GYNOCENTRISM – When Feminists Engage Men’s Issues


We often here that at bottom feminism is about equality of the genders. The wiki on feminism and equality repeats this, saying “In general, feminism is a belief in equality between the two genders.”

It follows from this that all real feminists should be MRAs. And we do see more and more feminists coming out and posting articles on how they are becoming MRAs or have developed an interest in men’s issue, now that they have sons or whatever and view with horror the prospects of these males face, whom they love.

In a thread over at Good Man Project discussing a comment made on anther thread about the movie “Mad Mike” several examples of misandry on the part of well-meaning feminists surfaced. (The orginal article this comment appeared under is a good example of someone spectacularly missing the point of a movie. It is worth a read too; it’s hilarious in its own right.)

Commenter HeatherN says:

“Right let me try to explain with an analogy. I’m from the U.S. and I live in the U.K. People use the word “fag” as slang for cigarette. Do I freak out? Do I even care? No, because they are not using that word offensively or at all related to the way it can be used offensively.

The word patriarchy was not created as and is not commonly used as a way to demean and/or oppress individuals or a group. Objectively speaking it is not an offensive word. If you (anyone) has had personal experiences with that word being used as a way to attack you, that sucks. If you want to talk about that personal experience, I totally get it.

However, that still doesn’t change the fact that the word is not objectively offensive. Which means that when people are using that word in a way that isn’t an attack (which is frankly, most of the time), it’s important for you (anyone) to recognize that.”

I answered (and so far my comments are not appearing):

“Fail. The standard for offensiveness is not the intent of the speaker but the way the listener takes it. do you somehow think there is any non-offensive way to use “nigger” depending on what the speaker says she means? And it certainly not a woman’s call whether or not “patriarchy” is “commonly understood to be offensive”. I as a man often wonder why women get so het up about the word “bitch”, when it so objectively describes a range of related behaviors.

Second, it signifies nothing if some straight woman does not “freak out” at the use of the word fag. In fact it is quite to be expected, given how often straight women use gay-bashing to control men and indulge in other forms of homophobia.

Here’s a test for you, since you live in the UK. Are you similarly indifferent when someone calls somoene, you for instance, a “cunt” to mean a stupid person? – because that is British usage. Do you also find that “cunt” is not “objectively offensive”?

HeatherN goes on in her comment to say:

“The word patriarchy was not created as and is not commonly used as a way to demean and/or oppress individuals or a group. Objectively speaking it is not an offensive word.”

I call her out:

“If you don’t see how a word denoting fatherhood but used to name a system of oppression is offensive, there is not much pint in explaining it to you. The word is objectively misandrist. It’s telling that you do not find that offensive.

HeatherN doubles down and insists her feelings about the word “patriarchy” trump those of the men on the board. – gynocentrism in action. Commenter David Byron calls her on it:

“So you are denying my experience and the experience of other men here. I’ve told you that you are being offensive and you respond by demanding that the word isn’t offensive. Insisting on continuing to offend me. 


This is part of what I mean when I ask if you believe men have the right to hold a different view of the world than yours. 


You are on a men’s board, about getting men to tell their experience of the world, and men are telling you about their experience, and this word is offensive and you are denying their experience. You are telling men they have no right to have an independent view of the world. 


Do you think we’re all LYING when we say that that word is used to attack men? I’m saying the word offends me and you’re telling me I’m wrong? How can I be wrong? I’m telling you what the word means to ME and you’re saying I don’t know my own mind?


I am man. I am not you. I have my own view of the world. It’s not your view. I have a right to have my own view and it isn’t yours. Do you accept this? Do you really understand and accept it?”

HeatherN thinks she is responding by leaving this:

“Okay, let’s see if I can explain this. I am NOT denying your personal feelings or experience. I am saying that your personal experience doesn’t create a mainstream interpretation of words like privilege and patriarchy. I tried to explain with the analogy to the British use of “fag,” that the CONTEXT of a word is important.

You feel the word patriarchy is offensive…personally. That’s valid. I acknowledge that is valid. But that is a PERSONAL feeling that is not based on the common understanding of what the word patriarchy means. “

Not only is this a double standard – no feminist I can think of would tolerate this dismissal of a woman’s objection to this kind of thing from a man, but this is also just linguistically naïve – linguists and lexicographers have developed pretty sophisticated tests over the centuries for determining the semantic and psychosocial impact of lexical items. It is linguistically naïve, but in a very telling direction. HeatherN is still insisting that her take on the offensiveness of “patriarchy” is as valid as an man’s, who is perhaps also a father. And she just cannot see any error in that.

Here we see in very plain view the central problem with the current efforts on the part of feminists to engage with men’s issues – at No Seriously What About the Menz and the Good Man Project and other places – the unexamined and instinctive gynocentrism that deforms most discussions of gender and which also informs most expressions of empathy and social justice in general. This is not some problem unique to feminists; it is systemic in the culture.

Jim Doyle
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  • This reminds me of a thought I had a number of years ago, that trying to make a woman who had hurt me feel guilty about it was like trying to get my own back on a master swordsman by challenging him to a swordfight. Guilt is a weapon she has trained to master all her life, and I haven\’t.

    On the same principle, there has never been a social taboo that demands women watch their mouths around men in case they offend them. There is a very long-standing one that demands men watch their mouths around women, and women, and feminists exploit it. It\’s their weapon, they know how to wield it, and if it\\’s turned against them they simply shrug it off – doesn\’t apply to me.

    We will not beat them by using their weapons. We need to develop our own. I think the only thing that will work is a critical mass of men who know feminists are full of shit and will not accept being talked about like that anymore.

  • Female reviews of Magic Mike are an apparent cornucopia of gynocentric thinking. You could spend days peeling back all the layers of wrong. In fact, we it’s almost like a particular effect that should have it’s own name… they are simply so wrong about men on a fundamental level that they can’t help missing the point even when they mean well. They have a long way to go before they earn the right to claim to be an egalitarian movement.

    To add another feminist men’s article that is well-meaning but hopelessly inept (and it was supposedly a positive response to an article that the author considered inept):

    1) Congrats, you can filter out women who are terrible.

    Oh… That’s a dating tip? I didn’t know! Congratulations on being unattractive! That’s a good thing! Sure, she says, some women are terrible. But should they change? Nahhh

    Oh well, nothing one can do about that, it’s their personal preference and I hope someday they find the basketball player of their dreams.

    Good Grief, Lucy!

    2) Don’t necessarily assume that tall women won’t want to date you.

    I mean, don’t you get how you could actually be offending that “tall” 5’3 girl out there who might actually be interested in dating a guy less than 6′ short… that’d be downright misogynistic /sarcasm/.

    The layers of gynocentrism here assumes that it’s men’s responsibility to pursue women. No matter how the odds are stacked against them. No thought is given to women putting forth an equal effort even if they acknowledge just how hard it is for a particularly underrated group of guys. Not only is there no reason for bigoted women to examine their prejudices, but there’s no reason for any woman at all to examine her female privilege – even the ones who would date you.

    4) Let your girlfriend wear high heels if she wants to.

    Because we all know, the excuses that women throw out for not wanting to date 90% of the male population are actually perfectly valid and should be taken seriously. This, after she called out the other article for daring to suggest that short men wear shoes that make them appear taller.

    5) Don’t… go on dating sites that let women search by height?
    Thinking of tips is hard.

    Yes, it must be really hard, considering how god-awful that piece of advice is. See guys? It’s all of our fault! We enable women to discriminate against our height by failing to conceal it from them. Now that we’re all clear on the way this works, there’s a group of black people I’ve got to go give some advice to…

  • “We will not beat them by using their weapons. We need to develop our own.”

    George Washington did not defeat the British with guerrilla tactics, mainline conventional tactics were necessary, but there is no question that snipers taking out officers and attacks on columns form defilade played an important role.

    It is precisely because so many women are unused to guilting and shaming from men that these tactics work so well on them. I am working on a post about feamle sexist pigs, one of those “If youXXX, then you are a sexist pig.” -type checklists, for young men to use on college campuses in mandatory women’s studies classes they subject everyone to.

    “On the same principle, there has never been a social taboo that demands women watch their mouths around men in case they offend them.’

    This needs a little more precision. Women (“better” society) always had to watch lest they say anything intelligent enugh to offend a man, and they were really not allowed to contradict a man too far for fear of losing their lady privilege. But you are right, aside from that they were free to say absolutley anything to a man and to expect the full protection of all the surrounding men.

  • It is precisely because so many women are unused to guilting and shaming from men that these tactics work so well on them.

    They’re also unused to having their own guilting and shaming become ineffective. They have no idea how to argue against a man who stays on message. One of the reasons why feminist boards have started to melt down into nasty puddles of invective whenever a man goes on there and starts saying something reasonable. After the standard “are you gay?” and “do you have a girlfriend?” don’t work, they start grasping at straws.

  • That’s true too; they are unused to this new emotional immunity in men. They power relationship – which was in their favor, thus all the denialist theory – and they are having a very hard time adjusting.

    The change in comment threads just about everywhere is amazing to see. the ol dverities get picked apart everywhere, feminists are getting called pigs, and MRM positions are becoming mainstream.

    Look at the way the furor over the German court decision on infant circumcision in playing out. The pro-circ side is having to rely on religious special pleading, with a nasty dose of accusations thrown in, and no one is falling for it.

  • It’s hard to discuss trans feminist theory without mentioning cis privilege and/or cis normativity.

    A lot of other womyn are offended by being called cis, cisgender, and/or cissexual. I try to avoid these words when talking about specific people, and I try to avoid using them in the binary either-trans-or-cis sense. But I keep running into places where I need to refer to cis privilege and/or cis normativity and can’t find suitable alternatives. I respect that some of these people are rejecting the term because they don’t feel it describes their experiences and/or identity. But I think some of these people are rejecting the term because they don’t like us and want to silence us.

    So maybe “it’s offensive” shouldn’t always be enough. How about “it’s offensive, and I have a better alternative,” “it’s offensive, and it’s misleading too,” or “it’s offensive, and it’s wrong for more-privileged groups to be able to name less-privileged groups,”? Of course, the latter runs into another set of arguments.

  • I disagree. You can’t police language so that nobody is going to be offended. Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of problems with the concept of patriarchy and sometimes I’m offended by arguments which invoke patriarchy. Nonetheless having an open discussion, an open exchange of thoughts is much more important than my hurt feelings. So it’s besides the point if the word is offensive to some or not.

    I don’t think slurs like “nigger”, “cunt”, etc. make very good analogies. Though, Heather is setting herself up for this because she unwisely brings up “fag”. Using these slurs adds nothing useful to a discussion. Their sole purpose is almost always to offend. This is the line where we should police language. On the other hand, patriarchy is a well established term among scholars with a admittedly varying and often vague definition.

    IMO, a better analogy would be evolution. Some Christian fundamentalist experience the evolutionary theory as an attack on their faith. Mentioning evolution might as well be offensive to them, but that shouldn’t stop anyone from bringing it up in a discussion. The same applies to patriarchy. Again, I have a lot of problems with the term, but the potential offensiveness seems irrelevant to me.

  • Ginkgo: You are a far more patient man than I in the way that you talk to people like that.

    They argue, so fluently and effortlessly, in the most linguistically-greasy ways, do they not?

    I have seen the term \’PATRIARCHY\’ and its variants used in so many contradictory ways, to describe so many different things, that the term seems to be utterly meaningless, boiling-down to: \”the things in society I do not like at this particular moment.\”

    And yet whenever someone tries to talk critically about \’feminism\’, they either 1) rush to crack-open the nearest dictionary and insist that the printed definition of \’feminism\’ in there is immutable and eternally true or 2) claim that feminism isn\’t a monolithic whole and every feminist has her own definition of what it means to her, so feminism cannot be treated as if it\’s one single thing. (But praising it as a single entity is totally cool and fine, though, yabetcha.) Sometimes the same person will haul-out both tactics within minutes of each other.

    I honestly don\’t know how often these linguistic games are played cynically and how often they are simply a feature of the peculiar psychologies of the people involved.

    Part of me prefers to see it as primarily being cynical, the behavior of political creatures who care more about winning the argument of the minute than actually making any sense. I mean, when you define \’sexism\’ as 1) the worst possible crime but 2) it\’s a kind of crime that feminists themselves are forever exempt from? It seems to me that they know exactly what they are doing when they do that, and cannot possibly be acting in good faith.

  • dungone:

    I got really frustrated with that “dating tips for short guys” article, for many of the same reasons as you point out. In particular, tips 1 and 3 (condensed version: “Be grateful that you are unattractive! You will not be attracting people who only want attractive people!” and “generic bullshit platitude about confidence”, respectively) stuck out. I got a mostly similar frustration out of the “can’t get laid” article on the same site. And this was written by someone who is genuinely sympathetic to disadvantaged men, and who seems to be sincerely attempting to consider a male perspective.

    I sort of fear for an eventual upcoming “dating tips for guys with neurodivergent body language and mannerisms”.

    I really should probably stop reading NSWATM; recently I have generally just felt terrible after reading NSWATM or the rest of the GMP. I am sort of torn between thinking that I have already wasted way more than enough of my life feeling guilty and shameful and not-good-enough over my gender, and not wanting to accept that there are things that interest me but that it is probably best for my mental health that I not read. Also I suppose I have grown a bit bitter over some of the circumstances around my ban from that site.

    You mention gay-shaming and, uh, “single-shaming” (or what to call the “you probably have no girlfriend” technique), but I have never actually seen gay-shaming used by modern feminists (although “single-shaming” is rampant on sites like Manboobz).

  • By the way, Ginkgo, I have a problem with the stance that whether or not a term is offensive depends upon the listener. A slur is not in the eye of the beholder. Indeed, getting the intent of the messenger seems absolutely vital to understanding him or her.

    Remember how Larry Summers got pilloried for making insults that he did not actually make?

    To give another analogy of what I mean, let’s say there is a kid in a park playing with a labrador retreiver named Blackie. He calls-out “Blackie! C’mere boy!” Is this child yelling racial slurs at the black men who happen to be in the park? Getting the intent of the messenger seems rather vital to understanding the message, I think. Now, it is understandable if people might choose to interpret the child as making racial tauts, but the intent of the child surely counts for something in this case. It is also possible the kid is making dog-whistle-style racial appeals like a southern politician, but it’s also fully possible that the situation is just a damn kid playing with his damn dog.

    Anyway, the idea that bigotry is in the eye of the beholder is one that I find rather problematic and ripe with scope for abuse. Especially when people find it to their advantage to claim there are insults lurking when none objectively exist, as in the case of Larry Summers who was accused, and fired, for saying things which he did not say but were interpreted as being offensive by those who had wished to see him unseated due to Harvard’s departmental politics.

  • \”The word patriarchy was not created as and is not commonly used as a way to demean and/or oppress individuals or a group. Objectively speaking it is not an offensive word.\”

    Nothing is objectively offensive, so HeatherN is just being reduntant here.

  • I am so completely torn on this issue. On the one hand I am EXTREMELY SUSPICIOUS of attempts to control the language another person uses, especially the concept of \”Ableism.\”

    But this woman is so OBSCENELY gynocentric. \”Objectively Offensive\” excuse me WHAT? There is NO SUCH THING. Offense is inherently relative. Now of course, there are things which anyone who\’s not bigoted would be offended by, but to claim that some things are \”Objectively Offensive\” is to take your personal view of the world and project it onto reality.

    Furthermore, the term \”Patriarchy\” really does create shame, male-directed blame and misandry. It is gynocentric to the core, putting a spotlight on all the ways society advantages men (or at least used to) and disadvantages women while downplaying or outright ignoring the ways society advantages women and disadvantages men. It has no other real function since its supposed \”academic basis\” is completely divorced from reality.

    I don\’t know the context, but still I\’m a little concerned with the idea of labeling some words as \”off limits\”


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  • My main issue of the concept of \”patriarchy\” is the way it\’s become THE term for \”the system.\” I can sort of excuse it in a gendered context, I don\’t like it, but I can excuse it… but anywhere else? The use of the term \”Patriarchy\” sets up gender oppressions as \”THE\” oppression. As if, once we get rid of gender oppression everything else will fall by the wayside. (and not just gendered oppression, gendered oppression of women) I consider this faulty. (sorry if I\’m repeating myself here, I can\’t remember if I\’ve posted this little rant here before or not) I don\’t consider gender oppression to be the primary source of oppression.

    Money is. Economic oppression is the keystone. If you can somehow equalize that, everything else falls down. And what I can\’t believe none of these people seem to understand, \”men\” aren\’t in charge in this country \”white people\” aren\’t in charge in this country

    Rich people are. There is no such thing as a senator or a fortune 500 ceo that lives below the poverty line. Not a one.

  • “Nothing is objectively offensive, so HeatherN is just being reduntant here.’

    Ding ding ding! OO wins the thread. OO points out the core fallacy in Heather’s position.

    “It’s hard to discuss trans feminist theory without mentioning cis privilege and/or cis normativity.”

    Marja, I can’t imagine how it’s possible at all.

    “You can’t police language so that nobody is going to be offended.”
    I agree.

    Marja is going in my direction:
    “So maybe “it’s offensive” shouldn’t always be enough.”
    Along with her point that you ought to be a lot more concrete than just claim your feelings are hurt, there’s this – WHO is it offensive to? Offensive is formed off a transitive verb; hiding the patient of that verb generlaizes the effect misleadingly.

    “By the way, Ginkgo, I have a problem with the stance that whether or not a term is offensive depends upon the listener. A slur is not in the eye of the beholder. Indeed, getting the intent of the messenger seems absolutely vital to understanding him or her.”

    In general I agree – langauge is not all in the mind of either the speaker or the listener; it is really the entire langauge commubnity that decides that. But in particualr I disagree – this woman is not entitled to tell men and fathers that patriarchy is not an offensive term nor does this straight woman have the right to airily wave off “fag.” She comes off as an entitltled, spoiled, self-centered and insensitive lump of flesh.

    Erenthia, I am not interested in labeling certain words off-limits. i am interested in turning the “offensive” silencing tactic against those who use it so as to destroy it. I am also interested not so much in putting “fag” off-limits as I am in leting people know that if they use it, I am going to cut them, and they will have no excuse for being surprised.

    RF, feminists don’t gay-bash. They get slammed for it in their own spaces. It’s other women who gay-bash, and they do it all the time quite easily. I always expect it in straight women. Homophobia is a major misandrist tactic for manipulating straight men inot doing what this or that woman wants.

  • Then maybe I’m just being pedantic. As I posted in the thread you linked to (if it ever shows up) I find the *concept* of Patriarchy to be offensive, but I find the word useful in how naked it’s misandry is. And once you’ve demonstrated the misandry inherent in the word, that large body of research on Patriarchy Theory gets turned right around and becomes an albatross on their necks. Or maybe I’m just being an optimist.

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  • we don’t need *their* theory….

    funny how this whole thing came up before with Schwyzer/Marcotte at the GMP…

    they can’t handle losing control of the gender debate….

    the internet is the best thing ever….

    there are divergent, well spoken men who don’t fit in and don’t have high rank on a power structure….

    these men are far more articulate and feeling then anyone ever suspected and they are threatened. We have never suggested harming them or stopping their pursuit of the right to happiness yet they get angry when we won’t follow their guidelines. They call it misogyny…… They call it being a Nice Guy ™ ….. they call it being a bitter, little man who can’t get laid…..

    Fuck ’em, they’re bigots and control freaks…..

    and yeah, one of many flaws I see with the MRM is being a parody of feminism rather than it’s own thing…..

  • oh, yeah, what’s that whole het cis male thing about?

    where the hell does someone whose walked not a single day in my shoes get the right to tell me what **my life** experience is? They are not some omnipotent god….

    surely no one here has meet me IRL but I don’t think it would be a hard sales pitch to tell you that my life is not like Brad Pitt’s…. We are not all one big monolith but thank you bigots for being simple minded and trying to put (force) me in a conveinient box to fit your bullshit theory that some asshole professor wrote while wasting taxpayer dollars.

  • Just had a thought.

    Is there such a thing as a cis man? I mean the idea of manhood is that it’s not _congruent_ with a male body but with a series of social expectations. You can have a male body but not be a man.

  • I\’d prefer to undermine the logic behind feminism buzzwords like \”patriarchy\” rather than demand people stop saying them because they\’re offensive.

    Patriarchy, for example. Every society is supposedly a patriarchy, no exceptions, and the defining characteristics of patriarchy are male power and the subjugation of women. But there is a wide variation in how supposedly patriarchal cultures treat men and women. The patriarchal British empire was horrified by the patriarchal Indian practice of Suttee and put and end to it by hanging men. The patriarchal ancient Greeks idealised and displayed the male body in their art, the patriarchal modern west idealises and displays the female body in its art, and the patriarchal Muslim world hides the female body. In patriarchal Saudi Arabia, a woman can only engage the wider world through a male relative. The patriarchal UN, when organising disaster relief, will only distribute food aid to a man through a female relative. There seems to be a correlation between how restrictive a society is of female freedom, and how cheap it holds male life. \”Patriarchy\” is simply not sufficient to explain all these different outcomes.

    \”Objectification\” is another feminist buzzword I, er, object to, on a variety of levels. It is the accusation that sexual desire for a person is somehow a hostile, dehumanising insult to that person. It assumes that the body is not part of the self, it\’s a thing the self is unwillingly associated with. It assumes that sex is something that elevated minds are above. It\’s just another guise of Augustinian original sin, designed to control us by making us feel guilty about something that is a powerful and mostly benign part of our nature, twisted slightly to apply only to men, and therefore one of many examples of feminists using old-fashioned \”patriarchal\” attitudes and gender roles to their advantage when it suits them.

    \”Privilege\” is another one. As used by feminists and other identity-politics ideologues, it decides whether or not you have a valid point of view based on which demographic group you are perceived to belong to, and as such, is a naked justification for anti-out-group prejudice.

    We should reject all these feminist buzzwords, but we should be very clear why we reject them. Simply taking offence won\’t work.

  • Yes, I very much am in the camp of undermining feminist theory (by using the truth). This is slightly off topic, but I\\’ve been thinking about the topic of \\”Male Gaze\\” lately. As far as I can tell \\”Male Gaze\\” is actually a public announcement that, \\”You have power over me.\\\\” especially when you consider all the hoops men have had to jump through to gain access to women\\’s sexual attention in western society. Basically by engaging in so-called, \\”Male Gaze\\” you are telling the women, \\”You could ask me to do something dangerous and/or stupid and I would probably do it, just to have a shot at having sex with you\\”

    Far from making the woman powerless, the man abandons his own power and hands it to the woman on a silver platter.

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  • Is there such a thing as a cis man? I mean the idea of manhood is that it’s not _congruent_ with a male body but with a series of social expectations. You can have a male body but not be a man.

    No, not really. My body was never male, though it was explicitly gendered that way often. (Clearly not implicitly so by my sexual assaulters, though). A male body is a body that belongs to a man, not a body that would be CAMAB.

  • typhonblue:

    I am not sure I understand. I have a male body and a male brain. I identify as a man (much as I wish I did not, given my deep-seated feelings of hatred and disgust with maleness).

    I thought that meant that I was by definition a cis man?

  • “’d prefer to undermine the logic behind feminism buzzwords like \”patriarchy\” rather than demand people stop saying them because they\’re offensive.”

    The point of calling “patriarchy” offensive is as much to undermine “ofensiveness” as to undermine “patriarchy”, although it will probably work like a twofer.

    I mean the idea of manhood is that it’s not _congruent_ with a male body but with a series of social expectations. You can have a male body but not be a man.”

    Absolutely. That’s why the taunt “boy” carries such a sting. Note that “girl” is not equivalent except in racial contexts. I think that’s because there exists a real if impossibly vague distinction between adult and non-adult male in our culture, while any similar distinction for females has been erased with the damseling and the youth fetish.

    It doesn’t have anything to do with cis or gender at all, so Valerie is right too, since that’s the aspect she was responding to.

    Anti-spam filter – I think Marja may have figured it out. We need soemhow to get the known comenters here exempt from it.

  • Ah – then I think I get it.

    “Having a male body but not being a man” = adult males who are considered “not real men”?

  • This site is so much better than GMP. I tried to talk to them there and my comments mostly got deleted – no explanation or response. They clearly don’t want discussion.
    How in the world is that site supposed to help men when they don’t listen to men?

    I find the word patriarchy offensive and even oppressive. It puts you on the defensive and in the position of responsibility before the discussion even starts. It also has an almost magical effect of clearing women from any chance of being held responsible for anything that happens. With such an imbalance there’s no way you can talk openly and hope for mutual empathy.

  • Diesirae:

    I used to like NSWATM a lot, for a long time it was my main haunt in the gendersphere. I have kept reading it even after I got banned, but to be perfectly honest I think quality has taken a sharp dive after they moved to the GMP.

    I have wanted to comment on several things on the GMP, but since Noah Brand is now their editor-in-chief and he was the one who banned me from NSWATM (and the NSWATM bans from before the GMP-NSWATM merger are still in effect), I think I am banned on that site too. Although I am not sure. Perhaps I should write to them and ask. But perhaps it is better for me to just stay away – my experience from the last part of my time at NSWATM showed to me that the likes of me are not welcome there.

    I am not sure what to think of the “mission” of GMP, to produce “Good men”. I mean, who decides which men are Good? The GMP editors? Who gave them that right? Why?

  • The solution I’ve arrived at for myself is to simply ignore the people who speak in terms I find personally offensive, threatening, or which otherwise cause me to feel unwelcome or uncomfortable in a discussion. I will not argue with them, I will not make a complaint, I will not engage with them in any way: I will simply leave them shouting into empty air. I have decided to place greater value on myself, and part of that is refusing to participate in unsafe spaces and refusing to acknowledge the people who maintain them.

    I do not necessarily object to the word “patriarchy”. I sometimes use it myself because I find it an apt fit for many of the feminist positions and individuals I take issue with and it is an insult which they are unable to easily shrug off or subvert without doing irreparable damage to their own positions. I do take issue with many of the ways in which it is commonly used and I consider that it does often make me feel uncomfortable. I will not ask anyone to stop using it or for its use to be restricted by external forces, but I will respond to the message that most people are sending when they use that term. They are telling me that they do not care if I am hurt by the things they do or say, and that means that they do not care about for my attention, my participation, or my support. I am more than happy to oblige them in that and return to more rewarding pursuits, like excessively grim children’s novels written by Japanese singers and turn of the century treatises on Celtic religion.

    When I was walking home with my groceries this afternoon I took efforts to avoid stepping on passing insects or dislodging any of the spider webs overhanging the path. I would not make the same effort for the woman quoted in the OP: not out of malice, but out of an apathetic contempt.

    Marja Erwin:
    If it’s really so much of a problem for you, have you tried framing the conversation in terms of trans* disprivilege instead? Given the common usage of “privilege” in contemporary social justice discourse, it is perfectly understandable for anyone on the receiving end of that term to feel themselves under attack, regardless of the intent of the speaker. Personally, I settled on the compromise of not caring when people classify me as cis for the purposes of their discussion, as long as they don’t expect me to label myself in the same way and don’t make the kinds of vast and inaccurate generalizations about my life and experiences which were, ultimately, the final straw that caused me to turn my back on feminism.

  • As for sites like the GMP and NSWATM, I never cared for them and wouldn’t have even without their commenting policies. Ultimately, neither have ever demonstrated themselves capable of producing anything which fulfills my needs or speaks to me in any way. The men and masculinity of those writers has nothing to do with me. All that I ever got out of reading them was the same feeling of being an isolated freak I was already getting from both mainstream media and the feminist works I’m assigned at university. Occasionally they publish an article I can admire for its craftsmanship, more often they publish dreck offensive either in its content or its sheer unprofessionalism, but they have never once published a piece of writing which I relate to or which provides any insight into my situation. In the final analysis, the few gems do not provide anything of equal value to the time expended and emotional distress caused sifting through the muck to get to them.

  • My alarm bells first rang when I saw an article where they said that men’s issues can only be dealt with by feminists and that all mens rights people are impossible assholes. I thought they were dealing with men’s rights issues themselves so I got confused to say the least.
    It’s like these people live in their own little ideological swamp where they’re the predators and everyone else has to adapt to stay alive – only they think their swamp is the pacific ocean. Well, even the flat earth society has a few thousand viewers so I guess anything’s possible.

  • Hiding:

    The reason I used to like NSWATM was not that it generally resonated with me (I have yet to find any community, online or not, in which I do not feel like a completely alien outsider), but that for a while, it was a place where I could confront gender issues without being swamped either by outright misandrists (who tend to trigger me into an episode where my own misandry seizes the controls) or some of the nasty far-right characters (misogynists, white supremacists, etc.) who infest much (but not all) of the online MRM presence. I arrived there at a time where I had spent years consciously attempting to ignore everything related to gender, because of aforementioned triggers. I figured that I had to confront these things or I would never have peace of mind and get on with my life (most of which has been wasted hating myself due to my gender, including a long period spent in self-imposed \\”solitary confinement\\” because I considered my mere physical presence part of creating a threatening environment for women; since I have often been called creepy by women even when I have just been minding my own business, and \\”creepy\\” means \\”boundary violations\\”, it seems my mere presence is a boundary violation).

    (I have since concluded that peace of mind and a life not dominated self-hatred is not an option for the likes of me.)

    GMP never spoke to me in any way. Apart from my problem with the concept itself (as mentioned above), it has always seemed to me to be a site targeted at \\”Real Men\\” and women; not whatever creature I can be considered (given that I am not generally considered a real man).

  • RocketFrog,

    TGMP seems patronizing and condescending–telling us how to be men, I’m past that….. They even had a white nationalist-Jack Donovan talking about masculinity. Nope, not buying whatever their selling. (And they are SELLING something.)

    You mentioned you liked death metal at one point. I’m more of a thrash guy. I was picked on and bullied but when I started drawing the Slayer logo on my notebooks people straight up started fearing me and I enjoyed it. I would tell people things I heard in Cannibal Corpse songs that were vile but it was great getting a shock reaction. I don’t know why but metal and violent video games made me feel powerful and I liked it….

  • Well-intentioned feminism has been trying to co-opt and drive discussions of men’s issues for quite some time now, and the efforts have only ramped up with the emergence of a separate men’s rights movement.

    Ozyfranks, for example, whose blog is now hosted at the Good Men Project, has made several stabs at arguing that feminism is the rightful owner of men’s issues, and that anyone who tries to discuss men’s experiences outside the feminist framework is simply being foolish and counterproductive.

    Why bother looking at men’s issues from any other perspective when we already know the ‘right’ one–the one that throws around terms like “male privilege,” “patriarchy,” and “rape culture” as proven facts that are essential to having any sort of meaningful conversation? What man could possibly have an objection to such a fair-minded starting point? Only one who’s feeling his privilege threatened, of course….

  • “Not only is this a double standard – no feminist I can think of would tolerate this dismissal of a woman’s objection to this kind of thing from a man…”
    Feminists have recognised that language can be used as a weapon (by using slurs, redefining words and normalising a certain group of people or status) and they object to the usage of language as a weapon against women, but they don’t object to using language as a weapon for “the good”. This is the problem, they believe they are good and have the wisdom to use weapons like slurs wisely and justly.
    On a more general note, when feminists engage men’s issues, they are not asking: “How can I help you?”; they are saying: “Those are your problem and this is how we should tackle them.”.
    Even when feminists try to listen to men, like on the Good Men Project, it seems as what they hear doesn’t impact what they think. What good does their listening then?

  • how dare *you* as a living, breathing human being not fit into *their* unshakable view of the universe….

    So you were tortured, abused, belittled, driven to wanting to kill yourself–none of this matters because **you are privileged**

    How dare you say something contradictory to what Hugo Schwyzer presents in his class even if you have statistics to back it up. Don\’chya know that challenging dogma isn\’t any good. People\’s careers are on the line. How dare you question what comes down from the ivory tower, you weak, pathetic little man. All that complaining is proof of your privilege for don\’chya know a REAL MAN ™ would just get over it and get back to work. Now, shut up, we need more soldiers to feed the machine. Your crying is making the girls very uncomfortable. They were told that they were the ones who owned tears, emotion, humaness and vunerability. You are making them sad and angry. Stop it. Get back to work. But don\’t complain that you should own your work. Society needs your blood and toil. You can\’t squeeze every last drop from a workhorse when you see it\’s *humanity* –for that might just make you a heartless sociopath to do such a thing and you wouldn\’t want to be that, now would you?


    yeah sorry-as in NOT that I don\’t fit into the feminist critique, maybe they are the one\’s who are wrong for pretending they owned truth and justice ™ but we\’ve found soooooooo many flaws in *their* theory……

  • reality should trumph theory every time

    That is also my attitude.

    My impression of some of the people at GMP is that they have issues with reality and rather than identifying them and solving them, they have chosen to create their own ideal world in their little circle of friends and it’s free of those issues. Then they just declare anything that contradicts it as evil or ignorant.

    I have no problem with escapism. I do it all the time but the difference is, I know when I’m dreaming. We can only improve the world when we’ve first accepted the full extent of how messed up it is.

    One of the most offensive examples of this is one article with dating tips for short men. The ignorance and moralizing bigotry is astounding. It’s as if a Westerner wrote an article for Somalian children containing tips on how to find food:
    1) Congrats, you can filter out unhealthy food.
    2) Don’t necessarily assume that you’ll never have good food.
    3) Be confident in yourself– you’re nourished regardless of what you eat.
    4) Don’t hoard your food.
    5) Don’t… go to places where there’s no food.

    I would post my thoughts on the site but I think that author deletes EVERYTHING that might shake their little fantasy world.

  • Note to webmaster: The anti-spam code system makes me redo each comment several times before it works (this one: 4 times so far)

  • Re: Patriarchy. This term has a similar rationale and usage as the concept of Original Sin and is offensive to men for the same exact reason that Original Sin is offensive to atheists and other non-Christians. As an atheist, I’m pretty offended when a Christian tells me that I’m going to burn in hell because I don’t view the same way as they do. On it’s own, the concept of Original Sin seems like just some random stupid belief that doesn’t bother me at all. But in practice, it’s used to dehumanize anyone who disagrees with them and they don’t consider to have been “saved” by their belief system. So it becomes a linguistic device used for in-grouping and out-grouping. And that fits into a larger pattern of other hypocritical terms that are, on the whole, thought to be offensive when applied to members of an out group.

    Yes, you could argue against the Patriarchy on the grounds that it makes no sense – but it makes no sense in a way that is quintessentially offensive. Recognizing this is important. The way feminists use the Patriarchy comes down to a tribalistic, “man bad, woman good” linguistic device to prop up all of their other theories and accusations. It is the very basis for feminists saying things like, “check your privilege” whenever you point out the glaring holes in their arguments and the reason why they even came up with the phrase, “benevolent sexism.” So for example, when a German mayor designates all of the best parking spots as female-only and the worst parking spots as male-only, feminists get up in arms about how sexist against women this is. Who would have thunk? So the women are pissed off that the men get a “parking challenge” to prove that they’re “real men” while they get all of the best parking spots. I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t have heard a peep out of them if the mayor announced that their better parking spots are just as challenging.

    The bottom line is, Patriarchy is the foundational premise of feminism and it is at the very heart of the reasoning they employ to claim everything as a disadvantage to women, even if it’s really an advantage. When a feminist reminds a man that he’s part of the Patriarchy, it’s the equivalent of her telling him that he’s a sinner by virtue of being male and if he disagrees with her, he’ll burn in hell.

  • Oh, and if you still can’t see the rank hypocrisy about the feigned parking space outrage, consider this: when men have to pay more for car insurance because they’re men (a form of discrimination that is technically unconstitutional), feminists brush it off and even celebrate it, rubbing it in that women are safer drivers (as fishy as that statistic is due to men being the default drivers whenever a group of men and women go out to get drunk). Yet here, the mayor pointed out that twice as many women fail the parking portion of their driving exams according to DMV statistics. But oh no – giving them the best parking spots instead of making them pay more for insurance – that’s sexism.

  • dungone: Of course it’s sexism. Women should be able to park wherever they please. Including the sidewalk. And parking meters should be free for them, because of the wage gap.

    If I become mayor of a city? I’m going to issue every woman her own pink assault rifle and make it legal for women to blow-out the brains of random passing pedestrians.

    But then, I would get roundly criticized for this. The rifles would be PINK. And that’s sexist.

  • Dungone:

    Original Sin is offensive to atheists and other non-Christians. As an atheist, I’m pretty offended when a Christian tells me that I’m going to burn in hell because I don’t view the same way as they do.

    I\’m also an atheist, and while I believe that original sin and the idea that all non-believers will burn in hell for all eternity are bullshit (and would be wildly unjust if true). But it\’s never occurred to me to take offence when I meet someone who believes it, because it only really affects them.

    The point is, though, is that offence isn\’t really in the eye of the beholder, it\’s in the eye of the community. When cartoonist Kate Beaton took offence at a male fan saying he wanted to have her babies, or when her at the atheist convention took offence at being chatted up in a lift, half the internet took offence with them. When soccer commentators Andy Gray and Richard Keys made a sexist crack about the first female assistant referee at a professional match, saying she couldn\’t possibly do her job because women don\’t understand the offside rule, they got sacked. When MRAs took offence at the hosts of The Talk laughing hysterically at a man who was irreparably sexually mutilated by his wife, a few people said \”yeah, that\’s terrible\” but nobody really gave a shit. Before taking offence has any effect whatsoever, society will have to start giving a shit about how we feel.

    Until then, we have to argue. Which is good. I hope we do get to the point where society will be offended by prejudice against men, but on the other hand I hope we never get to the point where we can take spurious offence at trivia as a manipulative debating tactic.

  • Thomas:

    Evolution is a terrible analogy. To compare the theory of evolution with patriarchy theory is to confound scientific and colloquial usage in the same way that the more media-savvy of extremists you mention have been won’t to do. “Patriarchy” as a term will only be worthy of the same protection in discourse, regardless of offense on the part of any group of listeners, when it has been tested, observed and agreed upon to the same extent. This cannot be done because no two proponents of patriarchy theory are capable of agreeing upon what, precisely, the theory is, let alone how it should be tested. The concept, as currently employed in discourse, is an intellectual chimera resting on no sound foundation of research or argumentation. Some thinkers may achieve meaningful results through the use of their personal “patriarchy” models, but it is absurd to put it on an even footing with concrete, observable phenomena.


    Having read zir work, I have to say that it is at least an order of magnitude superior to the usual platitudes. Zie does a decent job when it comes to criticizing the work of others, both feminist and non-, but falls apart when it come to the position you name. Zie redefines feminist terminology like “rape culture” to be inclusive of men’s issues, but is fatally unable to acknowledge that these re-definitions are solely zir own and do not represent the common or accepted use of these terms. Zie is unwilling to accept any criticism of feminism as such, instead opting to term gynocentric or otherwise problematic groups as not-real-feminists and referring to the egalitarian approach as “the only valid form of feminism”. Unfortunately, zie lacks any ability to enforce these beliefs, and zir expectation that others will accept them as the norm is thus utterly juvenile. It is telling that zie does not understand the inherent problems of usinf such monolithic language to describe zir movement. Zir feminism is better able to incorporate men’s voices than the garden variety, but it still reads to me as the words of someone speaking from another planet, especially when it comes to relationships (everyone on the internet who writes about relationships, regardless of ideological affiliation, appear to be part of some gigantic “scene”, within which they are able to form these connections easily, and to assume that everyone else is also part of this reality). Ultimately, I find zir to be well-meaning and sometimes insightful, but ultimately impotent, and I find zir descriptions of social and romantic encounters cause me to consistently come away from zir articles feeling more depressed than when I went in.

    As for zir arguments that anyone who wishes to discuss men’s issues should be feminist, they do not exist. By this I mean that they are not, in any sense, arguments. Zie merely states zir belief at great length, relying on a host of baseless assumptions, which zie clearly holds and assumes zir readers do as well, to do her persuasion for zir. Zie often appears to be willfully blind to prejudices when she doesn’t want to see them: Zie is willing to call out Jezebel, but frequently links absurdities from Finallyafeminism101 (a veritable mountain of monolithic language in that one) and The F-Word (same problem, plus hosts of grandiose claims without sources or specific examples) and is apparently blind to the fact that pieces nearly identical to those zie lambasts are frequently published on the same site that hosts zir own work.

  • One problem with the term \\”patriarchy\\” is that feminists claim it is a scientific term, but use it like slogan for advocacy.
    They give no real definition of \\”patriarchy\\”, as all they give are arguments to support the claim: \\”Our society i patriarchal\\”, but give no way how one could (hypothetically) prove that a certain society is not patriarchal.

  • Jupp, that vagueness f terms is probably the main problem in engaging with feminism, and it appears to be so precious – perhaps useful? – that in 40 yeras they have done nothing to remdy this vagueness. It really looks at this point like they are clinging to a passive-agressive aspect of toxic femininity, the “mysterious woman.” How patriarchal is that?

  • The point is, though, is that offence isn\’t really in the eye of the beholder, it\’s in the eye of the community.

    @Patrick, that’s certainly a novel standard for offense, and an incredibly problematic one at that. There aren’t, in fact, minority communities of people who find certain acts offensive which the majority community doesn’t think twice about.

    But it’s never occurred to me to take offence when I meet someone who believes it, because it only really affects them.

    Perhaps you don’t recognize when you are affected by it? It’s a possibility. In the abstract, Original Sin is a silly belief, but when applied directly to specific people, it works as an ad hominem. Aren’t ad hominems, in general, a prime candidate for things that can be considered offensive? That’s what I would consider a decent standard for offensiveness – the mechanism is similar to other terms which are offensive. Normally, when someone holds on to an unsubstantiated idea that is condescending towards a group I belong to and they’re unwilling to let it go when challenged to prove it, then I consider it grounds for taking offense. Other similarly biased and unsubstantiated concepts as the Patriarchy abound, such as Social Darwinism, or Calvinism, or the Mormon belief that dark-skinned people became that way after losing a battle against Jesus.

    At any rate, anyone can be offended about anything. We tend to be offended by concepts and ideas which vie against our own views of the world. A feminist will get offended simply by the fact that you don’t agree with her idea of the Patriarchy. So the important part is to weed out which offense is a valid one and which one isn’t. To that I would say that a good standard for valid offense is when someone holds an fallacious belief that, were you to accept their view of the world, it would force you to think of yourself as a bad or lesser person even though you had done nothing wrong. If that’s the case, then I think you have the right to claim being offended and it becomes a valid reason to ask the other person to give up that fallacious belief.

  • @dungone

    I think what I find most amusing about the \\”being short weeds out shallow women who will judge you for your height\\” advice is that… it doesn\\’t. So many Women have \\”as tall or taller than me\\” as a requirement, that statistically, a short but not super short guy will *still* end often up dating a Woman shorter than them, who may have just as much height-judging attitudes as a taller woman. Though honestly, I don\\’t think individual height preferences are a problem – its the systematic \\”well *of course* taller is better, its only natural\\” casual acceptance of heightism as not-stereotyping-or-discriminatory that\\’s a problem. The idea that requiring a taller guy isn\\’t the same as, say, refusing to ever date a brunette, or a minority. In all cases, its just a personal preference – but only with height would it not be considered a relatively arbitrary preference, but rather something \\”natural\\”.

    And for bonus points, try to come up with any term similar to \\”Napolean Complex\\” that isn\\’t considered a vile slur – a term used *exclusively* to associate members with given physical characteristics with negative behavioral traits, implying that the physical characteristics are responsible for those negative traits. Most behavior-related insults have their usage mostly isolated to behavior, rather than severely restricted by genetic physical characteristics. But its okay, since the term only applies to men…

  • The term ‘patriarchy’ is a convenient starting-point for the key assumptions that seem to underlie much of radical feminism, viz

    1. Womens’ problems are all men’s fault, and
    2. Men’s problems are all men’s fault.

    And yes, I’ve had to retype these anti-spam characters several times now, each time adding slashes to my post everywhere I had apostrophes. Very annoying.

  • […] No sólo esto es un estándar doble – ninguna feminista que puedo recordar toleraría este desdén ante la objeción de una mujer de este tipo por parte de un hombre, pero esto es también ingenuo lingüísticamente – lingüistas y lexicógrafos han desarrollado tests bastante sofisticados a través de los siglos para determinar la semántica y el impacto psicológico de objeticos léxicos. Es lingüísticamente ingenuo, pero en una dirección muy reveladora. HeatherN sigue insistiendo que su opinión sobre si es ofensiva la palabra “patriarcado” es tan válida como la de un hombre, quien probablemente también es un padre. Y ella simplemente no puede ver el error en esto. Aquí vemos claramente el problema central con los esfuerzos actuales de parte de las feministas para enfrentar los problemas de los hombres – un No Seriamente Que Pasa Con Los Hombres y El Proyecto De Los Hombres Buenos y otros lugares – el ginocentrismo inexaminado e instintivo que deforma la mayoría de las discusiones de género y el cual también informa la mayoría de las expresiones de empatía y de justicia social en general. Esto no es un problema único para las feministas; esto es algo sistémico en la cultura. […]

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