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Thursday, 1 July 2004

No, not all men are assholes

I posted a comment to Nicole's blog and I want to repete it here. It was in reply to Matt's comment, which I will quote from: "there are MANY ASSHOLES IN THE WORLD. some of them are men, some of them are tall people, some of them have brown eyes, some of them are baptist. it's so much simpler to just slap a label on someone and deal with them that way. . . . i'm just fucking fed up with misdirected hostility." I feel like it's appropriate to respond to this here, cuz some guys were unhappy about my facetious suggestion of creating a testosterone-targetting virus.

it's true.

unfortunately, sometimes assholes organize. like white folks organized for a long time to keep black folks down with jim crow and whatnot. the people behind that were assholes, but they were assholes with power who organized according to their power structures.

and now we've got some problems with some male assholes and there's a social power dynamic where men tend to have a certian sexual power over women, which is a bad thing. but some assholes like that and want to exploit it. and since the identity and power dynamic all centers around gender issues, the problem in this case is actually asshole men. and, unfortunately, many men, who are assholes like rush limbaugh and micheal savage and many conservative guys have adopted an ideology where they deserve power imblanaces and want to work to maintain it. that does create a "war between the sexes" sort of situation. this causes two seemingly paradoxical things: it creates value for women-only spaces and it creates a need for male allies. i mean, there's no need for tall-only spaces cuz so far tall people have not organized to opress short people, at least in this country that i know of. however, men do organize to opress women. those men are assholes. and they must be stopped. since the dynamics are centered around gender and identity, then using gender labels is essential for the folks resisting the assholes.

so yeah, not all white folks are racist. not all men are sexist. but some are and there's an imbalance of power. so the power to opress has to be taken away from men and white folks. unfortunately, because this power is social in nature, even men and white people who oppose this power imbalance end up benefitting from it. which is why having actions or events specific to the disempowered group at hand can be very empowering and useful for that group. this can cause some men to feel threatened, prolly because they sense somehow that it's taking power away from them. so they write articles to hustler. or leer with cameras. or whatever.

unfortunately, in the case of dyke march, the no-men rule is only repected by allies and ignored by assholes. so really it's a no-supportive-men rule. rather than give up on creating the march as a woman-only space where supportive men can cheer on from the sidelines, there's got to be a way to convince asshole men not to march. i dunno how to do that.

but you know, men opressing women isn't some isolated incident. it's not one guy. it's not disorganized assholes. it's men with a particular ideology working to push it on the world couples with indoctorinated males working to maintain power they feel entitled to since birth. that's a problem.

I want to say further that alliances are useful and attacking allies or would-be allies is not useful. i want everybody to work together and get along. but sometimes that doesn't work. or other social forces take over. cuz the people trying to change the culture are still functioning within the culture. so you end up with a group trying to advance black women being lead by white males. that can happen way too easily. also, all these -isms are tools of the elite ruling class. They create systems where one group of people has a bit of power over another group of people. So I can tell some white guy that all the presidents have been white men. But that guy isn't in Skull and Bones and is never going to president either. The British land-owners can let the Protestants opress the Catholics while they buisly export all the food during a crop failure. And so the Catholics end up fighting the Scotch-Irish, another colonized group the Brits imported to help keep the Irish under control. Really, both groups should turn on the British landowners, but they're too busy killing each other. And southern american slave-owners can appoint white overseers who have a smidgen of power the slaves to help disguise the fact that slaves and poor whites had a hell of a lot more in common with each other than poor whites had with the ruling class. That same dynamic happens now. And the Bushes and Saudis and the Bechtels laugh all the way to their Cayman Island accounts. So, yes, we need our heterosexual, white, male allies for when we rise up and destroy the ruling class. But you know, maybe we should work out some of these issues first so the the het white boys don't end up just taking over...

2 comments:

ojan said...

So, I am a man who tries to be an ally to women as much as I can. Because of various issues in my upbringing, I've developed an irrational emotional feeling that is something like "men are evil. i'm a man. therefore, i am evil." It was not until fairly recently that I identified this complex of mine and identified that is probably neither accurate nor healthy.

Anyways, the point is that I really appreciate hearing comments like this from women. I grew up mostly hearing and learning about (from women, but also from men) all the pain men caused them. It gives me a personal sense of hope that some women can consider some men their allies.

Star Gazer said...

Well said. So glad someone brought this up.

I'm a left-leaning feminist guy. I also happen to be a het white boy. :) And I've long known that just as a result of my gender I get the benefits of the patriarchy without trying to or even wanting them. I follow my conscience, and I'm a traitor to the patriarchy every chance I get.

I am most definately an ally. But, I'm also sensitive enough to know that there is a need for places that are free of reminders of the patriarchy... and even though I'm an ally, I come in a package that reminds people that the patriarchy exists. So I support the idea of separate spaces, activities and spaces.

Sometimes, I get caught up in the moment and want to express some jubilation and take part in the celebrations of empowerment, but I understand that it's better to cheer from the sidelines and let others have their moment to celebrate their own victories. :)

SG