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Arabian Goggles?
March 4, 2010 11:12 AM   Subscribe

“Guys are a@#$%^&. Be Safe. Every time.”
posted by stinkycheese (198 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
Very interesting, thanks for the post.

Here's another FPP on anti-male (though probably less noxiously so) TV ads.

This is a GREAT comment from that thread by grobstein.
posted by Jaltcoh at 11:18 AM on March 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


Haters gonna hate.
posted by delmoi at 11:22 AM on March 4, 2010


::adds Arabian Goggles to bucket list::
posted by ReeMonster at 11:23 AM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


That's why I'll never fuck a girl in the circus, because they ride elephants.
posted by ColdChef at 11:23 AM on March 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


What does it mean that her Amazon wish-list contains Male Sexuality: Why Women Don't Understand It- And Men Don't Either ?
posted by Joe Beese at 11:26 AM on March 4, 2010


That's why I'll never fuck a girl in the circus, because they ride elephants

Funny - that's exactly why I WOULD fuck a girl in the circus.

Also that grobstein comment is fantastic.
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:27 AM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


This just in: new ad designed to be controversial, get views online.
posted by graventy at 11:27 AM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Does it really count as misandry if the message is generated by a man or a group of men? (I'm talking about the Trojan "pigs" ad here, not the "Sex Really" one) Wouldn't that be "self-loathing"? Or is the argument that the ad writers don't actually believe the hateful stereotypes, but are using them with the belief that it makes the message more palatable to women? Which then means that the men are actual misogynists...

Just thinking out loud.
posted by muddgirl at 11:32 AM on March 4, 2010


Or maybe it is a specific form of misandry where the target is "The Other". So the Trojan ad is appealing to Those Men who don't see themselves as part of The Problem, with the target being the men who are Part Of The Problem. Or something.
posted by muddgirl at 11:34 AM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


A lot of people should just straight up be forbidden from having sex. It's just not for them.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:35 AM on March 4, 2010


Women are apparently unable to say no to sex, even when in a bar full of pigs.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:36 AM on March 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


Does it really count as misandry if the message is generated by a man or a group of men?

To me, the ads are the complimentary angle to ads that brand women a stereotypical way. Which is to say that branding men in certain ways helps the campaign to brand women in certain ways. It's kind that old joke "Men do things like THIS, women do it like THIS, AMIRITE??"

I think misandry is a concern, but way, way down on the list. grobstein's comment is nice, but the disparities are so heavily in favor of men in society that even the "losers" have opportunities many women don't.
posted by cashman at 11:37 AM on March 4, 2010 [9 favorites]


That article is excellent, and should be mandatory reading for anyone posting in a MeFi gender thread.

I think misandry is a concern, but way, way down on the list. grobstein's comment is nice, but the disparities are so heavily in favor of men in society that even the "losers" have opportunities many women don't.

I have to disagree. I don't think "the list" is a very good way of looking at it. I mean, is racism higher or lower on the list than sexism? Which should we be worrying about more? Which is more important?
posted by Amanojaku at 11:50 AM on March 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


Does it really count as misandry racism if the message is generated by a man black person or a group of men? black people?

I think we've been down this road and the answer is 'yes.'
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:50 AM on March 4, 2010 [2 favorites]



Women are apparently unable to say no to sex, even when in a bar full of pigs.


Well, you know, you have to be careful or you might pick the wrong pig.
posted by mikeh at 11:50 AM on March 4, 2010


Does it really count as misandry if the message is generated by a man or a group of men?

Well, does it count as misogyny if the ads are created by women? That would answer your question.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:51 AM on March 4, 2010


Check out a critique from a feminist point-of-view: http://bitchphd.blogspot.com/2010/03/more-on-men-and-sex.html

Also: http://misogynywatch.tumblr.com/day/2010/03/01

It's pretty clear to me that this is plain, old-fashioned misogyny.
posted by clvrmnky at 11:52 AM on March 4, 2010


Yeah, I guess I just have a problem with using "misogyny" and "misandry" when we're talking about stereotypes. You make a good point, cashman - stereotypes about women are de facto also restrictive of men, and vice versa.

On preview, I don't think racism and misandry are comparable. You know, prejudice + power and all that. Maybe the word "misandry" just needs to be better defined for me?

I don't think "the list" is a very good way of looking at it. I mean, is racism higher or lower on the list than sexism? Which should we be worrying about more? Which is more important?

haha, welcome to the wonderful world of the kyriarchy! It turns out they're all important!
posted by muddgirl at 11:53 AM on March 4, 2010


Arabian (?!!) Goggles

Am I missing some kind of clever reference is that just straight-ahead racist?
Genuinely interested to know.
posted by silence at 11:54 AM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


ugh - obviously I meant "OR is that just straight-ahead racist?”
posted by silence at 11:54 AM on March 4, 2010


I have to disagree. I don't think "the list" is a very good way of looking at it. I mean, is racism higher or lower on the list than sexism? Which should we be worrying about more? Which is more important?

What we should be worrying about (and seemingly never do in these threads) is class, which would address most of grobstein's concerns in the linked comment, and would cause most of these arguments about this perceived terrible epidemic of misandry that's allegedly sweeping our society to evaporate.

This might also encourage a way of thinking about power and social structure that would help a few people round here realize that the simple equating of misandry with misogyny (let alone with racism) is completely ridiculous for about a million reasons.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 11:54 AM on March 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Is there anyone out there who has seen less than hundreds of complaints about the fact that the "entertainment industry" constantly portrays fathers as bumbling fools? "Father Knows Best" went out the window a long time ago. Many books have been written about the problematic nature of growing up male these days.

Instead of blaming feminism for misandry, though, it would probably be better to celebrate the fact that we are discussing our differences in public these days and constantly re-evaluating gender roles. We're not finished yet.
posted by kozad at 11:55 AM on March 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


I have to disagree. I don't think "the list" is a very good way of looking at it. I mean, is racism higher or lower on the list than sexism? Which should we be worrying about more? Which is more important?

Yeah I agree with bell hooks' saying not to rank oppressions. I guess I just don't see men as oppressed. It kind of smacks of Chris Rock's "we're losin the country!" joke. If men are losing, who's winning?? You might not be able to rank two contentious and powerfully oppressive items that are seriously affecting society now and have been for hundreds of years, but I think you can easily say man-hating is not anywhere near having a big effect on society. Let's take care of the things that are, then we'll worry about that.
posted by cashman at 11:55 AM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


ah. It’s a reference to the video. Please ignore me.
posted by silence at 11:56 AM on March 4, 2010


Clarification:

I'm not arguing that these videos don't protray sexist stereotypes. Because they do. They absolutely do.
posted by muddgirl at 11:58 AM on March 4, 2010


Or is the argument that the ad writers don't actually believe the hateful stereotypes, but are using them with the belief that it makes the message more palatable to women? Which then means that the men are actual misogynists...

muddgirl, I'd say that makes them Uncle Toms, not misogynists. Maybe misogynists as well.


I think misandry is a concern, but way, way down on the list. grobstein's comment is nice, but the disparities are so heavily in favor of men in society that even the "losers" have opportunities many women don't.

cashman, we've argued this before. Prejudice that hurts white people is not justified by past hurts to nonwhites - that's nothing more than a sophistry for "an eye for an eye".
posted by IAmBroom at 11:58 AM on March 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


I think the real problem is that people want easy answers. I don't think feminist women or women in general realized that it isn't just a problem of "hating women," its a problem of seeking an easy stereotype to make it more simple to deal with the difficulties of dealing with the opposite sex. That's what drives men's misogyny. Its easier to think of the bitch/whore/madonna than it is to take an individual woman seriously and have to accept everything that goes along with her.

Similarly, it is easy to say "all men are pigs" than it is to sit there and examine the individual man in front of you and figure things out on this basis.

In the past, men's near total control of the machinery producing the message made it less important to worry about the messages women were sending out about men.

Now its different as women are starting to reach the heights that were previously all male. So now it is going to be a problem that women are going to have to deal with.

I think that there are several huge cliches that will have to be dealt with, such as all men are pigs, men just want sex, men don't have feelings (amazing when I heard a female friend tell me that her friends actually thought that!), if a man does not get a hard on/have an orgasm it means something is wrong with the women, female infidelity is driven by males not doing the wrong thing, if a man doesn't ask you out it means he's not interested and men are never scared of being hurt enought to avoid asking out a woman, and, of course, men cannot be insecure.

These stereotypes just run through relationshipfilter day after day on AskMe. I think learning to set these aside is going to help everyone. I also think that it makes no sense not to address them now.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:01 PM on March 4, 2010 [20 favorites]


There's nothing past about it, IAmBroom. Is the pay disparity for women and men who do the same jobs there, or isn't it?
posted by cashman at 12:01 PM on March 4, 2010


To me, the ads are the complimentary angle to ads that brand women a stereotypical way.

ugh. yes. Like those damned P&G ads from the olympics. "P&G. Proud sponsors of moms." Barf. Made me want to put a boot through the tv every time I saw it.

and then my little sister's boyfriend is all like dude can't you enjoy anything anymore? and I'm all like, grad school. and he's all, yeah bro. sigh.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 12:02 PM on March 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


You might not be able to rank two contentious and powerfully oppressive items that are seriously affecting society now and have been for hundreds of years, but I think you can easily say man-hating is not anywhere near having a big effect on society. Let's take care of the things that are, then we'll worry about that.

Eh, I dunno. I'm more in favour of letting those who feel particularly impassioned about certain injustices and inequalities work on those instead of trying to derail them. I'm not going to go to the organization helping out struggling small businesses and tell them that maybe their efforts would be better spent feeding the hungry.
posted by ODiV at 12:02 PM on March 4, 2010


Ads often use veiled insults to sell their product. Shame the target into defensively protecting himself or herself into not being a target of shame anymore - by buying the advertised product, of course.

The male response is supposed to be, "What are you talking about? I'm not a pig. Why, I'm not like those pigs at all! Me, I'm the handsome guy! That's why I get to hump the beautiful lady! Why, I wear condoms all the time!"

Ads always objectify their targets. Here, we see men being objectified. Hell, the woman in the ad is an object as well.

Arguing over whether this is misandry OR misogyny is very silly. It's both more and less of both of these. This is what happens when we objectify groups of people to sell products.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:03 PM on March 4, 2010 [16 favorites]


"Uncle Tom" isn't quite right either, but its closer.

(Off-topic: I never understood the use of "Uncle Tom" to mean "colluder", since I read the book at quite a young age and understood the Uncle Tom character to be the opposite of a colluder. But I guess that's a fight I can't win.)
posted by muddgirl at 12:03 PM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


There's nothing past about it, IAmBroom. Is the pay disparity for women and men who do the same jobs there, or isn't it?

If it is, it is a violation of US law. Generally the stats are about women going into lower paying jobs and jobs that women are predominant in being lesser-paying.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:06 PM on March 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


I never understood the use of "Uncle Tom" to mean "colluder"

That is the general meaning of the term.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:07 PM on March 4, 2010


What about Ground Control?
posted by ODiV at 12:09 PM on March 4, 2010


Oh wait.
posted by ODiV at 12:09 PM on March 4, 2010


A lot of people should just straight up be forbidden from having sex. It's just not for them.

Of course, it would be a zombie saying this.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:10 PM on March 4, 2010


Yes, I know the meaning of the term, Ironmouth.

But to me, it seems like calling someone a Tom Sawyer because they are mature and responsible.
posted by muddgirl at 12:12 PM on March 4, 2010


But to me, it seems like calling someone a Tom Sawyer because they are mature and responsible.

It's one of those epithets that doesn't necessariliy resemble the source material, like Ugly American.
posted by electroboy at 12:15 PM on March 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


clvrmnky - I read that link twice and it didn't make any more sense the second time. It sounds like it's saying the ad is misogynistic because men should talk to each other frankly about sex, but real men don't actually do that, so by featuring men talking to each other frankly about sex they are encouraging a stereotype that men talking frankly to each other about sex is disrespectful to women. Huh??
posted by Dojie at 12:17 PM on March 4, 2010


It's one of those epithets that doesn't necessariliy resemble the source material, like Ugly American.
posted by electroboy at 3:15 PM on March 4 [1 favorite -] Favorite added! [!]


It drives you crazy too? ohthankgod
posted by toodleydoodley at 12:19 PM on March 4, 2010


but I think you can easily say man-hating is not anywhere near having a big effect on society. Let's take care of the things that are, then we'll worry about that.

I think the effect is more in the personal relationships area more than anything else. But the idea that we should somehow ignore this problem until it gets really bad makes no sense to me. Isn't that how we got the other problems in the first place? Not to mention that nothing illustrates your point more than the same thing affecting others.

Seriously, it makes it no less wrong to do this because of similar issues affecting other groups. If something is wrong, it is wrong, plain and simple. People should not avoid addressing their own wrong behavior because "some other people are also doing wrong."
posted by Ironmouth at 12:20 PM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


The only sex talk my parents ever gave me was, "If you have any questions about sex, come ask us." I never did, and grew up well-informed enough. But now I wonder if I should call them up sixteen years later and ask, "Remember when you said I could ask you anything? What are Arabian googles?"
posted by yeti at 12:21 PM on March 4, 2010 [9 favorites]


Does it really count as misandry if the message is generated by a man or a group of men?

Yes. That's like a woman telling a woman to "know her place": it's sexism, regardless of the target or the person doing it.
posted by grubi at 12:22 PM on March 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


You might not be able to rank two contentious and powerfully oppressive items that are seriously affecting society now and have been for hundreds of years, but I think you can easily say man-hating is not anywhere near having a big effect on society. Let's take care of the things that are, then we'll worry about that. Let's take care of the things that are, then we'll worry about that.

If it's wrong, it's wrong. It doesn't get to be less wrong because you estimate that white guys deserve it.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:23 PM on March 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


I get what you're saying Ironmouth, and I don't totally disagree. I guess I just get the feeling a lot of this stuff comes from people who get the first taste of discrimination and suddenly want all the resources and help directed at them. Or sometimes it seems people say it just to halt any progress. Like - "hey, you can't enact that policy to help women because what about men!!? It would be sexist to help women specifically, and not give men those opportunities." People that see scholarships and fellowships specifically for women and question why men don't have those same opportunities, as if it is more likely that the man is the one disadvantaged in society more than the woman.
posted by cashman at 12:27 PM on March 4, 2010


Many men would welcome being hated by women as a step up from their current being invisible to them.
posted by digsrus at 12:28 PM on March 4, 2010 [7 favorites]


Is there anyone out there who has seen less than hundreds of complaints about the fact that the "entertainment industry" constantly portrays fathers as bumbling fools?

edheil did a pretty good job of explaining the "bumbling guy married to a hot, wise wife" meme here.
posted by explosion at 12:28 PM on March 4, 2010


There's nothing past about it, IAmBroom. Is the pay disparity for women and men who do the same jobs there, or isn't it?

It depends on the job, the industry, the hiring manager (or whomever is extending an offer), and the negotiating skills of the candidate. In the last three companies where I've been privy to payroll details of my department (Unix Operations/IT), the women have generally made a little bit more than the men.

They were also more likely to have advanced degrees, though that is not often considered valuable in IT.
posted by toxic at 12:28 PM on March 4, 2010


It drives you crazy too? ohthankgod

..and you hear it all the time. Makes you want to shake them and say "No, no! You want to be the Ugly American! He was the good guy!"
posted by electroboy at 12:30 PM on March 4, 2010


The Dodge Charger ad just proves that anyone who buys those cars are just pathetic human beings.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:30 PM on March 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Does it really count as misandry if the message is generated by a man or a group of men?

The misandry is more likely to be disingenuous if it was generated by men. This is very common.

And it's no surprise that people trying to sell things send out disingenuous messages. This is also very common.

But do you really want to say that someone who's perpetuating stereotypes about their own group is not being prejudiced against that group? I find it hard to believe that anyone reading this would apply that principle across the board to all groups -- not just men but women, blacks, gays, etc. I'm sure lots of people in those groups have bought into stereotypes about themselves. If society sends out a negative message about X group that pervades deeply into the culture, naturally some members of that very group are going to buy into it. That doesn't make it right.
posted by Jaltcoh at 12:31 PM on March 4, 2010


People using the word "misandry" in such a way as to suggest that there is anything resembling the sort of misogynistic hate aimed at women by this society being aimed at men instead are not credible members of any discussion on gender.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:36 PM on March 4, 2010 [14 favorites]


Or sometimes it seems people say it just to halt any progress. Like - "hey, you can't enact that policy to help women because what about men!!? It would be sexist to help women specifically, and not give men those opportunities." People that see scholarships and fellowships specifically for women and question why men don't have those same opportunities, as if it is more likely that the man is the one disadvantaged in society more than the woman.

Of course, you're begging the question of whether those scholarships and fellowships are best described as "progress," and whether, in their absence, women would be more disadvantaged when it comes to getting scholarships and fellowships. That's not obvious to me. I would be strongly inclined to make the argument that you're making sound ridiculous by putting "!!?" at the end of it. Now, maybe you could actually make a good argument against my position based on actual evidence, and that would be a legitimate debate, but I don't think it should be smacked down by wacky punctuation or straw-man arguments. I also don't think it's too relevant to this thread.
posted by Jaltcoh at 12:37 PM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


People that see scholarships and fellowships specifically for women and question why men don't have those same opportunities, as if it is more likely that the man is the one disadvantaged in society more than the woman.

Well, certain types of discrimination are legal, because they are directed at groups formerly discriminated against. That's how affirmative action is legal. Such scholarships are without a doubt discriminatory, but with the purpose to remedy past discrimination. I'm certain that one who has done nothing to discriminate against women in the past would have mixed feelings about that sort of thing.

But this isn't a question of discrimination. This is a question of misandry in popular culture. Is this a good thing? I say no.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:37 PM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't think anybody is saying it is right. I just think some of us aren't freaking out about it in the least because we haven't identified at as a problem that has been widely acknowledged as having a major, detrimental effect on society for hundreds of years. I damn sure don't want to be stereotyped as a dude who can't say I love you, who is a doofus, who can't cook or clean, or who is a brute who pisses in the sink. But to then turn around and try to plead my case like men are the poor downtrodden victim against these mighty forces who have for centuries put out these images and that's why men are in the state we're in. Well that's a stretch to me. How about we pay attention to the inches deep knife wound and save the papercut for later. Saying 'they're both wounds' is a bit disingenuous to me.
posted by cashman at 12:38 PM on March 4, 2010


People using the word "misandry" in such a way as to suggest that there is anything resembling the sort of misogynistic hate aimed at women by this society being aimed at men instead are not credible members of any discussion on gender.

Who is saying this? I see no one here doing so. Perhaps you could give us an example?
posted by Ironmouth at 12:38 PM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


But to then turn around and try to plead my case like men are the poor downtrodden victim against these mighty forces who have for centuries put out these images and that's why men are in the state we're in.

Again, I haven't seen what you are describing. Could you provide us with an example?
posted by Ironmouth at 12:40 PM on March 4, 2010


I guess I just don't see men as oppressed. It kind of smacks of Chris Rock's "we're losin the country!" joke. If men are losing, who's winning?

Totally. One time this old homeless guy with mental problems tried to tell me some sob story, but I was like "You don't fool me! 97% of the Fortune 500 CEOs are men, so I think men are doing pretty well in our society!"
posted by AlsoMike at 12:43 PM on March 4, 2010 [18 favorites]


Well if I've misunderstood your position, I'm sorry. If we're agreeing that misandry isn't right but it is nowhere near the problem that misogyny is, then that's that.
posted by cashman at 12:44 PM on March 4, 2010


People using the word "misandry" in such a way as to suggest that there is anything resembling the sort of misogynistic hate aimed at women by this society being aimed at men instead are not credible members of any discussion on gender.

By the same token, would you say that no one should refer to prejudice against lesbians because society has a greater prejudice against gay men? Would you say no one should refer to prejudice against black women because there are even greater prejudices against black men? Would you say that no one should refer to society's insufficient concern for female rape victims because there's an even greater lack of concern for male rape victims? I'm pretty sure you wouldn't say any of these things, because such statements would be transparent attempts to shut down debate on legitimate issues.
posted by Jaltcoh at 12:44 PM on March 4, 2010 [10 favorites]


Much of the "bumbling husband" routines or equivalent strike me as part of a Court Jester routine. The person at the bottom end of the totem pole is allowed to make fun of the king with no punishment - as long as the jester is funny and does not actually threaten the king's power. The jester has the power to do this because the jester has only power the power to make jokes. This is both a gift and a curse to the jester, and both the king and the jester are complicit in this arrangement.

This is why I get annoyed at cheap, race-baiting entertainment directed to black audiences - when I see stuff like Norbit, it's offensive for a number of reasons, but buried in those reasons is the idea that enjoying a movie like Norbit says, to me, on some unconscious level, "I enjoy being at the bottom of the pile, because it lets me make racial jokes with impunity. If I were to rise higher than this, I would no longer be able to make these jokes about my race and other races."

While these ads do not leap out at me as incredible examples of misandry, I offer as food for the thought the idea that sexist talk against men is not only dumb for the usual reason that sexism is dumb, but also because the buried message is that the talk of others somehow isn't "real" talk.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:44 PM on March 4, 2010


Well if I've misunderstood your position, I'm sorry. If we're agreeing that misandry isn't right but it is nowhere near the problem that misogyny is, then that's that.

"Of course I sympathize. Just as long as we're clear that your flu is nowhere as bad as cancer okay? Why are you getting so mad, honey?"
posted by ODiV at 12:55 PM on March 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


Sticherbeast,
I guess maybe I'd have to be a woman to understand, but it doesn't strike me that women are "at the bottom of the pile" in our society. Sure, there are some lingering inequalities, but I don't think in 21st century America anyone could make the argument that we still have some sort of caste system like what exists in some Middle East and other countries.
posted by gagglezoomer at 1:02 PM on March 4, 2010


I guess maybe I'd have to be a woman to understand, but it doesn't strike me that women are "at the bottom of the pile" in our society. Sure, there are some lingering inequalities, but I don't think in 21st century America anyone could make the argument that we still have some sort of caste system like what exists in some Middle East and other countries.

Perhaps I should be more clear. My point is that encouraging the use of the white male as the stock buffoon can be a reinforcement of the idea that the white male is in charge, because in many cases the character leveling that charge, or the character acting as the counterpart to the buffoon, is not meant to be taken seriously, either.
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:07 PM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


By the same token, would you say that no one should refer to prejudice against lesbians because society has a greater prejudice against gay men?

There is not a dominating power structure of lesbians over gay men in our society. There are heterosexual over GLBT, white over PoC, and man over woman dominating power structures, and suggesting that slights against the dominating class, which are not part of systematic oppression, are comparable to slights against the dominated class, which are indeed part of systematic oppression, is absurd and serves as an obstacle to progress. Attempts to analogize it to non-power structure examples are invalid because, to take ODiV's example, the flu is not the dominating side in a flu-dominating-cancer structure.

Decontextualizing human actions- taking them out of the dominating power structures they occur in- provides a means not only to dishonestly deny the existence of those structures but also to impede progress toward their dissolution.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:18 PM on March 4, 2010 [5 favorites]


Am I missing some kind of clever reference is that just straight-ahead racist?
Genuinely interested to know.


I think it's just random word association. No one is saying Arabs put their balls on people's eyes, any more then that the people of Cleveland engage in their eponymous sex act.

edheil did a pretty good job of explaining the "bumbling guy married to a hot, wise wife" meme here.

I don't think that argument makes much sense. Maybe that was the explanation for, say, Arche Bunker (who clearly believed he was a "capital-M-Man"), but over the years it's clearly become a lazy trope, for whatever reason. And people really are acculturated by television, so if they see the "bumbling father" on TV all the time, that's what they're going to think most relationships, are like.

And by now we're probably in the second generation, literally TV writers who grew up watching these kinds of sitcoms.
posted by delmoi at 1:19 PM on March 4, 2010


You know, it's really striking if the Metafilter community isn't unanimous in shunning ads like these. This ad doesn't just use gender stereotypes -- it uses a vicious stereotype and states it perfectly clearly.

Maybe someone could explain to me how the fact that "men are privileged" or "women have more disadvantages" has any bearing on this whatsoever. I'm not seeing it. Why wouldn't we simply call out vicious stereotypes whenever they arise, no matter which group is the target?

You don't need to feel an intense, bleeding-heart sympathy for men as a group. All you have to do is look at the message being sent and decide that it's a distortion, and it's mean, and it's corrosive not just to men but to society in general. (In fact, I would argue that ads like these are more harmful to women than to men.)

Here's a thought-experiment. Let's take the most "privileged" person I can think of: George W. Bush. BOY is he privileged! I voted against him twice partly because I didn't like -- I was disgusted by -- the fact that he was handed his power and money and prestige by virtue of his aristocratic birth. Now, if someone tells me in seriousness, "George W. Bush drinks 7 strong alcoholic beverages a day," well, I am going to call that person out on this vicious misrepresentation. I'm going to say: "Wait a minute, let's give him some credit. Not because we love him, and not because we feel sorry for him on any level. If there's anyone I don't feel sorry for, it's Bush. But let's just recognize reality. He's imperfect because he used to be alcoholic. But he also overcame his alcoholism, and now he drinks beer, but only non-alcoholic beer, and I have to respect him for that. So unless you know something I don't and he's started drinking again, let's set the record straight."

While this might seem like an odd example, my point is: go ahead and say that men are mainly privileged and women are mainly disadvantaged. I happen to take issue with that glib characterization, but we can that debate for another thread. The thing is, it has nothing to do with whether it's OK to tar "men" as pigs or assholes or sex predators or anything like that. Some men are sex predators -- a lot more than women. And I hate that. But the ad wasn't saying: "watch out, there are some bad people out there, and most of them are men." It was saying: "here's what men are like." It has to be possible to say, "Wait a minute, that's not true," without being accused of not realizing that there's such a thing as male privilege.
posted by Jaltcoh at 1:19 PM on March 4, 2010 [19 favorites]


Piggy men vs prurient women?
posted by drogien at 1:22 PM on March 4, 2010


While this might seem like an odd example, my point is: go ahead and say that men are mainly privileged and women are mainly disadvantaged. I happen to take issue with that glib characterization, but we can that debate for another thread. The thing is, it has nothing to do with whether it's OK to tar "men" as pigs or assholes or sex predators or anything like that. Some men are sex predators -- a lot more than women. And I hate that. But the ad wasn't saying: "watch out, there are some bad people out there, and most of them are men." It was saying: "here's what men are like." It has to be possible to say, "Wait a minute, that's not true," without being accused of not realizing that there's such a thing as male privilege.

I'm not especially bothered by this ad for reasons I've already spelled out, but I think grobstein's comment in the earlier thread, which you've already linked, is on point here.

Elsewhere...

Decontextualizing human actions- taking them out of the dominating power structures they occur in- provides a means not only to dishonestly deny the existence of those structures but also to impede progress toward their dissolution.

Strangely, I'd throw out something like this very argument to counter the idea that unfair statements made against men are somehow incomparable to unfair statements against women, as long as we're aware of how both statements fit into our society. This is all part of the great, big, messy whole of humanity.
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:24 PM on March 4, 2010


...suggesting that slights against the dominating class, which are not part of systematic oppression, are comparable to slights against the dominated class, which are indeed part of systematic oppression, is absurd and serves as an obstacle to progress.

I was going to say that I didn't see anyone doing this, but then I looked at the link again where this definitely occurs:

What gives feminist women? Why do we say so little on this topic yet espouse ideals of gender equality? Sometimes I feel like we train our lenses so hard on women’s issues that we stop caring about larger issues of gender.
posted by ODiV at 1:27 PM on March 4, 2010


By the same token, would you say that no one should refer to prejudice against lesbians because society has a greater prejudice against gay men?

There is not a dominating power structure of lesbians over gay men in our society.


Maybe I didn't make myself clear in my comment to which you're responding. Of course I didn't mean to suggest that lesbians oppress gay men, or that black women oppress black men, or that female rape victims oppress male rape victims. I was responding to your comment that said:

People using the word "misandry" in such a way as to suggest that there is anything resembling the sort of misogynistic hate aimed at women by this society being aimed at men instead are not credible members of any discussion on gender.

Now, I didn't interpret that to be referring to who aims the hate at women or men. (After all, the instances of women themselves oppressing other women are innumerable.) It's just saying that women get more hate aimed at them than men do. So I think my parallels were directly relevant: I'm saying gay men, and black men, and male rape victims, are more oppressed than their female counterparts. You wouldn't say that we need to refrain from mentioning the oppression of those less oppressed groups and only pay attention to the more oppressed groups. That's all I'm saying.
posted by Jaltcoh at 1:29 PM on March 4, 2010


clvrmnky: Check out a critique from a feminist point-of-view...

The author of the linked piece, Jessica Fischer, would probably be quite surprised at your insinuation. Incidentally, she just twittered about this thread.
posted by stinkycheese at 1:36 PM on March 4, 2010


I'm saying gay men, and black men, and male rape victims, are more oppressed than their female counterparts. You wouldn't say that we need to refrain from mentioning the oppression of those less oppressed groups and only pay attention to the more oppressed groups.

No, I wouldn't, but I reject the analogy because men are not an oppressed group. Men are harmed in some ways by patriarchy, but to suggest that they are oppressed by it is absurd.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:37 PM on March 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Maybe someone could explain to me how the fact that "men are privileged" or "women have more disadvantages" has any bearing on this whatsoever. I'm not seeing it. Why wouldn't we simply call out vicious stereotypes whenever they arise, no matter which group is the target?

Well, I'll try. Your insistence on treating this as a level playing field — this idea that we should just go about being gender-blind, calling out nastiness wherever we see it, with equal intensity in all cases — fundamentally ignores the fact that misogynistic stereotyping happens in a context of centuries of structural prejudice against women in favor of men, and misandrist stereotyping does not happen in a parallel context of structural prejudice against men in favor of women. They are two fundamentally different things, and one of them carries a far greater sting than the other because of this.

Maybe I didn't make myself clear in my comment to which you're responding. Of course I didn't mean to suggest that lesbians oppress gay men,

Your reply to Pope Guilty on "dominating power structures" likewise ignores this reality. You might not have meant to imply such a power structure, but your paralleling of men/women and lesbians/gay men only makes any sense if an equivalent power structure were to exist — which, as you agree with Pope Guilty, it doesn't.

Really, this is straightforward stuff. It's why affirmative action isn't racist, and why opposing affirmative action on the grounds of "color-blindness" is racist.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 1:37 PM on March 4, 2010 [6 favorites]


men are not an oppressed group. Men are harmed in some ways by patriarchy

Huh? You've contradicted yourself two sentences in a row. What's the difference between "harmed by the patriarchy" and "oppressed"?
posted by Jaltcoh at 1:39 PM on March 4, 2010


encouraging the use of the white male as the stock buffoon can be a reinforcement of the idea that the white male is in charge

That's possible. Then again, in a time when 3/4ths of the millions of jobs lost in the recession were men's, and women dramatically outpace men in education, it would also be possible for things to flip over. For kids, for example, to see these things and just think, yeah well, men ARE dumb, and not good at school, they deserve to be unemployed.

The bigger point -- equality hopefully does not mean we take turns at belittling stereotypes of each other, because that's "fair". With luck it can mean not stereotyping anyone by gender, race, or class, but by seeing and treating them as individuals.
posted by msalt at 1:40 PM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


And if you're looking for a good explanation of that standpoint, I have to point anyone who's interested at "Oppression", the first chapter of Marilyn Frye's "The Politics of Reality". About the first half of it is available here, but I really can't recommend the full version (and really, the book itself) enough.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:41 PM on March 4, 2010


game warden to the events rhino: You're simply repeating the fallacy I'm pointing out.
posted by Jaltcoh at 1:41 PM on March 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


And when I said "doing this" I meant comparing the two at all. I couldn't comment on whether or not it serves as an "obstacle to progress".
posted by ODiV at 1:43 PM on March 4, 2010


On preview, I don't think racism and misandry are comparable. You know, prejudice + power and all that.

This reminds me of something I've been thinking about for a while: Is there some kind of easy way to distinguish "standard" usage of terms for types of discrimination (the dictionary versions of racism, sexism, etc. that most people use and think of when they hear the words) and the "academic" or "theoretical" versions of same, which also require power inequalities? If not, can we make some up? A-racism, or misandry+ or something? It would probably avoid a lot of confusion.

What we should be worrying about (and seemingly never do in these threads) is class...

I agree.

This might also encourage a way of thinking about power and social structure that would help a few people round here realize that the simple equating of misandry with misogyny (let alone with racism) is completely ridiculous for about a million reasons.

Would that be misandry+? Because I wouldn't think that pointing out, for example, the growing number of men with eating disorders in any way suggests that women with eating disorders isn't also a problem. Merely that there are multiple problems. But you know -- let's not conflate men's issues with women's issues or anything. They couldn't possibly have anything in common. That would be ridiculous for about a million reasons.

Yeah I agree with bell hooks' saying not to rank oppressions. I guess I just don't see men as oppressed. It kind of smacks of Chris Rock's "we're losin the country!" joke. If men are losing, who's winning?? You might not be able to rank two contentious and powerfully oppressive items that are seriously affecting society now and have been for hundreds of years, but I think you can easily say man-hating is not anywhere near having a big effect on society. Let's take care of the things that are, then we'll worry about that.

It's possible for nobody to actually be "winning."
posted by Amanojaku at 1:43 PM on March 4, 2010


I think that Jaltcoh is using the word "oppression" in a different sense than Pope Guilty and game warden to the events rhino. Assuming that, between the three of you, you could never all agree on the meaning of this particular term, how would you continue this discussion?
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:44 PM on March 4, 2010


game warden to the events rhino: You're simply repeating the fallacy I'm pointing out.

I don't quite follow. Are you stating that misogynistic and misandrist stereotyping do not take place in fundamentally different contexts with regard to the history and ubiquity of prejudice against women as opposed to men? That seems obviously empirically wrong to me, but at least it would delineate the difference between our opinions here.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 1:44 PM on March 4, 2010


If both the oppressor class and the oppressed class in a dominating power structure are called by the name of "oppressed", the word is meaningless. It's like if a mugger skinned his knee while running off with somebody's wallet and you called the mugger a victim of the mugging (a victim of the pressures and causes that lead to street crime perhaps, but of the mugging?) because he suffered harm in its commission.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:44 PM on March 4, 2010


Jaitcoh, it's different to make a general statement and a particular one - that is, to make a claim about an individual vs one about a group, which will never be true of every single member of a group. It can be wrong to say something about GWB, whereas the reason it is offensive to claim something about "men" is not because it is right or wrong but because it cannot be applied to all of them at once (unless it is tautological, ie, that they are male, etc).

However, in the "men are pigs" spot, they aren't saying all men are pigs - they're saying something like, men who refuse to wear condoms are pigs, and the ones who have condoms are thoughtful and looking out for you. I think they're trying to reverse the stereotype that carrying a condom around is sleazy.
posted by mdn at 1:45 PM on March 4, 2010


“If men are losing, who's winning??”

The folks who benefit from dividing others and setting them against each other?
So that’s all men who are ‘winning’? What, some Inuit is in league with a fisherman from Madagascar to support some guy in advertising in New York’s privilege because they’re all men?
Lots of ‘isms’ are displaced aggression. You can’t hit the people who are actually powerful so you hit someone you can. Meanwhile someone’s making money off something. Very old, old, con there.

"Remember when you said I could ask you anything? What are Arabian googles?"

Honey, *sits down* when two people love each other very much, sometimes they will ‘tea bag’ or play with each other’s genitals in a metaphoric way. Sometimes they will poop on each other and draw mustaches on each other with the poop. M’kay? Tomorrow we can talk about philias like having insects crawl on you or drowning your privates in milk or being devoured by another person. It doesn’t sound sexual, but it is. Like it looks like daddy has autassassinophilia, but he’s not aroused by it, he’s just crazy. Well, g’night sweetie.

“The Dodge Charger ad just proves that anyone who buys those cars are just pathetic human beings.”

Buddy of mine was talking about getting one. I said, why the hell would you need a Dodge Charger? He said – well you have this jeep. And I just sat and looked out the window for a second at the snow coming down really hard (weird patch of snow a week or so ago here in Chicago, almost whiteout). He got it after a bit.

“’I enjoy being at the bottom of the pile, because it lets me make racial jokes with impunity.’”

I see that too. Talking to a friend of a friend who’s black and we had a difference of option on sports. He mentioned that white folks are losing out on all sports anyway. First basketball, then football and baseball. And now golf (with Tiger Woods). Etc. Asked him if he ever played sports himself. (No). I did. So who’s actually more of an athlete here?

At some point accepting power and responsibility for the present means refusing to be bound by one’s past or the face society tries to lay on you. Not that this is easy or doesn’t mean there aren’t actual obstacles to overcome like someone’s actual ‘isms.’ But you’re playing the game even if you reap some benefit from ‘losing.’ Best to not let it define you, or anyone. There’s always someone to exploit it, and so, exploit you.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:46 PM on March 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Decontextualizing human actions- taking them out of the dominating power structures they occur in- provides a means not only to dishonestly deny the existence of those structures but also to impede progress toward their dissolution

So does applying the contexts incorrectly to situations where they don't apply. They not only trivialize the reality, but weaken the changes that need to be made.

But getting all Hegelian/Marxist on this stuff doesn't move the ball forward. There are no "power structures." These are concepts we use to help us look at how a lot of people having the same attitudes affect society. You cannot draw a picture of your alleged structures, nor can you prove their existence. As the Buddhists say, do not mistake your finger for the moon.

The point I'm trying to make is that trotting out this old stuff doesn't help anything. Are there men who engage in discrimination and misogyny? Yes (indeed, I'd argue that every single man does this). Are there women who engage in discrimination and misandry? Yes (indeed, I'd argue that every single woman does this too). But the effects of misogyny are greater due to the historical position of men v. women. However, trying to act as if there is some sort of force outside of the actions of human beings, invisible, totally immesurable and totally unable to be objectively percieved isn't really an argument at all. Its resting on unprovable assumptions.

This is why it is very, very important that individual actions be pointed out and dealt with. The idea of these alleged "power structures" is insidious--it not only robs people of their belief that they can affect humans around them, but can form the basis for tit-for-tat retaliatory thinking that doesn't acknowledge that we owe everyone respect if we are to get along.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:48 PM on March 4, 2010 [5 favorites]


If both the oppressor class and the oppressed class in a dominating power structure are called by the name of "oppressed", the word is meaningless.

The bumblebee flies anyway. What if the very notions of strictly-conceived oppressor classes and oppressed classes could use some rejiggering as well, if only in the present moment so that people in this thread could see what they really agreed and disagreed on?

This is part of why I am among those obnoxious people who finds the word "kyriarchy" to be a more thoughtful and useful concept than "patriarchy."
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:48 PM on March 4, 2010


I think what Pope Guilty brought up about men being harmed by patriarchy starts to get to the heart of the matter. Patriarchy lays out what men and women are supposed to be. It privileges all things masculine and diparages the feminine.

Unfortunately, under patriarchy we've constructed this completely messed up idea of what "masculine" is - partially because it is often seen as the opposite of feminine. To be "feminine," under the patriarchal understanding of it, is to be weak, dependent, quiet, innocent, submissive, clean, demure, caring, thoughtful, etc, etc, etc. Therefore, to be "masculine" is to be strong, indepedent, loud, aggressive, dominating, dirty, brazen, uncaring and unthinking. These, and more, are the traits portrayed in the ads and said to be "misandry."

This "misandry" is not the fault of feminism, or the rise of women, or anything like that. It is all rooted in the same system that oppresses women.
posted by SugarAndSass at 1:50 PM on March 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Jaltcoh, it's different to make a general statement and a particular one

I know that. That's why I admitted it was a "weird" example, but it's what I thought of to make the point. We can debate how privileged men vs. women are, but no one could argue that Bush isn't privileged through-and-through.

If your characterization of the condom ad were accurate -- that they're not tarring men as a group -- that would make it better. It would still be offensively sexist by tarring "men" who do something rather than just people who make bad decisisions. Men and women alike are responsible for having and using condoms. When people have (consensual) sex without adequate protection, it's both people's fault.
posted by Jaltcoh at 1:51 PM on March 4, 2010


Power structures are real, but they are not as strictly-defined, immutable, top-down hierarchical, and sharply drawn as previous models have conceived of them.

This "misandry" is not the fault of feminism, or the rise of women, or anything like that. It is all rooted in the same system that oppresses women.

I'll drink to that.
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:52 PM on March 4, 2010


This "misandry" is not the fault of feminism, or the rise of women, or anything like that. It is all rooted in the same system that oppresses women.

To be clear, I wouldn't assume that anyone who brings up misandry is necessarily attributing it to "feminism." I'm certainly not.
posted by Jaltcoh at 1:52 PM on March 4, 2010


Ironmouth: The idea of these alleged "power structures" is insidious--it not only robs people of their belief that they can affect humans around them

Well, there's clearly a balance to be struck, in how one assesses these things, between individual agency and the power of structures (which are comprised of agents, sure, but nonetheless often severely limit the agency of any one individual). I think in this instance that balance is nicely struck by calling out these ads as pretty crappy and unpleasant, but in no sense as bad as a vast amount of misogynistic messages in the culture. That's all I think anyone on my side of the debate is saying here — as a corrective to the notion that there's something morally wrong about failing to respond with absolutely equal rage to all instances of misogyny and misandry.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 1:53 PM on March 4, 2010


"kyriarchy" is a useful and interesting term, but I fear that the use of it elides the existence of actual power structures in favor of theoretical ones. Yes, tearing down dominating power structures and replacing them with equality and liberty is a good thing, but that involves tearing down actual, existing power structures; what works I've read that have used the term "kyriarchy" strike me as being more interested in talking in the abstract about power than in examining how power is instantiated and how to erode it.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:54 PM on March 4, 2010


this idea that we should just go about being gender-blind, calling out nastiness wherever we see it, with equal intensity in all cases

Isn't that exactly what we should be doing? Explain to me how not calling out any wrong makes sense. Because in my sense of right and wrong, wrongs, perpetrated by whomever, should be called out.

More importantly, I fail to see how pointing out rising trends of misandry in our culture harms women. Just as with the the misogyny in our culture, where it is often the women editors of the women's magazines who portray women in misogynistic ways, it is often male advertising types who portray men in misandroginistic ways.

By failing to point out this trend, one reinforces stereotypes of feminism as "women just trying to get their piece at the expense of men" which, to me it is not--it is women working to free both men and women from attitudes which harm women--and society as a whole. Needless to say, to convince the remaining men who think feminism is wrong, stating that misandry need not be addressed will not help.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:56 PM on March 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


"kyriarchy" is a useful and interesting term, but I fear that the use of it elides the existence of actual power structures in favor of theoretical ones.

How is the idea of the kyriarchy in any sense any more or less theoretical than the idea of the patriarchy?
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:57 PM on March 4, 2010


"kyriarchy" is a useful and interesting term, but I fear that the use of it elides the existence of actual power structures in favor of theoretical ones.

I could be wrong about this, but I've always understood kyriarchy to be simply an expansion of the idea of oppressive systems - it takes into account not only male over female oppression (patriarchy), but also race, ability, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, etc. I believe the term came about when the discussion of power structures sought to be accommodating to intersectionality.
posted by SugarAndSass at 1:58 PM on March 4, 2010


I just want to reiterate that I think these ads are crap, and serve to aid and abet stereotyping/discrimination against an already discriminated against class (women). If men are brutes and assholes who piss in the sink* and who cannot cook or clean or take care of a child without it being a disaster, then that means it is woman who must clean up after them (buy Ajax™, ladies!), cook for them (Betty Crocker® has everything you need) and take care of the kids like god rightfully intended (religious text of your choosing, on sale now at Wal-Mart™)

But still, when I head into work and we have a party, it's the women cleaning up. In an average workplace, the women are probably making less. The head of the company is likely a man. The women are expected to take a day off and take care of the children when they are sick. There are always exceptions but people who have worked in different cities and states will likely find these situations familiar.

or, kind of what SugarAndSass said.

*sorry
posted by cashman at 2:00 PM on March 4, 2010


I think what Pope Guilty brought up about men being harmed by patriarchy starts to get to the heart of the matter. Patriarchy lays out what men and women are supposed to be. It privileges all things masculine and diparages the feminine.

Unfortunately, under patriarchy we've constructed this completely messed up idea of what "masculine" is - partially because it is often seen as the opposite of feminine. To be "feminine," under the patriarchal understanding of it, is to be weak, dependent, quiet, innocent, submissive, clean, demure, caring, thoughtful, etc, etc, etc. Therefore, to be "masculine" is to be strong, indepedent, loud, aggressive, dominating, dirty, brazen, uncaring and unthinking. These, and more, are the traits portrayed in the ads and said to be "misandry."


This is the heart of what I am getting at. At the core of all of this is the desire for easy ways to address the complex issues involved in how each person interacts with one another. People fall back on these attitudes because they are easy to deal with and allow us to reduce our anxiety by allowing us to interact with one-dimensional carciatures instread of real people. That is how misogyny and misandry really manifest themselves for each and everyone of us. The reason that misoandry has had a lesser cultural presence is because men have traditionally controlled cultural outlets. However, its no surprise that as women have gained access to control of cultural outlets and have gained the economic power that requires the culture to both acknowledge them and seek their dollars, that they fall into the same human pattern of stereotyping than men have in the past.

People need to be trained to have the emotional strength to relate to real people as they are and to get away from these stereotyped portrayals be they man, woman, black, white, asian, you name it.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:04 PM on March 4, 2010 [5 favorites]


The reason I think the word "kyriarchy" elides existing structures is because it's a metadescriptor for the actual structures. I feel that this encourages us to speak about domination as an abstract concept rather than specific instantiations of it.

Or to analogize, it seems to me to be like getting into a car accident and talking about "injury" rather than about your broken leg, concussion, and bruised ribs.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:05 PM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think in this instance that balance is nicely struck by calling out these ads as pretty crappy and unpleasant, but in no sense as bad as a vast amount of misogynistic messages in the culture. That's all I think anyone on my side of the debate is saying here

Good. Based on that comment, I don't think you and I have much disagreement here.

I mean, I'm frankly not that interested in debating who suffers from worse disadvantages -- men who are tarred as [the things men are tarred as] or women who are stereotyped as [the things women are stereotyped as]. I find it a little weird how, whenever one of these threads comes up, a bunch of people feel the need to make a bunch of standard feminist points about "patriarchy," "privilege," women getting the short end of the stick, and so on, as if that at all mitigates the problems with bad societal messages about men.

And if you're wondering why I'm particularly interested in talking about the negative messages about men, just so you know, here's why: because I've heard the standard feminist points a million times, and I find most of them pretty obvious.

I mean, if some people would be happier if I would add on to the millions of Metafilter comments that make standard feminist points, I'll go ahead: there's a power structure that's oppressed women worldwide for millennia on all sorts of levels, economically, socially, and physically; we should look for oppression of women throughout the world and do what we can to stamp it out -- yes, fine, you'll get no argument from me on any of that.

It's just that when these things are brought up in a thread where they're barely relevant, I find them rather dull and besides the point. If someone wants to start another thread about how X-Y-and-Z bad stereotypes about women are still all-too-common, that's fine, more power to you, let's go ahead and have that discussion. I just think that seems like something that merits a whole thread unto itself (to say the least).
posted by Jaltcoh at 2:05 PM on March 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


but in no sense as bad as a vast amount of misogynistic messages in the culture. That's all I think anyone on my side of the debate is saying here — as a corrective to the notion that there's something morally wrong about failing to respond with absolutely equal rage to all instances of misogyny and misandry.

Why would we not respond equally to stereotyping be it racist, sexist or otherwise? I do not understand how an individual manifestation of misandry is less bad than an individual manifestation of misogyny. It simply isn't possible. It is just a question of numbers and control.

Not only that, but these things create the kind of teachable moments that things like the California Marriage Protection Act (prohibiting divorce) are designed to do. How better to demonstrate the corrosive effects of mysogyny to men by showing how similar attitudes are applied to men in the culture?
posted by Ironmouth at 2:11 PM on March 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


I watched the ad and wasn't offended. If there's a blanket statement about men in there for some reason i failed to respond to it. I can't see what possible threat or hatred there is in this message about condoms.

I think that there are several huge cliches that will have to be dealt with, such as all men are pigs, men just want sex, men don't have feelings (amazing when I heard a female friend tell me that her friends actually thought that!), if a man does not get a hard on/have an orgasm it means something is wrong with the women, female infidelity is driven by males not doing the wrong thing, if a man doesn't ask you out it means he's not interested and men are never scared of being hurt enought to avoid asking out a woman, and, of course, men cannot be insecure.
hug?
posted by ServSci at 2:11 PM on March 4, 2010


I don't think that people who want to discuss misandry are doing it to undermine a discussion of misogyny. In my experience, people who have thought about misandry are often ardent feminists. Also, the misogynists who casually say stuff like, "a woman's place is in the kitchen, am I right?" will turn around and say "of course I want sex. all guys want sex."
posted by anonymuk at 2:13 PM on March 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


Men are harmed in some ways by patriarchy, but to suggest that they are oppressed by it is absurd.

Really? Men have historically been granted privilege on condition that they and their bodies are exploited to further the economic interests of power, whether that's being cannon fodder for some imperial adventure or risking your life in the bottom of a mine to generate profits for Wall Street. Men who resist are branded as cowards, deranged, criminals or traitors, and all "good men" are required to do their patriotic/patriarchal duty and protect women from them.

The sexist idea is that women are weaker and need men to protect them. But what do they need protection from? Men who are marginalized and exploited, and react to their conditions to threaten hegemonic power: usually blacks, slaves, native peoples under colonial regimes, etc.
posted by AlsoMike at 2:15 PM on March 4, 2010 [7 favorites]


The reason I think the word "kyriarchy" elides existing structures is because it's a metadescriptor for the actual structures. I feel that this encourages us to speak about domination as an abstract concept rather than specific instantiations of it.

I see where you're coming from here, but I do think it's useful to have an umbrella term for when there several power structures are affecting a single situation. I think kyriarchy also helps bring to light the idea that the total effect of different systems of oppressions on a situation is greater than the sum of its parts. Anyone who is talking solely about kyriarchy when addressing an individual situation is doing it wrong.

To use your analogy of an injury, say someone got into a crash and had a punctured lung caused by a broken rib - talking about either one of those alone wouldn't do much good, and together to cause a much more serious injury than just either one of those alone. Also, sort of related, you can't really address one without addressing the other. Intersectionality is fun!
posted by SugarAndSass at 2:17 PM on March 4, 2010


Men are harmed in some ways by patriarchy, but to suggest that they are oppressed by it is absurd.

Ah, this is really splitting hairs. If you're systematically "harmed" by a social structure, you're "oppressed" by it. I mean, you're free to use whatever words you want, but as far as I can tell, this is just "6 of one, half a dozen of the other."
posted by Jaltcoh at 2:18 PM on March 4, 2010


The reason I think the word "kyriarchy" elides existing structures is because it's a metadescriptor for the actual structures. I feel that this encourages us to speak about domination as an abstract concept rather than specific instantiations of it.

The problem with this approach is that there are no structures that exist. You mistake the human mind's ability to generalize for a reality that does not exist. We talk this way because we find it easier to analyze these situations by generalizing. In that sense, speaking of 'structures' helps us. But when one mistakes the descriptor itself for an actual thing, with actual, provable existence, it discredits the position that these ideas have cultural currency, because these structures have no real existence. A denyer can say, "where is the structure" and the defender cannot in good intellectual faith show a picture of it. Simple deconstructionst analysis.

There are huge numbers of men with misogynistic attitudes which are the result of their interaction with the large numbers of men and women who share these attitudes. The idea is to demonstrate, with intellectual rigor, that these ideas are shared by many. By concentrating on the ideas held by persons and how those ideas affect individual behavior, we get somewhere. By referring to our descriptors as having real existence, we help those who would rather not see that these attitudes have currency.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:19 PM on March 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


If there's a blanket statement about men in there for some reason i failed to respond to it.

From the blog post:

The end tagline is literally: “Guys are a@#$%^&. Be Safe. Every time.”

Imagine an ad that said, "Girls/women are [any negative term you can think of]." Would that be acceptable? I don't think so.
posted by Jaltcoh at 2:21 PM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I find it a little weird how, whenever one of these threads comes up, a bunch of people feel the need to make a bunch of standard feminist points about "patriarchy," "privilege," women getting the short end of the stick, and so on, as if that at all mitigates the problems with bad societal messages about men.

Exactly. There seems to be the perception of a zero-sum game for the pointing out of bullshit. If that's the case, its a race to the bottom and all spoils to the current oppressor.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:22 PM on March 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


I watched the ad and wasn't offended. If there's a blanket statement about men in there for some reason i failed to respond to it. I can't see what possible threat or hatred there is in this message about condoms.

I think that there are several huge cliches that will have to be dealt with, such as all men are pigs, men just want sex, men don't have feelings (amazing when I heard a female friend tell me that her friends actually thought that!), if a man does not get a hard on/have an orgasm it means something is wrong with the women, female infidelity is driven by males not doing the wrong thing, if a man doesn't ask you out it means he's not interested and men are never scared of being hurt enought to avoid asking out a woman, and, of course, men cannot be insecure.

hug?


I'm speaking in general about the perception of rising misandry in the culture. There's no need to avoid dealing with the actual points I'm making by trying to assert that my positions are based on some psychological issue, not actual observations. Red herrings aren't advancing the debate here, which has otherwise been excellent.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:25 PM on March 4, 2010


The problem with this approach is that there are no structures that exist.

What of the lingering effects of historical oppression caused by individuals, though? There are certain things that affect individual's today that are not the result of individuals today actively oppressing them. I suppose one could argue that we oppress through inaction by not actively seeking to right past wrongs... But even so, the fact that you have to act to address inequalities seems to support the idea that structures of oppression exist. Obviously, the structures cannot exist on their own and do not appear out of nowhere. These structures were created. However, to say that they do not exist at all in any real way is to ignore the "invisible" aspects of racism, sexism, and other oppressions.
posted by SugarAndSass at 2:27 PM on March 4, 2010


Ironmouth: I do not understand how an individual manifestation of misandry is less bad than an individual manifestation of misogyny.

Jaltcoh: Imagine an ad that said, "Girls/women are [any negative term you can think of]." Would that be acceptable? I don't think so.

OK, I'm outta here. I think if you can't or won't even see the argument that radically different contexts bestow completely different meanings and impacts on individual acts of stereotyping, then we're just too far apart on a basic question of perspective. (If you want to argue that the contexts are in fact not as radically different as I'm claiming, or that there is some other important reason for not letting these different contexts influence one's assessment of the badness of an individual instance of stereotyping, that's another matter.)
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 2:28 PM on March 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


If there's a blanket statement about men in there for some reason i failed to respond to it.

From the blog post:

The end tagline is literally: “Guys are a@#$%^&. Be Safe. Every time.”


I'm certain the poster just didn't notice it. That's exactly how these stereotypes work--they are so insidious that nobody sees them. Really feminism is the cause of this in one sense--in that it has caused us to be sensitive to these sorts of messages in ways that we were not before.

Just think about how a line like "Guys are a@#$%^&. Be Safe. Every time" effects the culture. Messages like this are at the core of "Nice guy" syndrome--the idea that if one does not behave like this stereotype they are entitled to a particular woman's affection.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:29 PM on March 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


"The Dodge Charger ad just proves that anyone who buys those cars are just pathetic human beings."

Can you explain the reasoning here? The people buying a car are pathetic because of an ad they may never have seen or wasn't even shown in their country? Are they pathetic only if they bought the car after the ad was shown or is it retroactive?
posted by Mitheral at 2:29 PM on March 4, 2010


OK, I'm outta here. I think if you can't or won't even see the argument that radically different contexts bestow completely different meanings and impacts on individual acts of stereotyping, then we're just too far apart on a basic question of perspective.

Same.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:36 PM on March 4, 2010


OK, I'm outta here. I think if you can't or won't even see the argument that radically different contexts bestow completely different meanings and impacts on individual acts of stereotyping, then we're just too far apart on a basic question of perspective. (If you want to argue that the contexts are in fact not as radically different as I'm claiming, or that there is some other important reason for not letting these different contexts influence one's assessment of the badness of an individual instance of stereotyping, that's another matter.)

Are you arguing that a person who is hurt by stereotyping or racism somehow feels less if they happen to be part of a group that traditionally oppressed others? I just can't see that. There are multiple contexts to be discussed, not just the social context. Only if you ignore the indivdual contextof this can you come to that conclusion.

Take the legal side of things. I do employment law. Very occasionally I see cases of reverse discrimination, or discrimination of light-skinned v. dark skinned African-Americans (the so-called paper bag test). These are both real and capable of being remedied by law. However, claims of reverse discrimination based on affirmative action are wrong becasue the discriminatory intent is "good" in that it is done to remedy past discrimination. So any group can discriminate against another--if you don't agree, look at the law. A hispanic male cannot specify only hispanic males to work in a job ad just becasue he wants to work only with hispanic males. Perhaps you disagree with this position, but it is the law of the land.

It is the number and history of wrongs against a particular group that creates the problem of group oppression. Those numbers do not somehow make the act of stereotyping less bad on the part of someone else. That's special pleading. The idea is that you need to reduce the numbers of all instances of this behavior and calling out bs is calling out bs. The more generalized it is the better.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:42 PM on March 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yeah. There's really only one important question here.

Why don't women like Rush?

I used to have a test for girls I was interested in. I would ask them if they liked:

Rush
Black Licorice
Coconut

I never found one that liked all three. This fueled, and continues to fuel, my assertion that men and women are fundamentally different on some very basic level. If there were only some way to prove it, conclusively, with science and not metaphor. Hmmmmm.......
posted by SinisterPurpose at 2:45 PM on March 4, 2010


SinisterPurpose: does that mean my girlfriend is twice the man I am?
posted by aspo at 2:52 PM on March 4, 2010


Imagine an ad that said, "Girls/women are [any negative term you can think of]." Would that be acceptable? I don't think so.

No it wouldn't be acceptable, although it happens in almost every commercial including this one. The point is that (a particular version of ) masculinity is normative in our society. People inhabiting the normative position are blind to it, it is just normal. Contrast the token woman or token POC who stands in for every person of that "type", defined in opposition to the normal, does one man stand in for all men? really?

I'm not asking a social question here, but a personal one: When you see something like this do you identify with the men as depicted?

Even with the inflamatory tagline, do you really feel they someone has attacked you personally? that the next time you're out in bar a woman who has seen the ad will think you're a pig like those dude-pigs she sees in condom ads...

Really? Are you worried?

I'm not being a jerk, here...(not intentionally) what I'm trying to do is point to the difference in social status/class whatever you want to call it that (in general) frees the dominant group from these concerns. If you actually feel threatened and hurt by these representations then I'm sorry i was flippant about it. I'm just going on my feelings about the material and my history of reading "men's movement" screeds on the internet.

If you have some theoretical concern about it but aren't actually emotionally affected, then all I can say is that I think the comparison you are making in the bit i quoted above is mistaken, for obvious reasons...

... Maybe not so obvious, actually, I'll spell it out: for someone identified as non-normal (non-straight white male) in our society that type of negative representation would actually threaten them, personally, they would feel it... not a "theoretical concern"... actual fear, discouragement, disgust, anger, whatever... it would actually offend them... not internet outrage, either: actual feelings.

I can't pretend this has anything like that effect on me.
posted by ServSci at 2:56 PM on March 4, 2010



SinisterPurpose: does that mean my girlfriend is twice the man I am?

Yes. But read the rest of the thread. Society is already telling you that. I just have a test. I'm thinking of writing a nasty little script that implements that test. If you answer incorrectly to any of the questions, you get locked out of your porn.

Because you don't deserve it.
posted by SinisterPurpose at 2:59 PM on March 4, 2010


Pope Guilty: "...anything resembling the sort of misogynistic hate aimed at women by this society..."

...Like being eaten by a mascot?
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 3:03 PM on March 4, 2010


I'm not asking a social question here, but a personal one: When you see something like this do you identify with the men as depicted?

Even with the inflamatory tagline, do you really feel they someone has attacked you personally? that the next time you're out in bar a woman who has seen the ad will think you're a pig like those dude-pigs she sees in condom ads...

Really? Are you worried?


Hard as it is to admit--yes. Here's the secret of men--yes we are often insecure. Yes we often wonder if the women at the bar think we are pigs. Of fucking course. Why wouldn't we be afraid of being rejected? Just read the AskMe's out there. "Does this guy like me?, I would swear its true, I like him and we go out but he never makes a move." And then there are ten answers from both men and women "If he doesn't make a move he doesn't like you" or even worse "If he can't make a move on you he isn't worth it. You deserve to have a man who isn't afraid of getting hurt!" Commercials like this exist.

I'm supposed to not care and not be bothered by these things, but if you don't think guys internalize this stuff and worry in exactly the manner you suggest, then you aren't paying attention.

We are human beings. We don't want to be hurt. We're not supposed to admit it, in fact the assassins are on their way to take me out for spilling the beans right now--but yes we have real emotions.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:06 PM on March 4, 2010 [8 favorites]


I'm not asking a social question here, but a personal one: When you see something like this do you identify with the men as depicted?

Only a little bit. It's easier for a man to act outside of society's stereotypes for maleness than for a woman and femininity, but it still takes a lot of effort.
posted by aspo at 3:11 PM on March 4, 2010


I'm just going on my feelings about the material and my history of reading "men's movement" screeds on the internet.

The very existence of screeds themselves proves your point. Who the hell spends all of their time writting crap like that other than people who have been very hurt by women and then generalize their experience to all women?

As I mentioned up thread, I was having a conversation with a female friend a couple of years ago about her friend who was totally playing a male friend of theirs. She said to the woman "you know you are hurting his feelings right?" The woman literally responded "They have feelings? I sort of assumed they they didn't because of how I got treated before."

Where anyone would get the idea that somehow our "privileged position within the patriarchy" would somehow make us immune to the fearful messages these ads send out is beyond me. Do I get a card that allows me to feel better than everyone else because I'm a man? I haven't gotten this card, ever.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:11 PM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: I wanted to write about orgasms today.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 3:15 PM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


“The sexist idea is that women are weaker and need men to protect them. But what do they need protection from?”
Exactly. The oppressors are typically just as bound to the system and as exploited by it as the oppressed. No matter who's being oppressed, there's always going to be a need for 'protection' because the exclusion is inherent in participation.

Try explaining to someone why paying women less money at work is a bad thing. On the moral and equality grounds, usually the argument is ceded.
But some people will say men work more, are expected to support families more, whatever – there are a host of reasons with varying degrees of legitimacy or illegitimacy.
But the big reason for equal pay is that if you can pay women less, you can get away with paying men less.
Because in general people will accept less money overall if they’re making more than someone else.
And that’s the essence of this kind of thing.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:18 PM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Alright. Sorry about being flippant. I guess this just isn't something I'm all that sensitive about. Sorry for not understanding your feelings right away... it did seem unlikely to me that that was the problem but if you say it is then I have no real choice but to accept it.
posted by ServSci at 3:18 PM on March 4, 2010


Only a little bit. It's easier for a man to act outside of society's stereotypes for maleness than for a woman and femininity, but it still takes a lot of effort.

Really? Superficially this doesn't seem true, but that could of course be very misleading. I'm interested to read examples of this.
posted by ODiV at 3:20 PM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


One of my personal favorite answers I gave on AskMe:

Aaaaah male insecurity, we dare not speak its name

And if you look at the larger question, you see exactly what I'm talking about--he totally takes natural fears that someone in an LTR might not be faithful, a totally normal fear and he beats himself up about it.

Everybody gets affected by this stuff. Everyone.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:24 PM on March 4, 2010


if you say it is then I have no real choice but to accept it.

how understanding.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:24 PM on March 4, 2010


Where anyone would get the idea that somehow our "privileged position within the patriarchy" would somehow make us immune to the fearful messages these ads send out is beyond me.

I'm just saying that "our" and "us" that you use there, identifying yourself with all men, strikes me as weird. Feeling authorized to divulge your personal feelings using the inclusive plural "we" ("Yes we often wonder if the women at the bar think we are pigs.") and brand them as the "secrets of men" to another man (me) ... also weird.

I'm not saying it's objectively weird, just not something i do... a difference in stance if you like. I don't need to represent men or be represented by some random dude, ever. If someone says something like that to me it obviously has to be a joke. Again, I'm not trying to say you need to be like this, just pointing out the difference. So that's why i first interpreted your complaining as masked aggression against feminism, instead of recognizing your hurt feelings.
posted by ServSci at 3:29 PM on March 4, 2010


Alright. Sorry about being flippant. I guess this just isn't something I'm all that sensitive about. Sorry for not understanding your feelings right away... it did seem unlikely to me that that was the problem but if you say it is then I have no real choice but to accept it.

Put another way, what do you think the purpose of all of these misogynist attitudes are? It is to insulate men from some realities than women have to face daily. Because the men are scared and want to control to make things easier for themselves.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:30 PM on March 4, 2010


Can you explain the reasoning here?

This thread is too fighty. It's also a massive sausage fest.
posted by KokuRyu at 3:31 PM on March 4, 2010


I'm just saying that "our" and "us" that you use there, identifying yourself with all men, strikes me as weird. Feeling authorized to divulge your personal feelings using the inclusive plural "we" ("Yes we often wonder if the women at the bar think we are pigs.") and brand them as the "secrets of men" to another man (me) ... also weird.

But isn't that the same position feminists take relative to the mysogynist messages out there, that all women are affected by this?

What's really weird was how hard it was for me to type that that stuff did bother me. I hesitated--so strange. As if admitting it to a woman on a message board would somehow put me in a terrible position somehow. That somehow you would learn my secret that yes, I get afraid of getting hurt in these situations.

If the advertisers didn't expect that the fear would work to get men to buy condoms, why would they put that out there?
posted by Ironmouth at 3:33 PM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


As if admitting it to a woman on a message board would somehow put me in a terrible position somehow.

Dude, snap out of it.
posted by ServSci at 3:45 PM on March 4, 2010


“This thread is too fighty. It's also a massive sausage fest.”
You want to see a fighty sausage fest, I took my Dodge Charger up to Whitewater, Wisconsin and hung out at Dan’s. That place is a total meat market.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:50 PM on March 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


As if admitting it to a woman on a message board would somehow put me in a terrible position somehow.

Dude, snap out of it.


Seriously isn't that the kind of bs must be macho shit we've been talking about? I can't admit that sometimes it is hard to do these things? Its normal.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:01 PM on March 4, 2010


Men are pigs, but it has nothing to do with sex or condoms.

It's about not being able to hit the bowl when taking a leak.
posted by bwg at 4:15 PM on March 4, 2010


Sorry the "snap out of it" was specifically directed your response to me, which you characterized as "admitting to a woman on a message board", telling me the secret about men having feelings, etc...

I'm not asking you to be macho, just curious about the non-existent woman you are having this conversation with.

I can't tell anymore if all your responses are targeted at a hypothetical female readership or if they are actually address to the guy whose comments you are quoting. If they are targetted at me, you can drop the "You see, we men are like this..." bit, because, being a man, I don't need to be told that you're afraid to talk to girls at a party... Again, being macho has nothing to do with it, just stop talking like you speak for men in general, when obviously I disagree. you can be upset about the commercial if you want, but it's not men who are upset and insecure, it's you.
posted by ServSci at 4:22 PM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


but it's not men who are upset and insecure, it's you.

Well, it's certainly not all men (after all, very little applies to all men). But it's hardly just him either. I have felt the same way and so have a lot of other guys I know. I'm married now, but I was always extremely insecure about this sort of thing before that.
posted by wildcrdj at 4:37 PM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why don't women like Rush?

It's not Rush they don't like, it's the air drumming. Or air guitar.

It's exactly the same thing with little boys who don't want to play "tea party" with the little girl, the teddy bear and the Barbie.
posted by bwg at 4:43 PM on March 4, 2010


"This sort of thing" being approaching strangers or negative stereotypes in advertising?
posted by ServSci at 4:50 PM on March 4, 2010


but it's not men who are upset and insecure, it's you.

Why don't we just tell all the women who are upset at the crap they have to see on TV for that? Because it isn't all women who are insecure . . .

Do you see what I'm getting at? Somehow women are affected by these stereotypes and presentations but men never are nor could be.

You know yes, sometimes I feel insecure. What is so wrong about that?

I'm also going to bet that, whether you like to admit it or not, you do too. Around women, in situations with other men, etc. Somehow I doubt you are so perfect that these messages never affect you.

Indeed, I think the penis enlargement industry depends on male insecurity, as well as the hair replacement industry.

Seen those Axe commericials? Teen boys are supposed to now get "girl-approved hair."

But this has no effect, and these huge ad agencies are just wasting their money.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:07 PM on March 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


[few comments removed - specific issues with specific mefites need to go to email or metatalk, thanks]
posted by jessamyn at 5:43 PM on March 4, 2010


"By the same token, would you say that no one should refer to prejudice against lesbians because society has a greater prejudice against gay men? Would you say no one should refer to prejudice against black women because there are even greater prejudices against black men? Would you say that no one should refer to society's insufficient concern for female rape victims because there's an even greater lack of concern for male rape victims? I'm pretty sure you wouldn't say any of these things, because such statements would be transparent attempts to shut down debate on legitimate issues."

I would say that it is important to be careful about talking about discrimination faced by one's own group, especially if that group is historically privileged, in the context of a larger discussion about discrimination, because there's very much the risk of a rhetorical false equivalency and because that sort of derailment has historically been a rhetorical strategy to both minimize the problems of oppressed groups and to deny them remedies. That context means that if you don't take the time to acknowledge the greater discussion that has to happen on, say, misogyny when discussing misandry, it's far easier to dismiss legitimate grievances as self-serving attempts to hijack the language of equality and civil rights in ways that ultimately only reinforce the status quo.

Given that the status quo is a poor one for both women and men, that means that men concerned with misandry should both be concerned with misogyny and be vocal about acknowledging that context, arguably more vocal than they would be in discussing something in which they had no personal stake. Women are largely exempted from this rhetorical requirement by dint of the existing power structure massively favoring men.

And that's a lesson that a lot of Metafilter men who engage in gender discussions should take to heart—if you want to be heard for your ideas on this topic, it's incredibly important to be respectful of the context that feminism provides, and to not come across as a dismissive, tone-deaf asshole, because the risk is real and imminent, and the language of opposing misandry is so congruent with so many anti-feminist arguments, that sloppy rhetoric only makes things worse and alienates potential allies.
posted by klangklangston at 5:45 PM on March 4, 2010 [17 favorites]


You know yes, sometimes I feel insecure. What is so wrong about that?

Nothing, nothing, as long as you speak for yourself.

I'm also going to bet that, whether you like to admit it or not, you do too. Around women, in situations with other men, etc. Somehow I doubt you are so perfect that these messages never affect you.

I'm sure they affect me, too, just not the way they affect social minorities. Belief it or not they pander to me. Did you notice what the pig turned into when he got the condom, when he turned into a desirable sex partner? he turned into a young white guy. Just like me.
posted by ServSci at 5:58 PM on March 4, 2010


I think that Jaltcoh is using the word "oppression" in a different sense than Pope Guilty and game warden to the events rhino. Assuming that, between the three of you, you could never all agree on the meaning of this particular term, how would you continue this discussion?

I don't know how many people are still interested in this back-and-forth, but if you really want to know, I'll tell you: I don't think we really disagree about the meaning of the word "oppression." We just disagree about whether it's OK to perceive evidence of it being done against men.

For example, if women were forced to fight (and sometimes die) in wars, I'm sure they would call that oppression. And I'd agree. But I'm willing to call it oppression when it's done to men too.

So I guess you could say they have a different meaning of the term, in that they find it unpalatable to apply it to men. In that sense, it's similar to debating whether the word "waiter" can mean male and female waitstaff, or just male waitstaff. They're free to use words however they want, but I'm also free to dismiss it as glib political correctness, and I do.
posted by Jaltcoh at 6:17 PM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


"They're free to use words however they want, but I'm also free to dismiss it as glib political correctness, and I do."

That you're free to doesn't mean you're right—it's just as easy to dismiss your reasoning as glib and facile. Given that military service has traditionally been normatively male, the exclusion of women is thereby oppressing them from a full freedom of choice in vocation. Arguing that men are being oppressed ignores the context of andronormativism with regard to the historical structure of societies.

I think we both agree that restricting combat to men is sexist and foolish, but taking something where women have been traditionally excluded due to a larger view of gender roles and arguing that it actually is oppressing men isn't striking a blow against glib political correctness, but rather engaging in glib contrarianism that undermines your larger and correct point. It's not too difficult to further argue that this glib reasoning on your part is situated in a larger context of unexamined privilege (hence a blindness to andronormativism)—that may or may not be supportable, I don't know you well enough to make a broader case, but given how snarkily dismissive you can come across, it's not an unwarranted riposte.
posted by klangklangston at 6:26 PM on March 4, 2010


Women were NOT oppressed when no one gave them white feathers in WWI. Women were NOT oppressed when they were not drafted to Vietnam.

Men may have traditionally faced fewer disadvantages than women, but this is definitely one of them. Also, the Titanic -- when you were more likely to survive as a third class woman than as a first class man.
posted by jb at 6:41 PM on March 4, 2010


As a woman, I actually find it really difficult to read about soldiers in WWI, because of the overwhelming guilt I feel -- I know that I never would have been asked to experience that.
posted by jb at 6:43 PM on March 4, 2010


It's tricky, right? I have these conversations with my more radical friends about gay marriage. I absolutely think gay marriage should be a right and etc etc. I have more radical friends who are sort of technically "against" gay marriage only because they're basically against all marriage [state-sponsored benefits, bla bla] and so they think this is a way forward. They also aren't quite in favor of gays in the military for the same reason, the more people not in the military the better. They favor equal rights but have differing ideas about how we get to a more just society for everyone.

Isn't it more fair if no one has to be in the military, by dint of their gender, their economic status, their race, whathave you? Sure. But in order to start dismantling the system, you sort of have to argue whether you're even starting form a position where everyone has access to the system. Women got out of the draft, sure. This was because they were stuck in a larger system that essentially thought they were less valuable to the country, less valuable in the workplace, etc. Saying someone might have lived during an oceanliner disaster because of their gender is really cold comfort when you'd survive the wreck and still COULDN'T VOTE.
posted by jessamyn at 6:49 PM on March 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


jessamyn -- until 1867, the vast majority of men (in Britain) could not vote. It was the extension of the vote to first middle class, then lower class men which got suffragism going.

Which is funny, because before the first Reform Act of 1832, women could vote -- provided that they met the franchise requirements. This was extremely rare, but it occasionally happened.

And I'd actually rather survive an ocean liner disaster and not serve two years later in WW1 than be able to vote.
posted by jb at 6:55 PM on March 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


klangstonklangston, responding to me, said:

Given that the status quo is a poor one for both women and men, that means that men concerned with misandry should both be concerned with misogyny and be vocal about acknowledging that context, arguably more vocal than they would be in discussing something in which they had no personal stake. Women are largely exempted from this rhetorical requirement by dint of the existing power structure massively favoring men.

I'm sorry, but I think your comment reveals exactly what's wrong with Metafilter discussions of gender (and many other issues). You've revealed it more plainly than is usually done. You're saying women get a free pass because it's assumed that they're enlightened, but men have to jump through extra hoops to prove that they're not one of those typical bad men. And let's admit it: there isn't even an adequate set of hoops that people (men or women) can jump through on this site and be able to feel comfortable posting comments that go against the grain of the echo chamber (if you'll excuse the mixed metaphors). (Also, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt that you didn't read this comment of mine.)

The proof of this is in the reaction to comments that are at all perceived to be incongruous with feminism. (Emphasis on "perceived"; in reality, few of my beliefs about men are inconsistent with those of Bell Hooks.) The reaction is rarely if ever: "Wait a minute, I see your point about such-and-such, but surely you're not implying that [whatever people are concerned with]?" No, it's Chris Rock jokes and straw men and condescending lectures about patriarchy.

Now, I'll admit that your comment has swayed me to want to change my participation on the site. But not in the direction of avoiding certain statements that you think might offend the delicate sensibilities of some people. No, I've realized more and more that I still really like AskMetafilter, but the blue Metafilter is just not as good a forum for discussion as I'd like it to be. I can post a comment to AskMe and feel like maybe, just maybe, I seriously helped someone, but lately I feel like these extended debates on MeFi about gender (or race or sexual orientation or ____) aren't going to help anyone do anything other than feel emboldened about their preexisting political/sociological views. As this thread and so many others show, anyone who has a perspective that's slightly off from the Metafilter mainstream -- even one that's actually quite compatible with that mainstream but just sounds challenging to it -- gets slammed down by so much snark and bluster and straw men and uncharitable interpretations that it's just not worth it. Oh, it's possible to be heard expressing surprising points of view, but so often I feel like I have to put up sooo much text just to sorta-kinda-half make a point.

I'm not saying I'll never post on the blue again or that I think anyone would care if I didn't (I'm sure few if any people would; some might prefer it), but it's comments like yours, klangstonklangston, that remind me that it's generally not worth it. I consider myself quite left-leaning, and quite feminist, but it's not worth my time to try to engage in this kind of discussion on this forum when there are so many more productive things to do in life.
posted by Jaltcoh at 7:00 PM on March 4, 2010 [12 favorites]


Did you notice what the pig turned into when he got the condom...

I have no problem with that ad, and thought it was cute and clever.

Oh and to be clear, I'm not saying that men are oppressed. What I'm saying is shit like the "Guys are A$#%*s" ad are promoting negative stereotypes about men, and I think that hurts both men and women. And yes, there's a different power balance between misogyny and misandry, that doesn't mean that misandry doesn't exist nor that it can't be harmful.

I mean really, did you see the ad?
posted by aspo at 7:13 PM on March 4, 2010


PC is misandrist.
posted by HTuttle at 7:16 PM on March 4, 2010


And then you get people like HTuttle that make you wish you'd never said anything that could be even remotely associated with him.
posted by aspo at 7:24 PM on March 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


Oh one last thing, because I can't seem to shut up today. At the end of the ad, when the woman is kind of hinting about how she's kind of hoping to get pregnant? That's not exactly a shining moment of female empowerment.
posted by aspo at 7:28 PM on March 4, 2010


You people are awesome. Here I've spent a whole day writing a paper on masculinity and whoosh!

I think stereotypes are stupid. I try not to think in terms of good and bad because honestly I don't think good and bad exist. But they're stupid, and they hurt people. Anybody getting hit by a stereotype is hurt by it. So... we stop stereotyping! Boo stereotypes! The end!

Right?

I mean, I don't think anybody here's saying misandry is worse for society than misogyny is. But it's still dumb? Right? We agree that saying "all men are assholes" is a dumb thing to say? So this commercial is dumb. Boo this commercial! The end.

Misandry's the same thing as misogyny. We can keep score and say that misogyny is beating misandry's ass, but outside of popularity they're the same thing. So they're both bad.

As a guy I think it sucks when a girl I'm talking to says "Men are all basically pigs" and says it like she genuinely thinks it's true. I'm not saying I think I'm as hated-on as other people are, because I'm an educated white male and generally couldn't be luckier. But I still don't like getting hated on.

So, in the case of that girl saying that thing, I told her I thought that was a dumb thing to say, and we let it go at that. It's not like I was making a massive social statement out of it, but are some of you really saying that men shouldn't get offended when they're stereotyped? I'm allowed to defend myself and then go back to telling my sexist friends that I feel uncomfortable when they spend three-hour conversations talking about nothing but girls' asses.

To be honest, I'm a little confused about what sides people're all taking or why they're being grar. Can somebody be the spokesperson for the people in disagreement with the idea that we should think this ad is a bad thing and explain clearly why they don't think that?
posted by Rory Marinich at 7:30 PM on March 4, 2010 [5 favorites]


Well I'm not the spokesperson for anybody but me, but my point was that it is a problem, albeit a very minor one. However, I do think that it is a complimentary angle, so to speak, of the stereotypes women face. I brought up the Chris Rock joke that rankled a few feathers. The best comedy is insight to me. I didn't bring it up as a straw man or to belittle - I bring it up often because it was and is a great insight.

It's funny to me, because there were other threads where stereotypes about men were being thrown around. Not by some unknown ad agency, paid for by unknown people, but by metafilter members. Funny enough, some of the strongest "but men are oppressed too" people were in the thread and said almost nothing about the numerous, numerous stereotypes that appeared in the 350 comments. Though my statements in this here thread are getting taken like I don't care about male stereotypes, funny enough I was the one that was loudly protesting the male stereotypes in that thread. And even after everybody else stopped, I still kept protesting the male stereotypes. The thread had first-person stereotypes, where people could be directly confronted. Where comments about male stereotypes would actually have an effect on the way MeFi handles things. Maybe they had an awakening since then, I don't know. But I did make some of the same arguments (complimentary angles) I'm making in here.

I am annoyed by a few people in here acting like some of us are just throwing men by the wayside without a care. It just isn't the problem some here are alleging it to be. A jet and a model plane are both planes. But that doesn't mean they're equal. I think it is clear that I care about, have posted about, have posted numerous times about, male stereotypes. But that doesn't mean I lose a sense of scale when looking at how various problems affect society. So the ads are bad, but it just isn't time to worry about that issue on a deep level because it isn't having a deep level impact that warrants it. I'm not nearly as eloquent as some of the folks around here, sorry.
posted by cashman at 8:31 PM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Women were NOT oppressed when no one gave them white feathers in WWI. Women were NOT oppressed when they were not drafted to Vietnam.

Gay people are not oppressed that they can't serve openly in the US military?
posted by Salamandrous at 8:34 PM on March 4, 2010


By the same token, would you say that no one should refer to prejudice against lesbians because society has a greater prejudice against gay men

Ah, so at least someone's ok with talking about American/metafilter prejudices against Christians.
posted by Salamandrous at 8:36 PM on March 4, 2010


some of the strongest "but men are oppressed too" people

Yay for dismissive statements like this. At least they let everyone know that you aren't actually thinking about what anyone is writing and have already conveniently pigeonholed the people you don't agree with.
posted by aspo at 9:13 PM on March 4, 2010


Well put, cashman. I think most of us were just talking past each other in the thread.

People were saying that sexist ads targeting men weren't cool, and that's pretty much it. I didn't see anyone recommending that because these ads exist sexism is equal against both sexes or anything. I didn't see anyone advocating worrying about this on as deep a level as misogyny.

To take your plane analogy and run with it, I'm not surprised there's some pushback when you go into a thread about model planes and say, "Well you know these planes aren't comparable to actual planes. You realize they're just models, right?" Well yes, while similar, model planes really aren't real planes. But model planes are the topic of the thread and we're talking about them. It doesn't mean we're going to book our next vacation on them...

or something... I kind of lost the analogy at the end there.
posted by ODiV at 9:28 PM on March 4, 2010


Saying someone might have lived during an oceanliner disaster because of their gender is really cold comfort when you'd survive the wreck and still COULDN'T VOTE.

Because being dead is infinitely preferable to being unable to vote.

What I *do* know is that if this were a thread about a gross example of something derogatory to women, jessamyn, you'd be right in behind posters complaining about any guys who swung by to shit up the thread with their issues about discrimination against men; apparently the same courtesy isn't extended the other way around.
posted by rodgerd at 11:05 PM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's tricky, right? I have these conversations with my more radical friends about gay marriage. I absolutely think gay marriage should be a right and etc etc. I have more radical friends who are sort of technically "against" gay marriage only because they're basically against all marriage [state-sponsored benefits, bla bla] and so they think this is a way forward.

Ahhhh, the old I'm-so-radical-I've-gone-full-circle-gambit. Those conversations are kind of odd.

So the ads are bad, but it just isn't time to worry about that issue on a deep level because it isn't having a deep level impact that warrants it

FWIW, I think it is having a deep enough impact on society that it does warrant a bit of worrying. I'm going to hold my opinion on that, but I think we are going to possibly start seeing some huge social splash-back in the next couple of years regarding this subject.
posted by P.o.B. at 11:25 PM on March 4, 2010


apparently the same courtesy isn't extended the other way around.

I suspect you've misunderstood me, then. People who swung in to shit up this thread were, as usual, politely asked to take it to MeTa. Please use the flag queue or email us via the contact form if you think someone's slinging around the same old "all men are pigs" or "but let's really talk about how this affects WOMEN" bullshit in an overbearing and cavalier way and we'll axe it the same way we would if it were a thread about misogyny and the situation were reversed.
posted by jessamyn at 11:37 PM on March 4, 2010


An ad that sums up most gender-targeted advertising.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:59 AM on March 5, 2010


Are there women who engage in discrimination and misandry? Yes (indeed, I'd argue that every single woman does this too).

What? As a card-carrying woman, I'd like to say that I have never willingly discriminated against a man and if anyone could police my brain and tell me that I did so unknowingly, I'd be just as surprised as if they told me that I'm secretly a Shih Tzu.

Only a little bit. It's easier for a man to act outside of society's stereotypes for maleness than for a woman and femininity, but it still takes a lot of effort.

Hooooo boy. I would totally argue that this isn't true. What's a masculine girl called? A "tomboy." Not the greatest of terms, but nothing near the equivalent term for an effeminate boy: "sissy." Women are allowed greater freedom in edging closer to masculinity (but not too close) than men are in approaching the feminine because masculinity is valued higher in our culture and men must be man's men. Sure, women are expected to uphold a certain value of femininity and it's beaten into our heads by the consumer industrial complex from the time we're born into our pink booties, but there is a great tolerance for "tomboys" than there is for "sissies."
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:55 AM on March 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


grapefruitmoon--I'm not sure is the tomboy is more acceptable because masculinity is more valued. That was definitely the case for the acceptance -- relatively -- of cross-dressing women in the earlymodern. And it's not that I think masculinity is not more valued than femininity.

I think that the "sissy"prejudice is because masculinity is currently more narrow than femininity. Women can be seen as feminine without make-up and wearing trousers -- feminists fought for this. But there are many more restrictions on what men are allowed to do and be still seen as masculine -- just look at the crap that Weir has been subjected to.

As for the whole army thing -- yes, being kept from volunteering to serve by your gender/orientation is oppressive. But not being drafted is not. You might as well argue that white people are being oppressed by not being charged with "driving while black". The draft exists to force people to serve against their will -- it's brought in after they have run out of people who volunteer to serve.

Even where women are drafted, they may face les coercion. In Israel, a man who does not want to serve because of his conscience may be jailed; a woman is left alone.
posted by jb at 7:06 AM on March 5, 2010


Back to the original post: the "Guys are" ad is disgusting and tasteless in so many ways I can't be bothered to count them. It's one step from advocating for political lesbianism, and displays basic disregard for your sex partners as "normal" which may be misandrist and/or misogynist but is definitely mis-people-ist.
posted by jb at 7:11 AM on March 5, 2010


grapefruitmoon--I'm not sure is the tomboy is more acceptable because masculinity is more valued. That was definitely the case for the acceptance -- relatively -- of cross-dressing women in the earlymodern. And it's not that I think masculinity is not more valued than femininity.

You yourself acknowledge that men face flack for straying outside of masculinity far more than women do for gender-bending. The reason isn't that femininity is "looser" but that women don't have as much to lose. For men, to be feminine is to be less of a man, less of a person, specifically because being feminine is seen as "weaker" than being masculine.

Weir is a perfect example of this. He's getting flack that women just don't get for the same caliber of gender-bending. (I mean, hell, he's not even cross-dressing.) It's not because masculinity is more rigid, but because straying outside of it is seen as a sign of weakness. No one uses "butch" to be deragatory (though it often is) in quite the same way as "prissy." It just doesn't have the same sting. To call a man "effeminate" is to say that he's less of a man. To call a woman "butch" just doesn't have the same connotation, though certainly with the right amount of venom, it definitely can be quite a powerful accusation. Still, to stray outside the bounds of masculinity is to lose something, some "essence" of manhood. There's no corollary for abberant feminine behavior, because while it's frowned upon, you have to go much much much much MUCH farther to be seen as "less" of a woman than a man does to have his "manhood" called into question.

Think about it: if masculinity weren't a higher value in our culture, why wouldn't tomboys and sissies be equal outlaws? Why is being "effeminate" a bigger crime, unless being feminine is in and of itself seen as a lesser state of being?
posted by grapefruitmoon at 7:42 AM on March 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


"You're saying women get a free pass because it's assumed that they're enlightened, but men have to jump through extra hoops to prove that they're not one of those typical bad men. And let's admit it: there isn't even an adequate set of hoops that people (men or women) can jump through on this site and be able to feel comfortable posting comments that go against the grain of the echo chamber (if you'll excuse the mixed metaphors)."

That's exactly wrong and a petulant reading. I am not saying that women get a free pass because they're assumed to be enlightened. I am saying that women generally don't have to be as careful in how they phrase their attacks on misandry because women are not assumed to be benefiting from the status quo. That's what saying that women are massively disadvantaged by the current power structure means, and to my mind it takes an intentional attempt to pervert my meaning to read it as otherwise. You may scoff at the "typical bad men," but sites like Antimisandry.com are virulently anti-feminist. That's why the need to be careful with language exists, and why it is more pressing for men, and why it is absolutely childish to read that as a free pass for women or to decide that this means we just can't have an intelligent conversation on gender. Maybe you can't, but the rest of us can.
posted by klangklangston at 7:53 AM on March 5, 2010


gfm -- I explicitly said "And it's not that I think masculinity is not more valued than femininity." I agreed with you that it was.

BUT I think that there is more than one thing happening here. Truth is, REALLY Butch women -- not just tomboys with pigtails (of whom I would count myself) who play with gender but ultimately don't threaten it -- but really butch women wiith shaved/shorn hair, no women's clothing, ways of moving that are decidely "masculine" -- they get crapped on. FtoM transgendered people face as many problems being accepted by society as MtoF women. If it were just a matter of masculinity being more highly valued, they would be trumpetted as people who have clearly seen the light and who are apping their betters. But they aren't -- because their breaking/defiance of the gender barrier is itself a serious transgression.

I agree with you that masculinity is more highly valued than femininity -- that's why, for example, our society find men more naturally authoritative, why men's speaking patterns dominate in business and other places of power.

But I also think that women have fought for -- and won -- a wider definition of what it means to be feminine. We have more options -- we can wear ball gowns, we can wear trousers, we can wear coveralls, and still be viewed as feminine. Where we can go before we defy gender barriers is farther than men can go. Men don't have those choices. They have a narrower definition of masculinity - a smaller place to roam before they hit places where society slaps them back.

There is more than one phenomenon at work here. Even as we have a general heirarchy of gender (which has notably weakened substantially in the last forty years), there are ways in which the gender inequalities do not benefit men or masculinity. Gender never has been a simple "he's up, she's down" game.
posted by jb at 8:08 AM on March 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


You yourself acknowledge that men face flack for straying outside of masculinity far more than women do for gender-bending. The reason isn't that femininity is "looser" but that women don't have as much to lose. For men, to be feminine is to be less of a man, less of a person, specifically because being feminine is seen as "weaker" than being masculine.

I think it's both. Ever since Reebok's "You run like a girl. You throw like a girl. You serve a hundred miles an hour in their FACE like a girl" ads, there's been a strong cultural thread of women moving past and through the traditional gender-based insults to create new archetypes of womanhood. Women are celebrated for a lot of different kinds of things in this country, but men. . . I don't know. My husband is a man, but not really a "guy," and he definitely feels left out of the dominant culture (even as he recognizes how much it celebrates him) in ways that I don't.
posted by KathrynT at 9:28 AM on March 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have to say, I really, really love this thread. Although it gets a bit heated, people hear are really, really talking about gender roles and issues. Could you see this being played out in the comments on a Cosmo or Maxim article on the web? No. This is seriously good shit.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:38 AM on March 5, 2010


also, can I just add how much I hate "Home Improvement" for the very reasons we are talking about here?
posted by Ironmouth at 11:40 AM on March 5, 2010


“It's about not being able to hit the bowl when taking a leak.”
If I can’t put at least a 60 degree arc on my urine stream, that’s oppression.

“…than men are in approaching the feminine because masculinity is valued higher in our culture and men must be man's men.”

Don’t know about value, but the pressure to be a man’s man part is true.
And I say this as a guy who is pretty naturally a man’s man. Not eating nails for breakfast seems a little effeminate to me. Not what I think, but it’s how I am. Tore myself up a while back, almost collapsed a lung. Went into the hospital a few hours later (drove myself) and the doctor said I could have punctured a lung and died, and the pain must have been pretty harsh so why didn’t I come in earlier. I looked at him like he was an idiot “I wanted to finish the game.”
But it’s a catch-22. People still look at you funny for enjoying lifting weights, being in the gym, all that. Suddenly everyone wants to compete with you in every other way (How much can you bench? What kind of money do you make? What kind of car do you drive?) There’s an idealization there too which I don’t get at all.
Buddy of mine is a doctor, he performs surgery sometimes using x-rays so he wears what looks like a EOD (antibomb) suit. He hates it. Says it makes him look like a turtle. I’m thinking ‘Guy, you’re a f’ing brain surgeon. You saved someone’s life today. Who walking down the street looking sharp can say that?’ So part of it is maybe vanity.
But again, I think there’s a falsity there. The Marlboro man. Well, y’know, there are guys who are hard living bastards who work with their hands. But some rancher is more masculine than my buddy who works inside people’s skulls? I’m more of a man because I can lift heavy objects or change out the tires and throw them in the back of my jeep after hunting?
Part of it too – people seem to like to get credit for what they are, not for what they do. I’m a man’s man. Yeah, so? Like some intrinsic property should be rewarded over working hard to achieve something.
Probably why the ad companies form their ads that way. No one wants to have to bust their ass to get muscles when they can just spray on some Axe.
I think that affects men and women really. Body consciousness. Identity. All that.
It’s weird if you are the Marlboro man type though. Wear a flannel shirt. Forget to shave for a day. Change a tire on your car.
Suddenly there’s a commercial on t.v. some very good looking guy who’s probably only 5’3 in real life, with artificial 5 o’clock shadow, not a nick on him, and show muscles on his chest peeking through his open necked flannel shirt ruggedly changing a tire on a pickup with some guys high fiving each other over it and drinking beer.
Like the f’ing twilight zone.
I mean, I don’t know any guys who stand in the rain with their shirts off looking pouty and putting on cologne so the more representational masculinity not so much.
But the ‘real life’ type stuff, I do all that. Saw a soccer ad today downtown – goalie catching a ball, ‘Modelo’ beer above him. I’m thinking – if he’s drinking beer he’s probably not going to be that good an athlete.
But it’s associative. It’s not what an athlete does or what a real man’s man does. It’s not what a real ‘metrosexual’ (whatever that really meant) does (I have a cousin who is a dressy guy, takes care of his hair really well, he wouldn’t stand out in the rain and mess up his tailor made shirt or his $500 coif)– it’s the association of the product with the identity.
So even where there is an actual character that exists (like myself) - the symbolic representation of that, or anyone, as the 'dominant culture' is b.s. from first principles.
Like the 'Aryan' blue eyed, blonde haired, of the Nazis. What tripe.
I picture some blue eyed, blonde guy coming out of a gym with his Jewish wife in Denmark or Norway somewhere in the 30's seeing a national socialism poster going "WTF? That's supposed to be me?"
posted by Smedleyman at 12:06 PM on March 5, 2010


jb: I think you and I totally agree and are talking past each other, that and I think I misread your initial comment. Yes, I totally understand and agree that truly butch women are "punished" for breaking the gender binary - I was simply stating (and you seem to agree) that women have to go "further" for the same kind of punishment that men receive for inching near femininity.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 12:34 PM on March 5, 2010


I should stop using the double negatives to mean a positive already. And KathrynT put what I meant more clearly -- that I think both things are happening.
posted by jb at 1:47 PM on March 5, 2010


One place I see this really clearly is in raising kids. I have a daughter, aged 3.5, and my best friend has a son nearly exactly the same age. On the girls' side of the store (and how messed up is it that the store even has sides?) there are clothes in every color of the rainbow, fancy glittery dress-up dresses, slogans about being Pretty and Cute and Spoiled and Strong and Tough and Smart and Amazing and Ruling the World.

On the boys' side? The clothes are blue, black, grey, brown, and a peculiar burnt orange. They have pictures of 1) sports 2) construction equipment 3) maybe dinosaurs if you're lucky. The slogans proclaim that they are Tough.

Obviously, this is a broad brush and a generality; there are exceptions that you can find easily. But really, this is the default presentation. If you're trying to raise gentle, joyful, creative, curious sons, there's not a lot of cultural support.

(for what it's worth, the "Spoiled Princess" stuff for little girls makes me want to vomit out my own entrails. I'm not saying that every message girls get is a good one, because nothing could be further from the truth; I'm saying that at least in the microcosm of children's clothing, the messages girls get are much more diverse than the ones boys get.)
posted by KathrynT at 4:29 PM on March 5, 2010


Perhaps an important distinction about the butch women and effeminate men is who's looking down on them. I think in both cases it's men. Butch women are ostracized, but often it's because "they want to be men" or "they think they can be men", rather than because they aren't good enough women. Brandon Teena was beat up by guys, not tortured by girlfriends for not being feminine enough. And effeminate guys are also beat up by guys, this time for not living up to their physical nature. So in both cases, there is a standard, the Male, and two different ways of failing to meet it: by trying to meet it when you don't have the basic equipment, and by rejecting it when you do.
posted by mdn at 8:44 AM on March 6, 2010


Butch women don't get any flak from women? That's not what I see. But I'd be curious to hear from those with more experience. Seems like it might be different in high school vs. college vs. grownups.
posted by msalt at 9:23 AM on March 6, 2010


ServSci: Belief it or not they pander to me. Did you notice what the pig turned into when he got the condom, when he turned into a desirable sex partner? he turned into a young white guy. Just like me.

What he turned into certainly wasn't a young white guy like me, though.
posted by Dysk at 5:34 PM on March 6, 2010


Salamandrous: "Women were NOT oppressed when no one gave them white feathers in WWI. Women were NOT oppressed when they were not drafted to Vietnam."

Gay people are not oppressed that they can't serve openly in the US military?


Women can serve in most countries' militaries. What they are exempt from, however, is being forced into that position (except in Israel, admittedly).
posted by Dysk at 5:43 PM on March 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Brother Dysk - Gay men were also exempt from being drafted into the military in Vietnam. A privilege?
posted by Salamandrous at 6:39 PM on March 6, 2010


Gay men were exempt from being able to join the military. That is a different matter that goes above and beyond being exempt from the coercion to join.
posted by Dysk at 6:16 AM on March 7, 2010


Butch women don't get any flak from women? That's not what I see.

What I was thinking was more like, in a patriarchal society there is just the one ideal, the human being as vitruvian man, "all men are created equal" - women are not really in the running. As the second sex they can either be lesser men or adornments / objects of interest for men, but they aren't the primary story. So everyone is compared with the male ideal, and a butch woman isn't rejecting a feminine ideal so much as falling short of the male ideal. LIkewise, the effeminate man isn't falling short of a feminine ideal so much as rejecting the male ideal. Because in essence the only ideal that is taken seriously is the male ideal (and even thought of as "the human ideal") - the female ideal is just whatever men want, or whatever women think men want, so it changes with the times and according to what status symbols are important. But the male ideal isn't based on what women want as much as a notion of a perfect human being for its own sake.

I think this is what leads to the idea that it's harder to be a man because the borders of what a man is are more limited - it's a more serious responsibility to live up to, it's taken as a real challenge, it's a lot to bear - whereas women are just a sideshow, and what they do doesn't matter that much, so it's easier for them. Whatever men do is taken more seriously, even if it's just hitting a ball with a stick and running in circles. That is meaningful. Whereas what women do (dancing or gymnastics or whatever) is silly.
posted by mdn at 11:15 AM on March 10, 2010


Well, I get the theory, read the Second Sex, and it's a beautiful and elegant framework, but real life doesn't actually fit it all that well for me these days. I don't know how we would ever settle the the question of "what is the primary story."

But in the U.S. in 2010, I think an equally popular or more popular story might be that women are generally more complete humans, while men have a knack for singular focus that happens to be successful in many careers but leaves them damaged, limited, and dying early.
posted by msalt at 8:14 PM on March 10, 2010


Whatever men do is taken more seriously, even if it's just hitting a ball with a stick and running in circles. That is meaningful. Whereas what women do (dancing or gymnastics or whatever) is silly.

I agree.

I don't know how we would ever settle the the question of "what is the primary story."

I think if left generally it sounds like it could be a problem. But I think if you want to start laying out well thought out specifics that aren't cherry-picked to bolster the argument, it becomes clearer.
posted by cashman at 6:42 AM on March 11, 2010


I think if left generally it sounds like it could be a problem. But I think if you want to start laying out well thought out specifics that aren't cherry-picked to bolster the argument, it becomes clearer.

OK. Ironically, though you leave it general. Let's take "hitting a ball with a stick and running in circles," the only specific example presented here. Is the argument that sports are stupid things only popular because men like them?

Because that seems like a dated, sexist attitude itself. In the 1970s, girls did not play sports nearly as much as boys. Maybe tennis or volleyball. Today, elementary school girls seem just as likely as boys to play, largely due to the explosion of soccer leagues and programs like Girls on the Run. And I know a lot more female sports fans than I used to, which makes sense -- playing sports makes them more interesting to watch.
posted by msalt at 2:09 PM on March 12, 2010


Well I didn't want to mischaracterize your argument or put words in your mouth, so I left it to you to go into specifics. You did go into one. Sports.

In sports, Men are the primary story. Men make billions playing and being a part of sports, at the high school, college and pro levels. Women do not all make anything compared to men in this arena.

Now, I'm guessing the counterargument is that like similar situations in non-sport society, men are also exploited more (see the ncaa's use of male athletes to make schools and administrators and even video game companies rich).

However, in my view there's no reasonable interpretation of sport in America where men are the downtrodden and women have it great. I just don't see that. This mirrors larger society where some allege men are the ones who are downtrodden. Similar to that, while the ncaa is totally exploiting male athletes for money, it's still nothing compared to the lack of coverage, funding, etc, that women get. There could be a debate over women playing basketball versus men and the like, with height differences and dunking and such, but setting that aside, it just isn't even close. In sports, the "primary story" is men. Easy.

What other specific arenas should we look at in gauging what the "primary story" is? Since you chose the last one, I'll choose the next one. The Fashion Industry. What do you think? (this is not a trick question - I am not a secret fashion major)
posted by cashman at 2:20 PM on March 12, 2010


Actually, mdn was the person who brought up sports. I replied about participation in sports by kids. In 1975, women just didn't play sports much, so I suppose "men were the primary story." That has completely changed, and I didn't notice you disagreeing.

Your main argument is that men are the norm and women are the other, because men make "billions" playing sports. Well, playing professional sports is not the norm for anyone. It's an incredibly elite meritocracy. The NBA has what, 300 players at any one time, drawn from around the world. (And HS & college athletes don't get paid.)

There could be a debate over women playing basketball versus men and the like, with height differences and dunking and such, but setting that aside, it just isn't even close. In sports, the "primary story" is men.

So you're arguing that men are unfairly paid more than women in basketball, setting aside the issue of height and skill? How can you set that aside? It's not like the Negro Leagues era in baseball, where clearly superior players are kept out of the pros.

The norm in sports is playing them with friends or classmates, and watching them on TV. That story is not primarily about men.
posted by msalt at 10:34 PM on March 12, 2010


If I was going to pick an example, I'd say the Olympics or the Academy Awards, two of the biggest spectacles on Earth. I don't see how men were the primary story, or women just adornments, at either.
posted by msalt at 10:02 AM on March 13, 2010


The norm in sports is playing them with friends or classmates, and watching them on TV. That story is not primarily about men.

I disagree completely, and think you're wrong here. Men are the story in sport. Men are so much the story that if a guy doesn't know how to play baseball/basketball/football in the U.S., he is looked at as an oddball. Who is expected to go play sports with their friends and classmates - men. Certainly our society does not push the message that women should go out and play sports anywhere near the way they push that men should.

When people watch sports on TV, they watch men more often than women. If you've been watching television the past week, and today, that should be so clear it should smack you in the face.

I didn't say you brought up sport. I noted that you chose it as something to discuss.

You chose to delve into that. Now, I chose the fashion industry. What are your thoughts there? Lets take turns choosing the subjects we delve into to look at what the "primary story" is. That seems fair to me. You went first and dove into sport. Lets look at the fashion industry now. Maybe we can go over 10 or so topics in this manner, and then afterward, see what the culmination of those topics presents as the primariestest of primary stories.
posted by cashman at 11:13 AM on March 13, 2010


You know, I'm not interested in a pissing match. I never like to see threads devolve into two people arguing, and don't want to be a hypocrite. So I'd be happy to continue in email if you like. Otherwise, I'll let someone else chime in here next.
posted by msalt at 3:53 PM on March 13, 2010


I thought it was a discussion. A pissing match would be more like one of us saying they're better than the other at this sort of thing. I thought it was a give and take based on the "primary story" narrative. Thread doesn't seem to be devolving to me, at all. Nobody's calling anybody names and neither one of us is using harsh language or being hostile, in my opinion. But if you don't want to continue the discussion here in the thread, that's fine. I'd like to keep it out in the open for whoever else is still reading and waiting to add their feelings, or at the very least so the ongoing discussion is available for all. If we do it in mefimail, nobody sees or learns or gains insight from it. I think this discussion is actually what mefi is here for - to hash out in great detail things that otherwise go as unexamined, in a public forum. Sounds like that's what will happen here though, if you're no longer interested in responding in this thread. That's totally fine - the conversation will surely emerge on another thread soon enough, whether it is us or two other discussants.
posted by cashman at 6:16 AM on March 15, 2010


Great. If others are still contributing here, fine, I'll jump back in. If not, as you say, this discussion will continue in other threads.

I've just seen this sort of lifecycle in topics, where often as they near death it just gets down to two people and you don't have the full range of interesting opinions. Happy to memail but otherwise let's find a new party, this one's beat.
posted by msalt at 12:03 PM on March 15, 2010


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