Monday, July 16, 2007

Men Hate You

Q: But seriously, I’m a man and I don’t hate women, so what’s with the “Men Hate You” section?

A: The “men” in “Men Hate You” is shorthand, both for “our male-dominant culture” and for the slightly trickier notion that (a) all men exercise — and benefit from — male privilege whether they want to or not, and (b) that the exercise of male privilege is misogyny. The Twistolution understands that there exist men who don’t actively choose this, but the involuntary nature of their participation in women’s oppression doesn’t make women any less oppressed by them. Sure, it isn’t fair, but if it bums you out, how do you think it makes us feel? Oh, wait, I forgot; you don’t care how women feel.

Do you?

A defining moment in my feminist awakening was a conversation I had with a male who didn't believe that being a man made him the oppressive class. It does. Unfortunately, at the time, this is where the conversation between he and I stopped because it couldn't get past "I've never Raped, therefore I have nothing do do with Rape." My feminism sprang my inadequacy at the time to articulate something that feels so inherent and critical to me, but apparently does not to everyone.

ALL MEN exercise and benefit from male privilege whether they want to or not. One may be the brightest feminist ally, but can walk down the street as a man and essentially come and go from the struggle as he pleases. A woman can not. A woman lives the struggle and the oppression every day. We don't have the luxury of taking off our feminist cap and existing outside of the oppression when it becomes too burdensome. That is male privilege. It exists at the expense of women and is therefore directly responsible for the oppression of women. Every man has to take responsibility for his participation in the oppressive class. Only then can a man be an ally to the oppressed.

The sentiment that he had is valid - it's fucked up to think that being a man directly hinges on the oppression of women. It is fucked up. I hope that the concept causes discomfort. But it is not wrong. It is a truth, and denying it, castigating the women who make you uncomfortable with the truth, does not solve the injustice. Until people can be made uncomfortable, and become willing to grapple for their responsibility and their own enlightenment, they will continue to actively participate in the oppression.

See Dear god, what about the men?!

Think about it.


Kate's Dad said...

It's my parental duty to inform you that you're a tall, slender, attractive, intelligent, healthy, college-educated white woman from an upper-middle-class family.

In modern American society, you aren't oppressed.

Be glad you aren't a poor flunky Latino midget hogbody in Pakistan and let go of the victim mentality.

Kate said...

All of those things make me a part of the oppression which is why we need to recognize our impact on others and be conscious of the things we do at the expense of others. I'm not claiming the victim mentality, I'm working on erasing the victim/perpetrator dichotomy.

Kate's Dad said...

Once you leave academia and are no longer being spoonfed some of this nonsense, I think you'll discover that:

1. Victimhood is quite often a form of power - a way of manipulating others and of being the center of attention.

2. Even among "real" victims, a distressing percentage CHOOSE to be victims. They can't be helped because the don't WANT to be helped.

3. You aren't oppressing anyone at all who doesn't deserve it, and neither are most men.