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View Diary: open letter to dude feminists (58 comments)

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  •  Good diary (10+ / 0-)

    And a good reminder that male privilege is one of those things we guys usually don't get because, to borrow a meme from Heidegger, the hammer just keeps working.

    There's only one thing I ask. When I'm being an ally, please, please, no condescending bullshit about how "men suck...except for you maxomai." And expect me to call you on it when it happens. There are a lot more male allies out there than most people think.

    ‎"Masculinity is not something given to you, but something you gain. And you gain it by winning small battles with honor." - Norman Mailer
    My Blog
    My wife's woodblock prints

    by maxomai on Fri Aug 16, 2013 at 03:43:03 PM PDT

    •  That's the male equivalent... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sexgenderbody

      Of the Honorary Penis--you know, when a man says "Oh, but YOU'RE not like those OTHER women." Divide and conquer, baby!

      Men SHOULD be feminists, why would I demean their efforts in that direction by acting like they're children who need to be led by the hand to do the right thing? It's a matter of respect.

      "Nothing's wrong, son, look at the news!" -- Firesign Theater

      by SmartAleq on Fri Aug 16, 2013 at 04:02:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  That can be tricky -- (13+ / 0-)

      to be able to get across the difference between 'men' as a class & 'the men I'm dealing with right now.'

      "Schroedinger's Rapist" is an excellent explanation of that (re: physical safety, of course).  Relevant paragraph:

      When you approach me in public, you are Schrödinger’s Rapist. You may or may not be a man who would commit rape. I won’t know for sure unless you start sexually assaulting me. I can’t see inside your head, and I don’t know your intentions. If you expect me to trust you—to accept you at face value as a nice sort of guy—you are not only failing to respect my reasonable caution, you are being cavalier about my personal safety.

      Fortunately, you’re a good guy. We’ve already established that. Now that you’re aware that there’s a problem, you are going to go out of your way to fix it, and to make the women with whom you interact feel as safe as possible.

      One of the more unpleasant jobs of Allies of any sort is to accept that, as a member of the oppressing class, you don't get the automatic acceptance/approval that you may feel you deserve. And one of the harder parts of dealing with allies is in not treating them to the approval which, as women, we're taught to present...
      •  I'm a big white dude, often with a big dog (11+ / 0-)

        I noticed a while back that I scared people, especially at night, a time I often use for waling.  

        That's improved a lot when I deliberately avoid eye contact and steer myself and my dog onto paths/sidewalks that don't require anybody else to get very close to me.

        But I'm usually deep in my own thoughts when walking, so I probably still scare more people than I notice.

        My wife, by contrast, has idiots approach her and say "you should be smiling more" when she's lost in thought.  Or follow her, or stare at her.  All of these problems greatly reduced when she's walking the big dog.

        We live in a strange world.  Nobody sees it the same way, and fear tends to be justified by past experiences.  (I drive very cautiously in rain, when tailgated, when tired.  I've had a number of close calls.  It bugs other drivers and my passengers sometimes, and I don't explain it.  My feelings about this are mild compared to those of my wife, who has actually been assaulted by strangers, mauled by "friends" and knows many people who have been raped by men who everyone in the social group "knew" were "off", but were never excluded because they were socially useful in some way).  

        The best anyone can do is try to notice when others are uncomfortable and try to identify which behaviors are causing discomfort and mitigate them.  You won't always get it right, but not scaring people is reward enough in itself.

        •  Not big, but walk 155 pounds of dog who are (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Wee Mama

          aggressive to cats.  I was avoiding a 'cat house' and inadvertently menaced a guy whom I did not notice.  Luckily I saw him a week or two later an yelled an apology across the street.  He was cool.

          ...Son, those Elephants always look out for themselves. If you happen to get a crumb or two from their policies, it's a complete coincidence. -Malharden's Dad

          by slowbutsure on Fri Aug 16, 2013 at 05:44:43 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I find a big smile and "hello" (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          maxomai, David54

          work better than avoiding eye contact and scuttling across the street (though certainly understandable with a big dog some people might mistake as dangerous or be fearful of).
          But, I've been living in rural small towns for the last 30 years, if you're in a suburb or big city, people certainly are not very friendly.

          Your beliefs don't make you a better person. Your behavior does.

          by skohayes on Fri Aug 16, 2013 at 05:55:26 PM PDT

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          •  People are strange. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            skohayes

            You can't make this stuff up.

            by David54 on Fri Aug 16, 2013 at 09:15:58 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Trust me. A strange big white guy (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sexgenderbody, Wee Mama, SmartAleq

            giving a woman at night a direct gaze, a big smile and a hello is NOT what she wants to see.

            From me, where I live,  it's just a threat unless they know me.  Not seeming especially interested in them and focused on other things...that seems to get the best response.

            If somebody wants to be friendly, they'll initiate it.  I have no desire to force somebody to be polite to me just to make me go away.  Which I've watched my wife do to strangers, even when I'm nearby and obviously with her.  It is even more frequent when I'm not around.  We've talked about this, and it is really creepy how lots of men seem to think all women want to talk to them, smile at them, engage with them.

      •  I think the trick here... (4+ / 0-)

        ...is for male allies to keep in mind the difference between universal and particular language.

        And yes, 150% agreement on the physical safety concerns & my role in ameliorating them.

        ‎"Masculinity is not something given to you, but something you gain. And you gain it by winning small battles with honor." - Norman Mailer
        My Blog
        My wife's woodblock prints

        by maxomai on Fri Aug 16, 2013 at 07:21:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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