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View Diary: How to be a Male Ally (59 comments)

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  •  But I think the comment he made (1+ / 0-)
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    does in fact go to the core of why people do shy away, they want to be welcomed and they view critique as not being welcoming. Hey catch me on a bad day and I can get quite pouty with the notion that I am not being helpful in the way I think I am being. I am absolutely confident of one thing, when I try to present myself as an ally I will probably make a damn fool of myself, I will probably make a comment I think is "innocent" that is in fact offensive to the very people I wish to be providing support to.

    What I wonder is this: is that fear particular to men who do not want to join up with or support feminist causes/ideas that is very specific ( ie fear or annoyance with "female" anger) or it is something that goes beyond feminism to all progressive type movements? I don't know but it is an interesting dilemma. If the requirement to attract allies to always make "nice" to them and not to offer critique then I see what the comment is getting at but in reverse, perhaps energies should be pressed elsewhere except that in order to bring about change it has to be accepted within the mainstream. I do not have the answer.

    •  What is critique, exactly? (1+ / 0-)
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      So you've done this in the context of a diary in which you're telling us what your experiences, but there are no women's voices here: no stories, no sources, no quotes, no links.... Nothing for us to listen to except for your (male) voice.  Right?  
      "You should be either listening or quoting others" isn't critique.  If someone wants to critique what I have to say, by all means, do so.  I might learn something.  

      "Particular men" don't want to join up with the movement (I want to make a distinction between that and supporting feminist causes and ideas, which are generally very good) precisely because of this.  The causes and ideas brought me in; the community drove me back out.

      •  It's just a response to what the diarist wrote: (1+ / 0-)
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        He said, "We should be listening."  So I asked, okay, who are you listening to?  It's not a rebuke, it's a challenge.

        Some context, because there's been a lot of discussion over this since Hugo Schwyzer's high-profile meltdown.  Meghan Murphy at XOJane wrote a long and scathing piece about male feminism, , Mary Elizabeth Williams wrote a comprehensive run-down at Salon, and a lot of other writers, including men like Noah Berlatsky at Slate, have also weighed in.  This topic is really big right now, and there are a lot of questions about the role of men in the feminist movement.  Most people agree that men should (and need to) take a productive role, but the contours of that role disagree.  

        Personally, I side with the diarist: I think it's a good idea for men to actively engage with feminism, but especially as listeners.  Amy McCarthy had a nice piece at PolicyMic that summed this up well:

        If you're a man, you're probably guilty of mansplaining. That doesn't mean that you're a bad person or a bad feminist, just privileged. That privilege isn't erasable and you shouldn't ignore it. You should check it at the door and listen when feminists talk. You don't have to agree with them. You don't have to think that their words are gospel, but you should respect them. [...]

        Feminists are not always right, but neither are you. Mansplaining is a scourge in academia, online activism, and the blogosphere that discourages women from participating in the dialogue. If you consider yourself a true feminist ally, stop doing it. Most importantly, back up women when they call it out.

        Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

        by pico on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 05:09:47 PM PDT

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        •  So... (0+ / 0-)

          What does it accomplish to "engage as a listener"?  Who am I helping when I do that?  Aren't my efforts better focused somewhere that I can participate actively without causing a disruption?

          •  Who says those things are exclusive to each other? (2+ / 0-)
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            undercovercalico, churchylafemme

            Being a better listener doesn't preclude you from being an active participant.  In the case of feminism, it's just a suggestion that you're really not a position of expertise over women, and that requires you to take cues instead of just asserting your ground.  If it's important for you to be able to assert your position over someone, then yeah, you need to find somewhere you're more comfortable.  But I think that's a problem.

            Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

            by pico on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 05:51:46 PM PDT

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