I’m not allowed to say “retarded” now? What the fuck does “cis” mean? Don’t feminists think men are evil? I’m so confused!
Then you’ve come to the right place. This is where the contributors of No, Seriously, What About Teh Menz? collect their favorite links, both to our posts and outside posts, and answers to common questions of people who didn’t double-major in Women’s and Ethnic Studies and aren’t currently working on their PhD in Queer Theory.
The quick and dirty index:
- The Name
- The Intent of the Blog
- Generalizing and individuals
- Blogroll POV
- Kyriarchy/Oppression Olympics
“What About Teh Menz?” is a term often used in feminist circles, generally to refer to the sort of people who derail conversations about, say, rape culture to instead be about how women are not sleeping with nice guys and prefer bad boys. That is kind of shitty behavior!
Unfortunately, possibly because all of us who care about The Dudez have been tarred with the brush of those guys, a lot of feminist spaces take a dismissive attitude towards the idea of men being disadvantaged by sexism too. So we created this space to seriously ask “what about teh menz?”
For a 10
second minute introduction to what inspired this blog’s creation, read our seminal piece, Who Cares About Men’s Rights?.
Being a “feminist” basically means that the person believes that women should be equal to men. But the broad agreement basically stops there: Ideas of why men and women are unequal, what form this inequality takes, what equality would look like and how to achieve it vary from feminist to feminist, sometimes radically.
Catherine MacKinnon and Twisty Faster are feminists; Cliff Pervocracy and Heather Corinna are feminists; Eleanor Smeal and Maureen Dowd are feminists; Ann Althouse and Donna M. Hughes are feminists; most of our contributors are feminists. However, if you locked all of these people in a room together, the resulting argument would probably be so bloody it could be sold on Pay-Per-View.
Even Sarah Palin identifies as a feminist, despite her disagreement with reproductive rights and belief that rape survivors should pay for their own rape kits; it would be silly to believe that the contributors to this blog agree with her just because we share a label.
Feminism is kind of like a tree, with common roots that you can trace back through Virginia Woolf and Emmeline Pankhurst, but it has many branches, and those branches have branches, and so on. Not only do these branches fight between each other, they even fight on what the branches are and what they should be called. None of them can justify calling themselves True Feminism (even the ones we wholly agree with) any more than any other branch.
So basically: don’t assume that what one feminist says is necessarily something the contributors of No, Seriously, What About Teh Menz? believe. Actually, don’t assume that something one contributor to No, Seriously, What About Teh Menz? is something another contributor believes. We’re a fucking herd of cats here: all you can manage is to get us going in vaguely the same direction.
What’s this “masculist” thing some of you guys keep talking about? Doesn’t feminism already cover gender equality?
Being a masculist is in a lot of ways just like being a feminist: it means that you think men should be equal to women. Just as some if not all of our contributors identify as “feminist,” so, too, do some or all of them identify as “masculist.” Where feminism seeks to improve gender equality with a focus on issues affecting women, masculism seeks to improve gender equality with a focus on issues affecting men. Taken together, these two (complementary!) movements form “gender egalitarianism.”
It’s safe to say that all egalitarian people who are masculists are also feminists, and all egalitarian feminists are also masculists — they just might not know the word. The two movements of feminism and masculism are complementary, not opposed. They fight the same issues, just with different focuses. Sexual equality is not a zero-sum game (i.e., you don’t have to decrease one group’s rights in order to increase another’s), so if you think you’re a feminist, you should think about being a masculist too.
Some people argue that feminism has historically meant “the fight for gender equality,” and it is silly to go about changing the meaning of the word this late in the game to include masculism. Others believe, though, that because feminism is such a diverse tree, it doesn’t make sense to say that it’s all about gender equality all the time. Still others make the point that since “feminism” is (in name and practice) focused on women, it can’t alone lay claim to the title of “the movement for gender egalitarianism,” so we need masculism there as a balancing force. See what I mean about the herd of cats? But the takeaway point is this: If you’re down with equality, and you’re down with feminism, you should get down with masculism, too.
Not exactly (just as women aren’t exactly equal to men). Greta Christina has a series of four posts about sexism against men. Clarisse Thorn writes about the word “creep” and has an enormous thread series (at one point, she calculates that it’s as long as the Bible) on masculinity and feminism. And, of course, the post that started this blog off: Ozymandias’s Who Cares About Men’s Rights?
The point is, men experience sexism, mistreatment, and discrimination in many places in society (to name just a few examples, the draft, female genital mutilation versus circumcision, divorce proceedings, false rape allegations, dangerous working environments, depression and suicide, falling education rates, under-reported rape and domestic violence, etc.). Just as men have an advantage (or privilege) over women in society in many respects, the reverse is also true. That’s the point of this blog: We need to start better addressing the ways in which men get the short end of the stick.
Aren’t you guys just trying to make a kinder, gentler feminism, more welcoming to men, without all the stuff about patriarchy and male privilege?
No. It’s not about a kinder and gentler feminism, it’s about a bigger and more powerful feminism. In fact, we figure that feminism has done such a good job with the female half of the gender problem, it ought to go on ahead and do the male half too.
While we tend not to use the term “patriarchy” (we’ve found that a lot of people don’t understand what it means), the primary authors of NSWATM definitely do agree with the concept of patriarchy. Our society is organized for the benefit of certain, hegemonically masculine men at the top, and subordinates other men and women; it requires men to have power and punishes those who don’t, and requires women to not have power and punishes those who do.
And if you think we’re a kinder and gentler gender movement you should see how snarky Noah gets when he’s pissed off.
Because, as Danny points out here, being a man (or woman!) is about individuality. Being a person is about individuality! No one besides the individual man or woman can define what being a man or woman means to him or her, and furthermore, not all men and women are the same. Even something that’s true for most everyone in a group is still almost never going to be true of literally everyone. After all, there are lots of men who don’t have penises. If you can’t assume that’s constant, what can you assume is?
Saying “men are X” or “women are Y” is at best insensitive and more often than not, sexist. Please don’t.
Being on the blogroll does not mean that No, Seriously, What About Teh Menz? endorses everything you say. That would be stupid, given that both Shakesville and Feminist Critics are on our blogroll, and they don’t agree on much of anything besides women being allowed to have the vote and the sun rising tomorrow morning. We don’t contradict ourselves that badly.
Being on the blogroll means only that the majority of us thought that the blog offered an interesting insight into sexism against men and gender relations, and that, despite our potential disagreements with some of the content, we found the majority of it unobjectionable enough. We apply the 80/20 rule: if we can agree with closer to 80% of it than 20% of it, we’ll include it.
That said, if you believe we’ve overlooked something and are including a link with heinously objectionable content, please let us know so that we can address it.
A kyriarchy is basically the term for everyone oppressing everyone else. For instance, a rich black person may be privileged on the axis of class, but unprivileged on the axis of race; a poor white person is the converse. The privilege and lack of privilege both show up in different circumstances: a black person is more likely to be pulled over and searched for drugs by police; the poor person may be unable to get health insurance. There are many ways in which a person can be privileged or unprivileged– everything from religion to weight.
The way multiple oppressions interact is called intersectionality. For instance, a poor black person is likely to have a different experience than a rich black person or a poor white person, simply because he is both poor and black. Saying that one oppression is worse than another (“yeah, sure, you’re black, but I’m poor! That’s way worse!”) is called the Oppression Olympics, and it is not productive. The point is not to tote up ways in which each oppression sucks and then give a medal to the poor black mentally ill physically disabled lesbian undocumented immigrant Muslim with a weight problem and autism. The point is to get people to stop oppressing other people.
For more about the kyriarchy, read this post.
Sex-positivity is not about liking sex. In fact, many asexuals (people who do not experience sexual attraction) identify as sex-positive. Essentially, sex-positivity is the belief that, in sexuality, there is no should: as long as everyone involved is safe and consenting, it doesn’t matter who you want to have sex with, what sex acts you want to perform, how much sex you want to have or even if you want to have sex at all. Sex-positivity also emphasizes the importance of enthusiastic consent– the saying goes that “consent is not the absence of no but the presence of yes.” If you’re interested in learning more about sex-positivity, Clarisse Thorn has an excellent post about what sex-positive feminism entails.
My post just got edited for using an ableist slur, but I was just saying homophobia is retarded. What’s ableism, and why is it wrong to call something lame?
Our apologies to all the Redditors out there, but “retarded”–along with other ableist words and phrases such as “spaz,” “invalid,” and “you’re so OCD, you line up your Skittles in color order before you eat them!”– is not allowed on No, Seriously, What About Teh Menz?
Ableism is prejudice, bias and discrimination against those who are disabled, including physically disabled, developmentally disabled and mentally ill people; it includes not only refusing to make reasonable allowances and accomodations for a disability but thinking people are lesser or mocking them because of their disability (or, worse, condescending to them by saying how Strong they are to have Overcome Their Obstacles and how many Life Lessons they must have teach abled people. Bleurgh. Do not do this).
In particular, ableist language like “lame” can encourage the notion that being disabled is the single worst fate that can happen to anyone ever, and that disabled people are worth less than other people. After all, there are lots of perfectly nice people who would never dream of being homophobic who happen to not be able to use their legs, and comparing them to homophobes is very insulting. For more about words that can be considered ableist, check out the Ableist Word Profiles.
Trans activism is a natural part of gender egalitarianism: after all, equality for all genders includes trans men, trans women and genderqueer people. It is extremely rude to doubt someone’s stated gender identity. After all, transition is serious business– it can involve counseling, regular hormone injections and major surgery, and greatly increases the trans person’s risk of being fired, beaten up or even murdered. No one would go through that if it wasn’t important to them. Don’t be that asshole.
Nevertheless, trans activism can be very confusing, especially for new people. (That would be anyone who read the first sentence and thought “what the hell is a genderqueer?”) Therefore, I’m turning over this FAQ to the Sylvia Rivera Law Project’s Trans 101.
Not exactly. It’s true that black people aren’t slaves anymore, and it’s true that Jim Crow is long over. However, white people still, in general, have privileges over black people. Peggy McIntosh’s classic White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, the first of the privilege lists, lists 26 ways, big and small, in which white people tend to be privileged over non-white people. It can be difficult for white people to recognize our privilege and engage in anti-racist discussion. Here is a guide that, although occasionally problematic, goes through most of the problems white people may have with anti-racism.
Having privilege or being told you have privilege does NOT mean you’re being called a bad person. We know how it can feel at first: Like you’re being insulted or dismissed. And some folks do use it as a weapon, unfortunately. But 99% of the time, that’s not what’s intended.
Recognizing that you have “privilege” in some areas just means recognizing that not everything is equally easy for everyone in a given situation. You’ve heard the phrase “driving while black?” (It means that police question or harass African Americans who drive more than Caucasians.) If you’re not black, then you have some “privilege” there. According to some studies, men are more likely to be hired for high-paying jobs, which is a “privilege” that men have.
Privilege isn’t anything you’ve tried to get or even asked for, or sometimes even known was there. It might not even be something you want! But for one reason or another, you have it.
Having privilege makes you luckier than other people who don’t have it. It also doesn’t mean that you’ve had an easy time in life or that you haven’t had to work for what you’ve gotten. And sometimes, a group can have privilege even while certain members within it don’t experience the privilege. Having privilege just means that there are some things you’re probably able to take for granted that other people can’t, and that you should be aware of it.