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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Male-Positivism


I've been reading a lot of gender-based blogs lately, and the resulting conversations have gotten me thinking about my approach to gender-issues.

Despite all the double-standards recently, from rape to paternity to abortion to beauty (on & on) I've concluded that there's something in the conversation that inhibits a middle ground of compassion, where people share their micro-aggressions and gender-oppressions without judging, and especially without diminishing.

What is this X-factor? Hell if I know. But that shit has definitely got to go.

For my part, I've decided that instead of drawing comparisons, I'll draw conclusions.

Instead of talking about the problems with Feminists/Feminism (as I've been doing) I'll take my arguments directly to the people, directly to the problems in our culture, in ourselves that causes these horrible things to happen.

Wait, what horrible things? The lack of legally-defined rights for fathers in paternity/abortions that are consummate with their responsibilities. The harmful presumption of male aggression and violence, especially for Men of Color. The loss of innocent till proven guilty in rape cases for men. The lack of spaces for issues which affect a male majority or specifically.

Instead of complaining, I'll advocate solutions; like legislation; like dialogue; like acknowledgment; like talking instead of pretending none of these are happening.

And instead of being part of the problem, I advocate to be part of the solution. Because as trite as it is, it is true too.



Cheers

4 footnotes:

Mira said...

This is the first time I hear of "male positivism". What is it, exactly?

The problem with many discussions with feminists is that they don't want to listen anything that is at least a bit different than their dogma. I know this sounds harsh, but that's something I observed. There are good ones, but many of them are really close minded.

And when I say "dogma" I mean on broad range of issues, from not allowing males any say, to disregarding experiences of women of colour (we know most feminists are white females).

And yet, some issues need to be talked about. On the other hand, making a discussion all about you is never a good idea. If rape is being discussed, insisting on discussing false rape accusations just seems like a slap in the face (just like "I'm white, but poor!" is really annoying in race conversations). This doesn't mean these issues are not legitimate or that they shouldn't be talked about, but they require their own time and place.

And that's where we encounter a problem- majority of people involved are not interested in discussing these issues, because they don't concern them (women don't want to talk about false rape accusations, and POC don't want to talk about struggles of poor white people). So these issues get discussed on their special places, away from the main force and audience... Which doesn't help anybody.

The solution? I have no idea. I firmly believe people care only about what concerns them, their loved ones or their group. You can't force them get interested in other stuff- especially if that makes them (or their group) guilty. Also, it is difficult for members of an unprivileged group (women, for example) to understand they, too, might have some privileges (being white, for example).

So the only solution would be making people talk about stuff that don't concern them personally, or stuff in which their group is a guilty party... But we all know how difficult that is.

Natasha W said...

"there's something in the conversation that inhibits a middle ground of compassion, where people share their micro-aggressions and gender-oppressions without judging, and especially without diminishing."


Is this supposed to be about feminists or male's rights advocates as well?

Zek J Evets said...

@mira: i kinda just made the term up, but i'd heard similarly styled terms before.

the idea is instead of focusing on negative movements that hurt men, it'd be better to focus on the positives about men while simultaneously talking about the problems facing them -- especially as they pertain to the rest of our society/culture.

as far as feminists and MRA's go, both sides are extremely dogmatic, and very close-minded. on the feminist side, male-bashing often becomes structural misandry as feminism (specifically rich white liberal feminism) gains prominence, while on the other side MRA's tend to be reactionary conservatives who use male-rights as a cover for misogyny. (often exploiting the very real racist misandry that men of color face to make it seem like they actually care.)

you're right that many of these issues aren't addressed and thus forces people who want to talk about them underground, and often into the hands of extremists. i think an open dialogue allows for the fringe elements -- the crazies -- to be brushed off, while the people who genuinely are concerned to talk about these things. that's where male-positivism comes in: by making it about having a constructive dialogue (talking about what's wrong and then how to fix it) instead of a deconstructive dialogue (talking about what's wrong and who's to blame) will be far more effective in the long run.

as for the actual task of GETTING people TO TALK... i have no idea either. honestly, i think getting people to talk will have to be a matter of luck as much as a matter of making these issues relateable to our culture in general.

@natasha: it pertains to everybody, but i was speaking specifically about MRA's and other people concerned with men's-rights. because that's where my perspective is coming from.

Mira said...

Zek,

I got confused, because the term reminded me of positivism (as a paradigm).

The problem I have with most of the sites (and general discussions) of this kind is that nobody seems to have any solution. Not even a slightest idea about what to do. So it gets old after a while. Not in a way it's "boring" or "irrelevant", but really "old"- you start reading and hearing same stuff over and over again; same arguments, discussions; same conflicts and fights. Nobody even stops to think about possible solutions.