1. Realize it’s not all about you. No, really! Shocked? This is because:
Girls, ladies, females, grrrrlz, womyn, wimmin, whatever you call them, it’s about us. It’s for us, by us. Not how you feel harmed or threatened by feminism or women, or about how you are oppressed as a man. We know that patriarchy affects all people negatively – but this isn’t the space to draw attention to how men suffer. I strongly encourage you to form your own men’s group to discuss those issues.
2. Check your privilege. Yes, you have it. We all have different kinds of privilege, but you, as a man, have male privilege. Just because you don’t feel privileged doesn’t mean you don’t have it. Recognizing that you have privilege does not mean that you have never suffered. Being told to check your privilege is not a personal insult or attack. It also doesn’t indicate that someone is trying to cop out of an argument or silence anybody – we just get tired of having to explain it constantly. See Rule 6 for more info.
Corollary to Rule 2: There is no such thing as “reverse sexism.” Don’t even think of trying that one on us. The fact that an individual man can be harmed by an individual woman does not override an entire misogynistic social system.
3. Listen.Corollary to Rule 3: When in doubt, shut the hell up. If you’re not sure you’re “getting it” take a step back, resist the urge to hit that “respond” button, and try to think about what women are saying – before you act.
4. Resist the unconscious urge to dominate. It’s what you’ve been programmed to do, but this is not the place for it. See Rule 1 and Corollary. If you find that you’re posting more than the rest of the community combined, think about why. If you feel the need to constantly draw attention to your maleness, examine that dynamic – it’s often a subconscious method of exercising control.
5. Try not to get defensive. Remember that women expressing frustration with the patriarchy is not a personal attack on you, and there’s no need to respond as such. If you do so, you’re likely to violate rules 1-5. Remember: If you’re feeling attacked by feminism, it’s probably a counter-attack
Meanwhile over at Womanist Musings (and reposted at Feministing), Renee has words of warning for colluders and pearl-clutchers on their white privilege.
The oppressor does not get to tell the oppressed what is and isn’t oppression. I know that the victor traditionally writes history, but just for shits and giggles, how about you pretend that the subaltern can speak. I don’t want to hear about the ways that you identify with me, because you cannot. I don’t want to hear your comparisons of my life to yours, because they are not the same. My struggle will never be the same as yours, and your attempts to diminish it by trying to find a reference point in your life, only makes the degree of privilege with which you function even more obvious.
So-called “honour” killings hit a new low – a Jordanian man killed his niece on his suspicion she had had pre-marital sex with the man she then married. Yep, read that right – woman and man ready to get hitched, have sex, apparently that offends some random relative shoots her six times. “The family” dropped the charges against him and his sentence was commuted from fifteen years to seven – the victims brothers and father were also charged but acquitted of her murder two weeks after the wedding. The Jordanian Parliament refuses to make the punishment of such crimes harsher despite, in the same week two other sentences for similar crimes.
Meanwhile in the US is this great piece about gendered bodies in public spaces and, more particularly, how men take up space on underground/metro systems. I’d say it’s actually applicable to any form of public transport having seen the same on buses, trains and trams around the country.
And our very own Kate Smurthwaite, over at her Cruella blog has a brilliant reflection on how the murders of Jill and Kirstie Foster by Chris Foster (husband/father respectively) is being covered. By the way, anyone else notice how Jill and Kirstie are now unnamed appendages to “The Chris Foster Tragedy”? Everywhere writes about him murdering “his wife and daughter” as if he owned them, but doesn’t mention their names.