// 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.

Comments From You

Publicansdecoy // Posted 11 March 2008 at 5:36 pm

I’m a man. I like wearing skirts sometimes. Have done on occasion in the past and probably will again in future. But it’s always been in a private context. I wouldn;t dream of weraing one outside. Perhaps a woman weraing trousers gets or at least got a disapproving look or a tut. If I walk through my local town centre in a skirt then I would say it is very likely I would be subjected to physical violence by some affronted man. And no, that’s not a risk I’m willing to take, no matter how pretty I think the skirt is. I can’t see this changing any time soon, really. I get enough stick as it is just for being male and also having long hair.

Jess McCabe // Posted 11 March 2008 at 5:49 pm

Publicansdecoy: Yes, I recognise that, and didn’t mean to dismiss the seriousness of what the blogger was suggesting.

Yet the fact remains that once upon a time women who wore trousers were in much the same position. It was women who did the dangerous work that has blurred some of those lines.

(Incidentally, I don’t think I’ve ever noticed anyone giving me a disapproving tut for wearing trousers! But when my grandmother was evacuated from London – where trousers had taken off somewhat among women – to the countryside, during WW2, she absolutely scandalised the villagers.)

Laura Woodhouse // Posted 11 March 2008 at 5:54 pm

“Uncompromising bigotry of our forebears”? The second wave won most of its battles? Really?

Second wave women created women-only space in order that they could be free of male influence and try and create their own identities in order that they could liberate themselves and fight for the liberation of women everywhere. Many of these women’s lives were totally bound up in caring for men and children; getting away from them and creating their own space was therefore essential – read the bestselling The Women’s Room for evidence. This isn’t misandry, or bigotry, but a practical and necessary means of achieving liberation.

As for the battles having been won: do we have equal pay? No. Abortion on demand? No. And end to violence against women? No. Justice for rape victims? No. Yes, these women made great leaps forward, they did achieve a lot, but the fight is ongoing in many areas and I see my role as a younger feminist to help continue this.

Million women rise wasn’t about shouting ‘men off the streets’. The many comments we have received repeatedly mention how wonderful it was to feel such a strength of female solidarity and vitality. In a society saturated by the socially constructed feminine, this is a wonderful and important thing. International women’s day is about women, and I think that complaining about the absence of men at the march is a sign of just how much this day is needed: for one day at least, women come first. No, feminism is not about putting women above men, but in order to achieve equality we need to value women, to value each other, and these kind of all women events are a great way to do that.

More on this when I’ve got time!

Angry African // Posted 11 March 2008 at 6:04 pm

I don’t think this is just a Western problem. I come from South Africa and this is rife there as well. I lived in a home where I saw this happen to my mother – the slow killing of her flame. Losing her identity. My dad. But not just him. Me to. It was only when she killed herself that I realized that I was just as guilty – my guilt was being blinded by my love for her and not celebrating her enough. My father might have been killing her with his ways. But my “nice” way was maybe just as bad. I try to work through this in my blog at

GallingGalla // Posted 11 March 2008 at 8:25 pm

Jess, thanks so much for linking to my post.

Publicansdecoy, I was not implying that it isn’t risky, and sometimes downright dangerous, for men to break past gender expectations in today’s society.

My point is, is that women and trans folk have already done that work from our end, and have already suffered dearly for it, including being burned at the stake (Jeanne d’Arc, for example). I think that if you want to have an environment where its safe for men to express themselves freely without getting bashed for it, it is the job of men to do the hard work of liberating men. We’ve done more than our share already, and its time for men to stop relying on women to do that work for them (I’m not saying that all men do that, but too many do.)

Jess McCabe // Posted 11 March 2008 at 8:47 pm

Hi GallingGalla, I do basically agree.

I suppose I do have to admit as well, though, that it is all very well for me to say this, as the hard work of (at least trouser-wearing) has been done, and I am largely just benefitting from it at this stage!

I also think it’s important to acknowledge that one of the reasons that, perhaps it has been easier for women to blur the lines of gender conformity than for men, is that our culture looks down on things that are associated with women…

m Andrea // Posted 11 March 2008 at 11:17 pm

Why is it that all the bad that men do to women is attributed to culture, but all the good that men do for women is attributed to men’s nature?

Lauren O // Posted 12 March 2008 at 1:10 am

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.

I’m not sure that’s strictly true. I think it’s perhaps more likely that it’s easier for society to accept women taking on men’s roles than it is for men to take on women’s roles, because women are seen as inferior. A woman wanting to take on men’s roles seems less offensive, because, the reasoning goes, who wouldn’t want to be a member of the superior sex? A man wanting to take on women’s roles seems more offensive, because what man would ever want to degrade himself like that?

Jennifer // Posted 12 March 2008 at 9:22 am

Lauren O hit the nail right on the head.

Cara // Posted 12 March 2008 at 10:50 am

LaurenO, I agree. “You throw like a girl” is still an insult.

However…do men need to do more work…yes, absolutely. Do women need to support them in that, again, yes…but it’s about men, and *they* primarily need to do the work.

We moved on from the shrinking violet style femininity of the 50s. There is nowhere similar for men to go if they don’t want to buy into some idea of masculinity that is still much the same, i.e. about career success, money, toughness, sport, being unemotional.

I strongly feel that this is *the* most pressing issue for feminism…a new vision of masculinity.

“New men” are derided as “PC” wimps. Men can’t express any emotion other than anger.

I think that just as WW2 meant women *had* to go out to work, it is now economically imperative for women to actually be represented on boards…more “feminine” values of co-operation and lack of arrogance will be adopted. Also, we will have a less consumerist society, so creative and caring work wil be more valued. I hope, anyway…

Publicansdecoy // Posted 12 March 2008 at 10:52 am

I just don’t get the sense that there’s anything like a critical mass of men willing to do anything like that, though. At best, you get a grudging acknowledgment from more enlightened men that yes, people can wear whatever they want, I suppose, but they’d never be seen dead in a skirt themselves!

There are no mass movements of men wearing skirts or make-up or anything else more traditionally associated with women and demanding the right to do so without being hassled and atacked.

So I can go outside wearing a skirt if I feel like it, and I can tell myself that I’m blazing a trail and challenging societal norms for genders, but nothing will happen, except I’ll get a good kicking from some angry young man.

Cara // Posted 12 March 2008 at 11:14 am

Forgot to add: I wish some men *would* wear make-up, at least to powder their shiny greasy foreheads and noses and cover blemishes! They’d look much better! : – ) (and yes I do wear it myself, not being mean!)

Hmmm yeah Publicansdecoy, I share your sense of futility…but…100 years ago it would have been equally unthinkable for women to wear trousers…I dunno…hmmm it would’ve been unimaginable for a guy to wear a pink shirt not that long ago. Little by little.

chem_fem // Posted 12 March 2008 at 11:27 am

It’s isn’t limited to clothing or grooming either (and for the record I’d rather more people went au naturel than men wear make-up) more men (and it is a slowly growing minority) are taking up typically female hobbies such as knitting and fear doing it in public.

It’s such a pity, and I don’t blame them too much because the threat of violence is very real. I’ve occasionally felt very self-conscious knitting late at night on a train with drunk crowds being rowdy, and I could only imagine how much more attention I may get if I were male.

vibracobra // Posted 12 March 2008 at 1:34 pm

“uncompromising bigotry of our forebears”? The Second Wave won most of its battles? Really?

Yeah, I thought that was a bit harsh too, not to mention inaccurate.

I always think stuff like women-only spaces is a recognition that there are still problems that mean women need spaces where they can discuss them without men being around. Of course, occasionally it’s about hating men, or at least about being very uncomfortable around men, but women-only spaces are a way of working out these issues.

Besides, a lot of cultures have women-only spaces or even women-only political bodies, and in the West we have men-only spaces but not women-only. In a way they’re even still taboo. Why are women’s team sports so marginalised, for instance?

Publicansdecoy // Posted 13 March 2008 at 12:08 pm

Just to say,

I’e written rather a lengthy piece on men in skirts and the wider implications, in case anybody is interested:

Lara // Posted 14 March 2008 at 11:47 pm

“Why is it that all the bad that men do to women is attributed to culture, but all the good that men do for women is attributed to men’s nature?”

Thankyou m Andrea. I am really tired of the way people overlook male privilege and try to blame everyone equally for women’s oppression. It is [i]because[/i] men have male-born privilege that misogyny exists in the first place. It’s not like men and women sat there together one day in equality and were like “hey, let’s oppress women!” It’s a whole system, started and run by and for men. Sure, some women are complicit in patriarchy, but because men have privilege because of their sex alone they are the ones who really benefit from patriarchy, who have the most responsibility, and the sole responsibility, in sexism and misogyny. Stop feeling bad for men. It’s that very kind of backpatting that says “oh, it’s ok that you rape and oppress women, you’re just a willess product of your culture!” Privilege makes one’s perpetuation of oppression invisible. We must see through this.

I would refer to the ideas and writing of Jackson Katz if you want to learn more about how men need to take sole responsibility for misogyny, and what they can do about it on their part:

Israel Morales // Posted 13 September 2009 at 1:01 am

Mucho gusto. Hay una necesidad por atender entre los hombres, como muchos de ustedes y otras personas que no padecen ninguna discapacidad. Pero que si han visto la urgencia de modificar las prendas de vestir para los hombres, en todas sus edades, como lo mkenciono en


Ya estamos trabajando en diseñar unas medias adecuadas para el tiempo de invierno. y las prendas para los varones tendran unas carectrisrticas muy relevantes encuanto al Diseño aplicado y al Genero (pues siempre seran diferentes las prendas del varonn a las prendas de la mujer).


LA SALUD (lo mas valioso que tiene una persona)

LA MODA (nosotros imponemos la moda)

EL QUE DIRAN (prejuicios)



Las FALDAS para los Varones(en todas la edades) y para las mujeres no tiene ningún inconveniente al usarlas a menos que se usen demasiado cortas o muy ajustadas.


Que bueno que se elaborara un diseño dinámico de un pantalón para hombre y se observe la trayectoria que sigue la costura que une las dos mangas de las piernas del pantalón, para observar las GRANDES y GRAVEZ molestias que esta COSTURA produce en especial en los varones(en todas sus edades), FAVOR OBSERVAR COMO SE COMPORTA DICHA COSTURA CUANDO SE TIENE QUE PERMANECER: SENTADO , EN LA OFICINA , CONDUCIENDO O VIAJANDO Y EN MUCHAS OTRAS POSICIONES QUE NO SEA PERMANECIENDO DE PIE. Si es posible leer en Internet “la moda para los varones en siglo X X l “.

Las anatomías, del hombre y de la mujer, son diferentes; y para los varones es mucho, mas conveniente y SALUDABLE, el uso de las FALDAS, y TUNICAS O VESTIDOS, en especial para los que trabajan o estudian durante largas jornadas sentados, en una oficina, o conduciendo un vehiculo; para las damas parece que los pantalones no les incomoda.

El pantalón para los varones como overol o ropa de trabajo es ideal, solo para ALGUNAS LABORES QUE LO EXIGEN segun el trabajo, más no para descansar.

Una de las mas beneficiadas con las faldas para los varones son las DAMAS, la salud de ellos va a mejorar muchísimo.


LOS REYES, PRINCIPES Y SACERDOTES ANTES NOS MOSTRABAN CON SUS TRAJES, (TUNICAS Y VESTIDOS) COMO SE PODIA DISFRUTAR DE LA ELEGANCIA EL BUEN GUSTO Y LA COMODIDAD A LA HORA DE VESTIR. Desde hace mucho tiempo nos hemos estado vistiendo solo para trabajar y no se han diseñado prendas para salir a la calle o para descansar; pues aun las pijamas tienen el mismo diseño del pantalón de trabajar

La Hombría

La verdadera hombría no necesitas mostrarse o querer imponerse, simplemente es original, innata, tampoco es muestra de poderío o de abusos. Es ser sencillo, piadoso servicial ; NO prepotente , autoritario, arrogante, que llega a la casa dando voces y gritos ¡ ES QUE YO SOY EL QUE LLEVO LOS PANTALONES EN LA CASA !; abusando así a su esposa y a sus hijos. Pensar que se es hombre por que usa pantalones es un POBRE CONCEPTO DE HOMBRIA; muchos grandes HOMBRES en otro tiempo, nunca vistieron pantalones pero SI DEJARON UNA HUELLA MUY SIGNIFICATIVA de su hombria.

El pantalón es un símbolo EQUIVOCADO de autoridad, es un símbolo sexista .Es un símbolo de exhibicionismo. Es la prenda menos favorable para el varon por su anatomia: (usa un torniquete llamado cinturon que divide la circulacion de la sangre en dos partes: La ropa interior en la entre pierna tambien comprime dicha parte de la antomia, y mucha falta de ventilacion las vellocidades de las piernas en la mayoria de los varones les producen muchisimo sofoco trastornando la buena circulacion de la sangre; el testiculo del varon tiene un movimiento muy propio y autonomo, que le demanda espacio para llevar acabo ese movimiento; pero con las prendas que comprimen tanto los genitales del hombre lo unico que se producen son molestias y trastornos de salud, como esterilidad, impotencia y posiblemente cancer del testiculo. La bota del pantalon es la parte mas antihigienica, pues permanece contra el piso o muy cerca del suelo.

LOS GRANDES INCONVENIENTES DE LA FALDA ES QUE SEA MUY CORTA O MUY ANGOSTA; si la falda va por debajo de la rodilla, tan ancha como la persona la quiera usar no va a tener inconveniente. CLARO LA FALDA DEL VARON O LOS VESTIDOS NO BIFURCADOS NO DEBERAN LLEVAR ENCAJES, RECOGIDOS O BOLEROS O ADORNOS, O ESTAMPADOS TIPICAMENTE FEMENINOS. Deberán llevar un prense adelante y otro atrás para que no se ciñan los glúteos ni los genitales, y así no mostraran nada de su desnudez

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