Here's what I want from progressives (some fucking solidarity)

So you fancy yourself a progressive. Maybe you call yourself an “ally.” You know things about movements and about activism and you wax poetic about revolution and justice and solidarity. You’re anti-poverty, anti-gentrification, anti-war, anti-capitalism, anti-globalization, and anti-corporation. You call yourself a settler because you’re on land that is not yours — land your ancestors stole from people they raped and abused and tried to destroy. You talk about your privilege: your male privilege, your white privilege, your cis privilege, your class privilege, your thin privilege, your fucking full-head-of-hair privilege. Whatever it is — you’ve checked it. All of it. You’ve listed it all on your Twitter profile. We get that you get it. Congratulations, you’re fucking radical.

So how about some solidarity.

I’m still shocked at how little women’s lives matter to progressives. You seem to be able to wrap your heads around just about everything else but female oppression (or you claim to, in any case). Over and over again I watch women leave abusers only to see them be propped up by other men and women as progressives and radicals, supported by their communities. Women are betrayed time and time again by those who are meant to be their allies. And it fucking hurts.

I don’t think most men know how it feels. How painful it is to watch someone who abused you or raped you be accepted by your friends, your comrades, your so-called allies. To watch everyone else forget that which will always be with you.

Women fucking matter. I matter. My sisters matter.

You probably talk about how bad rape is. It’s so bad. Other men should stop doing it.

I bet you think domestic abuse is wrong too. Or I bet you say it is, anyway. “You don’t hit girls,” you tell your buddies. You’re a fucking hero.

But you don’t get it. You don’t get it because it hasn’t happened to you. And because it hasn’t happened to you, at the end of the day, you don’t really care, do you?

Here’s a thing. Rape doesn’t always look the way you want it to. Neither does abuse.

We don’t need to show you black eyes or broken bones to prove a man is abusive. We fucking know. Abuse is psychological, verbal, and emotional just as much as it is physical — if not moreso. We know what abuse is. We know because it happened to us. And you don’t get to decide whether or not it’s real.

But you do.

How many times do we need to humiliate ourselves? What do we need to say to you to convince you what happened to us was real? And serious? How many times do we have to tell our stories — the stories that embarrass us, that make us feel ashamed, that make us feel weak and stupid and like hypocrites. Because why would we put up with that treatment. Why did we go back. Why did we stay. Why did we let him into our beds.

I’m tired of telling you these stories. I’m tired of telling my sisters’ stories. Just for you to feel awkward but, you know, move on. There’s work to do.

I’ve watched my abusive ex continue to thrive in his community — join all the boards, the parent-teacher groups, spearhead community initiatives. What a guy! And hey, he didn’t abuse you, so WHO’S TO SAY. And who cares when there’s progressive work to be done! Real progressive work. Work that matters. Not just the girl shit. They’re all crazy anyway — the girls.

So keep starting your startups and having your protests and your meetings and keep writing your articles and having your very important discussions about climate change and poverty and union politics and Donald Sterling is such a racist, isn’t he. We’ll all support you, I guess, because we have no other choice. Because where do we go? Where is our community? Where is our Next Top Progressive Website? Where’s our Jacobin? When we launch it will we get profiled in The New York Times?

Oh. No. We don’t get one. We aren’t serious enough. It’s just women’s issues after all. Not Serious Politics. Oh. Because you still want your buddies and your porn and your class of women to fuck and ogle and to listen to your fucking baby-child emotions and to comfort you and support you and be there for you while you work through your fucking damage even though we had to work through ours all on our own. When is it our turn? When will you listen to us?

We’ll keep telling you our stories. Because we keep thinking you’ll care. We keep hoping that this time you’ll believe us. That this time you’ll get it.

But you never really do. Because our abuse is just our own personal problem and you don’t want the drama. You don’t want to get involved. Not when there’s real work to do.

We’re one half of the population. Where’s our fucking solidarity.

Meghan Murphy

Meghan Murphy

Meghan Murphy, founder and editor of Feminist Current, is a freelance writer and journalist. She completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her dog. Follow her @meghanemurphy

  • http://tradfem.wordpress.com Abolissimo

    oH WOW

  • http://tradfem.wordpress.com Abolissimo

    Thank you for this, Meghan. Really.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Glad it resonated with you Abolissimo.

  • Ben Funk

    “Next Top Progressive Website”. Or maybe “So You Think You Can Ally”.

    All well said Meghan and painfully accurate.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Thanks Ben.

  • Poseidon

    This is excellent.

    10/10

    Love your work Meghan.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Thanks Poseidon.

  • Taylor

    I stumbled onto this article after browsing reddit. I’m not a feminist or a progressive. So forgive my ignorance, I’m a stranger in a strange land. And I’m a guy too, so I’m probably off to a bad start.

    I’m not really sure what you want from this rant. You talk about how everyone is focusing on everything in the world but you. That your problems haven’t been addressed. This is clearly something that bothers you on a global scale, since your tirade is directed at men in general rather than any specific individuals or groups.

    Rape is fucking terrible. It’s monstrous no matter how you portray it. I have nothing but contempt for any man who would engage in it. The same goes for abuse: there’s nothing more cowardly than beating someone who can’t fight back. But I’m guessing that’s probably not enough to convince you that any man could believe that in his heart of hearts. I’m probably just serving up platitudes to buy your silence.

    I’m sorry for whatever pain you’ve had to endure. I hope one day you can move past it and be happy. But don’t assume that every man doesn’t care about what’s happened to you, or isn’t prepared to listen to what you have to say.

    • Meghan Murphy

      I really think you’ve missed the point. And I am “happy” in my life. Happier than most, I’m sure. Today I am angry — on behalf of women who have to watch their abusive ex-partners be propped up as these great progressives by other progressive men because these men don’t really care about abuse. They don’t think it’s that bad. They don’t think it’s real. Their work is more important. If you can’t tell what “I” want from this post, read it again. I want progressives to stand in solidarity with women. I want them to care about women’s lives. This isn’t about me.

      I don’t feel angry at my ex. I feel angry at those who are supporting him. My ex is a sociopathic shit and I really don’t think about him often at all. I’m angry that women aren’t important when it comes to progressive projects. I’m angry at seeing new progressive projects launched with the participation of abusive men (not talking about my ex here) and that nobody cares.

      • http://marinamatters.wordpress.com mojaponica

        See, you can’t post a rant without being called an angry female tragically stuck in rage. Why can we not be mad about things without being labeled as terminally angry victims? Victims are folded up in fetal positions in the corner. You are not, and it’s incredibly condescending, disempowering, dismissive and dense of men to so position any angry female. I’m sick of them flipping such complaints back onto the female.
        ‘Get over it baby, you’re such a downer.’

        • Meghan Murphy

          Right? Like WOW YOU SOUND DAMAGED. Are you kidding? Everyone is damaged. Especially women. I just talk about it publicly, which — believe it or not — is extremely healing. Dudes can fuck the fuck off with this ‘you’re so tragic’ shit. I don’t feel tragic. I feel me.

          • Taylor

            Look, I didn’t come here to argue (because arguing on the internet is one of the most pointless things anyone can engage in) but you’re putting words in my mouth.

            You wanna be mad? Be mad! I never said it was a bad thing. Fuck, I would rather see a woman angry than cowering and scared any day.

            I get that you want solidarity (it’s the title of the blog, duh) I just felt the need to explain things a little for my gender as you have for yours. We’re all richer for the exchange.

          • Meghan Murphy

            No one here is ‘richer for the exchange,’ except you. Maybe. I kinda doubt it though.

    • Grackle

      “I’m not a feminist …”

      Why in the world not? You sound like an intelligent guy and not an all an idiot, despite any disagreements we might have. I’m guessing you don’t know what feminism actually is. :/

  • Dr. Faustus

    I’m sorry your ex left you feeling damaged and angry. I’m sorry that others apparently aren’t looking to banish him forever. I’m sorry if that makes you feel alone and unsupported.

    I’m sure you’re a good person, partner, and mother. I’m sure you made sacrifices and feel like you got nothing but abuse in return. Abuse is awful and terrible. It has happened to many I know, men and women alike from parents, lovers, and friends.

    I think what makes being a victim – of anything really – so tragic and enraging is that in the end the only person who can settle the debt is the victim themselves. It’s utterly unfair, and wrong, and repugnant. But in my experience the total truth.

    • Meghan Murphy

      I’m not a mother, for the record. I also don’t feel particularly “tragic.” This post really isn’t about me, in any case — I use my own experience as an example, but I’m talking about something much larger and am talking about the many other women I’ve seen go through this. I am angry about their experiences because I can relate — because it’s happened to me.

      • Dr. Faustus.

        Ah well. In that case you’re probably in for a long wait.

        Emotional abuse, while prevalent, just isn’t something people can grasp in the same way as bruises and rape kits. Too often it looks muddled with other emotional issues, fights, and romantic incompatibility. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen. I know a women who has been separated for over two years for her ex husband. She says he never physically harmed her. I believe her too. But it is obvious he controlled much of her waking life – and still does. They continue to operate a business together.

        But – as a matter of practicality – what am I supposed to personally do about it? In fact, what is anyone – again as a practical matter – supposed to do? I don’t know the man. Many of their former couple friends remain his too. This is also not uncommon in these kinds of situations whether or not abuse has occurred.

        So, what does one do?

        I’m literally asking you.

        • Meghan Murphy

          Don’t organize with men who are abusive is what I’m saying… Don’t make them your partner in your next progressive website venture. Don’t make them heads of committees and boards. Don’t give them power. Don’t prop them up as progressive men. That’s what I’m saying. Maybe others have different suggestions.

          • http://www.montrealcyclechic.com lagatta à montréal

            Yes, I agree. I’ve seen this over and over. And usually women have to leave groups or committees because his mighty Horseshit is such an important leader, after all.

          • Missfit

            Donald Sterling was cast aside for having made racist statements in a private conversation. He could no longer be viewed as the one in charge of his organization (not even stay a part of it) and this was considered the proper thing to do. But when it comes to how men treat women, it becomes a private affair, separate from their public persona. Most men don’t get it when feminists say that the personal is political. These men can’t be our allies.

            Also, leftist/progressive men who suddenly turn neo-liberal when it comes to defend porn and prostitution… Group power dynamics and oppressive forces suddenly don’t deserve analysis. Equality between the sexes is only being paid lip service to and there is this underlying belief that it is okay that women are made to service men.

            I know not ALL men are like that (why do I feel the need to specify this HERE?). But seriously, if it wasn’t for the few men who comment on this site and a few others for whom it is unambiguous that they get it (ex: John Stoltenberg), I’d thought the men from ‘not ALL men’ do not exist.

          • norp

            Even jihn stoltenberg doesn’t really get it; he sides with men (who believe they are / want to be women) over women born women and refuses to actually even engage with their arguments or pov. Hearing him be so dismissive is very disappointing. No man can truly believe that when women speak, they should listen and listen good.

          • Missfit

            Very disappointing indeed, I didn’t know that…

          • morag

            Very true, norp. His riding on the coattails of Andrea Dworkin always rubbed me the wrong way too.

        • Derrington

          Treat them as the psychopaths they are. Keep them out of your lives as potential wreckers of other peoples lives. They are personal terrorists and should be kept at arms length.

          • Margaret McCarroll

            ‘personal terrorists’ – great description!! wish i thought of that!

        • marv

          @Taylor and Dr. Faustus. If men want to “do something ” they should challenge and/or withdraw from committees, boards and organizations that eschew feminist aspirations or are indifferent to them. Why prop up associations that refuse to acknowledge patriarchy even if members are personally opposed to violence against women? Don’t give these regressive movements any more support than they already have.

          Turning away from harmful groups is not enough however. Men are obligated to actively engage in anti-pornstitution work following the guidance of feminist abolitonists. Instead of fake solidarity, ask rape crisis centres what you as a man can do. Oh, and donate to feminist blogs: http://feministcurrent.com/donate/

          Be politically proactive not reactionary!

  • http://djupgron.wordpress.com Henke

    This is a post that should be read by the whole world and esp. all of us males out there that considers ourselves to be allies in the liberation of females from patriarchy.
    If one fails to do that one will not succeed in liberating oneself as a male from patriarchy either. It really is that simple.

    • Me

      I think being dispossessed, severely ostracized or hit in the teeth for failing to support women in shutting out and disempowering an abuser would be helpful. The stalling doesn’t hurt them any otherwise so they won’t care.

      The men in the post will sometimes hear you out, but you can see their minds wandering as they’re thinking of the next completely useless thing to ramble on about, because rambling is what matters to them, not radical change. “Oh yeah, I agree, like I was saying…” or worse, “It’s like the guy I was telling you about whose woman was always threatening him with…”

      • http://djupgron.wordpress.com Henke

        Sorry this post will be a bit lenghty.

        Yeah, I don’t get this constant need to ramble on about everything I just don’t. Sure there are many ways of feminism today (if we count what people would label as feminism today but I sure know that does not mean all of you women writing here thinks everything out there that wears that label is feminism at all) and if I, as a male, gets interested in for example queer feminism or any of the more modern variations I don’t have to change anything it seems. I can just continue being an sexist, macho, dominant, abusive guy because skipping the he/she pronounces apparently takes away my behaviours, attitudes and responsibilities. I’ve experienced cases first hand in which it is no doubt that they are men that seriously should not be let near anyone of the opposite sex, on the brink of being psychopaths/sociopaths but still there they are because having moral standards,ethics and some responsibility towards others is not a priority it seems.

        So far radical feminism and its nearby theories like Marxist feminism (it maybe is rooted in radfem theory as well ?! I’m no expert of herstory here so I shall not go into what is coming from where and so on) is what, at least to me, is having the best critique what masculinity/femininity means, what being in the classes/roles of men and women means, what patriarchy is and while it is important to discuss gender and what that is, I think another discussion that so often gets drowned out, mainly because its even worse for these people to talk about as it means they have to look at themselves, is attitudes and behaviour.

        I think here is when the trouble starts for so many (even among women in this culture) while it seems okey for most “branches” of feminism to describe patriarchy using radfem theory it more often than not completely falls apart when it comes for people to actually change their behaviours and attitudes (to me that is what it all boils down too) it is like you hit a wall and liberalist thinking takes over and it becomes this quest about a pretty negative satisfaction of the self “me, me, me”. This extremely self-centred “I want my way even if it means at the expense of others” way is so common today everywhere and to me radfem is the only form of feminism (that I personally know of anyway) that really takes to the core that while of course the self matters, it matters in the context of the larger whole and hence why we should think about how we behave.
        People (and this is so obvious among us men) don’t want to change “hey we support women not to be raped” and continues making sexist jokes or rape jokes and watches porn.
        “Oh I don’t like domestic violence” and continues behaving like a domination/abusive man. “Oh, I of course stand behind that we all act nice to one another and respectful” and continues using demeaning labels onto others and if it is not enough of demeaning labels out there, let’s make up some new ones to use. All this becomes just words without action, words/sentences that has no real impact in the real world and quite frankly I think in the end they don’t want change at all. They enjoy their shitty attitudes and is sticking with them and so they end up supporting, what I see often be described here as fun-feminism, for example because then you don’t have to change. You can just go on and live in this culture, behaving like most members do in this culture and just come with fancy words or sentences from time to time and continue to rant against all of you that takes this serious and has this whole complete picture of what is happening in the real world. Real radicalism because to me the whole world is at stake here. Too me the liberation of women and girls from patriarchy is no different than the fight of liberating Gaia from patriarchy, or liberating nonhuman animals from the industrial animal industry or us men & boys from patriarchy.
        It all ties together, it is the whole mindset of the dominant culture that needs to go or else nothing will change I think.

  • Derrington

    This so mirrors how i felt and still do when i have my raw days. Til we start warning girls of the real dangers of sexist men, we are letting them play with traffic completely unwarned. And that is societies great colluding shame in sexist violence towards women and children.

  • http://libertynothedonism.blogspot.com.au/ Independent Radical

    I hope you don’t mind if I discuss the issue from a radical leftist (Marxist) perspective.

    First of all, I daresay that if a someone at a university claims to be “progressive”, “anti-capitalist” or “pro-social justice” but they don’t describe themselves as “socialist”, “communist” or “anarchist” you can safely presume that they’re individualistic liberals who have no understanding of politics beyond the post-modernist, sexual libertarian nonsense that their sociology/gender studies professors told them. “Progressive” and “anti-capitalist” are convenient words because they don’t really tell people what you’re for and therefore they don’t scare people who’ve been told that if a person has ideas that they think are true (for everyone, not just them) then they’re evil tyrannts. Words like “anti-capitalist” and “revolution” are great for people who want to rebel for the sake of rebelling and seem all edgy and cool. People who are serious about working class revolution actually have the guts to explain to people what they are for (whether it be an economy democratically managed by workers or a society free from class divisions or whatever.)

    Generic “social justice” activists don’t take their politics seriously at all. You can tell from the way they write. It reads like something out of a super-feminine magazine aimed at teenage women and they put LOLcats on websites that are supposed to be serious things such as conferences (yes, I have seen this.)

    I have respect for genuine leftist organisations that take their policies seriously and don’t pretend that they’re out to be my “BFF” in order to get their support. I would also argue that radical leftist organisations tend to have better positions when it comes to women’s issues than your typical porn-loving “social justice” activist. Leftist organisations tend to be anti-pornography, anti-prostitution and anti-beauty practices. One can see how these issues clearly tie in with an anti-capitalist agenda. So I would happily support these organisations over mainstream university activism any day.

    Let’s be honest here. Universities are profit driven enterprises. As governments continue to pursue neoliberalism by cutting funding to universities, universities are getting funding from other places. My university’s magazine contains advertisements for sex shops selling BDSM equipment (which clearly means the student union, if not the university itself, is getting money from these businesses), advertisements promoting Cosmopolitan are all over the place and there’s a beauty salon right on our campus that does Brazilian waxes (a beauty practice that would barely exist if not for pornography) for $25. Our universities might as well be run by pornographers. Debate is highly restricted (to crap like “is all porn empowering or just some of it?”) and the “activism” is just another product that they try to sell to us.

    In saying all this, I don’t mean to suggest that there’s no misogyny within radical leftist organisations. There’s certainly a lot of hatred for radical feminism, but let’s not pretend this is unique to the radical left. Everyone with a microphone is hating on the radical feminists nowadays, it’s the cool thing to do. Show any kind of support for radical feminism and there goes your “social justice” target audience.

    Another problem is that radical leftist movements have given up on having moral principles. Moral principles aren’t cool nowadays. They don’t sell well. So communism can’t be about improving humanity by transforming society and culture in order to create the kind of world where altruism, cooperation and community are valued over greed, consumerism , superficiality and emotional callousness (all of which are promoted by sexual libertarianism whether its proponents admit it or not.) No, we’re meant to think that people, men especially, are awesome as they are. No self-criticism, no self-improvement, that stuff’s “moralistic” and “judgemental” and “oppressive” (which is not to say that there’s no such thing as harmful self-criticism, e.g. women feeling hatred towards totally harmless physical characteristics like leg hair.)

    Personally I’m all for men and women joining together to fight for revolution, so long as the women are not the ones who are required to do all the compromising and all the self-criticism with regard to gender. It’s time for men to realise that masculinity and sexual libertarianism are products of economic and social conditions just like femininity and the nuclear family are and, yes, it’s time for men to change. You want “working class unity”? Stop demanding it from women. Earn it by treating women with respect.

    • http://www.montrealcyclechic.com lagatta à montréal

      I’ve voted you up (I’m an ecosocialist, and most defnitely a marxist) but there has been a lot of serious sexist crap, all the way up to rape, in Marxist and Anarchist organisations as well. And a great deal of so-called “ordinary” or “daily” sexism. Despite the principles these groups stand for, sincerely on the most part, they don’t exist outside the larger capitalist, patriarchal society that is ever more intent on reducing people – and in particular, women – to commodities.

      Confess that “anti-beauty practices” scares me a bit: it reminds me of a particular group that used to exist here in which all the women had the same short bob, and dressed in an odd, unattractive manner. (The men did the same). I’d never have a Brazilian (sounds like torture, and pubes are there for a reason) or stiletto heels, but I like wearing pretty clothes and riding my bicycle in a skirt. Well, I’m from Québec, and people in Latin-speaking societies, male or female, tend to be more attuned to such aesthetics. Refusing to be a sex object does not mean denying our sexuality or our charm, whether we are male or female, gay or straight, old or young.

      • http://liberalfeministtropes.blogspot.com.au/ Independent Radical

        “Despite the principles these groups stand for, sincerely on the most part, they don’t exist outside the larger capitalist, patriarchal society that is ever more intent on reducing people – and in particular, women – to commodities.”

        I totally agree, which is why I acknowledged that there is misogyny within the radical left, the same way there is misogyny everywhere else. This doesn’t mean that it is okay for Marxism to be misogynistic (a harmful behaviour is not okay just because everyone else is doing it) but it does mean that Marxism is not correlated with misogyny. In my experience they’re less misogynistic than your typical liberal “social justice” activist (which is not saying much, frankly.)

        I’ve also noticed a contrast between individual radical leftists I encounter on the internet and Marxist organisations. The organisations are more like to reject pro-pornography, pro-prostitution nonsense. As someone who favours organised vanguards over spontaneous anarchist uprisings maybe I’m biased or maybe it has something to do with the history of anarchism. While sexual libertarianism is a recent development within Marxist movements, it’s been part of anarchism for over a hundred years and yes I do believe there is a strong link between sexual libertarianism and misogyny. The more one tries to liberate sex, the more one realises that most women don’t want it liberated and so women get accused of having been brainwashed into “sex negativity” (an accusation which may have had been some validity in the past but is now total nonsense) and men feel they have to “liberate” them (and I think we all know what that means.)

        Anyhow, I think it’s important that Marxist organisations learn from the criticisms of radical feminists instead of dismissing them as “prudish” and “man-hating”. Whether they deserve hatred or not, there’s no denying that men as a group could use with some serious improvement.

        “Confess that “anti-beauty practices” scares me a bit: it reminds me of a particular group that used to exist here in which all the women had the same short bob, and dressed in an odd, unattractive manner. (The men did the same).”

        I don’t want to sound like a liberal, but this statement seems somewhat bigoted to me. Now I’m all for “bigotry” against men who think that domination and violence are sexy or who want to have sex with children or in public or whatever other “transgressive” thing liberals want to celebrate, but I don’t think your fear of the group in question was at all justified. Were they hurting anyone by dressing “oddly” (a judgement which is extremely culturally specific) or “unattractively”? Were they hurting themselves? Probably not, in fact they were probably hurting themselves slightly less than those who perform mild beauty practices. Were they celebrating the domination of one person over another? No, at least it doesn’t sound like they were. It seems like you were just scared of them because they’re different to the prettified people you see around you.

        “I’d never have a Brazilian (sounds like torture, and pubes are there for a reason) or stiletto heels, but I like wearing pretty clothes and riding my bicycle in a skirt.”

        The radical leftists I’ve encountered were mostly critical of extreme beauty practices rather than mild ones. The women mostly wore pretty clothings, shaved their legs and didn’t stand out physically from other women (if that makes you feel better, which it shouldn’t.) That said, they also wrote articles criticising mild beauty practices and even praised a group of radical feminists from the past who had planned to burn bras along with other feminine objects. Of course they despise the “biological determinist” radical feminists of today. Somehow they don’t realise that the movement they praised is the same movement they hate on today and that it’s even possible that they’re both praising and hating the same people.

        “Well, I’m from Québec, and people in Latin-speaking societies, male or female, tend to be more attuned to such aesthetics. Refusing to be a sex object does not mean denying our sexuality or our charm, whether we are male or female, gay or straight, old or young.”

        Where I come from, men, for the most part, don’t care how they look. They frequently go out in public in dull, loose clothing with hair on their legs, acne on their faces and not a care in the world. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but anyhow, these men aren’t “oppressed” by their lack of aesthetics. They don’t feel like they’re missing out on “sexuality” or “charm” in fact they express their sexual desires more boldly than women do (in my opinion, too boldly.) Men don’t suffer from body hatred nearly as much as women do and doubt that’s a conincidence. I don’t know whether beauty practices cause body hatred or body hatred causes beauty practices, but I suspect it’s a bit of both. You can’t “improve” your appearance without declaring your natural appearance to be inferior.

        A beauty practice free world may not look as pretty as our world does, but it would be better for humans physically, psychology and environmentally (think of all the resources that would be conserved if beauty practices were to be abolished, not to mention a reduction in the need for human labour.) I don’t think beauty practices should be banned and I don’t think the “unattractive” group you encountered wanted to ban them either. I think that the best way to discourage harmful behaviours (and this includes the harmful behaviour of men towards women) is to change the culture in which people are raised. And yes, that will “scare” a lot of people, but that’s what political radicals do we scare people by challenging things they take for granted.

        • Me

          Dress code and misogyny can be the glue that holds together a movement or a cult with no real and beautiful foundation. Context is very important.

          I liked this bit from Martin Prechtel. He describes youth who once barged in to demand his mentor teach them “everything” about “shamanism”:

          “These youths’ Indigenous Souls were aching for life, tribe, and meaning, but without the grief-filled remembrance on an intact Indigenous Soul and mind they approached this longing with an inherited mind-set not their own, a mind-set responsible for the demise of the very intactness they desired, a mind-set not capable of seeing that its ‘wanting’ was a type of greed through conquest.”

          I think it is possible to create as well as wear beauty not to reinforce gender roles, but to serve something bigger through beautiful living. Depending of course on how one understands “beautiful” and “beautiful living.”

          • http://www.montrealcyclechic.com lagatta à montréal

            Yes, that was wonderful! Remember “black is beautiful”.

        • lizor

          What a great comment I.R.!

          With most of us so drenched in pointedly dictatorial media re: aesthetics, the whole question of what constitutes “prettiness”, what “prettiness” means and what it does has been almost completely buried. Instead we spend many hours and virtual column inches debating whether a severely conservative pornified pop performer is initiating positive social change for females. It’s heartbreaking.

          You are so right about those supposedly “oddly” dressed women were not hurting anyone – although I am willing to bet that they were subtly and no-so-sublty reprimanded for not adhering to the dictates of the “aesthetic”. Even now they are marginalized by intelligent and serious-thinking women as is evidenced above.

          I live in the country and as much as I reject the citation of so-called “nature” as an excuse for socially constructed oppressive practices, it’s spring and the non-built world is full of many species colourful male birds; “pretty” male birds of all kinds as those creatures get themselves sorted out for this year’s procreation. I cannot help but wonder how the job of being eye-catching and attractive got “rationalized” into being yet another item on the long list of female human labour, along with making the people, raising the people, constructing and maintaining something akin to a home, and all the rest of our unacknowledged contribution to the very foundations of human survival – and all in the face of economic hardship, abuse and danger directed at us from male members of our own species.

          The idea that latin-speaking societies are somehow innately more attuned to “these aesthetics” makes me extremely uncomfortable.The notion of the prettiness requirement of women being benign or shared between the sexes as a cultural trait is fallacy, I think. For one thing, the requirement to perform prettiness certainly is not shared between men and women, whatever language they speak.

          I know I am digressing somewhat from the focus of Meghan’s post which is so brilliantly dead-on I have no thoughts to contribute beyond my deepest gratitude to her for articulating this truth so effectively. Thanks again Meghan! You give us hope and continue to be an inspiration.

          • anaeli

            Hello lizor. I myself come from a Latin speaking country (this sounds weird, haha). What I think lagatta à montréal meant was not that “we” are naturally more attuned to something, but that there is a cultural difference. At least I really do think so. Unfortunately, I can only speak from personal experience, so long story short: there a lot of North American people that go to my hometown as tourists or to study there for a few months. Since I speak pretty good English, I made friends wit h a lot of the women that visited and many of them were a little shocked that girls and women were so fashionable and prettified all the time – at that time, I was one of the girls who worked reaaaallyyy hard to be prettified, too. While the North American women did do their hair and wore some make-up and sometimes had some fancy clothing, I must admit it was no where near what the girls my age (I was in high school then and these women were all college aged). I really feel that in the society I live in, there is a much bigger pressure to be pretty and sexy much younger in life, and I had classmates post naked or nearly naked, very sexualized, photos of themselves online and with nearly no repercussions (this actually happened in middle school). I was persecuted by my male classmates for not following suit. I’m NOT saying these girls were bad or something, just that the pressure was already extremely high at 13-14 years of age and coming from male peers (who watched porn on their cell phones during breaks). So, back to my point. While I never gave it much thought when I was younger, now that I am so detached from said events, I really do think there is a cultural difference in this department. Of course, where I live it is much more acceptable to be misogynistic/ publicly sexist. Hah, I was once told by a guy that if a woman doesn’t get offended by misogynistic jokes, it means she’s open-minded! If people say sexist or racist remarks on TV, no one really cares, it’s just the way things are, y’know. I. e. There are a lot of live TV shows hosted by men (of course) with a lot of female assistants as pretty props, dressed very demurely and prized only for their bodies. It is not a common occurrence to hear public persons, humorous articles, friends and whoever call them prostitutes and that the only reason they are on set is so that the male hosts can have sex with them. It is not uncommon to hear male politicians call female politicians very sexist insults if they show any sign of femininity (not saying femininity is good, just that it’s so despised it’s ok to publicly shame women politicians for being feminine). And this is a country that joined the European Union in 2007, way to go social progress!

            Anyway, wow, did that go off rails! I also really love the original article and this whole blog really (it is how I discovered feminism after all), but I just really felt the need to write this. Hope it brings some perspective, I am not really experienced with writing about the subjects.

          • anaeli

            Hmm, now that I’ve reread my comment I’ve noticed I’ve made some silly mistakes. I meant to say it is VERY common to hear those women being called prostitutes and female politicians being insulted. Sorry, next time I’m going to proofread before I press ‘post comment’.

          • lizor

            Hi anaeli,

            Thanks for your response. I actually did understand that lagatta was talking about a cultural difference and what makes me uncomfortable about that argument on this blog is that we – as I understand it – are here to critique culture: all cultures that impose norms according to gender, just as in the case you describe. To propose that a certain linguistic group is more attuned to “aesthetics” as regards women enjoying performing femininity does not sit outside the realm of critique. That’s relativism.

          • anaeli

            No, no, of course, I get it, I just wanted to exemplify. Thanks for the comment!

          • http://mmmariguana.wordpress.com mmmariguana

            “Hah, I was once told by a guy that if a woman doesn’t get offended by misogynistic jokes, it means she’s open-minded!”

            I was once told by a woman that if you have an open mind assholes will just come along and throw garbage in it.

          • http://www.montrealcyclechic.com lagatta à montréal

            I don’t think Latin-speaking societies are superior to Germanic-speaking societies or any other language or cultural group – which is a preposterous idea. I was reacting to a person who was putting forth an image that struck me as very much culturally imposed by Puritanism and hatred of charm and self-expression in dress – male or female, gay or straight.

            I do think that the anglosphere tends to portray itself as the norm.

            All societies evolve, and they can regress as well as progress. Returning to Italy under Berlusconian regress was a visceral shock after all the challenges of the established class, gender and social order seen in the recent past.

          • lizor

            ” I was reacting to a person who was putting forth an image that struck me as very much culturally imposed by Puritanism and hatred of charm and self-expression in dress – male or female, gay or straight.”

            With respect, what I don’t understand is how the appearance of the marxist women indicates “puritanism” while riding a bike in a skirt and constructing the appearance of what we deem “pretty” is not less dictatorial.

            I may be reading you wrong, but you seem to use the word “aesthetics” as if it held pre-existing values as to what is aesthetically “charm and self expression” and what is not. You need to define “charm” and what aesthetic it is that you deem “self-expression”. From my perspective, most of what is deemed “pretty” by the mainstream indicates conformity – mainly because I see the majority of people (women) doing it. The resistance to that conformity – what I would argue is a form of puritanism by way of muted colours and shorter hair with simpler lines can also be understood to be extremely charming.

          • lizor

            Ooops – I somehow posted that last comment before I was done and it seemed to get lost, so I wasn’t even sure what I had written.

            I meant my last sentence to say that resistance to conformity of appearance – say, an aesthetic comprised of muted colours and shorter hair with simpler lines can also be a charming form of self expression. Some might even call it “pretty” (a problematic term in its own right).

            The presumption that terms like “attractive” and “unattractive” have fundamental, universal or ontological meaning is exactly the site where hegemony happens.

          • http://liberalfeministtropes.blogspot.com.au/ Independent Radical

            “With respect, what I don’t understand is how the appearance of the marxist women indicates “puritanism” ”

            I believe she was talking about me there, not the Marxist group (hence her use of the word “person”, instead of “people” or “women”.)
            Anyhow, I am definitely not a Puritan, I actually looked up the Wikipedia page for Puritanism to see if I was. Here’s what it said;

            “According to Puritans, husbands were the spiritual head of the household, while women were to demonstrate religious piety and obedience under male authority… Puritan husbands commanded authority through family direction and prayer. The female relationship to her husband and to God was marked by submissiveness and humility.”

            I want men and women to treat each as equals in all spheres, including the bedroom, so this definitely doesn’t describe me. In fact I object to particular sexual acts specifically because they do involve women demonstrating “submissiveness” and “obedience under male authority”. Sexual libertarians (or “liberationists” as they call themselves) are in a sense more Puritan than me because they believe that male dominated sex acts and relationships are perfectly acceptable, while I believe that they are totally inconsistant with the aim of achieving a world in which human beings interact as equals, an aim I believe in quite strongly.

            Although there is a sense in which the label “Puritan” does describe me. Quoting from Wikipedia again;

            “In modern usage, the word “puritan” is often used to describe someone who adheres to strict moral or religious principles.”

            Yes, I do indeed have a set of moral principles and I think they should be applied consistantly. These principles include the view that human beings should not dominate other human beings, that they should strive to do what it best for humanity as a whole, that they should not be obsessed with seeking pleasure for themselves as individuals and that our lives and our economy should not be orientated around producing wealth for wealth’s sake.

            The failure to apply them consistently results in Marxists mistreating and despising radical feminists. A gender-conforming (masculine) working class male has an interest in abolishing the power that the capitalist class has over him while maintaining power over his wife/girlfriend within his home/bedroom. That’s why so many men reject economic libertarianism but accept sexual libertarianism. If they were consistantly commited to the principle of equality and thus sought to improve themselves so that they would no longer want to rule over women, they wouldn’t be declaring war on genuine (non-liberal) feminism.

            “The resistance to that conformity … can also be understood to be extremely charming.”

            Charming or not, they and others like them (e.g. lesbian feminists who rejected beauty practices) were certainly engaged in “self-expression”. Women who refuse to perform prettiness practices (as I should have called them, “beauty” is a far deeper thing than prettiness, which is what “beauty practices” are really about) are telling us way more about themselves than women covered in make-up, tattoos, piercings, etc. The former are telling those around them that they think prettiness practices are oppressive, that women’s natural hair-covered bodies are not any more disgusting than men’s natural hair-covered bodies and that we shouldn’t judge women by how they look. In fact it is because prettiness-practice rejecting women are making a clear political statement that everyone hates them. Most people don’t have a problem with the “rebellious” women who wear tight-black clothing and cover themselves with piercings and tattoos, because they aren’t actually making any statements.

            Everybody likes “rebelliousness” in the abstract, but few people realise that real rebellion scares people by upsetting the status quo. And the idea that people (especially women) should express themselves, not with spoken words, protests, written manifestos etc. (and other things that clearly communicate philosophical and political viewpoints), but with clothing which is purchased from profit-driven, exploitative corporations (and which actually says very little about the person in question) is a big part of that status quo. You don’t need fancy clothes to have individuality. You don’t need fancy clothes to express individuality. You don’t need to buy new clothes every few months to maintain individuality. These are all lies corporations tell people to make them buy way more clothes than you need. This is not a latin-speaking thing (I’ve had the “fashion is a language” thing preached to me at my university, which is not in North America, by the way.) This is a patriarchal-yet-economically-advanced-capitalist-country thing.

          • lizor

            Another great comment Independent Radical. You are right, I thought lagatta had used “puritan” in relation to the women with the short hair she referred to. However, describing their choices as unattractive and resistance to beauty hegemony as scary certainly echoes the charges of puritanism that we are used to.

            I agree with everything you have written and I think you are expressing a very similar position to mine, but perhaps much more clearly than I did. I find the individual expression of a woman who rejects beauty dictates to be thoroughly charming and by charming I mean inspiring, moving and beautiful. On the other hand I see no beauty in the repetitious predictable conformity of “hotness” and “prettiness”. That to me is, as you have said, is a form of contemporary puritanism.

          • Me

            Thank you for those comments and for the discussion.

        • http://www.montrealcyclechic.com lagatta à montréal

          Oh, yes. The anglosphere is always right and the measure of all things. Disregard for aesthetics in everyday life does not make for a better world, and yes, a certain type of anglo North American man is among the worst offenders in that regard.

          I was talking about a group (which shall remain unnamed) that was a bit of a cult. I find cults scary, even purportedly Marxist cults.

          And sexual liberation (which is NOT libertinism) is very important indeed.

      • morag

        I wonder if the “unattractive” women you’re describing are Orthodox? We really need to step away from the whole “Orthodox women are so ignorant and oppressed by their men, I’ll liberate them with mascara!” Also why do you equate harmful beauty practices with sexuality? The whole point of radical feminism is that female sexuality is not high heels and submission. Female sexuality is not synonomous with “thing that exists to be looked at.”

        • http://www.montrealcyclechic.com lagatta à montréal

          No, not at all. I was not describing devout Jews, Muslims, Christians or any other faith group. As I stated above, this was a leftist group that became sort of a cult.

          And I most certainly don’t think women exist “to be looked at”. We exist, period, and hopefully as people “for themselves” in the philosophical sense. Just as men do.

          • morag

            Existing as people for ourselves is all very well and good, but that in the end does nothing for the liberation of all females. I just found your talk of “charm” and “being sexy but not a sex object” to be more liberal than radical.

          • http://www.montrealcyclechic.com lagatta à montréal

            Morag, did you get the reference to “class in itself” vs “class for itself?”

            It would be not even liberal if I thought “charm” was the preserve of heterosexual women, when I obviously stated the opposite. I suspect this is another cultural conflict.

            While we are certainly no less sexist than you are, despite the heroic gains of Québécoises, it is normal here to say “il est charmant”, “un charmant monsieur”, as much as it would be to describe a girl or woman.

          • morag

            I’m sorry, I’m having difficulty understanding what you’re trying to say. I think it’s because usually when someone says “charm” it’s in the context of “women have the real power because they can use their feminine charms to get what they want!”

            If you like wearing pretty dresses while riding bicycles no one here is going to stop you, but I found it confusing that you were talking about “being sexy vs being a sex object” since no one here is arguing against women being sexual beings. I don’t think anyone here is arguing about getting rid of beauty as a concept either, it’s just that what’s now associated with beauty is tied to female subjugation. You also mentioned that “anti beauty practices scare you” a bit, and I think to alleviate that fear you should remember that there are plenty of women-especially lesbians-who have never bought into the whole femininity thing at all. I think associating anti-feminity/”unattractiveness” with cult-like behaviour is getting it kind of backwards tbh. I also don’t really understand your “us vs you” comment considering I never said where I’m from…

          • http://www.montrealcyclechic.com lagatta à montréal

            Dresses? I said skirts. I’m not a sweet young thing; I’m almost 60.

            I am not afraid of lesbians or other women who refuse to look conventionally “female”. Have several friends like that. What I fear is cultish political groups that tell women how to dress. Of course if the group had wanted all the “chicks” bleached blonde and in deep décolletés to attract male prospects, that would be even worse, but groupthink is scary.

          • morag

            Ok, but in your original comment you made it seem that the fact that that group dressed “unattractiveley” was the problem, not that they were a cult. You said that anti beauty practices scared you, and saying “I have lesbian friends” doesn’t explain that. And I’m 22 and apologise profuseley for saying dress instead of skirt, as if any of that has any bearing on this discussion.

    • Orryia

      “First of all, I daresay that if a someone at a university claims to be “progressive”, “anti-capitalist” or “pro-social justice” but they don’t describe themselves as “socialist”, “communist” or “anarchist” you can safely presume that they’re individualistic liberals who have no understanding of politics beyond the post-modernist, sexual libertarian nonsense that their sociology/gender studies professors told them.”

      See, here’s where I have a problem (going a little off-topic), because it sounds like you’re defining two separate, opposing groups. I may be revealing my ignorance, so please correct me if I’m wrong.

      Personally, I am against individualistic culture, against porn, against prostitution, against the idea of “everything-is-fine-as-long-as-it’s-your-choice”, against beauty practices (during a long period of my teenage years I refused to shave my legs). In fact, when I first discovered this blog I had little knowledge of radical feminism, and was ecstatic at finally finding feminists who criticised these issues.

      On the other hand, I couldn’t remotely be called a socialist, communist or anarchist. If anything, I oppose these movements. (I’m not enthusiastic about capitalism either, but I think it’s necessary, to a certain degree.)

      If these two groups are mutually exclusive, where does that put me?

      • Meghan Murphy

        Why do you oppose socialism, communism, or anarchism (I’m just curious)?

        • Orryia

          Well, I haven’t studied them thoroughly, so I might change my mind in the future. As to why I oppose them, I’ll do my best to summarize it in a comment.

          I don’t support capitalism as a value system. It just appears to be the most successful economic system in the long run. Communist states have a horrible track record, and while perhaps it’s not due to elements inherit in communism (you can blame a lot on the stupidity of totalitarian leaders), it does raise a suspicion that maybe this isn’t the best way to run the economy of a state. As much as social classes are not ideal, I have doubts that attempting to abolish them through a revolution will deliver the desired results.

          I’m sure there has been a comprehensive analysis about the root causes of the historical failures of communism, and conclusions have been drawn of how to avoid those problems in a future communist state. Unfortunately, however, many of the communists I’ve talked to will speak of “revolution” and the “proletariat” in an anachronistic manner that makes it seem that they believe absolutely nothing has changed since Marx’s days.

          As for anarchism, my problem is twofold. On the practical level, I don’t see anarchism being practiced on a large scale without an unprecedented change in human society. In the meantime, anarchism is a fringe movement divided into numerous subgroups, many who disagree with each other vehemently (as the existence of synthesis anarchism will attest to).

          Supposing that anarchism is possible, there is still the question of whether it should exist. I don’t see how a just social order could be maintained without the use of authority.

          “Rabbi Chanina, an assistant of the high priest said: Pray for the welfare of the government, since but for fear of it men would swallow each other alive.” (Ethics of the Fathers 3:2)

          This was said about the Roman Empire, about as violent a state as you can find, that had caused endless grief to Rabbi Chanina’s nation. Even so, he recognized the fundamental need of some form of government.

          Anarchists believe that they can abolish the state safely and with the consent of the collective (except the violent anarchists, but I’m not talking about them). However, one cannot dismiss the grave dangers in such an act. I haven’t yet found a detailed explanation of the way the anarchist society will replace the roles of the state: in resource distribution, maintaining public order, dealing with criminals and protecting the community from serious external threats.

          I’d appreciate any comments or corrections anyone has to offer.

          • Meghan Murphy

            “It just appears to be the most successful economic system in the long run.”

            Well, I suppose if poverty, homelessness, a widening gap between rich and poor, a rising and exorbitant student debt load, climate change due to corporate power and the prioritization of profit and ‘the economy’ over heath and sustainability constitutes ‘success’…

            Like, we are exposed to cancer-causing carcinogens on a regular basis in via the food we eat and products we use because of capitalism. Animals are tortured via factory farming because of capitalism. Oil spills happens because of capitalism. People starve and are homeless because of capitalism. Prostitution happens (in part) because of capitalism.

            I’m sure there’s more here… This is just off the top of my head.

            Capitalism, from my perspective, is one of the most destructive forces on the planet. It prioritizes profit over people/the environment/life.

          • http://liberalfeministtropes.blogspot.com.au/ Independent Radical

            “Communist states have a horrible track record, and while perhaps it’s not due to elements inherit in communism (you can blame a lot on the stupidity of totalitarian leaders), it does raise a suspicion that maybe this isn’t the best way to run the economy of a state.”

            What you should keep in mind is that the institutions promoting the mainstream view (e.g. the media, the education system, universities, etc.) all have an interest in ensuring that radical leftism is rejected by the masses since they stand to lose a lot if the masses embrace it. Thus the view they promote is one-sided and probably somewhat exaggerated as well. Few communists are of the opinion that nothing horrible has ever happened in countries claiming to be socialist (none of them ever claimed to be communist, by the way) and there’s plently of debate about which states were genuinely socialist and which weren’t. My approach is to simply look at the positive and negative aspects of each state and try to learn as much as possible from them.

            For example, most people don’t realise that living standards in the Soviet Union, rose dramatically under Stalin, as did life expectancy. I’m not denying that people died as a result of some of Stalin’s policies. I don’t want to trivialise their deaths and I wouldn’t call myself a Stalin supporter, but there were positive things that were accomplished in the Soviet Union under Stalin and in countries which described themselves as “socialist”. These benefits (e.g. dramatic, rather than gradual, increases in life expectancy, access to higher education for workers/women, women’s participation in the work place, etc.) are specific to self-proclaimed socialist countries and that indicates that these countries have done something right.

            People think the history of socialist states matches anti-communist predictions, but it actually doesn’t. Even if we only consider the problems that existed in socialist countries they don’t match the predicted problems. For example, capitalism lovers think that without capitalist competition there would be no technological advancement, but the Soviet Union clearly wasn’t lacking in technological advancement. If anything the government placed to much emphasis on technological advance at the expense of meeting other needs. Capitalism lovers also argue that a socialist government would be inefficient at producing things, but this was not the case in the Soviet Union either. Plenty of things were produced and the economy developed very quickly, but it didn’t develop in line with the needs of the people.

            “Unfortunately, however, many of the communists I’ve talked to will speak of “revolution” and the “proletariat” in an anachronistic manner that makes it seem that they believe absolutely nothing has changed since Marx’s days.”

            Things have changed, but capitalism’s fundamental class structure has not. A large section of the population is still made up of “proletarians” (as Marx defined them), the fact that they now work in offices instead of factories doesn’t change the fact that they are playing a subordinate role to the capitalist class, in the same way that women are still subordinate to men even though they don’t adhere to the gender norms promoted by conservatives (women have a new set of norms to adhere to, which are arguably even worse.)

            “I’m sure there has been a comprehensive analysis about the root causes of the historical failures of communism, and conclusions have been drawn of how to avoid those problems in a future communist state.”

            Radical leftists have analysed the causes of the failures, but it’s difficult to draw a conclusion about how to prevent future problems because each situation is unique and many of the problems that existed in socialist regimes were related to the specific circumstances of the time (for example, the Soviet Union had to prepare for war with Nazi Germany, hence all the emphasis on industrialisation) but I do think that some of the problems could be prevented by ensuring that the economy is run by a democratically elected government. Socialism would also work better if multiple countries were able to work together to create it (instead of one economically isolated country) but I don’t think it’s totally impossible for socialism to work in one country.

            “Supposing that anarchism is possible, there is still the question of whether it should exist. I don’t see how a just social order could be maintained without the use of authority.”

            Anarchism is a confusing ideology. They present themselves as being anti-authority (or rather anti-hierarchy) but then they say “we’re not against all hierarchies, only unjust, unnecessary ones”. Well in that case, Nazis can claim they’re anarchists, since they thought their hierarchy was necessary. Anyway, I think it would be a misrepresentation of anarchism to suggest that they were against any think of authority. What seperates them from Marxists is their opposition to any kind of vanguard party or parties and their support for the notion that the masses can rise up spontaneous to bring about revolution without having to be lead.

            ““Rabbi Chanina, an assistant of the high priest said: Pray for the welfare of the government, since but for fear of it men would swallow each other alive.” (Ethics of the Fathers 3:2)

            This was said about the Roman Empire, about as violent a state as you can find, that had caused endless grief to Rabbi Chanina’s nation.”

            Though, I am not an anarchist, I think that quote presents an extremely cynical view of human nature (or rather male nature.) I would argue that living under a violent state like Rome encourages men to be violent. Far from preventing violence, states like that create the sorts of people who then “need” them to keep them in line. Rome had a culture that promoted violence (the gladiator tournaments are an obvious example of this.) In case you think western capitalist countries are better, take a look at the culture. We’re no better than Rome when it comes to the glamorsiation of violence.

            I do think a socialist society will need a military to protect the society from invasion and a police force will be necessary, because a revolution is not going to magically undo the effects of growing up in a violent culture/society, but I think it’s better to prevent violence then to respond to it after the fact with more violence.

            “Anarchists believe that they can abolish the state safely and with the consent of the collective (except the violent anarchists, but I’m not talking about them).”

            I’m confused. I haven’t encountered one anarchist who thinks the state/ruling class will simply give up power willingly without the need for any kind of conflict, you may be thinking of utopians, a different group. Anyhow, talk to anarchists about anarchism. I can’t really claim to represent them.

            Also, I would add starvation to Meghan’s list of problems caused by capitalism. Around 10 million children starve each year (30,000 a day multiplied by 365) in an almost entirely capitalist world. So I would call capitalism a success, unless mere existance counts as success.

      • http://liberalfeministtropes.blogspot.com.au/ Independent Radical

        I’m sorry if I confused you, but I don’t see how my comment suggested that there were only those two kinds of people in the world or at universities. Of course there are people who don’t fall into either group. There’s MRAs (who honestly aren’t all that different to liberal feminists, in my view), racists, economic libertarians, conservatives, reactionaries of various kinds, politically neutral people (or at least people who think they’re politically neutral) and social democrats (which may be what you are, except that social democrats tend to be pretty individualistic when it comes to non-economic issues.) I didn’t talk about those groups because (with the exception of social democrats) they don’t fall within the category of “progressives” (the group Meghan was discussing in her article.)

        “See, here’s where I have a problem (going a little off-topic), because it sounds like you’re defining two separate, opposing groups. I may be revealing my ignorance, so please correct me if I’m wrong.”

        I was defining two seperate opposing groups, but I wasn’t suggesting that they were the only opposing groups. Think of it this way, if you role a single dice getting a six and getting a one are mutually exclusive events, meaning that there is no overlap between them (if you get a six, you cannot, at the same time, get a one and vice versa.) However, you can get neither six nor one. So by saying that six and one are incompatible, I’m not saying they’re the only options. For some reason we’re used to thinking of things in terms of twos (e.g. liberal vs. conservative, heads vs. tails, capitalism vs. socialism, etc.) but in many scenarios there are more than two options.

        Liberals like to blame “ignorance” for everything, but I think your confusion stems from a misunderstanding of how logic and rational thinking work. I’m not trying to insult you, I think most people lack the ability to think rationally, because people (especially “logical” men) believe that critical thinking comes naturally when in reality it needs to be taught. I come across way too many people (including people I agree with) who just don’t know how to put forwards sound arguments. I really wish critical thinking or something similar was taught in highschool.

        “If these two groups are mutually exclusive, where does that put me?”

        Are you claiming to be “progressive”, “anti-capitalist” or “pro-social justice”? If not, my comment does not apply to you in the first place. If you are anti-porn, anti-beauty practices etc., and you go to university or hang around people in university I suggest you stay away from the label “social justice”, because within a university context a “social justice activist” is a pro-porn, pro-everything-a-woman-has-ever-done liberal. “Progressive” may be okay, but be wary of that label as well, people also seem to think “progressive” means sexual libertarian. Of course, I don’t know where you live, maybe the labels means different things there, but my real life and internet experience back up these definitions.

        • Orryia

          Thanks for the clarification.

  • http://mmmariguana.wordpress.com mmmariguana

    You want women’s lives to matter to progressives? Do not hold your breath. Liberal/leftist/progressive men hate women just as deeply as conservation men; the only argument is whether women should be public or private property. From Todd Gitlin’s, The Sixties (it could be said this was the birth of second wave feminism):

    “On January 1969, the antiwar National Mobilization Committee marked the inauguration of Richard Nixon—or “inhoguration,” as it was called—with a march and rally in Washington. In the chaos that followed Chicago, only a few thousand demonstrators turned out; a scatter of objects was hurled helplessly at Nixon’s official caravan. That night, under the Mobe’s circus tent, two speakers from the growing women’s movement were on the platform: SDS veteran Marilyn Salzman Webb and New York radical feminist theoretician Shulamith Firestone. It was the usual movement practice to incorporate constituencies by giving them slots on the program—a pluralist move that made for long rallies. There were two women (along with others bearing mock voter registrations cards) because there were already two women’s positions bitterly antagonistic to each other. The radical feminists had wanted to skip the occasion, having concluded that all men kept all women down; Webb, an organizer of one of Washington’s first women’s consciousness-raising groups, had insisted that women keep taking their case to the larger movement. The radical feminists wanted to tear up voter registration cards on the platform, symbolizing that suffrage had failed women; Webb and her comrades decided to destroy theirs as well—to repudiate electoral politics across the board.

    “Marilyn Webb was twenty-six, slender, attractive. Although she had years of movement experience—she had organized a Head Start project in Chicago while a graduate student in psychology, and had spoken before black congregations—this was the first time she had addressed a multitude on a ceremonial occasion. “We as women are oppressed,” she said. “We, as supposedly the most privileged in this society, are mutilated as human beings so that we will learn to function within a capitalist system.” As she warned to the subject, pandemonium broke out in the crowd below her. She plunged on, denouncing a system that views people as “objects and property”—and a cheer went up. She heard shouts: “Take her off the stage and fuck her!” “Take her down a dark alley!” “Take if off!” This was not a burlesque joint, this was the movement she knew and loved. She finished, shaken, and Shulamith Firestone went to the microphone and attacked—not just capitalism, but men, and not just capitalist men, but the men in front of her, “revolutionary” men. “Let’s start talking about where you live, baby, “ she roared, to boos, “and wonder whether…capitalism and all those other isms don’t just begin at home…Because we women often have to wonder if you mean what you say about revolution or whether you just want more power for yourselves.”

    Fuck revolution. It’s nothing but a revolving door that periodically exchanges one batch of misogynists with another batch and none of them has ever given a flying fuck about women. Actually, they’ve always killed off the women who fought with them side by side after they won.

    The failure of the uprisings of the sixties and seventies was blamed on women because they started demanding a voice and participation in decision-making. As soon as they withdrew their support service/ scut work (the usual: Feeding the boys, making the coffee, fucking them on demand, cranking out the paperwork, breaking out the pom poms, etc.) the boys fee fees got hurt and they started shoving porn down our throats (you mean Linda Lovelace’s clitoris wasn’t really in her throat?) and gazing at their navels. They didn’t want to compete with women they realized were smarter than them, that were the authentic radicals, so went off and married a girl just like the girl that married dear ol’ dad (see The Heidi Chronicles).

    I’m 66. I’ve been through the second wave, naive belief that women were now on their way to liberation and the vicious resistance to that liberation over the last 45 years. I got suckered into the sexual “revolution” just like the sex pozzie, third wavers are being suckered now. I’ve been screwed by every phase of the backlash as a working, single mom.

    Throughout it all I’ve tried hard to stay positive and optimistic, but I’m about at the end of my hope rope since stupid has now become a virtue and lying an art form. It’s great that Jimmy Carter (look! It’s a unicorn! An old Southern white man who possibly gets it!) has written a book, “A Call To Action: Women, Religion, Violence and Power,” calling attention to what he calls “the most serious and unaddressed, worldwide challenge of our time,” but, I fear it’s too little, too late.

    I’m down to wishing for the paradigm shift in human consciousness promised by the coming of the Age of Aquarius. Pathetic.

    • Margaret McCarroll

      terrific post mmmariguana ! i’m 63 so i feel what you’re saying but we’re still here and all these other brilliant women are here and Meghan Murphy is here ! i was giving up but now i’m not ,,,

      • http://mmmariguana.wordpress.com mmmariguana

        Thank you, and yes, the brilliant women here and Meghan Murphy are beacons of hope.

    • http://www.montrealcyclechic.com lagatta à montréal

      Well, I certainly understand how you feel (after a recent experience with a covert misogynist “comrade”), but at the same time it sounds horribly defeatist. I’m less than ten years younger than you are. The logical conclusion of what you have written is suicide, but I do hope you still want to live and fight.

      • Me

        People have different (non-delusional) ways of dealing with the insanity and all the violence that can’t be sufficiently grieved and seems impossible to stop. Keeping the seeds alive however one can and finding ways to help them sprout in solidarity with others is imperative. Survival, not suicidal :)

      • http://mmmariguana.wordpress.com mmmariguana

        Charming. You understand squat about how I feel.

  • Nia

    Thank you for writing this piece. It’s what I feel, so sharp and poignant and REAL, inside my damned bones. It’s the reason that, even though I hate all of this stupid shit women are put through on the daily, I still fucking try: because I’m not the only one who feels this way. Sometimes I feel like I want to give up, but pieces like this remind me why I can’t.They remind me why we need equality. Even if I’m tired of it all, what about my sisters? My cousins? My friends? What about the women here on this site, here in my country, here in my city? What about the women all over the fucking world, who don’t even have the ability to access posts like these?

    If I give up the fight for actual equality for EVERYONE, then I am not helping any of those women. Even if it’s not increasing their oppression, it certainly isn’t relieving it. So thank you very much for writing this, and reminding me of why I need to do more, even if it seems hopeless sometimes. And thank you for sharing this information, which is invaluable, because no one else ever shared it with me.

  • http://twitter.com/Hermione333 Hermione Green (@Hermione333)

    Now I am thinking of buying the domain nexttopprogressivewebsite.com LOL.
    Your fervor for injustice is powerful…but just remember: men won’t wake up one day and say:’this patriarchy thing? we’ve spent 10 thousand years doing it but it’s kind of lame..let’s dismantle it pronto’. NO. It’s up to us women to claw our way out: by organizing our own communities, finding ways to educate girls rather than letting male-made culture indoctrinate them, inventing and putting in place democratic systems that dismantle political and economical male privilege so that our half of the population is heard just as loud. Only after a few generations of women having half the pie will gender disappear with its violence and oppression.
    So being frustrated at men is fruitless, it’s the women we have to focus our attention on. We women can take down the patriarchy all on our own. We are the 51%.

  • http://www.emotionalwellness.org sara

    You speak for me sister. This is why I used as the subtitle for the book I co-edited “I’m Not Mad, I’m Angry” and I resonate with Heather Bishop’s song: “Buddy What You”re Looking at Now is a Woman’s Anger…. Well said. Glad you are healed/healing as so many of us. Hate that we have been so wounded.

  • Lydia

    Hahaha! This is too funny! I rarely engage with men when it comes to any topic of substance, so I’m always caught off guard whenever I witness one of them opining about serious issues which he (admittedly) has no clue about. I mean, laughing sure beats the alternative (ripping one’s hair our, face-palming oneself into a coma, jumping out of the second story window…)
    Keep that thumb stuck up your ass, Taylor. No need to dislodge it now after going through life ignorant to the suffering of others, Mr. “I’m Not A Feminist Or Progressive.” No kidding.

  • Lydia

    Yes, yes, yes! It’s sad how often this bears repeating, but being sexualized =/= being sexual.

  • Lydia

    To be fair, men can’t really call themselves feminists since that would mean co-opting a movement that was never designed by or intended for them, i.e. women’s liberation.
    Now, they can certainly be allies, but it isn’t really up to them to give themselves that designation. However, absolutely nothing is stopping them from identifying as pro-feminist. They should have to put their actions behind it, though, since words have meaning.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Men who go around calling themselves feminists are big fat red flags, I’ve learned. Show don’t tell.

      • http://liberalfeministtropes.blogspot.com.au/ Independent Radical

        I don’t think much of women who call themselves “feminists” either, unless they call themselves “radical feminists”, but even that phrase has been co-opted recently. When I hear women calling themselves “feminists” it’s usually a prelude to a defence of pornography, prostitution, BDSM, etc. (as in “I’m a feminist and I love porn/prostitution/BDSM, so how can you say those things are anti-feminist.) Half the time these “feminists” have spent very little time researching feminist thought and those who have are only exposed to liberal feminist thought. They think they’re feminists just because they have a “sassy” or “rebellious” attitude.

        If you want me to believe that you’re a feminist, prove it! When you’re talking about books, films, television shows, etc. discuss the gendered content within them. When you’re walking through the toy section of a department store critique the ways in which “boys’ toys” encourage aggression, while “girls’ toys” encourage an obsession with one’s physical appearance. When the Fifty Shades of Grey film comes out next year and we get another constant stream of “news reports” telling us how much women love to be sexually dominated by men talk about how harmful that message is and if you don’t have the guts to do any of that, volunteer at a domestic violence or rape crisis centre. Same thing applies to men who claim they’re pro-feminist.

        In summary, real feminists shouldn’t need to state “I’m a feminist” if people can’t tell you’re a feminist or feminism supporter from your actions you probably aren’t one.

        • http://www.montrealcyclechic.com lagatta à montréal

          Huh? Higher up you were referring to a “radical leftist (Marxist) perspective”.

          Radical feminism is a different variety of feminism. There are certainly common themes, such as the rejection of bourgeois feminism, but it is a very different political orientation.

          • http://mmmariguana.wordpress.com mmmariguana

            Actually, there is one “variety” of feminism and it is radical. Otherwise, it is oxymoronic.

  • http://wateralwayswins.wordpress.com gxm17

    We can’t depend on men. Not even the ones who love us. That’s just the sad truth. For me, at this point in my life, I just try to give support to women. All women, regardless of political or religious ideology. As a liberal atheist that is sometimes hard to do, but I try. We do have each other and as long as we keep that knowledge close to our heart and don’t let men distract us from it, then I have to believe that things will change. Vote for women. Support women. Celebrate women. Mentor women. These are little things, I know, but I’ve come to believe that they are part of the foundation that we must build.

    • http://www.montrealcyclechic.com lagatta à montréal

      I do hope you aren’t implying that women should vote for rightwing shits like Margaret Thatcher, Sarah Palin, or anything in the Conservative Party just because they have the correct genitalia.

      In Québec solidaire, we won parity, but I’d never vote for a female candidate from a bourgeois party over a male candidate from QS.

      It should be hard to support anti-women filth such as Margaret Somerville, just because she is XX.

      Obviously, it is easier in Toronto where one can support Olivia Chow over not only the misogynist, homophobic, racist, antilabour and anticyclist mire of crap… and the other more “presentable” right-wingers.

      • http://wateralwayswins.wordpress.com gxm17

        I’m American and a Green Party supporter. And, yes, I would vote for a “rightwing” woman. Why? Because women currently hold only 18.5% of the seats in the US Congress. We are half the population and I believe addressing the political imbalance is a matter of utmost urgency.

        A “rightwing” woman is very often running against a “progressive” man as described in this very blog post. Just look at the “progressive” male allies women are asked to vote for. Bart Stupak, a Democrat, co-wrote the Stupak-Pitts amendment and Barack Obama, another Democrat, signed it into law. If you are not familiar with the legislation, the Stupak amendment pretty much turned Hyde into law, making it even more difficult for poor women to access reproductive health care. And it doesn’t stop there. The Supreme Court will soon be deciding whether companies can claim religious exemption and deny health insurance for women’s reproductive health care (not just abortion access but birth control as well). If we had equal representation on the SCOTUS bench, I would not be dreading the upcoming decision.

        Thank heavens for the women Justices and for our women Representatives on the Hill. We need more of them, not less. And we need to stop voting for men who claim they are our allies but abandon us as soon as they get our vote. That said, yes, there are some extreme right women who I could not vote for, but for the most part I’ve stopped voting for male candidates unless they have a proven track record of supporting women’s rights. And, regardless of party affiliation, there aren’t many of them out there.

        • http://www.montrealcyclechic.com lagatta à montréal

          Rightwing doesn’t go into quotes if you are talking about Thatcher, Palin, or some Con bot. They are enemies. Patriarchal operatives.

          • http://wateralwayswins.wordpress.com gxm17

            I try to live by the principle that no woman is my enemy. No matter what “side” she is on, we are all in this together. Men seem to be able to put their differences aside for a united front. Their solidarity is one of the elements that maintains the patriarchal power structure.

            As for Sarah Palin, I don’t see her as much farther right than many of the Democratic or “progressive” men in power. Heck, she doesn’t even hold office. Why are people so afraid of her? Because the patriarchy propaganda machine uses her as a distraction from the very real legislation that our predominantly male government is using to roll back women’s rights.

            Sarah Palin is not my enemy. The men who are running things are. But let’s talk about Palin’s shoes or Michelle’s frown or Hillary’s ankles instead.

          • http://www.montrealcyclechic.com lagatta à montréal

            Palin is not in office any more, but Thatcher, for example, caused huge harm to women in Britain, and her policies caused harm to us throughout the Western World. No, she was no worse than Reagan, for example, but no better either.

            I belong to Québec solidaire, and parity is one of our founding principles. We were the only party with f – m parity in the recent Québec elections. The fact that now we have two women and one man as MNAs (Members of the National Assembly) may be a coincidence, but we put forth women whereever possible, including in ridings where we have a chance of winning.

            Manon Massé, our MNA in Sainte-Marie – Saint-Jacques, is very much an “out” lesbian, and certainly doesn’t dress in a “feminine” manner or certain beauty practices (I’d never heard that term before this discussion). Patriarchal operatives (most but not all of them male) denigrated her as “la femme à moustache”.

            Fine with me. I just don’t want ANY way of dressing to be mandatory.

          • Donkey Skin

            Andrea Dworkin’s ‘Right-Wing Women’ is a relevant text here. I would be highly unlikely to vote for a conservative female politician, but I don’t consider conservative women my ‘enemies’. It’s a mistake to think that their motivations for supporting the right are the same as those of men.

            http://fanniesroom.blogspot.com.au/2010/05/book-review-right-wing-women-part-i.html

    • Margaret McCarroll

      beautifully said gxm17 !

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  • nick

    Thanks for sharing this Meghan. Hugs.

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  • http://liberalfeministtropes.blogspot.com.au/ Independent Radical

    When I said I was coming from a Marxist perspective, I didn’t mean “Marxist feminist” or “socialist feminist”. I just meant Marxist. I do believe there is a connection between Marxism and feminism, but my understanding of it is different to that put forward by those who call themselves “socialist feminists”

    Out of all the different types of feminism out there, I think radical feminism is the best. In fact I think it is the only one that gets to the root of the problem, gender roles (or “sex roles” as they were called in the past.) There cannot be equality between men and women unless masculinity and feminity are abolished.

    I think that in a society where the means of production (and hence the media, the education system, the toy companies, etc.) were under the democratic control of the people it would be easier to transform the culture in a way that led to the abolition of sex roles, because right now the capitalist class has an interest in maintaining sex roles. Of course it would still be necessary to convince the masses of the need to abolish sex roles and I wish radical feminists luck with that, though I don’t claim to be a radical feminist myself.

    I guess one could refer to me as a “socialist feminist”, but I’m not a huge fan of what is conventionally called “socialist feminism”. In my experience those who identify as socialist feminists have taken a reformist stance with regard to sex roles.

    For example, they think that the key to liberating women is free childcare and paid maternity leave. I’m all for free childcare and paid parental leave, but I don’t think they’ll liberate women because they don’t challenge the notion that it’s the job of the woman to raise children. Those policies, implemented by themselves within the context of a patriarchal society, simply make it easier for women to fulfil their traditional child-rearer role. Hence they can be thought of as reforms to patriarchy (in the same way that policies which lighten the burden of workers without posing a radical challenge to the capitalist system are reforms to capitalism.) I would prefer it if such policies were accompanied by policies which encourage men to take on part of the burden for raising children.

    So to summarise, I don’t want to be thought of as a socialist/Marxist feminist and I wouldn’t dare take on the label “radical feminist” without the permission of the movement itself (I hate it when liberals do that.) Think of me as a Marxist who supports radical feminism.

    As for mmmarguana’s claim that there is only one variety of feminism, I think she’s right in the sense that radical feminism, as I’ve defined it, is the only true form of feminism (meaning it is the only form of feminism which points the way to the liberation of women.) I just call liberal porn-lovers “feminists” for the sake of convenience.

    • http://www.montrealcyclechic.com lagatta à montréal

      Of course childcare and parental leaves are reforms, as are most things trade unions have won for workers. People can call for reforms without being reformists. In Québec, we have also won paternity leave. In most cases it is not equal to maternity leave, but it is a start. I’m not sure all parental leaves should be equal M – F because in a heterosexual couple, it is the woman who is undergoing pregnancy and often breastfeeding, and that is a biological difference. Remember, not all women who have children are in a heterosexual couple: some are single parents, others in lesbian relationships. The popular singer-songwiter Ariane Moffat is a prominent example here.

      Of course not only legislative measures but also social pressure should encourage men to take on parental roles.

      We also have the right not to be parents. I’m not, and have never wanted children.

      From what I see here in Québec, we have made considerable progress in men’s involvement in child rearing. No, we have not “won”, nor will be win under patriarchal capitalism.

      I guess I’m not a radical feminist because I’m not opposed to femininity or masculinity; I just don’t think they, or heterosexuality, should be mandatory, and that the fight for acceptance of people who are “other” is an important one, for everyone who has been mocked and bullied as “different”, whatever the difference.

      And I strongly disagree with those who think women who act as defenders and enforcers of patriarchy are anything but enemies. I’m not talking about “backward” women of humble origins, but of wealthy and powerful women who actively and consciously work to perpetuate the oppression of women, and of the working classes. Margaret Wente, anyone?

  • Chris Dewberry

    One of the difficulties with determining abuse in relationships is that the lines get very blurred because of the nature of the relationship. It’s much easier to argue against other forms of oppression (eg, racial discrimination) that are more clear cut.
    When it comes to relationship abuse, bruises and signs of physical abuse are very clear cut and are therefore easy to stand against. Emotional abuse is trickier because it isn’t always one-sided. For all the break ups and divorces that happen, you almost never hear a person admit their own level of fault. So yes men will get away with emotional abuse, women do too.
    Even in cases where I would guess the female has suffered more emotional torment than the man in a given relationship, sometimes there’s too much ambiguity to hold either party completely at fault, especially in a social setting. To ask us to exclude and revolt against all men that have been said to be emotionally abusive, is to assume that a woman’s version of events is always fair and unbiased and that a man’s version is always wrong. That’s an unfair assumption and one of the reasons not all progressives will get behind this article.
    Yes women will suffer unjustly as a result and yes that’s messed up, but it can’t be up to others to lay blame for emotional abuse when they don’t know enough about the relationship. That would be like sentencing someone to prison on the suspicion they MIGHT have committed a crime. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Any action that creates further conflict, needs to be unquestionably justified.

    • morag

      “To ask us to exclude and revolt against all men that have been said to be emotionally abusive, is to assume that a woman’s version of events is always fair and unbiased and that a man’s version is always wrong.”

      Uh what planet do you live on? The idea that men are somehow victimized on a massive scale by manipulative women crying abuse is MRA propaganda. The fact that you wrote “yes women will suffer unjustly” as if it were as inconsequential as “I’m going to the store” proves that you don’t care about equality or fairness. You can dress up your antifeminist language as much as you want, but no here will fall for it.

      • Chris Dewberry

        I never said being treated unjustly was inconsequential, the rest of the sentence was “and yes that’s messed up.”
        I just don’t believe you can have a blanket policy of men being always shit and wrong and women always being awesome and right, that hasn’t been my experience. My experience has been that guys are more negligent/disrepectful/shit/wrong than women, but I’ve also seen the reverse.
        If fairness is the objective, why would it be ok to slander/bully/attack men on the assumption they are always wrong? Is that really your position?

        • morag

          No that’s not my position, and I can confidently say that it’s not the position of anyone commenting here. You’re the one who pulled the idea that feminists want to attack men and assume they’re always wrong out of thin air. What everyone is saying here is that men should stand up and refuse to collaborate with men who have abused women, like in the case of Hugo Schywzer. You’re the one who’s turning it into a pity party for men’s feelings at the expense of women’s lives.

          • Me

            It’s always the same. You can’t discuss men acting abusively unless you make it explicit they’re nobody you or anyone could know personally and might have to confront and deal with.

            When it is personal, in which case it’s usually not at all unclear or difficult to figure out who’s responsible for what in a relationship, the lines supposedly get blurred.

            We know full well how abusive relationships work, and one of the key features is the “blurring of lines” so that it’s hard to pin the abuse on the abuser and easy to find reason to simply look away. That is primarily out of an unwillingness to identify an abuser and hold him responsible for his behavior. It is “hard” to recognize the pattern unless one pays attention to who benefits, and especially “hard” when one doesn’t want to believe women and when one holds women to an entirely different standard than men.

            Men have no rights over women. We are not entitled to a relationship with a woman and we are not entitled to stay in a relationship when we act badly and disrespectfully, let alone abusively. We know that “the nature of the relationship” is typically the opposite of that and set up to protect those supposed rights, and we’re against that. We know there’s tremendous inertia and unwillingness to stop even the most flagrant male abuses, and “arguments” like yours Chris are a part of that. Statements like yours are exactly the way people don’t take responsibility and *deny offering supportive outs to a family* WHEN the man in question is in fact pretty much “always shit and wrong” and the woman and the family are messed up because of him.

          • marv

            The primacy of place of heterosexual relationships within a patriarchal milieu is also the root of the problem. It is the harmonious relationships that conceal the sexualization and privitization of women in the context of sexual inequality. They legitimize the institution of male dominance, making it invisible. Abusive treatment towards women is regrettable by many but is individualized and seen as something merely to correct or reform inside of existing parameters.

    • http://mmmariguana.wordpress.com Mar Iguana

      Chris, I suggest you read “Why Does He Do That? Inside The Minds of Angry and Controlling Men,” by Lundy Bancroft. Short answer: Because he can.

      And, knock off the false equivalency women-do-it-tooooo crap.

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  • https://plus.google.com/+PeterKelly74 Peter Kelly

    Just found this article. As a male, and a progressive, I can’t find much to disagree with. Progressives should consider that rape is terrorism; rape is abuse; rape is oppression; rape is…well everything that progressives should have learned to abhor. Though, some men find it strangely awkward to talk about, condemn, etc. I don’t understand that.
    We have a long way to go for men, progressive or conservatives alike, to treat women with the respect and fairness due eveyone. I don’t have all the answers, but I know where I can start. I am a single father of a very young son. I can teach him the best I can.
    Don’t stop talking, don’t stop advocating…sometimes its hard to hear the bad things that men do, but it needs to be known.
    Stand tall, be strong…and peace to you.

    Thanks

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