Thus Spake Zuska

In the midst of a vigorous discussion on my last post, reader Deatkin expressed his frustrations as to how he might engage in a positive manner in a discussion of feminist issues. In this case, it was not the hairy-legged man-hating feminazi Zuska who was intimidating; it was Comrade Physioprof.

Now, I’m perfectly willing to accept that the problem lies with me on this… In sum, I may simply be too immature (I’m 20 and a mere undergraduate) to think broadly and imaginatively enough on feminist issues in order for me to reach a conclusion that somebody such as [Comrade Physioprof] would find satisfactory… But instead of attributing comments that you perceive as off-base to some insidious, malignant strain of male paternalism, isn’t it more likely that the person is someone like me, genuinely troubled by all the ways in which women are inhibited and made uncomfortable by men in society, but uncertain as to what attitudes we could hold that women would appreciate? Isn’t it possible that people like me are actually afraid that self-described male champions of feminism such as yourself will ridicule our attempts to communicate solidarity with feminism and embarrass us in front of the women we are trying to support? That’s definitely the case for me.I feel that most men (in my age group, at least) want to support women’s issues, and maybe it is our fault if we support them inappropriately, but it is definitely your fault if we persist in our ways because you mocked rather than enlightened us. I would appreciate, but am certainly not demanding, a comment, detailing some of the ways in which you explicitly and constructively promote feminism in general and women in academia in particular, and providing some sort of template from which a male such as myself could go about doing the same.

I will not go so far as to agree with Deatkin that it is CPP’s fault (or anyone else’s fault) if he “persists in his ways” because of mocking or anything else. If one is committed to social justice and equity, then one must proceed down that path no matter what obstacles, mocking included, one runs into. Getting your feelings hurt is not sufficient cause to stop educating yourself about how to be a better human being.

But I do think we can make the effort to lend a brother a hand now and then, no? Pass along some good advice, point them to sources of information. I’m not suggesting we baby them and spoon feed them every bit of information they need to have. Just sayin’, I didn’t come to my gloriously enlightened feminist state all on my own. I had teachers. I took classes. I had books. I had a biweekly reading group of fab feminist babes who pushed me to think.

So, Deatkin, here are Zuska’s Guidelines For Dudely Proto-Feminist Development:

  1. Get thee to a bookstore. Or online to Amazon, and purchase for thyself a copy of Allan Johnson’s The Gender Knot: Unraveling Our Patriarchal Legacy. You may also wish to read his Privilege Power and Difference. Mr. Johnson explains to d00ds how being a feminist man does not make your balls shrivel and penis drop off. He explains how patriarchy is actually bad for men, too. I think it’s good for men to hear another man talking about these issues.

  2. Taketh thee an introductory women’s studies course. And while in said course, try to listen more than speak. When speaking, try to ask questions to clarify points and learn more, rather than to pontificate and explain things to the ladies. If you behave in this manner, you may find that the ladies will occasionally ask you for your perspective. Even if they don’t, you will learn a hell of a lot just by listening and reading. I’m not just talking pie in the sky theory, either. You may learn, for example, as one young man I know did, about the existence of the clitoris and its central role in the female orgasm. Women’s studies classes are life-changers, I’m tellin’ ya.
  3. Read thou freely and often amongst the feminist blogs. You will want to read the women-and-science blogs, of course, if you are a scientist (see here and here for a comprehensive list of links) but you will also want to read others. Bitch, PhD is a good one. Feministe (and anything on their fabulous blogroll), Shakesville, and, let us not forget, Finally, A Feminism 101 Blog. Read Echidne’s Feminism Series.

This should give you a good start. Try to remember that it’s more or less a lifelong process, this un-learning of the prejudices and stereotypes we breathe in daily, that our brains have bathed in since birth. It’s a little like gardening. You work the soil, you put in the best-looking plants you can get your hands on, but it’s all going to go to hell if you don’t water and weed regularly. It’s so very easy to fall back into old stereotypes; gender schemas aren’t obvious unless you are on the lookout for them. (And check out these tutorials on gender schemas.)

Readers, I ask you: what other resources would you recommend to a 20-year-old proto-feminist d00d? What have you read that was helpful in developing your own feminist viewpoints? Dudes, how did your own feminist journey begin? Leave your stories in the comments, please!

Comments

  1. #1 Comrade PhysioProf
    May 11, 2009

    Read thou freely and often amongst the feminist blogs.

    Once you manage to read the feminist blogs linked by Zuska without succumbing to the urge to tell the little laydeez that, while what they say makes some sense, what would *really* be useful for them to do is blah, blah, blah, you should check out I Blame The Patriarchy. If you can read that, and still not succumb to your urge to tell the little laydeez what’s what, then maybe you have started on your way to a glimmer of understanding.

    Three further thoughts:

    (1) If you go to I Blame The Patriarchy, keep your fucking d00d mouth shut and *LISTEN* until you are absolutely certain you understand what is going on. THIS COULD TAKE MONTHS! And if you open your fucking mouth and make a fucking ass of yourself, for fuck’s sake don’t admit I sent you!

    (2) The dumbshit d00dely comment fuckwittery that Zuska and Isis tolerate on their blogs–like Fucklington leaving as the first motherfucking comment to a “Letters to Our Daughters” post at Isis’s blog the assertion that it shouldn’t be limited to letters from mothers but also fathers–doesn’t even get *published* on most feminist blogs, and rather gets summarily deleted. So quit your fucking whiny-ass titty-baby shit and sack the fuck up.

    (3) In relation to commenting on feminist blogs, here’s a fucking hint: If your comment contains any of the words “men”, “fathers”, or “sons”, it is nearly certain that you are fucking up.

  2. #2 Mecha
    May 11, 2009

    Tekanji has a number of solid links on her blog, and some solid articles which I found both useful and challenging/distressing when I first started walking down this path (this was before Finally, Feminism 101.)

    http://blog.shrub.com/archives/tekanji/2006-03-08_146 is probably the central one for people who want to walk into feminist spaces and have some of what that really means explained to them.

    My ‘feminist journey’, which is to say, when I went from notional humanist ‘I don’t think of women as lesser, and think everyone should be equal, hooray, that was easy’ to grappling with the really tough stuff that challenges your perceptions (rape culture, privilege, etc.), started as roughly six months of recovering after an argument with a close friend (and a bunch of other people, hooray LJ) that I really screwed up. It left me estranged from her, but not from the core of what people were trying to get at. And so I managed to pick through and around it to get more or less here.

    -Mecha

  3. #3 Historiann
    May 11, 2009

    Excellent post, and excellent advice from CPP.

    I would also recommend “Female Chauvinist Pigs,” by Ariel Levy, which is subtitled “women and the rise of raunch culture.” Levy’s main point is to encourage young women and men alike to question the ways in which contemporary youth culture and college life sexualizes and objectifies women in ways that are shocking to old feminists like Levy, me, and (I’m guessing) Zuska and CPP. (That is, people who are 33 years old on up.)

  4. #4 Aaron
    May 11, 2009

    Thank you Zuska for resurrecting the other thread with a more productive focus.

    About me: I’ve been reading science blogs for about a year and a half now, though rarely comment. I’m working in a lab doing plant development for a year until grad school , and have been actively interested in feminism proper for about five years. And I’m a d00d.

    My early exposure to the issue came, not too surprisingly, from my mother. She dealt with the basics: don’t yell, help out, respect, etc. Despite how basic these things are, I don’t think I’ve been told anything so helpful. The basics are the place to start and you need sound fundamentals before you can really begin to deal with long-term or end-game situations. However, I must interject here that I think that most men who are remotely interested in this issue are probably at this point (this being directed at CPP) to some degree or another.

    Probably the best source for, and basis of, my ideas regarding gender inequality came from my friends in elementary/grade/highschool who were, by and large, women. The most direct effect of these friendships was simply to see how pervasive inequality is, be it in academics, sports, family life, work, and social life. Some of my guy friends certainly helped me see this too, though in a different sense. Because these girls were truly my friends I got to do a lot of listening. If I had to guess, my best friends were girls because I’d rather listen than talk much of the time, which doesn’t always fly in d00d land. Another big deal for my growing up was homosexuality, not with me, but with my friends. Namely, my best friend. That’s just a whole new can of worms, though, so I’ll just mention that it got me thinking.

    Feminism proper really came about in a class freshman year. I’ll just say that I think feminism is a wonderfully valuable perspective on just about everything, and regardless of your views on any issue in particular,and you’ll learn a ton from looking at them from different perspectives. What really interested me was classes that were interdisciplinary, namely historical feminism and econ/women’s studies. It’s in these situations where you can really address issues in ways that avoid the typical quagmires of “but what about men / you’re hurting women / damn bra burning dykes / etc.” because you’re dealing with facts, figures, biographies, and so forth. Anyway, that pretty much sums up my dude-feminist journey.

    Which brings me to what I really want to do: call out CPP. This is my main and strongest point:

    Hidden somewhere behind all your profanity is a point, but hiding that point is stupid to begin with, and to do it so hatefully makes it so that many who would agree unable to respect you, and by association, your position.

    Now, there are a lot of idiots. It’s fun to yell at them. Whether or not those other d00ds (or myself for that matter) were idiots is at the very least questionable, and fairly irrelevant. A forum about a gender issue type project isn’t really the place to do it because it’s fairly likely that there are a few people listening who don’t really know why their comments were short-sighted or used abstractions to ignore real issues. What would be useful is an insightful post about why those comments, while nominally supportive of feminism, can actually be subversive.

    Personally, I think it is very important to consider gender inequality in an abstract sense. Yes, this does ignore just about every truly relevant issue in feminism, at least directly, but may just be the most effective way of addressing them. History in general, and historical feminism in particular, show that an oppositionary stance will meet with …drumroll… opposition! The best way around this, in my opinion, is to introduce the issue as follows:

    Men and women are different. How we deal with this difference is hard and extremely important. It isn’t just important for women, it’s important for all of us, and we all stand to gain from greater understanding. This understanding isn’t actually too hard to achieve, but to apply it to the world that actually exists is hard. This requires understanding thousands (though namely hundreds) of years of history, which is all but impossible. We therefore have to abandon the abstraction to some degree to deal with things as they arise/stop being repressed. Moral of the story is (for d00ds) yeah, like it or not, you’ve been a dick in a way that is meaningfully different from what women do, and so it’s on you. Women do stuff too, but they get raped, exploited, abused, repressed, etc. in ways that you don’t. Sure, this is a generality, but it applies so pervasively that just about everyone is guilty. You can try really hard, but you’ll still make mistakes because we live in a world that discourages equality and, well, because we’re just dicks sometimes. For your own sake, let alone everyone else’s, you’ve still got to do your best.

    The beauty of feminism is that, even if I were super enlightened, there’s a lot of stuff up there that one could take issue with, but it doesn’t fucking matter as long as you discuss rather than deride. That being said I should edit this post, but I don’t have time.
    Best,

  5. #5 Isis the Scientist
    May 11, 2009

    The dumbshit d00dely comment fuckwittery that Zuska and Isis tolerate on their blogs–like Fucklington leaving as the first motherfucking comment to a “Letters to Our Daughters” post at Isis’s blog the assertion that it shouldn’t be limited to letters from mothers but also fathers–doesn’t even get *published* on most feminist blogs, and rather gets summarily deleted. So quit your fucking whiny-ass titty-baby shit and sack the fuck up.

    I am sure I’ve got a post in here somewhere about this, but what has me up in arms even more than the fact that the boys want to play is that many of the boys think that there is sufficient gender parity in academia and society that this project isn’t necessary. I am realizing that this is because there is a level of patriarchy that is even more infuriating than regualr patriarchy — white patriarchy. In this brand of patriartchy, white men fail to realize that the patriarchy that white women are subjected to is different than the patriarchy women of color are exposed to. There is a whole hot of hot bullshit that comes with, for example, being raised in Cultura Macho.

  6. #6 Digger
    May 11, 2009

    @ Deatkin: The advice given above is all good. But here’s what stood out to me; you wrote “…but uncertain as to what attitudes we could hold that women would appreciate?” It’s not about changing your behavior so that women appreciate you; it’s not about getting us to like you. It’s about recognizing that women are fully human, and recognizing all the ways that society both denies and actively acts against that apparently very scary and threatening idea. It’s a bit like the Matrix; when all of a sudden, the reality of reality is revealed, and it’s like holy crap (this is commonly referred to as “the scales falling from your eyes.”)

    If you would like the scales beaten from your eyes (for those of us who don’t take to subtle very well), IBTP (I Blame the Patriarchy) is the place.

    Other places to read, not necessarily science-y, but if you’re interested in how it shakes out in other disciplines/forums include:

    Feminist Law Professors: http://feministlawprofessors.com/

    Feministing: http://feeds.feedburner.com/Feministing

    Historiann: http://www.historiann.com/

    Tiger Beatdown: http://tigerbeatdown.blogspot.com/

  7. #7 Carlie
    May 11, 2009

    My advice for reading feminist blogs would be: Don’t comment, don’t comment, don’t comment. If you feel yourself starting to comment, especially if it’s a question, back away from the keyboard. The feminism 101 blog explains the situation pretty well, but it’s very common for people to barge in and ask very basic questions because hey, that shows I’m interested, and if they really want me to understand they’d explain it, right? There is little that is more exasperating than someone going into a conversation and asking for everyone else to go back to the beginning and spoon-feed them every bit of background information before going on with the topic. Even worse is when they are shown resources, but then whine that no one will just TELL them already. Honestly, if you wait a dozen comments or so, your question will probably be answered. If it isn’t, doing a little Googling yourself on the topic will get you there. I know it’s difficult; I’m the type who likes to participate and finds it hard not to throw my 2 cents’ worth in. However, your particular contribution isn’t all that necessary, really. If you think it is, stop a minute and think about what makes you think that the thread cannot exist without the contribution of your brilliance. I’ve been lurking quietly on womanist blogs lately (yep, it’s different than feminist), and turns out that reading but NOT COMMENTING really is a good thing to do. It reminds me that I’m not the center of the universe, and it serves to teach me much better than asking 101-type questions all the time would.

    Also, wrt to reading the blogs in the post, try checking the category lists in each to be more efficient than just starting out and reading chronologically. Some have categories/series that encapsulate certain topics very well (I’m thinking of series like “this week in disembodied things” at Shakesville, for instance.)

  8. #8 SKM
    May 11, 2009

    I am a contributer at the above-mentioned Shakesville (thanks for the link!). There is an enormous amount to be learned there, and we have a lot of fun too. I strongly recommend that new readers start with the handy collection of Feminism 101 posts linked at the top of the front page.

    I will also second Carlie: read read read before commenting. Seriously. It may not be the way you’re used to doing things, but it will save a lot of time and sweat for everyone.

    Finally, A Feminism 101 Blog has a lot of great FAQs.

    The Gender Knot really is a great intro.

    Susan Faludi’s Stiffed is also a good read.

  9. #9 SKM
    May 11, 2009

    My other comment’s stuck in moderation (it has links in it), but in response to one of the things that Aaron wrote, I’m not sure starting with “men and women are different” is such a great idea. It only reinforces the gender-essentialist ideas we are all raised with and feeds the idea of women as some mysterious “other”. Furthermore, in my experience men realizing that men and women are not as different as society makes out can lead to more empathy and a clearer understanding of what women deal with.

    Shorter: the men I know who most “get it” when it comes to feminism are NOT of the “men and women are just soooo different” school. I figure it’s no coincidence.

  10. #10 SKM
    May 11, 2009

    Derailing For Dummies is another must-read for anyone who is new to studying issues of gender, race, class, disability, etc. and wants a prayer of entering a sophisticated discussion of same without getting his hat handed to him. I say “his” because the post here is about men, but Derailing for Dummies is gold for anyone.

  11. #11 Comrade PhysioProf
    May 11, 2009

    Shorter: the men I know who most “get it” when it comes to feminism are NOT of the “men and women are just soooo different” school. I figure it’s no coincidence.

    I don’t think it is either, mostly because the differences that tend to be pointed out by d00ds in such contexts are the ones that reflect–SURPRISE!!!!!–patriarchal gender norms: “Women like to cook and clean and suck dick, and men like to drink with their buddies and watch sports and feel boobs, because evolution and cavemen and sabre-tooth tigers and stuff!!”

  12. #12 Abel Pharmboy
    May 11, 2009

    My Mom and her mother did a half-decent job with me by their strong examples but I sure wish I had this advice and guidance when I was 20.

    Young grasshoppers, listen to your Auntie Zuska and get your privileged asses to class and the indy bookstore.

  13. #13 Feminamist
    May 11, 2009

    I don’t think you can go past Robert Jensen and his attitude toward men involving themselves in the feminist movement. Read his latest book, Getting Off, which has a large section on the creation of masculinity and what men can do to help resolve violence toward women, or see his homepage for articles: http://uts.cc.utexas.edu/%7Erjensen/articles_gender.html

    I agree with Historiann, Levy’s “Female Chauvinist Pigs” is also a good one – my male partner is enjoying that right now.

    Anything re antipornography, (ie Captive Daughters’, “Pornography: Driving the Demand in International Sex Trafficking”) is also a good place to start…

    What about that recent book by the Canadian journalist Victor Malarek, “The Johns, Sex for Sale and the Men Who Buy It”.

  14. #14 Zuska
    May 11, 2009

    I just liberated two comments from the spam filter, they are at #6 and #8 if you want to go back and check them out. They are good comments, with links to resources.

  15. #15 Aaron
    May 12, 2009

    Let me clarify what I mean by “men + women = different” really quick. In no way does this support the status quo; rather, to think that it would is status quo. Difference doesn’t imply that there’s a better and a worse, which I think is sort of the point. That’s certainly a contentious standpoint, and a good discussion for another blog, but I think it’s a good one for people to start with. Learning is all about shifting your perspective, and I think that the perspective should be dealing with difference itself, both for practical situations, and also for abstract, egalitarian philosophizing.

    While I’m on learning, I’ll say again that I think CPP is not doing anyone a service as he’s discouraging learning and exploration. Any d00d who reads his posts is only going to more fiercely hold onto his (probably) poorly thought out opinions because of the whole opposition thing. I only return to this because I’ve come to expect quite a bit from these blogs in general, and I hope that by shaking the tree a little, something useful might come out.

    Again, all the best

  16. #16 bill
    May 12, 2009

    Any d00d who reads his posts is only going to more fiercely hold onto his (probably) poorly thought out opinions because of the whole opposition thing.

    Not to cheerlead for PP, but anyone who reacts to him that way isn’t likely to react any more positively to whatever care-bears tea-party it is that you’re advocating.

    You sound like those jackasses who are always telling Z that she’d catch more flies with honey, etc.

  17. #17 Comrade PhysioProf
    May 12, 2009

    (3) In relation to commenting on feminist blogs, here’s a fucking hint: If your comment contains any of the words “men”, “fathers”, or “sons”, it is nearly certain that you are fucking up.

    Addendum: If your comment contains the words “should” or “useful”, it is nearly certain that you are fucking up.

  18. #18 Becca
    May 12, 2009

    First, I want to say how much I appreciate seeing all these resources together. Many of these ideas have been creeping into my consciousness for a long time without me necessarily having a framework for them, since I’ve never taken academic classes in this kind of thing (I found Mecha’s link particularly helpful for filling in some gaps).
    About the only source I know of that remotely relates to this are some materials on how to implement anti-oppression policies and build consensus in the context of co-ops (http://www.nasco.coop/resources/ – you have to create a username/password, but there’s some interesting stuff there; though only a smallish subset is feminist in orientation).
    There’s a lot that people have provided. I found it kind of exhausting to take it all in at once (I’ll get through those tutorials eventually Zuska- but the whole quiz thing makes me feel like I’ve already heard the punchline).

    Maybe someone should send Female Chauvanist Pigs and Robert Jensen’s stuff over to Abel Pharmboy. Though I think sexuality starts to get really complicated really quickly, and I personally find those views to be leaving a lot out.

    ~digression~
    You sound like those jackasses who are always telling Z that she’d catch more flies with honey, etc.
    I got that vibe at first too. But then I thought about it. Is there a difference between someone who says “yo, I think your tatic for talking to d00ds sucks. As a working-toward-enlightenment d00d, this is what I say to Clueless d00ds- it’s a good place to start*” and someone who says “HEY! You’re just a nasty bitter feminist and you’re actually Hurting The Cause by being so nasty and bitter; you should be sweet and give me cookies”?
    I think there is. (on the other hand, I might be biased in this particular instance)
    Context Matters. Despite appearances, this is not CPP’s blog; nor does he need to be given the consideration a woman does in a feminist safe space (I’m sure he can handle himself).
    Besides which, sometimes you do catch more flies. Although that always raises the issue- ewww, flies!

    *I agree with SKM that “men and women just want different things!” is usually trite and annoying; however, coming to someone who is clueless and starting with “your reality is not their reality, you’re going to have to listen to understand” could be highly productive. Insulting people (no matter how colorfully) is probably less effective, and makes you look like a dick in any case.

    Addendum: If your comment contains the words “should” or “useful”, it is nearly certain that you are fucking up.”
    Whoa, that’s so meta it’s like the commenting equivilent of a kleine bottle!
    / digression

  19. #19 Hope
    May 12, 2009

    @Carlie: My advice for reading feminist blogs would be: Don’t comment, don’t comment, don’t comment.

    That sounds dangerously close to saying that men on feminist blogs should be seen but not heard. Increasing numbers of young women today refuse to call themselves feminists, and this kind of nonsense is a big reason why.

    @Becca: Despite appearances, this is not CPP’s blog; nor does he need to be given the consideration a woman does in a feminist safe space (I’m sure he can handle himself).

    How do we know that CPP isn’t a woman? How about we stop making assumptions about who needs “consideration” or not based on gender?

    And finally, concerning this dichotomy: HEY! You’re just a nasty bitter feminist and you’re actually Hurting The Cause by being so nasty and bitter; you should be sweet and give me cookies.

    So those are my choices? If I’m not nasty/bitter, then it’s the equivalent of offering someone cookies? I don’t think so….

  20. #20 Jay
    May 12, 2009

    Hope, I’m pretty sure CPP has identified himself as a man.

    “Don’t comment” is pretty good advice, although I prefer CPP’s very clear description of the “should” test. Don’t comment may be too broad, but it’s not a bad place to start. I’m a white woman. When I read blogs written by women of color, I often feel angry or defensive and I have the impulse to post a comment saying “no! no! not me! I never did that!”. I don’t post those comments, because they’re about me, not about the writers or the actual subject of their posts. For a long time I didn’t comment at all, and I learned a lot about myself, about racism, about the experiences of the women who were writing.

    When I do post on blogs written by women of color, I think very carefully about my motivations and I try to act as an ally. I appreciate it when people who post on my blog, or other feminist blogs, use a similar process. I’m really not interested in doing somebody else’s work for them, and I’m trying to make sure nobody else has to do my work, either.

  21. #21 Isis the Scientist
    May 12, 2009

    Some of the men on Zuska’s blog have been made to feel ashamed by the way in which they were called out. I see it as no different than the shame I feel everytime one of my male colleagues gives me a pet name, touches my hair, or referred to me while I was a graduate student as his “arm candy” at a major event and then extended me his arm knowing that I have to take it or risk offending the dude who decides my career. This mild pseudonymous shaming is much less uncomfortable than the in person shaming many women face in real life. The difference is, these d00ds were shamed in the privacy of their home/cubicle as opposed to in public.

    If they really believe they were in the right, then I suggest they deal with it the way women do. Think to themselves, “that guy’s a dick” and move on. Personally, I think the world needs more men who are willing to tell other men, “Hey! You’re really acting like an asshat right now.” We can continue to try to educate each other, but there is also something to be said about telling someone they’re being an ass.

  22. #22 catgirl
    May 12, 2009

    From my experience, the hardest thing for men to understand is the enormous social pressure placed on women for many things. I’m sure that men have some pressure too, but a lot of men I’ve known were surprised when I told them how much pressure women face to act a certain way, and some men even had trouble believing it. For example, I think a lot of men feel insecure about their penis size. Now imagine women’s insecurity when it comes to breast size, which is much more visible and everyone knows about it. Also consider the double-binds that women face. Women feel a lot of pressure to be sexy, but not sexual. Consider how it is ok for people to make fun of Paris Hilton for being sexual, but it’s also ok to make fun of Jessica Simpson for being “fat”. There’s also tremendous pressure on many women to get married or have a man at any cost. A lot of women think that being single is so terrible, they should hang on to the terrible guy they;re already with. (Yes, I’m sure some men feel this way too, but men aren’t considered as weird if they are single.)

    I don’t really know how you can better understand these pressures that women face. There may be some good books about it, but I don’t know of any specific ones. I think the best advice is to think twice whenever you hear insults like fat, ugly, slutty, bitchy, etc. Even calling someone a pussy or a dick can mean more than you think it means.

  23. #23 becca
    May 12, 2009

    Hope- I forget I shouldn’t assume everyone knows the appropriate backstory to understand everything.
    “How do we know that CPP isn’t a woman?”
    You don’t know, because you haven’t been reading his comments as long as I have, and because you don’t click his name and go through to his blog.
    I first “knew” because I was exhibiting heteronormative privilege and assuming he and PhysioWife (mentioned on his blog) are not from Iowa/another state that allows gay marriage. (there’s actually quite a bit of other data I’ve gleaned from his various comments that is suggestive, as well as his own introduction from when he was guestblogging at a feminist blog).
    I could always be mistaken. He could also be trans (either direction), which would complicate the gender question. In which case I would encourage him to come out because we probably need to challenge cis-gender scientist assumptions even more than we need to challenge male scientist assumptions.

    “How about we stop making assumptions about who needs “consideration” or not based on gender?”
    Actually, I assume he doesn’t need consideration because his whole MO is anti-CareBear (long history there), IOW he doesn’t offer consideration.
    However, it would be perfectly valid to consider gender in terms of understanding who we need to be particularly careful to listen to in a feminist space. Mecha’s link might be helpful if you are confused by this.
    “So those are my choices? If I’m not nasty/bitter, then it’s the equivalent of offering someone cookies? I don’t think so….”
    No, no, these are not your choices. The characterture was of a certain species of commenter that seem to occasionally show up expressly to tell Zuska how to write her blog. bill was lumping Aaron in with them, and I was explaining why I saw Aaron’s comments at CPP as different.

  24. #24 JLK
    May 12, 2009

    A commenter above recommended “Stiffed” by Susan Faludi. I second that rec, but I would add that “Backlash” by Faludi should be read first. But keep in mind, they are HUGE books, so be patient with them. I just got my copy of “Getting Off” by Jensen, but haven’t cracked the cover yet. I’ll be reviewing it after “Stiffed” over at my blog. There is a review of “Backlash” up already on my page.

    I also highly recommend “In Our Own Words” by Crawford and Unger – it’s a pretty common supp text for psych of women courses.

  25. #25 Hope
    May 12, 2009

    Jay, Becca: I don’t care if CPP is a man or a woman – I wouldn’t cut him any more slack if he were a woman. Even in a feminist space. I am not “confused” on this matter, Becca; I just don’t agree with you.

    I think it’s rude to tell someone “don’t comment, don’t comment, don’t comment.” Especially someone who has stated that he rarely comments, as this guy did at the beginning of his letter. Who’s to say when he will be enlightened enough to be able to speak?

    Jay, no one is forcing you to do anyone’s work. If you don’t want to address a particular comment, don’t. You’ve found that lurking on certain blogs has been a valuable learning experience for you? – good for you! That doesn’t work for everyone. Deciding when and how to comment is every adult’s prerogative.

  26. #26 Aaron
    May 12, 2009

    Carebear? No

    I just think that profanity is just a way to say something without actually saying anything. It’s also one of the biggest cues of weak arguments (i.e. without merit). Case and point, the more right or left of an issue you get, the more profanity and insults, in general. This doesn’t mean that I don’t think CPP has a good point, quite the contrary. I think he makes it sound like he doesn’t. While he’s entitled to say whateverthefuck he wants, I think it gets a little iffy when it’s a place where some people are getting some of their first exposure to an important issue.

    Thanks to Becca for helping to articulate what I’m saying.

  27. #27 Zuska
    May 12, 2009

    I’m just going to make an observation: it often seems to me that many more people get more worked up and more offended, more frequently, by “foul language” than they do by instances of sexism or racism or homophobia.

    CPP’s way of expressing himself may not be for everyone, but the things I find truly offensive are not the frequent use of the word “fuck”. Take a step back for a minute and ask yourself: why does one person using the word fuck a lot get you more incensed than, say, hearing someone tell a racist joke, or observing your colleague behave in a sexist manner toward another colleague, or hearing one of your d00d pals police another d00d’s masculinity through homophobic comments and taunts? What are the forces in society that encourage us not to get all hot and bothered by those sorts of foul language and behavior, and encourage us instead to save our sanctimonious rage for the use of George Carlin’s seven dirty words?

    Why do you suppose, in this discussion of what d00ds could be reading and doing to develop their feminist proclivities, we are getting derailed by concern over CPP’s choice of language? You know, if only he would phrase things exactly right, every d00d would suddenly see the light and start walking down the garden path with him.

    What does it say about you, to say “I would have been receptive to your message about how to be a better human being except that I didn’t like how you said it, so I’m not going to listen and I’m just going to go on with my usual ways and it’s all your fault”?

    Just something to ponder…

  28. #28 Jay
    May 12, 2009

    Hope, you’re right that no one is forcing me to do anything. I wouldn’t offer this as unsolicited advice. If I read the post right, this was a request for advice. I responded to the original request; it happened that I agreed with someone who had already posted. Aside from not liking what CPP and I said, do you have any responses to the original question?

  29. #29 historiann
    May 12, 2009

    One thing I’ve noticed in reading feminist blogs is that there are always some commenters who get very bothered by “tone” and “language.” It doesn’t matter if they’re presenting on-line as male or female (because, of course, who really knows, right?)–but it’s only on feminist blogs that I see lectures about what’s “appropriate” and what’s not. This happened to me recently when I called a dead historian a “tool” for publishing a book review in a prominent publication (not a history journal) that was extremely condescending about women’s history. A bunch of young grad students flew in out of nowhere to inform me that I had crossed a line and that I was completely “inappropriate.”

    http://www.historiann.com/2009/03/10/lawrence-stone-classy-classy-guy/

    More often than not, it’s a strategy to shut down the discussion of sexism or racism or other biases. It reminds me of the child in the alcoholic family who stands up to tell the truth, and then everyone in the family rushes to the defense of the drunk.

  30. #30 Aaron
    May 12, 2009

    I think I made it pretty clear that I don’t get offended about fucks; I just think it’s a matter of practicality. The word is one of the best and most robust signifiers of idiocy, at least when used in excess and when used to make a point, rather than just ranting (where it’s welcome). And this is far more than just about foul language, it’s about using insulting and elitist “phrasing” rather than just saying whatever the fuck is on you goddamn mind. I’d like this, and other posts, not to get derailed by stupid shit (bringing up CPP was an addendum to my direct response to the question in the post, though a big addendum. It was relevant because he continued it here from the other post). That you would suggest that I want things to be said exactly right, or any other PC bullshit, means that you’ve probably completely missed my point.

    While I’m at it, Stephanie Coontz is one of the authors that really got me thinking, though couldn’t remember her name earlier. Apparently saving syllabi from old classes can come in handy.

  31. #31 Comrade PhysioProf
    May 12, 2009

    This happened to me recently when I called a dead historian a “tool” for publishing a book review in a prominent publication (not a history journal) that was extremely condescending about women’s history. A bunch of young grad students flew in out of nowhere to inform me that I had crossed a line and that I was completely “inappropriate.”

    That means the dead d00d probably was a total fucking tool!

  32. #32 Carlie
    May 12, 2009

    My “don’t comment” doesn’t mean don’t ever comment, ever, it means don’t comment until you’re really sure what you’re talking about. Understand that there really are certain conversations for which you honestly don’t have anything to contribute. (For instance, in a thread about things that are triggers for rape survivors, if you are not one, shut up and listen; do not butt in to talk about your second cousin’s friend’s roommate who got groped once.) Understand that even if you do have something to contribute, you don’t have to do it right this minute. Understand that a lot of women have spent their whole lives being interrupted by men, and talked over by men, and having men take over and dominate the conversation, so try not to do that or give the appearance that you are. Shutting up for awhile also keeps you from trying to make it all about yourself – as Jay said, if someone makes a comment about “men who do X”, and you’re not a man who does X, calm down – it’s not about you, you don’t have to jump in to make sure everyone knows it’s not about you.

    Is it so threatening to be asked to listen?

  33. #33 Carlie
    May 12, 2009

    You’ve found that lurking on certain blogs has been a valuable learning experience for you? – good for you! That doesn’t work for everyone. Deciding when and how to comment is every adult’s prerogative.

    So it’s all about the commenter? If they find they learn better when pestering other people to spoon-feed everything to them, that’s what they should always get to do? My advice to stfu and listen wasn’t just to be a “valuable learning experience” for the learner, it was to remind them to be respectful of other people’s time and energy and the topics of discussion. Of course it’s your prerogative to jump in somewhere you’ve never been before and yell I DON’T GET IT SOMEONE EXPLAIN IT TO ME whenever you feel like it, it’s just pretty damned rude. A good general rule of any blog commenting is to read it long enough to get a feel for the place before diving in, and then start off nicely.

  34. #34 Hope
    May 12, 2009

    Carlie, did you even read this guy’s letter? Does he sound like he’d be guilty of doing the things that you describe in #32 and 33? Because in this case, yes, we are talking about a specific commenter – it is about him. How about we give him the chance to show us that he’s an adult capable of engaging in civil discourse before we tell him to stfu?

  35. #35 k
    May 12, 2009

    Hope, it’s not just about Deatkin. This is a blog post addressing an entire group of people (men who’d like to be supportive or involved but don’t know how). If it were all about Deatkin, Zuska would have sent him an email.

    The advice not to comment until you’ve thought is *great* advice. There are many who won’t follow it, male and female, and they will be heaped with scorn. That’s life.

  36. #36 Jay
    May 13, 2009

    It’s not just about the guy in the original post, and it’s not just about commenting, either. “Shut up and listen” is good advice for anyone who is trying to be an ally in any setting. It’s advice I was given by people of color and gay men and women when I first started doing anti-discrimination work professionally.

    By definition, someone working to be an ally is not a member of the marginalized/oppressed group with whom we wish to ally. Therefore we don’t know and can’t fully understand their experiences. In most cases – certainly for white folk trying to ally with POC, heterosexual men and women who are allies to GLBQTI friends, and men who are allies to women – the ally comes from the majority culture. There’s a history of white people making POC do our work. There’s a history of men making women do their work. When I say I won’t ask someone to do my work, that’s not just jargon or feel-good diversity speak. It’s part of my attempt to own my own privilege.

    All of this comes down to “check your privilege”. If you’re going to comment, check first to make sure you’re speaking for yourself, and not telling someone else about her own experience. Check to make sure you’re not reacting out of defensiveness at having your privilege challenged – that’s what usually happening to me when I get the itch to respond angrily to a woman of color.

    We don’t see our own privilege. Fish don’t see water. It’s damn hard work to change that.

  37. #37 Hope
    May 13, 2009

    So it’s OK to be rude to Deatkin and others like him because other men have behaved like ignoramuses? Are we really going to pretend that there’s no difference between “try to listen more than speak,” or “think before you comment”; and “stfu and listen,” or “don’t comment, don’t comment, don’t comment”? That the way in which things are said is not important? I find that really ironic in the context of this thread, since the letter at the center of it was prompted precisely by how certain things were being said.

  38. #38 Carlie
    May 13, 2009

    Oh, I don’t think there’s no difference between “try to listen more than speak” and “don’t comment”. There’s a world of difference. The first is a mild suggestion bound to be ignored, since anyone can convince themselves that they are listening more than commenting. The second is a directive that says do NOT comment until you have a good handle on what you’re talking about. You just don’t want to believe that I actually think that watching a discussion for an entire thread or ten without trying to give any input is a good idea, but I do.

  39. #39 Hope
    May 13, 2009

    Carlie, I have no problem with you thinking that “watching a discussion for an entire thread or ten without trying to give any input is a good idea.” I have done this myself; I often do it on this blog, in fact. What I don’t believe is that you have to be rude in order to get other people to listen to you.

  40. #40 Carlie
    May 13, 2009

    I don’t think my first comment (#7), which was the one directed at the generic “proto-feminist d00d”, was at all rude. Direct, yes, rude, no. Where exactly did you think it was rude? In fact, looking it over, I don’t see where I was rude at all except when I got a little snippy on #33. (On the other hand, rude is precisely what I’ve been to Geronimo over on the CPP thread at Isis’ place).
    I don’t think you have to bend over backwards to be polite, either – not in the blogosphere, at least. Superfluously kind comments are easy to ignore; rude ones get right in your face and force you to address the issue. For some people it works well one way, for some it works better the other.

  41. #41 prozac
    May 14, 2009

    The process sounds about right, though personal mileage may vary on whether or not the reader is ready for the blogs you linked to. Depending on background and culture, even ideas that seem simple and non-offensive can seem a little too radical to easily digest.

  42. #42 Lucy
    May 15, 2009

    John Stoltenberg is great for a male amalysis of the patriarchy and rejecting common constructions of masculinity and related misogyny-based behaviours. He was in a relationship with and lived with Andrea Dworkin for many years despite identifying as a gay male and she identified as a radical lesbian.
    He has some really interesting and thought-provoking books on questioning the patriarchy.

  43. #43 MPL
    May 15, 2009

    My (limited) advice for other men:

    1) It’s not about you (not specifically). Unless you’re a major jerk who’s being trashed, what is being written is not a personal insult.

    2) Not everything bad is done by bad people. If someone labels something sexist, that does not (necessarily) mean they think the author/creator/person who repeated it did so is sexist, but that the idea/art/action itself is harmful.

    3) If what you read makes you feel bad, it can get better without ignoring or dismissing it. It may take time, and thought.

  44. #44 J. J. Ramsey
    May 15, 2009

    There’s a site called Girl-Wonder.org that is about feminism and sexism in comics, but a lot of the lessons there can be generalized. The CounterPunch section is probably a good place to start. It highlights how sexualization is the default for women in comics but not for men. Of course, comics are hardly the only place where this default assumption holds, which is my point in bringing it up.

  45. #45 Rob W.
    May 15, 2009

    @Carlie #40 — I’ll throw my 2 cents into that bucket, that it’s important to have the aggressive voices present as well; they definitely serve a purpose.

    Self-observation, but for what it’s worth — in my life, the largest adjustments in my worldview have come about when I’ve run afoul of people are are:
    a) undeniably intelligent and articulate (so I can’t just write them off)
    b) really angry about something that I didn’t think could warrant high emotion
    c) ready to express their anger, frustration, etc. in very forceful terms; not willing to “just talk around it”.

    I can check off just about every box in the “over-privileged categories” list (I think if I were extroverted and my parents were wealthier, I could check them all), so there have been a lot of adjustments, and there are probably more to come. But they don’t happen in calm intellectual conversations. I can build complicated rational structures around what’s not quite right in the world, and what could be done to fix it, but it’s all abstract, and it stays in the realm of “this is interesting to talk about”.

    It’s kind of like painting detailed representations of the evils of the world around without ever raising my head, to notice that I am a physical being *living* in this world, with responsibilities to it. At some point someone has to slap the painting out of my hands and say “look! LOOK! It is not *their* problem, that you might help them with by understanding it more; it is *your* problem!”

    It’s certainly uncomfortable to be wrong, but my ego survives, somehow.

    The rational exploration serves a purpose, too, and possibly more so after I woken up a bit, so I’d never say “everyone should take this approach” — particularly because that just makes it easier to slip into easy grouping (“ah yes, now you’re feeding me *that* carefully prepared line…”), rather than having a bunch of different conversations, with individuals.

    So, I… have no wrap-up advice? Just don’t tell the angry people to quiet down, I guess.

  46. #46 IrrationalPoint
    May 15, 2009

    I found that bell hooks’s “Feminism is For Everybody” and Jennifer Saul’s “Feminism: Issues and Arguments” were useful introductions.

    Apart from that: take responsibility from your own learning. It’s ok to politely ask when you don’t understand something about social justice that is being talked about, but not ok to blame people when you don’t understand a social justice issue. Take people’s anger at face value — dismissing it downplays their experiences. If you downplay those experiences, you are inherently limiting what you can learn about this particular social justice issue.

    –IP

  47. #47 EM
    May 15, 2009

    FWIW, Bitch, PhD, and IBTP have some history of (allowing) transphobic behavior and I personally would not recommend them.

  48. #48 Comrade PhysioProf
    May 15, 2009

    FWIW, Bitch, PhD, and IBTP have some history of (allowing) transphobic behavior and I personally would not recommend them.

    Twisty has made it very, very clear that no transphobic comments are tolerated at IBTP. And, to the best of my knowledge, she has followed through on this.

  49. #49 Carlie
    May 15, 2009

    And unfortunately, Bitch PhD made it pretty clear that she didn’t give a shit. That was depressing. Still, some of the stuff in her archives is reading that is very accessible for n00by d00ds. I’m not of the d00d gender, but in particular her pair of posts on “Do you trust women?” were the first ones to make the lightbulb of rights regarding abortion go off in my head.

  50. #50 LostMarbles
    May 15, 2009

    FWIW, Bitch, PhD, and IBTP have some history of (allowing) transphobic behavior and I personally would not recommend them.

    Yeah, the latest debacle with the LOL-Ann-Coulter-is-a-man joke makes me incredibly wary of recommending Bitch, PhD because shit like that is completely unacceptable. But as Carlie mentioned, there are some good articles worth reading.

  51. #51 Comrade PhysioProf
    May 15, 2009

    And unfortunately, Bitch PhD made it pretty clear that she didn’t give a shit.

    Yes, she did. That is why I limited my comment to IBTP.

  52. #52 D. C. Sessions
    May 15, 2009

    I don’t really know how you can better understand these pressures that women face.

    It’s very liberating to accept that we can’t understand. Trying to do so is missing the point entirely and diverts efforts from more productive channels.

  53. #53 RichB
    May 15, 2009

    Well, as a 40-year-old proto-feminist, thanks to all for the links. I have frequented IBTP (lurk-mode only), and some of the other blogs mentioned here. Still I do appreciate the help.

    As for my own journey, it began with a mousepad. It was my first “real” job out of college, as a computer programmer. I had a mousepad depicting the Barbi Twins in not a lot of clothing (oh hell yeah, I know now….). I sort of felt it was not right, but I dismissed such feelings, and of course, some of the other male geeks gave me respect because of it. Nobody said much about it until we had to have one of our internal applications upgraded, and someone (a female) from another group had to do it. She flat-out REFUSED to work on my computer, and sent around an email to the group to the effect that everyone else was done, except for me, and she would NOT do it as long as I had “that mousepad”. My first reaction was, much like the reaction to CPP, anger. How dare she call me out like that? But it did not last long, and the feeling was replaced with shame and embarassment. I realized I had deeply offended her. Instead of immediately taking the right action, though, I approached three other women in other groups, and asked them if they agreed that the mousepad was offensive (As if I expected them to say “no problem, d00d” — ugh! I am a moron sometimes). They were all very patient and nice with me, but also very firm and unwavering: it had to go. As it sat in the trash, the guy in the cube said “You getting rid of that??? Can I have it???”.

    That was a long time ago, and though I have come far (in my estimation, though not in others I suspect), there is a long way to go.

    If I have sounded like an ass, please tell me :-)

    RCB

  54. #54 RichB
    May 15, 2009

    Hate to reply to myself, but….

    As it sat in the trash, the guy in the cube said “You getting rid of that??? Can I have it???”.

    Should have been:

    As it sat in the trash, the guy in the cube next to me said “You getting rid of that??? Can I have it???”.

    It’s late … .on a Friday … that’s my excuse :-)

    RCB

  55. #55 deatkin
    May 15, 2009

    Saying that Comrade PhysioProf would be to blame for men failing to wade into the world of feminism was probably a shade too far. It seemed at the time to be a convenient, emotion-heavy conclusion my argument, but it should probably have gone unsaid (un-thought, even). Sorry, CPP. There are by now far too many comments for me to address them specifically, but know that I have read them and am humbled by your attention and care. And thank you Zuska, for giving voice to my small frustrations. You recommend that I, or somebody like me, read Allan Johnson’s: “The Gender Knot: Unraveling Our Patriarchal Legacy” in another post as well, and I think I will.

  56. #56 Cericonversion
    May 16, 2009

    I agree with others that the most important thing is to cultivate the art of listening. Sit still and listen to what women you care about or who are writing things you find worth reading say about their challenges, discouragements, and triumphs. It’s hard for those of us who were raised to believe that we could get it all and fix it all. But it’s worth doing, and will teach you surprising things about yourself, too.

  57. #57 cericonversion
    May 16, 2009

    One follow-up thought:

    One of the cultural pressures laid on men is that they’re supposed to have opinions about everything, and that they need to let others know what these opinions are. The “no comment” advice is a training exercise for breaking that. In fact, the members of any privileged group (say, me when it comes to race or class, so that this doesn’t sound like dumping just on others) need to realize when we’re really not entitled to a firm opinion right now, and that the world won’t break if we just listen and learn for a while.

  58. #58 Azkyroth
    May 16, 2009

    The dumbshit d00dely comment fuckwittery that Zuska and Isis tolerate on their blogs–like Fucklington leaving as the first motherfucking comment to a “Letters to Our Daughters” post at Isis’s blog the assertion that it shouldn’t be limited to letters from mothers but also fathers–doesn’t even get *published* on most feminist blogs, and rather gets summarily deleted.

    I assume you’re not actually arguing that men shouldn’t try to involve themselves in giving their daughters advice and suggestions on developing intellectually and learning to engage in life. So, um, what are you arguing here?

  59. #59 Azkyroth
    May 16, 2009

    I will not go so far as to agree with Deatkin that it is CPP’s fault (or anyone else’s fault) if he “persists in his ways” because of mocking or anything else. If one is committed to social justice and equity, then one must proceed down that path no matter what obstacles, mocking included, one runs into. Getting your feelings hurt is not sufficient cause to stop educating yourself about how to be a better human being.

    While I agree that mockery and other obstacles do not excuse one from slacking off in pursuing social justice and equity, the fact that some people seem to be physically incapable of answering a question, earnest or otherwise, simple or otherwise, and instead give a few fragments of an answer smothered in belittlement of the questioner – apparently under the impression that “everyone knows” the right answer to the question and the questioner therefore MUST either be “slow” and need their memory jogged, or otherwise be asking in bad faith – is really goddamn distracting and confusing. So, to these people: what is it you think this approach gets you?

  60. #60 Zuska
    May 17, 2009

    Azkyroth: I don’t see anywhere where CPP is saying that fathers should not be involved in giving advice to their daughters. What he’s saying is that when a bunch of women get together to create a role model project for young women in science, the last frickin’ thing we need is a some d00dly d00d whining about how the menz ought to be allowed to play, too. Like as if men never get 5 minutes in the limelight.

  61. #61 Azkyroth
    May 17, 2009

    Azkyroth: I don’t see anywhere where CPP is saying that fathers should not be involved in giving advice to their daughters. What he’s saying is that when a bunch of women get together to create a role model project for young women in science, the last frickin’ thing we need is a some d00dly d00d whining about how the menz ought to be allowed to play, too. Like as if men never get 5 minutes in the limelight.

    So, maybe a reiteration of the goal of the project and some kind of practical advice to men about how to do the role-model thing for their daughters in a way that wouldn’t trample on women’s efforts would be more useful and productive than “quit your fucking whiny-ass titty-baby shit and sack the fuck up”?

  62. #62 LostMarbles
    May 17, 2009

    and some kind of practical advice to men about how to do the role-model thing for their daughters in a way that wouldn’t trample on women’s efforts would be more useful and productive

    Yes, because explaining to men how they can be role models to women is exactly the definition of useful and productive when discussing a project aimed at addressing the dearth of female mentors in academia. It’s not at all derailing the discussion.

  63. #63 Azkyroth
    May 17, 2009

    Yes, because explaining to men how they can be role models to women is exactly the definition of useful and productive when discussing a project aimed at addressing the dearth of female mentors in academia. It’s not at all derailing the discussion.

    Since the issue’s already been raised, some positive suggestions for what to go do instead of pushing the point would actually help globally, even if it’s not as immediately gratifying as hitting people over the head, even if they belong to a group which has, on average, earned it.

  64. #64 MissPrism
    May 17, 2009

    Azkyroth, have even you looked at what the “letters to our daughters” project is? It’s not about literal fathers mentoring their literal daughters. It’s about women in science, whose academic family tree is almost entirely male, getting some advice from successful women in science.

    This has been an exasperated woman explaining something to a man who hasn’t been bothered to spend two minutes reading about the very subject he is banging on about in comments on a feminist blog while demanding that a nice lady explain something irrelevant to him while making soothing cooing noises. This. Here. Is Why. You. Piss. Us. Off.

  65. #65 Carlie
    May 17, 2009

    What MissPrism said.
    So, maybe a reiteration of the goal of the project

    The goal of the project was crystal-clear. There should be no need to reiterate, seeing how it’s in writing right there and all. That’s the good thing about writing – you can go back and refer to it at any time. That’s what is meant by ‘do the research yourself’. Asking a question halfway down a comment thread that is answered either right in the original post or in something directly linked to in the original post is lazy and disrespectful of the time and energy of everyone else participating in the discussion. It also derails the entire thing while the conversation stops to drag you up to speed.

    and some kind of practical advice to men about how to do the role-model thing for their daughters in a way that wouldn’t trample on women’s efforts

    NOT the goal of the project. Every action that is taken by any group does not have to come pre-installed with options for contribution by every other conceivable group that may intersect with it in some way. That may be something that portions of the group eventually want to tackle, but it certainly isn’t something they have to do, and is absolutely not something they should even think about when the project is first started. Really, it’s not always about you.

  66. #66 MissPrism
    May 17, 2009

    On, I might add, a thread that is already all about men and how to help them, and in which many women have already done lots of work by recommending beginner-friendly reading for guys who who actually want to understand things.

    Azkyroth, you may very well have the bestest and super-huggy loveliest of intentions deep down inside. But you are still barging in, sounding off about things you know cock-all about, and demanding we give you a personal lesson right now in exactly whatever it is that you have decided you want us to be talking about. You are, frankly, taking an extremely rude and counterproductive approach. What is it that you think this approach gets you?

  67. #67 eddie
    May 17, 2009

    “What should a 20yr old proto-feminist d00d read?”
    A Milly Molly Mandy story – to see what your sister had to put up with while you got The Hobbit.
    An Elizabeth Moon sci-fi novel – to learn that macho is not just a boy thing.
    Iain M Banks’s The Player of Games – Everyone read this!
    Also; “If you’re commited to social justice… a little mocking…”
    What if they’re not? How to make them so?
    “I would have come round to your point but I didn’t like the way you made it.” – frame over
    Who’s gonna break the news to the nisbeteers?
    Remember, the debating club plays by the patriarch’s rules.

  68. #68 Kirstente
    May 25, 2009

    For the proto-feminists, and men in general, I recommend Heather Corrina’s amazing piece at Scarleteen on how men can prevent rape –
    http://www.scarleteen.com/article/boyfriend/how_you_guys_thats_right_you_guys_can_prevent_rape

    And Scarleteen in general is good for sex education stuff from a feminist perspective.

  69. #69 Katherine
    June 17, 2009

    Ooh, a reading list (seeing as I keep being yelled at in the comments on blog posts about feminism, I am apparently a female d00d or something). I’d like to just mention that I find it very hard to find anything at feminism 101, I’m not sure why I find it so confusing.

    I took Deatkin’s comment (I know, he has retracted it) to mean that if everyone persists in mocking instead of explaining or pointing out references, then it is pretty hard for anyone to gain an understanding of anything. So if any particular person refuses to explain or point out a good source of info, then they (regardless of their intentions) are perpetuating this incredible difficulty for people to understand. This thread I’m sure will be incredibly useful and I wish more people would link to it.

    And someone said that the problem of people coming into the debate asking to have the entire issue being debated explained to them in great detail, even though it has been explained many times before, is a uniquely feminist problem. It isn’t. Visit a website that debunks alternative medicine or the autism vaccine myth sometime. They get just the same types of questions: people asking to have things explained that have been explained many times before. And do you know why? It is quite hard for the layperson to figure out whether an internet source (or a book source for that matter) is credible or not. Especially when all their friends confirm the viewpoint that the site is trying to disprove (that vaccines are bad, or that the patriarchy doesn’t exist).

  70. #70 jennygadget
    June 25, 2009

    “And someone said that the problem of people coming into the debate asking to have the entire issue being debated explained to them in great detail, even though it has been explained many times before, is a uniquely feminist problem. It isn’t.”

    The comment you were referring to (I believe) was specifically Carlie’s. I thought she made it pretty clear that

    1) she wasn’t talking about newbies asking for definitions to technical terms (which are provided in the FAQs of most feminist blogs, btw) but rather questions that derail the current coversation. I’m guessing that the websites you are talking about tend to be forums rather than blogs. Which means they are a place where you can start a new conversation easily without derailing the current one. That isn’t case on most blogs.

    2) she wasn’t talking about people that ask one simple question, but people who seem to expect everyone to drop the conversation they are having and talk about what the newbie/d00d wants to talk about, in the manner they want to talk about it.

    I’ve been witness to both the kind of converstations you are describing and the kind that Carlie is describing, and I have to wonder how much time you’ve spent on feminist blogs because I have a hard time seeing how anyone who has seen both could confuse the two.

    Also, I don’t think anyone here thinks this type of derailing is limited to feminist blogs. As many have already pointed out, it tends to be more of an issue of privilege/expectations, so it tends to come up on all kinds of blogs that question/challenge the status quo.

  71. #71 Katherine
    July 2, 2009

    jennygadget:
    I can’t actually find the post I was replying to. I guess it was just an overall feeling I got. Can I retract the whole last paragraph of my comment at 69 please? It happens on other types of blogs but clearly I’m derailing to mention it as no-one said what I thought they said in my earlier comment. I’ve read a fair bit of stuff on this list since that comment.

    So to 1) I’ve seen it on blogs, not forums, especially blogs here on scienceblogs. It is definitely attempts to derail, but as the blogs I’m talking about are defending the status quo, it is easier to blow off/ignore people talking about pseudoscience as they are clearly cranks. I guess medicine is privileged over alternative medicine (as it should be). Woot I am learning as a direct result of this list.