Friday, March 19, 2010

Update on Possible Male Birth Control Options

Found this (via this from Robert Franklin) article giving some information on various methods of male birth control that are still in the testing stages. Make sure to go check out the post from Robert because unlike the source he talks about another method call RISUG that is in Phase III testing in India (where RISUG has been in various stages of testing for the last 15 years).

My only gripe is this last part in the source post:
Men may have more options for birth control in the future than women did in the past.

I find it odd that the writer would compare men's future options to women past options. Maybe because if the writer had compared men's future options to men's past options they would realize that men have pretty much had nothing but condoms, vasectomy, and celibacy since the beginning of time. Oh well.

Considering that once a child is conceived women have had more control over their own involvement in the child's life but also the privilege of controlling a man's involvement in that child's life I think its more than high time that men had more options in choosing their level involvement in parenting or not parenting.

24 comments:

womanistmusings said...

Women should have more control after a pregnancy because it is our bodies. I will say however this does not make men powerless because they always wear a condom. Men have almost always had control over their fertility in a way that women have only recently had. When the pill first came out they only wanted it to go to married women so that women would not run wild. When they did open it up to single women it came with all kinds of lectures about morality and promiscuity. No man ever went through that to buy a rubber.

Danny said...

Women should have more control after a pregnancy because it is our bodies.
Being the one to carry the child is not justification for the woman to literally have control over how much or if the man will be involved in the child's life. I shouldn't have to get the mom's blessing in order to be the responsible father my child would need. But rest assured if she decides not let me be there I'll be the one getting blamed for making a baby and running out on her.

Men have almost always had control over their fertility in a way that women have only recently had.
And while that may be true remember that when it comes to parenting its only be recently that a man had any real chance in hell of knowing the child he is raising is his biological child.

When they did open it up to single women it came with all kinds of lectures about morality and promiscuity. No man ever went through that to buy a rubber.
Yes but is that supposed to mean since women had it hard when the pill was introduced that men of today deserve to be limited to in our birth control options? Taking revenge on the son for the father's crimes and trying to pass it off as repaying the daughter for the crimes against the mother is nothing but a cycle of hate that keeps us all down.

People constantly call for men to "man up" and take responsibility when it comes to parenting. Well don't you think that giving men more birth control options would give more opportunities to do so?

IrrationalPoint said...

the privilege of controlling a man's involvement in that child's life I think its more than high time that men had more options in choosing their level involvement in parenting or not parenting

I don't think this is fair, and even if it were accurate I can't see how it would be changed by men having more birth control options.

The extent to which your statement is true depends somewhat on the laws of a particular country (which are made and enforced predominantly by men), but if we're talking about custody, then it's largely the case that this is a "Patriarchy Hurts Men Too" situation. That is, it's due to (everyone's) presumption that women will do a greater share of childcare and men will be less involved in the raising of their kids, that disputed custody situations often get decided unfairly. Having said that, sweeping generalisations aren't necessarily good summaries because there's lots of other stuff that goes on too, like women not being believed about domestic abuse allegations so abusive men may get access to kids when they shouldn't, etc.

In any case, it seems to me that a good part of the solution will be a change in the way childcare is allocated and seen to be allocated. I don't see how birth control comes into it.

If you mean abortion limiting how men can be involved in parenting, then Renee is right -- women should have more control because it's women's bodies.

--IP

Danny said...

I don't think this is fair, and even if it were accurate I can't see how it would be changed by men having more birth control options.
Might not be fair but its true. And giving more options gives men a better chance to take control of their own fertility. But there is more to be done in terms of a man's options once the child is conceived though.

The extent to which your statement is true depends somewhat on the laws of a particular country (which are made and enforced predominantly by men),...
Said laws being enforced mostly by men means nothing since we are no more a monolith than women or any other group. If it were as simple as that Father's Rights groups would be much more successful than they are now.

...but if we're talking about custody, then it's largely the case that this is a "Patriarchy Hurts Men Too" situation. Ahh that phrase again. Acting like damage done to men is just a side effect of the primary goal of harming women. If it wasn't for that "Too" it might not come off so much like lipservice.

That is, it's due to (everyone's) presumption that women will do a greater share of childcare and men will be less involved in the raising of their kids, that disputed custody situations often get decided unfairly.
And its been shown time and time again that this presumption will hold up not just for the purpose of keeping men out of children's lives but to give women a discount/free pass when it comes to children. Like the case last year in Florida in which a woman had neglected a child so badly that at 10 she didn't know how to talk and could not comprehend eating solid food...and she managed to negotiate a lighter sentence by agreeing to give up custody.

In any case, it seems to me that a good part of the solution will be a change in the way childcare is allocated and seen to be allocated. I don't see how birth control comes into it.
Birth contol is just one part of the larger picture of men/parenting/contraception that needs to be addressed.

If you mean abortion limiting how men can be involved in parenting, then Renee is right -- women should have more control because it's women's bodies.
First let it be known I didn't even bring abortion up but since its here I'll say this. Why is abortion being used as a trump card to keep men's parenting rights down to a minimum? Male birth control? Nah we can't have that because women should have more control. Ensuring more parenting rights for men? No because if men have a fair chance to be a parent then it would interfere with her choices about her child.

I was only talking about how to give men more parenting options. Never said anything about trying to limit women's parenting options. Getting rather tiresome to constantly see "her body, her choice" arguments being taken out of the context of her body and her choice and being used as "her choice, his responsiblity".

IrrationalPoint said...

I support more contraceptive options for men, but I'm also not sure how more options to control fertility would lead to better custody proceedings. Can you connect the dots for me?

First let it be known I didn't even bring abortion up but since its here I'll say this. Why is abortion being used as a trump card to keep men's parenting rights down to a minimum?

*You* brought up reproductive choices, and your sentence was genuinely ambiguous. I'm not saying that men shouldn't have more birth control options -- I'm strongly in favour of increased male birth control options. I'm just not sure how they impact on the custody issues that you're concerned about.

--IP

IrrationalPoint said...

Might not be fair but its true. And giving more options gives men a better chance to take control of their own fertility. But there is more to be done in terms of a man's options once the child is conceived though.

I don't think women "in general" do have the privilege of controlling how much involvement men "in general" have in parenting. It seems to me that an argument could be made on the societal level (that family courts have the privilege of limiting fathers' input in certain situations, and if you have numbers to back that up, I'd certainly be interested to see this). But putting the onus on women doesn't seem fair - the laws aren't made by women, the family courts aren't presided over by women, and it's a selective view to say that they advantage only women. The advantage comes with disadvantages too (eg societal biases against single mothers).

Ahh that phrase again. Acting like damage done to men is just a side effect of the primary goal of harming women.

Actually, I meant that it's all the same problem -- as you and I have been discussing on my blog. It no more makes sense to see custody practice as being unreasonably cruel to men, and not at all harmful to women, as it does to see it the other way around. The point is that injustices in family law arise from harmful sexist assumptions (about both men and women) and they end up harming everyone, possibly in different ways. Men *and* women who shouldn't lose access to their kids, do. Abuse gets ignored. It's an awful system and the reason it's awful is because it's unfair to everyone, and the reason it's unfair to everyone is because it works on sexist assumptions.

I have no doubt that not being able to have access to your child when you are a good father is extremely distressing. It's not lipservice, it's one of those situations where it makes no sense at all to try to understand the gendered impact without understanding that it works both ways.

Like the case last year in Florida in which a woman had neglected a child so badly that at 10 she didn't know how to talk and could not comprehend eating solid food...and she managed to negotiate a lighter sentence by agreeing to give up custody.

Like I said, domestic abuse doesn't get taken seriously enough.

--IP

Danny said...

But putting the onus on women doesn't seem fair - the laws aren't made by women, the family courts aren't presided over by women, and it's a selective view to say that they advantage only women. The advantage comes with disadvantages too (eg societal biases against single mothers).
Yes women don't create the situation but there are plenty out there that are more than willing to use the courts and law enforcement as their weapon the harm men. And I would also point out that this relates to what you said earlier The extent to which your statement is true depends somewhat on the laws of a particular country (which are made and enforced predominantly by men),... as if matching gender does make all men responsible because the laws are made by some men.

But putting the onus on women doesn't seem fair - the laws aren't made by women, the family courts aren't presided over by women, and it's a selective view to say that they advantage only women. The advantage comes with disadvantages too (eg societal biases against single mothers).
I'm aware of this and my efforts here are to point out the advantages that women have and disadvantages that men have that a lot of discourse on parenting likes to ignore. Most of the time in mainstream media most of what you hear on dads is they aren't doing enough, they just want to impregnate women and run away, etc...

Abuse gets ignored. It's an awful system and the reason it's awful is because it's unfair to everyone, and the reason it's unfair to everyone is because it works on sexist assumptions.
Yes but while the abuse happens on both sides it seems the only abuse that is being addressed is the abuse to women. Yes it needs to be addressed but its not the abuse that's happening.

Like I said, domestic abuse doesn't get taken seriously enough.
And I'm saying is that people who say they "take abuse seriously" run a gender check to decide if they want to be serious about it.

Danny said...

I support more contraceptive options for men, but I'm also not sure how more options to control fertility would lead to better custody proceedings. Can you connect the dots for me?
It wont lead directly to it its just that more options for men is a part of men getting a better lot in life when it comes to parenting or not parenting. Better custody decisions as well as more birth control for men would help men have more control over their roles in choosing to parent or not parent and to be in their kids lives.

*You* brought up reproductive choices, and your sentence was genuinely ambiguous.
But I didn't say anything about taking rights away from women which sounds like its the only reason you and Renee brought it up. And having more control because its your body should not mean that your word and your word alone should be the sole arbitration of the father's level of involvement.

And while it makes sense that women have more control between conception and birth that does not address the problem of the unfair advantage that women have over men when it comes to custody after the child is born (and abortion is no longer on the table). Unless you want to advocate that the woman carrying the child for 9 months means she should be granted full control of the child until adulthood.

Sonja said...

Do you agree, though, that men should almost always* have a say in the matter? Women can say "It's my body, ergo my choice" until they're blue in the face, it still doesn't change the fact that it's not exclusively HER child. Shouldn't a man have a say in what happens to his child from conception on?

*exceptions such as proven abusive and so on

Danny said...

I've been on the fence about that one. I do agree that during conception since its her body carry the child its should be left up to her. However that 9 months SHOULD NOT be a blank check for her to call all the shots in the child's life up to and including the level of the dad's involvement.

IrrationalPoint said...

But I didn't say anything about taking rights away from women which sounds like its the only reason you and Renee brought it up. And having more control because its your body should not mean that your word and your word alone should be the sole arbitration of the father's level of involvement.

No -- I was saying there's an inherent asymmetry during pregnancy. I agree with you that that asymmetry no longer exists once the baby is born. That's all I was saying. Please do not suggest that pointing out the asymmetry of pregnancy is equivalent to saying that women should have sole control over men's input to parenting -- I never said that.

(Splitting my comment over two posts because of the character limit.)

--IP

IrrationalPoint said...

Yes women don't create the situation but there are plenty out there that are more than willing to use the courts and law enforcement as their weapon the harm men.

I don't see the advantage to this analysis over a societal-level one, unless you have specific stats to back it up. Some abusive women will use the court system that way, but studies suggest that women abusers are a very small minority.

as if matching gender does make all men responsible because the laws are made by some men.

Careful -- that's not what I said. Please stop putting words in my mouth. What I'm saying is that this is a problem at the level of societal structurs, and I don't see how framing it as "women are out to hurt men" is helpful. It's a sexist system, and because it is sexist, it ends up hurting everyone.

I'm aware of this and my efforts here are to point out the advantages that women have and disadvantages that men have that a lot of discourse on parenting likes to ignore.

It's good to highlight stuff often left out of the discourse, but I'm not sure how this adds to the discourse. "Women are out to hurt men" is *not* new in the discourse. It's an old sexist trope. What is true, and what would be a useful addition to the discourse is to talk about the ways in which sexist stereotyping of, say, women's work, or domestic abuse, on the social structure/institutional level ends up hurting men.

Yes but while the abuse happens on both sides it seems the only abuse that is being addressed is the abuse to women. Yes it needs to be addressed but its not the abuse that's happening.

I've blogged about this too, but you have to be careful with your stats. The overwhelming majority of abusers are male. Not all victims/survivors are female. The reason people tend to focus on violence perpetrated by men is because there's a massive difference of scale. That doesn't mean that there aren't male victims/survivors -- it does mean that there is a reason it's less talked about. However, as we were discussing on my blog, that too is all part of the same problem of gendered violence.

And I'm saying is that people who say they "take abuse seriously" run a gender check to decide if they want to be serious about it.

We've only just been talking about this on my blog. That's hardly fair. The whole *point* is that it's all the same problem -- tackle the gendered ideologies that enable violence, and you're tackling violence against *everyone*.

--IP

Danny said...

Part 1 (damn 3000 character limit)

I don't see the advantage to this analysis over a societal-level one, unless you have specific stats to back it up. Some abusive women will use the court system that way, but studies suggest that women abusers are a very small minority.
No hard stats just listening to and reading lots of stories. But its not like the fact that it may not happen very means we should just let it happen.

Careful -- that's not what I said. Please stop putting words in my mouth.
So why then when I point out that society harms men you go right to pointing out that the damage is mainly be done by men?

What I'm saying is that this is a problem at the level of societal structurs, and I don't see how framing it as "women are out to hurt men" is helpful. It's a sexist system, and because it is sexist, it ends up hurting everyone.
Awareness. Just as it needs to be known that there are men that harm women because of the structures of society it happens the other way around as well.

It's good to highlight stuff often left out of the discourse, but I'm not sure how this adds to the discourse. "Women are out to hurt men" is *not* new in the discourse. It's an old sexist trope. What is true, and what would be a useful addition to the discourse is to talk about the ways in which sexist stereotyping of, say, women's work, or domestic abuse, on the social structure/institutional level ends up hurting men.
The difference is the way its brought up. While you may not mean it what you say here is that society harms men but pretty much behind a disclaimer to make sure we know the harm that is done to women comes first. And that is usually the way it comes up in feminist discourse. The model of (insert harm to women)....(sidenote mention of how that harm to women harms men as well). Like instead of talking about how "society stereotypes men as providers and severely limits our option in parenting" it will come out like "society stereotypes women as child caregivers which severely limits limits them to caregivers and thus limits men's parenting options."

Danny said...

Part 2 (damn 3000 character limit)

I've blogged about this too, but you have to be careful with your stats. The overwhelming majority of abusers are male. Not all victims/survivors are female. The reason people tend to focus on violence perpetrated by men is because there's a massive difference of scale. That doesn't mean that there aren't male victims/survivors -- it does mean that there is a reason it's less talked about.
I have no problem with it being less talked about my problem is that people act like that justifies no one doing anything about it or instantly calling mention of f vs m abuse happening an attempt at trying to make it sound like it happens just as often m vs f. It may not happen as often but that should not give female abusers a free pass or a discount when caught.

We've only just been talking about this on my blog. That's hardly fair. The whole *point* is that it's all the same problem -- tackle the gendered ideologies that enable violence, and you're tackling violence against *everyone*.
I should have quantified that because not all folks (you sound like one that doesn't) that claim to "take abuse seriously" do that. And rest assured it happens on both sides. There are those that have to look at the gender of the abuser/victim before deciding if they want to get serious about helping, victim blame, or act like it didn't happen.

Danny said...

No -- I was saying there's an inherent asymmetry during pregnancy. I agree with you that that asymmetry no longer exists once the baby is born. That's all I was saying. Please do not suggest that pointing out the asymmetry of pregnancy is equivalent to saying that women should have sole control over men's input to parenting -- I never said that.
Good that you aren't saying that because is often how it is brought up and why I said it sounded like instead of outright accusing you.

Yeah sorry about the character limit. I've been thinking about registering my domain so I can have more control over things like that.

IrrationalPoint said...

No hard stats just listening to and reading lots of stories. But its not like the fact that it may not happen very means we should just let it happen

No, injustices are never ok. But the advantage to a societal-level analysis is it helps us understand *why* the injustices are happening, and what we can do about it. For example, simply awarding custody/access to men in a larger percentage of cases wouldn't fix the problems we're talking about -- the whole family law system needs an overhaul because *everyone* is getting a bad deal.

So why then when I point out that society harms men you go right to pointing out that the damage is mainly be done by men?

I haven't said generically that men are doing the damage, but that men tend to be in positions of privilege with regard to making the decisions that end up harming people. It's also true that society harms men (and women). Both of these can be true at the same time. This is what I was trying to say about violence being gendered -- it gets to be gendered not just because of the genders of the people perpetrating the harm, but also because the *ideologies* motivating/facilitating the harm are gendered.

Just as it needs to be known that there are men that harm women because of the structures of society it happens the other way around as well.

Awareness is good, but only if it's representative. It's one thing to say "family law is harmful to everyone, and here's this angle that hasn't been talked about much". It's another to say that men are oppressed by family law. The first leads to useful awareness, the latter leads to oversimplification, which doesn't help us work towards a real solution.

While you may not mean it what you say here is that society harms men but pretty much behind a disclaimer to make sure we know the harm that is done to women comes first.

Again, I haven't said that. What I have said is that there is a difference of scale in prevalence (which is documented). I have *not* said that harm against men is insignificant.

And rest assured it happens on both sides. There are those that have to look at the gender of the abuser/victim before deciding if they want to get serious about helping, victim blame, or act like it didn't happen.

Of course there are people like that on both sides. But that's why we have to get serious about holistic solutions. Not "family law oppresses men" or "harm against men doesn't happen/matter". But an account that takes seriously the harms done to everyone and the gendered ways that happens, and can offer real solution, not a piecemeal one.

Danny said...

No, injustices are never ok. But the advantage to a societal-level analysis is it helps us understand *why* the injustices are happening, and what we can do about it. For example, simply awarding custody/access to men in a larger percentage of cases wouldn't fix the problems we're talking about -- the whole family law system needs an overhaul because *everyone* is getting a bad deal.
Good it sounds like we're on the same page. I personally think that actually paying attention in custody cases and being fair would actually result in dads getting more awards. And that is what many father's advocates ask for.

Awareness is good, but only if it's representative. It's one thing to say "family law is harmful to everyone, and here's this angle that hasn't been talked about much". It's another to say that men are oppressed by family law. The first leads to useful awareness, the latter leads to oversimplification, which doesn't help us work towards a real solution.
I can get with that. Unfortunately most of what I hear is "______ is harmful to women" and attempts to say otherwise usually met with accusations about trying to make it "all about teh menz". Society most certainly does harm men and women but like I say in my readings of media the vast majority of what I hear is the damage done to women as if being a man is a free ticket to easy street and stopping the male vs. female harm will solve everything. I'm just trying to show that its not that simple. Andits amazing how hard that is.

Again, I haven't said that. What I have said is that there is a difference of scale in prevalence (which is documented). I have *not* said that harm against men is insignificant.
I trust that wasn't your intent but bear with me and try to think about it from the perspective of being a member of the group that is usually left in that sidenote. This is actually part of reason I started blogging. In my opinion the current atmosphere of gender discourse is lacking when it comes to address the harms done to men.

Side question. You seem to not like the wording of "....oppresses men". Are you the same way with ".....oppresses women" wording?

IrrationalPoint said...

And that is what many father's advocates ask for.

My beef with fathers' rights groups is that they tend to take very narrow views of what the problems are. I've yet to hear a fathers' rights group talk about how important it is to challenge domestic abuse, for example, or the importance of challenging the kinds of attitudes that lead to non-payment of child support. Unless one takes a holistic view of the problems then frankly, it does more harm than good.

stopping the male vs. female harm will solve everything.

There's a sense in which that's true, but only a limited one, and that's that challenging the gendered ideologies that lead to male violence will benefit men as well as women.

I trust that wasn't your intent but bear with me and try to think about it from the perspective of being a member of the group that is usually left in that sidenote.
Women are centered in feminist discourse because they are sidenotes in wider society. That doesn't excuse not working towards holistic solutions, but I think it does explain why, for example, the focus is often on certain sorts of issue (eg, childcare) rather than others. Any discussion of violence I think has to include provisions for survivors of violence perpetrated by women, but I think that if we don't deal with the fact that the overwhelming majority of sexual violence is perpetrated by *men*, then we're missing key information, and that's that the violence is enabled by ideologies of masculinity and control. Look, I'm not going to advocate non-engagement with "men's issues". I am going to suggest that there's sometimes a good reason why the focus is primarily, but not exclusively (I don't advocate the exclusivity), on women's experiences. Moreover, for men who are really bothered by that focus, I wonder why many (not all, of course) of them are busy criticising feminism for it, rather than criticising wider society for the inverse case, in which women's issues are a sidenote, and which causes many women to *need* a feminist environment in which they can discuss their experiences in a non-patriarchal way, because they have nowhere else to do so.

You seem to not like the wording of "....oppresses men". Are you the same way with ".....oppresses women" wording?

Actually what I didn't like was "men are oppressed *by women*" -- I think it's way too simplistic and selective, and ignores all the ways that men are privileged in this and other situations.

--IP

Danny said...

My beef with fathers' rights groups is that they tend to take very narrow views of what the problems are. I've yet to hear a fathers' rights group talk about how important it is to challenge domestic abuse, for example, or the importance of challenging the kinds of attitudes that lead to non-payment of child support. Unless one takes a holistic view of the problems then frankly, it does more harm than good.
I can get with that and that is a part of the problem I have with feminists as well. However the reason I pay attention to father's activists is because unlike feminists they are at least bringing the issue to the table.

There's a sense in which that's true, but only a limited one, and that's that challenging the gendered ideologies that lead to male violence will benefit men as well as women.
To me the fact that that is limited says that its not true. Its not as if men are the only ones that need to change.

Moreover, for men who are really bothered by that focus, I wonder why many (not all, of course) of them are busy criticising feminism for it, rather than criticising wider society for the inverse case, in which women's issues are a sidenote, and which causes many women to *need* a feminist environment in which they can discuss their experiences in a non-patriarchal way, because they have nowhere else to do so.
I think the reason they are bothered by it is because there is because the presumption that many feminists have in which they think that to be male is to automatically be at the forefront of history and that is simply not true. Like when a feminist criticizes the idea of men's studies on the grounds that "history is already centered around men". Simply put that's bullshit.

Thing is women as a group are not the only ones to be left in the sidenotes of history but time and time again I see them go out of their way to claim they are totally inclusive of every group...except for men. That in an of itself I don't have a problem with (I can chalk that up to choosing to focus your efforts on) the problem comes in when they decide among themselves what the lives of men are like as if they already know everything about us.

Actually what I didn't like was "men are oppressed *by women*" -- I think it's way too simplistic and selective, and ignores all the ways that men are privileged in this and other situations.
When all you are hear is "men are privileged" with the occasional "patriarchy hurts men too" lipservice I think its not too simplified myself because its a part of the problem that plagues gender relations that is rarely talked about. In fact that is one reason I don't identify with feminists because frankly once they know I'm male all they see is my male privilege when there is a LOT more going on than that.

IrrationalPoint said...

However the reason I pay attention to father's activists is because unlike feminists they are at least bringing the issue to the table.
Clearly we're hanging with different feminist groups.

To me the fact that that is limited says that its not true. Its not as if men are the only ones that need to change.
I never said men were the only ones that needed to change -- I said *ideologies* needed to change. *Everyone* has those ideologies. Stopping male-perpetrated harm won't solve *everything*. That's wayyyyy too simplistic a claim. I'm suggesting something much more limited, which is that challenging gendered ideologies solves a lot more problems than focusing only on harm done to men (or harm done to women). I apologise for wording that clumsily.

Like when a feminist criticizes the idea of men's studies on the grounds that "history is already centered around men".
I've yet to hear a feminist criticise masculinity studies, which is a really interesting branch of gender theory. But mainstream history courses I've taken *do* underplay the contributions of women, and learning about the contributions of women that are parallel to the contributions that are usually taught in mainstream history usually means, in practice, taking a women's history course. That's the sense in which "history is centered around men". It doesn't mean that being a bloke automatically hands you the world on a silver platter -- it does mean that women's contributions tend to be systematically undervalued compared to those of men of a similar demographic, and that's why I'm annoyed by proposals for "men's history".

its not too simplified myself because its a part of the problem that plagues gender relations that is rarely talked about
Does it make more sense if I say that I don't think it's reasonable to say "women are oppressed *by men*" either? People are oppressed by *sexism and sexist structures in society*.

FWIW, my experience with feminist groups is not what you're describing here. The group I campaign with includes men (and people of other genders). We do talk a lot about how issues affect non-women. If a male member of the group wants to discuss a particular issue, we do. We don't say "we don't care about your man-problems!" I'm sure there are feminists who do this, just as there are anti-feminists who do it to women. But it's never been my experience of feminist campaigning. It's not to doubt your experiences, but I also can't quite believe that my group is all *that* exceptional either. I would suggest that the blogosphere might not be all that representative of activist discourse, and that maybe finding a local group of White Ribbon or something might interest you.

--IP

Danny said...

I never said men were the only ones that needed to change -- I said *ideologies* needed to change. *Everyone* has those ideologies. Stopping male-perpetrated harm won't solve *everything*. That's wayyyyy too simplistic a claim. I'm suggesting something much more limited, which is that challenging gendered ideologies solves a lot more problems than focusing only on harm done to men (or harm done to women). I apologise for wording that clumsily.
Oh your wording is fine. I'm just pointing out the attitude I often see.

I've yet to hear a feminist criticise masculinity studies, which is a really interesting branch of gender theory. But mainstream history courses I've taken *do* underplay the contributions of women, and learning about the contributions of women that are parallel to the contributions that are usually taught in mainstream history usually means, in practice, taking a women's history course. That's the sense in which "history is centered around men". It doesn't mean that being a bloke automatically hands you the world on a silver platter -- it does mean that women's contributions tend to be systematically undervalued compared to those of men of a similar demographic, and that's why I'm annoyed by proposals for "men's history".
Actually this is just the critique I've seen them give as if this proves there is no need for men's studies. And considering most of the folks I've seen say they would like to see men's studies are not trying to get rid of women's studies I wonder why you find it annoying.

I would suggest that the blogosphere might not be all that representative of activist discourse, and that maybe finding a local group of White Ribbon or something might interest you.
My exposure being limited to the blogsphere is unfortunately the result living off the beaten path so to say. But I am aware that the large amounts of negativity among some feminists does not represent the whole.

About your suggestion for a holistic solution. I agree that what needs to be done is to deal with the underlying problems rather that scratch the surface but unless everyone is able to bring their issues to the table how can we really figure out what all the underlying problems are.

IrrationalPoint said...

Actually this is just the critique I've seen them give as if this proves there is no need for men's studies. And considering most of the folks I've seen say they would like to see men's studies are not trying to get rid of women's studies I wonder why you find it annoying.

Hang on, are you talking about masculinity studies as part of gender theory? Because I've yet to hear a feminist say that that was not work of value. Or are you talking about "men's history", "men's literature", "international men's day", etc?

If you're asking about the former: I have no objection to masculinity studies at all -- I think it's very important useful work.

If you're talking why I'm annoyed about the latter even though its proponents aren't trying to scrap "women's history", etc: Because they're also not trying to scrap the biases in mainstream history, which proponents of "women's history" courses usually are; which means that "men's history" would look much like mainstream history. And in my experience, proponents of "men's history", "men's literature", etc, *are* trying to scrap "women's studies", and are using "men's history" as an example of why "women's studies" is sooooo unfair, but don't connect it to the wider context of most teaching/study of history being unrepresentative due to sexism.

But I am aware that the large amounts of negativity among some feminists does not represent the whole.
Indeed, I don't find the blogosphere all that representative of IRL campaigning.

About your suggestion for a holistic solution. I agree that what needs to be done is to deal with the underlying problems rather that scratch the surface but unless everyone is able to bring their issues to the table how can we really figure out what all the underlying problems are.

Quite. That's why I love my campaigning group so much -- we all *can* bring our issues to the table.

--IP

Danny said...

Because they're also not trying to scrap the biases in mainstream history, which proponents of "women's history" courses usually are...
I would beg to differ that some of them are.

I'm personally of the thought that if we were to look at men through history as men, not as kings, rulers, killers, leaders, conquorers, etc... just simply men I think it would give a bit of insight into how masculinity as we know it has come to be. And from there talk about how to improve it. Take a look at this: (http://www.pellebilling.com/2009/12/do-men-benefit-from-being-the-norm/). Its a post questioning men being the norm and what can be lost by thinking so. Trying to pass mainstream history as men's history is limiting at best and damaging at worst. This is why I say opponents of men's history who try to pass it off as "proof" of why we don't need men's history aren't as all inclusive as they pat themselves on the back for.

Does your campaigning group by chance have an online presence?

IrrationalPoint said...

"Does your campaigning group by chance have an online presence?"

I'm afraid not.

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