Jess McCabe // 11 March 2008
Just a quick note to point out that Laurie has posted the transcript of a speech she gave about misandry.
I don’t agree with everything she says, but Laurie has some interesting insights and the speech is well worth a read:
Men are not the problem. Patriarchal capitalism is the problem. A culture of male-perpetrated violence is part of the problem, but most men are not thugs. Men in the West grow up in a culture that teaches them that masculinity is expected to be violent; some respond by becoming perpetrators of violence, and the rest of them remain, like everyone else, cowed by the threat of violence. Men, like women, are worked over every day by the deeply disturbed gender attitudes of their society. All of us, male, female, straight, gay, bisexual, transsexual, kinky or vanilla, we are worked over every day by the treatment of gender in Western culture. Creating aggressive divisions within this paradigm is hugely counterproductive.
This feeds into some of the views put across by PortlyDyke in a brilliant post over at Shakesville:
Yes, I believe that men have “privilege” over women — no matter what their stratum on the great pyramid of oppression — poor men generally still possess privilege more than poor women, black men generally still possess privilege more than black women, etc. (and yes, I know there are exceptions, but I am consciously choosing to speak in cultural generalities — So sue me!).
However, I think that, at the level of basic existence as a human being, any privilege obtained by being male in this culture is probably cold comfort when you consider the real toll that sexism and misogyny take on those who identify as, or are considered Man/Male/Men/Males.
But I do also think that men have a responsibility to do a bit more for themselves. In which context, this post at Galling Galla is perhaps relevant:
These days, in most corporate (not all, but most) settings, it is perfectly normal for women to wear pants, and most do. In most casual settings, it is perfectly normal for women to wear jeans, including loose-fitting, comfortable ones, t-shirts, and sneakers (except when in Home Depot and Lowe’s, when women are regularly ignored or treated condescendingly when we go there to buy a drill or a screwdriver without a pink handle). These days, it’s mostly regressive xtian extremists who complain.
But know what is still a scandal? A man wearing a skirt. It’s very unlikely that a man can come into work, except in the most exceptionally progressive / radical workplaces, in a skirt and not suffer serious consequences. And that’s because men are just not doing the work, not taking the risks, to push against and break through the gender expectations that are put on them.