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Is there anything I can do?

(20 Posts)
myfirstandonlylove Wed 28-Oct-15 15:51:37

Hello
I am male and sometimes read the threads on here.Some of the stuff makes me very sad when I hear what people have gone through. So I would like to ask with sincerity if there is anything I could do or not do to help feminism on a small level. If the answer is get off this forum then fine I will do so. I would like to say I do hope all those who have suffered find peace and that one day men and women will all be able to live in harmony equality and respecting each other.

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Wed 28-Oct-15 16:03:45

Hello!

This isn't a women-only forum so you don't have to go away.
The most important thing is to listen to women and not constantly chip in with 'Just to add a man's viewpoint....' - we hear men's viewpoints all the time!

You could make donations to charities that help women. Women's Aid is very good. Or the Fawcett Society. Or Southall Black Sisters.

And educating yourself by reading feminist literature is always worth doing. The Equality Illusion by Kat Banyard is a good place to start.

myfirstandonlylove Wed 28-Oct-15 16:20:02

Countess
Many thanks for that. Listening is a skill which comes naturally to few men. I wish it did and I will try. I was looking at women's aid and hope to donate when my finances allow. I will start with the reading though. Susan Faludi has already been recommended to me and Jessica Valenti has written some thought provoking things. Thank you.

MrNoseybonk Wed 28-Oct-15 16:20:32

Just reading this forum I find hugely educational. try and carry what you've learnt through to actual every day life.
Use your brain though, not all women or feminists agree with each other, even on this forum so don't always take one opinion as scripture.

BuffytheScaryFeministBOO Wed 28-Oct-15 16:21:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BuffytheScaryFeministBOO Wed 28-Oct-15 16:23:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

myfirstandonlylove Wed 28-Oct-15 16:38:18

Thanks to you both this has really made me think. I don't have friends who make nasty jokes but I take the point on vigilance. I am also thinking very hard about the way women are referred to in terms of attractiveness and how tiresome this must be. It is quite a hard road deconditioning yourself but really we are only here for a few years on earth and I want to make some kind of positive difference if I can.And yes these threads even if sad are very very educational they really are.

squidzin Wed 28-Oct-15 17:30:36

There is a huge misunderstanding between feminism and men.

Feminists call out male privilege. Man says "I am not privileged, I grew up poor" etc.

Feminist says "patriarchy opresses me" man says "I don't opress any women"

Feminists say "women on the whole do far more unpaid labour" man says "I always wash up and help with childcare"

It's hard. A lot of the problems that feminists try to negate, are invisible. They are so deeply embedded into society's construct that even women themselves can't see a lot of it.

A lot of men feel personally accused by feminism but they shouldn't.
It's a critique of society not men in particular. So as a man, don't take it personally when things like male violence are discussed.

Please don't switch off by saying "Well I've never been violent".

myfirstandonlylove Wed 28-Oct-15 17:46:23

Squid I think what you said rings true.I on the past have been guilty of responding defensively. In a sense we are all victims of male violence although in no way comparable to the experience of the primary sufferer. If there were no mv men (and women) would not be so sick with worry when a female relative is late home for example. I am asking myself some hard questions about my own thought processes and hope in some way to become a better human being through it. It is really terrible that so many women experience harassment for example, I would really hope that this would have been eradicated by now. Please God, one day.

zas1 Wed 28-Oct-15 19:14:47

Well if enough people start thinking about harassment as unacceptable then maybe it will be eradicated. And yes those books sound a good place to start

FreshwaterSelkie Thu 29-Oct-15 07:33:47

Good luck my first

I read on here a while back something like five stages of enlightenment that men could go through to understand and get on board with feminism. It might be useful to my first here, and I'd also like to see it again, as I thought it was really good. I remember the middle one being "I myself am not sexist, but I realise that I have benefitted in life from simply being born male" or something like that. So category one was unreconstructed sexist- no interest- don't know what all the fuss is about, and category five was acceptance that just staying still in the system and watching wasn't enough, but that men have to actively participate to fight against sexism/misogyny/the patriarchy. Can anyone remember that and maybe provide a link?

cailindana Thu 29-Oct-15 15:41:59

I don't see how any man could grow up on planet earth and not be sexist. It's just impossible. I think to truly get on board with feminism you have to recognise the sexism in your own thinking and root it out. That can be hard and you might feel ashamed of past behaviour but that's all part of it. If you're not willing to do that then I think it's all a bit pointless.

BTW I think women also need to confront the sexism in their own thinking, but by contrast I think that process can be quite freeing for women, whereas it can be quite shame-inducing for men.

BlackbirdsInaPie Thu 29-Oct-15 16:26:27

I think the other thing you could do is to take responsibility for educating yourself. Feminism101 (a blog) or I Blame the Patriarchy (another blog) are really easy straightforward places to start. Twisty, who writes I Blame the Patriarchy is also really funny.

I don't have the links to hand, but I guess you know how to google, don't you? You just put your lips wrong film

bridie69 Thu 29-Oct-15 19:02:21

I think you could think very carefully about each and every thought and appraising cognition you have about women. Perhaps also simply sit down and have a conversation with the women in your life about their own experiences. Just listen and listen. That I think is the key. Good luck my first. Love the username btw!

TheBeanpole Wed 04-Nov-15 08:22:22

There was a good piece by Sarah Ditum in the Statesman on this recently (sorry for messy link, on phone):

www.newstatesman.com/politics/feminism/2015/10/problem-men-participating-feminism-there-no-risk-plenty-glory

IrenetheQuaint Wed 04-Nov-15 08:29:25

Do you work? If so, look at the attitudes around you and identify any unconscious (or conscious!) bias. Then work to root it out in yourself and others, and ensure that recruitment, promotion and other HR processes are all genuinely fair and equal.

Encouraging women and giving them opportunities (in a non-sleazy way, obvs) also good.

NeverEverAnythingEver Wed 04-Nov-15 08:32:16

"Listening is a skill which comes naturally to few men."

This is an example of embedded sexism. It doesn't come naturally to women either. Please. I would say every time you say something is "natural" think about it...

BuffytheScaryFeministBOO Wed 04-Nov-15 08:50:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MyNameIsInigoMontoya Wed 04-Nov-15 10:45:44

Agree with Never and Buffy! (And the next person who says "Men don't see mess" will be slapped with a wet fish...)

iisme Wed 04-Nov-15 12:01:33

I agree with cailin that you are sexist, and I am sexist, and we're all sexist to some extent, and learning to accept that is really important. Just because you're not overtly sexist doesn't mean the opinions you form are not subtly swayed by sexism. Try taking the Implicit test implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html to see your unconscious bias against women (and against non-white people and other marginalised groups - it's a painful process for someone who thinks of themselves as liberal!)

It's not our fault that we are unconsciously biased against women - it is just a product of being raised in our society - but being aware of it and its implications, and countering it wherever possible, is really important.

I don't agree with cailin that it's not shameful for women - at any rate, I have found it shameful for me. I am amazed how many views I hold and things I say that are actually quite sexist (not even in an unconscious way) even though I have been a strident feminist for years, and I do find it very shaming. My eight-year-old DD is great at picking me up on this.

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