"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

Thursday, June 24, 2010

What About the Menz (with Small Penises)?!??

This cartoon from Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal sums up how I oftentimes feel about men who respond to explanations about gendered oppression with claims to being oppressed, as men:

I'm not sure who came up with the "what about the menz?!?" meme first, but Shakesville is pretty good at pointing out examples. One of the things that bugs me about this mentality is that it takes the focus off of legitimate concerns about how men are negatively affected by patriarchy by raising bs about how men are "oppressed" as men, by women.


Anonymous said...

Interesting. Out of curiosity, what do you think of the Old Spice Guy? I've been puzzling over him and the implications for masculinity (or mascularity, which I've been tracking for awhile)?

snobographer said...

It's the same as white people who complain that people are racist towards them. They're just trying to divert the conversation to avoid having to examine their own privilege.

Allan said...

I agree and disagree too. Women and feminists have legitimate concerns that need a forum, a hearing. Of course. And that exists.

And men do too. It's just that feminists resist looking at that consistently. WATM's, women suffer more, etc all serve to stop a close examination of how PHMT. It's not that those statements are wrong. Michael Kimmel's "Guyland" is a good example. While clearing showing how men and boys and women are hurt by the "guy code", he never seriously looks at it in detail, it's psychology, it's pervasive internal effects, and clearly call for it's end and how it could be dismantled. As such, he's almost defending it. I don't understand how people so (rightly I think) critical of traditional masculinity would not welcome a better understanding of it (not just a description) in order to better dismantle it. Women's oppression has been show to be intricate in it's details, pervasive and very difficult to change. Why would men's experience of sexism not be similarly complex and difficult to change? Or be best left as simply "men take on the straitjacket of masculinity themselves"? It's clearly more complicated than this. It's dismantling for the benefit of women if no one else will take more than his oft repeated suggestion for parents to be more involved in their son's lives.
It's abundantly clear masculinity must change in harmony with women and feminism could contribute a lot to that process. One contribution would be a clear recognition that it's likely to be a decades long process, intricate in it's details, involves change on a personal, emotional, psychological level as well as social movements around issues including political struggles. Will feminism be a proponent of that, a neutral observer or opponent to that?

jeff said...

Hey Allan,

I see lots of work in various feminisms that I follow around the complexities of men's experiences. Where I see a dearth of that, I try to step up and do the work myself--and there is plenty of room for me to do that, I think. This blog was one example of that. I don't see much use in hand-wringing about whether or not some sort of monolithic feminism backs me up, though it's always nice to talk to/read feminists who do...