Awhile back I posted this article:
I got a lot of angry responses from women, largely about how men have ruined their lives and the lives of other women they know and care about through abandonment, sexual harassment or assault, rape or any number of other terrible things that men do. I wrote this response but never posted, I just didn’t feel up to fighting everyone on Facebook just to get ridiculed for having a different opinion. I’m not throwing any shade here, I just want to be heard, so I’m posting this now, months later, because, well, I still feel many of these things, that and I’m finally just going through all my writing and posting all the things I’ve written over the past 4 months but never posted. Anyhow, enjoy.
I admit I have a tendency to take things at face value, and when I read this article it spoke to me on a number of levels. As a somewhat effeminate queer white male I have felt marginalized, repressed and I’ve literally taken beatings for it, from both men and women. As a person who has identified as “other” nearly my whole life I’ve tried to distance myself from “male culture” as much as possible because I find the vast majority of it abhorrent, demeaning and cruel. And yet I am a man. I identify as a feminist, I believe in equality and justice and I understand the anger, the rage that every woman must feel to see their gender marginalized, controlled, abused, raped, the list goes on, and the years go on and still these fat fucking pigs, these old, straight, white, men routinely brush women’s issues aside to trot out their fucking chauvinism in the name of god or decency or whatever fucking bull shit they see as enough of an excuse to oppress women in unimaginable ways. My heart breaks and I too am angry. Despite however outspoken I might be about women’s issues, going to protests, producing feminist works, voting for and campaigning on behalf of Planned Parenthood and a number of female candidates, mentoring and educating young women and providing emotional and professional support to female friends and family; perhaps I haven’t done enough for women in my life, both interpersonally and publicly. And I mean that sincerely. I think most men would be in the category of not doing enough, because shit still happens, we can’t be everywhere but we can be more vigilant. We’ve been remiss in our duty as your partner in this world. And I apologize. I sincerely apologize. But god damn. We are your partner in this world. I’m sick of the misandry, I’m sick of getting treated at times as though every terrible thing that a man has done to a woman is my fault. Or that raising questions about men’s health, men’s issues is somehow a crime. Is some data about men being systematically disadvantaged in divorce court conflated, obviously. This is the age of misinformation, there is a set of data to fight any other set of data. I’m not saying anyone is wrong, or right, maybe there aren’t hundreds of thousands of men being wronged in a courtroom getting his children taken away merely because he’s a man. But there are some, it doesn’t matter how few, injustice is injustice, and fighting injustice is what feminism is about, equality is what it’s about. We know this world is disproportionately unfair to women in a myriad of public areas, equal pay, abortion, sexual harassment and rape. No one is saying that’s not true and if they are they’re a fucking liar and a coward and an asshole. I’m tired of the misandry, and just because we’re ruled by a patriarchy that actively oppresses women doesn’t make every man a devil, nor does it justify manhating. Hate is hate no matter your genitals. I’m proud of women, I’m excited for them, I’ve fought for them and continue to do so, and yes I can do more. But the fact of the matter is there is another gender here that is oppressed under a patriarchy. I’m tired of women asking for men to get in touch with their emotions and then ridiculing the men for having them. You need us in the fight, and yes we absolutely need to listen to you, 100%, your body is your body is your body. But when you deafen men with your rage, men who have already been shunned by a system that also does not care for them, you don’t help your cause, you hurt it. Men need to listen to women, and talk to other men about women’s issues, because the dude that thinks sexual violence towards women is ok probably isn’t going to listen to a woman, but he might listen to a man. Sometimes it’s hard to be an ally because we’re viewed as the enemy from the get go. When I read this article I was relieved because I felt someone put words to something most men aren’t comfortable talking about, men’s issues, men’s health. It’s a new world out there and we’re not prepared for it, women have had over a century now of strong female leaders that embody the courage, the tenacity and the plethora of other amazing things that women can and should and perhaps have always embodied. You’ve forged a new identity for yourselves because you’ve had a clear and present danger to rail against. But our oppression has been a slight one, a closeted one, with too few heroes to say- “There- THAT is a Man” with a capital “M”. When you look back you realize so many of our male heroes were counterfeit, Honest Abe was a racist, Ghandi was a misogynist, Obama was a Wall St. shill and a war hawk. Women are in a new paradigm and it’s amazing, but if women are in a new paradigm, so too must be our men. Where are they headed? Can anyone tell me where our men are headed? Seriously. Tell me. Because it doesn’t look good. We seem to have a good idea of where our women are headed, and it’s magnificent, my god, I can’t wait. But where will you go without us? There’s a reason why our species split into two (or more) genders. It’s called evolution. Generally a single sexed species has a very hard time evolving naturally, it’s dependent on mutations which are exceptionally rare, but with the addition of a male it increases the rate of evolution and mutation exponentially thereby helping the species survive ever changing environments. You need us like we need you. I’m not telling anyone to shut up, I’m not telling anyone their anger at patriarchy isn’t justified. I’m your ally in this fight, but this fight affects me too, affects all men, and as such we do have a right to speak up, we do have the right to be heard, to have that space. You can’t say you believe in equality and then treat people unfairly, unless you’re just a dick to everyone. Maybe we are, maybe we are just dicks to everyone, but if that’s how you feel, don’t call yourself a feminist.
Every man I know understands that physical contact of any kind is suspect if he touches another man he’s gay and weak which is responded with fierce aggression or if it’s a woman then it’s sexual harassment or assault or he just wants sex and he’s a pervert. Every man I know understands that proximity to children is suspect even if it’s his own kid, he’s probably a pedophile. Every man I know has feelings and yet they also know that they’ll be ridiculed for having feelings of any kind if they shed a single tear or admit that anything is wrong. Everyman I know knows that they’ll be ridiculed for any behavior that does not fit the cookie cutter of male culture, whether it’s a hand gesture, an article of clothing or a drink you order. Most of my friends were raised by single mothers, god blessed their souls, what great women, but so few ever knew a man that could teach them how to be a man and then they get ridiculed for not being man enough, for not manning up, for not being this thing that not one of us has any clue what it is anymore. We need to figure that out. We need to talk about it. And sorry women, we can’t just be your idea of what you want a man to be, just as you can’t just be our idea of what a woman ought to be. We want the same thing that you want from us, you’re just better at asking,