Male Honkey With Opinions & Totally White Broad With Other Opinions (MHWO & TWBWOO) Have a Conversation!

Recently I wrote an unintentionally inflammatory and probably not-too-well-thought-out-but-still-applicable-and-well-meaning blog post (found here) that fellow local writer and care-r-about-things, Eliza Campbell, wanted to chat with me about.
[transcribed from gchat windows]

Eliza: HEY why don't you believe in the PATRIACHY???
I spell it without the r
because it looks like "achy"
achy breaky patriarchy

Alex: Because Billy Ray Cyrus told me I shouldn't
I think it's silly for anyone, at least in the CURRENT WORLD full of FREEDOM OF SPEECH and FREE THOUGHT to believe that they have to believe anything anybody else says/dictates/tries to foist on others
It's just like a general principal (misspelled for more fun) of self-worth etc etc

Eliza: yeah but
rape ya know?
happens

Alex: Yeahhhh, rape. I understand the rape thing, but that falls more under like, general violence, you know?

Eliza: nope

Alex: Like, life is full of shit.
Rape included.

Eliza: yeahh but
men don't get raped
(a lot)

Alex: True, but do you think that's only because of the Patriarchy?
Or is it a symptom of any other number of problems?

Eliza: yes
excellent serve
volley
but on the other hand:
it's stupid to call it "patriarchy" because it's a lot of things
but most of them are related to male oppression
e.g. gential mutilation
child brides
etc.

Alex: In the United States? like, abroad (no pun intended), I can see how the problem of Male
Oppression is like rampant and NOW NOW NOW
But when I read about women complaining about what IMAGE AND FASHION dictate
when they reside in D.C. or Naw Yawk, well then I just think that's silly

Eliza: yeah that's true
except
eating disorders?
huh?
those are real

Alex: Eating disorders, drug addictions, self-mutilation are equally applicable to males as well
as females.

Eliza: true except that
men don't have eating disorders
(a lot)

Alex: I'm sure that this sort of insecurity and self-obsession has been a human trait for like, oh
all time.
And just because males don't have as high of a rate of REPORTED eating disorders, doesn't mean that they don't have them/aren't affected by them/etc.
Just because it isn't reported, doesn't mean it doesn't happen.

Eliza: true

Alex: My thing is that, I think it's silly to call fie against the GREAT MALE OPPRESSOR, at
least here in America, because the issue is about empowering yourself

Eliza: where did all of these feelings burst from?
out of curios?

Alex: Well, I think these feelings have been 4ever. But as of late, I just sit at work and read blogs
and blogs and blogs.

Eliza: oh boy
bad idea

Alex: Not so much. At least it stimulates my mind.
(in some way)

Eliza: what one set you off?
paris hiltons twitter?

Alex: I follow this girl [REDACTED] who spouts all of these really general, self-pleasing
opinions that make her sound somehow different but, ultimately, just makes her sound st00pid.
And then people agree with her
and are st00pid

Eliza: lemme see

Alex: or disagree with her
and are even st00pider

Eliza: linkit

Alex: [REDACTED].tumblr.com

Eliza: tumblrrrrr
never helped anyone

Alex: I mean, I'm just as st00pid for taking it all in seriousness

Eliza: well we're all st()()pid for not being informed enough
I sure is
most blogs are
except paris hilton's twitter
WAIT LISTEN

Alex: WHAT

Eliza: there's this law in Utah
where
if a woman pays someone to forcibly beat her to induce a miscarriage
she can be charged with homicide
that's messed up is all
the end

Alex: Which part is messed up? The fact that abortion is illegal at all? or the fact that someone, anyone, would PAY SOMEBODY TO FORCIBLY BEAT A BABY OUT OF THEM?

Eliza: YES

Alex: It's just a big old bundle of wtf?
That I want beat out of me

Eliza: and you're like, why would someone pay ($150) to have someone beat them up?
well
that's why I'm a women's studies minor
maybe

Alex: That's true. But I mean, what does that boil down to?
It's a reaction to something
But what?
Abortion laws? Getting pregnant?
Not thinking?
Like, what?

Eliza: exactly
it's confusing

Alex: It is.

Eliza: all the above prolly
but the point is, it doesn't happen to dudes

Alex: That's true.

Eliza: (a lot)

Alex: Is that applicable though?
Like, yeah. Guys cannot have children.
They don't have the choice to have a child beaten from their body.

Eliza: guys cannot be forcibly impregnated?

Alex: Ah, the rape question.

Eliza: it's a thing

Alex: I don't doubt that whatsoever.
So, what's the response?
Fight back?
Know how to defend yourself?

Eliza: that's why I do yoga
that's why I practice arm wrestling
and . . . own a gun

Alex: Plz tell me that's real
Isn't the most proactive thing you can do realizing the fact that rape can happen? And coming to terms with the fact that you have to defend yourself?

Eliza: yeah

Alex: Wouldn't women benefit simply by knowing that these things can happen?

Eliza: but isn't it stupid that it does happen?
and why does it happen?

Alex: Well that's like standing in the rain and complaining that the sky exists at all

Eliza: well god didn't make rape
probably

Alex: No but he made humans
With agencies
And humans are violent
Self-serving

Eliza: true

Alex: and ultimately about power

Eliza: but I think looking for solutions is probably a good idea
the difference between issuing all women a handgun or education, etc

Alex: Well, isn't there a deeper problem at hand?

Eliza: yes
overly restrictive gun lawS!!!

Alex: I mean, the whole idea of dominating another person is present in any relationship we
have with any human being, regardless or race or gender, ever.

Eliza: yeah but

Alex: Isn't rape about powerful domination?

Eliza: women have been dominated over kind of a lot more
suffragette city man

Alex: David Bowie was probably the most influential female punk artist ever
I'm just saying violence is unavoidable. I hate to say it, but rape is unavoidable. The way to stop ignorance and violence is education and openmindedness. Realizing your place in the world, that you can and will inevitably effect others in a positive or negative way. And even when people DO know those things, they still have the option and choice to harm others.
So, what solution is there to a fundamental part of human nature?
The will and want to dominate?
I want my daughter/wife/mother/any girl that I know to be able to disembowel a potential rapist.
I don't know how that connects here
Just a statement

Eliza: good statement

Alex: I guess an affirmation that I'm not like, "Can't stop it so don't worry about it lol!"
And as for women getting paid less, well I think that's just stupid. I wish you would get paid more. I don't understand why you don't. You know? That's dumb. If there were a bill about you getting paid equally, I'd approve it.

Eliza: would you facebook like it?


Lo! The discussion does not end there. I felt as though I'd represented myself and my original position poorly and was a little sore. I have a feeling she was a little sore as well because we didn't necessarily "come to terms" with one another.

Alex to Eliza:

Maybe rap musics is why I'm such a Self-Righteous HeMan Woman Hater's Club Official Member Male Oppressor Public Enemy Number 1. But, I guess, I'm alright with that.

Eliza to Alex:

… You ain't Oppressor sorry if I implied it. I'm just a militant gun-toting (?) Feminazi is all. I'm sending you a recording of someone from India singing my brother a birthday rap that I bought him yesterday. YEAH

TajTunes by Bare Bones Magazine



Alex to Eliza:

I've thought it over and wanted to let you know that it's not that I don't believe in the ol' Achy. I know it's there. I know white dudes run the world, or at least the part of it that we live in. But what I guess I mean is that I don't think it's valid to act like a victim just because the Patriarchy says you should. In light of my blog post (I hate myself for even typing those words out), I guess I should specify that "I will never date a girl who willingly accepts the idea that The Patriarchy has made society or her gender do anything" because I think that's the mentality of a victim. Which, even if women are victims in a lot of scenarios, what can be gained by acting like a victim? Or, even worse, victimizing yourself? If the Patriarchy (read: men) is to blame for women getting raped, oppressive laws placed on the bodies of women, the salary gap, distasteful jokes, a self-image problem, and general bad juju for all of women-kind, then women who choose to lie back and bemoan the situation of the world today and the lot of women in the past and how awful this damn patriarchy is instead of trying to change the world and communities that they live in are just as oppressive as the Patriarchy itself.

As James Allen would put it:

It has been usual for men to think and to say, "Many men are slaves because one is an oppressor; let us hate the oppressor." Now, however, there is among an increasing few a tendency to reverse this judgment, and to say, "One man is an oppressor because many are slaves; let us despise the slaves." The truth is that oppressor and slave are cooperators in ignorance...

Yuck, all this seriousness has made me look like a bigot probably or something. The truth is I love all thangs and want all the laws for Love and Truth and Happiness to be passed and for us all to Break The Bread of Humanity together and whatnot. If your thing is radical Feminism, well I appreciate that because it's not really radical so much as "informed" and "proactive", which is what responsible members of society should be. And if my thing is not liking people who consider themselves victims because, in my opinion, that gets us nowhere, well then respect me too dammit or I'll call all of my big burly white male friends to hall you off to gaol for thinking too much!

Eliza to Alex:

Serious response:

Typing some overly colloquial rambling into a Tumblr is, I agree, probably not the most "proactive" way to approach "issues". We might even call it "hypocritical" or "st00pid". And obvs, I am a Rich White American Girl with my own house, own car, two jobs, bad broad, etc. and generally might sound a little st00pid were I to complain about how I'm being actively oppressed as a grill. I'm pretty damn privileged. The fact that I'm able to read, write, have access to the Internet, and type is proof of that. But that doesn't change the fact that the political, economic, and social status of women overall is inferior to that of their male counterparts in the world, has been for a long time, and probably will for a long time in the future, and it's not fair. I'm a little sensitive to it because of having worked with these dudes: http://www.womanstats.org/ and also having personally known women who have been raped, abused, underpaid, anorexic, sexually harassed, and/or decided to dress up as Sarah Palin for Halloween. I like Nicki Minaj as much as the next fellow, but I might be careful about the difference between 'acting like a victim' and 'being a 13-year-old sex slave in Bangladesh' or whatever. Or a poor single mother in Orem, Utah. Or a certain lady who works at a certain gas station I know whose husband cheats on her and has left her multiple times with their five kids.

U r right. Lying back is bad. I'm trying not to lie back as much. Thanks for reminding me about that. Just sayin, the Achy is real. It isn't as simple as "The Patriarchy is making me oppressed", and saying it that way is more hurtful than productive. Which is why I'm trying to be productive. By getting a C in econ!!!

This is so deep:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNal0O7yzvI


And of course, no long-winded conversation concerning Rights and Issues would be wrapped up without a baring of emotions and tearful rejoinder.


Eliza: u r responsed

Alex
: Corollary: just trying to understand my role as a white dude who doesn't want the power he is told he has. My moms is a single mom, so I'm like, "women oppressed? doesn't compute"

Eliza: well I come from a place where it was a contest for who could be the most liberal
so I'm like "different ideas? doesn't compute"

Alex: I feel like I should conclude every interaction with you with something like, "Hope you don't think I'm trying to oppress you!"

Eliza: shorten it to "no oppress-o!"


Summarily:

I guess looking over the whole thing and who I am as a Cracker Bro With Responsibilities and Opinions (CBWRAO), I'm realizing that I'm young. This is the first time I've really actually encountered these issues in a real-life setting. I'm trying to work the whole thing out, and think open dialoguing and conversating is an important part about that. It opens up areas that you never even realized existed.

I've got to realize that people will complain about Patriarchy and not do anything. They'll use it as a way to talk about how petty and insecure other people are for relying on it as a way to vindicate themselves. But, then again, people will also talk about these issues in a way that inspires change. People will continue not to sit back on their haunches about the whole thing, even if they don't understand where they're going or how to go about changing things. As a Bro With Feelings (BIF), I have to realize that Male Oppression and Patriarchy are real. Male Oppression happens, and not just in third-world countries. I have to continually acknowledge that it's detrimental to both sexes to treat it with a gloss whenever it's mentioned and not just think people are st00pid when they don't know how to feel about it. Especially myself.

I stand by, forever, my decision to Facebook "like" any potential laws that would somehow contribute to the equalization of women and men in society as a whole. I still also stand by my statement that I will not date a woman who lets herself believe that she's trapped and cornered by something so large and nebulous as THE PATRIARCHY. And who believes that other people can make her do anything. And finally, I stand by the idea that before one makes any "informed" decisions about women and the (massive) thorns-in-their-sides, one should talk to a Totally Informed White Broad (TIWB) about it all. Chances are your horizons are going to get broadened (NO PUN INTENDED).

No oppress-o!

Relevant links:
http://www.womanstats.org/
http://theladytimes.blogspot.com/
http://tigerbeatdown.com/
The Fabled U.S. Census!
---see also: Income, Expenditures, Poverty, Wealth & Education for some really fun examination of what is currently happening in our country concerning White Male Oppression.


Eliza Campbell is a local writer, blogger, and country guitar singer. She can usually be found here.

Alex Christman is connected to this magazine in some sort of peripheral way. You can find more of him here and
here.

And, as always, feel free to join in the conversation or to email us! We'd love to rejoinder. Thanks for reading!

24 comments:

Daxson said...

Great read, hilarious yet deep. I think many of the things said in this conversation can apply to the question of race in the United States, and by saying that I am probably exposing myself to potential hate mail from someone with an opposing view. I realize that there are still some krazy krazy klannerz out there, and especially in the South there is a real race problem (just as there really are male supremacists who will try and oppress/beat/rape women), but the race issue is a bit ridiculous, as a huge amount of black people (also Mexicans, Asians, or anyone with a funny accent) FEEL they are held in a position of poverty, lack of education, incarceration, etc., that they are oppressed because of the Evil White Man, and thus hold themselves back from their full potential. I use Oprah as my example. She's pretty stinking rich and she came from pretty much nowhere. You could say that she got lucky, and of course she did, but it was because she put herself in a position to be lucky. You don't make the diving catch if you don't run. Anyway I know this isn't the point of the piece above but I feel it has many parallels. Moral of the story: do your best. Society is nothing. It doesn't exist. There is just you and some hurdles. There are just as many nasty white trash nobodies as poor black people. At this very moment I'm trying to avoid being a white trash nobody but I think my butt is stuck to the couch. That's my obstacle. But it's not an excuse.

In conclusion, .

redneckzilla said...

I think all manner of oppression and White Male Power are related in some way. I also think that we're young. We're primarily sheltered. We have a lot to get out and see and will, eventually, find some way to understand it all. I would agree with you Dax in one way, because I support the idea that people shouldn't wallow in belief that they can't get up and go make something of themselves. I'm all about empowerment of the individual.

I think that, though, in practice there are a lot of factors that move and push on people in the world today. The widening class gap, economic recession, senseless ignorance, the decline of the country's education system (willingly imposed at that!), etc etc etc. It's almost knee-jerk to just say that, well, don't let it get you down. Go out there and make something of yourself. If you want to badly enough, you can go out and try and become a superstar like Oprah. But most people don't want that. They just want to live their lives in safety, happiness, and peace. And, depending upon your socio-economic status or gender or race or creed, could be something of a problem to do easily.

I think everybody is caught up in this in some way or another and it's up to us to try and, first and foremost, figure out how we even look at it, process it, and understand it. We all should be more informed on things like this. Because this is what's taking place in our country today.

eliza.e.campbell said...

Also, we all seem to be missing a crucial piece of the argument called facts. Go ahead and look at the 2010 Abstract from the U.S. Census Bureau, it'll be fun I promise: http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/cats/income_expenditures_poverty_wealth.html

Therein you will find really, really disturbing and irrefutable evidence that sadly, society is not 'nothing'. There is an enormous and growing income and education gap between racial and ethnic minorities, and yes, women, in the country we live in. These are just facts. There's no point in reviewing and distributing amusing Gchats about "big issues" if we're not going to actually get informed about the way our society operates. Or how things actually are. Let me know if I need to explain this to you further.

Daxson said...

This is obviously true. I don't disagree with you. Statistics are statistics. Two things though: 1) these are the results, when the causes are many and varied (including, but not limited to, douche-baggy white men, both past and present); and 2) the point (of my argument at least) is that if you don't do anything about your situation, it's not the situation that's to blame. Obviously this isn't all-encompassing, not the cause of all the inequality that plagues our, yes, society.

Kelsie Lynn said...

Question: why are we only referring to 'white' male oppression?
curious. is it not the same with other races?
Im looking around now though, and I sit near 2 asian guys, and a couple Indians too. Mm perhaps they are less dominating, less ego's etc etc than the white guys..but ..dunno.

Bare Bones Magazine said...

How Do We Feel About This?

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700047867/Herbert-calls-for-investigation-into-list-of-1300-identified-as-illegal-immigrants.html?pg=1

I think this is one way to answer Kelsie's question about why we commonly interpret Male Oppression as White Male Oppression. Because the ones doing all the oppressing, GASP, are white!

eliza.e.campbell said...

Kelsie, I think the reason we tend to talk about "white" male oppression is because most of us live in America, which is a predominantly white country with a predominantly white upper class and government. Male oppression occurs everywhere, and often in more-visible ways in countries of different ethnic majorities - see, for example, the tradition of female genital cutting in countries like Ethiopia and Guinea (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Female_genital_cutting#Africa). But when we're speaking of the most 'oppressive' and powerful forces, especially in this country, they tend to be related to men who tend to be white.

Eva said...

You guys! I really think it's great that you've opened up this discussion here, and also that you are both talented and intelligent writors.
I just wanted to say somethin, though. Not to be a nit-picker, but,

"I still also stand by my statement that I will not date a woman who lets herself believe that she's trapped and cornered by something so large and nebulous as THE PATRIARCHY. And who believes that other people can make her do anything."

I suppose if it is your preference you can choose not to date women who have experienced or thought about rape, but I think most women believe in and act on the idea that it is possible (and even somewhat likely) that some other person WILL make her do something, like, for instance, by raping her. Not that I think that is the only example, but for the sake of simplicity, and because I do think it's one of the larger issues in this whole deal, that will be the one I bring up. We can all agree, I think, that when a woman (or, I suppose, man. But that rarely happens) is physically forced to have sex with someone, that someone is making her do "something", and that that is not because she has been sitting back on her haunches whining, necessarily. (All though I do think that part of the blame can be placed on every single male and female in society who are, for the most part, sitting back.)

I think the idea that one is being oppressed by THE PATRIARCHY is a way of saying that when a woman experiences oppression from a man, that oppression is a little scarier and more inescapable because there's a shit ton of institutionalized prejudice, etc., that gives the man quite a nice little hand up in terms of oppressin peeps. Which institutionalized prejudice (and I'm not talkin' grilz are dum and like 2 shop prejudice, only.) is often thought, especially by those of the radical feminist persuasion, to have stemmed from an institution called "the patriarchy."

My views extend beyond that, obs, and are possibly a little more extreme than most people are willing to get on board with, which I am okay with. But I really hope that we can all agree on the above mentioned point.

Sry if this is long-windy. I am, admittedly, a CCWRAO.

Eva

eliza.e.campbell said...

Well put, shorty. Let's all eliminate from our minds the idea that feminists believe that 'The Patriarchy' is a classic country-western movie about a single lone repressive white male cowboy who roams the old west aiming his gun of hatred at ladies who are just trying to wear Birkinstocks in peace!!

Let's also eliminate from our minds the idea that feminists believe that The Patriarchy is all white men conspiring together in meetings every day about the ways in which they will actively work to worsen the lives of women.

'The Patriarchy' is the social and economic systems that have been in place for a long time, like all time maybe, that have made women into second-class citizens. Citizens who couldn't vote, citizens who couldn't own property, citizens who had a hellish time to trying to get an education. Although things are generally better now, especially for people like me and Eva and Kelsie, the effects of those patriarchal institutions linger, and are present factors in our lives. Examples might include that law in Utah I mentioned, or the one in Alaska that Sarah Palin pushed for which made 'rape kits' (tools that can be used for forensic evidence for recent victims of rape, should they care to you know, find out who did it and stuff) expensive or difficult for victims to obtain. This shit is real.

redneckzilla said...

Eva:

My point wasn't that I wouldn't date women who acknowledge and fear the idea of oppression at the hands of White Male America but, rather, that I would prefer to date a woman who refuses to allow others oppress her (in an ideological sense).

Buying into the oppression that institutionalized discrimination - i.e. that you are at its mercy, that you cannot escape from it, that you must submit because it's omnipresent - is, of course, never going to lead to anything but the status quo.

So, when I say that I will never date a woman who considers herself at the clutches of the dreaded Patriarchy, one who uses the term without any clear definition of what it means or where it comes from, then what I mean is that I will never date a woman who does not wish to separate herself from the oppression.

In short: I am attracted to women who take their position in the world seriously enough to know that they cannot and will not be defined by conventional standards. I, likewise, will try my very best to also not limit myself to said definitions/standards/conventions.

I recognize that there are, in fact, people in the world (A LOT OF THEM) who are made to do things against their will. However, I do not submit to the idea that those same people, freed of their situations are so irreversibly changed by the experience that they can no longer function as an autonomous human being. Ere go: if a woman is raped, she is not defined by that experience. She is, and forever will be, a woman. Which I know is probably easy to say as a male who has never been raped and doesn't suffer the splitting inner turmoil that follows such a rendering and consuming violence; one that can strip you of identity all together. But, even after a human has been objectified and seen as an object, this doesn't mean that they stay an object.

I'm beating the point to death. Also, I wonder how many men in jail have been raped?

http://www.hrw.org/reports/2001/prison/report.html

Eva said...

I did assume that you weren't trying to deny or diminish the horrors of rape and oppression. I think that the rest of your writing shows that you have put more thought into this than to think that, and I respect and appreciate that. The only reason I pointed that out is because I think that the way you've worded that statement might not exactly express your meaning. I'm not sure if that's because you've changed your thinking during the posted conversation, or because it was just a hastily-typed backlash to something-or-other... I just don't feel that those sentences communicate any sort of complexity, which I do see in the rest of your writing. And I think complexity is important. This is no simple issue.

I'm also curious why you frame your opinion in the "I will never date a woman who..." window.

I seriously am meaning this in the discussion-furthery way, and not in the hostile way. Let's all get together for some internet hash browns sometime and talk it all over, hey? Is the way I am meaning everything I say.

redneckzilla said...

Honestly I put that in there for purely structural reasons. I was trying to tie in my original ideas (see reference to the instigating blog post) with the rest of the piece so it felt rounded and semi-completed as a thought. However, I do accede that it looks half-assed and, uh, well just blithe.

I'd go back and change it but it's all here in the comment section and that's part of the discussion in the above article. It's all an open conversation yo. I'd rather have people incensed and force them to read through the comments than just allow them to say, "ha! What a well-considered discussion! I'll go play bejeweled now!"

redneckzilla said...

Also, I think it's interesting that ordinarily men are marginalized in the oppression discussion. Men do get raped. By other men (see above posted link). And men do have eating disorders. And men do have severe anxiety when it comes to the whole situation. Not saying pity men, they're so wronged by society, but I think it's important to understand that it's not such a one-sided issue. Even if we just place these facts in the pile that say, "Things should change, this is all messed up."

Daxson said...

And men do play Bejeweled a lot as well. Just pointing that out. But I agree, things should change, and this is all messed up. I'm outraged also that Asian men make up to $20,000 more than white men. What did I do to deserve that? But seriously, these statistics and events and horrors and injustices shouldn't just make us all pissed off at each other. We should be informed but also active in making our piece of the world a little better. (cue Kumbaya background music)

emily said...

you can't really choose to be freed from the situation of being 25% smaller and having 30% less muscle mass than half of the population. or to have vaginas instead of penises. women don't choose to be rapable. men don't choose to be stronger than women; they just are. but they can choose to not rape and not intimidate.

i always wonder how a dood would react to the following thought experiment: imagine you're in a dark, secluded alley and suddenly you realize that there are a bunch of gay guys standing around and looking at you who are all 6'5'' and former nfl players. they may or may not want to rape you, you don't really know. but it's going to make you shit your pants just a little bit to walk through that alley.

redneckzilla said...

@ Emily: the situation you have just described is jail in a men's ward, or something akin to it.

Eva said...

Alex,

The reason men are marginalized in the discussion of oppression is because "male oppression" is, at most, a marginal issue in the context of oppression world wide. There is no worldwide phenomenon of men being raped, physically abused, sold into sex slavery, etc. Sure, it happens. But not nearly at the same rate as those things happen to women. And typically it is either impoverished men or men of color to whom those things happen. There is no such phenomenon as "male oppression", I would argue.

"Black non-Hispanic males, with an incarceration rate of 4,749 inmates per 100,000 U.S. residents, were incarcerated at a rate more than 6 times higher than white non-Hispanic males (708 inmates per 100,000 U.S. residents) and 2.6 times higher than Hispanic males (1,822 inmates per 100,000 U.S. residents)."
http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=2200

Also, most prison inmates were in poverty before incarceration.

redneckzilla said...

Eva:

I just thought it was interesting to bring up the fact that when people mention rape, it is an exclusively female issue. If men come up in the conversation, it is generally followed with a "(rarely)" or "(but that never happens)" stipulation. Which to me is interesting. Because, exactly in your words, "It does happen."

I would agree with you that there isn't wide-spread white male oppression; not by a long shot. But I do think it's somewhat short-sighted to say simply that "there is no such phenomenon of 'male oppression'".

In the Middle East, often times more little boys are kidnapped and sold into the sex slavery trade. The statistic you stated above shows that some men are more oppressed than others; lynch mobs in the South, an "illegal immigrant list" in Salt Lake City (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38234429/ns/us_news-immigration_a_nation_divided/), the possible willful introduction of drugs, guns, and alcohol into impoverished black communities. Men are all enmeshed in these scenarios.

So there is oppression. But you would argue that because it is not happening at the same rate as it happens to women, it is a negligible aspect of the whole conversation. To me this seems counterproductive, especially if we wish to work towards something like Safety and Stability in gender and racial relations around the world.

My question is this: Are you concerned with eradicating oppression? Or just oppression of women?

Eva said...

My argument is that men are not oppressed simply for being male. Maybe this is too broad of a statement, and I guess I'll have to think about it, but to my understanding, almost always when men are oppressed they are targeted for reasons other than their maleness.
I'm not saying people should never talk about oppression as it relates to men, but I have found that in conversations like this, and, really, in almost all conversations, the discussion of issue at hand as it relates to men is privileged above the issue as it relates to women, even if, like rape, it is an issue that disproportionately effects women. To think that people who are engaging in debates about feminism and oppression have never thought about or talked about the experience of the oppressing class is absurd. Maybe, every once in a while, having a discussion that focuses on the oppression of women as it is experienced by women wouldn't be such a bad thing.
Sorry to be blunt, but this is a very frustrating issue for me. Our experiences in these discussions are probably very different.

Eva said...

And to answer your question, I think all oppression is related. I mentioned class and race related oppression in my comment. I think eradicating the oppression experienced by oppressed classes would free everyone in society. But even if it wouldn't, I still think it'd be a pretty fucking worthy goal.

redneckzilla said...

@ Eva:
I think that's a very valid point (vis. your first two sentences in upper-most comment). I think that the reason I'm bringing these things up is because, like you said, they are all related in some way. I'm quite aware that our experiences in these issues and discussions are different. I'm trying to bridge that gap. I know nothing. I want to hear your thoughts. That's why I'm asking, you know? I'm not asking to be snide. Just honestly curious.

So, then, I guess the question is how deeply connected are the ideas of Oppression and Female Oppression? Do we discern between the two? And where at, if we do?

Bing said...

Here's my problem: when Privileged White Dudes are like, "Here's what I think women and/or people of color and/or other oppressed groups should do!"-- whether they follow that with "Let me rape them" or "Become more empowered", it's a little disagreeable to hear PWDs telling other people what to do, regardless of what that is.

"And why behold you the mote that is in your brother's eye, but consider not the beam that is in your own eye?"

Maybe you dudes should work on what you can do to stop oppression, and we'll worry about our end of the bargain.

eliza.e.campbell said...

In case anyone (like me) finds themselves re-reading this, perhaps in a binge of confused late-night surfing, and perhaps finds themselves judging those involved in the original conversation, I, Eliza Campbell, registered feminist, would like to make a few points of clarification.

1) The original g-chat conversation (and ensuing debate) is heavily tainted with emotional cloudiness, because I was romantically attracted to Alex and was therefore in a semi-mush brain state in which basic truths, principles, etc. that were normally very clear, became fuzzy to me. This is disturbing, but, it must be remembered, everyday reality, especially for emotionally young people like a 20-year-old me.

2) Also, my emotional fuzziness caused me to soften the lines of my arguments even more, because our courtship was deeply word-based and very immature, and I thought everything I said mattered way too much. These days, I wouldn't mince words. For instance: all of Alex's arguments were defensive, shallow, and poorly-structured. And mine were less so!

3) It inspires me that people can change and learn! And stop mansplaining so much!

4) The whole "I would never date a woman who..." prefix is the biggest problem of the whole debate, as Eva rightly pointed out. Because whatever arguments the original author is making about gender, he frames women in terms of his romantic conquests and interests alone. It's not "I only respect people who..." or "I deeply agree with people of the opinion that..." but rather about who he cares to pursue romantically. This immediately infantilizes any women or their opinions as stated, as well as the whole argument. It's like saying, "Dude, I only want to bone chicks who agree with me!" Which is what most dudes I encounter seem to think, with varying levels of intensity, anyway.

redneckzilla said...

hello darkness, my old friend! as eliza has added a necessary epilogue, so shall i.

i am happy that this exists and i will always have it around for public and personal viewing until the internet explodes or whatever. it's helpful to see this conversation in context and remember a) how hard it was to come to terms with things like male privilege and internalized (and externally exhibited!) misogyny and sexual assault; and b) to see how easy/difficult it was, once i was forced to think about this stuff and confront my own issues, to not be able to return to that safe, hedonistic sphere of privileged white asshole bro dude. like, i honestly love this post. it shows me, irrefutably, what i have said and how i have sucked up all the patriarchal bullshit, and how easy it is to see through it once it's exposed.

i also know that apologizing for being a basic baby shithead isn't appropriate here and can only express thanks to Eliza and others (Eva and Ingrid) for toughing it out with me. i, unfortunately, do not make for a good feminist apologist or whatever/defender of the faith. i do not possess the patience that many others (of all sexes and genders) possess. but i do what i can in other capacities and can only look with gratefulness to those who do patiently wade through the muddy hell of patriarchy. maybe leaving this up intentionally (i think of it often) is my form of apology and argumentation. as the angel moroni says: 'LOOK!' here i am saying things that i don't even vaguely believe or think anymore! gross, learned things with no real substance and which are offensive and hurtful and based entirely on misogyny and a violent attitude towards women! people change! if anyone has the capacity to engage with someone they know (or don't - the internet is vast) about these issues, then it could completely be life changing for them. thanks y'all. still trying to do better.

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