Words are not fists: some thoughts on how men work to defuse feminist anger

This is, I think, an important post.

I’ve been thinking about men in women’s studies classes, and jokes about "male-bashing."

This semester’s women’s studies class is like most: overwhelmingly female.  I’ve got 32 women and 6 men in the class.  I met individually last Thursday with the women for "all-female day"; I met with my guys on Tuesday for "all-male day."  This morning, we all got back together in the classroom for the first time as a full group in nine days.

Most of the guys hadn’t spoken in class all semester; today, all did.  A number of the women in class were eager to ask questions and create dialogue; up until this week, mine has been the only consistent male voice in the classroom.  The guys did a great job of sharing about many topics (we spent a lot of time on the "myth of male weakness")  But two of the guys did something that I see over and over again from men in women’s studies classes.  They prefaced their remarks by joking "I know I’m going to get killed for saying this, but…"  One of them, even pretended to rise from his desk to position himself by the door, saying that "Once I say this, I know I’m going to have to make a run for it."   Most of the women laughed indulgently, and I even found myself grinning along.

When men find themselves in feminist settings (like a women’s studies class) they are almost always in the minority.  When I was taking women’s studies classes at Berkeley in the 1980s, I was usually one of only two or three men in the room.  In my women’s history classes over the past decade, men average 10-20% of the students, never more.  Even when they make up as much as a fifth of the class, they generally do less than a tenth of the talking. That isn’t surprising, given the subject matter — I was often fairly quiet in my own undergraduate days.

But one thing I remember from my own college days that I see played out over and over again is this male habit of making nervous jokes about being attacked by feminists.  In my undergrad days, I often prefaced a comment by saying "I know I’ll catch hell for this".  I’ve seen male students do as they did today and pretend to run; I’ve seen them deliberately sit near the door, and I once had one young man make an elaborate show (I kid you not) of putting on a football helmet before speaking up!

All of this behavior reflects two things: men’s genuine fear of being challenged and confronted, and the persistence of the stereotype of feminists as being aggressive "man-bashers."  The painful thing about all this, of course, is that no man is in any real physical danger in the classroom — or even outside of it — from feminists.  Name one incident where an irate women’s studies major physically assaulted a male classmate for something he said?  Women are regularly beaten and raped — even on college campuses — but I know of no instance where a man found himself a victim of violence for making a sexist remark in a college feminist setting!  "Male-bashing" doesn’t literally happen, in other words, at least not on campus.   But that doesn’t stop men from using (usually half in jest) their own exaggerated fear of physical violence to make a subtle point about feminists.

There’s a conscious purpose to this sort of behavior.  Joking about getting beaten up (or putting on the football helmet) sends a message to young women in the classroom: "Tone it down.  Take care of the men and their feelings.  Don’t scare them off, because too much impassioned feminism is scary for guys."  And you know, as silly as it is, the joking about man-bashing almost always works! Time and again, I’ve seen it work to silence women in the classroom, or at least cause them to worry about how to phrase things "just right" so as to protect the guys and their feelings.  It’s a key anti-feminist strategy, even if that isn’t the actual intent of the young man doing it — it forces women students to become conscious caretakers of their male peers by subduing their own frustration and anger.   It reminds young women that they should strive to avoid being one of those "angry feminists" who (literally) scares men off and drives them away.

Here’s where I need to issue a big ol’ mea culpa.  Until today, I don’t think I fully realized how common this strategy of joking about male-bashing really is.  I didn’t realize how I, as a teacher, permit and thus encourage it.  Too often, I’ve been so eager to make sure that my small minority of men feels "safe" in the classroom that I’ve allowed their insecurities to function to silence the female majority — in what is supposed to be a feminist setting!  Though I haven’t made such remarks myself, I’ve laughed indulgently at them without stopping to consider their function.

Part of being a pro-feminist man, I’ve come to realize in recent years, is being willing to face the real anger of real women.  Far too many men spend a great deal of time trying to talk women out of their anger, or by creating social pressures that remind women of the consequences of expressing that anger.  Many men, frankly, are profoundly frightened by women who will directly challenge them.  In a classroom, they don’t really fear being struck or hit.  But by comparing a verbal attack on their own sexist attitudes towards physical violence, they hope to defuse the verbal expression of very real female pain and frustration.   I know that it’s hard to be a young man in a feminist setting for the first time, and I know, (oh, how I know) how difficult it is to sit and listen to someone challenge you on your most basic beliefs about your identity, your sexuality, your behavior, and your beliefs about gender.  It’s difficult to take the risk to speak up and push back a bit, and it’s scary to realize just how infuriating your views really are to other people, especially women.

The first task of the pro-feminist male in this situation is to accept the reality and the legitimacy of the frustration and disappointment and anger that so many women have with men, and to accept it without making light of it or trying to defuse it or trying to soothe it.  Pro-feminist men must work to confront their own fears about being the target of those feelings.  Above all, we cannot ever compare — even in jest — verbal expressions of strong emotion to actual physical violence or man-bashing.

After all, one of the pernicious aspects of the "myth of male weakness" is that men can’t handle being confronted with women’s anger.  We either run away literally or figuratively, disconnecting with the television, the bottle, the computer screen.  But we’re not little boys who will physically lash out in rage when challenged, nor can we be so fearful that we dodge and defuse and check out.  That’s not what an adult does in the face of the very real emotion of another human being.

I’ve allowed this kind of joking and defusing to go on too long in my classes. It’s going to stop now.

UPDATE:

Please don’t get into thread drift here.  This is not a forum to question the basic tenets of feminism, or issues of domestic violence and abuse, or why I’ve banned anyone in the past.  I’m going to be much more careful about monitoring what is posted here.  This is not a free speech zone, nor need it be.  It’s my blog, and y’all have other forums for discussing gender issues.

197 thoughts on “Words are not fists: some thoughts on how men work to defuse feminist anger

  1. It’s my experience, rather, that far too many women know that they can get in the face of a man, thump fingers in their chests, slap, smack, kick and the like that would get their butts kicked if they were men – and often it is done deliberately to put men in the fight or flight mode, and since they are programmed to never, ever, hit a woman back, that they will run, or shut up and take it.

    I’ve been teaching and counselling men for a long time that it is right to be offended at such things, and right to demand to not be subjected to disrespect and verbal bullying, even if it is by a woman; that to hide behind tears, or an expectation of deference based on sex is cowardly no matter who it comes from.

    If I had a grievance with a woman I would be expected to become calm and rational, speak my piece in such tones, and to sit and listen to “her side” without becoming defensive or invalidating it. And – at least according to the rhetoric I hear – I would think it would be “anti-feminist” to hold women to a different standard – just because they are women.

    Totally overlooked in your theory – and I used overlook because I don’t think it ever really hits the radar, not because it is purposefully ignored, mind you – is the application of Occam’s Razor: that these men may very well be leery about being shouted down without being heard , or having something chucked at them, or getting smacked – precisely because that has been their experience.

    There’s no conscious purpose – there’s not a great male conspiracy to keep “da woman” down. There’s no fear of confrontation, there’s an exasperation at being drawn into yet another fruitless argument that is going to end in tears, and him looking like a big bully no matter what happens. Far to often are demands for “dialogue” code for “You shut up and let me talk” and demands for “growth” code for “You abandon your convictions and embrace mine.”

    Let me posit something – if I took one of your classes, and participated in the class was good, but consisted of questioning a priori assumptions, if my papers were critical of the assigned reading, or reached a counter to accepted wisdom conclusion, if my essays took the “disagree” tack, and if at the end of the class I said “I am more convinced of my original POV now than I was when I started,” then what grade could I look forward to?

    Well – *you* might still grade me well, I’ll give you that. But, what grade do you think the average women’s studies instructor would give me? And how many do you think would ask me to drop the class?

    Yeah, I can hear it; “If you get insulting and refuse to grow…” As in, like I said, “Abandon my convictions and embrace someone elses?” And, why is it that “disagree” is automatically assumed I’d be hostile, unless, of course, the whole notion that I’d go somewhere else besides that same conclusion to be prima facie evidence of bad faith? And if that is why – who is it showing “bad faith?”

  2. As usual, a provocative post. First, I have to apologize for offering comment knowing beforehand I don’t have the time to really do it justice. But I have to (at least partially) contest one of your premises:

    “All of this behavior reflects two things: men’s genuine fear of being challenged and confronted, and the persistence of the stereotype of feminists as being aggressive “man-bashers.”

    In my own college days, one of my classes included about 50% minority students, which was somewhat unusual in my field at that school. During one session in particular, discussion centered on opportunities and race. The discussion included a fair assessment of “reality”, as well as talk about sources of the current status of things and possible remedies. As a “suburban white boy” (TM), I found it difficult to comfortably join the discussion (especially when I disagreed with a statement made by a minority classmate) without prefacing my comment with something to lighten the tension.

    I didn’t do this because I was a white man worried about being challenged or confronted. Rather I felt the need to do this to lessen the possiblity of my remarks seeming insensitive or bigoted when compared to the view of a minority student much closer to the topic at hand.

    I use this example to suggest that the men in your class might have been using humor as a way to make themselves feel more comfortable joining in a class discussion where the subject matter and class ratio might tend to make things less comfortable.

  3. I’ll second the “great post” comment, but I am not convinced that this sort of defusing is necessarily a bad thing. I think it’s fairly common — and extremely valuable — whenever people representing two opposing viewpoints are conversing and one side is numerically much larger than the other.

    For instance, most of my family is religious, but not me; nevertheless we still frequently, and civilly, discuss religion and its impacts on society. I find myself often making little joking asides much like the men in your class do — “I have a feeling you all are going to kill me for this, but..” Of course they never do, and I never feel in actual danger.

    But I think the ability to make such an aside has two salutory effects: (a) it makes me more comfortable raising something that I feel sure they are going to strongly disagree with, if I preface it by some acknowledgement that I know how much they are going to disagree with it; and (b) the joking air reminds people that we are in a civil, informative conversation; that what I say isn’t intended as an attack, and that whatever they say in response isn’t either. And because it’s joking and deliberately humorous, it makes people laugh and thus defuses any potential tension much more than just saying “I know you might disagree with this…” would.

    I just worry that by prohibiting your guys from making these type of comments, you would stifle discussion and also create an environment where it’s harder to use levity as a tension-breaker.

    Of course, your concerns are legitimate: perhaps you could discuss this with your classes and see what they think? I have a hunch that if you just raise the issue, people will still be able to use this sort of aside (and thus have all the good effects of it) but everyone will also be much more conscious of what negative messages it might be sending, each time (and thus you’ll mitigate the bad ones).

  4. Maybe you could suggest to them a different phrase with which to convey their discomfort, desire for civility, willingness to accept disagreement, etc.. I don’t know what that might be, but they might feel more comfortable having a phrase they can confidently use.

  5. I am grateful to Dr. Schwyzer, for providing an example (that I could link to in my own blog) of differential treatment by male feminists of ad hominem remarks by men and women.

  6. I’m 50 and female. I don’t even know how to be angry; it was beaten out of me at an early age. The best I can do is cry when those feelings overcome me, so subsequently I have become very, very good at anger avoidance because tears only make one look foolish.

    I don’t know who these women are that Gonzman is talking about, but I sure haven’t seen a lot of them in my lifetime (and yes, I’ve also worked in mental health for 20 years). I’m sure there are a few; there are far more men who not only don’t want to listen, they don’t want to hear anything that might disturb their view of the world.

    Those men in Hugo’s class are simply doing what I (and many other women who are afraid to anger men) have done every day of my adult life.

  7. I certainly have no intention of banning certain comments — I’m just going to be better about talking to the entire class about the whole red herring of “male bashing.”

    Gonz, you’re conflating violence against men off campus with violence on it (and in the classroom). I’ll grant that women do physically assault men, just as I’ll grant that people sometimes bite their dogs. But as with dogs and biting, the reverse is far more common (and know, I’m setting the rule here, this is not a thread to revisit DV statistics). No male student could possibly have a reasonable expectation of physical violence for making a sexist statement in a women’s studies class.

  8. I know I’ve used phrases like, “You all are going to jump all over me for saying this, but . . ” or “I hate to say this, but . . . .” Thinking back, I think I use them when I think that my opinion is going contrary to the vast majority of people that I’m conversing with. Following Rayven’s suggestion of an alternate phrase, for me, if I were going to be honest, it would be something like, “I’m worried about saying this because . . . ” or “I feel like this isn’t going to be a popular idea,” or “I feel like I’m the only person who thinks this, but . . .”

    Now, what exactly I’m afraid is going to happen is a good question. I think it boils down to worry over what people will think about me if I say it. But I think the next time I feel the impulse to say it, I think I’ll ask myself, “What, exactly, am I afraid of?”

  9. Good point, Carol, but I don’t think it’s simply a matter of being afraid for no good reason. (Which may or may not be what you meant; I’m using you as a springboard for a general comment).

    Someone might legitimately be afraid of shutting down the discussion (by being misinterpreted as being antagonistic) or of accidentally giving offense (similar to what James said: if you hold a minority view but aren’t sure if it’s because you’re wrong about something or just different, it can be scary to speak up, especially if the consequences of being wrong could offend a lot of the people you are speaking to). The “don’t kill me but” phrase is very useful in both of those situations.

    In short, I think sometimes there are good reasons to consider what other people will think: not because it’s important to have them like you, but because part of being in a conversation is doing your best as speaker to make sure you are interpreted as you intended, which involves getting in the listener’s heads and caring about their response to some extent.

  10. Oh my.

    Hugo, if you were teaching a men’s studies course with only 5-6 women attending and the rest men and the women prefaced their comments by saying something similar to what has been described in your post would you assume that their reasons for doing so were anti-masculine? Would you treat them in the same manner you plan to treat these young men? Would you say something like this:

    switcheroo:

    Too often, in this men’s studies class, I’ve been so eager to make sure that my small minority of women feels “safe” in the classroom that I’ve allowed their insecurities to function to silence the male majority — in what is supposed to be a masculinist setting!

    or how about one like this:

    It’s a key feminist strategy, even if that isn’t the actual intent of the young woman doing it — it forces male students to become conscious caretakers of their female peers by subduing their own frustration and anger. It reminds young men that they should strive to avoid being one of those “angry masculinists” who (literally) scares women off and drives them away.

    Would you be telling the women that they really needed to listen attentively to men’s anger? Something tells me you wouldn’t be treating the ladies quite the same. I will be curious to hear your response.

  11. Great post, Hugo. I could never really explain to my male friends who did this shit to me why it bothered me so much. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head on this issue.

  12. Dr. E, men are not regularly the victims of rape and sexual assault outside of prison settings. Men are not socialized, as women are, to endlessly soothe and care-take the feelings of the other sex.

    I don’t intend to rebuke anyone. I intend to call attention to the way that this joking reference to “getting killed” or “male-bashing” serves an anti-feminist purpose. We’re all on a journey together here.

    Rayven, I do think we need to be attentive to how our words will be perceived. But joking about “getting killed” is clearly different than an honest admission that one is worried about how what one says will go over. At least, it seems so to me.

  13. The preface happens a lot, and what it does is make a large segment of people apologetic for wanting to disagree and hurt the speaker’s feelings.

    I think the thing to do is call people on this language. If they say “I know I’m going to get attacked for this, but…” then ask them why (a) they feel they’re going to be attacked; (b) they decide to say it anyway; and (c) they feel the need to tack on the disclaimer. I think that while some people who use this disclaimer may be actively trying to put their respondents on the defensive, most of them are just unconsciously falling back on conversational habits that have worked in the past.

  14. Dr. E, men are not regularly the victims of rape and sexual assault outside of prison settings. Men are not socialized, as women are, to endlessly soothe and care-take the feelings of the other sex.

    You’re right, we’re no socialized to soothe or anything like that – we are socialized to surrender, to give in, to apologize even when we are right whever there is an angry or upset woman. Be chivalrous. Ladies first. Let the girl win.

    Occam’s Razor, again: The simplest explanation that fits all the facts is not that there is some great male conspiracy to put women down, to shame them, to silence them – it’s that these guys, from disparate and disconnected backgrounds acting the same way are doing so because their experience shows them that they will be ganged up on and verbally bullied, and if they resist at all, fault will be laid at their feet.

    Point blank question: Does it even hit the radar that there might be a degree of that? That these guys do get jumped on by deviating from party line, that they are jumped on in an uncivil and disrespectful fashion, and that it is condoned? That they might feel that speaking their mind and defending their position, however civilly and rationally they do it will be rubricized as somehow being from a position of bad faith and mean-spiritedness, while all but the farthest extreme of the most uncivil attacks on them will be excused, justified, and rationalized away?

    Or are they, again, just evil and broken males who need fixing, while the women are once again totally and completely justified, sugar and spice, etc. etc. etc.?

  15. Rayven, I do think we need to be attentive to how our words will be perceived. But joking about “getting killed” is clearly different than an honest admission that one is worried about how what one says will go over. At least, it seems so to me.

    I guess this is something where YMMV, then, cos I honestly don’t have the same impression — maybe if it were delivered in tones of fear, then yes; but when it’s deliberately exaggerated and caricatured for effect, part of what makes it funny is the realization by everyone in the room that the guys in question are in no actual danger. In other words, it’s only funny if male-bashing is not a real danger and everyone knows it. (By contrast, imagine the same scenario but for a woman in a roomful of men: if she pretended to don a football helmet and beat a path to the door it would be far less funny, and that’s because of the looming spectre of all those women who do get beaten for having contrary opinions).

    But this might just be personal opinion, and we can be free to disagree here. I’m curious about what your students think when you broach the subject.

  16. Well, one student who reads the blog constantly stopped me in the hall on the way off campus today to say she totally agrees. But she also thought that some of the guys might NOT see things the same way.

    I agree, Rayven, that it is different when the guys do it — which is why I want to call them on it and ask the exact same question you do, which is what it would be like if a woman did it.

    Gonz, I agree that men in a women’s studies class take a considerable risk when speaking up. And yes, I have heard some cruel remarks directed from female students to their male peers. Far be it from me to endorse the “sugar and spice”/”snips and snails” theory of gender relations! It is risky and scary to speak up. But it isn’t helpful to try and posit yourself as the potential victim when you’re a member of the dominant group.

    I certainly don’t think most young men (I was in their shoes once) sit and think “I’m going to joke about male-bashing in order to disarm those who might find my remarks outrageous”. But that does seem to be, at least at times, the consequence, intended or not.

  17. Dr. E, men are not regularly the victims of rape and sexual assault outside of prison settings.

    Rape and sexual assault, no. Every other category of violent crime, yes.

    Men are not socialized, as women are, to endlessly soothe and care-take the feelings of the other sex.

    Maybe not on Planet Hugo, but just about everywhere else, hell yeah. That’s one of two reasons why we’re having this conversation about men in feminist classes, rather than vice-versa. The other is that “masculist” classes do not exist.

  18. Men are not socialized, as women are, to endlessly soothe and care-take the feelings of the other sex.

    Maybe not on Planet Hugo, but just about everywhere else, hell yeah.

    My corner of the world is a heck of a lot more like Planet Hugo. The “don’t upset people,” “don’t rock the boat,” “don’t hurt other people’s feelings,” “be nice” sentiments are directed overwhelmingly at women vis a vis men *and* the group as a whole.

  19. Dr. E, men are not regularly the victims of rape and sexual assault outside of prison settings. Men are not socialized, as women are, to endlessly soothe and care-take the feelings of the other sex.

    Why would the location of a rape matter? As you have said men are also victims of rape. Gonzo has given you a good sampling of how men and boys are socialized to sacrifice for women and girls. Men have been dying by the hundreds of thousands in wars while women have sat safely at home. Yes there are women who die in wars but not even close to the number of men. Men have been deprived for decades of the loving experience of raising children due to societal expectations of being the sole breadwinner. Boys and girls, men and women have both had some hard knocks. One is not an oppressor and the other the oppressed. Treating one group as if they have been victims and the other as if they have been the perps is missing the mark by a long shot. All people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect and you seem to be saying that you feel it is okay to give women special treatment and not the men. This is called bigotry.

  20. Second try at an approved post…. my earlier one must have experienced a technical glitch.

    “But it isn’t helpful to try and posit yourself as the potential victim when you’re a member of the dominant group.”

    I completely agree!

    Women now constitute what — 57% of all college and university students?

    And approximately 85% of women’s studies class enrollments?

    Which group comprises the dominant voice in a women’s studies classroom?

    Oh, I know…

    Their situational power is suppressed by the ubiquitous Evil Patriarchy.

    The argument continues to be at its most basically irrational — “women cannot experience power, because men still have some…. somewhere.”

    Right?

    Even women’s studies majors would be in hysterics about this silly reductionist notion of power.

    So, to paraphrase Carol Gilligan –

    When women “speak in a different voice,” does it possibly silence men who want to speak in their own?

  21. X, I would welcome you to my courses on “Men, Masculinity, and the American Tradition.” Join me in Spring 2007…

  22. UNPCDad and Dr. E I’m letting your recent comments stand.  Your previous one was deleted for tenor and tone; this blog is for civil discussion of feminism and faith.  Please be mindful that MRAs have countless forums (fora?), and while I welcome those who are willing to engage the specific issue, constantly telling me over and over again that I’m a mindless misandrist perpetuating a double standard that hurts men and boys is, frankly, getting old. Stand Your Ground is the place for you.

  23. I agree! It’s a plea for undeserved sympathy. If you have something to say that you think is worthwhile saying, say it and stand behind it and let people respond to it how they will.

  24. Hugo,

    You might be intrigued to know that I have come to actually “listen” to you on more than a few occasions.

    My deleted post was (perhaps poorly worded) about logic.

    It was actually more about what I perceived as illogic.

    It was about how women can claim that non-physical expressions are “violent” if performed by men.

    While even “non-expressive expressions” by men (i.e. “ignoring her needs”) are currently grounds for arrest.

    I will temper my language, if you will tolerate my veiled anger.

    You already said you do it all the time in your classroom.

    I wish I could enroll and pay full tuition! (I’m on the wrong coast…)

    Then, you could not ban me, right?

    Dr. Hugo, your friends may be in unlikely places.

    Consider it….

  25. I’m still blinking my eyes over how a meek “I hope I don’t get killed for this” is being construed as a misogynist, “keep the women quiet” sort of phrase. Isn’t it brutally obvious that saying “I hope I don’t get killed for this” is a sign that the SPEAKER is used to not having a say, of being in the minority, of having a tendency of being shouted down?

    Do you think your classroom is the only one where someone will say, “I know I’ll catch hell for saying this, but…”? It’s a common introduction in any atmosphere in which a person perceives that (s)he is in the minority. A classroom full of women talking about the so-called “patriarchy” and holding men accountable for both the problems of women and the problems of men might just alienate a man just a tad, don’t you think?

    No, I don’t find “male-bashing” to be a “cute” accusation, because male-bashing ITSELF isn’t cute: it’s pure, naked sexism, and that to me isn’t the least bit funny at all. If I call someone a male-basher, I’m not merely calling the person annoying and miserable; it’s a FAR more serious charge than that.

    “Gonz, you’re conflating violence against men off campus with violence on it (and in the classroom). I’ll grant that women do physically assault men, just as I’ll grant that people sometimes bite their dogs. But as with dogs and biting, the reverse is far more common (and know, I’m setting the rule here, this is not a thread to revisit DV statistics).”

    Just a tip: if you do not wish a topic to be discussed in a thread, it is unwise to bring it up, or else you appear as one who throws a rock and then hides behind a tree, declaring the war as over.

    “(By contrast, imagine the same scenario but for a woman in a roomful of men: if she pretended to don a football helmet and beat a path to the door it would be far less funny, and that’s because of the looming spectre of all those women who DO get beaten for having contrary opinions).”

    What classrooms have YOU been frequenting?

    “But it isn’t helpful to try and posit yourself as the potential victim when you’re a member of the dominant group.”

    You aren’t in the dominant group when there are six of you and 32 of the other.

    “My corner of the world is a heck of a lot more like Planet Hugo. The ‘don’t upset people,’ ‘don’t rock the boat,’ ‘don’t hurt other people’s feelings,’ ‘be nice’ sentiments are directed overwhelmingly at women vis a vis men *and* the group as a whole.”

    Count me among those who apparently have never visited the aforementioned Planet. I’ve seen the complete opposite: women encouraged to make their thoughts known (which is fine with me), while men are discouraged from arguing with a woman (for the sake of being “gentlemen”).

  26. So some anger is worthy and some is to be banned? How can you tell the difference?

    constantly telling me over and over again that I’m a mindless misandrist perpetuating a double standard that hurts men and boys is, frankly, getting old.

    I said nothing of the sort. I simply said that what you are doing reminds me of bigotry. You seem to treat women and girls by one standard and men and boys with another.

    Now what about mr bad? Can he be re-instated if the Duke accuser is proven to be a liar?

  27. ” …constantly telling me over and over again that I’m a mindless misandrist perpetuating a double standard that hurts men and boys is, frankly, getting old.”

    Crap Dr. E!

    I thought that was Hugo’s objection to MY post!

    So now, we have to duel, right?

    Who got most insulted by Hugo?

    This is starting to read like SYG!

    Just kidding….

    Well, maybe…..

  28. I’ve seen the complete opposite: women encouraged to make their thoughts known (which is fine with me), while men are discouraged from arguing with a woman (for the sake of being “gentlemen”).

    A new phenomenon, to be sure. And women with strong opinions are still derided as bitchy and shrill because that’s unladylike. Also, Gonz refers to this “letting the girl win” mentality, which doesn’t strike me as telling me to be nice as much as it strikes me as telling men to be patronizing. I’m pretty sure we disagree on this point, but I tend to find that a lot of being gentlemanly/chivalrous and the associated rhetoric is about exactly that: patronization and this pretend shaking off of privilege. It’s not actual deference, just indulgence.

    And man, am I bad at not getting sucked into the thread drift. A question for you Hugo: when you get such prefaced remarks, what tends to follow them? Views that are actually not popular in the class or just legitimately different ideas?

  29. en garde unpcdad!

    bmmg39 – Very nice post. Thank you for taking the time and effort to explain as you did.

  30. I don’t know if this is at all similar, but I am very insecure in my knowledge of my chosen field. When I ask a question about why someone is doing something scientific, or if I proffer a suggustion, I tend to preface with with, “I know this is a dumb question/suggestion, but…” It’s a tactic designed to make the listener pre-judge the statement so that if I do say something dumb/ignorant/whatever, I’m not discounted as much because I’ve previously admitted my stupidity. No, it’s not a good idea, and yes, it probably doesn’t help. But it’s a defensive mechanism that I now use whenever I’m in a situation where I feel out of my league academically. And now I add it in without realizing that I’m doing it, which is worse.

    So I can see that maybe the guys in your class are uncomfortable. Maybe they don’t think that they’re actually going to get hurt, just like I don’t actually think my comments are dumb. But they need to get a pre-emptive shield up, just in case.

  31. Nicely said Technocracygirl. It is a common maneuver that comes from a “one down” position. When we feel unsure and intimidated. Assuming it is to control women is a huge and unsupported leap.

  32. This is kind of long-winded, and it may be off-topic, so it’s perfectly okay to delete this.

    From Gonzman:

    It’s my experience, rather, that far too many women know that they can get in the face of a man, thump fingers in their chests, slap, smack, kick and the like that would get their butts kicked if they were men – and often it is done deliberately to put men in the fight or flight mode, and since they are programmed to never, ever, hit a woman back, that they will run, or shut up and take it.

    I do live action role-playing, where you pretend to be someone and act it out with a bunch of other people. Think of it as improv theatre, only with long-term stories.

    There was a new player who came into our game. He engaged in outrageously crass behaviour. Nothing he did was per se bad, but he knew how to manipulate his behaviour so as to make all the women there feel cowed and scared of him. I left for a while (only partially because of this person) because it took so much mental energy to not fall into my natural beta submission with him, I just didn’t want to deal with it.

    I came back one night just to hang out with people and read the books I’d gotten that evening. I was sitting on the bench and chatting when this person came up to me and said, as if he actually wanted me to come back, “Hey, Technocracygirl! When are you going to stop being a dumbass and come back to game?”

    I actually had to think, “That was not appropriate. You do not have to put up with that rude behaviour.” So, something like five or ten seconds after he said that, I swatted him very gently on the backside with my comic book and said, “I don’t appreciate that.”

    Do you have any idea how much effort it took for me to stand up to someone who insulted me in the face? Do you have any idea how many mental blocks I had to wade through in order to engage in the small amount of chatisement that I did? Make no mistake, that was it — I simply didn’t talk to him after that comment that night, and he left the game shortly thereafter. But for me to tell a man that I hated very, very much that I didn’t appreciate him insulting me to my face took a lot of mental rearranging.

    What is the point of this horrifically long post? I don’t know the women Gonzman hangs around with. I know that most of the people I hang around with are beta personalities who don’t particularly like alphas, so that may have something to do with it. But most of the women I know would never dream of getting into a man’s face, hitting him, slapping him, what have you. To do so takes a lot of mental rearranging, and most haven’t had the need for it. Maybe once you’ve rearranged your thinking so that it’s okay to hit the one guy who insults you, it’s okay to hit them all. But I don’t know. I just know that I know of a whole lot more anecdotal evidence of men as aggressors than as women as aggressors.

  33. So, is this thread about mutual gender insecurities?

    It started with Dr. Hugo’s honest concerns about dialogue in his women’s studies classes.
    (He’s always honest. Even when he’s 100% wrong. That’s a really good quality in a feminist.)

    The thread morphed into a broader chat about power and self-effacing strategies and the consequences that people experience when they become fodder in the gender wars.

    It all began in Hugo’s classroom.

    Much to be respected.

    And feared?

    Just my interpretation.

    Probably marginal…..

  34. (Dr. E.) — “en garde unpcdad!”

    Oh, I’ve been there, done that, got the —

    BANNED FROM SYG tee-shirt!

    Silly man.

    I have learned to RUN AWAY when it is appropriate!

    Though I do miss the meaningless testosterone combat, and the occasional genius.

    Yours, actually.

  35. The “I know this is dumb, but” is a tactic used with expectancy violation. People tend to judge a person stronger (for good or ill) who violate their expectations. If you then say something dumb, it doesn’t violate their expectations, they judge you less strictly. If you say something brilliant, you’ll either get judged better(positive violation) or you’ll get judged worse (negative violation). Positive violation may be along the thought process of “Oh, look: s/he thought it was dumb, but it was actually GENIUS. Imagine what s/he will produce when it’s intelligent”. Negative violation may go along the lines of “Oh, s/he’s being patronizing: s/he insults my intelligence by thinking this is stupid when s/he really knows it’s brilliant, along with the implication that it should have been obvious”.

    I see the same problem happening with the anger thing. They are trying to reduce expectation violation. But, what the problem is that they are assuming the mindset is to be angry. Expectation violation is only an effective communication tool if you can resonably acertain what a reaction is going to be, and I don’t think it’s fair to reasonably acertain that these women would attack anyone. But, I do think it’s fair to suggest that they think this will be helpful in controlling the outcome: this makes sure that they will be defensive.

  36. Views that are actually not popular in the class or just legitimately different ideas?

    Are unpopular views somehow illegitimate then?

    There’s the rub. If someone states in a class that Holy Roman Emperor Joe’s Conflicts with Pope Fred were more a result of personal dislike than political vying for power, I don’t take it personal. But if I were to stand up in a feminist studies class and argue that I find, for instance, the whole “gender as a construct” premise to be faulty, and by extensions the conclusions a waste of time as they beg the question, I’d likely as not be considered “hostile” no matter how civil I was.

    Hence, if I had to take another type of class like that (And as part of my studies when I was teaching, I did, in the name of “Diversity Training”) I’d do what I did there – shut up, not my head, regurgitate the expected responses, collect my “A” and move on.

  37. Do you think your classroom is the only one where someone will say, “I know I’ll catch hell for saying this, but…”? It’s a common introduction in any atmosphere in which a person perceives that (s)he is in the minority.

    bmmg: I’ve never heard this from any unprivileged minority – i.e., anyone who legitimately *could* catch hell for saying what they said. I’ve only heard it from privileged people who happen to be a numerical minority in the group they’re addressing.

    When I ask a question about why someone is doing something scientific, or if I proffer a suggustion, I tend to preface with with, “I know this is a dumb question/suggestion, but…” It’s a tactic designed to make the listener pre-judge the statement so that if I do say something dumb/ignorant/whatever, I’m not discounted as much because I’ve previously admitted my stupidity.

    Technocracygirl: I don’t think it’s quite the same thing, though it is similar. I see the self-effacing statement as a verbal hedge that works in the manner you described. The “I know I’ll catch hell for this” statement, on the other hand, is a preemptive strike against criticism. There’s a reason why that and not “This may sound dumb, but…” is used –

    t is a common maneuver that comes from a “one down” position. When we feel unsure and intimidated. Assuming it is to control women is a huge and unsupported leap.

    Dr E: I’m not sure I buy it. At best, it’s not consciously used to that effect – it’s just an easy habit to fall into since it works so well – but it *does* serve as a way to control women, and it’s used very often (and I’ve seen it a lot more often in discussions of feminism than in similar political discussions that aren’t as divided by gender). But I think that if these men *did* feel unsure and intimidated (and didn’t respond to that feeling by trying to dominate the discussion by any means) – they wouldn’t simply tack a preamble onto their statements. I know that when I feel unsure and intimidated in a discussion, I simply don’t say anything.

  38. Curses, Gonz, I was rewriting that sentence several times and it clearly missed the final edit. My question is really are they saying stuff that is unquestionably unpopular or stuff that that’s just a bit different from the current discussion.

  39. Technocracygirl: Fascinating post! I’ve never LARPed myself, I’m more of a PnP role-player.

    I can relate to your opinion of identifying as a “beta” personality. I am avoidant, and with that comes a great reluctance to engage in forceful interaction with other people, even if it’s friendly in nature. I tend to let my friends, be they male or female, take the lead in interaction. I guess I’m just a follower at heart, not a leader. I wonder if Hugo’s male students, at least a few, aren’t the same way. I spent a lot of time in my undergraduate years second guessing myself when it came to classroom interaction. I had a tendancy to want to be a contrarian. Partially because I identified myself as a conservative in my collegiate years (which was definetly against the grain of both the faculty and student body) though I’ve since renounced that affiliation. Also, partially because I came from a much different socio-economic and family background than most of my classmates. I constantly felt the need to say, “No, that’s not necessarily the case…,” yet I also felt and urge to just be quiet and fade into the background.

    Anyway, I was very reluctant to speak, even though I often felt a strong urge to dissent from what seemed to me to be the almost lockstep opinion of the rest of class. I admit to qualifying many of my more extreme pronouncements with variations of, “I know this won’t make me too popular around here, but…”. I just didn’t feel comfortable doing that felt like the equivalent of walking into uncharted territory. I was completely against my nature, even though I really wanted to contribute. It’s hard for many undergraduates, I think, to say things that might makes them unpopular with their peers. Everyone wants to be liked and many people are probably willing to either qualify their statements or simply go unheard rather than rock the boat.

    I think it’s entirely possible that the male students in Hugo’s class are perhaps not the go-getter, alpha-male leadership types that men are often assumed to either be or aspire to be. It could very well be that they would rather just do I found myself doing in classes with less inspiring professors, which was just shut up, parrot what the professor wanted to hear and get a decent grade. I think it’s to your credit, Hugo, that your male students are willing to speak at all. It can be very intimidating to be in the minority and yet put a dissenting opinion out there, even though it might make one unpopular or even disrespected.

    As a word of advice, Hugo, I would like to tell you about one of my favorite undergrad professors. I took an interdisciplinary course my freshman year at Hamilton that dealt with the history, physics, ethics and literature associated with the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I was also an ROTC cadet (the only one in my entire class year of about 400 students, though the class itself was less than 20) and also probably the only student who self-identifed as a supply-side conservative and lower-middle class. My professor, who taught comparative literature, really pushed me hard to speak my mind, even though we both knew that I was often the lone dissenter from the majority view. I related my reluctance to speak with him, as well as my feelings of being totally alone in class and he told me just how much he admired my courage to speak my mind, even when I was clearly the minority. Maybe, should you decide to crack down on the weasel-speak, you should try to speak to the male students one-on-one and let them know that you appreciate their input. It made a real difference to me.

    What really moved me was when I happened to miss class one day. There was only one barber in town who could do a military-regulation high-and-tight haircut. There was a line that day and I didn’t make it back to campus until after class (I had my ROTC military science class later that evening, which was a 45 minute drive away in at Syracuse U., so I had no choice but to miss class for a mugh-needed haircut). Apparently, nothing happened in class. Nothing. The professor would plead with the other students to at least pretend to disagree, just for the sake of argument and no one would do it. The class was graded entirelty on papers and class participation, so it behooved everyone to at least try to argue about something. Yet no one did. He at one point lamented out loud, “Where the hell is Greg! This is so dull without him!”

    I was really moved to hear that later. I didn’t feel like my contributions were valued until I knew that I was perhaps the one person who was willing to be a contrarian, if only to make things interesting!

  40. The painful thing about all this, of course, is that no man is in any real physical danger in the classroom — or even outside of it — from feminists.

    Of course, Hugo. They’re not cowering from any potential physical violence, they’re cowering from the angry verbal avalanche they will invoke. From women in their regular class. Who wants to get on the wrong side of people you mix with regularly? He can be ostracised – may even need to leave the course.

    Now, you mention something interesting on your update that is entirely to do with why men don’t speak up:-

    This is not a free speech zone, nor need it be.

    This is precisely why men cannot speak up in your class. Feminism in itself prevents the free speech that your male students require in order to express themselves.

    Hugo, how many messageboards on the internet do you know that are run by feminists? I know a handful. How many messageboards run by MRAs? Hundreds, thousands.

    My point?

    Feminism struggles in an open debate.

    It regularly turns into a verbal fight whenever somebody counters a feminist statement. Tempers escalate. Debate is closed down. People are called all sorts of names. It’s ridiculous. If feminism has nothing to fear (i.e. have truth on its side), it should embrace and welcome open debate. Truth gets to ridicule falsehoods and kick them to the curb. What’s to fear? Feminism should be able to prevail in an open debate if truth is on its side.

  41. I do live action role-playing, where you pretend to be someone and act it out with a bunch of other people. Think of it as improv theatre, only with long-term stories.

    Yeah, I know LARP. Society for Creative Anachronism. Hi dere! BAck in the day when I was still performing at Ren Faires, I was playing the early version of Amtgard in the off season. What you doing now? World of Darkness appears the be the 800# gorilla in the LARP world last I checked, but I haven’t done any of that in years and years. (Yeah, Gonzo’s a D&D geek. And if you play to this day … you may even have some of my work….)

    Anyway, at the risk of being flip, I will be succint: Not that I don’t feel for you, or don’t congratulate you for overcoming your block, it’s a very ancedotal story.

    I know some mousey, milquetoast men. I know men who talk a hell of a tough guy stance, and are easily pushed around. And I know some very assertive women, split about half with real bitches who just shout louder than others to get their way, and some with genuine strength.

    I don’t find beta and alpha connected to X and Y chromosomes. And we could trade stories al day long – and that’s the thing with such stories, I see that type of woman, the submissive one who gets all intimidated by men – and I also see the male version of it. I worked for a woman in a history department as a TA back when who was as soft spoken and indirect as they come. She phrased everything as a suggestion. God help you if you took it that way, though. The examples are countless.

    Now I have never taken any of Hugo’s classes. I claim no clairvoyance. But I will say this: If Hugo runs a class where a man can dissent from the prevailing wisdom, and Hugo will move to halt any attacks on him, these guys with the helmets are assbags, and I would have been far less nice than him – I’d have felt personally insulted.

    If the issue never came up – probably diffusing behavior, but I’d still invoke Occam’s razor – the simplest explanation of it isn’t conspiracy, but that it was their prior experience.

    BUT – if there ever was uncivil behavior, and that behavior was excused or rationalized away, on gender lines – they were perfectly justified in breaking out the helmets – and there are no grounds for complaint about it.

  42. Of course, Hugo. They’re not cowering from any potential physical violence, they’re cowering from the angry verbal avalanche they will invoke.

    A good point. I witnessed what happened to one such guy who spoke up in a ideologically slanted class, and disagreed, and was brought up before the student senate on “intimidating speech” charges. I saw him have to drop/fail (That’s you drop the class, get an F, but can expnge it if you retake the class in the next year) and fall below the 12 credit hours required to keep his financioal aid, and ahost of other things.

    It’s as effective a way to intimidate someone as a fat lip.

    (And the “Itimidating speech” was a intemperate comment about another student’s mouth writing checks their brain couldn’t cash, which followed over a month of political and religious slurs against him, with the instructor piously claiming to “not be a referee.”)

  43. Gonzman: Your last point strikes home. Many colleges have “judiciary boards” which are little more than the academic equivalent of star chambers and it does quite a bit to stifle discussion. It’s one thing to be afraid to speak your mind for fear of being seen as a jerk, it’s quite another to put your GPA or financial aid on the line for what you believe in. Many colleges and universities have adopted “speech codes” in which giving offense is considered to be a form of harassment. Just look around at the institutions that have “free-speech zones”, in lieu of the rest of the U.S., where being able to speak your mind is taken for granted. Even though you cannot be prosecuted for a criminal charge, you could be stuck with a disciplinary record, have your financial aid revoked or even expelled.

    I’ve experienced first-hand the effects of becoming a red-headed step-child to a professor who has both tenure and an agenda. It’s not pleasant. It hurt my GPA, was tremendously intimidating and really put me off further class participation. It just wasn’t worth the risk, after awhile.

  44. Curses, Gonz, I was rewriting that sentence several times and it clearly missed the final edit. My question is really are they saying stuff that is unquestionably unpopular or stuff that that’s just a bit different from the current discussion.

    I had hoped so, it seemed uncharacteristic of you.

    Still – what if I were in a class, and challenged what I felt were a priori assumptions?

  45. Well, I might get killed here, but….

    I sort of agree with Gonz, although perhaps for different reasons.

    I understand your argument. It is similar in some ways to the argument that Daly made for female only classes. I also understand the entrenched cultural caretaking ideal.

    On the other hand, I really think it cuts the intellectual legs out from under women to … well, to worry about their ability to handle this kind of verbal frippery, however loaded it may sound. Frankly, if a guy in a class said something like “I know I’m going to be killed here, but I think women are generally braindead morons”, the appropriate response is to prove otherwise. Or, dismiss the argument: no one asks a physics professor to prove basic number theory before accepting mechanics equations. If universities and colleges are where we sharpen our ability to do critical analysis, then my response to this sort of dynamic is to instruct around it if it’s a real issue, but let it play out.

    In the real world, we’re going to run into that sort of statement. If we women are all shrinking wallflowers unable to handle the urge to caretake under such a challenge, then we’re probably not being intellectually rigorous enough; I would hope that a women’s studies class would provide a space for intellectually meeting these demons.

    I’ve never really felt that therapy to deal with internalized misogyny or even straight up fear is really appropriate for the classroom. I’d be all for the statement of access to resources – women spaces on campus, theraputic services, and office hours – but in the *classroom*, my feeling is that intellect must prevail. I believe in the intellectual abilities of women and men equally (so very Platonic), but a rigorous education and the ability to *think* about an emotionally charged issue is incredibly important to that. If the girls are unable to think around their intimidation, what are they learning?

    I believe women more capable then that: I believe women have the capable of being confrontational if necessary. But I *also* believe there’s not an inherent wrong in trying to come to middle ground or understanding (in short, caretaking).

    You’re a very caretaking guy; I also often respond to challenge through finding the middle ground; there’s nothing wrong with that communicative style.

    I took a Native Studies intensive course in my first year. Occasionally, white classmates had very serious questions which, to someone studying First Nations/First Contact seemed, well, frustrating. (“Why should we have to pay for the sins of our forefathers? Etc.)

    The thing is, most everybody in the room could tell if the person was coming from genuine conflict or knee-jerk entitlement. You know? And the discussions almost always dealt with the first in a patient way and the second in a rhetorical beat-down. So it goes.

    Anyway, it may make an interesting lecture point (if it fits) to ask if there’s a caretaking reaction or an intimidation in the women, and let various people examine their responses.

    I suppose it doesn’t do much to me; I’d find it perfectly reasonable in someone obviously trying to build a bridge or discuss a different worldview, and an annoying rhetorical smokescreen in someone trying to pick a fight.

  46. I enjoyed reading your post Hugo, and as I was reading it, it made a lot of sense to me, but reading the comments, I came to realise that the whole prefixing thing is something that I find myself doing an awful lot when trying to make a feminist point among people who don’t accept my feminism (and this is on pretty basic points, such as points about “no” meaing “no”– nothing radical). I wouldn’t say something like “I know I’m going to get killed here,” but I will say something that effectively apologises for my feminism, which is I think very similar to what these men in your class are doing in terms of their own biases.

    I think perhaps the most effective course of action might be to simply ask your class, particularly the men in your class, WHY they react in this way, and analyse what it is about feminism that makes them feel threatened. As you’ve noticed, feminism can feel threatening to many men (and indeed to many women) simply because it requires them to reconsider their worldview. Perhaps the way to approach this is to get them to analyse the way in which they react to that “threat.”

    I’m curious– you have in the past, I think, referred to female students of yours who do not come from a feminist perspective– do these women pre-fix any of their comments in a similar way?

  47. Yet no one did. He at one point lamented out loud, “Where the hell is Greg! This is so dull without him!”

    Yes. That sounds like a university environment. Wanting and seeking counterpoint to expand the discussion. Contrast that with Hugo interpreting mousey and obsequious behavior of the young men as injurious to women. God forbid these young men get loud and expressive! Feminism, as Gonz has pointed out, has a tough time existing in an open debate. It seems to need to hide and gather its strength among adherants.

    I am certain that Hugo would not treat the young women in a similar manner if the situation were reversed. He would find a way to protect them and give them special treatment. Hugo doesn’t seem to treat males and females equally, he seems to try and protect the women from these evil males. This is just another form of chivalry. What Marc Rudov calls BS (benevolent sexism).

  48. I for one don’t interpret it as “mousey and obsequious” at all. “I know I’m going to get killed for saying this, but (statement)” means that, in addition to addressing the original statement, I’m expected to reassure the speaker and respond to him in a way that couldn’t possibly, in any realm of discourse ever, be construed as an attack, both to not hurt the feelings of *this particular* individual, and in order to prove that my “group” (feminists, or Christians, or whatever) is not all mean and attacky. So, in effect, such a statement nudges me to the realm of obsequious and mousy, which is a terrain from which it’s harder to defend ideas. Not because my ideas are weaker–but because I’m working double-time trying to think of the most inoffensive way to phrase them.

    It also frames the opposing opinion as the cool, maverick, rebellious, “un-PC” idea that you have to be very brave to say, and when you try to explain why you disagree, you’re “stamping out the discourse.”

    But on the other hand, it IS a way to defuse tension with humor, and to acknowledge the groupthink that can, indeed, develop in classes with ideological foundations.

    I don’t have a class to teach, or anything like that, but I’ve let myself be intimidated (without my even realizing it) by that kind of “poor me I disagree with you” act (which I don’t believe any of the people involved were consciously using as a debating tactic) and–I think the best I can do is to recognize what’s going on and not let myself be intimidated by it.

  49. I’m finding that Hugo’s original post may act as a good indicator of his general attitudes. They seem to be “Treat men and boys like criminals and treat girls and women like children in need of protection.” Guess what? The men and boys are not criminals and the girls and women don’t need your protection. They are strong and capable and will handle dissention such as described with ease on their own without you having to protect them. In fact if you protect them it robs them of the opportunity to practice taking care of themselves.

  50. As you’ve noticed, feminism can feel threatening to many men (and indeed to many women) simply because it requires them to reconsider their worldview.

    Most non-feminists/’neutrals’ don’t need their worldview challenging because they’re already challenged by the media, the criminal courts and especially the family courts about the finer details of feminist thinking.

    I’ve already stated a more compelling reason why many men are fearful of questioning feminism – the sheer grief they will get for it from feminists for daring to question their ideology. It raises hackles – debates get emotional, the “misogynist” labelling, the accusations of being “uncaring” – all the shaming tactics come out. Many people (women included) simply don’t want that kind of grief.

    Challenging a feminist’s worldview is when the fireworks start. I’ve experienced this on many feminist messageboards over the last 5 years.

  51. the sheer grief they will get for it from feminists for daring to question their ideology

    Now, now, where are our resident MRAs to lecture us about the risibility of feminist arguments about ‘silencing’ and how any good ideology ought to stand up to vigorous debate?

    Hugo, I assume you make it clear in your classes that personal attacks and shouting people down are not to be tolerated. Seems to me that when one of these guys makes a ha-ha-shut-up-ladies sort of comment, the best response would be to blandly say “Tyler, as you know, I don’t permit personal attacks or incivility in my class–so why don’t you go ahead and say what you were going to say.”

  52. There’s some serious reframing and diversion going on here.

    The original point, as I read it, was that prefacing one’s remarks with a statement like “I know I’m going to catch hell for this” puts the respondent on the defensive – as Emily H said, the respondent has to show that he or she isn’t intolerant/man-hating/whatever the speaker implied they were.

    And what are the responses to this? Mostly that they’re not doing this on purpose.

    This, I believe, is usually true. From childhood, we learn that responding to authority, especially female authority figures (mothers, female teachers, etc.) in this way – with a “please don’t get mad at me” preface – is likely to avoid a negative response. We may even see this as a form of compromise.

    The telling point, I think, is how people react when they are informed of the effects of this tactic. At that point, the “unintended consequences” defense doesn’t hold water; they know what their “disclaimer” does. Do they stop?

  53. Anyway, at the risk of being flip, I will be succint: Not that I don’t feel for you, or don’t congratulate you for overcoming your block, it’s a very ancedotal story.

    I don’t take your comments as flip. I thought you were quite polite.

    And I’m glad you agree that it is an anecdotal story. So are your “far too many women” who physically get into men’s faces. You say you’re counseling men who deal with women like this, so yes, you’re going to have more anecdotes about those sorts of women. My mum teaches austic kids, and so have a secondhand impression that there are a lot more families with autistic kids running around than there actually are for the general population.

    Maybe I’m wrong, and the sort of women you’re talking about are more of the general population than the sort of women I’m talking about. Based on my experiences, I don’t think so, but then I’m not living in your head and you’re not living in mine.

  54. p>Beppie asks:

    I’m curious– you have in the past, I think, referred to female students of yours who do not come from a feminist perspective– do these women pre-fix any of their comments in a similar way?

    Not in the same way.  I do have conservative, anti-feminist women students who will say things like "I know this is unpopular, but…" or "I know this will sound very un-feminist…"  but I’ve never seen one pretend to bolt for the door or tease about expecting to be beaten!

    Please understand that I want very badly to increase male participation in my women’s studies class.  I’m not trying to run some sort of perverse classroom environment where all the women get to talk, a male professor runs the show, and male students are silenced!  As I think about approaches to this, I like Mythago’s — and will likely use it.  She suggests:

    Seems to me that when one of these guys makes a ha-ha-shut-up-ladies sort of comment, the best response would be to blandly say "Tyler, as you know, I don’t permit personal attacks or incivility in my class–so why don’t you go ahead and say what you were going to say."

    That ought to stop the "disarming", but also remind everyone, male and female alike, of the basic ground rules that keep folks safe.

  55. The original point, as I read it, was that prefacing one’s remarks with a statement like “I know I’m going to catch hell for this” puts the respondent on the defensive – as Emily H said, the respondent has to show that he or she isn’t intolerant/man-hating/whatever the speaker implied they were.

    Well, I do not think the preface necessarily implies that the respondent is intolerant or biased, just that the comment made may likely be taken the wrong way because of who the speaker is. As Gonz said, it is more likely that people use such prefaces because they have been shot down for making similar comments in the past. I saw a lot of that in many of my classes, even classes where open discussion was encouraged. Certain topics, because of the liberal nature of the school, always had such prefaces. Few students openly criticized liberal policies, openly supported religion (particularly Christianity) or voiced concern about the blatant racism against white students on campus without saying, “I know I’m going to get my ass bit for this.”

    I would say such prefaces are in and of themselves defensive. I have to object to Hugo’s use of the word “challenge” in his comment, “…and I know, (oh, how I know) how difficult it is to sit and listen to someone challenge you on your most basic beliefs about your identity, your sexuality, your behavior, and your beliefs about gender.” Attack would be more accurate because there is no real way for young men to respond negatively to any of those assertions, particularly since the point of the comments are to deconstruct (i.e. destroy) male identity. In that context, the assumption that they will be attacked for disagreeing is not inaccurate.

    And in a way, Hugo’s post validates that assumption. His male student’s comments are being perceived as a loosely veiled attack on women instead genuine concern that they cannot openly disagree. Those concerns are at least not being taken as seriously as non/anti-feminist women who also use such prefaces. I think this is partially because males tend to make light of themselves when making those comments by pretending to go for the door. It basically becomes a joke. However, I think it has more to do with their criticisms not carrying the same value because they are male in a feminist setting.

  56. I also like Mythago’s suggestion, and I can identify with the fears that Glitch and the Gonzman raised about being punished for non-PC views – that was certainly my experience as a conservative woman in college in the 1990s. What’s ironic is that both sides on this discussion thread are partly right: in the real world, women are at greater risk of physical intimidation from men than vice versa, so the guys in Hugo’s class sound disingenuous. However, in academia, men (and women) with non-feminist views are at greater risk of suffering retaliation, career-wise, than the reverse, so at least some of Hugo’s guys are probably genuinely concerned about whether his classroom is a safe environment for dissent. Given the high cost of college and the uncertain job market, the danger faced by a dissenter is more than hurt feelings, it’s losing your future before it even begins. From what I’ve seen on this blog, Hugo’s class probably is safer than most, but that is unusual (and not just in women’s studies classes). Hugo’s talked a lot about “male privilege” and recognizing that even though he has good pro-feminist intentions, his very maleness may be intimidating or disempowering to some women because they exist in a broader context of patriarchy. Within the university, if not in the real world, I think there can be a “feminist privilege” that may be equally threatening to some men (and conservative women), so I encourage Hugo to find ways to put those guys at ease. As one of the commenters said, it should be pretty obvious who is genuinely exploring new ideas and who is just being a jerk. And besides, aren’t there students who take feminist and PC positions in order to be a jerk, to intimidate others? Why is it only the guys who are acting in bad faith? Though pretending to put on a football helmet is not the most helpful way to start a conversation….

  57. Hugo said,
    “All of this behavior reflects two things: men’s genuine fear of being challenged and confronted, and the persistence of the stereotype of feminists as being aggressive “man-bashers.” ”

    Most people –whether male or female — wriggle anxiously when their beliefs are threatened with meaningful challenge, just as a child wriggles anxiously when he’s finally made to stop sucking his thumb. I think you may be right when you cite the “man-bashing” comments as a way to stop dialogue when it may be getting too close for comfort. On the other hand, as a man who talks a lot about gender issues with friends, I find that women tend to lay charges of moral inferiority on the men or accuse them of simply being frightened by “strong women” in order to shut them up. Pretty much when any discussion veers from the ideas at hand to characterizations of the personalities of the conversants, it’s a ploy to stop discussion.

  58. Within the university, if not in the real world, I think there can be a “feminist privilege” that may be equally threatening to some men (and conservative women), so I encourage Hugo to find ways to put those guys at ease.

    There is female privelege in the real world also : within the workplace, within the media, within the criminal court, within the family court.

  59. Hugo said:
    “After all, one of the pernicious aspects of the “myth of male weakness” is that men can’t handle being confronted with women’s anger. We either run away literally or figuratively, disconnecting with the television, the bottle, the computer screen. But we’re not little boys who will physically lash out in rage when challenged, nor can we be so fearful that we dodge and defuse and check out. That’s not what an adult does in the face of the very real emotion of another human being.”

    I disagree with this perspective.

    I think for a lot of men the escape is not an escape in response to challenge nor an escape in response to the emotion of another human being. One thing you’ll find is that if a man is in emotional need and reaches out to his male friends, those male friends don’t seek escape from his “very real emotion.” They help out as best they can. That’s been my experience anyway.

    I think when faced with the “very real emotion” of women in their lives most men seek to escape because the virtual obscurity of men’s emotions when in relation to women’s emotions results in them becoming overwhelmed.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that when a man’s emotional experience tends to be nearly completely disregarded by women, he eventually disengages since it then has become a repeated affirmation that his feelings don’t matter.

  60. “Not in the same way. I do have conservative, anti-feminist women students who will say things like ‘I know this is unpopular, but…’ or ‘I know this will sound very un-feminist…’ but I’ve never seen one pretend to bolt for the door or tease about expecting to be beaten!”

    Some years ago, I was with a “co-ed” group of friends watching a Super Bowl. I made a joke about the Pittsburgh Steelers, and then immediately went into the fetal position, as there were many Steelers fans there. People took it for what it was — a joke — not some sort of attempt to stifle them or keep them from rooting for the Steelers in the future.

    I see the “please don’t kill me” preface as one of pleading and admitted weakness (even if in a jocose manner) — quite the opposite of one intended to silence your “opponents.”

  61. Hugo:

    I’m not so sure this is only behavior that happens in this particular setting. I see it more of a tendancy in human behavior to make onesself submissive when stepping into uncharted territory and asking questions/making statements that may or may not be offensive. It’s a form of social ingratiation that we all do, at some time or another, in order to fit in and not be cast out of. We do it when we join a new club, start a new hobby, move to a new community. It’s a way of saying “I know I’m gonna sound stupid or offensive, but I really need to learn this from you, so be patient.”

  62. Some years ago, I was with a “co-ed” group of friends watching a Super Bowl. I made a joke about the Pittsburgh Steelers, and then immediately went into the fetal position, as there were many Steelers fans there. People took it for what it was — a joke — not some sort of attempt to stifle them or keep them from rooting for the Steelers in the future.

    I don’t think this is the same dynamic, because (a) you were among friends; (b) you were joking rather than trying to make a serious point; and (c) football fans haven’t been socialized to avoid conflict – in fact, “trash talking” and cheering louder than the other team’s fans is expected behavior.

    In contrast, the preemptive defense is used in discussions with people who may not be one’s friends; it’s used to disarm criticism to serious statements; and it’s used against people who have been socialized to be the ones to avoid conflict and “make peace”.

  63. Dang, I’ve said this before, and odds are I’ll say it again:

    Where the HELL are all these “liberal colleges”? I go to UND: this college is conservative by ANYBODY’s standards.

    I actually can relate to Gonz and others saying they are in the minority of classes, because I AM in the minority in my classes, and the one that gives the opposing viewpoint. I’m the one that catches hell when I say anything liberal or feminist. BUT I’m willing to put up with it because a) the teachers have never held being different from their political persuasion against me and b) because I try not to think about the dangers of irritating someone (the worst I’ve ever got was this guy who followed me across campus yelling “hairy-leg, hairy-leg”). That, and my major is fairly non-political: in commercial aviation the only “minority” political oppinion is that the FAA is glorious and noble.

  64. Another dynamic that I’ve noticed is that privilege insulates you from criticism. So when women say stuff like “I don’t think it’s ok for us to be raped” men who haven’t taken a good hard look at themselves hear “Let’s kill all the men”. Because they aren’t used to ever hearing any criticism of their views. Of course, I think of college as a truce zone, sort of. You can freely exchange your views about the lack of worth of women, or how people of color shouldn’t dare to exist in a small space at the same time someplace else. College is for learning. I can learn not to be offensive without having to have someone else take valuable time teaching me, and also, if I offend someone, I can take it.

    I think that people should examine themselves. Why are people supposed not to be offended when you’re rude? If you preface your statement, you know somewhere that you’re being rude, so why not think for a few seconds about whether it’s worth being rude and offensive? I am a mix of alpha and beta. I’m alpha if I have to defend something important and beta the rest of the time. But I am able to use discernment, and common sense. The idea that not everyone should think before they speak is pretty sad.

  65. That ought to stop the “disarming”, but also remind everyone, male and female alike, of the basic ground rules that keep folks safe.

    Exactly–because as you’ve pointed out the silliness of joking about violence, you’ve also reminded everyone of the standards of behavior you expect from them, so that if there were a female student who wanted to respond with a personal attack, you’ve just given her notice that’s inappropriate.

    And besides, aren’t there students who take feminist and PC positions in order to be a jerk, to intimidate others?

    Sure. There are also students who take a “politically incorrect” label as a pre-emptive strike: you can’t call them on their BS, see, because then you’d be “PC” and they’d be the poor, oppressed truth-speaker.

  66. I think it’s funny that so many men assume that the women in these classes are seasoned feminists, with years of experience, knowledge, and theory behind them, and the men are bright, maverick thinkers who will come up with some kernel of brilliance kernel of knowledge that will stump them!

    It seems more likely to me that these people are all still figuring things out, and, to be honest, it seems extremely unlikely to me that m(any) of these men, studying feminism for the first time, would come up with anything that would stump a feminist scholar. They’re having a conversation and hopefully learning from the teacher and each other, and implying (according to Hugo) completely untruthfully that your comments will incite your classmates to violence does not actually contribute to an environment of learning and mutual

  67. Not in the same way. I do have conservative, anti-feminist women students who will say things like “I know this is unpopular, but…” or “I know this will sound very un-feminist…” but I’ve never seen one pretend to bolt for the door or tease about expecting to be beaten!

    Just some speculation here– could it be that men are culturally conditioned to see physical violence as more of a viable option for conflict resolution (even insofar as men are encouraged to play violent sports far more than women), so that even if they don’t expect violence (indeed, even if they personally don’t use physical violence), that is the way that these men in your class are processing the conflict between their own beliefs and the alternatives, even though there is no threat of actual physical violence?

    Some people have suggested that you are unfairly treating the men and the women in your class differently in this circumstance; from what you have said, you seem to simply be responding to different behaviours. I think asking your students to analyse WHY those different behaviours occur along gendered lines with your class would be more effective than simply starting with the premise that it’s being done for “motive a.” Of course, you’re probably already doing something similar. I don’t see that this is treating males and females any differently, however, since you have not indicated that you’ll be excluding anyone from the discussion.

  68. “In contrast, the preemptive defense is used in discussions with people who may not be one’s friends; it’s used to disarm criticism to serious statements; and it’s used against people who have been socialized to be the ones to avoid conflict and ‘make peace’.”

    I don’t disagree with any of these; I’d just like to know why the “don’t kill me for this” is being characterized here as an exclusively male preface, and, further, why the “clairvoyant” suggestion is that it’s done to discourage women from speaking.

  69. “Another dynamic that I’ve noticed is that privilege insulates you from criticism. So when women say stuff like ‘I don’t think it’s ok for us to be raped’ men who haven’t taken a good hard look at themselves hear ‘Let’s kill all the men’. Because they aren’t used to ever hearing any criticism of their views.”

    Time out a minute.

    Are these really the sample sentences you want you use? You don’t think you’ve selected an extreme example here?

    “Of course, I think of college as a truce zone, sort of. You can freely exchange your views about the lack of worth of women, or how people of color shouldn’t dare to exist in a small space at the same time someplace else.”

    Are you SURE you’re not hyperbolizing here, just a tad?

  70. So when women say stuff like ‘I don’t think it’s ok for us to be raped’ men who haven’t taken a good hard look at themselves hear ‘Let’s kill all the men’. Because they aren’t used to ever hearing any criticism of their views.”

    Time out a minute.

    Are these really the sample sentences you want you use? You don’t think you’ve selected an extreme example here?

    I think Shannon’s example might be a bit extreme, but surely you remember the leaps of logic everyone makes in undergrad? I do recall one or two classroom discussions like that, one in particular in which there was a mention of rape culture*, a definition offered, and then we were off about how anyone who thought there was some validity to the concept hated all men, presumed them rapists, and wanted to become lesbian separatists. Grand total of about four minutes.

    *mostly being presented as a “this theory has been posited” sort of thing.

  71. That’s quite different in degree from disagreeing that people shouldn’t be raped. It’s true that people of all stripes fly off the handle, but not to the level that she suggested.

  72. “Male-bashing” doesn’t literally happen, in other words, at least not on campus.

    Well, as you are blind to the bashing that you do in most of your posts, then I think you would be of the opinion that it literally doesn’t happen.

    Instead of being victim of physical violence, they are instead put at academic risk if they speak their minds, and they know it.

    Or their professors hold opinions like:

    “This is not a forum to question the basic tenets of feminism, or issues of domestic violence and abuse, or why I’ve banned anyone in the past. I’m going to be much more careful about monitoring what is posted here. This is not a free speech zone, nor need it be.”

    Not a free speech zone…

    Or, like Warren Farrell, this happens:

    When Why Men Are The Way They Are was published, I was eventually invited for an eighth (Donahue) show. But articulating men’s perspectives, even in balance with women’s, led to another six year hiatus. When The Myth of Male Power came out, although it was from the male perspective, it was so much up Donahue’s line of relationships and politics that three producers were vying to be the one to produce the show. I was scheduled, with a firm date. The producers convinced my agent to book me as an exclusive on Donahue. As a result, queries to all other American talk shows were dropped. Then something happened….

    The taping kept getting “postponed.” Eventually neither I nor my agents, Hilsinger and Mendelson, the most powerful in the book publicity business, could reach them. As I was trying to unravel the stonewalling, a Canadian show called. They were filled with enthusiasm. But suddenly it, too, kept getting “postponed.” This producer, though, had previously booked me; I could feel the remorse in his voice; so I pressed him for an explanation.

    Finally he caved, “If you promise to never use my name I’ll tell you.” I promised. Hesitatingly, he started, “We wanted to have a balanced show, so we called a couple of feminists – big names – to be on with you. Instead of just refusing, they said in effect, ‘If you have this guy on, don’t expect us to bring our next book to you, or supply you with real-life examples to use on your show – we’ll do that just for Oprah.’ Another one used the moral appeal – something like, ‘Feminism is opposed to rape and the battering of women; so, if you have him on, you’d better take responsibility for making women even more vulnerable.’ Once the word got out that we were considering you, we got other calls, even one from a guy, sort of repeating the same mantra.

    “Warren, most of us saw all this for the attempt at censorship it was, and as for me, I was excited by the controversy, but, well, it just took one of our producers who’s never met you and hasn’t read the book to freak out and, before we knew it, we were all afraid to stir up her indignation.” Well, there you have it. Or,… there I had it!

    That’s what Feminists do, Hugo. In the media, and academia.

  73. So when women say stuff like “I don’t think it’s ok for us to be raped” men who haven’t taken a good hard look at themselves hear “Let’s kill all the men”.

    I’m not getting your point here. Men understand women don’t like rape because men don’t like rape too. They don’t need to take a long hard look at themselves to understand this – it takes only trace elements of empathy to ‘get it’. I’m not liking your assumption here – that men by default don’t understand women don’t like rape.

    A man who doesn’t understand this is a sociopath who needs to be in the custody of a mental hospital and is a very real danger to women. I’ve never met such a man who fits that description, but I do know they exist (but in very small numbers).

    Imagine if I said women in general need to take a long hard look at themselves if they don’t understand that men don’t like being murdered (how absurd is that?). It’s obvious. I think I would need to take a long hard look at myself if I thought women didn’t ‘get’ men when they fear & hate murder.

    Sorry to labour on your point, but I found it very extreme, and a bit of a ‘put down’ for men.

  74. Any actual shrinks in the house?

    Well the rather sweet irony to this discussion is the fact that Hugo prefaces it with the following:-

    This is not a free speech zone, nor need it be.

    …and we’re discussing here essentially free speech and how to encourage it.

    ……

    ….

    ..

    .

    (thought I’d let that irony soak in a bit!).

    Any ideology that’s worth any salt should be able to stand up to the rigours of intellectual debate. Strong ideologies are grounded in truth. They fight not with words, but facts. Facts give the proponents of such ideologies great confidence in a debate. Without facts, you’re on shaky ground.

    Incidentally Hugo, you stated:-

    Women are regularly beaten and raped — even on college campuses — but I know of no instance where a man found himself a victim of violence for making a sexist remark in a college feminist setting

    Do you have any facts to support this claim?

  75. Dr. Schwyzer is right to point out that the language of his students is imprecise, hyperbolic and possibly manipulative. But defining gender-neutral rules of engagement in the classroom is what he should consider doing; the hostile, accusatory attitude that underlies his desire to “put a stop” to what he hyperbolically characterizes as a “key anti-feminist strategy” will demoralize his male students. If only he could set the rules for discussion without suggesting that his male students were violating the rights of his female students! Deviating in this manner from gender-neutral practice in the classroom is a key anti-male strategy.

  76. Moderate, I’m claiming a negative, that no man has ever been beaten in a woman’s studies class. Asking me for evidence about that is like asking for evidence that the sky isn’t falling. The burden of proof is generally on those who claim that something did happen, not that something didn’t.

    My classrooms are free speech zones. My blog isn’t, and that’s an important distinction. Viewing or commenting here is not a right, it’s a privilege I extend; I after all am the one paying $8.95 a month to Typepad for all of this. (I sound like Ronald Reagan in 1980, “I paid for this microphone!”) My students are not required to visit here, and while some apparently do, I suspect most don’t.

    Look, the topic in this post is what it means when male students make remarks about “getting killed” in feminist classrooms. That is the only topic, and I will delete comments that drift away — from here on, I’ll do so without warning or apology. Free speech is not a topic here– send me a vituperative email if you like, or go on an MRA friendly website, but leave it out of the comments section.

  77. I don’t disagree with any of these; I’d just like to know why the “don’t kill me for this” is being characterized here as an exclusively male preface,

    I know I for one have tried very hard to avoid implying that. What I *have* said is that this tactic, when used against women, by women or men, invokes a lot of socialization that it wouldn’t in other situations. If that phrase were used by a woman toward a largely male audience, it would likely invoke a different sort of socialization – again, probably avoiding criticism, but at the cost of not being taken seriously as a full participant in the discussion. But that’s largely irrelevant.

    and, further, why the “clairvoyant” suggestion is that it’s done to discourage women from speaking.

    Honestly, I think the question of whether it’s an intentional attempt to silence women or an unconscious one is also irrelevant.

    I’ve never claimed clairvoyancy – if I’ve ever said it’s “done to discourage women from speaking,” I meant that (a) it has that effect; and (b) the speaker knows, at least subconsciously (yeah, I know that’s a whole nother can of worms), that it will help avoid criticism. My point is that when people do this, they should be informed of the effect it has, and asked to stop it.

    The analogy that keeps occurring to me (and hopefully this won’t sidetrack the discussion too much – if it’s a bad analogy I’m not going to insist on it) is that of somebody who cuts in line. Maybe they knew what they were doing and were being rude; more likely they just didn’t understand where the line ended. Either way, though, once it’s called to their attention, the proper thing to do is to acknowledge it and take their proper place in the line.

  78. That’s quite different in degree from disagreeing that people shouldn’t be raped. It’s true that people of all stripes fly off the handle, but not to the level that she suggested.

    Oh, there are definitely people who think that rape is an acceptable social tool (i.e., gang rapes as punishment in Pakistan), but I think you’re unlikely to find them in Hugo’s classroom. But I would be willing to bet that he does occasionally get the “Rape’s not that bad” or “Well, she was in wrong part of town at night wearing a miniskirt!”

    This of course, does make me wonder what Hugo’s male students are following up their “I might get killed, but…” What exactly is it that they’re saying that they think is so offensive or confrontational? And why, in a setting where there is no credible threat of violence, do they use this kind of language to put others on the defensive?

    There’s been some disagreement about whether or not Hugo’s students are used to being brow-beaten or whether they’re actively trying to avoid angry reactions. I’m not sure that it necessarily matters why because it serves the same purpose. By saying “I’m gonna have to run for it,” they are saying that anyone who wants to respond to them will have to consider their feelings first and their argument second. But I think civility and courtesy should be givens in the classroom, and hence these appeals to “Don’t hurt me” serve to shut others up and pre-emptively tell people they’re not allowed to be angry.

  79. Moderate, I’m claiming a negative, that no man has ever been beaten in a woman’s studies class. Asking me for evidence about that is like asking for evidence that the sky isn’t falling. The burden of proof is generally on those who claim that something did happen, not that something didn’t.

    Hugo, I do not think Moderate was asking for evidence about men being beaten up. He was asking for evidence that “Women are regularly beaten and raped — even on college campuses” because of statements they made in class. As a recent college graduate, I can attest that I have never known of any man or woman who has ever been beaten in class or as a result of something said in class, so I cannot understand your implications. I can, however, understand your male and non/anti-feminist female students as I have been in classes where certain groups of students (conservatives, gays, blacks, whites, liberals, etc.) felt they could not speak freely without being attack. Whether it was a religion studies class, sociology, women’s studies or typical general education courses, many students I have known refused to speak openly for fear they would either be verbally assaulted or possibly failed as a result, both of which I seen and experienced.

    It appears that instead of looking that the environment you have created and/or allowed to exist in your class that would make these young men feel they cannot speak freely, you jump to the conclusion that they must have ulterior motives and wish to silence the women in the classroom. As the instructor, you could look for things you could do to make your class more open to male criticism of feminism. You could also simply ask the young men why they feel they must use prefaces. You appear to be avoiding questioning your role in this, but with such a specific group of students feeling this way semester after semester, it simply cannot be chalked up to more woman bashing.

    And if at the end of the semester those young men still use such prefaces, then there is probably something to their expectation that they will be verbally or physically attacked.

  80. In the classroom (and elsewhere), there ought to be a distinction between feelings and behavior. Feelings (in particular, feelings of anger, feminist or otherwise), are beyond the moral sphere, since they are essentially beyond conscious control. Everyone has a right to their feelings: they’re involuntary, and private. Behavior, which includes speech, is at issue in the classroom. This point of view is one way to constructively deal with exaggerated pleas for a fair hearing. The defensive ploy of some students to ask to be heard without getting killed isn’t a scholarly attitude, but it need not be denigrated as an anti-feminist strategy, let alone a key one. It might be the voice of inexperience in unfamiliar territory. Is the intention to foster critical inquiry, or to put male students on the defensive? Why not ask them what they mean by getting “killed” in your class? You could say what it means to you, and what you’ve observed in your class when others have said similar things. Point out that it’s inaccurate, that the premise is wrong. That would be helpful and informative. Or, you could accuse them of employing a key anti-feminist strategy, if you’d rather have them cower in wounded ignorance. I rather doubt that, though, as if the blog were the proper repository for such suggestions.

  81. Moderate, I’m claiming a negative, that no man has ever been beaten in a woman’s studies class.

    You don’t need to claim it. We know it already.

    Of course no man has been physically beaten in a class for daring to raise any controversial point. Nor has any women (cite examples if I am wrong) when expressing a view. If anyone was physically assaulted for expressing an opinion in a class, then that is something for the police and psychiatrists to deal with. I really, really don’t understand your need to exaggerate here with this extreme hypothetical situation you describe why men are reticent to express particular points of view.

    I’ve already stated now many times why men don’t speak up in those kinds of situations.

    They are not afraid of being beaten up by women in the class.

    I promise you, that is not the case.

    Here’s the key thing I’ve been saying:-

    They ARE afraid of being verbally attacked and shamed by these women, and possibly losing any kind of acquaintance/friendship they had with them, and being ostracised, and being hated by these women..

    That may or may not result in him getting a bad grade, but at that moment in time, right there, when he wants to speak out – I bet you anything his main worry is not to cause deep offence to the women in his class for fear of the consequences.

    In feminism, like any belief system, there are many sacred cows. There are many holy items and covenants. There are lines you do not cross. You cross those lines, you pay a penalty. It should not be so in a University environment, but it is so.

    Question, Hugo: do you really believe feminism doesn’t have that strangle-hold over the male opinion? You don’t think it’s “toe the line or you’re a misogynist”?

    Also, Hugo, you stated before:-

    Women are regularly beaten and raped — even on college campuses — but I know of no instance where a man found himself a victim of violence for making a sexist remark in a college feminist setting

    Can you please substantiate your claims?

  82. They ARE afraid of being verbally attacked and shamed by these women, and possibly losing any kind of acquaintance/friendship they had with them, and being ostracised, and being hated by these women.

    In other words, what they want is the privilege of being able to say what they please and not have anyone make them uncomfortable in their disagreement.

    I bet you anything his main worry is not to cause deep offence to the women in his class for fear of the consequences.

    I would completely agree with this. It’s not so much about not being offensive as it is avoiding the consequences of that offense.

    What the “disclaimer” language says to me is “Look, I suspect I’m going to offend you, so I want you to not be offended without me actually having to *do* anything about it.”

  83. As a male victim of both sexual and physical assault from women, perhaps I can post a different response….

    … but then again perhaps not. I think perhaps you’re right. At least in your context – the male response is a little too far over the top.

    The violence and assaults I dealt with were all in a community with heavy “male dominance” – and I strongly suspect that’s the root of it. When I lived in a culture of equal rights (they actually claimed female dominance *grin*) it wasn’t a problem. In the culture of equal rights, any side could speak up without worrying about risk – and usually did, happily and proudly.

    note: http://www.brown.edu/Student_Services/Health_Services/Health_Education/sexual_assault/malesurvivors.htm
    for some of the other posters here: violence both sexual and physical happens against men. It really does. We’re not allowed to talk about it, we’re assumed to be guilty if it happens – and ridiculed heavily. But it really does happen. One of the most common voices I encounter (especially within feminist groups) is that sexual assault only happens against women.

  84. One of the most common voices I encounter (especially within feminist groups) is that sexual assault only happens against women.

    Yes, and it’s interesting to note how taboo a subject male victims of female violence is in feminist circles. It’s almost like feminists believe that females are somehow morally superior to males – that’s just supremicist rubbish. It’s as bad as saying whites are superior to blacks, or using other arbitrary attributes (race, colour) as a measure of character. Truth is – women are as violent as men, certainly in intimate circumstances like relationships. Statistics bear this out. If you look at DV stats, incidences of violence are perpetrated equally from both genders. If anyone wants sources, I can provide – from UK Home Office stats and other neutral sources.

  85. What the “disclaimer” language says to me is “Look, I suspect I’m going to offend you, so I want you to not be offended without me actually having to *do* anything about it.”

    Nonsense. The presumption of any class in a university dedicated to inquiry, examination, and intellectual rigor would presuppose to an intellectually honest person that such questions or statements would not somehow offend. If the class is, however, dedicated to proslytizing and indoctrination, we have a different story.

    The fact that people feel the need to deflect angry criticism in an environment supposedly dedicated to critical thinking could even more reasonably be argued to say as much, if not more, about the audience than the speaker. The fact that you even refuse to consider this as a possibility, and ascribe some sort of malice to it, speaks of your inherent bias.

    Occam’s Razor again – (Yeah, I know – logic is so patriarchal) – people exhibiting a fear response tend to do so because they have reason to fear a thing, either through past experience or current circumstance; not through some spurious theory of a gestalt of “The Great Male Conspiracy To Keep The Woman Down.” While this may be the source of a specific individual’s use of it, to suggest it is a blanket explanation for it all is so outrageous as to be laughable, especially when a much simpler theory which fits all the known facts is available. The ad hoc assumptions and a priori reasoning you have to use to reach such a conclusion amounts to a crackpot theory: Namely, it requires the belief in more than one miracle.

    Antigone: Don’t know what UND is University of Notre Dame? North Dakota? – I went to Indiana University, which is a hotbed of political correctness, in fact all the state schools are here.

  86. Gonz, I think you misunderstand what “patriarchy” is. You keep referring to it as a conspiracy: it isn’t. It’s a self-perpetuating system.

    Sorry, I suppose I should be more clear: University of North Dakota, Grand Forks. We recently hit the news because of our mascot: The Fighting Sioux. This isn’t a hot bed of “political correctness” but it is the best goddamn aviation school in the country (I dare anyone to contridict me THERE)

  87. The presumption of any class in a university dedicated to inquiry, examination, and intellectual rigor would presuppose to an intellectually honest person that such questions or statements would not somehow offend. If the class is, however, dedicated to proslytizing and indoctrination, we have a different story.

    I completely disagree. I’m sure that someone can launch a wholly coherent, reasoned argument about how, for example, homosexuality is a sin against god and nature. That doesn’t mean that gay students won’t be offended. To pretend that anything said in the course of academic debate can’t be offensive is patently silly. (It also presumes that people won’t misspeak or say things that are offensive without thinking.) No college class I’ve ever been to is nothing but highly logical, well-thought out discourse. Ridiculous and offensive things get said all the time.

  88. Gonz, I think you misunderstand what “patriarchy” is. You keep referring to it as a conspiracy: it isn’t. It’s a self-perpetuating system.

    I used the word tongue in cheek, after the almost apocryphal debate I got into at the old MND board with a particularly doctrinaire feminist who insisted my use of logic was “using the tools of the patriarchy” and “Patriarchal” and insisted I have a – I quote – “dialogue of feeling rather than reason.”

    Perhaps a bit sarcastic, but I don’t think inaccurate. I do, however, know the way “patriarchy” is used in the context of feminist discourse, tempted as I am to point out that the “dictionary definition” is far different (As many times as I have had similar “dictionary definitions” of such things as “feminist” etc. flung as a squelch at me). I will however hold to my principle that to do so is intellectually dishonest, and forbear.

    Sorry, I suppose I should be more clear: University of North Dakota, Grand Forks. We recently hit the news because of our mascot: The Fighting Sioux. This isn’t a hot bed of “political correctness” but it is the best goddamn aviation school in the country (I dare anyone to contridict me THERE)

    Since i loathe flying under the best of circumstances, let alone piloting one of the blasted things, I have no knowledge, let alone grounds to dispute it. I am aware of universities a nd colleges which are more neutral in official policy, and even some who lean to the conservative side, but far fewer combined than the ones which are dominated by Political Correctness. It’s the New Establishment in academia by and large.

  89. I completely disagree. I’m sure that someone can launch a wholly coherent, reasoned argument about how, for example, homosexuality is a sin against god and nature. That doesn’t mean that gay students won’t be offended. To pretend that anything said in the course of academic debate can’t be offensive is patently silly. (It also presumes that people won’t misspeak or say things that are offensive without thinking.) No college class I’ve ever been to is nothing but highly logical, well-thought out discourse. Ridiculous and offensive things get said all the time.

    I don’t think so – for example, when I took debate we were often forced to adopt the pro or con of some outrageous propositions, and to argue them to learn both how to construct and demolish arguments, and to recognize rhetorical tricks.

    The example of using a religiously based argument in an inappropriate setting is a little extreme, again, though, much depends on context. In a “gay studies” class, it would be patently inflammatory and I would hold a student claiming “freedom of speech” to be a disingenuous assbag deserving of scorn – in fact, I’d question the professor who let them stay. By the same token, in the same class, a student who question the root cause of homosexuality as being “All inborn all the time” is not being disruptive; the book is far from closed on that particular question.

    However, put that same “sin against God and Nature” thing in my old Debate Class where Father Sams announced such a thing as the topic of tomorrow’s debate, red team takes pro, green team takes con, and I would acccuse the same gay student of being thin-skinned and hypersensitive, and him being the troublemaker.

    Rational discourse on any subject requires context – if you were to make the argument “Gender is a construct, and men are inherently warlike; therefore women deserve equal rights before the law” I could rationally, and quite civilly, attack both your premises without disagreeing in the slightest in your conclusion; and in fact if you required me to accept your premises before I would be given any credence for believing your conclusion, I’d say YOU were being uncivil, offensive, and intellectually dishonest.

    And because college classes are not always civil, it does not follow to me that they should not be; that’s fatalistic to me. Though I no longer am in the profession due to economic constraints, I am a teacher as well. I’m a devout libertarian free-marketer (NOT an anarcho-capitalist, thank you), but if students who was as fervent socialists as our host was somehow felt unfree to question the foundation of my theory in my class, I’d be horrified and first look to myself before I shifted the blame for it off on them.

  90. In other words, what they want is the privilege of being able to say what they please and not have anyone make them uncomfortable in their disagreement.

    The same could be said of the female students in the class who are used to presenting their ideas without them being questioned. In my experience, whoever makes up the majority of the class often does not wish to share the podium. They are used to having the privilege of expounding on ideas without restraint, and anyone challenging that is often met with sighs, groans or the more common verbal attack.

    I completely disagree. I’m sure that someone can launch a wholly coherent, reasoned argument about how, for example, homosexuality is a sin against god and nature. That doesn’t mean that gay students won’t be offended.

    The same could be said of male students in a feminist class. I am sure someone in the class will launch into a wholly coherent, reasoned argument about how “the Patriarchy” is an oppressive force against women engrained into men’s expression of masculinity. That does not mean that male students will not be offended. And just like the gay students who would take such comments as a warning to keep quiet, male students would respond to such comments in much the same way. Gay students would likely then preface any criticism with “I know I’m going to get killed for saying this, but…” just as male students would do in a feminist setting.

  91. I’m a devout libertarian free-marketer (NOT an anarcho-capitalist, thank you), but if students who was as fervent socialists as our host was somehow felt unfree to question the foundation of my theory in my class, I’d be horrified and first look to myself before I shifted the blame for it off on them.

    I suppose it depends on what your pedagogical purpose is. There are times when a debate about first premises is constructive. Other times, much less so. If the purpose of the class is to talk about third world markets from a libertarian-free market perspective, isn’t it something of a waste of everyone’s time to spend a third of the semester discussing the validity of the libertarian-free market perspective?

    That does not mean that male students will not be offended. And just like the gay students who would take such comments as a warning to keep quiet, male students would respond to such comments in much the same way. Gay students would likely then preface any criticism with “I know I’m going to get killed for saying this, but…” just as male students would do in a feminist setting.

    Odd. As a general rule, I don’t find people who are offended by someone’s remarks to preface their own with “I might get killed for this.” It’s said as a way to pre-empt someone else’s response.

  92. I choose the women don’t like to be raped example of a basic basic piece of feminism, that is questioned by anti feminists(in practice I mean- most anti feminists are always talking about how women lie about rape,how getting a woman drunk and having sex with her isn’t rape, how all these poor innocent men are being accused of rape and how that is loads more important than stopping rape). Not to mention, the people of color existing together is a true life example. I have heard more bellyaching about black people sitting together, black people having frats and sororities,etc,etc(and almost no discourse on real racial problems from whites) on campus than one should have to listen to in their entire life. It’s all a ploy to get attention off real problems.

    Basically, he’s trying to deflect attention from whatever horribly rude and offensive thing he is about to say unto whether the women are nice enough to him after he has said something offensive and stupid. If his views are logical and rational, he should be able to defend them without resorting to this sort of trick. Like when I say things that are likely to be unpopular, I stand behind my words. Maybe Hugo should talk about how powerful groups tend to try to co opt oppression and pain, and how we have a responsibility to say “hey, am I trying to dodge responsibility for my actions and views?” If you want to offend your classmates, own up to it. People who are as young as college students today are have acted with integrity, so I think it is an insult to them to think they can’t make a choice in this matter.

    Not to mention, sometimes we don’t need to waste valuable classroom time with some views. Let’s say we’re discussing black history, and some guy busts out with the old “shouldn’t blacks be grateful for slavery”, the teacher should reiterate the brutality of slavery and move on, because there are many people who come to class to learn about reality, you know?

  93. Another Jeff: “I know I for one have tried very hard to avoid implying that.”

    I wasn’t implying that you have. I’m not speaking about any one person in particular.

    “What I *have* said is that this tactic, when used against women, by women or men, invokes a lot of socialization that it wouldn’t in other situations. If that phrase were used by a woman toward a largely male audience, it would likely invoke a different sort of socialization – again, probably avoiding criticism, but at the cost of not being taken seriously as a full participant in the discussion.”

    Again, I’m not reading any difference in when a woman says it to men or vice versa or any other combination or scenario. Perhaps that’s where we differ.

    “I’ve never claimed clairvoyancy – if I’ve ever said it’s ‘done to discourage women from speaking,’ I meant that (a) it has that effect; and (b) the speaker knows, at least subconsciously (yeah, I know that’s a whole nother can of worms), that it will help avoid criticism. My point is that when people do this, they should be informed of the effect it has, and asked to stop it.”

    If we disagree on the simple question of whether it has that effect, we can’t get to the sub-issue of whether or not it’s a conscious thing.

    evil_fizz: “But I think civility and courtesy should be givens in the classroom, and hence these appeals to ‘Don’t hurt me’ serve to shut others up and pre-emptively tell people they’re not allowed to be angry.”

    Those absolutely SHOULD be givens. Obviously, someone who makes such a preface believes (s)he won’t be treated civilly and courteously.

    shannon: “I choose the women don’t like to be raped example of a basic basic piece of feminism, that is questioned by anti feminists(in practice I mean- most anti feminists are always talking about how women lie about rape,how getting a woman drunk and having sex with her isn’t rape, how all these poor innocent men are being accused of rape and how that is loads more important than stopping rape).”

    Do you see what you just did? You did what you’re accusing those men of doing: listening to someone say one thing and “hearing” something completely different.

    Yes, deliberately getting another human being drunk so that sex can occur is rape (assuming the other person is NOT drunk, right?). As per your other point, yes, some women DO lie about having been raped, and false accusations ARE a problem, though not “loads more important” than stopping actual rapes (but perhaps JUST as important — would you, Shannon, like to be accused of a serious crime you did not commit?).

    There needs to be calm dialogue, and discourse such as what Hugo says happens in his classes is what we need. But it only works if we all stop “hearing” things that weren’t said. That goes for everybody.

  94. In my zeal to demonstrate how my point ties in to the main discussion, I left an important sentence off the end of the next-to-last paragraph: “But these problems aren’t mutually exclusive. It’s not as though we need to ignore one in order to treat the other with the gravity it deserves.”

  95. Basically, he’s trying to deflect attention from whatever horribly rude and offensive thing he is about to say unto whether the women are nice enough to him after he has said something offensive and stupid. If his views are logical and rational, he should be able to defend them without resorting to this sort of trick.

    Shannon, the problem is that people tend to hold their beliefs very dear to them. A man may say in a discussion about domestic violence in a Women’s Studies class –

    “yeah, but what about male victims? They make up a third to a half of all DV victims, depending on what independent source you get your stats from. How do they fit into this patriarchal system we’re discussing here?”

    I am quietly confident he would get a very very negative response from students/lecturer in a Women’s Studies class. In fact, many would consider his question to be rude and offensive, even though he made a genuine enquiry, that is provable. The reaction from the class will tell other members : Sure, you can question what we say if you want, leper-boy, up to you. But if you want to get ahead, don’t speak out. Take in what we say. Do NOT question it.

    In my opinion, this is very very unhealthy.

    You need to leave university as a critical thinker, not somebody indoctrinated by whatever ideology. If it’s the latter, you stop thinking once you leave campus. Indoctrination is like unthinking. It tells you not to question, not to query. It limits your understandings.

  96. Obviously, someone who makes such a preface believes (s)he won’t be treated civilly and courteously.

    That’s one possibility, bmmg. The other possibility is that the person is trying to defuse criticism, however civil. Remember, Hugo isn’t talking about men who are saying “Don’t get mad at me, but….” They’re joking that their classmates are going to actually physically assault them. Now, I don’t believe (and I’m sure you don’t either) that these men really are afraid that they will be physically attacked.

    Hugo can certainly emphasize that everyone should behave civily. He should also point out that disclaimers a) weaken one’s point and b) put the onus on the listener to preface any response with assurances that they wouldn’t of course do such a thing.

    It’s pretty irrelevant whether it’s deliberate or not, anyway. Calling it out (and reminding everyone of the ground rules of the classroom) shuts it down.

  97. What a great post!! I came here from Pandagon and I’m so impressed – you’re so right of course, and you’ve laid it out so clearly it all makes so much sense. Thanks!

  98. Yes, deliberately getting another human being drunk so that sex can occur is rape (assuming the other person is NOT drunk, right?). As per your other point, yes, some women DO lie about having been raped, and false accusations ARE a problem, though not “loads more important” than stopping actual rapes (but perhaps JUST as important — would you, Shannon, like to be accused of a serious crime you did not commit?).

    According to that hotbed of radical feminist black lesbians, the FBI, the incidence of false accusations of rape is similar to the incidence of false accusations of other crimes: round about 4% of accusations. And given that a fairly large proportion of the FBI’s personnel are white males, I’m thinking that this may not be all part of a vast feminist conspiracy.

    So let’s see, if false accusations occur in 4% of cases, and 96% of accusations are true, then might it not be a good idea for people who are concerned about rape to focus 96% of their attention on the incidence of rape and 4% of their attention on the incidence of false reporting? Giving 50/50 weight to “Some women tell the truth” and “Some women lie” seems counter-productive when the proportion of liars is statistically insignificant. I mean, the incidence of false reporting of burglary is also round about 4%. Should we spend 50% of our time and energy on talking about people who falsely claim to have been burgled? Or should we put the main focus on the vast majority of true burglary victims, without forgetting that about one in twenty reports is false? If we assume from the get-go that people who report burglaries are probably lying, regardless of statistics which suggest they’re 96% likely to be telling the truth, is that going to be helpful to the 19 out of 20 people who’ve been genuinely victimized? Nobody is saying that false reporting NEVER occurs. But it is not particularly significant from a statistical point of view compared to the number of true reports.

  99. Raincitygirl;

    Are you sure about that?

    ” . . . false allegations of rape are frighteningly common.

    According to a nine-year study conducted by former Purdue sociologist Eugene J. Kanin, in over 40 percent of the cases reviewed, the complainants eventually admitted that no rape had occurred (“Archives of Sexual Behavior,” Vol. 23, No. 1, 1994). Kanin also studied rape allegations in two large Midwestern universities and found that 50 percent of the allegations were recanted by the accuser.

    Kanin found that most of the false accusers were motivated by a need for an alibi or a desire for revenge. Kanin was once well known and lauded by the feminist movement for his groundbreaking research on male sexual aggression. His studies on false rape accusations, however, received very little attention.”

    Hmmmm . . .

    “Kanin’s findings are hardly unique. In 1985 the Air Force conducted a study of 556 rape accusations. Over one quarter of the accusers admitted, either just before they took a lie detector test of after they had failed it, that no rape occurred. A further investigation by independent reviewers found that 60 percent of the original rape allegations were false.”

    If you want me to source the article, let me know.

    SR

  100. I don’t know where you took YOUR statistics, but where I came from even if it were merely as low as 4%, that would be considered statistically significant. That’s one in twenty five.

    Acquittals have been won on a lot less.

  101. Some one needs to ask Hugo how many posts he has deleted from this thread.

    None of mine get through, because I am asking questions he does not wish to answer.

    They get posted and disappear in minutes.

    Is this a fine example of feminist “tolerance?”

  102. Folks, stop the thread drift onto rape statistics — NOW.

    unPCDad, you’ve had your posts deleted for thread drift. I’ve answered the questions you ask many times.

    If you post on anything other than the topic of this thread, it WILL be deleted.

  103. This is how I ‘hear’. You see, certain tactics are consistantly used, and one of these is what I call the switcheroo. You try to change the conversation so that instead of a conversation that might lead to questioning of privilege, and possible solutions to social problems(like if a woman said “hey, that wasn’t my fault back there!”) you get a conversation about how bad other people are (“those lying tramps!”) and of course nothing is learned. The biggest sign is when you focus on some small problem so you can ignore a larger one. Of course, there’s also willful miscasting of the subject matter- it’s not men’s studies. And if you don’t like the subject matter, don’t take the class. If you choose to take the class, try to learn something.

    If you don’t like having to deal with people disagreeing with you in a classroom, hey, you could always be employed at a right wing think tank if you suck up to the right people.

  104. Dr Hugo wrote:

    “When men find themselves in feminist settings (like a women’s studies class) they are almost always in the minority. When I was taking women’s studies classes at Berkeley in the 1980s, I was usually one of only two or three men in the room. In my women’s history classes over the past decade, men average 10-20% of the students, never more. Even when they make up as much as a fifth of the class, they generally do less than a tenth of the talking. That isn’t surprising, given the subject matter — I was often fairly quiet in my own undergraduate days.”

    I find that fascinating, and completely unlike my own experience. When I took women’s studies here in Oz, there were 3 men to ten women in the class. About half-way through the semester, the Prof asked us who dominated the discussion, and by how much. The male students said: the women, they talk all the time, we can’t get a word in edgewise, the blokes only get about 5% of the air-time. The female students said: it’s us, we talk too much, the blokes only get about 10% of the airtime, we’re too domineering and they don’t get a fair go.

    Then the Prof played a tape recording of the previous week’s class discussion and got us to time the amount of time a male voice was speaking, and the amount of time a female voice was speaking.

    70% of the time it was a male voice. And that’s in a class with a female Prof. 3 out of fourteen, and they took up 70% of the time, and we all felt they were hard done by!

    Are you sure your male students are only doing a tenth of the talking?

    As for “I know I’m going to be killed for saying this” sort of prefaces, I get that all the time in my workplace, and it’s *not* one where women dominate. In that context, it means: “I know that what I’m going to say is sexist and offensive, but because I have the power in this situation, I’m going to say it anyway, and I’m letting you know that I’m saying it even though I’m aware it’s offensive and demeaning because it’s time for me to remind you that your desire to be treated as a fellow human being is unrealistic. But by all means shake your tiny girlish fists in anger. I don’t give a shit.”

  105. I’ve created an avatar just to see if this post gets through.

    Good grief. What you’ve created is a pseud or a sock puppet. An “avatar” is a visual representation of yourself–like the orc shaman you just created in World of Warcraft. If you’re going to whine for attention, at least get your net lingo in order.

  106. Moderate Man,
    I think you like many posters here have a lot of assumptions about feminist ideology.

    Do you know what “feminism” means? Any claim of “female superiority” from women is not a “feminist” claim. It is a sexist one.

    Yes, male victims are also part of the patriarchal picture. I don’t think as a feminist, I will deny this.

    Also realize that women’s this topic is not “taboo” in a women’s studies course. In a women’s studies course, one would most likely question what about a patriarchal society results in male victims reluctant about reporting abuse from a female perpetrator.

    It is a system that raises men with the assumption that they are”wusses” or “wimps” for having a female perpetrator in the first place.

    That system my friend, is patriarchy. Yes, men also suffer.

    I mean critical thinking is a great thing, but do you even realize what are you are critical of in your posts? Certainly not feminism.

    True feminists realize that men are also oppressed by a patriarchal society.

  107. “I know that what I’m going to say is sexist and offensive, but because I have the power in this situation, I’m going to say it anyway, and I’m letting you know that I’m saying it even though I’m aware it’s offensive and demeaning because it’s time for me to remind you that your desire to be treated as a fellow human being is unrealistic. But by all means shake your tiny girlish fists in anger. I don’t give a shit”

    Alecto! Exactly. It takes a certain sense of entitlement to have sentiments like the ones you describe.

  108. The irony is dripping: in a post entitled, “Words are not fists,” we are told that certain hyperbolic prefatory comments (which are not fists) perpetrated by certain male students “force” women students into subservient behavior. Apparently this kind of force cannot be resisted, even by education. Moreover, we are to understand that the deployment of this kind of force through non-fists is a key “anti-feminist strategy” (the word “tactic” would be the more appropriate choice). So much for the caution against hyperbole.

  109. “This is how I ‘hear’. You see, certain tactics are consistantly used, and one of these is what I call the switcheroo.”

    Something that YOU’RE doing. See:

    “If you don’t like having to deal with people disagreeing with you in a classroom, hey, you could always be employed at a right wing think tank if you suck up to the right people.”

    What we say: “Rape and false accusations should both be dealt with.”
    What you hear: “We don’t like having to deal with people disagreeing with us. We will only be happy in a right-wing think tank.”

    “True feminists realize that men are also oppressed by a patriarchal society.”

    — which, as I’ve said before — is a reason not to call it a “patriarchal” society.

  110. Hugo, I’ve asked you a couple of times now to give sources to the quote you made on your post:-

    Women are regularly beaten and raped — even on college campuses — but I know of no instance where a man found himself a victim of violence for making a sexist remark in a college feminist setting!

    Regularly beaten and raped?

    Please provide independent sources to substantiate that claim (and yes, I am ON thread because you mentioned it in your post and it is germane to the discussion – the ‘fear’ factor when opposing a mainstream view).

    Do you know what “feminism” means? Any claim of “female superiority” from women is not a “feminist” claim. It is a sexist one.

    The problem with feminism is that feminists themselves apply different meanings to the word. I apply ‘feminism’ to describe a system used to help women, whether it secures parity with males, or an advantage over males. It is not concerned about men’s experiences of sexual discrimination. It frames everything around “patriarchy” (as you have done) to blame and shame men in an indirect way. It is condascending to men, and assumes guilt to males and innocence to females as the starting point to all discussions. Feminists are loathe to admit that men make up at least a third of domestic violence victims (being victims of female perpetrators) – and when they do, they indirectly blame men for it (as you have done).

    True feminists realize that men are also oppressed by a patriarchal society.

    What exactly does that mean? Can you be clear here? How does the patriarchy manifest itself? Can you give very specific instances of where men are clearly oppressed by a patriarchy? I mean, specific, tangible, provable instances – I’m not interested in any tenuous linking that ‘fit your theory’ or any other thinking out-loud theorizing. Give me something compelling here.

    I think this is also germane to the discussion Hugo, unless you just want to ban everything.

  111. “I know that what I’m going to say is sexist and offensive, but because I have the power in this situation, I’m going to say it anyway, and I’m letting you know that I’m saying it even though I’m aware it’s offensive and demeaning because it’s time for me to remind you that your desire to be treated as a fellow human being is unrealistic. But by all means shake your tiny girlish fists in anger. I don’t give a shit”

    Alecto! Exactly. It takes a certain sense of entitlement to have sentiments like the ones you describe.”

    My goodness, assume much?? So now because he knows his view is going to be unpopular, it must be because he was going to say something offensive and *demeaning*??? What kind of freaking assumption is that? I can’t say what happens in a feminist college course, but in online conversation with feminists I can tell you that man or woman doesn’t matter – if you say something that goes against feminist dogma (NOT something demeaning) you are very likely to get your ass handed to you as you are roundly torn a new one and cursed at prolifically. I’ve had it happen to me time and again. It stands perfectly to reason that anyone who has spent time with feminists knows they have to be very very careful what they do and don’t say – and even then it isn’t necessarily safe. Like Gonzo said, Occam’s Razor for crying out loud. #1 Stop assuming he MUST be about to say something putting women down and #2 Recognize that fear of being reamed out by angry feminists (is there any other kind?) is a real one.

    Of course I can’t for the life of me understand why anyone takes those courses, much less men…unless they’re the self-loathing type.

  112. if you say something that goes against feminist dogma (NOT something demeaning) you are very likely to get your ass handed to you as you are roundly torn a new one and cursed at prolifically. I’ve had it happen to me time and again.

    Anniee, your experience is my experience here. I agree – going against feminist thinking is in itself offensive to feminists. So you can’t win in that situation. If I was in a Women’s Studies class and I started going on about male DV victims, I’ve no doubt I would be called “offensive” and even a “misogynist”. I go by my own online experience – you just can’t properly debate with feminists because they are frustrated by a lack of truth on their side so they do a hissy fit everytime.

    I want to debate with a feminist, where we use only facts, not ‘ideas’ or ‘theories’ or anything fluffy. Just facts. I don’t want to be called a ‘sexist’ just because we might disagree. I want to be called ‘factually wrong’ if my facts are wrong. That’s fair enough, and I will admit if I am wrong in those situations. Feminists rely on subjectivity because they lack objective facts. Notice how Hugo still hasn’t given any sources to his claim :-

    Women are regularly beaten and raped — even on college campuses — but I know of no instance where a man found himself a victim of violence for making a sexist remark in a college feminist setting!

  113. bmmG, not only do these problems not deserve to get equal time at all, they are opposed to each other. Talking about how women are all liars- yea, that’s going to get women to come forward, and men to say “hey, I don’t have to rape anybody. I have control over my body”. Seriously, I don’t think these guys have no agenda. And of course I think your whining about why people can’t derail actual teachable time to bring up the same old crap that everyone has already heard before is wimpy. I mean, we’ve got guys here on this thread complaining about how being sexist may be punished by being called sexist or that they may not get ahead if they disrespect other people, and heck, this whole thread is about guys who are so afraid of an honest argument that they must try to preempt any criticsm of their talking points. If men who want to disrupt talk of rape by focusing on the poor poor men(not even the minority of rape victims who are men, who you could at least feel bad for, but men who most of the time have done something wrong*) they can go out and say it like normal human beings.

    *I believe many of the guys who have raped but believe they are innocent have fallen victim to rape myths- like it’s ok to have sex with a passed out woman or that she was asking for it. Educating men about these points would eliminate much confusion, and would do way more for men than harping on the few women who more likely have become confused about who raped them rather than an plot to hurt a particular man.

  114. …this whole thread is about guys who are so afraid of an honest argument that they must try to preempt any criticsm of their talking points.

    You’re only reaching that point by ignoring what many people have stated here in plain English, many many times. Sure, believe what you want to believe Shannon, because I know you’re not interested in facts. You assume pre-empting a statement with “I know this might sound bad, but…” is akin to sugar-coating a lie? How very narrow minded of you. It has been said here a dozen times or more that people do this when they have something controversial to say. Controversial as in, perhaps disagreeing with the mainstream view. Not to mean it’s wrong, or sexist, or mean – just different. Got that? In a Women’s Studies class, it would be controversial to raise the issue of male victims of domestic violence (I repeat this example because it is a good one – there are many others though). It wouldn’t be sexist to raise this issue. It wouldn’t be rude. It most certainly wouldn’t be dishonest. But what it would be is controversial – causing friction, and bad consequences to the person bringing such an opinion to the class.

  115. Yes, and it’s interesting to note how taboo a subject male victims of female violence is in feminist circles.

    If you leave out how male victims of violence are used to interupt and derail discussion of the overwhelming amounts of male on female violence, that is. Which of course, you do.

    It’s almost like feminists believe that females are somehow morally superior to males – that’s just supremicist rubbish.

    Funny, this is a claim one never hears from feminists—only MRAs and SYGs.

    It’s as bad as saying whites are superior to blacks, or using other arbitrary attributes (race, colour) as a measure of character.

    A strawman on top of a straw man! Bravo.

    Truth is – women are as violent as men, certainly in intimate circumstances like relationships. Statistics bear this out. If you look at DV stats, incidences of violence are perpetrated equally from both genders. If anyone wants sources, I can provide – from UK Home Office stats and other neutral sources.

    Except this is not borne out at all. In the US, we have something called the Conflict Tactics Violence Scale, which, like your comment above, removed violence from context and just counted up numbers like it was a sporting event, except it’s an odd sporting event that would pit a gymnast against, say, a prize fighter. First off, studies before 1992 omitted the counting of sexual violence in the relationship, becuase this was overwhelmingly male-on-female and it ‘skewed’ the results. How so? Well, it’s just unfair to all those men, evidently, that their acts be counted when women weren’t committing the same acts. Second, the CTVS did not assess for context. A man could attack his wife and she could defend herself, he could use a weapon to do so w hile she used a pillow, and according to the CTVS, they’d both committed equal acts of violence.

    Except not, unless you’re an MRA who uses the screen name equivalent of, “Well, this is not PC, dammit, but I’m going to say it anyway.”

    Guys who pull the “Well, I’m going to get nailed for it” are just as manipulative as the guys who stomp onto feminist discussions of rape and try to whine about male victims instead of actually helping those male victims themselves. They expect women to do it. Then they trot out the 50/50 DV figure as if that hasn’t been debunked over and over again. Those are diversionary tactics.

    Claiming that DV is 50/50, that rape is routinely falsely charged, and so forth and so on are all things that serve the same purpose as the, “I know you’re gong to get upset.” They’re all tired and used up. We all know that rape is drastically under reported, that in the real world men are bigger than women and make up the majority of LE and justice figures, and that if you’re going to piss someone off, maybe hte problem isn’t them, it’s YOU. The big question is, why do so many men feel the need to try the same tactics over and over again? Why doesn’t it get slapped down once and dealt with? Female feminists tend to do it becuase we have to live it and it’s not just an intellectual exercise for us. Male feminists seem to think that they can reform the trolls from SYG. Why? Is their time more valueable than ours? Or are they just more valueable than we are? If not, then why are they essentially allowed to get away with this crap over and over again?

  116. The discussion on this thread has been interesting to follow.

    I don’t think all men in a women studies class who preface thier comments are doing so in bad faith. I’d like to think that it’s because they’re in the minority, and probably don’t have the same understanding of how sexism can be oppressive because they (again, probably) haven’t experienced it firsthand. I’m also going to trust that most men who sign up for a women studies class do so out of an interest to learn and understand, not just to derail all of the discussions by making the class all about them. That said, I’m sure there are some a-holes out there as well. I guess I’d like to think they’re the exception. The compromise pointed out by mythago (?) above sounded reasonable.

    I’m sorry for going off topic here, but to Moderate Man: Your question was how men can be oppressed by a patriarchal society. I have an example, which is only an anecdote but I believe it’s probably indicative of other situations. It also includes your favorite topic- DV against men.

    I worked as a waitress at a restaurant, and one evening the wife of one of the cooks came to pick him up. He went outside to get into the car and I don’t know what his wife was pissed about but she started yelling at him, and slapped him on the arm about four or five times. Regardless of whether this guy is an ass or not, you don’t hit another person. All of us who worked in the restaurant saw it, but no one did anything. The next day when he came into work all of the other guys in the kitchen started giving him h*ll for it- calling him whipped, a p*ssy, a sissy, ‘why can’t you control your wife,’ etc. If that situation were reversed no one would dare tell a woman she was a pansy- they would (hopefully) point her to a DV crisis line.

    The fact that men who are beaten are seen as less than is oppressive.

    I have had a very different experience with feminism than you- I’ve never met anyone who identified as a feminist who put men down, on the contrary most sites I frequent like to point out how a strict gender role society is bad for both men and women. Of course, there are always exceptions, and some people identify with more radical shades of feminism than I’m used to. If you (or anyone) go into a debate with such a narrow view of feminism, I’m not surprised your debate partner would get angry. I would get angry if someone assumed I put men down, or didn’t appreciate their experiences, just because I want to be seen as a human being with valid experiences, dreams, and desires of my own that may be different than society’s norm. After all, I have a father, brother, and nephews who I support whole heartedly, as they do me.

    That said, I’m not sure I understand why you’re so upset that a women studies class would focus on women victims of DV? I took a course on sexual assault and DV counseling, and we most certainly covered male victims of both. But in a class dedicated to the study of womens’ experiences, can you understand how repeatedly bringing up male victims might not be well received? Not that they should be ignored, but male victims of DV might be better discussed in a men studies class (which I most certainly think they should offer, so men who want to step out of strict gender roles can do so).

    I’m sorry this is a little off topic (and so long!), but hopefully it will contribute to the discussion.

  117. shannon: “Talking about how women are all liars…”

    –except that’s not what’s being said. Pay attention.

    “*I believe many of the guys who have raped but believe they are innocent have fallen victim to rape myths- like it’s ok to have sex with a passed out woman or that she was asking for it.”

    Having sex with someone who has passed out IS rape. As for your other example, if both parties indeed consent before the act begins (and are of AGE to consent), then it is not rape. I’m not sure why you’re taking this down a road the host doesn’t want it to go.

  118. “A man could attack his wife and she could defend herself, he could use a weapon to do so w hile she used a pillow, and according to the CTVS, they’d both committed equal acts of violence.”

    — except that, when acts of defense are removed from the studies, numbers are STILL fairly equal.

    (Hugo, feel free to delete this post — but only if you delete Ginmar’s, as well. I’m fine staying on topic but I will not tolerate further prevarication by certain parties.)

    And, one more time, Ginmar, a troll is one who deliberately comes into a forum to disrupt and antagonize. Those of us making legitimate points and asking legitimate questions don’t qualify.

  119. Yes, male victims are also part of the patriarchal picture.

    Tell that to the men at http://www.malesurvivor.org, but please do it nicely.

    As for “I know I’m going to be killed for saying this” sort of prefaces, I get that all the time in my workplace, and it’s *not* one where women dominate. In that context, it means: “I know that what I’m going to say is sexist and offensive, but because I have the power in this situation, I’m going to say it anyway, and I’m letting you know that I’m saying it even though I’m aware it’s offensive and demeaning because it’s time for me to remind you that your desire to be treated as a fellow human being is unrealistic. But by all means shake your tiny girlish fists in anger. I don’t give a shit.”

    Then the same would have to apply to gays who often use such prefaces before criticizing the notion that homosexuality is immoral in the company of Bible-thumping conservatives. While I am certain that such preface are used by some people, including feminists, to attempt to shut down uncomfortable or unpopular discussion, in my experience they are used because the speaker honestly believes his comment will be taken as offensive. Yes, sometimes the comments are offensive, not because there is anything inherently wrong with the comment, but because it is an unpopular view. And we all know that unpopular views are not tolerated, particularly among those who have enjoyed the privilege of never being questioned.

    There appears to be a willingness among feminist posters on this thread to assume the absolute worse of these young men without even entertaining the possibility that they are not sexist, woman-hating oppressors but a bunch of 20-year-olds whose opinions apparently do not count because they are male. And yet despite 125 posts, we still have idea what these young men’s comments they work so hard to preface actually are.

    Hugo, what exactly do these young men say when they use prefaces?

  120. Toy, that’s a good question. Here’s a rough paraphrase of what one guy said last semester:

    “I know I’m probably going to get killed for this, but I do buy into the ‘myth of male weakness.’ I don’t think young men can control their sexual impulses as easily as women can. I think women have to be the ones to set boundaries. That’s why I will be harder on my daughter than on my son. Sorry, but that’s just the way things are.”

  121. Funny how many people use “that’s the way things are” as an excuse for doing everything they can to help the status quo.

  122. “In a Women’s Studies class, it would be controversial to raise the issue of male victims of domestic violence (I repeat this example because it is a good one – there are many others though).”

    Actually no, it’s not a good example. If you’d actually been (as opposed to creating hypothetical situations) in a Women’s Studies course , you would realize that the textbooks freely discuss this issue.

    Have you taken an actual Women’s Studies course or are these biases you have of such courses?

  123. “So now because he knows his view is going to be unpopular, it must be because he was going to say something offensive and *demeaning*??? What kind of freaking assumption is that?”

    The kind of freaking assumption based on the next words after “I know I’ll get in trouble with the feminists for saying this” being “but women are naturally worse drivers than men” or “but women really don’t have any place in a boardroom” or “but women are paid less because they just don’t work as well” or “we never should have given women the vote”.

    And as I mentioned, this isn’t in a feminist college course, but a male-dominated workplace.

    But hey, don’t let my actual words get in the way of you telling me what my personal experience is.

  124. Actually no, it’s not a good example. If you’d actually been (as opposed to creating hypothetical situations) in a Women’s Studies course , you would realize that the textbooks freely discuss this issue

    I bet they do FME – only to downplay it though, and diminish its relevance, or spin the focus back to The Patriarchy yet again (it seems people can only give ‘fits my theory’ type explanations about the patriarchy and nothing tangible and unequivocal).

    one evening the wife of one of the cooks came to pick him up. He went outside to get into the car and I don’t know what his wife was pissed about but she started yelling at him, and slapped him on the arm about four or five times. Regardless of whether this guy is an ass or not, you don’t hit another person. All of us who worked in the restaurant saw it, but no one did anything. The next day when he came into work all of the other guys in the kitchen started giving him h*ll for it- calling him whipped, a p*ssy, a sissy, ‘why can’t you control your wife,’ etc. If that situation were reversed no one would dare tell a woman she was a pansy- they would (hopefully) point her to a DV crisis line.

    Dmar, why the focus on the reaction from his work colleagues? You really think that is the man’s worst problem? For me, the worst thing about this story is how out of control his wife is, and God only knows what happens when she loses control in the privacy of their own home. Getting grief off his workmates is the least of his problems here – it’s far more oppressive to live with somebody who uses violence to control you than get some stick of your work colleagues from one public incident. Why don’t Women’s Studies have courses on Anger Management for females? This is a growing problem, discussed by many social commentators in the media and law. Are there any issues on female perpetrators of violence in general? The ‘patriarchy’ is becoming the great alibi for all human behaviour. What about personal responsibility?

    And it’s Womens Studies classes and feminist lies that prevent men from getting help when they are victims of violence perpetrated by females, NOT just any feelings of ‘patriarchal shame’ they may have – they simply won’t be believed. Not because of a patriarchy, but because of repeated feminist lies about how men are rarely victims of DV. If feminists are truly concerned about equality and male victims of DV – they wouldn’t spend all their energy in the opposite direction by downplaying their existance.

    Incidentally, recently a boss of mine came into work one day with a black eye. He didn’t use any excuses. He calmly said “my wife did this”. Nobody laughed (not even behind his back, I can testify – more quiet shock) – because nobody could really see ‘the funny side’ here. And nobody suspected him of doing worse to his wife. Why? Because I think people are hearing more and more about male victims of violence by females – it’s in the media more and more, and guys are ‘coming out’ more and more – I think mainly thanks to the internet.

    And isn’t it funny how feminists then try to downplay male victims? These men who speak out – they are defying the so-called ‘patriarchy’ which surely Women’s Studies students should applaud. Isn’t it right that men speak out more and bow less to the ‘patriarchy’, and more to truth? Or is that too shocking for feminists?

    This does relate to the thread because I think outside of Women’s Studies classes, men are caring less about speaking out if it offends a politically correct point of view. In a Womens’s Studies class, anything outside a very narrow band of thought is ‘controversial’ – same in an orthodox Religion – you cannot question anything without incurring a wrath.

    There are many other areas of life where feminism does more damage than good, but I don’t want the thread to drift any more than it has.

    Hugo, any chance you can substantiate your claim about women being regularly beaten and raped? I’m interested that you used the word ‘regularly’.

  125. I have to confess to a certain sad amusement when I hear people preaching loudly about how “Men have to help women out in ragards to (Rape, DV – fill in the blank)” and with the next breath proclaim “Men need to help themselves out!”

    And – unless this great patriarchal conspiracy was overthrown (in which case the carrying on about it is bogus) men DID help women out.

  126. Amanda Marcotte of Pandagon weighs in with this:

    It’s not because they think these things are truly beneath attention, as the now 132 comments at Hugo’s will show, commets that are mostly anti-feminists flipping shit because he wrote a post about the joking methods sexist men use to stifle women’s voices in a discussion.

    The fact that she’s willing to call men taking a women’s study course sexist without having the faintest idea what their actual opinions are clearly demonstrates exactly why the men in your class feel like they might be attacked (albeit not physically) for expressing their opinion, and why they make preemptive jokes to disarm feminist hostility.

  127. We assume they are being jerks because you know what? Unless you actually know something about feminism you can’t make amazing original arguments, and not to mention, these guys have been indoctrinated with stupidity for 18 years or more. So first you have that hurdle. Then you have the use of a common tactic of whining(ok, it’s pre-emptive whining) and the possibility of them having anything to say is nil. Bmmg, I’m glad you think so, but most idiots think that guys can do just anything they want, and it’s the woman’s fault.

  128. Uh, BMMG39, coming onto a feminist board and recycling the same old bullshit IS trolling. It’s funny as all hell seeing all these SYGgers proving the point of the post—-guys who don’t want to get nailed for bullshit trying to manuever out of getting nailed for it. Same old, same old. Don’t want to be called a troll? Stop saying every damned talking point a troll uses then.

    Christ.

  129. Where did all these men socialized to surrender to an angry woman come from? I’ve never seen an example of this behavior in men, and I’d say I constitute an angry, outspoken woman. Men didn’t become conciliatory when we sparred in high school history classes, nor did they back down when we clashed in college religion courses. The closest thing I’ve seen to a common knee-jerk “conciliation” maneuver is attempting to laugh an angry woman’s complaints off, which is so clearly abusing humor to dismiss an argument one doesn’t like it ought to go without saying. This rash of fainting violets must not live on the East Coast. What’s repeatedly described is traditional feminine behavior, which I do continue to see repeated, just as the claims of women getting in a man’s face, shoving, and slapping are traditionally masculine behaviors which I routinely see between men. Nor have I lived an especially sheltered existence, I was an EMT and am familiar with the sight of men and women at their worst. This flipped stereotype reflects reality even less accurately than the original.

  130. Hugo’s student: “I know I’m probably going to get killed for this, but I do buy into the ‘myth of male weakness.’ I don’t think young men can control their sexual impulses as easily as women can. I think women have to be the ones to set boundaries. That’s why I will be harder on my daughter than on my son. Sorry, but that’s just the way things are.”

    I think I’D be the angriest one in the room at him for saying that. It’s up to all of us to set boundaries and I’m sick of my fellow males fulfulling the “horny dog” stereotype.

    By the way, Moderate_Man, with regard to your boss and people treating his plight more seriously: I certainly hope so. I also have a few resources if he would like someone to talk to.

    Mike: “The fact that [Amanda's] willing to call men taking a women’s study course sexist without having the faintest idea what their actual opinions are clearly demonstrates exactly why the men in your class feel like they might be attacked (albeit not physically) for expressing their opinion, and why they make preemptive jokes to disarm feminist hostility.”

    Correct. And, remember: people use the word “killed” to describe non-physical attacks all the time: “killed in the media”…

    Ginmar: “Uh, BMMG39, coming onto a feminist board and recycling the same old bullshit IS trolling.”

    Ginmar, I have a decent rapport here with a number of people, including those you would think I wouldn’t have one with. I’m not anti-feminist, just pro-male-rights. Let us not forget that you accused me of being a troll on someone ELSE’S board, too, only to learn that (whoops!) the host had INVITED me there.

  131. We assume they are being jerks because you know what? Unless you actually know something about feminism you can’t make amazing original arguments, and not to mention, these guys have been indoctrinated with stupidity for 18 years or more. So first you have that hurdle. Then you have the use of a common tactic of whining(ok, it’s pre-emptive whining) and the possibility of them having anything to say is nil. Bmmg, I’m glad you think so, but most idiots think that guys can do just anything they want, and it’s the woman’s fault.

    Wow shannon – if I was a proponent of Women’s Studies, I would want to disassociate myself from that kind of commentary. So you assume these men are ‘jerks’ just because they preface a statement in a concilitary manner? How do you even know what they are prefacing, until they say it? ‘Indoctrinated by stupidity for 18 years’? Oh dear, oh dear. And your last comment shannon – is that what they teach you at Women’s Studies? You sound full of hatred.

    Can anyone else chip in here: is shannon’s comments fairly representative of a student of Women’s Studies? Seriously?

    If I stood before a class full of shannons – I wouldn’t bother asking a question, let alone preface it.

  132. Then they trot out the 50/50 DV figure as if that hasn’t been debunked over and over again.

    Oh really ginmar? Perhaps you should read this latest study, conducted across 32 nations, 68 universities and 13,601 students:-

    Men are More Likely Than Women to Be Victims in Dating Violence

    This research was presented to the Trends in Intimate Violence Intervention conference in New York City May 22-25, 2006.

  133. Is you delete my post this time, I would appreciate if you can tell how should I write to get my views posted.

    THe boys are clearly trying to avoid harm to themselves, due to teacher having brainwashed feminist views, and to avoid hurting the feelings of others as a way to be polite. The sentence I may get killed for this is so very good and should be encouraged in classs. This provides an opportunity to say your view without disrspecting the views of others. Had the teacher held open views and encouraged open discussion, with open views, they may have reduced this type of sentences, in a more neutral environment. This is a very good way to not hurt the other person.

    Since feminist’s want one sided, unequal laws, they distort facts and shamelessly say this they are doing to get a law changed. ( How unethical ). Clearly someone trying to say truth has to make a joke of it, to be in a feminist’s class.

    I am from India, and lawyers say most% cases filed by women are false, due to one sided barbaric laws.

  134. Posted by: Little Lion ”
    I’m 50 and female. I don’t even know how to be angry; it was beaten out of me at an early age.

    I think when you were young and forming openions, feminists media etc. was less. Present day young women are violent in relationships, both physically and verbally, as they know the new laws are there for false cases, and wrong teachings by feminists.

  135. Toy, that’s a good question. Here’s a rough paraphrase of what one guy said last semester

    Assuming your paraphrasing has not taken the young man’s statement out of context, it is a rather stupid statement, but not for the reasons you think. It says he has accepted the feminist notion that he cannot control himself (assuming he is not being sarcastic), that he is nothing more than a walking phallus (an idea reinforced via the rape culture, the Patriarchy ™ and male privilege).

    However, I seriously doubt that every preface is followed by such statements, although I do understand why you chose that particular example.

  136. It says he has accepted the feminist notion that he cannot control himself (assuming he is not being sarcastic), that he is nothing more than a walking phallus (an idea reinforced via the rape culture, the Patriarchy â„¢ and male privilege)

    No, this is not the fault of feminists.

    Feminists are not the ones who say that “Boys will be boys.” Feminists are not the ones who say “Cover up girls or you’re sure to be raped.”

    In reality, feminists are the ones who say, “Boys, stop raping us!” and “Boys, stop objectifying us!” and “I can wear a mini-skirt if I feel like it and BTW, don’t rape me!” And when we say those things we are saying that we think men are capable of doing as we request. Otherwise, we wouldn’t request it. If you have a dog who cannot stop biting people, you don’t just keep asking it nicely to stop biting people already, you have it put down because it obviously cannot control itself. But we believe that you can control yourselves, so we ask.

    And when feminists roll their eyes and say “All you care about is getting laid, you asswipe” they’re not saying that this is the natural state of humans who possess a penis. They’re criticizing some asswipe for only caring about his dick.

  137. I have to confess to a certain sad amusement when I hear people preaching loudly about how “Men have to help women out in ragards to (Rape, DV – fill in the blank)” and with the next breath proclaim “Men need to help themselves out!”

    Who started rape crisis centers and women’s shelters? Who has done all the work towards getting the world to care at least a little bit about the plight of battered and raped women? WOMEN. Women started it, and fair-minded men were our allies.

    So if men really care that much about the plight of battered and raped men, that’s great. Start a movement. Open shelters. Raise awareness. But just as concern about violence against women was raised by women, men must spearhead their own movements. And fair-minded women will be your allies.

    But I don’t see y’all doing that. I see you guys posting in feminists message boards about how feminists are abusing you and how feminists aren’t spending enough time worrying about abused men, in your opinion.

    If you represent an organization that is trying to raise awareness for male victims of violence, why don’t you just A) drop the antagonism against feminists and B) ask us to ALLY with you? Most feminists are also allies to other causes, like gay rights or civil rights, and we all manage to get along rather well without demonizing the other group. I don’t personally know a single feminist who wouldn’t be supportive of an honest effort to reduce violence against men. And I think you would be hard pressed ot find one, too.

  138. Ironically, I hesitate to comment in this thread because I’m so displeased with the argumentative tone. Am I being silenced? Maybe.

    But I’ll go ahead anyway, so I guess not. :o)

    One of the problems in generating useful intellectual discourse (in a class setting, a blog, or anywhere) is that it has two conflicting requirements: a sense of safety and a sense of challenge. Many here have said that real intellectual rigor requires constant challenge. They are right to an extent, but they are over-emphasizing the importance of challenge. A person must also feel safe to express their views, to feel that they are really being heard, to occasionally have opportunities to express an idea without having every weakness in their statement harshly poked and prodded (or taken out of context). Without this, it’s very difficult to express complex thoughts. Besides, what’s the point of carefully thinking out an idea if people are barely going to listen to you/understand you and only hear what they want to through their own biased filter? (And here I am, trying to do it anyway…)

    In my experience, that silencing type of bias comes from all sides. Conservative, liberal, mens rights, feminists, etc. When it occurs in the classroom, that means it’s a bad class. But that says *nothing* about the validity of the ideology itself, nor does it imply that another class with the same name at a different university will be similarly biased. I was lucky to have mostly good classes in my life (many excellent ones), with only some mild bias from professors. I have also heard stories of all kinds of (worse) bias in other class settings and I do believe those stories. It’s *not* just women’s studies classes that have this problem, and it’s not just liberal bias.

    IMHO, the “silencing effect” could go either way in any particular Women’s studies class which does not properly handle disagreement (i.e. it could either allow too much unconstructive disagreement or too little constructive disagreement). But in the rest of life, the silencing effect tends to favor males. This blog post, as an example of something in life which is not a Women’s studies class, involves a lot of men speaking up and not so many women. It may be that a Women’s studies class is the first time a man encounters this phenomenon that women feel all the time. I’m not saying that it makes the silencing *right* in any case, it’s just an interesting observation.

    Also, while no one should be downgraded just for disagreeing with the professor, they *should* be downgraded for not *understanding* the professor. Admitedly, that can be a really tough thing to ascertain, but practically anyone would agree that this would be the ideal.

    Lastly, the meaning of patriarchy, for those who don’t seem to know: “a social system where men/masculinity is favored, and where the favoring action is perpetrated by men and women both”.

  139. “The other is that “masculist” classes do not exist.”

    um, that would be the other 99% of classes offered.

  140. Psychology, market research, calculus, astronomy, and Russian literature are “masculist” classes?

  141. Hmm. I used to use “I could be wrong but” prefaces but it was because I was aware I often really was wrong. I didn’t *want* to be wrong. I passionately wanted to get it. But pulling yourself out of critical unconsciousness is hard work — as hard as learning to recognize borrowed words in English for someone who grew up sure there could be none.

    When I was growing up it seemed like there were four kinds of wrong I could be.

    – Plain wrong, as when I accepted earlier stories that women faint at the sight of blood as true.

    – Incompletely wrong, as when I would say “It’s not right to discriminate against chicks.”

    – School-of-feminism wrong, as when I failed to distinguish between, say, equality feminism and difference feminism which (ca ~1980) were not always in agreement.

    – Discrimination wrong, as in the unfortunate joke “If a man speaks in a forest and nobody hears him is he still wrong.”

    Note that only one of those kinds of wrong is unfair. Note also, however, that when I was trying to work things out it was very difficult to distinguish which kind of wrong I was. Anyway, when you’re not sure of yourself, and when you’re interacting with people who have a great deal of anger to express, it’s easy to begin qualifying your remarks.

    For the record if I was to lead a women’s studies seminar I’d begin a dialog the first time a guy said “you’ll probably kill me for saying this.” There are a lot of cultural and gender issues behind that statement (or your post wouldn’t have generated any controversy) not to mention a lot of misunderstanding about conduct in class so it would be a great place to start clearing them.

    figleaf

    (p.s. There’s a fifth kind of wrong: stupid wrong, as in showing up in a football helmet. I’m curious whether the student was there to fulfill a requirement or if he was just being provocative.)

  142. So if men really care that much about the plight of battered and raped men, that’s great. Start a movement. Open shelters. Raise awareness. But just as concern about violence against women was raised by women, men must spearhead their own movements.

    We did. I did. We did. And guess what? All of our opposition has come from feminists arguing we’re distracting from “their” more important problems.

    So we’re taking care of our own. You take care of your own, and stop crying to us how “men must help.”

    And fair-minded women will be your allies.

    There are many such. And thus far, none of them identify as feminists; in fact I will wager that if you want a fight with most of them, accuse them of being feminists.

    If you represent an organization that is trying to raise awareness for male victims of violence, why don’t you just A) drop the antagonism against feminists

    More clairvoyance. I started out in the Men’s Movement not as an “anti-feminist” but just tryiing to help male DV victims, because I was one myself. FEMINISTS kicked the struts out from under me, and opposed me at every turn. Feminists spoke out against my plan to make a men’s shelter, lobbied the county commisioners, went around and warned contractors of trouble if they contracted with us, called in bogus reports to the Sheriff’s department… When I made my Men’s Divorce Support Group, it was feminists who got us kicked out of several meeting places under the excuse we were “exclusive.”

    Each and every time I have tried to lead or participate in a “Men’s” anything, it’s been opposed by – let’s see – feminists! Whether protesting, writing nasty letters, threatening lawsuits, claiming we’re holding children hostage, calling us whiners – you name it.

    Tell you what – you first. You claim that “Well, real feminists wouldn’t do *THAT*!” then put your money where your mouth is and the next time it happens, be out there counter protesting about all these “fake” feminists who are giving you a bad name.

    Oh yeah. That’s right. Not your problem. Not all feminists think alike. You can’t tell any woman she’s “not a feminist.” (Unless she’s Laura Bush.) And so on and so on with the same. lame, weak litany of excuses.

    The real reson you won’t be protesting is because they are indeed “real” feminists, you do in fact support them, and they’re conveniently deniable.

    and B) ask us to ALLY with you?

    Ah, and open ourselves up to more backstabbing? More “Keep putting off your problems while we help out women first and in perpetuity?” More diverting of funds we raise to women’s issues and not even leaving us scraps to lick up? More parsing of words, doublespeak, and chinese walls?

    Pass. Fool us once, shame on you. Fool us twice, shame on us. It’s incredible. You really, honestly believe that men didn’t try this, and didn’t try it years ago? Lord a mercy. You know – there is a reason we in the MRM don’t trust ya’ll in this respect, and the reason isn’t sexism, it’s bitter experience, all your wishful thinking to the contrary.

  143. Hugo, perhaps your male students are not “diffusing”, but merely trying to get a word in edgewise. You mentioned there were only six males; they are outnumbered. You did one thing right by having a single day with them, you need to follow that up by making THEM comfortable to speak in that class. You need to allow them the same consideration you ask of them for the females in the class.

    It is YOUR responsibility to keep the class discussion running smoothly. You are the instructor. Do your male students feel uncensored in their writing assignments? Have you discussed this with them? If you would be more open with male students, you would get a higher male turnout.

  144. Patr, men are notoriously reluctant to take women’s studies classes. I have more males in my classes than my female colleagues do who teach the same subject.

  145. “Women are regularly beaten and raped — even on college campuses — …”

    Please provide support for this claim.

    All information I have gathered, read and seen is that one rape per three campuses per year occurs in the United States. This is what one would expect from educated, ambitious, college-educated men.

    College age women who live on campus are among the safest, most protected humans the planet has ever known. Their risk of murder, assault or rape is dramatically lower than the population at large.

  146. What gonzman said. Feminists directly oppose and block help for men. The evidence is out there that men are just as likely as women to be victims of domestic violence. I’ve written to charities in the UK and they ignore our voice. It’s not like we’re not trying.

    Back on thread:-

    But in the rest of life, the silencing effect tends to favor males.

    Not in my universe – it is men who cannot speak out for fear of being labelled ‘misogynist’ when disagreeing with any kind of feminist thinking. Feminism is taking over universities, the media and the courts of law. Bravo to feminism – you are advancing your thinking to very influential areas. Thing is, it’s causing much conflict and while you are able to gain much influence, your supported numbers amongst the general public are dwindling. You once had a cause, but now feminism is becoming the oppressor (particularly in law courts). However, can a man or woman dare criticise feminism in public? Not without a barrage of insults.

    Not the topic of this post, Lee. Check out the discussion here: http://www.amptoons.com/blog/archives/2003/02/06/rape-prevalence-statistics-on-donohue/

    Thanks for finally producing a link Hugo (if only to Ampersand’s blog).

    What do you think of this latest study?

    Men are More Likely Than Women to Be Victims in Dating Violence

  147. You know, I have only taken one women’s studies class because I had already read many books on feminist theory and didn’t want to sit in class with people who hadn’t figured out the idea of ‘society’ etc. I did take gay history, and yea, I was rude to people who were racist, because you know what? some people are so clueless that no amount of patient explaining is going to get it through to them. These are what I call the willfully clueless. And if you’re scared maybe people who want to learn can learn things. We’re under no obligation to spare your feelings, in fact one of the points of my woman of color feminism, is to free myself and other people from the idea that we’re the servants of white men and need to defer to them. If a person of color or a woman says something stupid, I’d put them on blast too. You’re simply not getting special treatment, as it should be.

  148. Hugo, the reason you have more males in your classes than the female instructors may be that the males feel more comfortable with a male instructor for that kind of a class. I think the reason males don’t take those classes is that they know they may have a hard time ahead of them. Instead of painting the average male student as some sort of knuckle-dragger, it may be better to find ways to get them into the class.

    You are a male teaching women’s studies and you have males in your class; do you use the opportunity you have as a male to connect to those males? Or do you talk at them instead of to them? If you have trouble with the responses in the class, it may be your teaching style; never mind how the male students relate to your subject, how do you relate to your male students?

  149. I suspect I relate very well — I mentor a few of them regularly; I’m having lunch with one of my favorite guys next week.

    You assume a lot if you assume I don’t ever have close, warm relationships with some of my male students.

  150. “So if men really care that much about the plight of battered and raped men, that’s great. Start a movement.

    Women organizations are getting tons of money, posh ofices, loads and loads of advertisement budgets to influence the press, money to do biased surveys. Whereas we are not getting any money, even a few research scholers few months money, to counter the wrong laws being proposed. We are bombarded with so many men victims of false cases by wifes, it becomes difficult to spend so much resources on social service by helping men from false cases, without hurting other things in volenteer’s life.
    We need some Govt. funding for truthfully seeing the new laws being made by feminists, are these leading to false cases and harm to everyone including women, are these laws fair to husbands and men. This is relation to India and news laws being proposed at a fast pace.

  151. I’ve been thinking about this (the joking before expressing a potentially hostile opinion) and I’m not sure it is specifically a feminist issue, although it does have feminist implications.

    See, I find myself very nervous when I’m in a conversation that involves conflict. I hate conflict. One way I know that I’m in a situation like that is that my foot begins tapping like crazy from the adrenaline. Although it’s been many, many years, I can remember being in such situations in all-male settings. I wanted to jump right out of my skin. I really hate conflict, especially conflict conducted on a purely verbal level. Physical conflict is painful, but it is over quickly. (Plus there are all sorts of counteracting endorphins one gets from physical conflict that I, at least, don’t experience during verbal conflict)

    Now, what does this have to do with the “I know I’m going to get nailed for this, but” issue? See, that’s the way of slowly floating an idea that is going to cause conflict. It’s something I could see myself doing. It’s a way to scream “PLEASE DON’T HURT ME” while saying what one has to say.

    True, in this context, the men are afraid of active disapproval from the women. However, the general tactic – jokes about how unpopular an utterance is going to be – is an anger-defusing tactic, not a specifically feminist-anger-defusing tactic. The problem is not the tactic per se, but rather the fear these men have. Unfortunately, I don’t know how to address or calm that fear without doing the equivalent of telling the women to shut up.

    Perhaps getting the men to confront their fear directly by recognizing this tactic and calling people on it when they use it is a useful tool; however, I’d hate to see this tactic banned in your classroom and the underlying fear remain unquestioned. That’s what really needs to be addressed, the fear of criticism from the women, not the specifics of how the men in question pre-emptively deflect that criticism.

  152. “I’ve never met anyone who identified as a feminist who put men down, on the contrary most sites I frequent like to point out how a strict gender role society is bad for both men and women. ”

    That’s odd.

    Amanda at Feministing has no problem with taking men to task and attacking their masculinity.

  153. Unfortunately, I don’t know how to address or calm that fear without doing the equivalent of telling the women to shut up.

    There are plenty of ways to calm fear without saying “Everybody listening to me, it’s your job to reassure me and calm my fear!”

  154. Ah, the famous Amanda at Feministing… sheesh, lad, do your homework.

    He may have gotten the name of the site wrong, but the greater point still stands. I can recall Amanda posting a thread some time ago (I can look for links if necessary) in which shy, unassertive men were scorned as, if I recall correctly, “loveless losers.”

  155. As men we really, really need to be less vulnerable to being confronted by Women through learning to really talk and listen to other men. With men we tend to talk superficially be it sports, women’s bodies or bemoaning women’s reactions to us as men.

    When we learn to understand ourselves better through hearing the feelings of men and working through some of our major issues with Men, we can then Not be So Dependent upon Women to be our “Mothers”, “Maids”, “Therapists”, “Emotional Babysitters”, etc. – and can really be equals with Them.

    Where we are het men – such independence can help us be happier and make our relationships with Women much Healthier. It’s not easy – obviously!

    Thanks! geo

  156. As men we really, really need to be less vulnerable to being confronted by Women through learning to really talk and listen to other men. With men we tend to talk superficially be it sports, women’s bodies or bemoaning women’s reactions to us as men.

    Speak for yourself. You might do that. Sounds like something you need to work on, then.

    When we learn to understand ourselves better through hearing the feelings of men and working through some of our major issues with Men, we can then Not be So Dependent upon Women to be our “Mothers”, “Maids”, “Therapists”, “Emotional Babysitters”, etc. – and can really be equals with Them.

    Ah. So you’re not equal with a woamn? Gotcha. I could paraphrase a common feminist slogan and say I set higher standards for my own self, but I’ll forbear.

    Got news for you though – not depending on women to validate one’s masculinity has been a hallmark principle of the Men’s Movement for a long, long, time.

  157. As men we really, really need to be less vulnerable to being confronted by Women through learning to really talk and listen to other men. With men we tend to talk superficially be it sports, women’s bodies or bemoaning women’s reactions to us as men.

    Speak for yourself. You might do that. Sounds like something you need to work on, then.

    G – One thing I’ve learned from the part of the Men’s Movement I’ve been a part of is to respect other men – whether we agree or don’t. Turning on and attacking other men – as you do – is little different from how – Men With Power – have trashed Men lacking Power and how Men – lash back – out of anger/fear/lack-of-respect etc.

    Homophobia – teaches us so well – to depend upon women and to not lean on men in our emotional lives. You may be different from most men- you don’t need to put me in a box like you are doing. In my experience as men – we have “buddies” who are men, but when we explore our emotional lives or deal with “deep stuff” – we rely a lot on women. Some of us of course – may not deal with emotional stuff and may lead “male only” lives – sure. You don’t have to agree with me. I’d appreciate respect though.

    When we learn to understand ourselves better through hearing the feelings of men and working through some of our major issues with Men, we can then Not be So Dependent upon Women to be our “Mothers”, “Maids”, “Therapists”, “Emotional Babysitters”, etc. – and can really be equals with Them.

    Ah. So you’re not equal with a woamn? Gotcha. I could paraphrase a common feminist slogan and say I set higher standards for my own self, but I’ll forbear.

    G – Your accusing tone – why do you need that? I think that when we run to women to solve our issues – emotionally – we’re not in that situation – “equals”. We are the gender – who struggles – for example – when widowed – in our 60’s or later – with living on – a huge percentage of men die within 1 1/2 years – with women the percentages are much less.

    Got news for you though – not depending on women to validate one’s masculinity has been a hallmark principle of the Men’s Movement for a long, long, time.

    G – I don’t know “which” men’s movement you refer to: for me there is: “Pro-feminist”, “Men’s Rights”, “Robert Bly influenced” + perhaps more.

    I don’t see why – my words – seem to raise your – blood pressure – so readily. We can totally disagree and still respect our differences. We also can have had different life experiences – as men. We also can learn from each other!

    Thanks!

    geo

  158. G – One thing I’ve learned from the part of the Men’s Movement I’ve been a part of is to respect other men – whether we agree or don’t. Turning on and attacking other men – as you do – is little different from how – Men With Power – have trashed Men lacking Power and how Men – lash back – out of anger/fear/lack-of-respect etc.

    Problem is, your entire premise trashes men to begin with by suggesting men are somehow broken. You assert that men do not talk to other men – this is contrary to fact. I am neighbors and friends with many most city/college folks might regard as rubes, and can tell you their thoughts and opinions on a wide variety of issues.

    “Not communicating like women do” is not the same as “not communicating.”

    If you have a more feminine style, and are more comfortable talking with women, by all means, pray do so. Please do not attack US by suggesting we need fixing.

    Homophobia – teaches us so well – to depend upon women and to not lean on men in our emotional lives. You may be different from most men- you don’t need to put me in a box like you are doing. In my experience as men – we have “buddies” who are men, but when we explore our emotional lives or deal with “deep stuff” – we rely a lot on women. Some of us of course – may not deal with emotional stuff and may lead “male only” lives – sure. You don’t have to agree with me. I’d appreciate respect though.

    This is YOU. You in fact are putting me in a much more cramped box than you accuse me of. Don’t disrespect me, and then expect me to stroke you.

    If you depend on women for an emoptional fix, I do not know what to tell you. It is not the experience of men I know.

    G – Your accusing tone – why do you need that? I think that when we run to women to solve our issues – emotionally – we’re not in that situation – “equals”. We are the gender – who struggles – for example – when widowed – in our 60’s or later – with living on – a huge percentage of men die within 1 1/2 years – with women the percentages are much less.

    And telling me I, and those men like me are using women is not accusing? Friend, women complain incessantly that “men won’t share.” Now you say “We share too much.”

    G – I don’t know “which” men’s movement you refer to: for me there is: “Pro-feminist”, “Men’s Rights”, “Robert Bly influenced” + perhaps more.

    Robert Bly is a poser, he only has the advantage of a stopped clock being right 14 times a week. “Pro-feminist” is part of the women’s movement. What men need to do first is to stop seeking validation for our manhood outside of ourselves, we must define it among ourselves. We must stop trying to transform women – either accpet one as she is, if you can; or do not.

    Men need to accept and claim their right to be men, and stop seeking either approval or permission from women to do so. Until that is done, no other steps may be made.

  159. “You may be different from most men- you don’t need to put me in a box like you are doing.”

    Geo, you are the one putting our entire gender in a box with your comment about being superficial. Gonzman is merely requesting that you not include the rest of us within that generalization. He doesn’t appreciate it. Neither do I.

    Daniel Martin: “True, in this context, the men are afraid of active disapproval from the women. However, the general tactic – jokes about how unpopular an utterance is going to be – is an anger-defusing tactic, not a specifically feminist-anger-defusing tactic.”

    See, that’s how I see it. It’s almost an olive branch. If anything, you’re making light of the fact that you don’t agree, and using “don’t kill me” or “let’s not come to blows” uses hyperbole to lighten the mood.

  160. This is a very interesting post, but it makes me wonder: if the men in Women Studies are scared of being challenged by females, can we not say that, instead of being cowards, they are very brave for putting themselves in situation where they are going to get challenged and have to face their fear?
    I don’t see how this tactic is a proof of cowardice. I used to preface a lot of my questions and comments with “I know this is stupid” during my studies to make sure that I wouldn’t berated by the teacher. They just use a humourous plea not to get overwhelmed by “the other side”, because they truely are outnumbered. I think they’re perfectly aware that they’re exagerrating, but they do it because it’s one of the techniques of humour, and they want the discussion to remain pleasant.
    I don’t think it’s an unreasonable demand of them not to have their feelings ignored. Just because it’s Women Studies doesn’t mean that men’s feelings, emotions, problems, fears, are less valid than women’s. And if the women in the course forget that men have just as much right as them to get hurt and offended, then yes, they are truely rabid feminists that are out to get them. Because unless the guys in the course are all rapists and abusive boyfriends/husbands/fathers/brothers/random strangers, then I doubt they are personally responsible for violence against women.
    Seriously, cut the poor guys some slack!

  161. Your own words, Hugo:
    This is not a free speech zone, nor need it be. It’s my blog…

    You are very worried about listening to the opinion of men, who do not agree with your statements.
    Your statement shows, that you are into censorship…not a good way for a discussion.

    About your subject: ….In my women’s history classes over the past decade, men average 10-20% of the students, never more….

    I also had the questionable pleasure in Europe to attend such a class. It was not a funny time for me.

    You said:
    All of this behavior reflects two things: men’s genuine fear of being challenged and confronted, and the persistence of the stereotype of feminists as being aggressive “man-bashers.” The painful thing about all this, of course, is that no man is in any real physical danger in the classroom — or even outside of it — from feminists.

    Not true in my case, as women are hitting and kicking men, and all what you can do as a man is to remain silent about it.
    There are also other form of violence by women, like defamation, false accusations, abusive language, theft and similar actions against men, sharing the same class-room.

    Open your eyes, Hugo…and learn not to look away…but I understand, that in your position, you have to choose the comfortable way, otherwise you might be out of job in the school, where you are teaching.

  162. Hey Hugo. Great post. I think the exaggerated fear of women’s violence also functions as a reminder to the women that it’s women who are in danger of physical violence for speaking up.

  163. Oh and to bmmg39: “I’m still blinking my eyes over how a meek “I hope I don’t get killed for this” is being construed as a misogynist, “keep the women quiet” sort of phrase. Isn’t it brutally obvious that saying “I hope I don’t get killed for this” is a sign that the SPEAKER is used to not having a say, of being in the minority, of having a tendency of being shouted down?”

    It’s not meek – it’s falsely jocular and hostile. It’s not that the male speaker isn’t used to not having a say — it’s that they’re NOT used to their frame of reference being challenged.

  164. – it’s that they’re NOT used to their frame of reference being challenged.

    Yeah, that’s right. We sit around in the Patriarchal He-Man Woman-Hater’s Club agreeing with everything each and every one of us says. First to speak sets the agenda. Nobody gets challenged.

    Great Googly-moogly.

  165. I don’t think the attempts to deflect criticism are unique to women’s studies — I get them from my students as well, and the stuff I teach is often not considered politically charged. It seems to be a method for protecting one’s insecurities and for avoiding difficult intellectual work. (That might explain why men do it more often than women in your classes: men are likely to feel more insecure in that setting. In my classes, women seem to do it about as often as men.) It’s a mechanism that I can of empathize with, but at the same time it’s not really an acceptable substitute for thought and self-examination.

    Generally, what I do about it is to find some oblique way of telling the student that nobody is out to attack them personally — and then going on to encourage criticism of their ideas (note: not the person, the idea). Mythago’s suggestion sounds like it would work great toward both ends.

  166. Yeah, that’s right. We sit around in the Patriarchal He-Man Woman-Hater’s Club agreeing with everything each and every one of us says. First to speak sets the agenda. Nobody gets challenged.

    Gonz, don’t give the game away. Just because I got first shout last time. (I realise this post sounds to ultra-hyper-sensitive feminist ears to be ‘frat boy jocularity’ and therefore pseudo-violent to female ears, but I can’t help my nature, sigh!).

  167. “Hey Hugo. Great post. I think the exaggerated fear of women’s violence also functions as a reminder to the women that it’s women who are in danger of physical violence for speaking up.”

    Yes.

    And men, too.

    “It’s not meek – it’s falsely jocular and hostile. It’s not that the male speaker isn’t used to not having a say — it’s that they’re NOT used to their frame of reference being challenged.”

    I’m not sure what to make of this combo, Badger: your attempt at mindreading, your singling out of men as the only people who ever use this “tactic” (if it can even be called a “tactic”), and your gross underestimation of how much men’s frames of reference get challenged.

    Jenny: “I don’t think the attempts to deflect criticism are unique to women’s studies — I get them from my students as well, and the stuff I teach is often not considered politically charged.”

    THANK you!

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  169. I think Good to society happens by seeing both sides. In every sort of discussion many phrases are used, including “I may get killed for saying this”. I welcome these phrase and try to discuss with the person, gradually that person may or may not changes this phrases, if he or she prefers to use this phrase I think he is right and he has liberty to use this. Putting a rule of not using this phrase is very harmful. Persons who see both sides of the story to help mankind and everyone deal with these and other kind of phrases.
    Since feminist are so acoustomed to wrong one sided laws that harm everyone, they do not want to discuss ther other side of story. So only feminists can agree to banning this phrase for any political , sports , literature , history , TV discussions.
    If you are not like feminists you are not likely to think about making a law or a rule to control things like this. You then are among people who want good for everyone, and both sides views.
    Are feminists in womens study incompetent of tackling the sentence ” I may get killed for this” , so they want to hide by making a rule to ban this.

  170. Too late boys. Man land is going up in flames.
    Thats me up on the rooftop doing the dance of victory.
    You’se screwed the wrong woman boys, you screwed the wrong woman!
    Ha ha, here comes the big wave.
    What a great time to be alive.
    I wish my grandmother was here to see the Father fall.
    It’s too late, men’s shot at rulership and Divinity has proved itself worthless.

  171. Too late boys. Man land is going up in flames.
    Thats me up on the rooftop doing the dance of victory.
    You’se screwed the wrong woman boys, you screwed the wrong woman!
    Ha ha, here comes the big wave.
    What a great time to be alive.
    I wish my grandmother was here to see the Father fall.
    It’s too late, men’s shot at rulership and Divinity has proved itself worthless.

  172. Too late boys. Man land is going up in flames.
    Thats me up on the rooftop doing the dance of victory.
    You’se screwed the wrong woman boys, you screwed the wrong woman!
    Ha ha, here comes the big wave.
    What a great time to be alive.
    I wish my grandmother was here to see the Father fall.
    It’s too late, men’s shot at rulership and Divinity has proved itself worthless.

  173. Too late boys. Man land is going up in flames.
    Thats me up on the rooftop doing the dance of victory.
    You’se screwed the wrong woman boys, you screwed the wrong woman!
    Ha ha, here comes the big wave.
    What a great time to be alive.
    I wish my grandmother was here to see the Father fall.
    It’s too late, men’s shot at rulership and Divinity has proved itself worthless.

  174. Too late boys. Man land is going up in flames.
    Thats me up on the rooftop doing the dance of victory.
    You’se screwed the wrong woman boys, you screwed the wrong woman!
    Ha ha, here comes the big wave.
    What a great time to be alive.
    I wish my grandmother was here to see the Father fall.
    It’s too late, men’s shot at rulership and Divinity has proved itself worthless.

  175. I, like Another Jeff, see some reframing going on here. Here’s what I see as the crux of Hugo’s point:

    By prefacing their comments in this manner, men in his classroom appear to be assuming the worst about women, that they will automatically respond with impassioned attacks that may not correspond with reality. While this is perhaps not the intention of the opinion-giver, it appears condescending and seems to assume that any reactions that females have will be irrational. This (maybe unintentionally) sends a message to female attendees that they will need to mitigate their responses in order to appear ‘fair and balanced’ in their assessment of reality. Finally, it serves (maybe unintentionally) to make light of any real emotion that opponents have on the topic — and that emotion may well be legitimate, but the preface automatically discredits it as a joke.

    I think the better alternative is to say, “This may be incendiary, but my understanding is ….” This roots the comment in the speaker’s experience and allows for the fact that while real and personal to the speaker, the comment may also be hurtful to others who don’t share his/her experience.” This affords dignity to both parties and legitimizes their experience and feelings. And isn’t that the point? Aren’t we supposed to be dignifying our experiences and fostering mutual understanding between the sexes?

  176. One other thing — by framing one’s comments in the original way, the speaker places the onus directly on the respondent’s emotions. I don’t think it’s necessarily fair to invite an opponent’s expected emotional reaction and then to criticize it as beside the point.

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