‘Male allies’: Still a problem

white ribbon australia

We’ve addressed the issue of male allies in the feminist movement again and again but, surprise! Men who’ve elected themselves leaders in the women’s movement don’t listen. They don’t care to listen. Even when they are claiming to be on our side.

Clementine Ford recently wrote about White Ribbon Australia Ambassador Tanveer Ahmed’s problematic comments about domestic abuse and male violence. He claimed, “Gender relations have changed dramatically in the past few decades, but discussions about family violence are stuck in the mindset of 1970s radical feminism.” Ahmed goes on to say, “the Prime Minister’s move to acknowledge the Australian of the Year award to Rosie Batty and community outpouring on domestic violence through a COAG committee is worthy, but it risks becoming dominated by ­radical feminists and a worldview around the powerlessness of women.”

Uh huh. So what you’re saying is that feminism is a problem for feminism??

White Ribbon is an organization that claims to be about “good guys speaking out” about violence against women. Now, the fight to end male violence against women and domestic abuse is a feminist fight — arguably the key feminist fight. We have been at this a long time and suffered for it. While it is very important that men speak out against this abuse, if they plan on doing so, they cannot speak over women and feminists. They cannot claim to be “good guys” and “allies” whilst attacking or ignoring feminists and feminist work.

Ford writes:

“It’s disturbing that an organization whose very existence was made possible by the tireless work of ‘radical feminists’ would consent to being repped by a man so eager to deride them. Radical feminists didn’t endure the wrath and measurably violent pushback of people opposed to women’s liberation so that their activism could be scoffed at by a man directly benefiting from its passion and fearlessness.”

And Ahmed could really use a little feminist theory in his repertoire… In an article for The Australian, Ahmed blames “men’s disempowerment” for violence against women (rather than, you know, men who perpetrate violence against women) which makes zero sense considering that men have been abusing women since the dawn of patriarchy and, in fact, male violence against women exists because of patriarchy, not the other way around. Like, would men stop abusing women if we just let them dominate us?

Not only does White Ribbon Australia have a man representing them who doesn’t understand feminism, male power, and violence against women — who practically blame feminists for their own subordination — but the organization is, apparently, raising funds by promoting a film that sexualizes abuse.

Fifty Shades of Grey is a book (and now a film) that has played a notable role in mainstreaming BDSM and sexualizing male dominance, female subordination, and violence against women. As Soraya Chemaly wrote for Role Reboot, “this movie perpetuates the idea that the abuse and sexual control of women is sexy and what ‘real’ and ‘edgy’ sex is about.”

Why is an organization that claims to be about fighting violence against women promoting the sexualization of violence against women??

After the fundraiser was widely criticized, the Eventbrite listing became password-protected and White Ribbon Australia announced, via Twitter, that they were “not hosting a 50 Shades of Grey screening.” It is unclear as to whether this means they’ve decided to cancel the event or not.*

Screen Shot 2015-02-10 at 5.10.58 PMI’ve written a lot about the connection between supposed “fantasy” and reality — particularly in terms of the connection between pornography, objectification, and violence against women. So many people seem unwilling to understand or make these connections — most-likely because it means they will have to change their own lives and practices, change the way they see women, stop using porn and going to burlesque shows, stop objectifying women on the street, question the “harmlessness” of BDSM, etc. The clear truth is that fantasy and reality are deeply connected, but our culture prefers to compartmentalize for the sake of convenience and (convenient) ignorance.

One would think men who want to be allies or who claim to be “good guys” would want to make these changes, reject misogynist entertainment and practices, and listen to feminists who have been making these connections for decades. But so many don’t. For them, activism on behalf of women doesn’t require the input of women if said input is inconvenient for men or disrupts their freedom to objectify women.

Recently I wrote about some old photographs taken by Glen Canning which sexualized and objectified women and girls, hoping to point out to him the hypocrisy in his activism and these sexualized images. I wrote, “My goal in publishing this information is not to vilify Canning who has, no doubt, suffered tremendously in dealing with the loss of his daughter. But I find myself baffled and disturbed at his — and, of course, larger society’s — inability to see the contradiction in his enjoyment and consumption of pornographic imagery and his own photographs and the rape, pornification, and death of his daughter.”

Canning responded privately to me, via email, then on his website (without actually linking to my critique, presumably in order to further avoid accountability and to present my critiques in a disingenuous way). Despite a civil and compassionate email exchange, he refused to acknowledge anything problematic about the images and, in fact, refused to acknowledge that there was anything valid at all in my arguments. Instead of hearing my critique and saying something along the lines of, “I didn’t know then what I know now — you’re right that objectification hurts women,” Canning defended himself and the images, played the victim, painted me as a Big Mean Feminist, and compared me to a misogynist troll, out to get him for no reason at all. He writes:

“I’m not going to mention names. I like to think the people on your team deserve better and when it comes to violence against women and sexual assault, infighting only hurts those we need to help. I’m not going to post the web site either, although I’m sure it won’t be hard to find.

It’s not lost on me that I deleted my photography account (I don’t think the people I worked with would appreciate the labels) yet my images, as disgusting as this certain someone claims they are, remain published on her anti-pornography web site and on the site of a really sick man. There’s social justice for you.”

I’m sorry but whose “team” are we talking about here? Because I thought the “team” was women and the feminist movement. Which men are welcome to support but not to lead or dictate. If men wish to be allies in our movement they need to listen and learn from feminists, not explain to them how we are “doing it wrong” and then paint themselves as victims when someone dares to critique their behaviour or simply asks you to understand and acknowledge the connections between images that sexualize and objectify women and male entitlement and violence against women.

I’m fucking sick of man after man after man claiming to be “on our side” and to be “helping women,” but then refusing to actually listen to women, expecting cookies and pats on the head for being “good men,” then striking back when they don’t receive what they believe they are entitled to as self-proclaimed allies. This is precisely why men cannot be leaders in this movement. They can (and should) certainly support feminism and work against patriarchy and male violence, but they can’t do this without or outside of the feminist movement.

White Ribbon is accountable to women. As are all men who claim to be part of the fight against violence against women. This fight is a feminist fight and if you can’t figure that out you have no business pretending to be “on our team.” Feminists are not the problem. Men who want to be the face of our movement but then paint us as the enemy when we dare challenge their analysis or work are the problem. Men who refuse to “get it” because they don’t want to be bossed around by some uppity woman are the problem. Men who are so attached to their sense of entitlement and their right to take up space anywhere they see fit are the problem. Men who want to have their porn-cake and eat it too are the problem. Men are the problem.

And this is why feminists scoff at men who call themselves “good guys.”

*UPDATE, 02/10/2015 — A reporter for Daily Life writes: “[A] White Ribbon spokesman… told Daily Life the organizer was no longer proceeding with the screening…. But the question remains: why did White Ribbon allow the event to be registered initially?”

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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  • Sarah

    I was furious and dumbfounded today when a classmate proclaimed: “I choose not to get upset by orientalism and feminism. Nothing really offends me. It’s just entertainment and I choose to see it as just entertainment.”

    Just entertainment!

    How nice that you get to choose whether or not to be upset, think the only issue is possibly offended sensibilities, and choose to be entertained by it all.

    What angers me most is how often this is repeated by men I come across; By men whom I respect and are critical and thoughtful and well-read on anything but issues that would force them to change their behaviour and attitude towards women (and minorities).

    The “it’s not me (men), it’s you (feminists)” gaslighting and deflection is just another abusive technique. I’ve been in that relationship. I recognize it well.

    • Meghan Murphy

      “Choose” — the magic word that erases systemic oppression!

    • FrustratedRadFem

      Orientalism? does he know what that means? Does he mean racism awareness?

      Orientalism is bascially the result of old european colonialism of the East. In what’s now known as Asia and the Middle East. Now it’s know as Neo-colonialsism. The particualrly with the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan by the west. It’s sort like the idea of the Middle East being either full of terrorists or like Disney’s Aladdin.

  • In my view this is a case of individualistic, liberal, “empowerment” feminism trying to wipe out alternative forms of feminism. I think liberal feminism does favour men and masculinity more so than other forms of feminism, so males who claim to be feminists are likely to be liberals, but unfortunately many women are liberals too.

    Personally, I am more concerned about people’s ideologies and behaviours than their “identity” (or rather, social role), but I do acknowledge that gender indoctrination influences people’s ideologies and behaviours. I don’t think allowing men into the feminist movement would be such a bad thing if men were held to high standards. By high standards I mean no defenders of pornography, BDSM, glamourised depictions of violence (sexual or otherwise) or masculinity in general allowed. Some may argue that no men will meet these standards but if we don’t ask them too they definitely won’t and I think of a few men (e.g. Robert Jensen) who do (ideologically speaking at least).

    Have men ever said anything insightful about the cause of women’s rights that women did not say first? Probably not, but they do have the advantage of being allowed to say things that women can’t get away with saying. So I think men can be useful allies to the feminist movement so long as they are allied with the right side (the “sex-negative”, anti-gender side) and are actually allies, not liberal invaders. Of course, it is up to the radical feminist movement to decide how it handles the issue, not me as an individual. I am just giving my opinion.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Totally. I am not against allowing men into the the movement — I am against men who call themselves allies or feminists who refuse to listen or learn from feminists and who can’t take critique. Unfortunately this seems to happen a lot… It’s just more male entitlement, you know?

      • “I am against men who call themselves allies or feminists who refuse to listen or learn from feminists and who can’t take critique.”

        Yeah, there’s a lot of that going around. Criticising women (as a group and as individuals) is far more socially acceptable than criticising men, though liberalism has as its core doctrine the view that all criticisms of beliefs and behaviours are “oppressive” and “discriminatory”. Resistance to criticism is not just a personality flaw men have, it’s actually encouraged by the culture.

        Liberals tell people to blindly “love” themselves, while mainstream culture encourages women to hate themselves. In the end I fear that the “love yourself” message just puts more pressure on women (who can’t always “choose” not to be hurt by things )and encourages arrogance among men.

        People do not blind love or blind hate (either from themselves or from others). They need to understand themselves as they actually are. They need to understand that they have flaws and they need to strive to overcome them. This does not have to be an individualistic process. I think the best way to change people is to change the kind of society they grew up in and society needs to change as soon as possible. The sick, greedy, violent culture we live in simply isn’t sustainable.

      • Ryan Painter

        I feel honoured to consider myself a feminist and ally of those women who came before me and those who lead ahead of me. I’ll do my best and as humans do, I will trip up, but will always strive to learn from the leaders of the movement and those like Meghan who constantly inspire me to be better. Thanks for all you do Meghan.

        • Meghan Murphy

          Thanks Ryan

  • Jacqueline S. Homan

    Feminists are not the problem. Men who want to be the face of our movement but then paint us as the enemy when we dare challenge their analysis or work are the problem. Men who refuse to “get it” because they don’t want to be bossed around by some uppity woman are the problem. Men who are so attached to their sense of entitlement and their right to take up space anywhere they see fit are the problem. Men who want to have their porn-cake and eat it too are the problem. Men are the problem.

    And this is why feminists scoff at men who call themselves “good guys.”

    This right here sums it up in a nutshell. Another pithy quote (I forget who originally said it, but it’s very apro pro) comes to mind: “Never in all of history has any oppressed group won their liberation by appealing to the moral conscience of the oppressor.”

    Another quote also comes to mind: “Power has never been relinquished peaceably nor willingly.”

    Even the “good guys” who know they’re benefiting from male privilege and the sexual, economic, and legal oppression of women who say they feel bad that women have to suffer because of it, are not willing to give up any of their own privileges to make shit right. They’re STILL keeping poor women from being able to survive, from getting chances for good jobs (while holding up “sex work” as the “solution” to poor women’s poverty and as an “equalizer” to make up for the discrimination that propels women into the sex industry to begin with).

    Just some food for thought.

    • It seems naive to proclaim these thoughts about power never giving up power and then castigate men for not giving up power. There is no appeal to the moral consciousness of men because that is not what it is about, It is about power and who has it and how to take it from those who have it if you are the victim. But to cry victim is stupid. It has never worked. Why will it now? It just make women look stupid and ineffectual. it is all about power and for women to trust men not to take leadership roles and grab the turf from women is absurd.

      • “But to cry victim is stupid. It has never worked. Why will it now? It just make women look stupid and ineffectual. it is all about power and for women to trust men not to take leadership roles and grab the turf from women is absurd.”

        Sorry… WHAT? Who is “crying victim”? Can you back this up with anything written on this page?

        What is your point – that the actions of these self-styled wankers should not be critiqued because “it just make women look stupid and ineffectual”? – no one should enter into a discussion of the real-world existence of men who claim to be allies because it’s “stupid” to even acknowledge the fact that this is happening? – that a public reminder of the the unlikelihood that power will be handed over is “absurd”?

        Your condemnation is self-negating (and, ironically, rather absurd). Women should remain silent about this because it’s beneath us to speak? What action would you have us take, if public critique is so “stupid”? How would you counter the damaging messages that WR disseminates? Or are you just here to shit on women who speak critically?

        • Mar Iguana

          If there are no victims there is no victimization and there are no victimizers. What a perfect way to erase what men are and what they do.

          • Morag

            Exactly. This is why “victim” is used as a shameful insult against women. No victim, no crime — just “stuff that happens.”

  • Thanks for this article Meghan! This will be very useful for us as Australian WR have been problematic before and still refuse to acknowledge how little they support us, or actively dismiss us . Received this from the event organiser :

    “Dear Simone,

    I have been inundated with messages in my inbox and on Facebook and so I have made a public reply on FB, which I have pasted here.


    This is Girldownunder, the organiser of this fundraising event. I am an individual person, a wife and mother of 2. The fundraising event was my idea, not a promotional event run by White Ribbon. 50 Shades of Grey is the most popular fictional book in history, and the movie is likely to be similarly popular. I see many, many problems with the story and themes within the book, but it’s not a topic that I can talk about with people in my every day life. I wanted to organise a discussion group or book club type event, where we could watch the movie and have an informed discussion about it afterwards, highlighting the problems of how abuse is sometimes romanticised and glorified in media. I decided that it would be good if I could raise money and awareness for a relevant cause, and picked White Ribbon as it is an organisation I strongly believe in. I recruited two friends to help me with the organisation and planning, and we registered our event with White Ribbon last week. Our aim was to get a group of 20-30 for our discussion group. We count amongst our friends and attendees victims of abuse, who are supportive of what we are trying to achieve. It was not my intention to traumatise anyone by donating the funds towards WR. I have not heard from WR directly in regards to objections to this event, but we will be holding our discussion group whether or not the White Ribbon organisation accepts our donation. We will be in touch with them tomorrow morning to discuss this. Thanks for your comments, I am taking them under consideration, but I will not be responding any more until I have had an opportunity to talk to WR.”

    • Meghan Murphy

      Interesting. I find that clarification useful — it sounds like WR needs to be more careful about who they allow to hold fundraisers in their name…. I also think the organizer probably should have been more careful in her language to say it was going to be a critical discussion (if indeed it is…). I’m so frustrated to hear that WR has a history around this kind of lack of accountability!

      • They invited a “professional dominant” as a speaker, but no opponents of BDSM were invited to give their opinions. I doubt they are going to have a truly critical discussion of the film. I don’t want to participate in a debate between two-sides of the pro-BDSM, pro-pornography movement.

        And since the film is new, they would have to pay the company for the right to screen it, thus generating more profit for it. I’d rather wait for an organisation like the Media Education Foundation to make a documentary about the glamorisation of BDSM and sexual violence (which may use clips from the film) within popular culture, then screen the actual film. I hope the Media Education Foundation does something like that (they have made good anti-pornography, anti-gender-indoctrination films in the past), but I am in no position to make them do so

        Speaking of things I am in no position to do, I have heard of anti-BDSM protests (related to you know what film) happening in the US and UK, but I know of no similar event happening in Melbourne. If any of you do, please tell me. I can’t do nothing while this film is released tomorrow in Australia, so I am going to go to Melbourne’s CBD and take a stand against it, even if I am the only one to do so. I have created my own posters (they include links to this website, I assume you won’t complain about free advertising, LOL.) They look like crap and I expect them to be torn down by the pro-BDSM crowd, but hopefully someone will see them before they are.

        I know change is brought about through collective action, but we don’t see much of that in Australia nowadays. This is all I can do (without capitulating to pro-BDSM or right-wing opponents of you-know-what), but hopefully it will be better than nothing.

  • What bothers me the most about Tanveer Ahmed’s comments about the discussions about gender violence that are “stuck in the mindset of 1970s radical feminism,” is that it’s the old “you’re not in fashion anymore”e argument–which isn’t and argument at all, just a way of insulting the woman or women in question. And people using language like that to dismiss what radical feminists are saying, never bother to give you a coherent argument about what is wrong with the radical feminist point of view. As an “older woman”, I am especially vulnerable to such insults and “wipe-outs”, as they veer dangerously into age-ism, which as everyone knows, for women is a special category unto itself, ie, “you’re not attractive anymore, so who cares what you think.” Meantime, the years that have gone into the ripening of my feminist though could be relegated to the trash. We must take on “you are not in fashion anymore”–a labeling also fashionable among many younger women feminists.

    • FrustratedRadFem

      What? compared to being stuck in a 70’s kind of sexism. This dude hasn’t done his research more and more young women and even girls are turning to radical feminism. I’m one of them. We are making a comeback 70’s feminism had a lot of the base analysis and didn’t back down and make unnecessary compromises. Feminism was much cooler in the 70’s anyway.

      These idiots are perfectly fine with doting old school sexism because ‘irony’ and it’s ‘sexy’. People love nostalgia, old things are always making a comeback. Why not seventies feminism? They could call it ‘vintage feminism’ and look back on it fondly and try to renew it. They could try to rebrand the second wave as badass women fighting ‘the man’ they look back on men in radical movements with rose coloured glasses (John Lennon) but women aren’t afforded this interpretation. I wonder why bra-burning, peaceful protest and changing laws is seen as scary or a joke but men burning their draft cards, throwing molotov cocktails and getting high is seen as admirable. I see plenty of men admire other men who are violent in the name of a cause (no matter what it is) but women taking non-violent feminist action are to be dismissed or feared. Men are both hypocrites and cowards.

      Why do women’s ideas have short use by date but men can say shit they were saying hundreds of years ago as if it’s new? This mindset is sexist just because something is new, doesn’t mean it’s relevant. They aren’t really saying it needs to be updated to fit the times (as if women aren’t doing this already) they are saying because there are ‘flaws’ you need to throw away the entire draft. How are we supposed to learn like that you’d be an incompetent teacher to suggest destroying past work. But that’s what they want older radfems taught me about women having to ‘re-invent the wheel’ it’s a nasty tactic.

      • Mar Iguana

        “Men are both hypocrites and cowards.”

        They know and they know that we know. This is why they hate us.

    • ArgleBargle

      I read Tanveer Ahmed’s opinion piece on domestic violence and male disempowerment. Oddly enough, the first thing that came to mind was the 1964 study, the Wife Beater’s Wife. It took a lot of 1970s radical feminism to change the view that castrating, provoking wives were complicit in the domestic violence visited upon them by their husbands. By the looks of it, we are in need of radical feminist analysis today as much as ever before.

  • This depressing bullshit is most definitely about entitlement fertilized by pomo/pos “feminism”.

    It’s also a entrenched narrative in western (and, I suspect, beyond) storytelling. Think of it: how many english-language movies and TV shows are about a male “hero” saving women from bad men? How many male “heroes” who are driven to sadistic violence by the violation/murder of the woman they love? The argument that “fantasy” exists in a separate realm than material action is ridiculous – any educator know that, and this is yet another iteration of men using women as props in their own self-aggrandizing narratives. And the populace is so filled with these familiar stories that this self-styled, self-congratulatory game playing is immunized from the critique and condemnation it so richly deserves.

    Sexism is like poison gas – it seeps in everywhere.

  • Henke

    Very good article, thank you!

    We men (male human beings) can NEVER be feminists, it is not a movement created for us.
    Since there are various branches of feminism today–in which some don’t seem to do anything more than work to keep things as it already is–I am pretty sure that men who claims to be feminists more often than not choose the “pro-porn, pro-prostituion” path which also, to me anyway, proves why men can’t be feminists.
    Men who claim to be feminists, I believe anyway, only acts out in their “best self-interest” they don’t really care about what goes on around them, too maintain the status quo sort to speak. There might be a few exceptions but they are very few in numbers that’s for sure.

    My understanding of feminism is that feminism is about the liberation for women (female human beings) from patriarchy and the subordination this causes for women as a class under men (male human beings) as a class.
    How can that ever be achieved if we men claim to be speakers of feminism ? To me that is yet another version of acting out what patriarchy teaches us males to do: to keep on colonising the spaces and voices of others.
    This is a concept that has run in the dominant culture for a few thousand years now and it’s trashing not only our human communities and relations between female and male human beings, it trashes the entire planet.

    What we can do as men is to be vocal on the issues of patriarchy with other men, to be pro-feminist to be supportive. Even become allies but that is something we earn in that sense, not take for granted. And it should be a ‘title’ hard to earn and easy to loose honestly.

    That we can do and should do every single day of our lives and of course work to decolonise our hearts and minds from patriarchy. A work that for most of us will take a lifetime. You don’t just shrug off the enculcation of patriarchy, it is not done in a flash but one can become better and better.
    So Men: Listen to women, speak with women, respect women.

  • stephen m

    Briefly, men who are or want to be spokesmen or active for the feminist movement are problematic and even an oxymoron. Can a spokesman personality not want to be the leader and take on major roll and share or dominate the stage? To put on a patriarchal show of their participation and pontificate how it should be done, still blind to real feminism.

    Do men who are best suited to be feminist allies listen to and read feminist women? Is it best if they just attempt to understand and live a supporting roll? Is it possible for these candidates to do more than lead by example?

  • You’re not the movement Meghan. Get over yourself. Rape Culture includes people like you who choose to attack anyone who disagrees with your agenda. If what you do is so great why after 15 years of doing it have the stats not changed at all? You’ve put yourself ahead of the conversation and you did it for your own needs. I intent on continuing to speak out because it is the right thing to do, not because I give a shit about you.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Many women were and are critical of those images, Glen. And your stubborn refusal to admit/acknowledge problematic behaviour isn’t helping anyone.

    • Henke

      “Rape Culture includes people like you who choose to attack anyone who disagrees with your agenda.”

      Are you implying that a woman who disagrees with you or in other ways do not cater to your thoughts on how women should behave (or think) are ‘asking for it’ to use male language ?
      Because this sure sounds like that. That a woman who behaves in ways that don’t align with your views can get raped is that what you are implying here ?
      If I’m totally off here please explain to me (and everybody else who might read) how Meghan in anyway is ‘included’ in rape culture ?

      • Meghan Murphy

        I also fail to understand how feminists who challenge men who objectify women are contributing to rape culture.

        • I know eh? That’s a speshul load of shit right there. Don’t you know wimminz are responsible for being raped! C’mon Meghan, it’s totally our fault that knobhead doesn’t get this.

          If this man can’t figure out that those images led to the demise of his very own daughter he’s never going to get it. Ever.

          It’s much easier to attack the messenger than deal with the message. Dudes don’t want to give up their porno images. It’s totally oppression to ask them to treat women like human beings and not a beating heart with some holes to penetrate. TOTAL OPPRESSION!

          It’s quite amazing how men reverse things to make it women’s fault.

          Just the other day, the MRA group CAFE said women need to be nice and confront men who manspread but not blame him or be nasty to him (or else violence amirite?). Women once again must police men because they can’t quite figure out that taking up 3 seats in public is rude.

          Women are always burdened with the bad behaviour of men who should know better. You’d think these men were raised in the wild or something and had no human socialization at all.

          • Henke

            “. Dudes don’t want to give up their porno images. It’s totally oppression to ask them to treat women like human beings and not a beating heart with some holes to penetrate. TOTAL OPPRESSION!”

            This is utterly true and sadly.
            To have a sane and respectful conversation about pornography and it’s harms is almost impossible with everyday people.
            Like if you just bring up that you are critical of pornography men develop demon horns and often women too defends in in slight less hateful ways like “it should be any ones choice”.
            But it is hard.. so hard.
            It’s in many ways like similar to reach out to addicts of a hard drug when you begin speaking about that the drug might be harmful to them. they get defensive, very very defensive and sometimes aggressive.

    • Morag

      Hello Glen. I heard on the CBC the other night your phone interview with the correspondent concerning someone who is hacking into web pages about your daughter, and changing the information to say that she was not raped by these boys. I was so sorry, and white-hot angry, to hear this news. I hope he is caught, shamed and punished. This misogynist hacker (a man, I assume) is your enemy and ours.

      We are not your enemy, Glen. We want justice for your daughter and for all girls and women. I don’t know if you are being proud, defensive or stubborn, or if you truly, sincerely do not believe that sexualized images of girls and women are part of the feed-back loop of rape culture. But, to say that Meghan Murphy and other feminists are contributing to rape culture is just so wrong. It’s outrageous and shocking.

    • jin


      I was part of a Vancouver protest in honour of your daughter. I read a statement your wife wrote for the occasion and felt honoured to do so. I have engaged in more consciousness-raising conversations about rape culture triggered by the horrific crimes committed against your daughter than I can count. I’m sure Meghan has done the same.

      Your suggestion that analysis that triggers the reflexive guilt-covering-anger typical of men asked to question their behaviour in relation to rape culture is somehow self-serving is reprehensible. Anger. Attacks. Insults. Derailing. No aspect of your response is surprising to women who have spoken to men about the connection between sexual objectification and sexual assault. We have seen it all and then some. We understand it comes from a lifetime of being taught that pornography is normal and harmless, that being a man means being right and being dominant. That women are less than and should defer to male authority, especially when it comes to men’s sexual access to female bodies.

      Presenting girls and women as sexual objects dehumanizes them. It encourages men to see girls and women as things whose sole purpose is to sexually gratify men. This facilitates the sexual victimization of girls and women by men. There is a vast, growing body of scientific knowledge about this connection Glen, and if you were TRULY interested in defeating rape culture you would stop focusing on your hurt feelings and attacking feminists who are doing the heavy lifting for this cause and begin learning and asking yourself difficult questions.

      Instead, your choice is to derail conversations and spout misogynistic rhetoric about feminists, all the while trying to position yourself as an ally. That choice says a lot about your priorities Glen. It tells women that insulating your ego is your priority. That continuing to exercise male entitlement is your priority.

      So how about you try learning Glen? Until then, please understand that the more you attack feminists for the doing the hard work you aren’t yet knowledgeable enough to do, the more you prove that your beliefs and behaviour are part of the problem.

    • Laur

      Glen, you’re a lot newer to public activism than Meghan and many of the other women on this site. Obviously, stopping rape is no easy task; women have tried many, many things, but men choose to put their entitlement ahead of women’s bodily integrity. That is not the fault of women who are trying to stop rape; it’s the fault of rapists and those who actively participate in rape culture.

      I really don’t understand why you can’t admit that you made a mistake. Or even say that you disagree with Meghan but you see her point. Or read more writing on the subject of objectification of women’s bodies before publicly posting and attacking Meghan. Do you honestly think women on this site would complain about your pics for no reason? Saying you removed them is also dishonest, because if I understand, you only removed them after Meghan e-mailed you.

      If our opinions don’t matter to you, just ignore us and focus on stopping rape culture. But women, feminists, do have the right to call out work of others, particularly men who call themselves allies, that we find problematic. What makes you think you know better than long-time feminist women what kind of photos are problematic?

      At any time, you are free to retract your previous statements on the photos. Though I don’t think any of us are holding our breath for that.

    • Coming onto this site and accusing Meghan Murphy of being an agent of rape culture is reproducing exactly the thing that you purport to campaign against: sexist online harassment of women by men. Boys and men who do this do so out of ignorant entitlement. You are acting out the same ignorant entitlement fueled by your obvious and undeniable sexism. What a depressing mind fuck for women everywhere. You briefly offer hope that we can trust men to understand our reality and then you prove that you are far more deeply committed to being part of the problem. It all adds up to more cynicism and hopelessness.

    • Missfit

      You want to know why the stats (whatever is referred exactly by that) have not improved? Maybe this has to due with something called porn culture standing in the way? The hypersexualization of girls, the ubiquitous objectification of women and girls presented as consummable goods for men, the easy access to hardcore pornography. But I guess that pales in comparison to Meghan’s contribution to rape culture…

  • susan

    Oh my god. My head just exploded from the irony of Glen displaying EXACTLY what the article was talking about in the comments for the article!

    And the White Ribbon website ACTUALLY calls them “good men.” It’s all just so ridiculous. Does their male entitlement shield them from all self-awareness??

    • Meghan Murphy

      “Does their male entitlement shield them from all self-awareness??”

      I think it must? Otherwise it is simply unbelievable that men would claim to be allies while simultaneously telling women they don’t “give a shit” about them and accusing feminists of “attacking” them when they dare to question their entitlement.

      I also find it hugely ironic that Glen would accuse me of doing feminism “for my own needs” (what does that mean, exactly??) when it’s perfectly clear who here is making this all about themselves… Unless of course doing it “for my own needs” means that I wish to be treated as a full human being, just as I wish that for all women? Somehow I doubt that is what he means, though…

      • jin

        yes, because we ALL know there are SO MANY social and material rewards for being an outspoken feminist in patriarchy.

        the more he speaks the more he reveals his complete lack of credibility.

      • Rob

        Meghan, what i want to know is this, how did you decide that those images Canning took, “objectified” those girls?, they’ve been taken down, so i haven’t had the chance to see them for myself, but the point i’m trying to make is this: I believe that weather or not a particular image “objectifies” anyone is entirely up to the people viewing the image. According to you, Canning’s photographs “sexualize and objectify” the women in them, but pretty much every photograph “objectifies” it’s subject, it may or may not be of a sexual nature. So is it the fact that the women in those photographs have been “sexualized”, that turns them into objects, and if i (as a heterosexual male) were to view those images and become aroused by them, then i have objectified those women, and, by default, are then unable to see them as human beings? Does the same thing go for Glenn Canning or any other man? If i find a particular image of a woman sexually arousing, then i could no longer be considered an ally in the fight against the abuse of females, violent or otherwise?

        Now at this point you’re probably saying to yourself: “oh great, another asshole trying to rationalize his misogyny on my blog”, but, if you please, just hear me out for a minute, a while back i remember you writing a piece on what you believed was the difference between depictions of positive female sexuality, and pornography and you give an example from the HBO series “girls”; where Lena Dunham’s character plays table tennis topless, as an example of “non porn” nudity, where as the topless image of a page 3 girl is “porny”, that is, an image which sexualizes and negatively objectifies women. Now i’ll admit i don’t watch “girls” (not much of a TV person) and i don’t look at page 3 girls (don’t live in the UK), but i did take a long look at the topless image of Lena Dunham you had posted to accompany your article, and i remember thinking to myself “How the fuck does Meghan Murphy know i’m not sexualizing Lena Dunham? How the fuck does Meghan Murphy know i’m not objectifying Lena Dunham”, because when i look at the breasts of a page 3 girl, you seem to know damn well what i (and all other men) are thinking about, which is somehow not what i’m thinking about when i view Lena Dunham’s breasts. Yeah, i get it, Dunham doesn’t fit into societies stereotype of what a “hot girl” looks like, as opposed to say Kate Upton, but that still doesn’t mean there aren’t a bunch of dudes out there sexualizing and “objectifying” Lena Dunham every time “girls” comes on, granted there may not be as many as those that sexualize, say, Kate Upton, but their still out there Meghan, so that’s the question i pose to you: why are the image of one woman’s breasts be considered “o.k.” and the image of another woman’s breasts be considered “porny”?, can’t Lena Dunham’s breasts be “porny” or be considered “masturbatory material” ? I mean if it was kate upton topless playing ping-pong instead of Lena Dunham, would that be considered more “porny” than Dunham’s nudity?, because according to you she looks like “normal, real, people” as opposed to all those women in beer commercials and lingerie ads that aren’t “normal, real, people” I’ll admit it confused me a little because in your article you pay lip service to the fact different kinds of bodies can be objectified, and that “objectifying less conventional bodies isn’t radical per se”, but you seem to base you’re view of weather or not a given image is negatively objectifying towards women, by determining how much men seem to be turned on by said image. Thus, the more men seem to be sexually aroused by a given image of a woman, the more terrible that image is for women’s liberation, conversely if men seem to be turned off by a given image of a woman, well then obviously that womans “doin’ feminism right”, as far as your concerned, let’s go back to your article on female nudity in girls: you try to prove that Dunham’s nudity is “revolutionary” and “radical” based on the fact that a couple of male TV critics didn’t like the episode; and that in a nutshell seems to be your position on sexual imagery: The more it appeals to men, the worse that image is for women – period. what i find hilarious is you seem to believe all men are turned on by the same images (here’s a bit of mansplaining: we’re not), and here’s the kicker, it’s not actually how men themselves view the image of a woman that determines weather or not you believe that image is degrading to woman, but rather, it’s how you Meghan Murphy, BELIEVE how men view the image of a given woman which determines weather or not you believe that image degrades women. In other words you’re entire decision making process on sexually degrading imagery rests entirely on YOUR OWN OPINION, and nothing more, and the fact that there are other women out there that agree with YOUR OPINION doesn’t in fact change the fact that it’s just an opinion. This is my fundamental problem with so much of what you write, it’s not that you disagree with me that pisses me off , it’s that you present you’re own opinions as indisputable facts, and if we men wish to be “male allies” we must never, ever, ever, challenge the “facts” which you Meghan Murphy present to us.

        So let’s go back to Glenn Canning’s photographs; you Meghan Murphy viewed a bunch of photographs of women taken by Mr. Canning and formed the OPINION, that they “sexualized and objectified” and were otherwise harmful to women, and then; based on YOUR OPINION that you formed in your head, you Meghan Murphy postulated another OPINION, that because Mr. Canning took and displayed these photographs, then he couldn’t possibly be an ally in the fight against female sexual abuse, because you have an opinion. Again don’t get me wrong, you have every right to express YOUR OPINION, and have your voice heard, least of all on your own blog, but never forget that it’s just an opinion Meghan, not a fact, and saying Glenn Canning, a man who lost a daughter to sexual violence and has been very vocal about making sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else’s daughter is “not an ally” in that fight, because you don’t like some of the pictures he took will never be anything more than an OPINION. I have opinions too, but i understand that they are just that: OPINIONS, now obviously i would like for my opinions to be considered true, i think we all would, but i’m open to the possibility that they aren’t, do you sometimes feel the same way about your opinions Meghan? how do you feel about my opinions? would you care to discuss these issues or will you simply delete my post?

        • Meghan Murphy

          1) I don’t understand how you read my post about Girls (here for those who missed it a couple of years ago: https://feministcurrent.com/7173/girls-explains-the-difference-between-porn-and-nudity-in-half-an-hour/) and still don’t understand that nudity doesn’t necessarily = objectification.

          2) Maybe if you yell “OPINION” one more time you’ll convince us all that my arguments are invalid and irrelevant because they were formed, in part, through thinking with my brain.

          • Morag

            Meghan, you must never do thinking in your own head and, especially, with your own brain. Because the product of that will always be an OPINION with which guys on the internet will disagree.

            What a guy! It took him 50000 words to say that, and it was all so consistent, as consistent as a whole jar of peanut butter. I almost enjoyed the monotony of his prose. Just when it seemed a revelation might be in the next spoonful — nope! More of the same.


          • bella_cose

            Why is it that men cannot understand that they can find women sexy and attractive, and that it doesn’t necessitate objectifying them? Like seriously, how can it be so difficult?

            Maybe they need to stop watching porn, and other media where the point is to objectify and dehumanize women, so that they can reset their brains. Then, maybe they’ll understand the difference. I’m not holding my breath though.

          • Rob

            but how do you define “sexy and attractive” bella_cose? what exactly do those words mean? aren’t they just polite terms for fuckability? i’m not trying to offend anyone here, but if i find a woman, any woman “sexy and attractive” does that not mean i’m sexually objectifying that woman? or am i missing something?

            the point of porn is to “objectify and dehumanize”? all porn? i thought the point of porn was to sexually stimulate the viewer, so if i’m sexually stimulated by the image of a woman (or a man) having sex, then i’ve automatically dehumanized that person? is this true of all pornographic imagery? Do radical feminists actually believe there’s only one kind of pornography?

          • Laur

            While feminists including myself are not opposed to nudity, it is true that under male supremacy, many men do have a hard time seeing women as full human beings, whether or not there are clothes on and whether or not she is actively subordinated in the picture. This should not be used to say, “porn can’t be defined. therefore, all images of women are okey dokey.” I think this is what you are doing, Rob.

            It is a fact that pornography harms women. That studies have had to be done on whether it is problematic to tie women up is sad.

            Feminists do have the right to say who they think is and is not an ally. We have always done this. Men who promote the kinds of photographs glenn does and are unapologetic about it and “call out” Meghan Murphy are not allies. They are self-absorbed men who think they know what is best for women.

          • bella_cose
          • “but how do you define “sexy and attractive” bella_cose? what exactly do those words mean? aren’t they just polite terms for fuckability? i’m not trying to offend anyone here, but if i find a woman, any woman “sexy and attractive” does that not mean i’m sexually objectifying that woman?”

            I don’t claim to speak for all feminists when I say this and my views on the topic may well turn out to be very contraversial, but in so far as the terms “sexy” and “attractive” refer to physical traits (large breasts, slim waists, clear skin, hair-free legs), I don’t think there is much distinction between between such labels and the term “fuckable”.

            Sexual objectification refers to focusing on somebody’s physical appearance to the point where one ignores their inner traits (e.g. their thoughts and desires), but I think it is harmful to focus on women’s prettiness (or lack thereof) to any extent, because it leads to (unjustified) discrimination. Women with small breasts, hairy legs, acne (or whatever other trait men find gross) haven’t done anything wrong and shouldn’t be treated worse than women whose bodies are deemed “pretty”.

            I think many opponents of objectification are concerned about “pretty” women, not being valued for their human traits and I think that is a fine thing for people to be concerned about, but my opposition to objectification stems more from concerns about what happens to women who do not meet prettiness standards or have to undergoing painful and dangerous beauty practices in order to meet them.

            I think the only way we can really make life better for such women is if we create a world in which men do not attempt to sort women into the categories of “pretty” and “ugly”. So I would never encourage men to admire or “appreciate” women’s bodies, unless they were admiring them in a way that had nothing to do with their prettiness (e.g. admiring a woman who was capable of running long distances without getting tired.)

            If a man is to experience sexual or romantic attraction to a woman, it should be inspired by her inner traits (e.g. intelligence, kindness, etc.) This will not only prevent women from hating their bodies (and performing practices that harm their bodies for no reason) and I think it will also lead to deeper, healthier, longer lasting relationships.

          • marv


            So many self-involved questions and fervent defensiveness. You surely have an obsessive compulsive disorder towards porn. The only way to break your unhindered devotion to phallus centeredness – unfuck the mind – is to expel this dysfunctional sexual identity through porn abstinence. Putting to rest to male superego is daunting but doable.

            If you really believe no one should impose their views on others then you wouldn’t use porn because that is exactly what it does to women.

          • Rob

            1) i acknowledged in my response that you did in fact mention that nudity doesn’t necessarily = objectification, what i’m interested in is the nitty gritty of exactly which kind of nudity radical feminists believe constitutes objectification. Again going back to my understanding of your “girls” post you seem to imply that because a couple of male TV critics didn’t like the episode,(although in the link to their critique you provided; their dislike of the episode seems a little more complicated than “i hated staring at Lena Dunham’s naked body”), never-the-less you pretty much make the claim that if dudes don’t seem to like it, well then it must be good for women:

            “Yes, dudes are choked because WTF is up with women on screen that aren’t just masturbatory material and actually look like normal, real, people, but this, of course, is a sign that Dunham is doing something right. You want proof? David Haglund and Daniel Engber thought it was the worst episode ever. I, on the other hand, thought it was the best episode ever and felt swoony inside my cold, black heart after watching.”

            So i’ll restate the question i asked you in my response – why can’t Lena Dunham’s body be considered “masturbatory material”?, and on top of that if anybody wanted to masturbate to a given image of any individual, what is the criteria for that image being considered “objectification”?, the fact that people may want to masturbate to it?

            2)sorry about the cap locks, i remember you making a joke about using them in your comment’s policy section; “opinion” is a word i wanted to emphasize because i believe they are largely formed by a person’s own individual experiences. I wasn’t criticizing your arguments because you formed them with your brain, it’s because i don’t agree with what you’re telling me. Let’s go back to the porn debate, you often mention in you’re critique of “porn culture” that just because someone may “like” doing something; in this example, consuming or producing pornography, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily good for society at large, and i would agree with that statement, just because i, as an individual, may enjoy watching porn doesn’t mean it’s necessarily good for society at large, but the corollary of that statement is: just because you Meghan Murphy, as an individual, DON’T (point of emphasis) like watching porn, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily bad for society at large.

            You keep telling me over and over: porn is wrong, sexualized imagery of women is wrong, and we should all cut that shit out, but Meghan is ALL pornography (the explicit depiction of sex) wrong, are ALL sexualized images of women (or men for that matter) wrong, because that would mean that all pornography and sexually explicit imagery is the same, and based on my own experiences with that kind of imagery: No it isn’t. Now i understand that my own experiences with pornography may not represent the complete picture of what porn is, and any statements i make about it, reflects a personal opinion, not stated fact, but i have yet to read anything on this blog that you have written or linked to that would make me change my opinion, and i’ve been reading this blog for almost 3 years now.

          • Meghan Murphy

            “So i’ll restate the question i asked you in my response – why can’t Lena Dunham’s body be considered “masturbatory material”?, and on top of that if anybody wanted to masturbate to a given image of any individual, what is the criteria for that image being considered ‘objectification’?, the fact that people may want to masturbate to it?”

            My argument is not that Lena Dunham’s body can’t be considered ‘masturbatory material,’ my argument is that the camera doesn’t need to objectify naked female bodies. Whether people ‘want to masturbate’ is up to them. Again, depictions of sex and sexuality on screen can still be sexual, but they need not present women’s bodies as objectified, sexualized things that exist only to-be-looked-at. The way her body is depicted — by her — on screen is not in an objectified way. She generally just happens to be naked in many scenes, as many people are. We are ALL naked at home, in the bath, when we are having sex, etc. But those scenes, depicted, need not objectify and pornify women. Again ‘naked’ need not = objectified, sex/sexuality need not = sexualized.

            “‘Opinion’ is a word i wanted to emphasize because i believe they are largely formed by a person’s own individual experiences.”

            And where does ideology and politics and ethics fit in to your definition of ‘opinion’?

          • Henke

            You might want to take a look at this video that explains a few things very good, if you have a serious interest in understanding and learning.

            “movies are for men”


          • Missfit

            Rob is of the opinion that we should ask him what he thinks when he sees a woman’s breast before we can determine if the woman is presented in a porny way or not.

            also, Rob wants to know how you, Meghan Murphy, feel about his opinions… I mean OPINIONS.

        • “Meghan, what i want to know is this, how did you decide that those images Canning took, “objectified” those girls?, they’ve been taken down, so i haven’t had the chance to see them for myself,”

          Then why are you even commenting if you have no idea what the subject is?

          ‘Now at this point you’re probably saying to yourself: “oh great, another asshole trying to rationalize his misogyny on my blog”,’

          I don’t know what she’s thinking but yep, that’s what I’m thinking

          ‘because when i look at the breasts of a page 3 girl, you seem to know damn well what i (and all other men) are thinking about,

          Why does a newspaper print nude photos of women if not to stimulate men?

          ‘which is somehow not what i’m thinking about when i view Lena Dunham’s breasts. Yeah, i get it, Dunham doesn’t fit into societies stereotype of what a “hot girl” looks like,’

          If you ‘get it’ then what’s the argument again?

          ‘as opposed to say Kate Upton, but that still doesn’t mean there aren’t a bunch of dudes out there sexualizing and “objectifying” Lena Dunham every time “girls” comes on,’

          Men probably are sexualizing Lena due to the fact that one image doesn’t negate all the other objectified pics of women that saturate media.

          ‘why are the image of one woman’s breasts be considered “o.k.” and the image of another woman’s breasts be considered “porny”?,’

          You answered that yourself so I have no idea why you have to ask.

          ‘In other words you’re entire decision making process on sexually degrading imagery rests entirely on YOUR OWN OPINION, and nothing more, and the fact that there are other women out there that agree with YOUR OPINION doesn’t in fact change the fact that it’s just an opinion.’

          That’s so not an argument.

          ‘if we men wish to be “male allies” we must never, ever, ever, challenge the “facts” which you Meghan Murphy present to us.’

          If you really want to be an ally you should be quiet and listen because for once it’s not about you.

          ‘So let’s go back to Glenn Canning’s photographs;’

          Which you never saw

        • FFS Dude, BREVITY!!! Look it up. Learn what it is. Try it!!

          • FTR, this comment is directed at “Rob”, not Mancheeze.

        • Mar Iguana

          Oh great. Another asshole trying to rationalize his misogyny on Meghan’s blog.

    • MariR

      Uh… YEAH!

    • FrustratedRadFem

      Thanks Davina I’ve appreciated your writing for years.

  • Dave Shark

    As a straight white male, I study feminism for two reasons:

    1. If women are significantly behind on an economic and political level compared with men, that means that humanity is missing out on a serious amount of intellectual and physical productive capacity. I want global technological progress, and that means getting women up to industrial parity with men.

    2. I’m attracted to women, and so that means I instinctively pay a lot of attention to them and want to have better relationships with them. Understanding women’s risks and hardships has helped me better understand their needs, and internalizing feminist principles has made me open to closer connections with them. I figure that if I’m biologically driven to seek the company of women, I might as well do so on their terms as well as mine.

    It’s not for me to say whether or not I’m an “ally”, or if I’m on your “team”. That’s probably for the best, because I don’t honestly believe that there is an opposing team. I believe that patriarchy consists of archaic communal structures that are sorely in need of updating, and what I do as a feminist is the social equivalent of replacing antiquated, leaky plumbing. For me, this isn’t a fight, it’s a construction site.

    I don’t lead, I don’t follow. I tell other men what I think about feminism, positive and negative alike. I know how to bake my own cookies. I collaborate where I have the skills and interest to do so. I speak up for men when I see that their voices are underrepresented in a conversation. This isn’t about who should be in charge, or who our enemies are. As Gloria Steinem said yesterday, “We have to stop normalizing violence and hierarchy.”

    Call me what you want to call me. If you think I’m an asset, include me in your movement. I’m not going to tell you that I’m a great feminist, and I don’t expect you to trust me. My actions will show you whether or not I’m committed.

    • just me

      Fuck capitalism, fuck your desires, fuck heteronormativity and fuck your ‘construction site’. We need to burn this society to the ground and then take the ashes from that and burn them again just to make sure. Then we can build something new that isn’t exploitative. How about that?

      • Morag

        Beautiful reply! I agree: burn it, and burn it twice.

      • Mar Iguana

        Haaa! Perfect, just me. Just perfect.

        Oh, and Dave, you’re not an asset, you’re merely an ass.

        “I don’t lead, I don’t follow.” Then get the hell out of the way.

      • MariR

        Uh… NO “burning society to the ground” to start over.
        THAT’S what the TRUMPERS and their alt-right conservatard friends want to do– with Vladimir Putin’s help!
        Ballots, not bullets.

    • Me

      I’m sorry, but I can’t stop laughing. Where is this comedy showing? You dress up as a mime with a bulging erection in your pants and they project random sententes of what you just wrote on a separating glass in front of you? We’ll start with everyting I-want, “I’m on your ‘team'” and so on, and can call it “The Tragedy And Promise of The 21st Century Male Feminist”, subtitled “He’s really Great (and an Asset btw, if you know what we mean). Ladies only.” Maybe that’s a tad long.

      Or maybe the production is more of a tragedy or plain horrific? It must be, or the tack changes as it goes on. On the back side we’ll see your buttocks are exposed, in a distinctly rapable look. There’s the glass, but now instead for you to project your power on, it’s there to keep you from escaping. The words take a different meaning. At one point the construction site guys show up from the sides, at first to catcall you, then to threaten more obviously, and towards the end the harassment, the jokes, as well as the assaults begin to make it obvious what patriarchy is about. There’s the glass and of course being a mime you can’t speak out about it. Finally at the end you’re basically in a pile and we’ll only see scattered words and parts like “global technological progress”, “biologically driven”, “feminist principles”, “this isn’t a fight”, “their terms as well as mine” and of course, “trust me.”

      • Morag

        I know, Me. It’s comedy.

        Dave seems to be telling us that female subordination to violent men is just a mistake, a flaw in the great patriarchal blueprint of life. That this shit pile just requires a little updating and remodelling.
        And, best of all, while working on this “construction site” to make things better for everybody, he’ll be sure to “speak up for men” when “their voices are underrepresented”!

    • jose

      Noone cares mate.

  • Missfit

    That is a good timing for this topic. As it will allow me a place to rant. This week I read in Quebec’s national newspaper a letter written by a male student (Phd in feminist studies if I remember correctly) denouncing a feminist organisation recommending a boycott of the 50 shades movie. Mr. male feminist was saying that this was a very dangerous move as being a form of censorship (for this man the danger does not reside with normalizing and sexualizing violence against women but with feminists organizing a boyocott of a commercial pro-abuse movie). He also warned againsts feminists imposing things onto others. This man ended his letter with these words ‘the feminist movement deserves better than that’. A woman would have written this letter, I wouldn’t have been less in disagreement. But to end, as a man, with these words? I just can’t.

    There has been a controversy in Quebec following a year-end review where a white comedian played a famous black hockey player. Some black associations have written to the theater denouncing the use of blackface. There were also black personalities that defended the theater. Whites can have an opinion on the issue, just as men can have an opinion on feminism. But would a white ally in the fight to end racism feel comfortable saying to black asssociations that their movement deserves better? Between cries of censorship? If so, I don’t think this would have been welcomed no matter on what side of the issue you sit. But constantly we see men speaking as to how the feminist movement should be conducted and what feminism should be about. They really do think they are the bearer of authority over women even in our own movement. They never shy away of speaking over women in our own movement. The nerve.

    Btw, I think I have found a way to make blackface acceptable: turn it into a sexual fetish.

  • jose

    I’m sorry but if I see a man who says he’s a feminist, or even worse, an “intersectional feminist”, I can only roll my eyes, smile and nod. Chances are good they just sit on twitter telling everyone to legalize prostitution.

    I’m positive 99% of the men who actually do shit are too busy helping to build altars to their ego like that.

  • MIke

    if the choice is between “liberal” feminists that expect change through education and debate, or “radical” feminists who expect change through dismantling (force?) and intimidation, i’ll choose to side with the former.

    • Meghan Murphy

      I do not and have never advocated for change through ‘force and intimidation’ so I’m not quite sure why you are presenting this dichotomy as though these are the options.

      • FrustratedRadFem

        Neither liberal feminists or radical feminists are violent. We take want action and accountability not violence. If you haven’t noticed men have using force since…..forever and women haven’t responded in turn. Why do you think that is. You side with liberal feminists because they are ineffective and don’t go directly to the root of the issue. Not because you fear violence from women.

      • Morag

        He makes up wild shit about radical feminists, so he’d also make up shit about liberal, socialist, etc. feminists just as easily.

        Why would any of us care which “side” a manipulative, lying man is on?

      • Mike

        radical feminists have never used intimidation? really? so all the rhetoric of “resistance” and “dismantling” are just empty threats? at least own up to your rhetoric LOL.


        • Meghan Murphy

          Oh good lord. Please see my critiques of Femen here: https://feministcurrent.com/tag/femen/

          Femen does not represent the feminist movement even in the slightest and are allied with no one but themselves.

        • FrustratedRadFem

          Ummmm what? femen aren’t radical feminists. Naked protests aren’t a tactic of radical feminists we don’t like to appeal to the male gaze. Besides you missed your chance to accuse us of bra burning. I’m confused why this upsets you nothing bad happens to you by women doing these stupid naked protests. Men demand access to our bodies but also are scared of them.

          The leader of that group is man and a disrespectful and sexist one at that. They disproportionately argue against Islam compared to the patriarchal religions. They don’t really know much about muslim feminists stances and history. The men behind it have an agenda and it’s not a feminist one. I’ve seen that they oppose trafficking but don’t offer any solution (like the Nordic model) they just make a spectacle embarrassing themselves and all women by association. They present a false dichotomy either women are stripped down or or covered up, those are the only ways for women to be, we propose neither we want to get rid of that. No saints, no whores just women.

          Despite what you’ve heard radical doesn’t mean extreme is means getting to the root of things, this means analysing the societal, economic and political power structures that define society and who benefits from it and who it hurt by it.

          Yes we do resist, we resist rape, abuse, torture, forced pregnancy, exploitation of our labour and bodies, the expectation put on women, gender roles, homophobia, racism an much more. Do you find this scary?

          • Morag

            “Yes we do resist, we resist rape, abuse, torture, forced pregnancy, exploitation of our labour and bodies, the expectation put on women, gender roles, homophobia, racism an much more. Do you find this scary?”

            Yes, it appears that Mike is “intimidated” by female resistance to male domination. Men, apparently, cower in corners, with their hands raised up in self-defence, when women resist rape, abuse, torture, exploitation, racism, poverty …

            Yeah, right. The only thing men like Mike are afraid of is that there are only two ways of being in the world: on the top, or on the bottom; superior or inferior. What a pitiful failure of intellectual, social and moral imagination.

        • marv

          Oh Mike you are being hysterical – a tempest in a teapot.

  • Lipstick_Traces