"The women of Bikini Kill let guitarist Billy Karren be in their feminist punk band, but only if he's willing to just "do some shit." Being a feminist dude is like that. We may ask you to "do some shit" for the band, but you don't get to be Kathleen Hannah."--@heatherurehere

Monday, May 28, 2007

"The China Shop Syndrome"

I think that as men who may have some feminist consciousness it is often easy to get stuck in a rut. We may, for example, say something to a female friend or acquaintance that we think is complimentary. She may respond criticizing what we have said as being sexist, condescending, and/or simply insensitive.

We may initially respond defensively or recognize how we were wrong from the beginning.

Over time we may learn a very bad lesson! We learn to simply Not say anything that we think might faintly, faintly be controversial. We mask our actions saying to ourselves that as Men we shouldn't oppress others and that this is our way to avoid doing it.

What we are doing when we do this is in a sense using our privilige to escape reality and our responsibilities as men. An important part of our "maleness" is tearing at the layers within us that keep us from being fully "human" and becoming better people. We can't do this unless we are willing and able to take risks and be "out there".

We can take positive lessons from the criticism of others. We can listen more carefully. Where we are unclear particularly we can ask questions. We can read more in areas we are weak in. We can work on our own _hit particularly within ourselves and with other men who may have similar issues. We can take risks and confront what we see as sexist and racist statements of others.

We can be aware of how silence and passivity don't help! Being allies requires us to do some things that are hard for us. That is good!

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