"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

Friday, December 28, 2007

Men Doing Feminist Work: Michael Flood

Michael Flood is one of the 'fathers' of the modern pro-feminist men's movement, and an activist for feminism among men. He's one of the founders of XYOnline, a resource for pro-feminist men. And do I mean a resource. The Men's Bibliography alone would warrant much thanks for Michael. It's organized by subject, and contains thousands of article listings of interest to feminist men. (Though I do have reservations about the Men's Strength campain that XYOnline supports, as I think it helps to support rigid traditional gender roles to some extent--i.e. that strength=masculine.) He's critical of the so-called Men's Rights movement (and various offshoots/related movements) in a serious way. The trap that some pro-feminist men fall into is to attack these movements as some sort of man-on-man grudge match. Instead, Flood uses (in part) core feminist principles to ask pointed questions.

I particularly like his analysis (available as a PDF here) of Men's Rights advocates as riding a wave of conservatism, all the while claiming the mantle of 'new fatherhood':

Anti-feminist men’s groups have ridden the wave of right-wing backlashes against “political correctness” and efforts at social justice.In Australia as in other Western countries, the 1980s and 1990s saw the slowing down, or development of obstacles to, progress in women’s equality and gender justice. Australia underwent an economic and social restructuring, involving the winding back of the welfare state and the increasing dominance of market economics and economic rationalism. There have been at least three forms of attack on gender justice, part of the “revolt against behaving fairly”: justifications of social inequalities through biological determinism, social Darwinism and Sociobiology; attacks on policies or principles which have been a central part of feminist agendas such as equal opportunity and affirmative action legislation; and claims of a repressive ideological regime of ‘political correctness’. Anti-feminist men’s groups are a fourth, and they have taken up such discourses themselves in asserting pro-sexist agendas.

I'll probably talk more about Michael in future editions of Men Doing Feminist work, because, well, he's done a lot of work. But in the meantime, some linky goodness:

Wikipedia Article.
Men's Bibliography.
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