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View Diary: How to be a Male Ally (59 comments)

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  •  But I am not questioning the validity of (1+ / 0-)
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    churchylafemme

    your argument because you are a man. You said you do not care to join up with movements that treat you like a doormat. How is me exploring that in essence treating you like a doormat? If I for example thought your concerns/ideas were not valid why would I even bother engaging? Nor did I imply that you did not care about a particular group, I did imply that I thought you did not want to say join up with active feminist groups  (or others ) for example because your did not want to be judged or critiqued. I think that is an important thing to explore because it might be at the heart of why sympathetic people hang back form active participation in many social justic movements. I think men can be feminists but I think they have to arrive at that piont on their own, I cannot force, or persuade.

    I am a white person, how valid would it be if I wrote about racism without including the voices of POC in my diary. I could certainly write about what I have observed as a white person, but I am not a POC and therefore cannot really imagine that experience. I cannot feel that experience and I cannot suffer direct damage as a result. I can empathize, or attempt to. So, that is where the critique of not including women's voices came from.

    I am still missing the doormat part.

    •  The root of the problem... (0+ / 0-)
      But I am not questioning the validity of your argument because you are a man. You said you do not care to join up with movements that treat you like a doormat. How is me exploring that in essence treating you like a doormat?  Nor did I imply that you did not care about a particular group, I did imply that I thought you did not want to say join up with active feminist groups  (or others ) for example because your did not want to be judged or critiqued.   I think that is an important thing to explore because it might be at the heart of why sympathetic people hang back form active participation in many social justic movements.
      You're hitting on the root of the problem here.  I'm about to unload on you, so I apologize in advance.  Just to avoid being a complete hypocrite, I want to make one thing absolutely clear: I am referring here to one segment of the community, not the community as a whole (nor you personally).  But it's not necessary for the entire community to be made up of bad apples in order to make it unpalatable to people who might otherwise be interested.

      I tried to take part, I really did.  I listened, I read, I empathized, I understood.  There isn't much about the plight of women, minorities, and the LGBT community that you could say to me that I would find at all surprising.  It just gets frustrating and tiresome having there be an entire segment of the community that feels that it's okay to make sweeping generalizations about white men (or straight men, or straight people, or white people, or cisgendered people, or whatever), and never be challenged on it.  I get sick and tired and frustrated of trying to argue in favor of feminist views and having tons of extra time to distance myself from all the hateful filth that comes out of the fringes.

      The first time I head the word "cis", it was between the words "die" and "scum".  That's the way most people hear it first, and in all honesty I have better things to do than waste my time trying to get people to actually consider a viewpoint when a hateful radical fringe is working so hard to push people away and making horrible first impressions, which are particularly hard to wipe clean.

      Criticizing the words of the radical fringe?  Say that what they're doing makes what you're trying to do vastly more difficult?  That's taboo.  An as a white man, that must mean that I don't empathize with them.

      I do, though.  I get why people are angry.  I'd be angry too in their position, and to the extent that I'm able to understand it from my own position of privilege, I am angry on their behalf.  I'm just tired of exposing myself to those people who think it's okay to spew their hate and filth and bile on anyone and everyone who happens to have the same skin color and equipment as the people who have mistreated them in the past.  I'm done.  I'm just not interested.  

      It's depressing.  Why do it?  What's my role?  What do I accomplish by subjecting myself to it?  Who have I benefited?  Not me.  Not anyone else, as far as I can tell.  I lack useful experience and my ideas aren't needed.  I have real expertise in other fields.  Does the fact that I agree with feminist ideas mean that I have a duty to participate in feminist activism over any other kind of activism?  Or would it be okay if I try to take a stand and fight the good fight on my own, with my pride intact?

      To your credit, you seem very nice.  You personally aren't treating me like a doormat, but then I never claimed that you were.  It's not the entire movement that's like this, but it doesn't need to be.  Just understand that you're speaking with a person who has already experienced the whole thing.  I'm not talking out of my ass.  While my negative experience hasn't changed my views on feminist ideas in any way, it's cemented my opinion that I'd be both more helpful and more satisfied elsewhere.

      •  Well..... (0+ / 0-)

        there is plenty in various feminist groups I disagree with and I am not sure I agree with who gets chosen as a spokesperson and why.

        I don't believe in beating a dead horse, you gave an explanation. It creates some interesting parallels that are piontless to expand on. Hopefully, you are putting that expertise in other areas to good use.

    •  Something I want to add, since I can't edit... (0+ / 0-)

      Someone said this to me in another comment thread here:

      If it's important for you to be able to assert your position over someone, then yeah, you need to find somewhere you're more comfortable.  But I think that's a problem.
      How am I supposed to take that?  Look closely at the above paragraph and consider the obvious implications.  What do you suppose that this person who knows me only from the few paragraphs that I've already typed thinks of me?  Do you see why I find this shit depressing?  Can't I have motives that are good?  Or does it all have to be about asserting my dominance or whatever other things men have apparently been socially conditioned to do?

      I'm just so damn tired of it.  And yes -- by the way -- it is hurtful, not that it's going to ruin my day.  But here I am being reminded of precisely why I no longer want to be around these people.

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