Sunday, May 21, 2017

Do they really want men involved?

I've had a love/hate relationship with The Good Men Project for the last year or 2. However despite the deleted comments, submissions not getting a response, and even being removed from their Facebook group under mysterious circumstances I still hang around because despite the bad there is a hell of a lot of good there.

That being said though I did come across this post, We Want Men to Talk About Sexism. I am honestly not sure if this comment will stay up so I'm putting here for prosperity. Go read the post and let it swirl around in your head and form your own opinion though.

The reason you're not seeing many men in the conversation on sexism is because you put so much effort into narrowly defining our place in it that if they don't fit said narrow role we get kicked out of it or get ignored. And what's worse instead of looking at how our prescribed role in the conversation is contributing to us getting kicked out or deciding not to participate you instead just double down on expecting us fulfill the narrow role you have set out in front of us.

The reason you're not seeing many men in the conversation on sexism is because you put so much effort into narrowly defining our place in it that if they don't fit said narrow role we get kicked out of it or get ignored. And what's worse instead of looking at how our prescribed role in the conversation is contributing to us getting kicked out or deciding not to participate you instead just double down on expecting us fulfill the narrow role you have set out in front of us.

Many men feel “attacked” when conversations are literally just talking to them about what language to use. This seems to make some men feel “excluded”, “marginalized”, “unable to participate”...
You immediately start off by putting the treatment men face while trying to participate in scare quotes to minimize the affect it has on us and create the illusion that how we are treated isn't real, in our heads, and/or in the rare example that its real its not a big deal and is likely our own fault. In short you start off by saying you don't care about how we have been treated.

We can not allow people to be sexist, but there has to be a solution that allows men to participate.
A good start. I agree that people can't be sexist but from the sentence before this it seems that male participation is quite conditional.

We need men who acknowledge that sexism does exist and that by being complacent to it, they are supporting it, much the same as racism, homophobia, or other forms of oppression.
Question. What about acknowledging sexism is a two way street?

We never want anyone to feel like they can’t participate or speak up. We want people to learn. However, sexist comments need to be checked. The problem is the manlash that transpires after being challenged about a sexist comment. Voices raise, people talk over each other, mansplaining manifests everywhere.
I think the problem is that whenever a man says something that doesn't tow the line the silencing language, insults, dismissals, and attacks come out so quick. I noticed that there is nothing here about how men are treated. Its only about how men act as if the only reason the conversation gets disrupted is because of a man. Disagree with a woman? Mansplaining. Try to bring up a male perspective? Accusations of silencing. Trying express a difference of opinion? Manlash (and I have to say this is a new one to me but it seems like I can add it to the growing list of terms that exist to gender something negative as male).

Allies have to learn how to be uncomfortable. The discomfort of being told how to be a better ally pales in comparison to actually being oppressed.
There's the divide again. Men's experiences don't matter until its time to teach them how to be better. If they get uncomfortable its for a valid reason and they have to learn how to deal with it.

Men, who are well-intended, but blind to their privilege and subject to the very patriarchal upbringing we are trying to dismantle, don’t see how sexism and misogyny are connected to the disposability of men…or to their mental health.
They probably don't see it because whenever they try to bring it up they are accused of hating women. Also once again you try to take something that is harmful to men and make it out to be a side effect of trying to harm women.

Most men who talk about sexism are already feeling uncomfortable just by having the discussion, no matter how advanced they feel their understanding is. That could be why we see the intense reactions and emotive backlash, because these men are already feeling vulnerable.
I'd say from personal experience the discomfort comes from people who are standing over us ready to attack at the slightest hint of disagreement. Because as you shown in your opining paragraph you are already in position to dismiss men's feelings in these conversations or at best just twist and reframe them as a need to learn how to be uncomfortable.

There has been ground gained in women’s rights, but we are far from stopping sexism. Trying to deny or “water down” the fact that sexism exits will not move us forward.
And acting like sexism is a one way street will continue to alienate the very people you claim to want to work with even as you appropriate our struggles for the sake of women.

We can allow for ingenuous discussions, but we do not have to tolerate deflection. Deflection takes the discussion from the real point. It is like ignoring a problem instead of trying to solve it.

We are here to try to solve sexism by stopping it, are you with us?
This is rich. I have been here for nearly 5 years but I have noticed that deflection has come to include trying to bring up male experiences with sexism in its own right or holding women responsible for their own actions.

I'm still here hoping that you will come around for the conversation you regularly claim to have.
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