, 2008 04:18 am (UTC)
Wow. I really should not have read the comments to "12 Helpful Suggestions" at this time of night. It's going to take me another hour to calm down so I can sleep.
kalivor
Jun. 11th, 2008 07:47 am (UTC)
I spent most of yesterday trying to figure out if the "12 Helpful Suggestions" post is supposed to be serious, or a joke.

I think I'm leaning towards the latter. After all:

The core target audience for the post appears to be men who come to the group with the best of intentions, but react defensively to the material they find.

The purpose of the post is to give some guidelines for these men to follow, as they are often disruptive to the group.

... but ...

it is then written in such a manner which appears to be designed to produce those very same defensive reactions. Anybody who writes the words "shut the hell up" as part of one of the rules (or "get over yourself", etc.), when they are aware that their audience is one that is prone to react defensively, cannot be surprised when they find that their point is not conveyed to that audience effectively.

I don't think that the original poster was aiming to help men in the community, or make it a better/more comfortable place for women. Whether she was venting, or just looking for a reaction because she enjoys such things, I do not know. The language used to convey the points was such that it serves to completely mask the point to the target audience.

Maybe I'm wrong, and it was a serious post. In which case, it should be re-written with the audience in mind - defensive males will never understand it the way it is currently.


Anyways, thanks for the links. Thought provoking stuff PLUS dinosaurs. Gotta love it.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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