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Author Topic: The Negative Effects of Patriarchy on Men
Michael Nenonen
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posted 27 June 2007 04:32 PM      Profile for Michael Nenonen   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
One of the concerns raised in the feminism forum is that men often hijack the threads by prioritizing their own concerns over those of the women participants. If this concern is justified, then I wonder if part of the reason for this hijacking is that on some level men need to discuss the malignant effects of patriarchy on their own lives, but thus far haven't had a place to discuss this issue. If this is the case--and, of course, I may well be wrong--then perhaps it would be useful to start a thread on this subject.

Before going on, I'd like to make it very clear that I do not believe that patriarchy hurts men as much as it hurts women. To suggest such a thing would be comparable to saying that colonialism hurts colonists as much as it hurts the colonized. None the less, I believe that men are damaged by patriarchy, and I suspect that other people on this board may feel the same way.

I would like it if this thread was not moved to the Feminism forum. Again, I may be misreading things, but it seems that an underlying assumption in the feminism thread is that female feminists speak with more authority than male feminists about feminist issues. I believe that this assumption is accurate in the vast majority of cases, but I don't believe it is the case in this one. While female feminists certainly have a very important perspective on this issue, I don't believe that this perspective necessarily has greater authority than the perspective held by male feminists when it comes to this specific issue.

(Note to the moderators: I opened this thread in the Culture section because this seems to me to be a cultural issue. If you believe that this thread would be more appropriate in another forum, please go ahead and move it.)

To get things started, I'd like to post an article I wrote for The Republic several years ago. It expresses many of my thoughts on the matter, and it spares me from having to type them out all over again. I hope that it can be used as a springboard for further discussion.

To Suffer and Soothe

By Michael Nenonen
January 26 2004

Donald Bakker has been accused of viciously raping as many as nine girls and 51 women. If these allegations hold up in court, many men will argue that he’s just an aberration. They’ll say the same thing if Robert Pickton’s found guilty, just as they said it about Paul Bernardo and Marc Lepine. I, for one, am not persuaded. If the men who hurt women are truly aberrations, why are there so many of them?

Violence against women is commonplace. The University of Victoria’s Sexual Assault Center reports that one in four Canadian women will be sexually assaulted at some point in their lives. A woman is raped every 17 minutes in Canada, and 62% of these attacks result in physical injury. Only one in ten sexual assaults will ever be reported to the police. According to a 1993 Statistics Canada study, 36% of ever-married British Columbian women have experienced violence in a current or previous marriage (the national average is 29%). 43% of all wife assaults result in medical attention; this means that, in BC, 20.48% of ever-married women have required medical attention as a result of domestic violence. Similar statistics have been produced by the BC Institute Against Family Violence. According to the Institute, half of all spousal assault victims suffer injury. 88% of these injuries are borne by women, and only 12% by men. According to a study released by the institute in 1994, in the lower mainland between 1984 and 1992 women were murdered by intimate partners over twice as often as men were.

Given these statistics, it seems that the sadists on the nightly news are only the most visible expressions of a much deeper and more pervasive phenomenon. I suspect this phenomenon is rooted in the culture of patriarchal shame.

Men are taught from an early age that to be worthy of any respect they must be strong and successful. To encourage masculine competitiveness, boys receive far less affection from their parents than girls do. Boys who show any sign of weakness, or who appear gentle and sensitive, are harshly ridiculed and occasionally beaten by their peers. Sometimes, their parents treat them the same way. Girls, socialized to desire boys who are powerful and unemotional, refuse to date anyone their peers might call a “loser”. This pattern of humiliation and exclusion blocks the emotional maturation of even popular boys; unpopular boys fare far worse. As boys become men, they enter a working world that often reinforces the psychologically debilitating lessons of their childhood, a world where humiliation cements hierarchies in place.

Excruciating feelings of shame and rage are inevitable consequences of this process, but these emotions can rarely be expressed towards the people responsible for triggering them. Each level of the social hierarchy uses the glamour of power and the threat of reprisal to insulate itself from criticisms from below. People are therefore forced to redirect their feelings downwards. Those at the top use and abuse whomever they please; those lower down use and abuse whomever they can. In this way, the powerful soothe themselves with the suffering of the powerless.

Since women have historically had less financial, political, and physical power than men, they’ve been forced to “suffer and soothe” more than anyone else. The roles traditionally available to women can usually be reduced to these two basic functions.

Of course, women have needs of their own. Like men, they desire independence and recognition; left to their own devices, they’ll pursue their own ambitions. This threatens many men, because autonomous women are rarely willing to be enslaved for the sake of someone else’s ego. These men therefore try to restrict women’s freedom. There are a lot of ways of keeping women subservient, but the most effective way is to simply hurt them. Like all forms of political terror, violence against women is strategic.

When a woman’s beaten or raped, her psychological capacity for autonomy is often mutilated. Overwhelmed by terror and self-loathing, she typically looks for protection from people who she thinks are unlikely to be victimized themselves. Since every woman is at risk of such violence, she tends to turn to men for protection, exchanging her freedom for security. Seeing her plight, and hoping to avoid a similar fate, many women who haven’t been victimized do the same.

This makes it easier for men to find companionship. Even an unattractive and uninteresting man may appeal to a frightened woman, so long as he seems nonviolent and protective. Once in a relationship, the fear of losing their guardians’ favor encourages women to be submissive and supportive. In this way, even ethical men benefit from violence against women.

These dynamics currently prevent a large percentage of men from achieving emotional maturity. Unless such maturity becomes the masculine norm, men will continue to suffer intolerable shame, and will continue using women to salve their injuries. This shame is the foundation upon which the abuse of women rests; to eliminate the violence, this foundation has to crumble.

To bring this about, it’s not enough to empower women; we also need to radically change the way we construct masculinity. Parents, teachers, and the media need to begin acknowledging and addressing boys’ emotional needs, and to begin providing incentives for boys to explore their vulnerabilities. In both private and public spheres, men need to stop humiliating each other, and to start caring about one another’s psychological well-being. They must display these virtues publicly, modeling them for boys and younger men. Finally, these changes need to be supported by the rapid spread of egalitarian economic and political institutions.

In the end, for women to be freed from patriarchal violence, men must be freed from patriarchal shame. On that day, when men can soothe themselves, will the abusers become the aberrations we pretend they already are.

I’m sitting in a café not far from the pig farm. Donald Bakker’s picture is on the cover of the newspaper on my table. Nearby, a group of men are making fun of feminists, and complaining about the “bitches” in their lives. I sip my coffee and wonder if that day will ever come.

[ 27 June 2007: Message edited by: Michael Nenonen ]


From: Vancouver | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
Jacob Two-Two
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posted 27 June 2007 09:52 PM      Profile for Jacob Two-Two     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
*Standing ovation*
From: There is but one Gord and Moolah is his profit | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged
Polly Brandybuck
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posted 28 June 2007 06:42 AM      Profile for Polly Brandybuck     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Michael Nenonen:
To bring this about, it’s not enough to empower women; we also need to radically change the way we construct masculinity.

This is so true.


From: To Infinity...and beyond! | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
remind
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posted 28 June 2007 07:52 AM      Profile for remind     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Polly Brandybuck:
This is so true.

Apparently men here at babble do not think so, except for Jacob, the silence is glaring.

It seems they only have something to say when the topic is about violence against women.


From: "watching the tide roll away" | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
500_Apples
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posted 28 June 2007 08:01 AM      Profile for 500_Apples   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by remind:

Apparently men here at babble do not think so, except for Jacob, the silence is glaring.

It seems they only have something to say when the topic is about violence against women.


I think it's poor logic to assume that because people don't reply to a long post immediately, it means that they disagree.


From: Montreal, Quebec | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged
Polly Brandybuck
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posted 28 June 2007 08:05 AM      Profile for Polly Brandybuck     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by remind:

Apparently men here at babble do not think so, except for Jacob, the silence is glaring.

It seems they only have something to say when the topic is about violence against women.


And I hesitated to post here, thinking that maybe this thread should be for babble-men only. That particular line jumped at me though, because I am a Mom raising boys, and it's hard to change years of conditioning and stereotyping.


From: To Infinity...and beyond! | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
remind
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posted 28 June 2007 08:13 AM      Profile for remind     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Polly Brandybuck:
And I hesitated to post here, thinking that maybe this thread should be for babble-men only. That particular line jumped at me though, because I am a Mom raising boys, and it's hard to change years of conditioning and stereotyping.

Good point, how are you trying to change this with your boys?


From: "watching the tide roll away" | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
farnival
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posted 28 June 2007 08:35 AM      Profile for farnival     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by remind:

Apparently men here at babble do not think so, except for Jacob, the silence is glaring.

It seems they only have something to say when the topic is about violence against women.



remind, you have your thread you had moved to discuss this issue in the feminst forum. this was started for men to have a place to discuss the issue from a male point of view, without your judgemental, sarcastic interjections and comments.

if you can't be civil and discuss this without casting blanket aspersions on the men beloning to babble, please leave us be to discuss this in peace. thank you. this comment is a mean spirited cheap shot this thread clearly was meant to be free of.

thank you so much for beginning this thread michael. it was exactly what i had in mind when the conversation was moved in the other thread. i will have more thoughts when i can figure out how to articulate them. i was brought up with bullies, and to this day, still suffer the effects of that abusive situation to the point of not being able to talk much about it. perhaps i can here.


From: where private gain trumps public interest, and apparently that's just dandy. | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
Polly Brandybuck
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posted 28 June 2007 08:39 AM      Profile for Polly Brandybuck     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by remind:

Good point, how are you trying to change this with your boys?


For now, I am just going to listen, here.


From: To Infinity...and beyond! | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
remind
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posted 28 June 2007 08:40 AM      Profile for remind     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by farnival:
remind, you have your thread you had moved to discuss this issue in the feminst forum. this was started for men to have a place to discuss the issue from a male point of view, without your judgemental, sarcastic interjections and comments.

Actually, you are correct is was sarcastic, it was stated from a position of anger.

Judgemental no, just stating an apparent fact.


From: "watching the tide roll away" | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Stargazer
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posted 28 June 2007 08:41 AM      Profile for Stargazer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Farnival that was way out of line, and a really good way to prove that women's spaces are not respected.

As far as I recall, if any feminist issue was brought up, it was to be moved to the feminist forum, so that men would not dominiate the discussion. I also seem to remember a rule about there being no men only threads - ever.

Clearly this thread is not a woman only thread but it is definitely NOT a men only thread.

Unless I read the new rules in the post by Michelle wrong.


From: Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist. | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
N.Beltov
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posted 28 June 2007 08:58 AM      Profile for N.Beltov   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Political and social activism was, for me, not only a way to be involved and empowered around issues of concern but also, and perhaps just as importantly, a way to be influenced by the expectations of the politically enlightened women also involved in such activism. It was a free education whose benefits continue to this day.
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Catchfire
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posted 28 June 2007 08:58 AM      Profile for Catchfire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
farnival, why do you think this thread is supposed to be discussed from a male point-of-view? Personally, I don't think the ideas expressed in the OP are incompatible with the values of a progressive site, or the FF.

I think Michael raises a lot of good points, although I'm not sure that the damage suffered by men under a macho, masculinist society is obscured in feminist discourse as much as the OP seems to imply. And of course this:

quote:
I may be misreading things, but it seems that an underlying assumption in the feminism thread is that female feminists speak with more authority than male feminists about feminist issues. I believe that this assumption is accurate in the vast majority of cases, but I don't believe it is the case in this one. While female feminists certainly have a very important perspective on this issue, I don't believe that this perspective necessarily has greater authority than the perspective held by male feminists when it comes to this specific issue.

is dead wrong. Only female feminists have the ultimate authority over what is good for feminists. Male feminists can contribute, but they must always defer to those for whom feminism exists. Otherwise, it's quite colonialist, isn't it? I can deal with that.

Personally, I'm terrified at the thought of raising a son, wondering how I can keep this ubiquitous machismo at bay long enough for him to develop a less harmful and destructive sense of identity. I just don't know how it's even possible.


From: On the heather | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
Stargazer
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posted 28 June 2007 09:05 AM      Profile for Stargazer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Catchfire, I *heart* you. I was going to say something about that quote as well. Otherwise, excellent articule.
From: Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist. | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
farnival
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posted 28 June 2007 09:11 AM      Profile for farnival     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
actually it is not out of line and i consider remind's comments abusive. the previous thread was half way through and moved to the feminist forum after my post linking to the article post press conference when the details were exposed. as this was clearly a violence against women issue, three of us men posted our thoughts before the thread was moved at remind's request. when we continued to discuss the issues raised in those posts, michael's being very interesting and thoughtful, remind became sarcastic and abusive towards us and was warned about it by michelle. the thread degenerated into remind slamming just about anything and everything posted by any of the men and derailed the entire thing.

to say we are not posting because we only like to take over threads about women is spurious and cheap and abusive. I was going to start a thread where we could discuss the issue of patriarchy and its affects from a male point of view and michael did first with a wonderful opening post. i never said this was a male only thread. it's not even mine to say that. but there is a thread for remind to continue, and anyone else for that matter, discussing this from a female/feminist perspective. it was stated at the beginning there are few places to discuss something like this from a male/feminist perspective.

the attitude expressed in the post by remind i commented , and by others who do the same in the public realm, make men like myself, who grew up with very abusive peers, in small towns, socially ostracised by other friends and familiy, either because they were afraid of being abused themselves by saying something or intervening, or didn't want to know so i was told to "stop being a wimp" or "you;'re exaggerating" is the reason many of us men who don't like the patriarchal society we live in rarely speak up.

remind, i am not mad at you or singling you out. you asked for respect for womens' experiences in the other thread. is it too much to ask for the same respect here? so far, your comment doesn't show that.

as a result of the affects of the patriarchal society on men, as the title says, i still will not take my shirt off in public anywhere (generally the beach or at home outside) or in the company of other men. i did not date even remotely until i was 20. my dad and i didn't literally speak while i lived at home for years, unless it was to tell him off for yelling at my brothers. he is not well now, and we have reconciled to a point, but i still harbour alot of resentment for the way my fears and concerns were ignored or suppressed. i lived in fear every day as a kid and teen of getting "pounded" on the way to school, at school, after school, visiting my parents' friends, you name it.

i asked a question in the other thread relating to the violent pro sports angle. you can see it there in that context but here i wish to change it...most boys are placed in sports when growing up. usually contact sports. football, hockey, etc. i played soccer because my family is british and my dad was a national level coach and referee. i was not very good and endured years of teasing and meanness from my peers. fortunately i move to the country and learned to cross-country ski and raced for years. i also cycled from as early as i can remember, passionately. now i sail. these are non-contact, skill based, and can be individual or team based pursuits. but they aren't macho. that clearly made me a "fag" and "pussy" by most guys standards throughout my life. i am now quite fit, 6'1" and 200lbs and heterosexual. those same bullies and tough guys tend to leave me alone now. but the shame persists. i bow out of alot of things, because i don't like the testosterone levels.

i was raised by strong women who were strong in the face of their generations' descrimination, to not fight as a solution to problems, to help when and where you can when there is trouble, and have specifically intervened and recieved 3 solid roundhouse punches to the head, in situations a woman was being abused a male in public, who were strangers. i never hesitated and wouldn't again. in each case i never hit anyone in retaliation, and hopefully never ever will.

there are those of us men who, while we cannot and will never experience the patriarchal system from a woman's point of view, have experience different forms abuse in that system and work to change it by example and lifestyle. please don't mock and diminish those of us men who try and do. we are allies.


From: where private gain trumps public interest, and apparently that's just dandy. | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
Stargazer
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posted 28 June 2007 09:17 AM      Profile for Stargazer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
please don't mock and diminish those of us men who try and do. we are allies.

Sorry farnival. I know things are tough for men in this society. I am raising a son myself so I do understand. I had no idea about the other thread so never saw it to comment on it. My apologies.

From: Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist. | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Jacob Two-Two
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posted 28 June 2007 09:17 AM      Profile for Jacob Two-Two     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Oddly enough, I was also a lot more wary of raising a boy than I was of raising a girl. I felt in many ways that I didn't know "how to be a man" (I'm over this now).

My experience with "maleness", as it was presented to me culturally, was never anything but negative, and instead of trying to conform to it, I reacted strongly against it. I embraced an identity of androgeny, took an odd satisfaction in macho yahoos mistaking me for homosexual, and generally avoided the company of other males. It took a long time for me to realise that I was a man, and that the real, honest masculinity that I had cut myself off from was sorely missing in my life, and start taking steps to reclaim it.

It's still a minefield of twisted expectations and cultural dogma that I'm treading through in this way. Lacking a father, or even an adequate father figure, I've never known where to turn for a healthy example of what it means to be a guy. Basically, I've been building it up from scratch over the past five years or so, and it's been slow going.

Ah, patriarchy, you bastard.


From: There is but one Gord and Moolah is his profit | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged
Catchfire
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posted 28 June 2007 09:23 AM      Profile for Catchfire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Jacob Two-Two:
Ah, patriarchy, you bastard.

Ha!

From: On the heather | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
500_Apples
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posted 28 June 2007 09:27 AM      Profile for 500_Apples   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Thank you farnival.

Remind's response was truly out of hand, illogical, and meant only to provoke. It's not about men or women responding. I don't think anyone objects to what Polly wrote for example.

[ 28 June 2007: Message edited by: 500_Apples ]


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farnival
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posted 28 June 2007 09:34 AM      Profile for farnival     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Stargazer:
Sorry farnival. I know things are tough for men in this society. I am raising a son myself so I do understand. I had no idea about the other thread so never saw it to comment on it. My apologies.

thanks stargazer. i'm pretty fired up right now by remind's comment and those in the other thread, but let me say it's likely for the same reasons she gets fired up too.

it can be tough for men in this society, true. but the fact is that men control the levers of power in this society and it is bloody well incumbent upon men to change this!!!!! when i get mad about things, injustice being a prime one, i refuse to fight or hit or be violent, but that anger comes out. in my case, i get all shakey and usually well up in tears. this has an interesting effect to be sure on the macho yahoos that jacob refers to above. they usually think i'm nuts so slowly. back. away. haha, i'm trying to make light of this but it sucks. i absolutely reject the notion you must be macho to "be a man".

jacob, i too adopted a look to be left alone, though mine was brought about through my passion for music. i was a punk rock kid for years. and in that community of outcasts, misfits, abused at home kids, runnaways, i found a gender irrelavant group that was safe to be with, and didn't judge. but we looked "scarey" enough, the bullies left us alone for the most part, and when they didn't, it was usually one of our "fuckin' dyke bitch" female friends that put an end to it. haha, the macho irony! it was through this experience i first learned about women's issues and feminist politics and gender and sexuality acceptance and issues. i also became very politically active, on peace and social justice and social violence issues, which continue to this day. sometimes the directions we are pushed escaping something, turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to you.


From: where private gain trumps public interest, and apparently that's just dandy. | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
farnival
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posted 28 June 2007 09:56 AM      Profile for farnival     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Michael Nenonen:
..This makes it easier for men to find companionship. Even an unattractive and uninteresting man may appeal to a frightened woman, so long as he seems nonviolent and protective. Once in a relationship, the fear of losing their guardians’ favor encourages women to be submissive and supportive. In this way, even ethical men benefit from violence against women.

i bolded that because it is heavy. michael, you are some writer! how many men, myself included, have ever conciously thought about or acknowleged this? i have had the very odd experience of being in a short relationship with a woman who was abused in her previous relationship, and i suppose i was the said beneficiary spoken of. oddly she ended up resenting me for being kind to her. she actually hit me once, and expected me to hit her back. i have no training/experience for that, and when i was about to happen again, i left the place, and her. i didn't know what to do! we talked about it later and i think i understand where she was at, but not entirely. she is now married to a fine lad and i hear is very happy and at peace now.

[ 28 June 2007: Message edited by: farnival ]


From: where private gain trumps public interest, and apparently that's just dandy. | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
500_Apples
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posted 28 June 2007 10:27 AM      Profile for 500_Apples   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Michael,

That's a very nicely written article. What's this Republic you write for?

I feel like commenting on some of the replies though, by Jacob and Farnival. Fear of raising a boy... oh my! I didn't even realize, but yeah. Sometimes I wonder how I'll teach them a lot of the boyish things I never figured out, like all those sports. I know some sports... but I don't know how to throw a football, properly handle a hockey puck... etc. Will I need to pay for lessons for all these things? Maybe if I'm lucky I'll end up with a very athletic partner, ha! I'm being very lighthearted about because it's still several years away for me, at least.

And sports are very, very important in the male culture. I recall a discussion of a (Susan Faludi?) book, where she studied american men, and she found that betrayal over sports teams leaving or pro athletes leaving was a very common source of stress among the population of adult males in the USA... she actually put it as one of five major items.

I was never really good in sports for a long, long time. I was the tallest kid in my class, and up until age 12, the worst in basketball. When high school started, I noticed being popular was almost equivalent with being in the basketball team. So I started to play. Almost made the team... then didn't make the last cut, then I quit. Ten years later I do some triathlon training and have recently picked up Tennis. I do sports now for fun and for health reasons, not for popularity.

The other common theme I noticed was esaping to a subculture. Jacob mentioned the punk culture. Didn't really happen to me, I didn't know any punks, and didn't have the ears to be sophisticatd enough in music. I did escape to another world... online video game playing. I'd play strategy games online. In some ways it was an ultimate macho experience... there were reputations at how good you were. Bad players were rooks and n00bs. When someone beat another player and posted the recorded game for all to see, he'd often say he "raped" him or "destroyed" him. Anyhow, I didn't pay much attention to that part, what I did care for was trying to be a better player, coming up with new tactics, getting recognition for them in the community, et cetera. As I had faced 14 consecutive years (ages 3 to 17 in a parochial Jewish kindergarten-day school with mostly the same people throughout) of betrayal, harassment and abuse in school from 8am to 4pm everyday, and then would come home to my parents arguing, it was nice to have a place to escape to.

***

One thing that worries me is the response to male machismo in elementary schools. Patriarchy notwithstanding, I don't think what the boys put the other boys through is remotely as bad as what the girls put each other through. Boys will beat up other boys, run after them and taunt, and that's very bad. And it's visible to the teachers, so they'll just punish. From what I recall, techer or school discipline was very biased in terms of which kids' parents donated money to the school. Anyhow, if we force boys to push their competitiveness underground rather than dealing with root causes, they'll just become like girls. They will shun and ignore and spread malicious rumours. I think that's far worse psychologically on the kids, and it's invisible to the teachers.

There was a certain honour among men. One guy was always harassing me. We were both at a barmitzvah one time and I challenged him (or maybe he challenged me... almost 11 years ago!) to a (Kloda) boxing match. I beat him, barely. After that, he said he'd never make fun of me again. He kept his word.

[ 28 June 2007: Message edited by: 500_Apples ]


From: Montreal, Quebec | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged
RP.
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posted 28 June 2007 10:38 AM      Profile for RP.     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by 500_Apples:
Sometimes I wonder how I'll teach them a lot of the boyish things I never figured out, like all those sports. I know some sports... but I don't know how to throw a football, properly handle a hockey puck... etc. Will I need to pay for lessons for all these things?

I have this concern for all my children, one girl, two boys. The boys are still quite young, but my daughter could be very athletic, I just don't have the skeelz to encourage/nurture it properly, I'm afraid.


From: I seem to be having tremendous difficulty with my lifestyle | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged
farnival
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posted 28 June 2007 10:48 AM      Profile for farnival     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by 500_Apples:
...There was a certain honour among men. One guy was always harassing me. We were both at a barmitzvah one time and I challenged him (or maybe he challenged me... almost 11 years ago!) to a (Kloda) boxing match. I beat him, barely. After that, he said he'd never make fun of me again. He kept his word.

[ 28 June 2007: Message edited by: 500_Apples ]



i think this is what needs to change. 500_Apples, you raise an important thing. Often, non-violent men must eventually resort to buying into the machismo and/or violence to be left alone. I find this maddening. Why is it not honorable to respect someone and perhaps once you've been told to lay off, be "gentlemanly" and do so? We had a tactic back in the punk days. Jocks and skinheads were a huge problem in winnipeg when i grew up. there were a few of us bigger guys who would test the "honour among men" theory by placing ourselves between the aggressor and intended victim (usually a smaller buddy of ours) with our hands in our pockets, effectively invoking the "first punch rule"...where in a fight situation, whoever throws the first punch is at fault and the one who could get charged. conversely, if you could get the other guy to throw the first punch, you could pound him endlessly, as it would be "self defense". the trick with the hands in the pockets was resolve to not back down, no matter how foaming at the mouth the goof in front of you got. the other trick was to run super fast when his buddies pulled him away, and hope to hell he never found you walking alone anywhere.

i've always theorised that macho pro/am sports/entertainment like wrestling, boxing, martial arts, hockey, football, rugby etc, and i would include the military in that too, were a good thing for society in some ways. most martial disciplines and sports teams insist on decorum and good behaviour off the field or out of the gym. at my highschool, it is the only reason us non-jocks never got beat up by them (on school property, off was a whole different story).

i learned to get out of fights by reasoning and talking. it didn't always work. but i also never "finked" if it involved just me, which weirdly in the end got "respect" from the toughguys. macho logic is fucked. i will never understand it for as long as i live.


From: where private gain trumps public interest, and apparently that's just dandy. | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
Michael Nenonen
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posted 28 June 2007 11:14 AM      Profile for Michael Nenonen   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Thanks for the kind words, everyone. I'm glad that men are using this chance to talk about how patriarchy has impacted their lives. I also appreciate that it's very difficult to discuss this issue, as it hits men where it hurts--in our relationship to our own vulnerability, a relationship that has often been viciously deformed by patriarchal norms and institutions.

Just for the record, I didn't want this thread to be restricted to men. I believe that female feminists often have intimate knowledge of this subject, though again I don't believe their knowledge about this one particular issue within the vast field of feminist discourse is as intimate or as authoritative as that held by men.

I'll post some of my own experiences with patriarchy this weekend. I'm home from work for a short lunch, so I don't have much time to write anything just now.

500 Apples: The Republic is a small, left-wing Vancouver newspaper put out by Kevin Potvin. You can find its website here:

http://www.republic-news.org

[ 28 June 2007: Message edited by: Michael Nenonen ]


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500_Apples
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posted 28 June 2007 03:21 PM      Profile for 500_Apples   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by RP.:

I have this concern for all my children, one girl, two boys. The boys are still quite young, but my daughter could be very athletic, I just don't have the skeelz to encourage/nurture it properly, I'm afraid.


So what are you going to do about it? Private lessons? let the skills die? Try and teach what you can and hope she picks up the rest from her friends?

I'd imagine I'd probably know enough to get them started, and then get them on lessons for a few sports that they want.

But danmn, what of all those upper middle class jocks who know how to ski, skate, swim, play soccer, basketball, football, scuba dive, baseball... where'd they get the time?


From: Montreal, Quebec | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged
500_Apples
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posted 28 June 2007 03:27 PM      Profile for 500_Apples   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by farnival:

i think this is what needs to change. 500_Apples, you raise an important thing. Often, non-violent men must eventually resort to buying into the machismo and/or violence to be left alone. I find this maddening. Why is it not honorable to respect someone and perhaps once you've been told to lay off, be "gentlemanly" and do so? We had a tactic back in the punk days. Jocks and skinheads were a huge problem in winnipeg when i grew up. there were a few of us bigger guys who would test the "honour among men" theory by placing ourselves between the aggressor and intended victim (usually a smaller buddy of ours) with our hands in our pockets, effectively invoking the "first punch rule"...where in a fight situation, whoever throws the first punch is at fault and the one who could get charged. conversely, if you could get the other guy to throw the first punch, you could pound him endlessly, as it would be "self defense". the trick with the hands in the pockets was resolve to not back down, no matter how foaming at the mouth the goof in front of you got. the other trick was to run super fast when his buddies pulled him away, and hope to hell he never found you walking alone anywhere.

i've always theorised that macho pro/am sports/entertainment like wrestling, boxing, martial arts, hockey, football, rugby etc, and i would include the military in that too, were a good thing for society in some ways. most martial disciplines and sports teams insist on decorum and good behaviour off the field or out of the gym. at my highschool, it is the only reason us non-jocks never got beat up by them (on school property, off was a whole different story).

i learned to get out of fights by reasoning and talking. it didn't always work. but i also never "finked" if it involved just me, which weirdly in the end got "respect" from the toughguys. macho logic is fucked. i will never understand it for as long as i live.


Oh, the boy code needs to change, I'm not sure how though. Right now aht I see happening is crackdowns and "Zero tolerance" policies on fighting. That can lead to boys being cruel to each other in the same manner girls are, which would be worse.

See Animal Farm.


From: Montreal, Quebec | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged
Jacob Two-Two
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posted 28 June 2007 07:51 PM      Profile for Jacob Two-Two     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
By the way, Michael, I've been meaning to say this for a while and this seems like a good time. I've followed your writing in the Republic for as long as it's appeared there, and I've always admired your articles. I've even linked to a few here on babble to support my arguments from time to time. I'm very glad you started posting here.
From: There is but one Gord and Moolah is his profit | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged
Bubbles
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posted 28 June 2007 07:56 PM      Profile for Bubbles        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Michael,

quote:
Of course, women have needs of their own. Like men, they desire independence and recognition; left to their own devices, they’ll pursue their own ambitions. This threatens many men, because autonomous women are rarely willing to be enslaved for the sake of someone else’s ego. These men therefore try to restrict women’s freedom. There are a lot of ways of keeping women subservient, but the most effective way is to simply hurt them. Like all forms of political terror, violence against women is strategic.

How many men, that you know, think like that? I would be insulted if someone suggested that I spend my time teaching my kids these values. I very much believe in the equality of the sexes, as my parents and grand parents did.

Male violence is a big problem, but I am not convinced that patriarchal shame, if there is such thing, has much to do with it. I suspect the rapidity of cultural change is a bigger factor, women seem in general to be able to better deal with that, better networking and communication skills. Just my hunch.


From: somewhere | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
Michael Nenonen
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posted 28 June 2007 08:28 PM      Profile for Michael Nenonen   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Jacob: Wow, that’s nice to hear. Thanks so much for letting me know that.

If you’ve been reading my stuff from the beginning, then you probably read that article I wrote about the threat of asteroid impacts several years ago. If so, I apologize from the bottom of my heart. In retrospect, that article was absolutely idiotic. I’ve been meaning to apologize to someone for it ever since it was printed.

Bubbles: Actually, I’ve known a lot of men who hold such mean-spirited values, and are very open about saying so. More than that, however, I’ve known a lot of men whose professed values are contradicted by their actual behaviour. It’s possible that my outlook is shaped by a sampling error…the men I’ve known may not be representative of men in general. And it’s true that much of what I’m arguing is based on my own hunches, and I admit that your hunches on this matter may turn out to be more accurate than mine, but thus far I’m not convinced.

Anyway, I said that I’d talk about some of my own experiences with patriarchy, so here goes.

Like some of the other men who have posted on this thread, I suffered a good bit of bullying and social ostracismwhen I was a child. I was unusually susceptible to bullying because I suffer from a non-verbal learning disorder, or NLD. If anyone is interested in what NLD is, go here:

http://www.nldontheweb.org/

Because NLD made me confused and clumsy, it placed me on the bottom of the humiliation hierarchy that structures boy’s proto-patriarchal culture. This likely worsened my neurological problems. The human brain responds to social rejection the same way as to physical injury. Social rejection triggers activity in the anterior cingulate cortex, the part of the brain responsible for causing negative reactions to pain. This, in turn, produces anxiety, which floods the brain with cortisol, adrenaline, and other stress hormones, and which blocks the production of serotonin, the chemical that soothes emotional distress. In cases of prolonged anxiety, these reactions can cause the brain’s chemistry to become chronically deregulated, which dramatically limits the brain’s ability to learn from experience.

This created a vicious circle: ostracism caused emotional pain, which increased my level of fear, which likely deregulated my neural chemistry, which probably intensified my learning problems, which further impaired my social and coping skills, which prompted my peers to ostracize me all the more. When coupled with the effects of the humiliation hierarchy, it also created a chronic state of intense shame.

My route to chronic shame was along the NLD bypass, but for boys there are a thousand roads to the same destination. The impact of this shame must not be underestimated.

According to Donald Nathanson, author of Shame and Pride: Affect, Sex, and the Birth of the Self (1994), emotions exist primarily to reinforce patterns of thought and behaviour. During sex, desire intensifies our lovemaking. When we're chased by a bear, fear prompts our feet to move faster. Pride in our work encourages us to work harder. Emotions focus our attention and our energies, and thereby contribute to our survival.

Nathanson believes that shame is qualitatively different from other emotions. He calls shame an "affect attenuator". Its purpose is to shut down positive emotions. Consider what happens when we feel shame: we experience distress, our neck and face go slack, our eyes look downwards, we become somewhat confused, and feelings of happiness and interest disappear. This may sound dysfunctional, but shame exists for a reason. Positive emotions tend to be related to the success we have in our various pursuits. When we encounter serious obstacles to these pursuits, we need to have the option of disengaging from them. We can’t do this unless we can turn off the positive emotions that keep us engaged. Imagine what would befall an author whose enthusiasm for writing was never tempered by his grammatical mistakes. Such an author would certainly enjoy his craft, but his writing would never improve. The same would happen to an architect unmoved by his blueprint's design flaws, or a boxer whose performance was unrestrained by his inability to land a punch. Without the ability to disengage, we wouldn't be able to learn from our mistakes. By disrupting our positive emotions, shame gives us the chance to reconsider our actions.

Most of us don't use the opportunity shame provides. Instead, we typically rely upon four basic strategies for shame management. Each of these strategies, when carried to an extreme, can have dangerous outcomes. First, we can withdraw from the source of the shame to a place of privacy where we can allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by our thoughts and emotions. If we use this retreat for productive self-reflection and change, it can be quite useful; letting ourselves drown in shame, however, is ultimately self-destructive. Second, we can distract ourselves from the shame by focusing on other things. This strategy is called avoidance. Addicts, daredevils, and workaholics are examples of people who take avoidance beyond its healthy limits. While this strategy can give us a competitive edge, it can also blind us to the negative consequences of our behaviour and prevent psychological growth. Third, we can attack ourselves verbally, emotionally, or physically, and thereby gain the illusion of control over our shame. This strategy makes us extremely vulnerable to abuse, and may lead to suicidal behaviour. Fourth, we can quell our shame by attacking others, with sometimes tragic results.

Shame becomes a problem when all avenues of success in important pursuits seem permanently obstructed. In such cases, shame can become excessive, blocking one positive emotion after another. This threatens us on a core level: by disrupting our capacity for positive emotions, enduring shame assaults everything that makes life worthwhile. Just as someone suffering from third-degree burns will fearfully avoid any open flame, people who are perpetually ashamed will frantically defend themselves against any further threat to their self-esteem. The more important our pursuits, the earlier our success in achieving them is blocked, and the longer this blockage lasts, the more devastating and chronic the shame will be.

Consider sociopathy. In Violence: Reflections on a National Epidemic (1996), psychiatrist James Gilligan argues that, far from being shameless, sociopaths experience almost nothing but shame. Whereas Nathanson believes that shame attenuates positive emotions, Gilligan believes that, when taken to its extreme, shame shuts down all emotional experiences except, perhaps, for rage. Gilligan worked in a maximum-security penitentiary for many years, counselling people imprisoned for grotesque acts of violence. The prisoners he worked with consistently described themselves as the "living dead", a term they used to refer to their inability to feel anything besides anger. They backed up these assertions with horrific acts of cruelty and self-mutilation. How could they do such things, Gilligan asks, unless they were in some way emotionally numbed? Each of these prisoners had suffered the humiliations of extreme emotional or physical abuse in childhood, and each responded by going on the offensive.

My parents never abused me, and I never became a sociopath, but for a long time I was, unwittingly, a bastard. Even though since childhood I’ve held progressive political positions (anti-war, anti-racism, and, most of all, anti-violence), my underlying and unarticulated fear of weakness and hatred for my own vulnerability, not to mention the profound social dysphoria caused by my undiagnosed NLD, made me blindly self-centered and contemptuous of other people. I believe that I have been emotionally abusive towards a number of people in my life, including women. I have, in other words, played the role of a patriarch, becoming for a long time what I have always most despised.

For decades I’ve been working to cultivate greater empathy, compassion, and clarity, with uneven results. I’ve made use of counseling, social work education, the study of religion and philosophy, and a lot of meditation, and I’ve been helped at important points in my life by men and women who have served as mentors, and who were willing to approach my many limitations with gentle understanding. The more I’ve grown, the more insight I’ve gained into my own emotional constriction, and the more visible this constriction in the lives of other men—and especially working-class men—has become.

I’ve come to believe that humiliation and debilitating shame cements our economic and political order in place. Because men aren’t taught how to encourage one another or to treat each other’s vulnerabilities and character flaws with compassion, and are encouraged instead to express contempt towards these vulnerabilities and flaws whether they appear in ourselves or others, we tend to perpetuate humiliation even when we’re trying to support progressive politics. Think of how easily many men on this board (and, yes, a number of women, too) go for other people’s emotional throats during arguments—people who should frankly be cherished as allies in a very inhospitable political world. I believe that our difficulty addressing these issues of shame and humiliation prevents us from working well together in collective endeavors. This may be why we often find ourselves spending all our energy damning each other’s ethical and psychological imperfections when we should be forming cohesive and supportive social movements.

(Please note that, once again, I've cut and pasted sections from some of my articles into this posting. It just saves a hell of a lot of time. I hope no one minds.)

[ 28 June 2007: Message edited by: Michael Nenonen ]


From: Vancouver | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
remind
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posted 29 June 2007 07:57 AM      Profile for remind     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Michael, thank you for sharing part of your story and all of the rest. Much of it I hold to be true, but I am not sure shame is at work for most men.

But speaking about the shame principal in regards to men in a patriarchy, just imagine how much worse it is for women, who are born and live life in shame for being a woman in a male dominated world.

For too many years, I ascribed to a humanist perspective that men were in need of liberating as much as women and refused to stand in complete solidarity with feminists. Finally one is forced to realize, as a woman, notwithstanding how patriarchy enslaves men as well, most men actually did/do not want liberating from their perch of privilege and its attendant slavery of them. The other benefits are too great to push/pull them from that perch.

Yes of course there are men, who have been marginalized by patriarchy, and who are working to change society's ideal of a male dominated world and all that it entails. And allocades should go out to them, but they are doing it for themselves, as opposed to doing it for women as well, IMV. A kind of, keep the patriarchy framework rational, but change the roles of dominence for men, pertaining to men within it.


From: "watching the tide roll away" | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
RP.
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posted 29 June 2007 08:31 AM      Profile for RP.     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by 500_Apples:
[QB]So what are you going to do about it? Private lessons? let the skills die? Try and teach what you can and hope she picks up the rest from her friends?

I'd imagine I'd probably know enough to get them started, and then get them on lessons for a few sports that they want.


This is the precise quandary and the considerations I have. Probably what I will do is get her involved in certain sports that she shows aptitude at (soccer and baseball), as well as dance, all limited of course by my ability to pay. What I can do myself is mainly just ensure that she stays physically active with play outside, including biking, walking and running.

quote:
But danmn, what of all those upper middle class jocks who know how to ski, skate, swim, play soccer, basketball, football, scuba dive, baseball... where'd they get the time?

You're telling me!!!

[ 29 June 2007: Message edited by: RP. ]


From: I seem to be having tremendous difficulty with my lifestyle | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged
farnival
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posted 29 June 2007 08:38 AM      Profile for farnival     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by remind:

...Yes of course there are men, who have been marginalized by patriarchy, and who are working to change society's ideal of a male dominated world and all that it entails. And allocades should go out to them, but they are doing it for themselves, as opposed to doing it for women as well, IMV. A kind of, keep the patriarchy framework rational, but change the roles of dominence for men, pertaining to men within it...


remind, wouldn't the prime beneficiary be women, if the men engaged in this struggle to change our society start with themselves and thier actions, as the foundation for the larger change, even if it was done for "selfish" reasons? ("selfish" is my characterisation, not yours )

ultimately,it seems to me, that in any change, it must begin with the individual who then once effected, has the internal tools and agents to expand that change to the greater world around them. If more men rejected this system we both are in agreement is rotten, it seems the net effect would be a much better environment for women as a whole.

[ 29 June 2007: Message edited by: farnival ]


From: where private gain trumps public interest, and apparently that's just dandy. | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
remind
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posted 29 June 2007 08:51 AM      Profile for remind     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by farnival:
remind, wouldn't the prime beneficiary be women, if the men engaged in this struggle to change our society start with themselves and thier actions, as the foundation for the larger change, even if it was done for "selfish" reasons? ("selfish" is my characterisation, not yours )

Well, not if they are merely adjusting the patriarchial framework to be more sensitive to other men's needs. And this is phenomena I have seen at work, and at play, within the social work and healthcare framework.

quote:
ultimately,it seems to me, that in any change, it must begin with the individual who then once effected, has the internal tools and agents to expand that change to the greater world around them. If more men rejected this system we both are in agreement is rotten, it seems the net effect would be a much better environment for women as a whole.

One would think so at first thought, however, the realities are much different in practise. Yes, I agree some men want do want to change the system of dominant males holding sway over other men's lives. But usually only so far as it goes to provide them with status within the patriarchial system. Thus precluding that women still remain marginalized to a status that is below theirs.


From: "watching the tide roll away" | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
RP.
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posted 29 June 2007 09:46 AM      Profile for RP.     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by remind:
And allocades should go out to them, but they are doing it for themselves, as opposed to doing it for women as well, IMV.

No.

P.S. Keep your accolades.


From: I seem to be having tremendous difficulty with my lifestyle | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged
Jacob Two-Two
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posted 29 June 2007 09:54 AM      Profile for Jacob Two-Two     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I see. And a guy like me, who strongly suspects that in a world without sexism women would be more likely to take leadership roles than men, and generally make better leaders? Would you say I only hold this opinion to enhance my own role within the patriarchy?

Look remind, it's clear you have a lot of anger towards men, and I'm sure it's very justified. I can hardly criticise, since I've got a lot of anger towards them myself. But deciding that your negative experiences close the book on what men are, or even worse, what they can be, is not only unfair, I think it's the kind of attitude that blocks real progress towards a better world. Don't assume that every man you meet will follow the patterns you're used to, especially if you don't want them to make assumptions about you.


From: There is but one Gord and Moolah is his profit | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged
farnival
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posted 29 June 2007 09:55 AM      Profile for farnival     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
hmmm...remind, it seems our ships may have passed in the night here. i wasn't referring to men changing to benefit themselves and other men within a male system. when i said to effect change a person needs to begin with themselves, and that change specifically in the context being discussed here is making society a better place for the women in it, and by extension everyone else, that can only be done by dismantling the patriarchal framework that makes it not a good place. and if, as i said earlier, men control the levers of power in that system, it must be men that start the dismantling by relinquishing those levers and allowing a more equitable framework to flourish. I see how i, and the men and women around me have been treated by this system and i don't like it one bit, and try to live by example to others, who hopefully notice my actions and words. i don't think this is contained within a male-centric sphere as you have characterised it, but i'm not dissagreeing with your assesment of it either, as i am not you and as such have not had your experiences. hopefully discussions like this one further all of our efforts to break out of boundaries we experience and shape our views.

[ 30 June 2007: Message edited by: farnival ]


From: where private gain trumps public interest, and apparently that's just dandy. | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
remind
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posted 30 June 2007 06:26 AM      Profile for remind     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by farnival:
hmmm...remind, it seems our ships may have passed in the night here.

Actually, the ship for equality set sail along time ago, and one grows tired of waiting for men to actually do what they profess, perhaps someday but not even in the near future, still too far to go and too much lack of support from the male compents of society.

quote:
i wasn't referring to men changing to benefit themselves and other men within a male system.

Frankly, and respectfully, just what kind of action do you see men doing that would foster this, besides changing themselves? Have you given up a job that you got just because you were male, when there were women more qualified? Or would you even?

quote:
I see how i, and the men and women around me have been treated by this system and i don't like it one bit, and try to live by example to others, who hopefully notice my actions and words.

Really, more than hope is needed.

quote:
i don't think this is contained within a male-centric sphere as you have characterised it, but i'm not dissagreeing with your assesment of it either. hopefully discussions like this one further all of our efforts to break out of boundaries we experience and shape our views.

It would be hoped, but really what would make this time different than any other time for men to realize that the benefits they reap are toxic and destuctive to society?

People here have called me a man hater, and I am the furtherest thing from it, my partner of 28 years laughs his ass off over that one. Just because one has grown tired of token words, and actions when it comes to equality does not make one a man hater.

Truthfully, it is high time for some serious job equity, not the tokenism crap that we have now. But then we would have men screaming "it's not fair, it should be based upon qualifications", as if they really believe women are not just as qualified in almost any given field. Or one gets the arguement; "but it should up to the employer to hire whatever gender they choose and if they want a man, that is all that matters".

It is that kind of thinking and actions that stops women from getting job positions they are qualified for.

For example, women use the social safety nets much more frequently than males (will try to find the stats at another time) but yet most all program managers and team leaders are men. How can men develop programs that meet women's needs? They can't, sure they can try to approximate it, but they always fall short that I have observed. Is it any wonder the safety net has so many damn holes in it? And it is a waste of time and money, when they do fall short in program development.

There should be clear mandates that women handle women's files and programs in any given sector of the social system. But that would put a hell of a lot of men out of their good paying jobs, or potential for good paying jobs, so we won't look for that happening anytime too soon.

Even in the business world, the majority of Chamber of Commerce Exec Directors, are women, except of course for Nancy Hughes Anthony, but they spend most of their time making the male CEO's or Presidents look good. But really it is the women across Canada who are the driving force. So much small and medium business development is stymied because of the men's territorial pissing matches. Yet, the highest rate of business starts in Canada is being undertaken by women.

In colleges and universities, the faculty is primarially men, unless you are in women's studies, so all one gets for the most part is a male centered education. Could not easily find Canadians stats, but it would not be that much different than in the USA.

http://tinyurl.com/3yncjg

Should we be pressuring the universities and colleges for equal hiring practices?

[ 30 June 2007: Message edited by: remind ]


From: "watching the tide roll away" | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 30 June 2007 06:29 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Eek! Sidescroll!
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michael Nenonen
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posted 30 June 2007 05:14 PM      Profile for Michael Nenonen   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
remind: I think you're preaching to the converted. As I pointed out in my original post, patriarchy hurts women more than it hurts men. I don't think that's at issue here.

Regarding women's burden of shame, as I also pointed out in that post, the abuse that women are subjected to is designed to produce profound fear and self-loathing in women, and thereby maintain their subservience.

I would maintain, however, that because women are forced into the role of nurturers, not by biology but rather by patriarchy, they at least have the psycho-social means to address their shame. They are taught to communicate compassionately with one another, to form intimate friendships, and to pay attention to their inner worlds. As a result, they tend to develop sophisticated communication and self-awareness skills.

Men, on the other hand, are taught that communication is simply another arena for the establishment of dominance and that the inner world is best left uncharted. As a result, men's friendships tend to be superficial and adversarial, and our self-awareness is usually grossly restricted. Our communication and self-awareness skills are often juvenile in comparison to womens'. This puts us at a decided disadvantage when it comes to addressing shame. Shame is a pit that women at least have some idea how to climb out of; most men don't have a clue.

The rates of male suicide, violent death, and aggression are far, far higher than those of women. This strongly suggests that men's intrapersonal and interpersonal incompetence have profound real-world consequences.

As for the prevalence of shame among men, consider how many men suffer from performance anxiety, status anxiety, and other fears related to self-worth. What is this anxiety, if not an expression of shame?

Regarding the failure of most men to reject patriarchy, we should keep in mind the degrees of psychological freedom that are available to them. Patriarchy is designed to limit men's psychological freedom by discouraging the development of emotional intelligence. Because so many men haven't developed their emotional intelligence, they simply don't understand the ethical implications of their actions. Psychological impoverishment necessarily produces ethical impoverishment.

Why do fools act foolishly? Because they are oppressed by their own foolishness. Why don't fools understand that they're fools? Because they're fools. (Please note that I say this as a lifelong fool.)

As with women, for men the process of consciousness raising takes time and effort, it progresses fitfully and unevenly, and it often carries painful psychological and social consequences. Many women forego this process; is it any wonder that many men do the same?

You state that even those men who challenge patriarchy are likely doing so for self-referential reasons. This is true, but the same holds for pretty much every response to social injustice. We begin to connect with other people's suffering only after we begin to make sense of our own. Empathy is built upon self-awareness, and that self-awareness always starts with awareness of one's own suffering. It can grow beyond this, but that takes work and emotional maturity.

Sometimes people never get beyond their own pain to perceive the pain of others. For example, I've been a vegetarian for the last five years. I'm horrified by how long it took me to take account of the violence I was inflicting upon animals by eating meat. As Peter Singer demonstrates so well, since animals can feel pain and experience joy, then ethicaly their interests must be taken into account in any deliberations that impact upon their welfare. As Carol Adams points out in The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory, the oppression of animals by human beings is the primordial tyranny, perhaps even more primordial than the oppression of women by men. Genuine feminism, Adams' argues, must embrace vegetarianism. And yet, many progressives and feminists have decided not to become vegetarians or vegans. Surely their motivations are not terribly different from the motivations of men whose interests never transcend their own group-interest. The same sort of argument can be used in relation to First World progressives and feminists who choose not to radically reduce their ecological footprint or reject their colonial privilege.

While this is deplorable, since it cuts across gender, cultural, and ideological lines, then surely it says as much about the human condition as it does about the male condition.

[ 30 June 2007: Message edited by: Michael Nenonen ]


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