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 Wednesday, January 12 2005 @ 06:53 PM PST

Just Ask a Woman

   

FeminismSubmitted by Gerald:

Just Ask a Woman

By Traci Harris

Fighting sexism has come a long way baby. We've come from the early days of the suffragettes demanding the vote, to the women of the sixties and seventies taking to the streets demanding

their freedom, and now to men themselves throwing down the gloves and leading the anti-sexist fight. Today, when we think of sexism within progressive and radical activist communities, we usually think of it as a problem of the "olden days." We all know that during the beginning stages of the feminist movement in the sixties, women having their own spaces and voices threatened men. They used to ridicule and humiliate them every time a woman stood up for herself or her sisters. But that blatant sexism just isn't a problem today is it? Today we have men on our side, we have "ex-Manarchists" working on anti-sexist behavior and how to fight masculine authority, and we have men establishing rules for meetings and conferences that divert the sexist jackass that plagues our society. Halleluiah! We have men to command the battle against sexism!

Lately, there is a trend in just about every radical paper and journal, lead primarily by men, to "out" the "Manarchist." In "Deep Inside the Mind Of a Manarchist part one" by Kooky, a self-proclaimed ex-manarchist defines what a "Manarchist" is and shows us how to recognize the ugly monster that demands the end of all authoritarian rule yet tyrannizes women. Additionally he gives his thoughts on how to combat this hypocritical fiend. There are other works that similarly are designed to end male dominance like "Working Together for Change" by Bill Moyers, and "Tools for White Guys who are Working for Social Change and other People Socialized in a Society Based on Domination" by Chris Crass. How wonderful that there are these clever pieces written about sexism by men, distributed by men and all male groups meeting to discuss how to be on our side. What is so nice about these particular articles and assemblies, is that they actually tell other men how not to act like a sexist. They provide a sort of "12 step" program that once completed, means that they are no longer "Manarchist" pigs! These men guide all of us ignorant sheep down the path of anti-sexism.

Gone are the days when activist men screamed obscenities at women who fought for even a tiny little space free from sexism. I get things sent to me frequently about men writing open letters to other men about how to conduct themselves at meetings, rules for men to follow in organizations so as to not exclude women, or critiques of protests or workshops where men "took over." With all of this information floating about both in cyberspace and print, most of which is being written and distributed by men, we as women sure do have a lot to be thankful for. Today we can go to a protest or a workshop or a political conference and not worry about sexism, right? If only that were true!

I was at a protest recently for May Day, attended by many men from organizations claiming to work on the "Manarchist" problem. Some of these men had even written documents similar to the ones I mentioned above. I am sure if asked, most of them would claim to be anti-sexist, an "Ex-Manarchist" or maybe even a Feminist. Yet as the protest got under way, it was very clear that sexism was raising its ugly head- and not just by the pigs.

The protest, for what I am sure seemed like good reasons to the organizers, had a distinct lack of strategy in the type of actions that would take place. For example, the protest must have marched up and down the same four-block area for at least 3 hours. The stops that took place along this commercial area seemed virtually accidental and consisted of folks engaging in actions that are characteristic of a protest: chanting, cheering, dancing, street theater, etc.

As the evening wore on, other actions emerged from the severe lack of focus. I recall one man from the protest strutting into the Gap only to be chased out by the pigs brandishing their pepper spray. On another occasion a male protester swaggered into the Borders bookstore and was directed forcefully to the exit by the pigs once again. I saw men excitedly challenging the pigs to arrest them by using what I call the "frat boy" technique. You know, when a guy challenges another guy to a fight by getting in his face, pointing his finger at him, calling him some sort of name. What usually results is a showdown of the challenged (pig in this case) who refuses to respond (but stares intimidating in his own manly kind of way) versus the puffed up challenger who usually struts off saying something like "Yeah, that's what I thought". Honestly, with the excessive amount of chest puffing I saw that evening, I thought I was at a cockfight, not a protest. Well, I guess when I look at it, I was.

A great article called "Stick it to the Manarchy" by The Rock Bloc enlightened us on what "manarchist" behavior is. They explain "manarchism" by sharing personal accounts of what they had experienced at mass actions, conferences, and within their own regular organizing. This article really put into perspective the sexist crap that activist women face today in protest situations as well as other activist circles. You know, stuff like men yelling "If you aren't willing to take a Billy club to the head you can't march with us!" I am not a pacifist and I find that most of my feminist comrades aren't either, but really, who ever wants to take a beating to the head? Reading that article made me realize that my own recent protest experience was in no way unique. I realized that the type of ill-planned activism that I described, which resulted in actions that can only be described as raucous, wasn't tactical. Rather it was a result of radical male machismo. Furthermore, I realized that this type of " uncompromising radical male" behavior is not exclusive to protests. But I am sure we all realize this by now. What I do find interesting, is the frequency that I (and other female activists) experience this display of male-agro penis power in present-day activist communities.

Show me a woman who hasn't felt under-represented at a conference by the exceeding amount of white guys that show up to those things. Show me a woman who hasn't felt as if her ideas were less important that a man's at a workshop on gender. Show me a woman who hasn't felt as if she was talked over at a conference. Show me a woman who has not been "rescued" by a man who thought she needed rescuing during a political discussion.

So why do we keep experiencing this in our day-to-day activism? Just about every activist or political organization claims to put feminist politics and anti-sexism in the forefront of their political agenda these days as does any event you go to. I mean really, with so many men writing about it and holding workshops on it, one would think that sexism would be a non-issue in activist communities. But it isn't. So we must ask ourselves, with so many men taking part in men's only groups to discuss and design steps they can take to end male domination, why do we women have to be subjected to the same shit over and over again? Or maybe that question holds the key to the problem- men dictating (once again) how to fight sexism. Well we seem to find ourselves in a strange paradoxical situation now don't we? Men are attempting to fight the patriarchal system by epitomizing the patriarchy.

I am not saying that a man cannot write on or that they shouldn't discuss sexism. I know quite a few feminist guys with excellent feminist politics. Some of these men are involved with the same organizations that I am and some even write exceptional political pieces on gender- I am sure most women have these kinds of male comrades. But these aren't the guys we are talking about are we? We are talking about the guys who have all male groups that claim to fight sexism- yet do it from a male standpoint. We are talking about the guys who proclaim that they are "ex-Manarchists"- yet still engage in chest puffing at protests. We are talking about the guys who are omnipresent on e-mail lists and message boards saying things like "I think there are too many men speaking here and maybe we should be quiet now and let the women speak" but when we see them at conferences we can't get a word in edgewise. We are talking about the guys who hold all male workshops to talk about sexism, what it means, what it is and how it affects them- I believe its called Consciousness Raising- yet look at getting pepper sprayed proudly as a symbol of their own radical politics.

So what should men be doing? Well, how about developing feminist politics for a change? The "12 step" model to fight sexism that seems to be so popular these days just isn't cutting it. This model in no way constitutes any sort of political attack on male supremacy. These "how to guides" of anti-sexism don't show any sort of engagement of feminist materials. Frankly, if you want to fight the "Manarchy" these days, a little political education is in order. A good friend gave me an excellent example of this. He said, "If you want to fight white supremacy you follow the tradition of John Brown, you don't go to a workshop." Similarly, if you want to fight being a "Manarchist", why don't you try tearing down the structure of male supremacy instead of going to a sensitivity training? Instead of working only to recognize the oppression that you as a man engage towards women, why don't you actually follow one at a protest? Instead of writing the "top 15 things a guy can do in a meeting to be respectful of women", why don't you become familiar with political attacks that women have engaged in on the patriarchy and follow in their footsteps? While I personally do appreciate it when men are conscious of their long-windedness at meetings and respectful of women when they speak, I am more appreciative of men with good feminist politics, because they seem to be a dying breed.

Truly the term "Manarchist" doesn't accurately define the adversary we face as women today. What is that really? A guy who claims to be against all forms of oppression yet fails to realize that he is oppressive to women. Sounds like a barefaced sexist to me. The cops claim to be against oppression don't they? But they still fuck with black youth in Compton and commit Emmett Till murders every day. The media claims to be against oppression, yet it still produces things like Maxim magazine and Rush Limbaugh. We as women activists aren't immune to sexist behavior, sexist chatter or sexist guys any more than any other woman in this society is and no amount of male writing or male sensitivity training seems to be curing the problem. When was the last time you saw a woman up front at a protest? Have the majority of activist men started looking to women for leadership and I just missed it? When do these guys stop telling everyone how not to be a "Manarchist" while personifying the patriarchy? When do these guys stop deciding what is right for women at these events and actually follow the tradition of radical women? Sexism is alive and well in the activist community, just ask a woman… Oh, what a great idea!




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Just Ask a Woman | 76 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
comment by Farnam
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 31 2002 @ 01:24 PM PST
I have a problem with using the word "Manarchist", where man is the root word. The word automatically suggests that men are all aggressive, and all women are submissive. I know plenty of men who are pretty easy going, and plenty of women who are indeed assertive. This whole "Manarchist" debate was flawed from the beginning, by using stereotypes to fight stereotypes.

Lastly, i want to address the issue that the Rock Bloc, who are the original to coin the term "Manarchist", tried to address. Their critique stems from an organizational meeting for the black bloc of the Inauguration. The statement "If you aren't willing to take a Billy club to the head you can't march with us!", is paraphrased, because i dont remember anyone ever saying that, though something was said to that effect. And you know what? Theyre right! If youre going to march with the black bloc, you had better fucking commit to it. Theres other people within the bloc that are expecting a little bit of solidarity. If you cannot make that commitment, then join up with a march or something, because we dont need black bloc tourists.

Now you can try to interpret that argument as being sexist, as the Rock Bloc has, but you would be not only wrong, but look pretty dumb at the same time.
comment by js
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 31 2002 @ 01:34 PM PST
i want to say again that i think this article is terrible and i hope some of the women from my community post their critiques of this somewhere sometime cause i think they are real good.
comment by Makhno
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 31 2002 @ 01:38 PM PST
I think Traci Harris makes some valid points in this article, and I just wanted to note that female activists have been making similar complaints in radical circles since at least the 1960s. Personally, while I'm not about to engage in any PC sense of collective male guilt, I am always trying to improve my communications skills in meetings, whether women are present or not. Sexist or overbearing behavior is just another example of how thoroughly our society and our lives have been affected by power relations.
comment by me
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 31 2002 @ 01:58 PM PST
I agree, claiming that women are unwilling to fight as hard as men is sexist. I was arrested because people who were wearing masks and dressed in black dropped their shields and ran, causing a stampeed and leaving the few who held their ground to be arrested. (if I remember correcty 3 of the 6 people in the wagon with were females). They were more than willing to be arrested and hit.

Otherwise a pretty good article.
comment by Gerald
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 31 2002 @ 02:31 PM PST
I posted this as a follow up to: Shut the Fuck Up. I thought that article brought up some really good points about anti-sexist male behavior at meetings/demos/actions and such. This article seems to go about the whole issue entirely differently. There are a few things I don't agree with (as with everything), but I do think it has many valid points and is overall something people need to consider. It seems most people don't like the term manarchist.
comment by Harry Weinbull
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 31 2002 @ 02:36 PM PST
"A guy who claims to be against all forms of oppression yet fails to realize that he is oppressive to women. Sounds like a barefaced sexist to me. The cops claim to be against oppression don't they? But they still fuck with black youth in Compton and commit Emmett Till murders every day. The media claims to be against oppression, yet it still produces things like Maxim magazine and Rush Limbaugh."

Then all men are liars and all are sexist, right? Really traci? can you really say that? because then YOU certainly are a barefaced liar !

I won't deny that there is alot of sexism in the "movement" but not all men are sexist and oppressive. And it certainly isn't a problem exclusive only to women. people of color, quiet people, short people, hairy people....really alot of people get pushed around and underappreciated and disrespected in meetings and activities. It's not just a women thing and it isn't always based around some biological or social construction that someone is neglected. Alot of feminist ideology these days is reading like this reactionary and ideological essay.

This piece just reads like more guilt-inducing identity-politics.

"Show me a woman who hasn't felt as if she was talked over at a conference."

show me any one of us who hasn't had to feel the cold had of indifference and disrespect. While sexisim is certainly a problem I think we should see everyone as individuals first, not as some grouping of people with "rights" (women, men, people of color, midgets, children, etc). And we should respect and listen to everyone with fairness.
comment by non
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 31 2002 @ 02:49 PM PST
You're absolutely right.

She and those other whining feminists should just shut the fuck up and deal with sexism as it exists. After all, white males have a lot to deal with, and they "feel the cold had of indifference" too.

Or maybe we should take the author's points into consideration and formulate new strategies and practices to combat sexism. I suppose that would be too reasonable for thinly veiled patriarchs like yourself.
comment by banannarama
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 31 2002 @ 02:51 PM PST
Both articles were good. Personally, I don't give a fuck about "internal process" unless someone is doing something so offensive that it can't be ignored. I think people focus on internal dynamics because they aren't doing jack shit outside of it. Guys who line up to declare themselves "Manarchists" are the same guys who aer going to be selling out in a few years and then writing books about their glorious days in "the movement" in ten, all the while benefitting from their bourgeois privelege.

Actions speak louder than words; being non sexist in your dealings with women means more than twenty anti-manarchist brainwashing sessions. Treating a black person like a human being when you deal with him or her means a hell of a lot more than turning up the rap in your SUV and thinking about how you're down with the people.

Frankly, I don't care if you like to hang upside down in your bedroom wearing a leather Nazi uniform spanking a girl in a maid uniform and chanting "Deutsche Land Uber Alles" as long as it's consensual and you don't actually do anything to anyone in the outside world.
comment by non
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 31 2002 @ 02:58 PM PST
PLEATHER. PLEATHER Nazi uniform.

Don't kill animals unnecessarily there bud. Besides, pleather feels better against the skin.
comment by Matt H
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 31 2002 @ 03:01 PM PST
This gets to be such a touchy issue. Almost everything you say gets turned around on you at some point. With that said, I'll say this. It is important to watch everyone's words and actions, even your own, when it comes to interacting with people, and not just in meetings or at protests. We get loaded down with so much cultural baggage that it's impossible not to tread on someone at some point in your life. If you can recognize and try to learn and from mistakes that's a good thing. But this endless classification of people and their behaviors seems to be slightly academic for my tastes. Like Harry said before, isn't it best to just treat people as individuals and work from there?
comment by @
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 31 2002 @ 03:22 PM PST
I didn't read Down with the Manarchy, or whatever it was called. But I read this article, and here's a few things I think about it. Any man who thinks that he is nonsexist or a former manarchist, is fooling himself, and probably some others as well. As men who have been raised in capitalist patriarchal society, it will take us years to unsocialize ourselves away from those things. Even if you believe all the stuff you spout, it's near impossible to implement them all in your mind, or actions. But, I also don't appreciate all the generalizing about men or women. Attributing aggressive behavior(especially towards cops) solely to sexist men, is ridiculous. I know plenty of cops who get treated poorly by women, as well as men with good politics(who I don't consider nonsexist, but I don't think the sexism/patriarchy has anything to do with it, the cops are the enemy, fuck em). I think we ALL need to work on our gender politics, whether it be in workshops, demos, personal relationships, whatever. But I don't think it's fair to criticize someone for trying to work on those issues, but don't believe they're nonsexist, but recognize that they are working on it, and for petes sake, talk to them about it, tell them how you fell about it. Confront them on their bullshit. I've ranted to much, and expect said things that may or may not be perfect as they came off the top of my head. Whatever, I'm just a male trying to overcome sexism, patriarchy, capitalism, death.
comment by Necrotic State
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 31 2002 @ 03:34 PM PST
"As the evening wore on, other actions emerged from the severe lack of focus. I recall one man from the protest strutting into the Gap only to be chased out by the pigs brandishing their pepper spray. On another occasion a male protester swaggered into the Borders bookstore and was directed forcefully to the exit by the pigs once again."

I support an ongoing, critical dialogue about sexism and it's influence on individuals and the "movement". However, the comment above needs to be take in the context of Traci Harris being a member of the Ruckus collective that wants to tightly control everything, from protesting to the revolution.
comment by scumbag
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 31 2002 @ 03:38 PM PST
yeah, I agree with some points in this article, but it does tend to get circular at points.

Watch yourself, watch your own behavior, and you're taking a good first step in not oppressing others (and I think that's true no matter your gender or culture).

100 hours in workshops won't change a damn thing, and can just be another form of armchair activism.
comment by Gerald
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 31 2002 @ 03:39 PM PST
I posted this on the other tread but, only one person replied to it. So I'll post it here...

Ok, I know I'm probably going to get a hell of a lot of shit for this, but oh well.

I don't believe ALL MEN are sexist. I believe that to be a very heterosexist comment. Most people in saying that exclude transgender individuals. Persons that are female bio but are men is a group of people that I don't believe (majorally, there are always exceptions to everything) are sexist, patriarchal males. Someone who has grown up oppressed because of their (bio) gender. In the struggle for gender equality let us not forget gender liberation and the need of persons to be able to define their own gender. Yes, I know someone going to say, "What about wimmin who are bio men? Don't they have male privilege?" Well, I'll need to think about that more and I'll probably comment on that later. Anyways, there is one critique of feminism I have: the duality of it. There is only wimmin and men instead of a broad spectrum that is included in the trans movement (which should go more hand in hand with the struggle for gender equality).

Well, just some thoughts. I'm getting back to work. Hope to hear some comments from folks. Later folks.
comment by Vern
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 31 2002 @ 03:39 PM PST
The last march I was at was at the Direct Action March Against the War in San Francisco and there were plenty of women at the frontlines. In my experience any good activism I have been involved with had strong women at the core of the groups and doing the organizing. I have also seen some sexist behavior at activist events, however, in my opinion no effective activism can be done without women in the forefront and at the center of the nodes in the networks we are part of.
comment by Kate James
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 31 2002 @ 03:53 PM PST
This article makes a few good points and a few that I disagree with.

Initially, I would like to say that I completely agree that men should not be dominating the discussion on sexism - in our communities, workshops, or on the internet. Except that has not been my experience at all in Phoenix. The issue of sexism is rarely addressed in Phoenix and when men have been called upon to address sexism within our community, generally about half of them will even TALK to the other men about it, much less hold one another accountable in more tangible ways. Most of the discussions, workshops and events held regarding sexism are organized by women and poorly attended (if at all) by men. Traci links this domination of discussion (citing workshops and articles written by men from other anarchist communities) and links it to the local MayDay protest, which I helped organize and attend.

I agree that there was a lack of staged and/or planned events at the Phoenix MayDay. We (PAC and others) generally intentionally organize in a very open way to allow affinity groups to take advantage of a wide-open route/schedule of events. The few "events" we planned and had ready to go were thrawted by unexpected state repression, i.e. the MayPole being "outlawed" stopped by cops and we chose not to risk arrest for the MayPole at the very start of the event. However, I do agree that there was a lack of route planning and my personal opinion on event planning has changed towards advocating a more structured route for the *majority* of the march, in part because of MayDay. However, no route-plan, or lack thereof, can account for a lack of decentralized affinity-group action. If people do not come prepared with events for the march, then we simply march and yell and protest.

Of course, let's not ignore the many of the other tactics that occurred that day (which are not mentioned in the article above) - a dance troupe did in-the-street choreographed dancing, a small band played music, including a trumpet and drums and a didgereedoo, traveling FNB, roller-skating and street theatre and confetti, to name a few. It seems that Traci has, much like the mainstream media, completely disregarded the rest of the actions and messages and focused on a few "angry men." I agree with the "plan" critique, but do not feel that it is related to sexism via the charade or militancy or the decentralization. I think the sexism can be more clearly seen when we look at who plans for activities at these protests? All too often, it is the women show up with radical cheer, in costumes, with flyers and plans, not the men. MayDay, in particular, since it is more of a celebration than a protest, needs an idea about a plan of action.

I do not have any delusions about sexism being a thing of the past, but critiqueing decentralization and loose organizing does not seem to be the way to solve the problems. We do not need men to define sexism for us. However, we do need more women writing articles like, "How anarchist men can help us out." We need men to be as supportive of our efforts as they are to other mens'. And we need our sisters to stop calling themselves "not educated enough," "too stupid," "scared to speak in public," "afraid to write an article," "ugly," "fat," etc etc etc. We need more women to write articles like the one above and more women to respond to them. We need our own projects for anarchism - not against men, we just need our own to practice. We need men to outreach to other women as much as they outreach to men and see their political issues as such. Comment and critique welcome. . .
comment by dadanarchist
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 31 2002 @ 03:56 PM PST
"isn't it best to just treat people as individuals and work from there?"

Ideally, this is how things would work. But alas, as we haven't quite made it to utopia yet, we have to deal with the unpleasantries, oppressions and social constructs of the here and now. People arrive at where they are as a subject through a two-fold process: experience and context, the individual and the collective. We can't help who we are, and it is important to recognize that our surroundings (culture) profoundly impact our individual selves, no matter how tuned out from the mainstream culture we might be.

Social constructs, dominant paradigms, hegemonies, whatever you want to call it, are subtle and complex - they influence us in ways that are hard to pin down. An interesting question: how are an individual's personal preferences and desires formed? Are they innate to the individual, or are they a complex amalgam of individual experience and social surrounding?

Try as we might to seperate ourselves from the dominant culture, it still pervades our innermost being - and the dominant culture is racist, sexist, speciest, ageist, heteronormative, etc. Therefore, no matter how much we oppose these things rationally, the process which formed our individual subjectivity was profoundly altered by this interference, if you will. This plays itself out in our daily lives as we seek to interact with other subjects.

I guess what I'm rambling about is this: until a child is raised in a completely egalitarian, anarchist society (an abstraction), people will always be tainted by authoritarian impulses. Thus, it is vital that we attempt in some manner to compensate for this taint by seeming to "privilege" one group above another in the struggle - non-whites, children, womyn, queers - when in reality we are just making our best attempt to address the subtle and pernicious influence of the dominant culture. It's not perfect, but should we return to the days of all-male executive committees and so forth and so on?

Further, is revolution process or destination, or both? Does all oppression magically end when we overthrow the oppressors? And for that matter, who is the oppressor? The politician, capitalist, whites, straights, patriarch, Norteno, human? None? All?

I probably could have stated all that a lot better I'm sure, but my brain is engaged in a slow-down strike today.....
comment by commadashdashcommadotdash
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 31 2002 @ 04:27 PM PST
hmm. yeah, the issues raised in this article are really more about aggression, in general, than sexism. as for the 'frat-boy' shit, god, i can't stand that, but it's not just a male thing, and it definitely has nothing to do with sexism. i find myself spoken over in discussions, too (and, yes, i have a penis). MOST of these 'manarchists,' i believe, are just egocentric bastards who need constant attention. there's plenty of women with this problem, too, though.

anyhow, neither aggression nor sexism are tolerable, and it's good that people seem to give a shit, if they're sincere.

but, this article wasn't terribly insightful.
comment by Matt H
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 31 2002 @ 04:50 PM PST
dadanarchist,
I agree with you on this, what you're saying makes a lot of sense. I wasn't trying to simplify the problem, but I think it sort of sounded that way. I just meant that a good starting point, would be, as much as possible, to look at people as individuals first, rather than just grouping everyone. Something tells me even with a "successful" revolution against statism and capitalism this shit would still be a problem to deal with. I don't know, I guess I have more questions than answers - which is no surprise to me!
comment by dadanarchist
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 31 2002 @ 04:51 PM PST
I'm going to get shit for this, but I have to agree that men need to shut the fuck up and just learn to listen. This might be true of all people in all situations (Derrick Jensen talks a lot about this re: nature), but it is especially true of men and feminism.

One of the best experiences of my life was attending a rally/event for Take Back the Night when I was in school. For those unfamiliar, TBTN is an organization/event for survivors of sexual abuse and their supporters. While I am well aware that straight men can and are sexually abused, the vast majority of survivors are womyn and queers. As such, TBTN is a powerful feminist event.

At my school, it was organized into a two-evening event. The first evening started with a brief "service" with songs, poems and readings. From the "service" everyone went outside and joined a candlelit march around campus, the point being to "take back the night." Periodically the march would stop and someone would read a poem, or recount a personal account of abuse, and then pound a stake into the ground reading "Take Back the Night." Apparently, in the past, this march had been largely a womyn-only event, but this year in particular, coming off the WTO protests in Seattle there was an upsurge in campus activism and interest in confronting power. The womyn organizing it decided to invite men. It was a racous evening with drums and other noisemakers and nearly 300 people out of a student body of 1500 participating. Still, the vast majority of marchers were womyn. Most of the speakers were womyn. The event was mostly organized by womyn. Following the march was a speakout. Held in a darkened room where no one could see, survivors told their stories if it moved them, and people listened silently, cried, and often imparted messages of support, love and resistance. The spirit of the first evening was anger, defiance, resistance, healing. I participated in all this, didn't say a damned thing the whole evening except perhaps for shouting cheers during the march and banging on a drum, and left feeling shamed, heartbroken, hopeful and perhaps a little more enlightened.

The second evening was a little different, split into two parts, occuring simultaneously: first, a discussion among womyn; and second, a men's workshop to discuss sexual abuse. Not being a survivor of sexual abuse, and being a man, I attended the second event. It was organized as a workshop, facilitated by a panel of men and womyn who had organized themselves for the purpose. Following some introductory exercises, it plunged into the heart of the matter - the ability of any man to be an abuser, and what men could do to support survivors of sexual abuse. I said very little the whole evening. Rather, I listened to what the womyn facilitating the event had to say, the men who had more experience in these matters than I, survivors, and others who had been placed in these situations before. I feel like I learned a hell of a lot, and not by listening to myself talk. However, I finally piped in when discussion turned to support, because some men, while well-intentioned, missed the purpose of support and inverted it inwards, focusing on themselves. From there it degenerated into a frankly patriarchal display of bravado. Men were suggesting that it is the duty of male supporters to kick some ass, to make it clear, through violence, that this behavior isn't right. I have no problem with violence, but that isn't the point. The womyn and survivors who were present had stated that what a survivor wants from a friend is support - not advice, not revenge, but support. Or in other words, for the supporter to shut the fuck up and listen, to not act, but to listen and be available. Typically, men inverted all this inwards, and made it about themselves. Men have a right to feel angry and upset when a friend or loved one is abused - but not the right to take action on "behalf" of that person - because ultimately that action does less for the survivor and more for the man. It is expression not of solidarity but of male power and powerlessness.

I left the evening confused, frustrated and maybe a little threatened, vis-a-vis my role as a man, and as to what my role as a man would be in womyn's liberation, with more questions than answers. Is a lot of male talk about feminism merely a way for men to feel that they can control and understand a phenomena that they ultimately find threatening? Is it a way for men to cope with being confused to blather on and on about their feminism? Do men have a role in womyn's lib? If so, what? How do male actions in solidarity with womyn ultimately strengthen patriarchy?

Ultimately, men *should* find feminism challenging, because it *is* about smashing patriarchy and dismantling male privilege. These are so ingrained that we are unable at the moment to completely map out the way they have permeated our consciousnesses and lives. This is why men find these discussions threatening - because a fundamental part of ourselves is being scrutinized and exposed. Male privilege is so ingrained that its actions in social interactions is quite subtle and often unintentional.

If I can attempt to conclude from this long-winded and rambling digression with a bit of contradictory advice, I would suggest that men who want to destroy patriarchy contemplate the following course of action: 1. Listen. 2. Offer verbal support. 3. Don't be afraid to be confused and feel threatened. 4. Stand by womyn in solidarity, and if necessary, solidarity in silence. 5. Don't offer unsolicited advice.

No one individual has all the answers, and it is important to remember that. If you don't know the best way to smash patriarchy, don't worry, shut the fuck up, and listen, and someone, probably womyn, will have a pretty damned good idea. If you aren't asked to participate, don't sulk, don't be insulted, don't feel that yr commitment to anarchism, feminism, the struggle, etc., is being questioned, just accept this simple fact:

The liberation of womyn is the work of womyn and womyn alone.

Men can stand in solidarity, and will more likely than not be asked to help in the stuggle, but in most cases, my feeling is that the best way for men to aid in this process is to just get the fuck out of the way.

Anyway, these are my thoughts, I still have more questions than answers, I can't claim they are inherent or consistent, but now I'm going to take my own advice and be silent.

comment by hacksaw
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 31 2002 @ 05:08 PM PST
Here is an honest question to which I don't have an answer. At what point does something cease to be sexism and merely become rude or insensitive?

Can we not simply accept that men and women have some differences? If men tend towards confrontation, why is that wrong? Why can't men and women pursue tactics that are in line with their natures and their personalities?

I guess my point is that if there is such a thing as a manarchist, defined by excessive aggression, then is there not also such a thing as a womanarchist, defined by excessive compliance? Why should one sex's approach be vilified?

-h
comment by smarty pants
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 31 2002 @ 05:21 PM PST
I agree. Some men who are raised on other planets or under the ocean might not be sexist.
comment by goofy
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 31 2002 @ 05:24 PM PST
Can't we all just get along? I mean if women have to live in fear of being raped and get 67 cents on the dollar for the same work as men thats like just some sort of freak accident that doesnt have anything to do with me or anything, right?
comment by love my boss
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 31 2002 @ 05:27 PM PST
Just because most bosses are bossy doesnt make them bad. Because there are also people who are like compliant with the bosses, you know like the workers and stuff. Why should one side of the boss-worker relationship be vilified?
comment by commadashdashcommadotdash
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 31 2002 @ 05:33 PM PST
this article was about sexism in the anarchist movment. i'm sure hacksaw, who seems to be expressing sentiments similar to mine, recognises, as i do, the social problems you refer to, goofy...but my point is that the picture of "manarchist" behavior presented in this article is simply AGGRESSION, which is damaging to everyone. yes, i'm a feminist, but i think this article is flawed in its thesis that the dumb shit some activists do is sexist, rather than aggressive.
comment by Prince Albert
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 31 2002 @ 05:39 PM PST
Its seems to me that a lot of aggression has pretty obvious roots in sexism especially when it comes from men and is directed at women or is about men competing with each other over who gets to be the alpha male. Male aggression sets a tone for the whole movement that really hurts us all.
comment by commadashdashcommadotdash
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 31 2002 @ 05:43 PM PST
no. aggression hurts us all.
comment by steelhead
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 31 2002 @ 06:04 PM PST
wow, dada anarchist, that was well said. So many seem to feel that listening to someone's pain means advice, opinions, anecdote trading, etc. The real challenge in any interaction with someone is to suspend our own drama and agandas and assumptions and *just *listen*
One of the things most people tend to get tripped up on is that most of us just assue that we have good listening skills. Here's a hint: unless you learn something new about how to communicate with people every single time you do so - you are not improving or engaging your listening skills. There's good books about it out there and the problems poor listening skills create on all levels of our lives necessitate study in this direction if yu haven't done so yet. It makes life so much easier. So many confudions and miscommunications avoided. Such more rewarding friendships and meetings. Consider it just as essential a skill to the anarchst project as protest, propaganda, studying american foreign policy or deconstructing privilege and oppression.
comment by humynarchist
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 31 2002 @ 07:39 PM PST
I'm on the side that is actively walking away from those who are eternally concerned about how their meetings are to be managed the next time they meet. I wonder what you'd label me if I asked if there was something of pressing importance we could discuss or prepare for.. Is there perhaps a context beyond your meetings in which you are being oppressed by your fellow activists? This article has sojourned into a whole new territory in the name of all that is asinine.
comment by
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 31 2002 @ 07:45 PM PST
This whole "manarchism" label is total bullshit. Basically it is a form of silencing or illegitimizing one specific perspective. Anyone who is judged to be "overly" agressive or confrontational towards the system - who is miliitantly opposed to the system, rather than putting on fucking puppet shows - is labelled a "manarchist". As many other people have noted the label itself is even sexist, as it reinforces the stereotype that agressiveness and militancy is by definition an exclusively male trait and that passiveness is a female one. Calling someone a "manarchist" because they advocate violence or are too "hardcore" for your tastes is like Zionists calling pro-Palestine protesters "anti-Semites" - it acts primarily as an abusive epithet that can be hurled at ideological opponents in order to influence those outside the debate to revile this individual and not listen to what they say. After all, listening to and engaging in discussion with a "manarchist" could get you labelled a "manarchist" too, right? Most would do anything to avoid being a pariah, so they just march in goosestep with the herd. Words like this just act to shut down the part of the brain that deals with critical thought. I have no problem with diversity of tactics, but if you come across someone with more mettle and, dare I say, more bravery than you, do them a favor and don't engage in petty name-calling just because they don't fall in line with your ideals (this post is adressed to all who use the term, not just the author of this piece). I agree that some of the actions described in this article are pointless and stupid and not wise tactically but I still think the manarchist label is basically a way to label people thought-criminals. Here you go, Juden, a yellow star with the word manarchist on it.
comment by tim
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 31 2002 @ 08:14 PM PST
i totally agree. i began to familiarise myself with feminist theory at a relatively young age; this theory (i hope) has given me the tools to examine my actions (and the actions of others) with a feminist lens. but not a day goes by when i don't encounter a situation where i have to think twice about my actions (in terms of not being sexist). i'm constantly having to un-learn the sexist/patriarchal behaviours i've been conditioned into throughout my childhood. it's an ongoing process, but i hope that i can eventually rid myself of any sexist/patriarchal behaviour.

i think it's valuable for all the men out there to familiarise themselves with feminist theory (even if it isn't explicitly anarchist) and to be continually examining their actions with these theories in mind. it's an ongoing process; hopefully some tangible progress can be made.
comment by l
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 31 2002 @ 08:25 PM PST
yeah, like, some people are treated like shit and fear for their safety because of their gentitalia/skin colour/sexual practices but hey, that's just a matter of manners, not systemic bullshit. so we can totally all relax and start patting ourselves on the back for our sensitivity to rudeness.

as if!
comment by tim
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 31 2002 @ 08:29 PM PST
it appears as though you're assuming that gender roles are biologically determined. despite the best efforts of sociobiological and evolutionary psychological agendas in the mainstream media attempting to enforce these roles, i think we can all agree that gender is a social construct, not biologically determined.
comment by Gerald
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 31 2002 @ 08:48 PM PST
Next time read my comment.
comment by Gerald
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 31 2002 @ 08:49 PM PST
I wasn't discussing people raised as men. I was talking about Female to Male (FTM) Transgendered individuals.
comment by Gerald
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 31 2002 @ 09:12 PM PST
First off to dadanarchist. I enjoyed your account of Take Back the Night, it was a good example of men acting as allies in the struggle of sexual assualt, yet it also shows how these same men do it for macho reasons. Your last little bit: "The liberation of womyn is the work of womyn and womyn alone." I don't think this is completely true. I believe that men have their part in the liberation of womyn. Not some vanguardist, dominationist (new word?) part, but as allies. It was one of the best points the author of this essay made she compared the fight against sexism to the fight against racism. To fight against sexism you do as John Brown did in the fight against racism. I view the struggles to be in similar terms. Here is what El Hadj Malik el Shabazz (Malcolm X) about white allies in the struggle against racism: "For one, when a white man comes to me and tells me how liberal he is, the first thing I want to know, is he a nonviolent liberal, or the other kind. I don't go for any nonviolent white liberals. If you are for me and my problems - when I say me, I mean us, our people - then you have to be willing to do as old John Brown did." Just some thoughts...

I don't even want to comment on the above poster. Too much for me to say, and I really really really need to Shut the Fuck Up!
comment by Harry Hope
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, October 31 2002 @ 09:24 PM PST
It's been my experience that many transgendered individuals adopt some of the worst aspects of the gender they identify with. Not all, but many.
comment by Prince Albert
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, November 01 2002 @ 07:29 AM PST
Thats true, but you can't deny that the agression in the world and inside the anarchist movement comes overwhelmingly from men. We can act like that is just a coincidence or we can admit that there is a big problem with how men in general are raised to act and try to do something about it.
comment by Aqua-Man
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, November 01 2002 @ 07:30 AM PST
Unfortunately, we have some very sexist attitudes in our society under the sea.
comment by pop quiz
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, November 01 2002 @ 07:32 AM PST
did you read the above post and think "that HAD to have been written by some arrogant 'manarchist' guy," or did you think "that must have been written by some pissed-off woman," or did you not think of gender at all?

all I have to say is, there are many, many, MANY women out there who are far more willing to be militant and confrontational and aggressive than I am (I am a man) -- and they usually recognize the limitations of others, so we don't get disparaged for not being as confrontational -- so this shouldn't be about how far we can go as activists but rather how we treat each other in daily life.
comment by me
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, November 01 2002 @ 09:34 AM PST
I think people really need to understand the context of this article, it builds a straw man argument in defense of a stronger(cadre) organizing model using the issue of sexism. Why would anyone want men to stop talking about sexism?? A fact that was pointed out to me awhile ago flies in the face of some of the writers "facts". She claims that theres all kinds of groups for men to talk about sexism all over the country, and that even locally men have written on the issue. It begs the question, who? where? Because I only know one group of men dedicated to working on sexism, and I dont remember any anti-patriarchy literature coming out of Phoenix. It bothers me, maybe others dont see it as clearly but the author is using the issue for one specific purpose. Its ridiculous. Does the author know any of these groups and what they actually do?
comment by againstsleepandnightmare
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, November 01 2002 @ 10:19 AM PST
OK,

Lots of discussion, yet I think a vital point has been missed. The subject isn't men's sexism in the abstract but men's sexism in the "anarchist movement". Yet, any discussion of the entire "movement's" group dynamics is considered secondary. The men and women of the present anarchist milleau come from a similar background to that of the earlier leftist milleau. But more than that, there are number of factors which cause an informal hierarchy to exist in this milleau regardless of the formal organization. Over-all, the biggest factor is that rather than being a set group, the mileau has a center and fades out from this center - some people are all the way in, some people are some of the way, some people are barely in. And those who are all the way have to actively maintain their situation of being all the way in (through being active).

Going to Food Not Bombs regularly, mostly to actually get food, I notice a certain subgroup which walks with a super-macho strut. And there's no doubt that this helps these dudes maintain a position in the informal hierarchy (and informal hierarchies naturally exist in action factions based on how one is and in the politico faction based on how well you sling language around). The point is that telling someone to stop doing something that works for them is futile. These macho dude are going to be jumping on each other, etc., for as long as it pleases the mixed-gender crowd. If the group was a serious community which made an effort to support each member, where competition was not necessary to gain a place, then perhaps it wouldn't happen. But that's FAR from the case now.

And moralizing and 12-step models are interesting thing. Essentially, chewing someone out for one or another bad behavior has generally become simply a different game of informal hierarchies - with women perhaps more represented (or not, as the case may be). The moralizing approach is also the bureaucratic approach - clamp some verifiable external criteria of behavior on people. Lately it's the use of words though I suppose body language might be up for grabs as well. But the bureaucratic approach is by definition external, and thus insincere and shallow. Enforcement committees, language rules and other such rot have showed able to change people's behavior but not their undeflying motivations (either good or bad).

And since the moralizing approach doesn't solve the internal hierarchy problem, it isn't strange to see it coexist with Machoness - the most effective dominator today can slip between machoness and feminist talk. And really, a sexist man who knows the rules can fiddle things so he often dominate the situation versus a non-sexist man who doesn't know the rules or even a woman who doesn't know the rules. Oddly enough, I know of certain friend of Mr. Kooky who was a master spinner of feminist rhetoric, showing himself amply willing to bring down the screws on certain "bad boys" - and last I got about "D" is that he joined the police academy. This doesn't prove that you have to be cop to spout the self-flagelating anti-manarchist rhetoric but does show that wanting to be a cop isn't incompatible with pushing this rhetoric.

Unfortunately, I don't think either bad behavior or bureaucratic/moralistic effort to "clamp down on the problem" are going to vanish as long as the scene has the structure that it does.

But I think that individuals can certainly notice and learn from this. And really, it illustrates the difference between the communities that arise when the dispossessed revolt and the scenes that exist parasitically on capitalist society and which reflect the structure OF capitalist society rather than being examples of a new way of relating. And naturally, there are other important conclusions you could be make from this.
(For clarification, I am indeed comparing the anarchist scene negatively compared to what could exist in an actual revolt against capitalism but I am *NOT* comparing it negatively to other mileau which also contain much of the order of capitalism).

Later,

Asan

comment by Captain Nemo
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, November 01 2002 @ 10:44 AM PST
I don't know what you're talking about. We have 20,000 leagues of eternal bliss over here.
comment by
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, November 01 2002 @ 10:56 AM PST
This is all a matter of chicken-and-egg bullshit. Some of you want to blame systems and some want to blame individuals, yet fail to see that systems are created by individuals through a continual evolutionary process. It's all philosophical argument. Yawn.
comment by
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, November 01 2002 @ 10:59 AM PST
Oh please, we were talking about rude behavior in a meeting, and you try to equate it with rape. Your response is the reason that there can be no open dialog on this subject. You have a knee-jerk reactionary response to honest inquiry.

Imagine if I were someone who wanted to become more educated about the anarchist movement. I would have been turned off it forever by some asshole who wanted to make a witty (but completely irrelevant) comment.

-h
comment by wally
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, November 01 2002 @ 11:50 AM PST
I can't say I personally have a lot of disgust at men trying to check their own sexist behavior or forming men's groups to target sexism and patriarchy -- in many ways I think it is positive development.

I think in many ways because of the messed up way men are socialized and the messed-up nature of this society men take criticisms about this sort of thing from other men more to heart than women.

I also think there can be made a position made that fighting sexism, gender roles and patriarchy from the point of view of the interest of men being happier, more fully developed people that complements other arguments for women's liberation -- and hopefully will ultimately help it be more fully realized in practice.

In all honestly, I must add that I am sometimes disturbed by the implications of statements that make females the absolute authorities for negating patriarchy.

Questions arise in my head: Does this mean women should mold and re-make men in their own image?

Does this mean overcoming patriarchy is not about co-operation between sexes and genders, and that men should have no agency at all in a struggle that initimately involves them and their own lives?

Does this mean that women are actually better able to understand what is going on in men's minds and how to change unhealthy behaviors and power relationships than people actually inhabiting male bodies?

These questions and comments do not by any means mean that I think women do not understand their own oppression better than men and do NOT imply at all that men should somehow be the center of the struggle for women's liberation against patriarchy.

I have discussed these critiques several times with local women anarchists and at the NAAG and my impression is they were taken under serious consideration.

One more thing I would also add is that the tone of this article -- while it probably serves a valuable purpose -- is one that I have seen used many times in the past in conversations with men and it is one that in my impression causes most men to just clam up and agree with the speaker of them. As a man I think a lot of male anarchists tend to just nod their heads in agreement with arguments that challenge them -- especially in a personal way -- and often don't speak truthfully about how they feel or engage in critical discussions about topics of this nature. I would urge male (and male-identified if it fits) anarchists to speak openly and truthfully and engage in critical discussion and behavior changes.

If it's worth anything coming from me, I would encourage woman (and female identified) anarchists to approach arguments of this nature in a variety of different approaches and tones -- Again I'm not saying a confrontational approach is worthless, simply that it can be complemented by other approaches. Hopefully, diversity, depth, honesty and dedicated struggle will help us all realize a better future.

In solidarity,
wally
comment by anonymous volunteer
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, November 01 2002 @ 01:41 PM PST
i'm glad to see the original post and the conversation. here is some recent anti-patriarchy stuff from l.a.:
anti-fever

here is the SHUT THE FUCK UP article

here is some of the tradition of radical women

i hope those links work - i'm just learning how to do them!

comment by anonymous volunteer
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, November 01 2002 @ 01:48 PM PST
ALMOST!! -sigh-
okay try this
anti-fever
comment by terra
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, November 01 2002 @ 03:25 PM PST

i have a lot of thoughts on this...sorry if its a little rambling.

"The liberation of womyn is the work of womyn and womyn alone."

i totally disagree with this statement. i know dad@ probably said this with good intentions, and i DO believe that men should allow women to define their own oppression (duh) and step back in some instances to allow for that space that men so often take up, even in discussions about sexism.

BUT i am a firm believer in a process that very few men have really started to think about: men fighting patriarchy. this is different from "men fighting sexism" (which i also think men should think about) - but it goes deeper. the effects of patriarchy are not always found simply in relation to women ("sexism"). infact, i believe the root of sexist behavior is actually found in the oppression of men by patriarchy: the way they see and know themselves- the sources of their power.

i have for many years felt that there was something missing in our (womens) work of liberation that we do in women-only space- the "reclaiming" of a positive self-image and womens solidarity. i think its perfectly wonderful for us women to feel powerful AS WOMEN and to find meaning in our woman-ness. why is it that men dont seem to feel the same thing for themselves? i have been grappling with this for years. many men seem to think they have no right to that (male guilt). others seem to think that anti-sexism is simply about women claiming their power to be equal with men, and men shutting up.

most men seem to be just confused about this. of course the idea of men only space is wierd (like "white only space). yes, the "mens movement" has a strange non-appeal, especially to anarchist men. even the idea of "mens pride" the way we develop "womens pride" feels wrong to men. but i do believe that a positive self-awareness of maleness is possible. i think men should be developing this and sharing it with women, and strengthening their bonds with other men, so they can better understand and dismantle the effects of patriarchy on them. it is really too bad to me that so many "feminist" women out there have developed such a liberal, simpleminded identity politic (thanks to academia) that they don't seem to value this potential. i see way too much female empowerment coming from the subservience and diempowerment of men.

in my opinion, men are very disemowered in our culture. yes, materially they have power. but spiritually and emotionally, they are decimated (as are women, in different, but no more detrimental ways). i think unless this changes, men (and many women) will continue to abuse, talk over, and generally take power, because they are at a loss for the kind of power that many of us women have found. men have the same needs as women for affirmation of self. i am ashamed that some women out there in anarchist circles (i wont call them anarchist women) are taking advantage of the male guilt complex, and the lack of self-affirmation men suffer from, to silence and intimidate men for their own power lust.

we all have power-lust. men are taught by our culture to satiate theirs by any means necessary- and in our culture, it is easy for them to do. Women are also taught that, and although it has historically been harder, many of us do it too- more and more as the world becomes supposedly more non-sexist. but the root problem is POWER- not aggression as many have suggested. agression is a NATURAL HUMAN INSTINCT, and if we didnt have it we would have become extinct a long time ago. infact we NEED it. it is often quite useful, especially in protest situatins. but i agree that we can use it wisely or we can abuse it, and others (and the rest of nature) in the process.

men and women can both abuse power, although it has been my experience that men abuse it more often. in the situation the Rock Block "are you a manarchist" article described of young hyped up agrro male black blockers- i dont find myself feeling oppressed by people like that. i just feel sorry for them that that is there way of expressing their (lack of) power over their own lives. all my close male friends are far more controlled (self), level-headed, and calm when in those situations, which doesnt mean they arent militant.

and when they aren't calm? they have a right to their own expression. who am i to judge whether or not its agood or bad thing. why should it bother me one way or another? that way of thinking makes me wonder if the writer (of the original post) is a control-freak/leftist. it reveals a liberal minded "feminist" ideology: reductionist thinking into categories, ignoring the exceptions, simplifying complex situations to try and back up your opinions.

anyone who would like to continue discussing this subject who is coming from a similar place as me, please let me know because i want to co-develop a process for men and women discussing anti-patriarchy that doesnt rely on identity politics.

terra
wildrootsnc@ziplip.com




comment by stacy
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, November 01 2002 @ 04:32 PM PST
i think traci's article was really good except for a few points.

i think the problem with men writing about manarchism/sexism and having men's only meetings about it isn't a problem in itself. i think it allows men to talk to each other and learn from each other. i bet that for the most part, men are going to be more likely to read something about manarchism/sexism that's written by a man than they would read something on the same subject by a woman. if it's by a woman, men tend to get defensive, whether it's because it's written by a woman, whether they have experience with anti-manarchist literature by women (like the "are you a manarchist? questionaire" which is written in a way that i can understand men getting defensive about, and i'm working on a response to it), or their sexism just causes them to not want to read written pieces by women either consciously or subconsciously. so i think it's good that there are things out there on manarchism/sexism by men because i think it gets a wider audience. the problem is actually the illusion that since men are writing about it, reading about it, and having meetings about it, that they're cured or on their way, and maybe also by default, that most radical men are cured (or on their way). we know that this just isn't true. there's a hell of a difference between hanging out with real frat boys and hanging out with anarchist men, but anarchist men still have shit to work on.

my other issue is with traci's characterization with the mayday event. i'm pretty sure this is about mayday 2002 in tempe? the event was planned by anarchists. while anarchists are organized, they organized themselves, not others- at least that's the way we were working (and the amount of people that showed to the event was tens of times the amount that organized the event). while the starting point of the event was planned and shared, there were no specifics about the route or the goal- except to hopefully take the streets. no one was about to force upon the huge group any route or instructions. it was a celebration of mayday, not a protest. it would make sense for a protest to have a set route: these are the people we want to reach, these are the targets we want to disupt, etc. the mayday event was not controlled by anyone except maybe the drummers, which happened automatically. it was chaotic, impulsive, and fun. it was advertised as a street party, a celebration. the fact that we went around the block a few times and danced in the streets had nothing to do with manarchism or sexism.

i'll agree to an extent that the behavior that men participate in during protests and actions is related to a sort of machismo. but i also think that it has more to do with fighting the fight they are most familiar with. what do white men have to deal with? they mainly only have to deal with economic oppression (if that) and legal oppression. so they pick fights with the cops and it's like a badge of honor if they've been pepper sprayed or something. they don't have to also struggle against sexism and racism (if they're white). so that's their fight, and it's okay with me if they fight it. my rage is more evenly distributed maybe, i don't know, but i just have no interest in pissing off cops. the idea that it's a badge of honor to have disputed with the cops is not something i think is good for the community or anarchism, but i don't have a problem with the disputes themselves, as long as i'm not put in danger without my consent. i think men have to think about why they get so pissed off about cops while they just consider reading a feminist pamphlet or talk about starting a mens group to discuss gender oppression.

i also want to know how traci knows that the guys who seem to work on their manarchism or sexism are the same ones who participate in overtly sexist behavior. i agree that no man should call himself an ex-manarchist (although i don't like the term manarchist at all), but he can certainly work on his issues and deserve some acknowledgement that he's trying.

finally, i think it's not necessarily better for men to be reading feminist literature or stuff by radical women than it is to go to anti-sexism workshops and meetings. while workshops and meetings may not be organized the best and change may not come out of all of it, it's more connected to the community. it allows the opportunity to discuss issues that affect women the men know and to discuss the situations that are present in their own communities. women's experiences change all of the time. how many essays can one find like traci's on how "ex-manarchist" affect the climate of sexism in anarchist communities? how are we going to figure out how to combat the effects of this by reading a book or essay even 2 years old? i think it's important to read these things, but i don't think it's pointless nor detrimental to continue to organize or attend workshops and discussions to combat sexism.

stacy.

comment by stacy
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, November 01 2002 @ 04:41 PM PST
bringing up the point about transgendered people is really important. although it's harder to talk about sexism in the context of realizing that the gender dichotomy is not so black and white, it needs to be kept in mind.
particularly because of the use of the word "manarchy" and even the term sexism related to talking about aggressiveness and other "masculine" traits, we need to be discussing what we're really against. especially as anarchists we need to be more specific instead of just saying "you're sexist because of what you did because you're a man and i'm a woman". it's not that simple.
too often men are generalized and "masculine" behavior is seen as automatically bad because some of it is oppressive. but we need to talk about oppressive behavior as oppressive behavior beyond the context of gender, especially because gender is fluid.
comment by stacy
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, November 01 2002 @ 04:50 PM PST
i agree that it says something about sexism when, for example the planning of mayday in tempe was characterized as being planned by men, at least that's what one would think reading about the planning in the context of sexism. plus, as i wrote in response to the article, i don't see the connection between lack of control over a celebration event and sexism.
i also saw an example of this when i read repsonses from an anti-war group describing the actions of our anarchist group by the actions they saw a couple men doing. why do the men represent the group? (i realize it could have been because of their extreem behavior, but still). why didn't the girls on bikes represent our anarchist group.
comment by stacy
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, November 01 2002 @ 04:57 PM PST
i also have that question. often i get talked over but i never can be too sure if it's because i'm a woman or because i'm shy or both. fortunately this has been talked about in my anarchist community and women have some room to say, hey, you're talking over me, can you stop. and often times this behavior stops. although, obviously there are women who talk over men and a man doesn't have the same ability to call her on that. i also wouldn't be as likely to call a woman on interrupting me. that is something that needs to be changed.
comment by dadanarchist
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, November 01 2002 @ 06:03 PM PST
I think you are probably right, I phrased it a little simply, and we most likely agree. I guess what I am talking about is that the best way for men to help fight patriarchy is to liberate themselves, and to transcend the narrow gender roles which society places on us all. I just think that for too many men, they think they can fight patriarchy by fighting for women, rather than along side women, and never think about fighting for themselves.

Rambling again, but do you catch my drift?

I think a permanent forum for gender and anarchism would be most useful.
comment by Kal-El
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, November 01 2002 @ 07:56 PM PST
There's no sexism on my planet because it was destroyed.
comment by EvilPanda
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, November 01 2002 @ 08:35 PM PST
Actually, the lack of guilt-inducing identity politics distinguishes this article. Instead of repeating the tired prescriptions of male sensitivity trainings and "12-step prorams," Traci suggests that sexism is solved in the process of struggle, and not just by forming caucuses and parroting what women say. Alot of anarchists need to hear this loud and clear.

Now, I do disagree with her endorsement of the "stick it to the manarchy" article. That article was stupid as fuck. - Ryan
comment by Jor-El
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, November 01 2002 @ 10:33 PM PST
But sexism runs rampant in the phantom zone.
comment by js
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, November 01 2002 @ 11:33 PM PST
: )
comment by britney
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, November 02 2002 @ 09:45 AM PST
"The protest, for what I am sure seemed like good reasons to the organizers, had a distinct lack of strategy in the type of actions that would take place. For example, the protest must have marched up and down the same four-block area for at least 3 hours. The stops that took place along this commercial area seemed virtually accidental and consisted of folks engaging in actions that are characteristic of a protest: chanting, cheering, dancing, street theater, etc.
As the evening wore on, other actions emerged from the severe lack of focus. I recall one man from the protest strutting into the Gap only to be chased out by the pigs brandishing their pepper spray. On another occasion a male protester swaggered into the Borders bookstore and was directed forcefully to the exit by the pigs once again."

This does look like the author took the opportunity to put down this protest because it wasn't controlled well by the organizers or something. I would also like to know how an uncontrolled event is sexist and also how does yelling at cops necessarily relate to gender, because, as has probably been said, women yell at the cops as well.
comment by texas f slim
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, November 02 2002 @ 01:08 PM PST
word...
i think it's interesting to make the distinction between fighting 'sexism' and patrirachy, and that it's a good step infact.

i don't know how i feel about this article. i think it further illustrates the impossiblity for a static analysis of patriarchy and what fighting it looks like in an anarchist context. i do however, want to affirm any womyns experience, even if she is a leftist...

i think this is a good article along with the are you a manarchist/anti-patriarchy male-identified groups tendency for different communties to look at and figure out what is right in their context, and be able to change as well...


comment by Pe
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, November 02 2002 @ 04:29 PM PST
This article reminds me so much of other academic writings where the main idea is 'give up, you'll never get it right'.

It's the same in all academic identity politics, if we do we're damned and if we don't we're damned. Leaching onto small phrases like 'ex-manarchist' and trying to distort the phrase into represneting a whole personality and movement. As an anarchist who does support Women, I wonder why the fact that men are organizing each other to begin acting less exist is such a problem?!!

This is important and this is exactly what many feminists proscribed to men as a way to combat sexism! Now we hear people generalizing that this is all men do and it's idiotic and frustrating! Tracy has to try and realize that we are attempting to make progress instead of condemning anything anyone tries in good faith. AS I said before the solutions come slowly, it's a process that won't end any time soon, but I think it's healthy for men to be dealing with thier own shit, adn attempting to bring that into their lives and into actions rather then generalizing in a way that just shuts down communication, where the insinuation is that we should just give up.

This piece is mostly just elitist (because it offers not options for real change) academic fluff. If someone wants to draw some positive advice for action from this piece, please post it, but all I see is negativity and arrogance. And I'd suggest men stay on the road we're on, talking to each other and trying to better our actions rather then falling for the original sin argument of liberal academics.
comment by Peligro
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, November 02 2002 @ 04:41 PM PST
I agree, I think equating being a woman with less confrontational tactics is flawed. (though people might be socialized to be more confortable with certain ways of expressing themselves). It's niether feminine of masculine to confront authority physically. I was just reading no trespassing where the author talks about how women were more open to direct action, and much more militant then men in many cases.
comment by Heather Ajani
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, November 03 2002 @ 10:12 PM PST
Hear a Woman Out

Why when a woman speaks about sexism or patriarchy and critiques the behavior of men (i.e. “Just Ask a Woman by Traci Harris”) within a movement she herself is attached to is she called names? Why does she get accused of being a leftist, a liar, an academic (oh, that's a cut-especially for all those patrons of AK press), or instead of addressing her politics focusing on her political affiliations?

When I think of some of my own personal experiences as a woman of color in a town that doesn't have a history of being politically active, I think about historical movements and how women and people of color have been treated traditionally. I think about demonstrations that I have been patrolling as a member of Copwatch and I see men getting in cops' faces, challenging them. I don't disagree with downtalking a pig, what I do disagree with is that it is done when adrenaline is high and would not be done otherwise. In simple terms, it’s not the confrontation itself, but the manner in which it is done. The frat-boy tactic is coined as such because it is a social agreement between the men in the group to act a certain way, a fraternal contract (one between brothers,) rather than one between comrades, which would include others. This type of behavior relies on (men on) both sides knowing the game and how to play it, thus icing women out because it generally unfamiliar to us. If the other men aren't around, this behavior is less apparent.

Another example of this type of behavior occurred recently after a demonstration when a comrade of mine turned around and yelled at the one cop behind us, "class traitor!" Two women I knew from another town were there with me and I could tell they were visibly uncomfortable, as was I. When my friend asked me if that was patriarchal, I responded that it was. (Not because of what he said, but the fact that he wouldn’t have done this without a bunch of men around him doing the same thing.) I later found out that my opinion was seen as showing off in front of these other women. I wondered how my feelings (which were asked for, by the way) could be construed as showing off more so than his yelling at the cop in front of all of his friends.

As to why women get called names when they form an analysis, I will borrow from Ashanti Alston in saying, "how does change happen if folks don’t get uncomfortable?" By that, he meant that if we are going to create change, we need to be made to feel uncomfortable. When men get critiqued about their sexism they get uncomfortable and then lash out by attacking the person making the critique. This is not how we fight oppression; this is not how we address patriarchy. We need to be made uncomfortable to transform society and ourselves, and so we shouldn’t fear critique or hide from it by attacking people personally.

"Just Ask A Woman" by Traci Harris addresses current discussions around fighting sexism (i.e. using the recent "manarchy" articles as examples, as well as local pamphlets and list-serve discussions among anarchists in Phoenix.) Ms. Harris’ critique was not to dismiss Mayday or the organizing that went into it, but to expose problems in the action so that they can be avoided later. Her emphasis is placed on the need for women to be having these discussions, rather than men defining what is anti-sexist and patriarchal among themselves. Her point is that women need to talk, men need to listen. The underlying theme in her essay is that it is harder and more important (because of her examples and experiences in the anarchist movement) for everyone to work on anti-sexist behavior, to fight the patriarchy and work on feminist agendas.

Fighting the patriarchy is not about telling men to give up because they will never get it right. It is about encouraging men to listen to women when they have something to say rather than discounting them or interrupting them. It is about constantly evaluating the way in which we challenge power to make sure we don’t reproduce power differentials in our actions. To simply disregard a woman when she musters the bravery (and why should we /have/ to be brave) to disagree, analyze, critique, or speak up perpetuates the system of oppression dominated by white males. It is the same domination that is inherent in the system that oppresses us as a whole and it is alive and well within this movement, and if you don't believe me then ask my fellow comrades (women and people of color) who feel interrupted, talked over, sent to the back of the room, etc.

The problem isn't the men who are making attempts to recognize sexist behavior, instead it is the men who are addressing the issue on local e-mail lists, and then taking advantage of women when the computer gets turned off. The problem isn't male groups who seek to find ways to support one another in rectifying their sexist behavior, it is when the attempt stops there and it becomes a moral issue that makes men feel okay with being men.

Fighting sexism does not mean that women should remake men. Personally, I like most men I know just the way they are—I would just like them to stop finishing my sentences and patronizing me in political situations. (Fortunately, the groups I work with now don't present these problems for me.) Most women fighting sexist oppression should not pretend to know best what is going on in the minds of men but because of their oppression they do probably know best how they are made to feel oppressed.

Women do not need men to define sexism for us because they already have. It is up to all of us to tear it down. That means that we need to develop a praxis (put our politics into practice), not only be adopting a commitment to feminist ideals (that means everyday), but developing and practicing liberatory politics. In
a nutshell, overcoming patriarchy means overcoming sexist oppression. Not just by women, but by men too. My point is if you want to know how, hear a woman out.
comment by witch hazel
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, November 04 2002 @ 08:38 AM PST
i really don't see any personal 'name calling' going on on this thread. i think traci has been heard, and she asked for responses. i am a female and i responded with my personal opinions on her comments. im sorry if you think i was discounting her by calling her a leftist or an academic or whatever, but i think its a legitimate observation that i have every right to make in my analysis of her analysis. since i am a woman i hardly think your "rule" of expecting men to listen to her and not question her, applies to me. infact i think everyone has a right to disagree with her, as long as its done respectfully, which i think every male who responded has done.

i understand many of your points and agree with a lot of them, but why couldnt you just make them without trying to use the disagreements that have been written as some kind of "proof" of patriarchal behaviors?
comment by Mishap
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, November 04 2002 @ 11:10 AM PST
Hi, as someone who helped put out the Deal With It zine that Kooky's article was in, I thought I might provide a context for it: Eugene, Oregon. Not the U.S., not the whole international movement. While there are obviously sexist men and sexism happening in other places, I would say that Kooky's article was mainly about himself and people in Eugene--at the time of the article(2000-2001) "manarchist" was being used by certain people to refer to certain others.
So, I'm a bit surprised that Traci harris identifies a whole scene of "ex-manarchist" writers. I've seen a lot of writing by men on sexisma and done some, but I think that the number of men doing this is far smaller than the number who aren.t. Far smaller. While every piece of writing usually has some good points, including this one, I think that the basis for her argument--the whole ex-manarchist scene--doesn't really exist--at the very least not specifically as a "ex-manarchist" scene.
Anarchists are also such a small percentage of the population: I think we take ourselves to seriously and assign much more power to our various sub-groups than they have. i wish that there were so many men writing on challenging sexism that they were becoming a problem, but I just don't see it.
Than again, maybe I don't read enough newspapers and zines.
comment by inza
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, December 09 2002 @ 06:31 PM PST
just a reminder, sexism is prejudice PLUS privilege. Just as racism is prejucice plus privilege. Women can have a prejudice against men but they can not be "sexist". Just as a Latino in this country can't be "racist" against a white.
comment by Will Thersaway
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, December 17 2002 @ 05:15 AM PST
It seems to me that 'manarchist' is a word which has a meaning which most any anarchist male using it is recovering from. The idea that there is a cure-all for any man's sexism and patriarchy is idealistic and utopian (not meaning bad, just meaning not likely anytime soon), and we can not change others or some larger abstract society, but must work to change ourselves, knowing no change will ever complete a person, nor be complete within that person. I am frusterated. I am a young white (mostly) male and I want to be an ally to women, but I realize that I do fucked up patriarchal sexist shit. I want to stop doing these things, but I feel as have no community to support me in these efforts. If I appeal to men for help, it feels as if I am excluding women and obviously being sexist and patriachal, typical manarchist behavior. If I appeal to women for help, it feels as if I am 'getting in their way', not 'shutting the fuck up', that my very approach will be ill-worded or ill-timed, inappropriate and/or somehow sexist, labled and dismissed as manarchist. Asking males, females and genderqueer people together seems to start nothing but arguements that never end. I have many questions and I want to learn how I can change myself from the inside out to be constantly less sexist and patriarchal, but admitting to and wanting to talk about my own personal sexist behavior seems to get me nothing but lablels, dismissal and exclusion. Yes, according to the loose definition of manarchist, I am, and I dont even know if I can say for sure that I'm recovering, though I'd like to. I am a manarchist. NOW WHAT? Talk to women? I found out the hard way that women, like men, can be judgemental and dismissive. When I bring up a particular sexist act or comment I made, or a train of thought which i suspect of being patriarchal, there is no one, male, female or off the gender map who even seems to notice my realization of those patriarchal roots or pointing me in the direction of other realizations (is it selfish, sexist, patriarchal or 'manarchist' of me to want this kind of support?). I recive condemnation and condescending remarks instead of support, and often enough recive exclusion. I need teachers and healers, not judges. Maybe I'm just a slow learner, but thats no reason for giving up on me. I make mistakes I am human like you and I am trying to learn. I am a shy and often quiet person and it is hard enough to ask for help, knowing I'll probably be judged for actions and patterns I now realize to be both personally and generally wrong, but then you add on this label, this catagory where I am able to be filed away and dismissed without learning anything... I want communication and open honest people, not slang terms. I realized I will be judged for my past, but that wont stop me from working to make my future to be better for all involved, which could be you. If I came off here as slightly bitter or naieve, maybe it's because I am. I wanna try harder and I dont know how and it seems like everyone's to busy or scared or disgusted to help. I think there are alot of people like me who are struggling with this and are who not yet well versed in the history behind this struggle (which is questionable in and of itself since it's led us here), but feel that they want to and can be stronger allies for women, given more wisdom and opportunity. I'm ranting but I wanted to voice my opinion and give a good long shout from the top of the e-mountain..."HELP!" please feel free to email me with any comments.
comment by Will Thersaway
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, December 17 2002 @ 05:16 AM PST
It seems to me that 'manarchist' is a word which has a meaning which most any anarchist male using it is recovering from. The idea that there is a cure-all for any man's sexism and patriarchy is idealistic and utopian (not meaning bad, just meaning not likely anytime soon), and we can not change others or some larger abstract society, but must work to change ourselves, knowing no change will ever complete a person, nor be complete within that person. I am frusterated. I am a young white (mostly) male and I want to be an ally to women, but I realize that I do fucked up patriarchal sexist shit. I want to stop doing these things, but I feel as have no community to support me in these efforts. If I appeal to men for help, it feels as if I am excluding women and obviously being sexist and patriachal, typical manarchist behavior. If I appeal to women for help, it feels as if I am 'getting in their way', not 'shutting the fuck up', that my very approach will be ill-worded or ill-timed, inappropriate and/or somehow sexist, labled and dismissed as manarchist. Asking males, females and genderqueer people together seems to start nothing but arguements that never end. I have many questions and I want to learn how I can change myself from the inside out to be constantly less sexist and patriarchal, but admitting to and wanting to talk about my own personal sexist behavior seems to get me nothing but lablels, dismissal and exclusion. Yes, according to the loose definition of manarchist, I am, and I dont even know if I can say for sure that I'm recovering, though I'd like to. I am a manarchist. NOW WHAT? Talk to women? I found out the hard way that women, like men, can be judgemental and dismissive. When I bring up a particular sexist act or comment I made, or a train of thought which i suspect of being patriarchal, there is no one, male, female or off the gender map who even seems to notice my realization of those patriarchal roots or pointing me in the direction of other realizations (is it selfish, sexist, patriarchal or 'manarchist' of me to want this kind of support?). I recive condemnation and condescending remarks instead of support, and often enough recive exclusion. I need teachers and healers, not judges. Maybe I'm just a slow learner, but thats no reason for giving up on me. I make mistakes I am human like you and I am trying to learn. I am a shy and often quiet person and it is hard enough to ask for help, knowing I'll probably be judged for actions and patterns I now realize to be both personally and generally wrong, but then you add on this label, this catagory where I am able to be filed away and dismissed without learning anything... I want communication and open honest people, not slang terms. I realized I will be judged for my past, but that wont stop me from working to make my future to be better for all involved, which could be you. If I came off here as slightly bitter or naieve, maybe it's because I am. I wanna try harder and I dont know how and it seems like everyone's to busy or scared or disgusted to help. I think there are alot of people like me who are struggling with this and are who not yet well versed in the history behind this struggle (which is questionable in and of itself since it's led us here), but feel that they want to and can be stronger allies for women, given more wisdom and opportunity. I'm ranting but I wanted to voice my opinion and give a good long shout from the top of the e-mountain..."HELP!" please feel free to email me with any comments.
comment by 1againstwar
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, December 27 2002 @ 03:51 PM PST
Ok. This really isn't a response to anyone else's comment, just my own. The problem I see with "manarchism" is that it's completely backwards. U don't make a white man feel comfortable with women by sticking them in a room full of white men, u stick them in a room with women. U don't make a racist feel comfortable with african americans by sticking them in a room with a bunch of racists, u stick them in a room with a bunch of african americans. It's like the old indian proverb: You have no idea what I've dealt with until U've walked a mile in my mokisians. Yea, I know that isn't exactly right and the spelling isn't perfect, but u know what I mean. In order to understand another persons plight, u have to walk in their situation. Until then, no guy will understand a woman's perspective and no WOMAN will understand a man's perspective!
comment by Uncivil D.
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 16 2003 @ 03:46 AM PST
This article raises some excellent points about the nature of feminism and anti sexism as it exists today and the need for what I think is a more defined anti sexist stance within any broadbased anti capitalist movement, but there are also some points I take issue with, and one is the comment about the number of white guys who show up at meetings. This seems a little odd, to say the least. It seems that in many cases, a lack of diversity within a group is seen somehow as a problem unto itself, rather than a symptom of a larger underlying problem. If a group does not have diversity in it, is it because of domineering, or is it a well intentioned but gross error on the part of activist culture to respond to the actual needs and desires of the oppressed? One could make an argument that "the left" is just as fractured along lines of class as it is of gender or skin pigmentation.
As far as the behaviour described at demos, I am in concurrence to a degree. I think confrontation is extremely important, but many people go about it in a way that is very self defeating, and alot of this does extend from a certain machismo. I think all too often, however, this argument devolves to the point where confrontation is criticized unto itself, rather than in its tactical employment. I know many anarchist women who are very supportive of confrontational and uncompromising street action. To masculinize violence or confrontational tactics, which I believe certain critiques of the "manarchist" tendency do, is to set a dangerous and self defeating precedent unto itself.
comment by rychousmama
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, February 09 2003 @ 01:24 PM PST
okay, non, so first you call us feminists "whiners" and say that sexism is just okay, (gee, i guess black people back in the 1800s should have just stopped "whining" and lived with slavery too, huh?) and that we should deal with it. Then, you say that we should come up with tactics that fight sexism in a logical way (what would that be, non, would your method be forcing women to all have babies and shut up when people don't agree with them?). You anti-feminist morons contradict yourselves all the time. Why don't you just admit that you people are misogynist bastards! Stupid little fuck.
-Lara
comment by rychousmama
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, February 09 2003 @ 01:40 PM PST
May ask why the hell anyone would want to change their genitals in the first place? It honestly sounds stupid (but that doesn't mean in any way that i dislike trasnsexuals or that i am heterosexist). What I'm saying is that people who change their sex are sexist or reverse sexist because they feel inadequate with a penis or vagina. This seems to point towards an attitude that holds that your character and worth as an individual are based on what reproductive organs you have (this is what the patriarchy is based on). But, if transsexuals are doing it for the sake of liking anal/vaginal penetration more than having a penis and doing the penetration, then I can understand.
-Lara
comment by
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, February 09 2003 @ 01:46 PM PST
I most definitely agree with you stacy, that's exactly what I was thinking but I couldn't put it into words, i think dadanarchist and several others actually made really good points in response to this article. It's a very progressive, motivating article, but it does tend to say that "well, because you're a man and you made this action, the action is inevitably sexist" this is wrong, because i'm a woman and I can be aggressive too, and that doesn't mean I'm sexist against men and that it's a particularly "feminine" trait.
-Lara
comment by
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, February 09 2003 @ 02:10 PM PST
Tim i totally agree. Nature arguments regarding the sexes and behavior are another tactic of sexism to put thought constraints on women and men. It's like saying that people in China behave differently in situations than Americans because it's genetic. And that's ridiculous. Never ever try to excuse your actions and not take resposibility for how you behave by saying that men and women are naturally different. The arugment is an excuse for gender roles. What matters is the individual, not the sex.
-Lara
comment by rychousmama
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, February 09 2003 @ 02:24 PM PST
oh really, inza? Since when? Any kind of prejudice against anyone based on sex or race is wrong. Yes, it's true that sexism, in our modern context, is usually pitted against women. And I can understand when women make a few jokes about men who are sexist, or some blacks make a few jokes about whites who are racist. But to say that racism and sexism are ALWAYS prejudice plus privilege is just ignorant. There are minorities who terrible things about their whole race, and your comment implies that women can't be sexist (towards women) and minorities can't be racist (against minorities) That's such a crock of shit! So I guess that just makes it okay for a hispanic to go and kill all whites because some of them did him/her wrong? If you like to hang on to stupid abstractions like that and base your pathetic hatred on them, go ahead. I just think you made an irritably stupid comment.
-Lara.
comment by dot dot dot
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, February 20 2003 @ 12:36 AM PST
so many things: a) sexism vs. patriarchy (day to day actions vs. underlying ideology?) b) identity politics (someone is always "the bitch" whether it's women or trannies or people-of-color or working class people or, in certain "enlightened" circles, the racist, the homophobe, etc... although OF COURSE behavior is different from identity - frequently behavior gets reified into identity, i.e. people are not allowed/presumed to change, grow, learn...) c) the article raises the question of intent, and how do we measure intent? Any action promoted as a way to combat oppression, can be taken as way to increase/ignore oppression, so how do we know when it's one or the other? By knowing each other...? which leads us to d) traci and heather are both part of an organization that has gotten critiqued for not integrating feminism into its theory (so is this the response? is traci going on the attack as a way to get some feminist credentials? how will Phoenix respond? tune in next week, same time same channel).
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