Six reasons I am not your mother so fix your own damn self

“Are you going to save my brother?”

Early on when I was dating my ex, his brother asked me this question. At the time, I think I probably thought it was sweet. But the three years that followed, wherein I desperately tried every tactic possible — loving support, ultimatums, tough loving, couples therapy, obsessive monitoring, Al-Anon, etc. — in order to convince my partner at the time to get clean only resulted in misery. While substance abuse and addiction is sort of an extreme version of the “you can fix him if you just love him/work on him/are patient enough” thing that’s fed to women, it’s all part of a larger system that allows men to remain boys forever — free from any accountability — while women are forced into motherhood, whether or not they choose to reproduce.

When I saw a post titled, “10 Reasons The Best Relationship Of Your Life Will Be With A Girl Who Likes To ‘Fix’ People,” I kind of wanted to scream. (And no, I don’t make a habit of reading Thought Catalogue, but this one slipped into my feed via another angry sister.)

Like, as if we need more messaging that tells men that women’s role is to nurture and care for them — even after they’ve moved out of their parents’ house. I fight this shit enough in my private life, dealing with men who refuse to take their own emotional well-being into their own hands — like, do we really need women writers publicly reinforcing this garbage?

husband child
Yet another example of “women are perpetual mothers” messaging, via Mum’s Grapevine/Facebook

I reject motherhood, in every way possible. I don’t want a baby-baby and I don’t want a man-baby. So actually, here are six reasons men can fix their own damn selves:

1) Despite what Rania Naim, the author of the post says, women do not exist to waste their lives on shitty, immature men. Naim writes, “A girl who likes to fix people doesn’t stop trying and she will not quit you if she loves you.” Fuck that. Quit! If a man isn’t interested in fixing himself, there’s nothing you can do to resolve that. Convincing women to stick it out forever with men because if you just love him enough he’ll change is exactly what keeps women in abusive relationships. This is not to say people don’t make mistakes or that they shouldn’t be forgiven for mistakes, it is to say that, actually, women should quit men who don’t take responsibility for their own behaviour or take real steps towards addressing their problems.

2) Same goes for “seeing the best” in a man. Enough with the excuses. If your dude cheats, pays for sex, is a porn addict, or says sexist things, call him the fuck out. Don’t just tell yourself “Oh, but he’s a good dad.” Or, “But what about all those other great things he’s done.” Respect is not math. Good deeds don’t erase misogyny. You cannot subtract “Bitch” from “Well, at least he hasn’t abandoned his child” and call it even. In any case, do you really want a man who doesn’t respect women to raise your child? Too many excuses, not enough accountability = entitled men who have no incentive to change their behaviour and will, consequently, pass that behaviour on to future generations.

3) “She will never stop trying to fix herself too,” Naim writes. Of course she won’t. Because women never stop trying to “fix” themselves. Women have learned to see themselves as perpetually flawed: they are too fat, too accommodating, too pushy, too picky, not picky enough, too judgemental, and too gossipy. They are bad mothers, they don’t push hard enough for raises at work, and don’t say no clearly enough or behave uninterested enough to avoid rape. They eat too much sugar, too much bread, and they drink too much. We think too much, we talk too much (but also don’t talk enough!), and love too much. We have too many emotions and we are nags. When we aren’t kind and “sensitive” enough, we are cold, hard, bitches. We never fuck our husbands enough and are constantly failing our families by working too much (but also failing at work because we focus too much on our families). Our bodies are wrong, our homes are wrong, and our brains are wrong. Women are pretty much always doing everything wrong, from baby-making to working outside the home, to responding to systemic sexism. All we do is try to “fix ourselves” — to acknowledge and address our never-ending flaws. (Like, why do you think the self-help industry is driven by women?) Here’s a radical idea: Stop telling women everything they do and think and say is flawed. Actually, stop trying to fix yourself all the time, stop blaming yourself for everything. Let men do that for a change.

4) The actual worst points on Naim’s list are these: “She will heal your brokenness… She will not let anyone discourage her from trying to help someone who is broken.” NOPE. Noooope. I am not your nursemaid. When I wanted to “heal my brokennesss,” (something I also call, “healing from the trauma of male abuse,” “recovering from living with a drug addict for three years,” and “learning how to set boundaries so as to not end up in co-dependent relationships”) I went to therapy. For years. This did not make me a perfect human being (believe it!), but it did help. Like, it helped me. Dudes tend not like my independence or my priorities (and, by “priorities,” of course, I mean “things that are not them”), because dudes are babies who… wait for it… think their girlfriends should be their mothers! (See how we’ve come full circle now?) If men wish to “heal their brokenness,” they too have access to therapy or books or whatever (maybe men could take up the job of “fixing” one another, for once?), just like women do. Beyond that, the problem with “brokenness,” when used in reference to men, is that it too-often is code for “abusive.” Sure, men who are abusive might be so because they are “broken,” but that doesn’t excuse the abusive behaviour. Women, in our society, are very “broken” — probably much more so than men, seeing as they are the ones who’ve been subjected to centuries of systemic oppression and male violence — yet somehow they don’t tend to take that “brokenness” out on their families via sexual abuse, beatings, and murder. This leads me to believe that men are equally as capable of ending the cycle of abuse, if they choose to. But they need to choose it. If women could somehow “heal” men, they would have done so already. God knows, they’ve tried hard enough, for long enough. Enough. Heal yourself, brah.

5) Actually, we are afraid of men’s “dark side.” According to Nain, we aren’t afraid and we actually love it, but we really, really don’t. Men’s “dark side” tends to look a lot like sexualized sadism, pedophilia, and violence. Men’s “dark side,” apparently, manifests itself in the form of voyeurism, objectification, rape, and masturbating to gang-bangs. Women have very good reason to be afraid of men’s “dark side.” I mean, their “good sides” are bad enough, amirite? I know more than I am comfortable knowing about the “dark sides” of supposedly “good” men, never mind the rest of ’em. I am not going to “look for the light” in that muck or learn to love it. I don’t like it, I don’t want it. Unlearn your gross man-brain. Then we can talk.

6) Be more forgiving is actually the last thing a woman needs to hear. My advice? Be less forgiving. Like, maybe if women stopped forgiving men over and over again, they’d get a clue. Too many men think that calling women “cunts” or monopolizing conversations or objectifying women are simply honest “mistakes” (“mistakes” that are actually unavoidable because boys will be boys) that should be “forgiven,” over and over again. This is partly because other women in their lives — from past girlfriends to their mothers — believed this stuff was also “natural” and “unavoidable” and so never called them out, but it’s also because this is the behaviour modeled to them by other men. It has to stop somewhere. Again, I am not advocating to never forgive people for mistakes or failures. But contrary to what Nain tells us, “people” don’t “always come around.” Especially not if we keep forgiving them for the harmful behaviour they repeat over and over again. Remember that forgiveness is a gendered behaviour. Women are always meant to be the kind, compassionate, forgiving ones who suffer in silence, hoping that if they just believe in men enough and think positive maybe he’ll change. No. Enough. Put your collective feet down. If not for yourself, for other women. We need solidarity on this one.

Motherhood is not just about literal mothers. It is about how all women are seen. Femininity, in and of itself, is connected to “motherly” characteristics: tolerance, gentleness, caring, nurturing, sensitivity, nurturance, deference. Mothers are always supposed to put everyone else first — they are not to be selfish or demanding or aggressive. They are also, traditionally, held responsible for not only their children’s behaviour, but their husbands’. When men cheat, it’s his wife’s fault for not sexing him enough, or loving him enough, or paying enough attention to him. Women are responsible for doing all the emotional labour in heterosexual relationships — constantly “working on” things like communication and connectivity. Reinforcing the idea that a “good” girlfriend or wife is one that constantly tries to “fix” a man is not only gross but harmful, as it teaches women to accept male behaviour that is unacceptable — to just stick it out.

Men are parasites, as Marilyn Frye put it so pithily. Until they are willing to behave like accountable, emotionally mature and responsible, adult men, women need to do less “fixing” and more cord-cutting.

Meghan Murphy
Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, I-D, Truthdig, and more. Meghan 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.

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  • Karla Gjini

    Meghan you are brilllliant! Thanks for yet again a fabulous piece of mandatory reading.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Thank you, sister!

  • melissa

    Oh god, that article… Specially this part ” She’s forgiving. She knows that forgiveness is strength
    and she knows that people always come around, she chooses to see people
    for their hearts not their actions and she will forgive you most of the
    time, even if you’re not sorry.”

    WTF? Even if he’s not even sorry?Was this written by a literal abuser or something?

    Already a third of all murdered women are murdered by an intimate partner in the US. With this constant socialized normalization and applauding of women as pleasers, fixers, and basically dependent doormats that puts up with everything and anything, and we wonder why this is? Christ, reminds me of 50 shades of grey, with the leading man being a sadistic,manipulative,controlling ,stalking abuser that literally ticks every box on the Domestic Violence checklist.Is this the kind of “dark side” we’re suppose to be loving now? What an utterly toxic culture this is for women. And in a first world “egalitarian” country of all places.Yikes.

    Great article btw. On point.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Word word word. Like, seeing someone’s “heart, not their actions” sounds straight-up like directing women to accept abuse. I mean, isn’t that what we ALL do?!?!?! Like, “Oh he’s a really good person on the inside… (despite the fact that he punched me)” — so fucked.

      • melissa

        Ikr?Thousands of girls were sharing(132K so far) this and going “OMG!! this is sooo me!! <3 ". Its honesty worries me how susceptible we are to garbage like this.With women being more likely to suffer from low confidence, low self esteem, body image issues, more likely to suffer from depression,anxiety(http://www.dazeddigital.com/artsandculture/article/32528/1/teenage-girls-in-the-uk-feel-worthless-and-unhappy), self harm,socialized codependency (http://survivingdating.com/women-are-socialized-to-be-codependent)and with the mainstream media and the beauty industry only preying on and exacerbating these issues, i suppose i shouldn't be too shocked.A horrible combination of a self reinforcing toxic cultural condition for women. I wish there was a way we could teach kids from an early age to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy behavior in relationships.And i wish we would emphasizes on equality,uneven power dynamics, what to expect and what not to accept. Talk about different personality disorders, psychological conditions that could leads to accepting toxic characteristics.Maybe, just maybe then crap like 50 shades wouldn't get passed off by millions as a perfectly normal, acceptable relationship dynamic.

        • Aylune B. Papyrus

          I agree with you Melissa. Seeing that so many women accept and even advocate this behavior – it’s terrifying. That so many of them are easy targets for abuse. I’m saying ”them”, I should also include myself, I’ve been in abusive relationships and I’m not entirely sure I’ll avoid future ones (my self-worth is still unstable at this point)

          THIS is what we should talk about in fucking sex-ed class – scratch that, you’re right, when we’re KIDS ! right off the bat.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Yes, sometimes women abuse children. But the vast majority of violence and sexual abuse against women and children happens at the hands of men. It’s, like, a pretty big problem…

  • marv

    Wickedly clever and funny!

    • Meghan Murphy

      Thanks marv!

  • Karulean

    “Trauma is not an edgy sentiment to provide depth to your character.”

    This. So this.

    I’m so sick of people glorifying trauma as a means to show how “interesting” and “developed” they are. Trauma is a painful part of life. If it doesn’t end up killing you, it either makes the rest of your life a living hell or, hopefully, gives you the experience to face it and overcome it. It’s not supposed to be embraced as something “cool” that “cool people” with “cool dark pasts” have. It fucking sucks. It shouldn’t be used lightly as some sort of character-extender so you may seem more “intriguing” and “complex” than you really are.

  • melissa

    There was zero nuance in that article.The author almost speaks in absolutes, like *always* forgiving even when he is not sorry,never giving up, embracing and loving his “dark side” etc etc.It reeks of an abusive dynamic between someone with codependency and someone with narcissistic personality disorder.

    Most of us are flawed, that doesn’t mean we(typically men,lets face it) can just subject anything and everything on others and expect the “nurturer”(typically women) to put up with it.This is not merely about being there for someone with an illness,its not about cooperation and mutual compromise between two flawed beings, this sounded more like complete utter compliance and acceptance of any behavior at all, regardless of how abusive, that gets thrown at the “fixer”(women) in the relationship.Women always seem to feel like the person they’re with deserves it somehow, irrespective of what we’re subjected to.About time that we should be able to expect better and stop humoring and being doormats for unapologetic, entitled men.

  • Awesome article. People say “love heals”. And it does. If you can manage to overcome your own shame and self-loathing, and feel a tiny bit of self-love (as in, compassion for yourself), your healing can begin. A spouse’s love can’t heal. If a person doesn’t have some self-love, they generally can’t receive or let in someone else’s love. You can throw love at a damaged person all you want, but if they can’t let it in, it just bounces off and has no effect. So “love heals” is not referring to a woman’s love for a man. That’s what I’ve learned in my life so far anyway.

  • Preptaurian

    “I mean, their “good sides” are bad enough, amirite?” – well that’s telling, isn’t it? It’s a self-fulfilling or predetermined outcome that no male bodied person will ever reach full humanity or adequacy in your eyes. I argue against others that feminism isn’t what they say it is; that it isn’t a nightmarish echo chamber of frothy misandry. That, instead, it is indeed a means and a mechanism to women’s collective liberation, towards equality, towards the end of a history of physical, sexual and emotional subjugation and violence. But time and time again, I am hit over the head on this site that feminism is actually both of those things. This is aided by the woman’s comment below that refers to men as cockroaches. Either of these comments would be considered misogynist in the reverse. But, que sera sera, I guess.

    My actual comment

    I quite agreed with the points in your article that discuss the importance or impactfulness of messaging. Especially how the messaging of ‘women are perpetual mothers’ creates many of the ills you describe. Creating an expectation that women need to try harder, forgive more, etc more and etc more. It aids in women staying in abusive relationships. As a counterpoint, or rather a complimentary point, I wanted to suggest their is also flawed messaging directed at boys througout our culture. You can go back as far as The Honeymooners, Ozzie and Harriet, Leave it to Beaver and bring it forward through time to the sitcoms of the day, men and boys are incessantly depicted as dumb, incapable oafs. The women are depicted as intelligent, capable and the ‘wizard behind the curtain’ if you will. I think we could go further quicker if we fixed the messaging of both.

    It really makes me question sometime who is in charge of this master plan?

    for context.. I am a full adult, self-sufficient gay.

    • Rachel

      But most of the time on this site, women are arguing that men are not the dumb hyper sexual oafs that society likes to depict them as, however it’s often men themselves who argue that they are! They are the ones who argue they need more sex, more angry sex, sex with more people, sex with younger people, more variety. However when the tables turn and men aren’t getting the sympathy they want, they backtrack or excuse that behaviour. We are more than happy for men to be seen as self sufficient, capable, intelligent human beings, but they can’t have it both ways. They can’t be Neanderthals abusing women and children because it’s their “nature” and then turn around and expect us to see them in a positive light. We agree that society is giving men the wrong messages about themselves and about women. But it’s up to men to critically analyse that, and change it for themselves. They can’t abuse women and expect sympathy in return. Of course, there are plenty of people that do let men abuse women, excuse it as they’re nature and give them sympathy, but this isn’t how it should be. Calling them cockroaches or making a comment about ther good selves being not that great isn’t misandry when it’s just re truth. There are very few “good” men who don’t use women in some way, even if it’s something as “benign” as porn. In my experience even the good ones are generally entitled and generally make sleazy and sexist comments about women, effectively seeing them as objects for sexual evaluation and use. It may be cute and fun when you’re an innocent teenager, but when you grow and mature you realise it’s not so fun listening to men talk about you that way, or talk about other women that way. So if men want to be seen as the intelligent, capable, compassionate human beings that most of us believe they “naturally” are, then they should stop succumbing to bullshit societal ideas of what masculinity really is.

      • atheist

        Very well said!

    • Kendall Turtle

      The media is controlled by men, acting as though boys and men are dumb oafs reinforces the idea that women must take care of them and that the boys and men do not have to take responsibility for their ridiculous behavior…

      Putting women on a pedestal has always been patriarchy’s favorite tool, in the past it was commonly argued that women were far too valuable of a people to use their energy in higher academics, that they needed that energy to do the truly valuable thing (have babies)… It’s another form of sexism, and it’s insidious, how can you say it’s sexist when they are “complimenting” you?

    • Karla Gjini

      it is indeed a means and a mechanism to women’s collective liberation ***as a class, from the MALE supremacist system PATRIARCHY***,
      towards equality **equality isn’t enough**,
      towards the end of a history of physical, sexual and emotional subjugation and violence***AT THE HANDS OF MEN***

    • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

      Preptaurian, I’m getting MRA vibes from your comment. While many feminists will agree with you that these stereotypes of men are harmful to both men and women, I do wonder why you are choosing to present this as a supposed “counterpoint” on a feminist website. It reeks of “a-ha, feminists! Men are also stereotyped in negative ways, therefore you have nothing to complain about!” However it’s comparing apples and oranges, and I think you know that.

      Aside from that, it is problematic that you are presenting this as something that feminists need to address. Feminism is, specifically, concerned with women’s issues and not with “equality” issues. It’s an MRA straw feminist trope to claim that feminists have said they will “take care of” issues such as this on behalf of men. Gee whiz, men expecting more caretaking from women? Bingo! Fix it for me, mommy!

      Couple these with your use of “misandry” as if it is an actual thing that exists, and I’m getting the impression you’re not really here in good faith.

    • Cassandra

      Fee-fi-fo-fum I smell the stink of a men’s rights one.

      • Preptaurian

        I already respond to this insinuation in a reply to TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

  • Just Passing Through

    A- MEN to this!! (or A-NOT-men)….as it were.

  • Laura

    even though it’s a man’s world it’s like a small comfort to know i’ll never waste my time again taking care of a man

  • Karla Gjini

    I’m so happy for his being sober for you and your family!

  • Melanie

    And even then, “you are not his mother” implies that his mother is somehow responsible for him, even though he’s an adult. I really hope he didn’t go home to his mum.

  • Kayley Self

    When leaving my incredibly abusive and drug addicted ex, unlearning my instinct to mother him was the hardest part, especially because he recognized that in me and like the childish, maniacal male he was, deliberately attempted to manipulate the obligation I felt to ~heal him in order to keep me close, vulnerable, and prone to his usage.

    Parasites, indeed. Anchors on the ship of women’s happiness.

  • Aylune B. Papyrus

    Oh my GOD. THANK YOU. LIKE, SO VERY MUCH.
    This is perfect. Clear, to the point, perfect. What I needed to hear too.

    Just today I unfriended a person who behaved like a troll and in a very condescending manner to me, painting me at this ”man-hating shrew” while posing himself as the ultimate defender of women (especially if they’re Femen and show their boobs and didn’t you know that showing your boobs means you get power over men, you silly goose.) And I felt bad for unfriending him. And got angry about feeling bad. No. FUCK IT. I don’t have to keep a connection with people who behave like this, even if they were nice the last time I saw them. I don’t have to be understanding and ”give second chances” to people who are so obviously disrespectful and condescending in such important matters. Even if a common friend will tell me ”But he’s really cool !” Jesus CHRIST.

  • Meghan Murphy

    As far as I can tell they’re kinda culty.

  • Wren

    You’re right. We really don’t want to be equal to men; they–like yourself–are pigs.

    We want to be better.

    • Karulean

      “We really don’t want to be equal to men; they–like yourself–are pigs.”

      I’m not gonna pretend and deny that sometimes, as a guy, this kind of statements make me feel really sad and bitter. “How can someone hate me so much just because of my sex?”, my inner voice goes.

      … Then I think of pretty much all the men I’ve ever encountered in my lifetime.

      And then I think I get it.

      • Preptaurian

        No. When someone’s hate of an innate trait is validated it validates all the hate. It validates the sexism and misogyny caste at women. It validates the hate I have endured as a gay man. It validates the hate I have endured as a biracial man. No.

    • Preptaurian

      What is with the ad hom? In what way have I displayed piggish behavior or been disrespectful to the forum? By asking questions? I didn’t even ask a question of you. But you came to declare I’m a pig without cause or provocation. That’s curious.

  • What if they are? What if research shows that men simply do not have the same level of relationship skills (on average) even when they try hard? I started wondering a while back. (That was not what I was saying, though.)

    • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

      Well, research doesn’t show that, and the idea that women are “better at relationships” than men is benevolent sexism BS.

  • Laura

    does he reciprocate? what do you get out of the friendship?

    • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

      Indeed. This is the test that led me to cut off contact with my brother. It’s not just romantic relationships where men expect women to provide care. It is just expected of women by many men, period.

  • Preptaurian

    I clearly stated ‘if liberty and equality are not enough…’ So your proposition of my understanding is deliberately false.

  • Preptaurian

    Though you have begun mocking me, I want to pose a sincere question in return. I admit there may be something overlooked in my own self-reflection, so I genuinely invite you to enlighten me? How do I — as a gay man — benefit and participate in the use and exploitation of women. Not as a class, but as an individual?

    • cocopop133

      You’re not going to stop are you? No, the warmth of the limelight feels so good. Attention and energy, mixing up the ethers, attempting distraction. Like all the men here, a special snowflake, an exception to the awful rule, deserving of our love. Not going to work. Not here. Not now. Not ever.

  • Preptaurian

    Strong points. I am curious of your view on how much religion has influenced this entrapment? For example, how Anna Duggar faces such intense pressure from a fundamentalist community to stay with her rotten-souled abuser husband.

    • Raphael Verelst

      Religion can empower as well as disenfranchise. I knew Christian women who talked about how it was their responsability to run the home (being in charge that is, as in the man doesn’t get to say anything) while others advocated being a complete doormat.

  • Preptaurian

    For the same reason that I don’t hate white people.

    • anne

      Yes, but if you did hate white people as a group in context of racism, then you would be perfectly justified. Feminists have a good understanding of directing hate and anger at an oppressive group that provides framework to abuse, without hating each individual. It’s an essential step in fighting systematic oppression, allowing yourself to hate what oppresses you, and what oppresses us is the structure of power which keeps a certain demographic above law when they hurt others. Men are brought up as entitled narcissists, to believe they are infallible as Men, and especially, that they are by default superior to any woman. Some of them manage, despite extensive training, to escape this conditioning, but overwhelming majority doesn’t. This is why men tend to be perfectly capable of understanding this in every other context – racism, poverty, colonialism – except in context of sexism and misogyny. Because confronting own participation in sexist abuse would be confronting the essence of who they are AS Men, not a mere adjective.

      • Preptaurian

        Thank you. That was enlightening.

      • Preptaurian

        And I really appreciate the ‘matter of fact’ and reasoned dialogue.

  • Preptaurian

    I am genuinely asking you what disregard I have shown? Is it because I am here in this space? Because I have posed questions or added commentary? Degrade me if you must, but I am asking sincerely? Further, I never asked to be praised anywhere. I am challenging not to be denigrated.

    • Aradiaa

      Your messages are full of male entitlement. I could care less if you’re gay or hetero: there’s a lot of misogyny even among gays, also gays are widely know to love porn, porn is a plague, it really hurts women, even gay porn that isn’t really different because it still perpetuates the heteronormative dynamics.

      • Preptaurian

        I have already been beaten into submission. You’re late to the party.

      • Preptaurian

        I don’t understand how a man watching sex between two men involves women at all, let alone hurts women. To be clear, I am not saying you are wrong, I simply don’t understand it. But, I will accept this may be true on some level.

        But if that is true, I am forced to ask if the leep is made to say just sex between men. Like are there some that would argue that the private sex I have with my partner somehow hurts women?

  • Kendall Turtle

    It isn’t wrong, that is how a species survives. It IS wrong to use it as an excuse to oppress women though, it’s then no longer a compliment that we can carry children but a burden that limits our experiences in life.

  • Rachel

    I do think that people still excuse men who abuse women, it’s often excused as them being depressed or anxious unfortunately. Or when it comes to sexual abuse, its excused as being part of a man’s nature. Very rarely do people admit that depression and anxiety in men don’t equate to abusing women. Unfortunately this then turns into the man getting a lighter sentence and being put through depression and anxiety treatment, which the majority of the time doesn’t help abuse. Because abuse is about power and domination. I think it’s unfair that society blames male perpetrated abuse on mental illness, because although they can occur together, they can occur separately also, and it does a disservice to men who actually suffer from these illnesses and don’t abuse women.

    Unfortunately no, I don’t think we’re much further progressed than we were in the 50s or 80s. Yes we can vote and work, and have more choices in those regards, however the exploitation and objectification of women has increased tenfold, not to mention it is creeping to the point of abusing female children of you et and younger ages. It’s the mentality “get them young and screw them up before they have the chance to have a voice.” I don’t really condone the use of the word cockroaches etc to label men, however – I also completely get where the commenter comes from with saying that. You can guarantee there’s been a lot that’s happened in her life, and women around her, that has lead to the use of that label. I’ve said similar things myself. Obviously this doesn’t include men who aren’t like the stereotypical masculine male, however unfortunately they are very few and far between, and the majority of males will continue doing whatever they want, as long as they are in power.

    It’s great if you don’t participate in the objectification of women at all, but unfortunately it really is very rare. Even my “nice” boyfriends have been avid porn users, made sleazy comments about women and their appearance and linked this to their sexual desirability, and have made sleazy comments about very young women and girls.

  • Rachel

    Also, again unfortunately, the Brock Turner incident is not uncommon. This is our culture – porn culture. Sure most men may not actually commit rape even if they’re porn watchers, but there’s never been one rapist or murderer who hasn’t. There’s a really powerfully video of Ted Bundy talking about the dangers of porn on people and society, just before he was executed. It’s not uncommon for girls and women to even be sexually assaulted, but thy often don’t recognise it as assault because a) society has taught them it’s not bad enough to constitute assault or b) they’ve been told they deserve it or provoked the men who “can’t help it”. I, and the majority of us on this site, do not believe men are naturally like this. We believe in the humanity of men, which is why we argue so vehemently against porn and porn culture of society which has warped the minds of everyone. It seems most of the time, we are the ones that believe in men, more than they believe in themselves as they prefer to excuse their behaviour as some natural urge they couldn’t overcome.

  • Bryan Michael Clever

    Behold the illusory power of rationalization. People of all levels of illness of the mind tend to find comfort in destructive behavior. It can feels safe to lash out, cower, and be dishonest to save one’s own skin, but this vaunted sense of security is uncomfortable even to the perpetrator. There is no justification for negative actions of one which are only aimed to assassinate the character of others, except when said character is purely toxic and may need a wake up call.

    No need to coddle an adult. They must find the tools to be accountable and responsible for their own comportment. One thing that I learned from dealing with abusive men in my family, is that as an adult I no longer have to be a victim, or take it into my own hands to be “Mr. Fix-it.” I can let go, and choose my battles wisely after seeking council from those who I trust, like my partner. I would never impede her from her own goals and happiness. Gender roles in our home are a joke.

    If any men out there who exhibit these behaviors described in the article are reading this, I implore you to disarm your own ego and at least learn to mend your codependent ways. Stay away from the women you drag down, stop self-pitying, and seek help, because you’re probably a ticking time bomb!

    • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

      The realization “I am now an adult, I don’t have to put up with abusive family members who take advantage and never reciprocate” is a powerful realization indeed.

  • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

    “Why Does He Do That?” is an excellent book. I think that’s where I read that the “cycle of abuse” myth is mostly that – men become abusers not because they were abused – most abused people actually DO NOT go on to abuse others as they know the pain and suffering firsthand. Abusers are abusive because it WORKS for them and gets them what they want. They LIE about abuse they suffered as children, because it gets them what they want – your sympathy and complicity with continued abuse. They are perfectly aware of what they do and how it is wrong. I’m always misattributing this idea to “The Gift of Fear”.

    • Wren

      RIGHT!! I think I’m Lundy Bancroft’s biggest fan 🙂

      • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

        Everyone should read his book. I should read it again.

  • Petronella

    Amen, rosearan! A woman so often will become an abusive dreamer’s support system, getting up and going to her boring job, day after day after day, paying bills, taking care of everything, becoming, as you said, destitute and bankrupt, giving up so many things herself, all while his big plan goes absolutely nowhere. And the more he fails, the meaner he gets. So true that when you look carefully at successful people, they had a real plan and a much better work ethic than these guys, not to mention better people skills and powers of persuasion. This is my personal story as well but it’s incredibly common. I’ve yet to hear of any woman who would have the gall and the shamelessness to live this way for years and years, contributing nothing and taking everything.

  • Megann Harvey

    I also heard that they are let by a man.

  • Preptaurian

    You are right; the question was loaded and defensive. I think being called a pig is a bit much, but if need be whatever.

    Let me rephrase the question: What are the aims of feminism beyond the liberation and equality of women?

  • Preptaurian

    My actual statement was that I argue against that being a descriptor for feminism; and I was responding to specific statements that I cited in the comment.

    Still, I am forced to admit that it was a defensive, if not accusatory, statement.

  • Si Llage

    I believe the term for this stereotype is called Damaged Dolly.

  • anne

    Men gaslighting women is how patriarchy works. It’s the foundation of it.

    • Wren

      FOR REALZ

  • anne

    Thank you Wren for this. What you wrote is my experince to a T and am fighting, every day. We will prevail.

    • Wren

      anytime sister
      xoxo

  • Preptaurian

    No. I am done debating. I already answered that in reply to the original commenter. But then ‘anne’ gave a very insightful reply back to me that was ‘eye-opening’ to the say the least; I think I am starting to get it.

  • Preptaurian

    Nope, I didn’t tear him down – i spoke to his statements and ideas. There were no personal attacks in my challenge to his viewpoint, unlike what has been received from you.

    But, listen. I get it, or I am starting to.

    1) I am a visitor in this space, and this space has a purpose, among others, to allow a particular group of people some refuge and room to breathe. That being said, it’s best if I observe and learn in silence.

    2) Thanks to the commenter ‘anne’, I have a better understanding of the radfem environment. Particularly where she stated the following: “Feminists have a good understanding of directing hate and anger at an oppressive group that provides framework to abuse, without hating each individual. It’s an essential step in fighting systematic oppression.”

    • Wren

      God, you make this all sound like our viewpoint is just another form of cognitive masturbation.

      You gave Karulean an unequivocal “no” when he realizes that our rage is justified. How can you not see how irksome that is?? It’s even more annoying for you to be irrelevantly meta and preachy.

      When a man says something like “I get it” and REALLY GETS IT we rejoice because it’s one less man who may hurt us or our daughters. We need men like that or this will never end. So yeah, it really pisses me off that you dismissed him.

      We get this kind of shit all the time, which is why I have a short fuse about it as do other women. We don’t want you to feel like you’re just a visitor. We want you to be invested in our liberation, just like you don’t want everyone to be apathetic to issues of racism or homophobia. But at the same time, do you really want to explain how homophobia is so painful to you and have an ENDLESS discussion with someone who constantly minimizes your view as just an opinion when you have undoubtedly been the victim of oppression?? And have that person make you feel like it’s your job to school them?? You would probably get REALLY frustrated, wouldn’t you??

      Maybe the takeaway is this: Just because you may not have actively participated in the exploitation of women, doesn’t mean you’re helping us. But if you want to (and we really want you to!!), get over yourself and join the fight.

      • Preptaurian

        “Maybe the takeaway is this: Just because you may not have actively participated in the exploitation of women, doesn’t mean you’re helping us. But if you want to (and we really want you to!!), get over yourself and join the fight.”

        Lesson learned

  • Meghan Murphy

    It is an enormous waste of time, which is why I feel back even letting through the ones I do… Of course, when I don’t, I am accused of being “afraid” of opinions that challenge my own. Never mind the fact that these dudes’ comments are *never* challenging and literally repeat the same garbage over and over again.

    • anne

      I know what you mean, but it comes to mind that separation and word No are the most feminist and most radical thing women can do. Obviously, you know best what you want on your site, but I wonder what it would be like to have truly, unapologetically douchebag-free zone here. We can but dream :))

    • cocopop133

      Meghan, I neglected to say how clear and well written this piece is. Thanks for giving voice to this issue and for your dedication.

      • Meghan Murphy

        Thank you!

    • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

      Sometimes I do enjoy seeing MRA logic taken down so flawlessly by the commenters here.

      • Meghan Murphy

        I think it can be useful for readers — though I do understand it’s tiresome… Exemplified, I suppose, by the fact that my own responses tend to be less response-y and more eye roll-y these days.

  • Biray Anil Birer

    well, actually, when you look closely, we can see that those successful ones also had a woman doing all the “cheap” work so to say, while they were working on what they had planned. all those big writers and all, had to focus- you know? while a woman is managing his life, of course.

  • Petronella

    That’s a really good idea, cocopop133. I find the wilfully naïve stuff the most exhausting.

  • Preptaurian

    Hmm… That is plain as day isn’t it? I was wrong to say it, and I apologize. That is not how I feel generally, but those are the defensive words I used. I own the mistake.

  • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

    In the documentary I watched they wrote “model don’t go to brothel” on their chests. I’m sure something was being lost in the translation (the women documented were of Russian origin) but the entire documentary they were just harassing female models on a runway. Way to deconstruct the patriarchy!

  • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

    Thanks for clarifying Preptaurian. Whatever that statement is, it is not “misandry”. There is no equivalent to misogyny for men. I take it you are not well-versed in MRA rhetoric, because “misandry” is a word made up by MRA’s to describe an imaginary social phenomenon where women are placed on a pedestal by society (yeah feminists hate this too, it’s called “benevolent sexism”) and favoured in child custody cases, permitted to simply point a finger at any man and have him sentenced to jail for rape, and where women commit an equal or greater proportion of domestic violence as men. You know, things easily disproven by statistics. MRA’s argue that these imaginary happenings are evidence of “misandry”.

    By saying there’s no such thing as “misandry”, nobody is saying there are not individuals who fear or hate men. Misogynistic culture is largely dependent on the institutionalization of a hatred of women and there’s just no equivalent institutionalization of hatred for men. Similar to how many people have the opinion that you can have prejudice against white people, but you cannot be “racist” against a white person since racism requires institutionalization. And “reverse racism” is not a thing. Both “misandry” and “reverse racism” are used by those in power to co-opt the struggles and the victimhood status of those they have power over. And I’m not saying you, as an individual, have done this intentionally – you are clearly just not as familiar with MRAs as some here. And the game of MRA’s is to make it look like the complaints of feminists are just in their imaginations, and men have it just as bad (or even worse!) than women, by trying to frame something like “misandry” as having an equivalent effect on men as misogyny does on women.

    Though I don’t visit any more because I find a lot of commenters are hostile towards radical feminists, http://www.wehuntedthemammoth.com/ is a great source to learn about how MRA’s think and what they say, and all about “misandry” and why it doesn’t exist. The site author is great, it’s just the other commenters that can be a pain.

    • Preptaurian

      Thank you for the dialogue and the resource.

  • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

    Preptaurian that’s awful. I’m sorry you had that experience but glad you are aware how wrong this therapist was.

    • Preptaurian

      Thanks. The sooner we get society to stop making excuses for men, the better.

  • pimpinela escarlata

    iirc they started as an abolitionist anti religious (from a womens standpointview) ukranian group, around some sort of event (football mundials or whatever )denouncing the fact that ukrania is the brothel of europe,they wanted to iligalize pr.Like their feminist theory background seems inexistent (they really have weird ideas their page is embarrasing) ,BUT i dont think people realize that ukrania while in europe is not as “western” as it can seem,is extremly religious , and what femen did was brave and it stood some point In the small frame of their origins ,and their target (the orthodox church), their activism while naif and easy to co-opt, it made some sense.I would love to know more about feminist organization in ex-sovietic ountries

    The men thing, yes there was a men in the organization, but the group wasnt their idea,or at least not only his idea idk and at some point they recognized he was taking advantage of them so he was kicked out.Men are leeches ugh

    I have a soft spot for femen because, they put themselves in the line,and to be honest i think they intentions are good, and i dont know i think is kinda unfair the way they are talked about, like the things they did had them kidnapeed by the kgb, i rember a comentator here (other article) comparing the kim k selfies with femen actions.. like i doubt kim k has been targeted by the cia because of their selfies or is gonna be battered by cops or go to jail .An the way they work like organizing themselves in country chapters, i mean i wish there was a radical group working like that and doing activism ,it is sad that they lack the theory.But in some very basic levels and in very religious countries they methods make kinda sense. Actually Femen spain did quite an action ,they interrupted the parliament protesting against abortion laws around the time a restrictive reform was about to happen.. and that was powerful and even if they were topless it didnt look at all as other things like slutwalk etc ,it wasnt party mode express yourselfthere were screaming furiously , idk i liked it it was brave and it showed how spanish women were feed up about the religious right again making us regress to the dictatorship times.

    there ironic thing is they are not even liked by liberal feminist because they opose prostitution.

    i want die rote zora to comeback

    • Meghan Murphy

      I may have written about them more sympathetically if I hadn’t had such a horrible experience with Inna on Al Jazeera. She was just *so* rude and obnoxious and anti-feminist. Maybe they should pick better spokespeople, idk.

  • I got to see every single one of these points play out exactly as the article describes in my mom’s marriage. For it to be purveyed to – and celebrated by – other guys in that way makes my skin crawl.

  • atheist

    “I reject motherhood, in every way possible.” Same here.

  • atheist

    “Men are supposedly dumb when it comes to household chores like laundry
    and cleaning the toilet, but suddenly out in the real world, they are
    the ones trusted to take over all the positions of power.” — THIS!

  • lk

    I’ve sort of gotten to the point where I just don’t respond to the commenters on here who don’t seem interested in learning or engaging in genuine conversation. When I first joined this site, I didn’t know a thing about radical feminism and the first thing I did was start reading different articles. When I did comment and ask questions, it was (and still is) a desire to learn/understand/figure things out.

    I tend to just not respond to the comments like:
    -Not all men
    -What about the men?
    -This article is terf, slut-shaming, misandry and etc
    -But X gives me an orgasm/I like it

    And sometimes the comments are just plain entertaining…on the article about Modern Mumma’s quickie, one guy kept posting an image of Maslow’s hierachy over and over as a way to prove that sex is a need…The responses to his post were so funny that I was glad Meghan kept approving his comments!