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I saw a diary from May and then a related diary from June that addressed women's issues and men's poor understanding of women's issues, respectively. While one would hope men who visit DK might be more understanding of a woman's plight than the average man (and I believe that's true), the obvious hurt and the backlash in the comments showed just how far we have to go before truer understanding is reached.

I'm a feminist. I'm the son of a Republican father and a lesbian mother. Obviously, they did not last as a couple. But they provided me a vast spectrum of moral lessons, rights and responsibilities, and near-infinite points of view. Along the way, we moved many times (six times by the time I was 12), living in Florida, Texas, NY(C), Wisconsin, NY(S) and Ohio, further expanding our points of view. I also worked in many jobs, ranging from a janitor to junior management, from working at the New York Road Runners to managing a Shakespearean tour, even further expanding my point of view.

In all that, I can say without question that, in general, men suck. In general. Specifically, I have met many a man who were gracious, respectful and caring, and many who even stood up in defense of women when the situation called for it. But, in general, men have power over women in most situations and most men do not give that power away willingly; far worse, millions (and really billions) of men have used that power over a woman (and probably multiple women and likely many women) at some point in their lives, whether or not they admit it or even realize it, which is an obvious sign of their obliviousness to the inequalities between the sexes.

Now, before you think I only see things one way, let me also add that, in general, women suck. In general. Specifically, I’ve met many a woman who were gracious, respectful, caring, etc., paragons of humanity. But I’ve also met women who lie, cheat on their SO, use people in the worst ways, hurt anyone and everyone in their lives, etc.

In short, I think people suck.

But in the battle of the sexes, men have a long way to go before they (or we, since I’m still learning myself) understand the true plight of women in a man’s world. As a man, I'm only a tourist in the feminist world, so I won’t pretend to be an expert, but as a man, I can share a couple happenings with other men here that completely changed me as a man and sharpened my point of view as a feminist.

When I younger, my mother said I had to realize I was a potential rapist. I said that was unfair, that she was pigeonholing me (and basically all men) because of the actions of a very small percentage of men. Then, in college, I left an evening class and walked to my car in the student parking lot. I followed a coed classmate doing the same, maybe 30-40 feet ahead of me. After a few steps, she turned and looked my way, and then she picked up her pace. I thought nothing of it until a few steps later, when she turned and looked my way again, this time quite frightened, and then she turned away and bolted so fast that my spider senses kicked in and I quickly turned and prepared for the worst.

Of course, my spider senses were completely mistaken. There was nothing there. I frightened her. My very presence at that place and at that hour scared the girl to her bones because I was a potential rapist.

If she had known me, she would’ve realized that I was not someone she needed to fear. But she didn’t, and her fear was so real that she instilled it in me for that brief moment (although my fear as a brawny, athletic man probably was a small fraction of her fear as a wispy, five-foot tall woman). If I could bottle that fear and give it to other men, they’d feel much differently (and hopefully ashamed) about their suggestiveness, catcalls and other boorish behavior. At least those with a moral compass. Many sick individuals prey on that fear regularly. Speaking of which…

Years later, my son and I were riding home on the subway one evening. We were in a near-empty car with a couple young women and a slovenly man across from them. The man said nasty things and made nasty gestures to the young women, so I called him on it. He dared me to do anything about it, so I got up and got in his face. He shut up very quickly.

However, after I went back to my seat, he started up again. I didn’t say anything this time. I waited a couple moments until we approached a station, and then I walked over to him. Ironically, he called out for help and shielded his eyes, thinking I was going to punch him, but I just picked him up by his coat lapels, pulled him over to the doors, and pushed him out of the car when the doors opened.

The young women were appreciative, but I didn’t do it for them as much as I did it for my son. I wanted to show him that we shouldn’t stand for such behavior, that saying and doing nothing in the face of such behavior is the same as endorsing it. I don’t endorse it. I abhor it.

Our culture doesn't simply endorse such behavior, our culture promotes rape. Don’t believe me? Studies prove that rape is considered acceptable in some circumstances. In a survey of 11-to-14 year-olds, "51% of the boys and 41% of the girls said forced sex was acceptable if the boy, "spent a lot of money" on the girl; 31% of the boys and 32% of the girls said it was acceptable for a man to rape a woman with past sexual experience; 87% of boys and 79% of girls said sexual assault was acceptable if the man and the woman were married; and 65% of the boys and 47% of the girls said it was acceptable for a boy to rape a girl if they had been dating for more than six months." This is beyond the pale. This is beyond feminism. This is beyond humanity.

The correct answer to all of those scenarios is NEVER. Forced sex is NEVER acceptable. Yet in each of those questions, not only boys but many girls considered rape acceptable if the boy simply spent money on the girl, and the great majority of girls – nearly four out of five! – thought a husband can rape his wife! Those numbers are insane, and a clear condemnation of our rape culture. And if you think that poll is bad, you should see what college students think.

My mother and I got into a debate recently about what young women wear. She was upset that they wear so little and expose so much, and she said they’re only making trouble by dressing that way. I was surprised, to say at the least. She was the one who taught me many years ago that a woman can walk down the street naked, yet that still doesn’t give anyone any permission to assault her or even touch her without her consent. She may be an exhibitionist, she may be mentally or emotionally troubled, for all anyone knows, but that still doesn’t give any man the right to abuse her physically, sexually or emotionally.

So it should go without saying that a woman who is scantily dressed deserves the same rights and protections and then some, yet our rape culture has become so inescapable that even my septuagenarian feminist lesbian mother now questions the rights and protections of said scantily clad women.

I have many more stories, but mine pale in comparison to women's own stories, their own accounts of inequality, abuse, rape and worse. We men need to be better. We need to be more attentive, more receptive, and more willing to replace our current understanding with a deeper, more meaningful understanding, even at cost to our own egos and identities. Because it's not about us, it's about them and their trials and tribulations, and our unwillingness to acknowledge the insidious pervasiveness of our society's tragically unequal standards.

I worry for the future of my daughters and granddaughters. We're failing our female population day in and day out. Feminism does not aim to "entitle" women, it seeks equality:  political, social and economic equality. The feminist movement made tremendous gains last century (nothing even close to equality, but it led to some some legal rights and protections that didn't exist only a few decades ago), but the backlash that created and the men's rights activists that grew out of that backlash are trying to take back those gains and "put women back in their place." The war on women is very real, and these MRAs need to be stopped in their tracks.

The sad truth is most men, even many of the supposedly enlightened men on this site, don't understand the depth and breadth of the actual inequality between the sexes, nor of the fear and outright harm women face daily.

I am a feminist. We all should be feminists.

Originally posted to Kenny Herbert on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 09:28 AM PDT.

Also republished by Mad Men on Daily Kos, This Week in the War on Women, and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Did you clarify with your mother? (7+ / 0-)

    I think there is a significant difference between her holding the position that women might want to be more careful how they dress so as not to draw the attention of rapists and blaming women for rape because of the way they dress.  I think as well that your mother probably feels more vulnerable to crime given her age and this may inform her view.

    As for the "potential rapist," I think you may gild the lily here.  Women have to be more aware of their surroundings when there are few if any people around, especially at night.  I don't think this translates to viewing every man as a potential rapist, but a basic awareness of potential threats.  As a practice, I always make casual noise if I approach a woman from behind on a dark street so that she is aware of my presence before I pass.  I also always stay as far away as I can do as I pass for the same reason.  Furthermore, if I sense potential harm (eg, given the neighborhood), I will stay far enough in front of her that she is not alarmed, but close enough to be able to intervene if something bad were to happen.  I do not project that women may see me as a potential rapist, but appreciate that they (like all urban citizens) must be aware of the strangers around them.  

    I have always been a feminist.  

    •  Here is an example... (17+ / 0-)

      ...of how our good intentions change the dialogue. You wrote:  "Women have to be more aware of their surroundings..." which means it's the woman's responsibility to not be a victim, rather than the man's responsibility to not be a criminal. And yes, I know you want that as well (and yes, I taught my daughters to be smart in our rape culture), but I wasn't addressing women and their need to conform for their own safety, I was addressing men and their role to end this rape culture.

      That said, I appreciate all you wrote and ways to make women feel unthreatened - all wonderful suggestions for us all - and I appreciate that you "have always been a feminist."+1

      •   (6+ / 0-)

        Remaining shares do not diminish as more servings are cut.  

        And there are different kinds of responsibility that don't compare to each other.  A responsibility can be a moral duty to act in a certain way when there is no compulsion to do so, e.g., it is everyone's responsibility to take action against racism and sexism.   But there are also responsibilities that are things we do for ourselves because we can't count on someone else to do it for us, e.g., it is your responsibility to keep track of your keys.

        A woman's "responsibility" not to be a victim is off the latter, pragmatic kind. There are things a woman has to do to protect herself (unfortunately) that other people can't do for her.  She should do these things and (here comes the other kind of responsibility) other people should be understanding and supportive of that and work towards reducing the need for her to do these things.

        I've lost my faith in nihilism

        by grumpynerd on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 01:32:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Sorry, but that's a semantic distinction (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bigjacbigjacbigjac, radarlady

        that is meaningless in the real world.  It is all of our responsibility to not allow ourselves to be a victim.  No one should relinquish their own agency to anyone, least of all a criminal.  Relying upon criminals to not act like criminals as a political stand is just foolish.  What is the value in even promoting this notion?  Perhaps I just don't understand your point, vis-a-vis my comment.

        Furthermore, I mentioned that women need to be more careful because they tend to be targeted for crime, are often of smaller size, and sometimes are dressed in a manner that hampers their ability to flee (eg, high heels).  The elderly are also more vulnerable to crime for obvious reasons.  So, are smaller men or men who do not gender-conform.  To point this out is not to blame the victim or to make them responsible for creating a safer environment for all.

        Perhaps this disagreement is a reflection of different life experiences.  I was raised in a rough part of a rough city.  You learned at an early age how to spot trouble and how to avoid it.  Taking responsibility for one's safety was a necessity- it's usually called street smarts.  It's a much effective means of protecting oneself from victimization than depending upon others to do it for you.  Because sometimes even as you are being victimized, you cannot rely upon bystanders for help.  

        •  Not semantics, but purpose (7+ / 0-)

          My point wasn't to criticize that you care about women taking care of themselves, my point was to say I wrote about men and their failings as partners, fellow humans, etc. Lets' focus on what we men can do better, rather than on how women can protect themselves from our baser actions.

          As I wrote in my first response, I agree with your points, I respect your own personal practices, and I think we're of the same mind in many regards. I only wish to keep the discussion on men, what we're doing wrong, and how we can make things right.

          •  Fine (0+ / 0-)

            but you didn't write about the failings of men.  You made a general reference to this, as well as to a number of other issues- women's behavior, kids' attitudes towards rape, personal anecdotes.  I note that none of the discussion in this thread has adopted the focus you intended.  

            •  It is not about the mens, old sport (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              radarlady

              This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

              by Ellid on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 06:39:34 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yes it is. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                anime1973

                As an elderly man, I know that if I were attacked by anyone 15 years my junior, I would be injured.  I may win the fight, but I would be injured.

                Yes, women are smaller (on average.)  Yes, they are more likely to be attacked--by men.  But the real problem is the idea that might makes right or that someone "owes" someone else and must therefore endure physical assault.

                The subject is both more abstract and more concrete than sexual assault.

                "...we live in the best most expensive third world country." "If only the NEA could figure out all they have to do is define the ignorance of the next generation as a WMD..." ---Stolen from posts on Daily Kos

                by jestbill on Thu Aug 28, 2014 at 09:38:54 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  *sigh* (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  novapsyche, WendyK, ExpatGirl

                  The SUBJECT is whether or not WOMEN are more constrained by fear than men due to a fear of sexual assault regardless of where and when they happen to be out of doors.  It has absolutely nothing to do with "might makes right," and I am appalled at the men who keep attempting to make it all about their fear of being mugged.

                  This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

                  by Ellid on Thu Aug 28, 2014 at 10:21:48 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Perhaps you should look to the diarist (0+ / 0-)

                    it is he who informed me (right before your little dig) that this is about men.  I was chastised for even raising the fact that women bear additional burdens to protect themselves because of the society in which we live.  This diary is about male behavior, I was told.  I thought you would have read that comment since you responded to my rebuttal.  Lost the plot, old sport?  

                  •  Well, (0+ / 0-)

                    you just go on being "appalled."

                    If social problems could be solved one at a time with (metaphorical) scalpels, your OCD-like focus on certain combinations of words would be the gold standard.

                    They cannot so it is not.  PEOPLE suffer assaults for a variety of different reasons--including random mental illness.
                    Defend yourself. Actively work to stop assaults of every type against everybody.

                    "...we live in the best most expensive third world country." "If only the NEA could figure out all they have to do is define the ignorance of the next generation as a WMD..." ---Stolen from posts on Daily Kos

                    by jestbill on Thu Aug 28, 2014 at 08:20:31 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Again, you are completely missing the point (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      maregug

                      The diary is NOT about a random person's chance of being mugged.  It's about women being afraid of being attacked, and how it's so pervasive that the most innocent and harmless of men seems threatening.

                      In short:

                      This is not about men, whether old, young, handicapped, or what.  It's about women.

                      This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

                      by Ellid on Fri Aug 29, 2014 at 06:46:31 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Ah....but it is you who has missed (0+ / 1-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Hidden by:
                        serendipityisabitch

                        the actual point.

                        I once read an account of a young, black man's day in which he told the same story of working ever so hard not to upset the random white people he came in contact with.

                        Do I really have to wait until someone writes a diary about the perils and hardships of being white?

                        We all live in the same world.  It is your OCD that demands that each and every problem is so different that we all must keep our blinders on and never imagine that there might be an applicable general statement.

                        "...we live in the best most expensive third world country." "If only the NEA could figure out all they have to do is define the ignorance of the next generation as a WMD..." ---Stolen from posts on Daily Kos

                        by jestbill on Fri Aug 29, 2014 at 09:38:27 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

        •  I guess your not a woman (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LSophia

          Because if you were one, like me, you would know much fucking energy we spend trying to keep ourselves safe. How many basic freedoms men just take for granted that a woman who is concerned for personal safety simply can't.

    •  I'm 54, overweight, and live in a safe area (14+ / 0-)

      And I would NEVER go out for a walk after dark.  Ever.  Even though I know my neighbors, one of whom is a local cop, and even though it's a densely populated suburb in a town with a vanishingly small crime rate -

      Because, to be honest?  Any of those nice neighbors in their nice houses might be hiding a secret.  Some of them may have forced a woman into sex in high school or college.  Some of them might be forcing their wives into having sex right now.  Some may have teenage boys who are climbing on top of their girlfriends at the local pond and saying "come on, I'm getting blue balls here, what are you, a cocktease?  I'll pull out, I swear I'm clean, I"m wearing a condom" just before they shove it in.

      All of this is almost certainly going on behind closed doors or in cars or playrooms in my pretty, clean, middle class suburb, and you would never know it from looking at the men and boys who are involved.  Telling me that viewing all men with caution/suspicion is "gilding the lily" ignores this reality.

      This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

      by Ellid on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 01:06:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  In that situation and many far riskier, I WILL (11+ / 0-)

        walk out alone after dark, any time I please.  I may be foolhardy.  I may be courting trouble and making myself vulnerable.  But, I can't write NEEDLESSLY vulnerable, because I NEED to be free.  I live here too.  They're my streets too.  I won't live in fear.  I won't give in to that.

        I'm 52, and I've lived in safe neighborhoods and in gnarly neighborhoods.  Though I've been mugged a few times, and felt the threatening shadow of imminent sexual violence more than once, I've never been raped, and I hope it stays that way.  But not at the price of living under curfew or house arrest.

        "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

        by lgmcp on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 01:18:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  More power to you (8+ / 0-)

          This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

          by Ellid on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 01:29:32 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I live in a very rural area (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lgmcp, Ellid

          What I fear in the dark is cougars, bears and snakes. :D  

          Men, not so much. Most of them are not out in the dark either. lol

          I used to walk in the dark, until it started feeling creepy. I learned later that cougars had moved back into the area, so I'm thinking that I could be sensing them - perhaps hearing or smelling them on a subliminal level.

          In the city, I always walked in the darker areas, feeling like walking in the light was putting myself into the spotlight. In the dark, they don't know if I'm dangerous or not.



          Women create the entire labor force.
          ---------------------------------------------
          Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

          by splashy on Thu Aug 28, 2014 at 10:19:37 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  My elderly parents live in a canyon (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Ellid

            and see cougars even in daylight, so I'm glad THEY don't go for nocturnal rambles.  

            In my farming village the largest predators are only coyotes.   I had a hard time convincing some visiting school-age great-nephews and -nieces that coyotes and maybe some skunks were no threat to us taking the garbage out to the barn without a flashlight.  That alone seemed to them a huge adventure.

            "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

            by lgmcp on Thu Aug 28, 2014 at 10:31:03 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  There's a treatment for a David Lynch film (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BvueDem, Kenny Herbert

        in there.  

      •  I walk after dark regularly. (11+ / 0-)

        Overweight, middle-aged woman here.  Feminist.  Damned if I'm going to let fear rule my life.

        I do live in a safe city (Midwestern college town) & is well-policed (probably over-policed).  That really doesn't factor into my personal calculus, though.  I've been a feminist as long as I've been politically aware.  I've worn whatever I've wanted to wear & I've gone out whenever I've wanted to, alone, because dammit as an adult I should have the right to do so.  I don't need a male minder to keep me safe.

        I'm not the typical target rape victim (18-24, young, slim).  There's that.  But even when I was, I did what I was going to do.

        There was one time, when I was at college, when one of the students was raped in her own dorm room by a stranger.  She hadn't locked her door from inside.  For a time, the college stressed a buddy system & made sure female students knew campus police would accompany them to their dorm if requested.  I still walked across campus, alone--though (pacifist me) I held a knitting needle between thumb & forefinger while I did so.

        •  Thumbs up for the needle! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          novapsyche

          "...we live in the best most expensive third world country." "If only the NEA could figure out all they have to do is define the ignorance of the next generation as a WMD..." ---Stolen from posts on Daily Kos

          by jestbill on Thu Aug 28, 2014 at 09:41:11 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Goes all the way back to Edwardian music-hall: (0+ / 0-)

            "Never Go Out Walking Without Your Hatpin".  Despite the excruciatingly arch drag rendition, it's worth a watch:  
             

            "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

            by lgmcp on Thu Aug 28, 2014 at 01:28:11 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Women don't even go there (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nomandates

      As a woman almost old enough to get Medicare, I have to say that in my personal experience and that of women I've known all my life, most women don't even go to the places where they might feel vulnerable, at least not alone.  But they have to go to parking structures, etc. when they are done with their work shifts, etc. so they can't avoid everything.

      My husband used to go to various cities for classes related to his work.  He almost always stayed at a motel, not so close to the hotel with the venue of classes, to save money.  Then he'd walk to the hotel, and back to the motel in the evening, or maybe walk around the city, perhaps through some dicey neighborhoods, to get to a famous location.  I was scared to death for him.  But he never felt any reluctance to do those walks.  He also was never hurt.  But I once looked up statistics on assaults of men, and it turns out that men are assaulted at a greater rate than women are.  Not talking rape here.

      Women reading this:  would you have taken those walks alone?  Sure we SHOULD be able to, but would YOU PERSONALLY  have done that?

      My husband and daughters are joggers.  I know he never let the daughters job in many places we've been to on trips.  But he jogs many places.  WOULD YOU?

      Green and buzzy (mosquitoes.)

      by Andy Cook on Thu Aug 28, 2014 at 12:22:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks. You're right, most people suck when it (16+ / 0-)

    comes to actually acting on equality - of any kind - but DK has more atypical examples than most places. (And I mean that in a good way.)

    My latest irritation was someone who accepted the presence of a global rape culture and realized that it needed to change - and suggested that what might be needed was legalization of prostitution, so that men could have their biological need for sex fulfilled without stepping over the line into rape.

    As a hypothesis, I put that up there with flat earthers and creationism - and it's one which tends to dismiss any counterargument by a woman as invalid, because it's a male thing, doncha know. Especially when other-species mating behavior is used for proof! of the hypothesis.

    End mini rant. A good diary, and thanks again.

    mouseover the bar (I'm practicing for DK5)

    by serendipityisabitch on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 10:51:58 AM PDT

    •  Interesting you should mention that. (5+ / 0-)

      Recently in Canada, the Supreme Court ruled that prostitution laws were illegal because they did more harm to sex workers than it did to protect them.  A large number of people speaking on the importance of this ruling were women.  

      Generally speaking, they were saying that many sex workers are doing this as a last resort and if we want to help/protect them, we shouldn't treat them as criminals.   However, more than one woman said that it was "feminist" for some women to CHOSE sex work (ie. strippers, "escorts", massage parlours,  arguement that there are women who chose this line of work and they shouldn't be punished for enjoying sex and trying to make money by selling sexual services if they choose.  

      The first thought that crossed my mind was exactly what you have said.  This idea of, on the one hand we are talking about the dangers of rape culture and male entitlement when it comes to sex...and on the other hand we have educated women on the radio saying it is part of feminism that if women want to be sex workers, they should have the right to do so.

      Ultimately, I think this is all part of the confusion people (men and women) have when it comes to discussions about feminism.  What does the term mean?  Fairness and equality are easy terms to agree on...but feminism?  To me that implies women's rights but to me that would include their right to exchange sex for money if they wanted.  Why not?  But then wouldn't that contribute to the whole problem of rape culture and male sexual entitlement?  I mean, if we accept that sex can be commoditized, then we've accepted that in some sense, objectification is OK.

      I don't know.  Maybe just having these discussions is enough to get people thinking and for change to occur?  Maybe respectful communication between people is key?

      •  I actually have no objection to the legitimization (11+ / 0-)

        of prostitution, if we can somehow pull the social stigma from the area at the same time. Commoditization need not equal objectification, or at least not to any greater degree than any other well paid artist must accept.

        My objection is to a view of male sexual needs as biologically driven to the point where rape is seen as a legitimate and natural response to not having sex readily available. That viewpoint takes major amounts of chutzpah, and a commitment to unthinking reaction, to maintain.

        And yes, respectful communication may be our best hope, if not the only one, toward solving the problem.

        mouseover the bar (I'm practicing for DK5)

        by serendipityisabitch on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 02:06:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Re: stigma (5+ / 0-)

          This is the real sticking point.  Stigma is the reason why the rape culture flourishes, IMO.  Women are regularly stigmatized for everyday instances of sex, let alone rape or cases of prostitution.  Women should not have sex, end stop:  that's the underlying message.  If they do, it should not be enjoyable--in fact, it's preferable that the husband demand it of her against her will.

          Addressing the stigma?  I've been wondering about that for decades now.  I truly to believe that switching the prostitution model from criminalized to decriminalized (whereupon at most a fine might be instituted but there is legal protection in place [workers can call police if assaulted, &c]) would be the most enlightened.  In Nevada, we already have a patchwork system of legalized prostitution--if threatened, the women or their employers can call in police.  However, the women are still isolated from the general neighborhood (put behind gates) & not allowed to establish their own work hours.  When I did my research into this population for my undergraduate work, I found that their condition met the definition of a total asylum as according to Erving Goffman, a seminal sociologist.  This isolation contributes to the women's stigmatization & IMO needs to be broken down in order to lessen it.

          Thanks for your thoughts on the matter.  Hopefully my engagement with you upon these issues will not derail the diary significantly.

          •  I think that it's a chicken and egg problem. One (3+ / 0-)

            of the prime reasons for continuing the stigma is to back up the cultural norm that says women are lesser beings, and thus excuse a substantial part of rape culture.

            We don't think of organized crime as having a lobbying voice, but considering the likely profits involved in running a prostitution business, I would be surprised if there weren't also some influence peddling going on to keep the stigma firmly in place.

            mouseover the bar (I'm practicing for DK5)

            by serendipityisabitch on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 08:22:04 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  My problem isn't stigma, but... (4+ / 0-)

            ...forced servitude. I work at a law firm that works with Vs., which is exposing human sex trafficking in America. We often read about it in other countries, but most people I know are shocked to learn the level of human trafficking here in the US:

            "Today there are more than 27 million people are enslaved around the world (Batstone). With anywhere between 50,000 to 75,000 people being trafficked in and out of the United States yearly as sex slaves, domestics, garment, and agricultural slaves. An estimated 40% of trafficking victims are under 18 (Djansezian). Sexual exploitation includes but is not limited to sexual harassment, rape, incest, battering, pornography and prostitution." (Sexual Slavery and Human Trafficking In America)

            I don't know if decriminalizing/legalizing it would reduce or increase those numbers, and unless that is determined, I'm at odds with legalizing it.

            •  Seriously speaking, I think that once you have (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Kenny Herbert

              a black market for something, it will always exist to some degree.  Alcohol is legal but moonshiners still run their wares because they can undercut the legitimate market.

              If legalization (this is not talking about decriminalization, where the women would be the persons in charge of their own labor & as such able to set their own prices) were to take hold nationwide, there would still be sexual trafficking, because if an industry sets a standard price--in Nevada, there is a general scale of price for any particular act--then the people running the shadow side of things know how to react.

              The problem is endemic, which is why I support full decriminalization of prostitution.  The women in Nevada work as independent contractors, have half their earnings taken by their establishments, have their movements rigorously restricted, must register with the government (fingerprinted in triplicate) . . . many, many restrictions of an industry that would benefit far more greatly by not making it a criminal offense.

              (Besides all this, if either legalization or decriminalization were to occur, then police could actually focus more clearly on instances where women were pressed into the work, as one would assume that those in the legal/decriminalized sector would establish themselves voluntarily.)

      •  I think where this argument really breaks down (3+ / 0-)

        Is where those empowered, self directed voices on the radio see liberation to be mainly about their own individual choices, without taking into account the vast majority of women who have no other economic options, or who are coerced into it.

        And of those empowered voices, how many would choose another job and different means to express their sexy selves were an equally lucrative job available.

        If sex work was my only option, I would glamor it up as much as possible, and choose to think like they do, fighting stereotypes and stigma, claiming empowerment, to improve my lot any way I could, both socially and internally.

        But I do think that for many of them, in years to come, negatives for them will surface. Not because I think they deserve it. I do not. But because it involved taking in a whole lot of negativity in a condensed and intimate way.

      •  There is a difference between (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ellid, Oh Mary Oh

        a woman selling sex and rape....

        One is a choice.....the other is not.

        •  I get that. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SaraBeth

          My point, though, is that rape culture is inherently about male power and male entitlement to sex and a woman's body.  Look at the study quoted in the original diary...even 40% of young girls believe that if men give money/gifts to a woman, then the man has some right to expect sex.   The whole rape culture arguement is rooted in the belief that women are objects and men have a right to sex whenever they want.

          Am I wrong here?  Is that not the feminist position?  That we need to acknowledge and address this sense of male entitlement and sexual objectification and give women full freedom and control over their own body?

          Now on the flip-side is that there are women who choose to become sex workers.  And there are feminists who defend that position.  But sex work essentially profits off that notion of male entitlement...that women exist to service him when he wants and he should just be able to drop some

          Granted, I am over-simplifying and over-generalizing.  But I do believe there is a conflict in reasoning here and I think it causes a lot of fighting and confusion even among feminists.  Hell, just the otherday on HuffPo on woman wrote that she likes being whistled at on the street and feels a sense of empowerment when it happens.  Then another woman wrote a responding article saying the first woman is stupid and wrong and the only true feminist reponse is to consider this harassment and sexual objectification and enabling rape culture.  

          It reminded me of a University Philosophy class I took on morals and ethics.  We read two essays by prominant feminists and had to discuss/debate them.  One feminist was condemning porn and the other was saying porn empowers women.   Who is right?

          Which is why I think the only right answer for feminism is to stop telling women what they should do think.  That includes other feminists.  What SHOULD be advocated is an open and honest conversation between people.  Conversation is empowering.  Because the fact and reality is that nobody is ever going to find a solution to these problems by saying "X is always bad all the time and Y is wrong for ever defending it".  Because nobody is ever going to agree with such moral absolutism.  And if someone says "I am OK with X so long so long as ...." then that person has a right to that.  

          Playboy, of all places, wrote a good article on this and it said basically that same thing.  That if you want to know whether something is OK or not, it isn't the action itself that is the issue, it is whether or not you know in advance if the other person is OK with it or not.  

    •  As a sex-positive feminist, (4+ / 0-)

      I actually support the decriminalization (best option) or legalization (poorer option) of prostitution.  As far as harm reduction, it's night & day better than criminalization, which is what we have now.

      Also, though this gets dismissed out of hand often, many sex workers elect their line of work, some even out of a sense of self-actualization.  I've done research into this & have met many sex workers myself.  I'm not speaking idly.

    •  The problem with anyone making (10+ / 0-)

      that argument is that they assume men rape because they are seeking sex.  Wrong.  If it were simply an overwhelming sexual urge, men can masturbate.  Men rape as a means to express power over women.  Sex is merely a tool in attempting to control and humiliate the woman.  Same thing with man-on-man rape in prison.  That isn't about sex, it's about using a particularity brutal means to establish a hierarchy.

    •  How about... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      novapsyche, serendipityisabitch

      legalized prostitution but in tandem with a minimum income and free education/health care?

      What I mean is an actual humane society that also allows prostitution.

      Nah! Never happen.

      "...we live in the best most expensive third world country." "If only the NEA could figure out all they have to do is define the ignorance of the next generation as a WMD..." ---Stolen from posts on Daily Kos

      by jestbill on Thu Aug 28, 2014 at 09:44:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great diary, thanks for writing! /nt (8+ / 0-)

    Not all people are human; not all humans are people.

    by Jon Sitzman on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 12:14:38 PM PDT

  •  We need to be feminists not out of some altruism (20+ / 0-)

    and support for victims only, but because what's good for women is good for children and men as well.  The collective loss to civilization of what women might have achieved if they had not been discouraged (for at least the past 4000 years) is probably as great as what men have achieved in all that time.  
    I said in my mother's eulogy that if she had only been born in 1972 instead of 1922 she would have been a CEO or a news anchor.  The audience of her peers and friends completely understood.    

    Lost Tom. Lost Charlie. Can't read (Paul Newman, 'The Left Handed Gun')

    by richardvjohnson on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 12:16:25 PM PDT

  •  no. just no. (4+ / 2-)
    Recommended by:
    Shifty18, liamcdg, LumineHall, Mindful Nature
    Hidden by:
    turn blue, Skaje

    Can't buy that entire all men are potential rapists thing... Unless you want to also accept that white peoples fear of black people is justified. Irrational fear of other people is never justified... Typically we call them bigots but apparently it's alright when it's men.

    Going by a strictly dictionary definition I would be one but I would never choose such a label for myself. It's damaged beyond repair and the sort of bigotry on display here is a large part of that.

  •  That survey you cite is from 1991 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    serendipityisabitch

    and I'd be rather skeptical that the numbers would be similar today. Are there more recent studies that gauge the same types of attitudes?

    •  True, and it's likely that there is some change. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Penny GC, Oh Mary Oh, WendyK, dconrad

      The second survey, however, is from 2012. Different groups, different ages, different parameters, but certainly pointing to the probability that much of the change that we hope for hasn't happened yet.

      mouseover the bar (I'm practicing for DK5)

      by serendipityisabitch on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 01:53:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The second one seems chiefly concerned (0+ / 0-)

        with alcohol-related situations. And it doesn't appear to indicate anything similar to the attitudes shown in the 1991 survey, such as it being "OK to rape." The 2012 survey is mostly about whether or not varying levels of intoxication allow for consent, and the results in general seem far better than the 1991 survey would indicate:

        http://www.biomedcentral.com/...

        Those are the actual results. Note that the sample size for men was considerably smaller than for women, though. That would seem to me to make any comparison along gender lines difficult. Still, I don't think the later survey is in any way comparable to the 1991 data, since the parameters are totally different, as you note. Different age groups, different questions, different methodology...

      •  some change? (0+ / 0-)

        The definition of rape has been widely expanded since then. If there was no change in society we should see in equally large expansion in rape figures

        •  It most certainly has not (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Clues, WendyK

          It's the same as it always has been:  sexual contact against one's will.  What has changed is that women are no longer willing to let men get away with claiming that the women and girls they bully, drug, or guilt-trip into having sex haven't really been raped.

          Go troll somewhere else.  

          This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

          by Ellid on Thu Aug 28, 2014 at 07:27:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Sociological studies (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Oh Mary Oh

      generally stand up to the test of time, because cultural attitudes (at least in the United States) are slow to evolve.  The transformation in how Americans view same-sex marriage has progressed at lightning-speed.  On the other hand, race relations remain at a stagnant pace, not at its nadir--in modern times--in the 1910s & '20s, but still at a bad pace.  Racism is a cultural meme that has staying power, as does most bigotry.

      Anyway.  Some sociological insights are so overwhelmingly obvious that, even if ethical standards were possible, it would be unnecessary to reproduce the experiment.  (See Milford, Stanford Prison experiments.)  They show us the underbelly of human nature & it's enough to have seen it the one time.

      Many sociological papers are considered canon, despite how long it has been since they were carried out.  Durkheim's treatise on anomie is still a standard in sociological standards, despite the fact that the research & analysis was conducted in the '40s.  It revealed a greater viewpoint on human nature in general, which is why it is still considered not just a classic but a touchstone & springboard for current research.

      I'm not saying that this particular experiment & conclusion is & should be considered set in stone.  Run another survey; fine.  Odds are, belief systems will have budged barely in the intervening time period.  Twenty-five (approximate) years is nothing when considering the staying power of certain entrenched ideas in the cultural consciousness.

  •  You know the biggest thing (15+ / 0-)

    men can do for women, and for the human-rights discourse in general?

    Knock off with the man-splaining, already. Stop pontificating about realities that aren't yours, and courses-of-action you'll never be in a position to have to consider. Take a back seat, for a change. Listen.

    Thanks for the diary.

    "Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come." --Rumi

    by karmsy on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 02:08:45 PM PDT

    •  wtf? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      serendipityisabitch

      I'm female and an old one at that. I thought he explained his own journey to being a male feminist very well and very powerfully. I can understand why certain types of men would would have nasty reactions...but I would never categorize his diary as mansplaining. He wasn't speaking at us...he was speaking for us to other men, trying to get them to imagine walking in our shoes long enough to realize what we have to endure and what few if any man, no matter how nice, just can't understand.

  •  I saw those survey results too... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nomandates, Kenny Herbert, WendyK

    But they must be wrong, right? RIGHT???? PLEASE TELL ME THERE ARE SEVERE METHODOLOGICAL ISSUES WITH THAT SURVEY or else I might have to just stick my head in the sand somewhere.

    In a survey of 11-to-14 year-olds, "51% of the boys and 41% of the girls said forced sex was acceptable if the boy, "spent a lot of money" on the girl; 31% of the boys and 32% of the girls said it was acceptable for a man to rape a woman with past sexual experience; 87% of boys and 79% of girls said sexual assault was acceptable if the man and the woman were married; and 65% of the boys and 47% of the girls said it was acceptable for a boy to rape a girl if they had been dating for more than six months."
  •  Porn promotes rape. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lonely Texan

    Porn promotes rape and child abuse.

    our culture promotes rape
    Our ‘culture' has become pornographic...

    One in five gay men in the United States has HIV, and half don’t know it!

    by simplesiemon on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 05:06:53 PM PDT

    •  Dear simplesiemon - please define "porn" (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean, Oh Mary Oh, dconrad

      in such a manner that it constitutes a clear test of all such possible material. Until you can do that, please refrain from comments such as the one I'm replying to.

      Oh, you know it when you  see it? Umm.... not good enough.

      I also suggest that you put a link in your sigline to reference the conclusions you're claiming about gay men - otherwise your comments might be HR'd just for your sig.

      mouseover the bar (I'm practicing for DK5)

      by serendipityisabitch on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 08:08:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  If we assume (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Oh Mary Oh

      you mean legal porn that's generally accepted by the mainstream culture, does that mean that 18-year-olds are children now?

      "Elect Republicans, and they will burn the place down. And they will laugh while they do it and have a great time. And then what?" -- Rachel Maddow

      by LumineHall on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 08:54:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  this is basically what this diary is (0+ / 0-)

    http://m.youtube.com/...

    Why is the woman in that video racist but a woman who has that same reaction to any man on the street not sexist?

  •  Cheers (5+ / 0-)

    Love your diary.  I will say people of all kinds come in different categories:  those who are compassionate to all and those who are not compassionate.   There are many women just as bad or worse than the nasty men.  BUT certainly women deserve a fair shot at life that sometimes they do not receive now.

  •  According to feminists, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shifty18

    "dudes make lousy feminists." As a dude, who am I to embark on mansplaining disagreements with that statement? But it's just as well -- I've got no problems with the movement for equal pay and equal treatment under the law, but I can't get on board with feminist efforts to:

    * criminalize male heterosexuality by expanding definitions of rape and attempted rape (i.e. "microaggressions") and raising the age of consent into the 20s
    * ban pornography (with help from right-wing fundamentalists), including kinds that don't involve actual humans in their production
    * preemptively and legally define all men as rapists, make consent retroactively revocable, and define all heterosexual intercourse as rape
    * ensure preferential treatment for women over men in family, divorce, and criminal courts
    * impede discussion of and resources for male victims of domestic violence
    * shred the idea of "innocent before proven guilty" in rape trials and college assault hearings
    * perpetuate and increase unequal gender outcomes in the educational system by championing academic support initiatives for girls and slapping down any assistance to underperforming boys as sexist
    * continue to draw a disproportionate share of government spending, charitable funding, and public attention on certain women's health issues like breast cancer, even while comparable cancers kill men at similar rates and men suffer more workplace fatalities and have a shorter life expectancy -- not to mention greater rates of homelessness, suicide, etc.

    This list is not meant to imply that all feminists are working for all of these goals; merely that at least some feminists want to achieve at least some of them.

    So while I'm not an MRA (because that apparently means being aligned with white supremacy, guns everywhere, trickle-down economics, and climate denial), I'm not a feminist, either. Just an average dude who'll leave women alone if they leave me alone.

    "Elect Republicans, and they will burn the place down. And they will laugh while they do it and have a great time. And then what?" -- Rachel Maddow

    by LumineHall on Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 09:57:19 PM PDT

  •  Important differences, yet similar words: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean, Lonely Texan

    Let's compare two different phrases:

    A) "All men are potential rapists."

    B) "Some men are rapists and since it is hard to know which ones are, and given the horror of a wrong guess, special caution is sadly a wise choice."

    Whereas phrase B is clear and pretty non controversial,
    phrase A can be interpreted in extremely different ways:

    1) There is a non-zero chance that any randomly chosen man is or will be a rapist.
                or (deliberately exaggerated)
    2) Every single man will become a rapist given the right opportunity; most are only a few drinks away from mayhem, and if they think they could get away with it most men would commit rape with no regrets.

    Now the second version may not be what is intended, interpreting it this way may even be a deliberate attempt to create a straw man to support on overblown sense of male victim-hood, nonetheless it is one plausible reading.

    I would argue that we should encourage men to encourage each other to make rapist thoughts and action beyond the pale. Instead of even grammatically lumping all men together and slapping a "potential rapist" sign on the barrel, we should make rape as disgusting and deviant as possible -- so men condemn even the 'micro-rapes' in real time and are horrified at, and willing to intervene with, the actions of an ever shrinking number of 'bad apples'.

  •  One more time (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dconrad

    One cannot be a feminist or anti-racist or effectively take any anti-discriminitory position by perpetuating the same habits of thinking that are the foundation of those prejudices.

    Namely, if you engage in stereotyping or generalizing entire groups of people, then you are merely perpetuating the kinds of thinking that lead to sexism, racism, homophobia, etc.

    Therefore, dont do it.  Do use language like "Men are..."  "black people are..."  "Jews are..."  whether it is to attribute something positive, but particularly to make a sweeping negative assertion.

    The old canard of "my generalization is defensible because you shouldn't be offended if it doesn't apply to you" is stupid, because one should be offended by such negative stereotyping especially when it doesn't apply to you   I wouldn't stand for someone (ahem, Mr. Beck) saying "Black people are [insert negative stereotype here]" for certain.  I also won't stand for someone saying "White people are [insert negative stereotype here]"

    This ought to be absolutely a foundation principle in liberal thinking:

    See all human beings as human beings and not as some stereotype.  Recognize people's individual humanity always.  If you do that, it'd never even occur to you to write a sweeping generalized statement because you know and appreciate and respect all the different individuals in any group.  That understanding would keep you from generalizing.

    Thanks

    •  Um, in case you missed it, the diarist was (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Clues, Ellid

      quoting his mother. Didn't read that part, did you?

      mouseover the bar (I'm practicing for DK5)

      by serendipityisabitch on Thu Aug 28, 2014 at 06:17:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You misunderstand (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bubbajim

        which is I suppose, my fault.  However that wasn't actually what I was responding to at all.  At least I can see how you ended up being mistaken about what I meant.

        Even before getting to this part, he was already engaged in a good deal of stereotyping, quite apart from the comments of his mother.

        (As it turns out, I personally never follow a woman too closely when shes alone and keep my distance precisely to look unthreatening, as a personal practice, but that's an entirely other story.)

        However, as we see in the diary and the comment, people frequently forget the principle I lay out above.  I would hope you can endorse the notion that stereotyping isn't what people should be doing.  

        •  Well, it's possible that I was simply overreacting (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bubbajim

          to your point being essentially equivalent to that made by anime1973.

          I would be less likely to react in this fashion however, if, in addition to complaining about the stereotyping, you had tried to suggest one or more additional ways that men might be able to help with what is, imho, a serious problem for women.

          mouseover the bar (I'm practicing for DK5)

          by serendipityisabitch on Thu Aug 28, 2014 at 06:45:43 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  that is good advice (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            serendipityisabitch, bubbajim

            and I will follow it.  

            It is a serious and deplorable problem, and frustrating since it is not something that even the vast majority of men, acting together, have a great deal of control over. Obviously speaking out that sexism and disrespect is not acceptable is a big start, simply by creating a male culture where such conduct and attitudes are not acceptable, and even better, manly.  I'm a fan of using existing cultural ideas to leverage change along the lines of "real men respect women as equals and are too strong in themselves to be afraid of powerful women"  So, there's one thing we can do, that ought to reduce the numbers of malevolent men out there.  Men talking to other men is one thing we can do (and I do).  Also, raising my son to do the same is quite gratifying.  

            I think that also maintaining distance and trying to make myself look unthreatening is important. I'm pretty big and mildly athletic, so I try to be aware of when I might be seen as threatening.  Ironically, I won't cross a street to avoid a black man, for example (he is my brother after all), but I will do so to give a woman her space in case she feels she needs it.

            Ultimately, that first one is key and is a massive uphill battle.  I try to make it unacceptable to be wasteful and anti-environment too, and you can see just how much success we've had on that score.

            but thanks for the advice.  I'm profoundly grateful we've been able to connect this way.

            •  Thank you. I must admit that I am rather fond (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              bubbajim

              of the technique of exaggerating a case to make a point, and I use it fairly often when I feel that without it the primary reaction would be "so, what's the big deal?"

              To a large extent, that is how I saw much, if not all, of what you were labeling as stereotyping.

              I thought that most of the initial responses to the diary took the whole thing in stride, and that people were intelligently discussing various factors that were brought up, without the need to push the stereotypes at all. Thus, the stereotyping, to the extent that it was present, was not getting in the way of discussion.

              mouseover the bar (I'm practicing for DK5)

              by serendipityisabitch on Thu Aug 28, 2014 at 07:14:22 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  What are you referring to? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ellid

          Aside from the diarist's general comment that he felt that most people suck, I didn't see what you're talking about.

        •  Again, you are missing the point (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          nomandates

          I wonder what your wife or daughter would have to say about this subject...and whether you'd dismiss their concerns and fears in similar fashion.

          This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

          by Ellid on Thu Aug 28, 2014 at 07:37:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I dunno (5+ / 0-)

      Your comment seems to be more about silencing those who are oppressed than anything else. You are essentially asking that those who are oppressed must be perfect before you will even listen without chastising them. That's a mighty privileged attitude to have.

      Two hundred fifty years of slavery. Ninety years of Jim Crow. Sixty years of separate but equal. Thirty-five years of racist housing policy. Until we reckon with our compounding moral debts, America will never be whole. - Ta-Nehisi Coates

      by moviemeister76 on Thu Aug 28, 2014 at 09:28:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  nice stawman (7+ / 0-)

      Sometimes stereotypes are stereotypes because they are true. Most men I know and almost all of the men I have loved have never truly understood the fear women live with when it comes to being by ourselves. And just being ourselves. The diarist captured this beautifully and I hope his words resonate with all male hearts who visit his diary...from a female pov he totally gets it.

      So the diarist has done an outstanding job. Your preaching at him adds absolutely nothing to this discussion except as a distraction. Perhaps that was your intention?

      Otherwise, most people who jump on a self-righteous soapbox after reading truths that can't be denied are usually over eager to prove that they themselves are not wrong for doing what is obviously very wrong. The ensuing gymnastics look very much like your comment.

    •  Generalizing is not necessarily stereotyping (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      serendipityisabitch, LSophia

      We generalize all the time; it's a necessary part of learning, or else we'd have to start over with every new factoid we meet. We see people in identical shirts at a store, and we generalize that they are all workers. We see elderly people in the park on a weekday, and we generalize that they are retired. We might be wrong, but we make generalizations in an effort to understand the world around us.

      Social workers could not do their jobs unless they understood the common traits, the generalizations of the situations they faced in their jobs. Judges could not judge properly without understanding common traits and societal patterns otherwise known as generalizations. There will be exceptions to generalizations, and we trust the judgment of social workers and judges to correctly parse out the exceptions and acknowledge their exceptional aspects, but generalizations are how we navigate a complex world. And many of the generalizations in this thread are indeed defensible.

      Stereotyping, however, is indefensible. Stereotyping is a kind of generalization, but rather than use it to express commonalities, it's usually used to express negative aspects that aren't common traits but exceptions (and usually poor ones). "Women are more verbal" is a generalization supported by many studies. "Women nag" is a stereotype of that generalization, taking a trait and interpreting it in a way that makes it an insult.

      As in that case, stereotypes are often told from the status quo point of view (i.e., men) looking down on The Other point of view (i.e., women). Stereotypes usually appeal to people's prejudices, seeking to tweak those emotions for the worse, often to maintain the status quo. Consider how new immigrant races or religions face stereotypes when they enter a new community. "There goes the neighborhood...."

      Separating stereotypes from generalizations should be easier than it is, but the truth is we sometimes cannot identify our own prejudices. Hence, the reason for my diary - most men cannot see sexism, let alone understand that some of their own actions are actually sexist.  

      Ideally, we would look at every person as they are, and dispose of all generalizations. Ideally, but that's impossible. Our experiences and what we have learned from those experiences collect into generalizations and exceptions. But generalizing does not inherently perpetuate the kinds of thinking that lead to sexism, racism, homophobia, etc. Stereotyping does, and they aren't the same thing.

  •  and yes (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bubbajim

    what I just wrote is a perspective born of my feminism.  Don't stereotype women, but respect the amazing diversity and wonder of all individual women, who are as different from each other as to defy all stereotypes

    so, yes, we should all be feminists, I agree 100%

  •  Turn up the volume, turn down the noise (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kenny Herbert, Lonely Texan

    If you haven't seen it, you have to watch this video:
     

    La majestueuse égalité des lois, qui interdit au riche comme au pauvre de coucher sous les ponts, de mendier dans les rues, et de voler du pain.

    by dconrad on Thu Aug 28, 2014 at 02:15:35 PM PDT

  •  Everyone should have the same rights, and the (0+ / 0-)

    same responsibilities. I approach the world through the view of Civitas, the rights and responsibilities of a citizen. I don't really see them as gendered, although no doubt that's not a universal opinion. To me, Feminism is not a goal, but rather perhaps a necessary step on the road of eliminating or at least reducing the impacts of gender and sexuality on the concept of Civitas.

    Men must be compassionate, women must be brave. Men must be caregivers, woman must be killers. (Sterotypes) And of course, vice-versa.

    To me, it is wrong to harass another. But not because of thier history, or their biology, but because of their humanity. Their citizenship in humanity.

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