PODCAST: Radical feminism for men? Robert Jensen makes the case

the end of patriarchy robert jensenIn Robert Jensen’s new book, The End of Patriachy: Radical Feminism for Men, he asks one question: “What do we need to create and maintain stable, decent human communities that can remain in a sustainable relationship with the larger world?” His answer is feminism.

The book puts forth a radical feminist challenge to institutionalized male dominance, offers a historical and social analysis of patriarchy itself, a critique of the sexual subordination of women, and a challenge to gender identity politics.

The End of Patriarchy isn’t only for men (it’s actually a great Radical Feminism 101 text), but in advocating a radical feminist analysis as foundational to undoing the institutionalized hierarchy that harms people and the planet, Jensen creates a powerful argument for men to adopt this approach.

In this episode, I speak with Robert Jensen about his book, current challenges to the movement, and how men can act as effective allies.

Robert is a professor in the School of Journalism at the University of Texas, a founding board member of the Third Coast Activist Resource Center, and a member of the board of Culture Reframed.

His forthcoming book, The End of Patriarchy: Radical Feminism for Men, will be out in early 2017 from Spinifex Press.

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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  • Meghan Murphy

    I think he gets the trans stuff quite well… Both in the book, and where he’s written about it elsewhere. Have you read his work on porn? It’s very clearly rooted in radical feminism — I highly recommend “Getting Off.”

    With regard to your point about getting involved, I agree that (sadly) it’s very difficult for people to find irl radical feminist communities in most parts of the world… I think many women in this movement feel terribly isolated… I think the only solution must be that we continue to start our own activist groups, plans events in our communities, etc, and hope that interested folks shows up…

    • fxduffy

      I’m much on the same page with Jensen’s politics…. I was responding only to his interview words/tone, and I did it quickly because of the 45 minutes “read” time.

  • Richard Rich

    The tide does need to change in favor of females, and history shows us that men only yield to other men. I know radical feminists will take issue with the idea that men are useful for Feminism to advance and gain ground again. But the culture we live in has only gotten more violent, male-centric, and propagandized, so the likelihood of another wave of Feminism springing up like the one experienced in the 1960’s and 1970’s is very unlikely without the culture maligning it as sexist and reactionary, because males are the default.

    I also have to disagree with this idea of “White Supremacy”. As a second-generation American of Puerto Rican descent I don’t know what this means, because A. white people are the majority in the West, and any culture is going to reflect it’s dominant demographic anywhere you go on this planet; B. I have never been subjected to white racism; and C. most of the racists I have come across in my life were other minorities. But these are just my experiences.

    What’s also denied is the experiences of white people who haven’t benefit from 50 years of Affirmative Action, have been the victims of interracial violence, and don’t come from the middle to upper-class. They struggle just like us black and brown folk. While leftists like Robert Jensen who profess to challenge “white supremacy” live isolated from the rest of us. With that said, I admire the man’s desire to help women and encourage more men to fight the good fight against male supremacy. But his racial politics are way off.

    • radwonka

      Yes, the question is: how can we influence culture? There must be a way to start organizing or something. Besides WOLF, there isnt any other real feminist organization *sigh*

      • Meghan Murphy

        We have Vancouver Rape Relief over here 🙂 Af3irm is good too!

      • Richard Rich

        @radwonka:disqus You can’t influence a culture that is male-centric and built on lies. The Second Wave already tried doing that, only to have their efforts twisted and warped into what Feminism has become today, where degradation is empowerment for women, and honest discourse about women’s issues is considered bigotry. You have to do away with the culture completely and build a new a one in it’s place.

        In terms of organizing, as a man I don’t have the answers. All I can say is that there is going to be a time when women are going to have to come together like they did in the Second Wave, and realize that men are far gone in their own delusions and hatred of women. Everything that these men will do, from the politicians to the Average Joe, will only serve to harm women and girls further.

        And if any man tries to accost you on or off the Internet by telling what he thinks you are doing wrong, don’t pay him any mind, alright. Out of sight, out of mind. Everything that he tells you, if not in the service of Feminism, will be to cast doubt in your own convictions.

        • Liz

          First and second waves made real gains for women despite any backlash or warping of their efforts. they didn’t have to do it all to do great good. I’m grateful to them.

          of course men and others who think they benefit from patriarchy will try to stop it and cling to their delusions and hatred. they always have but women persist. here we are, still working.

  • melissa

    Good discussion.I’ve only ever read a couple of his articles online, all of which i really liked. Wish i could share his optimism though.

  • rosearan

    All the men I know support gender equality but fail miserably to grasp the feminist message. Gender equality is one of those feel-good tropes that seals a man’s credentials as a progressive person.

    But when you start raising uncomfortable women’s realities like living your life barricading your everyday activities against the possibility of rape, coping with the imbalanced burden of child-bearing and child-raising, facing the ugly reality that DV and femicide are overwhelmingly committed by men against their intimate partners, trying to comprehend why pornography is ‘a male thing’, trying to understand why women are grossly disproportionate in poverty and welfare statistics and so on, these progressive male persons get so hurt and offended. Only bad men do that violent stuff, not the good guys. Women’s poverty is the fault of capitalist greed, not male privilege.

    Men like Robert Jensen have a huge uphill battle. If I were a patriarchally controlled male, I’d probably tell him to stop being so pussy-whipped by the neo-liberal identity politics agenda and start acting like a real man.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Yes, I agree. I know men who are far more feminist than many women are. One of the things I like about those men (for ex: Jensen, Hedges, etc), though, is that they don’t go around announcing to the world that they are feminist (a la Matt McGorry), but simply make it clear through their words and actions.

    • Lucy S.

      For one thing, there is no such thing as a male feminist. If they are for real they call themselves “pro-feminists”, and we should also. We should stop using the term “male feminist”, like we don’t use the term “feminist porn-star”.

  • Roseanna Danza

    If you put this up on youtube, we could get a transcript of it. (Maybe. Sometimes they don’t offer one). Please try. It is an excellent, comprehensive analysis of patriarchy offering a ray of hope: radical feminism.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Your comments were deleted because they were trolling. You are asking, repeatedly, why we center women in our feminism. It’s a ridiculous, derailing, manipulative question. Radical feminism is about liberating females from male domination. Period.