A Little Light

I saw an interesting post over on Feminist Critics. I was hesitant to read the source post. Generally, I avoid reading personal accounts because I do not think they should be dissected and I doubt that if I disagreed with something stated in an account that I could avoid doing so. However, for the sake of being able to follow Daran’s comments, I read little light’s blog. She added a trigger warning at the beginning of it:

So I want you to imagine something. It’s going to be pretty awful, and it’s probably going to be a trigger for some people. If that’s a risk you don’t feel up for, take care of yourself and stop now.

It was not what she asked people to imagine that triggered me. It was what she said before it that did it:

The first thing you need to understand is that masculinity, maleness, is inculcated and enforced with violence. It’s either actual violence, or the threat of violence, or the implied threat of violence. Constantly. It’s how men and boys are taught to train each other into maleness. This is true even at a very, very young age; go to a kindergarten playground, and you will see little boys shaping each others’ masculinity, according to the rules they’re taught by older boys and by grown men, with violence. It starts very early.

Take a little girl and throw her into that group of boys. Leave her with them and only the instruction, “Do whatever you want with her. Shape her into whatever you want to. Your scalpel is violence.” Just sit with that for a minute. The image of handing a little girl who doesn’t understand the world yet to a group of boys who are given carte blanche to use violence to shape her into whatever they think is appropriate.

I doubt little light intended to cause any boys or men harm with her words. However, that does not change the impact, at least on me. I heard those words hundreds of times as a child. My aunt would bring me into her room and, for lack of a better word, rant about how cruel and horrible men were. She would say the things little light wrote above, some times just making me sit there and listen, other times having me perform acts on her.

While the sex acts were never consensual, although they generally hurt (physically), it was the words that caused the most pain. My aunt taught me that there was nothing good about being male. I was fundamentally a flawed, unlovable creature. I was capable of only hurting others, only ruining women’s lives. Even outside of her room she would say these kinds of things, that masculinity caused wars, that even toddler boys were rapists, that all men could ever know was how to destroy and resort to violence.

These things hurt.

They hurt because it meant that there was nothing I could do to not become like that. They hurt because it meant that my brothers and cousins were evil.  They hurt because it meant my uncle, who was the kindest person I knew and have ever known, was evil. Those words made me hate myself in a way that nothing else did or perhaps could have. After all, like in little light’s post, there was nothing I could really do about it. It was my nature to be violent, proven by the fact that I wanted to be a boy and wanted become a man. That alone showed what kind of a thing I was.

My aunt would call me a ‘failed girl’ (she did this more to my brother, especially after she found out that he is gay).  She never explained what she meant by that, and being a small child at the time I took it to literally mean that I had once been female and then changed into a male. I was frustrated, which I suppose is the only way to put it, because I did not understand any of what she was saying. I did not understand why I had to be a bad boy or why I could never be a good man.

Again, I do not think it was little light’s intent to cause any harm to anyone. However, framing masculinity as something inherently and irrevocably evil, immoral and wrong does cause harm. It harms me because of how it runs contrary to the experiences I have had with men and boys. In a way, little light is saying that my experiences were all lies and distorted views of reality. Certainly there are abusive boys and men. I grew up in that kind of environment, so I am well aware of how cruel some males can be. Being rather small, skinny, weak (but fast) and geeky made me a target for bullies at school.

However, the first friends I made, the people who have been there for me, who have reached out to me, have always been male. It was always other geeky boys who would try to befriend me, not girls. It was always other boys who would come to my defense. It was always other boys would sit next to me at lunch or even just talk to me on the first day of school. At home, it was my uncle who was nice to me. He helped me with my homework and he would even try to get in trouble if anything would happen so that he would get hurt instead of me or the rest of us there. When I left home, it was men who treated me like a person. They were the ones who tried to gain my trust. They were patient with me and kind to me.

None of them have ever told me to resort to violence. None of the males I associate with tolerate random violence. My friends do not. We may play violent video games, watch violent movies or read violent comic books. However, none of them use violence for violence’s sake. We may playfully hit each other or throw things at each other, but none of it is done with the intent to harm. To annoy, occasionally, but not to harm.

I cannot argue with little light’s experiences with masculinity any more than she can argue with my experiences with femininity. Those experiences are what they are, and I have no more right to tell her that she should trust men any more than she has the right to tell me to trust women. I can, however, argue that her view of masculinity is severely skewed by her experiences. There is a certain amount of projection that occurs in her post that has very little to do with the way boys and men actually behave.

Little light frames masculinity as if there is only one kind possible and it is ultra-violent. Ironically, by doing this she perpetuates the social assumption that masculinity is inherently violent. Of course, that is far from the case. Plenty of boys grow up without ever getting into fights or resorting to violence to get their way. Plenty of boys grow up without bullying other kids. These are not just the expected groups of boys either, not just the boys who like to read, write, draw, dance or play video games. These are the run-of-mill Average Joes who have never thrown a punch in their life and avoid confrontation as much as possible.

I extend my sympathy to little light because it sounds like she grew up without ever seeing that not all males are like the ones who hurt her. However, that sympathy ends when she moves on to essentially hurt others. What she says about boys will be used as an excuse to demonize and vilify them. That appears to have happened on another feminist blog that linked to her post. I can attest to the effect those kinds of things have on boys. No one deserves to be othered in that fashion, treated as if they are freaks, unlovable, undeserving of respect or dignity, dangerous or fundamentally evil.

Yet, that is the danger of the kind of thinking little light expressed at the beginning of her post. It causes harm that very rarely gets acknowledged. Instead, it becomes part of the status quo, something boys and men are taught to expect and just accept, whether they agree with it or not, because that is just the way things are. More so, should any boy or man question that perception, he will get slapped down and further shamed, often by people attacking their masculinity. It is unfortunate that in some instances people resort to the same kind of villification that they rally against.

No one should grow up thinking that they are monsters, and that should include boys.

54 thoughts on “A Little Light

  1. TS, I’m sorry you experienced that. No one deserves such– not even we degenerate males.

  2. Hi, Toy Soldier.

    I offered my own response to little_light’s observations. To say it offended me is putting it lightly. Stuff like this makes me fly into a rage even as I appear to be acting civil on the outside and arranging my thoughts so they produce more appropriate language.

    What you said was basically what I was getting at: Everyone has carte blanche to critcise masculinity and boys nowadays. Categorize them as some patholagy that needs to be fixed. Little_light, while I understand the pain she went through, is saying what I’ve been tired of hearing for a long time to the point where if someone even mentions Domestic Violence as male on female only, that all men have a responsibility to end violence against women, that men are born with priveledge, my body snaps and I can’t take it anymore.

    In case you didn’t read my post over at Feminist Critics in response to the article, part of the reason for these outbursts is because I’ve been examining an insipid event that transpired in my teen years where I was friends with a female in computer class. But she turned on me and sicked her boyfriend on me, stood there grinning while he threatened to beat my ass if I ever spoke with her again. It just released a flood of other memories where women treated me harshly: Therapists, teenage girls, relatives.

    I’ve forgoed all feminist sympathy due to this reason. It’s no longer feasable to work through the pain where statements like little_light’s are common in feminist theory nowadays. It’d be better if all those egilatarian feminists spoke out more about what the big picture really is in terms of gender violence and bullying. But I’m not waiting for them.

    As far as women’s rights are concerned, I’ve forgoed sympathy a bit towards that too. How can I possibly be sympathetic when women’s advocates preach messages like little_lights? I’d certainly feel betrayed if my concern for women as human beings was spit on like that.

    I guess what I’m saying is, Male Survivors of abuse and bullying from both sexes are not going to get anything from feminist theory as it is now. It’s downright toxic.

  3. The majority of men are not “Degenerates”, UnderAnAssumedName. I’m no degenerate.

    I think it’s time we start speaking out more for ourselves against the sully of our reputations perpetuated by this placated society. For the sake of men who have been bullied by both sexes. Feminism isn’t going to do it for us and would rather not. We can’t expect them to.

    Boys and men do not deserve to be ignored when abuse comes their way. No more talk about priveledge or power. It’s time people start seeing that they are human beings with the right to trust in others to go beyond the stupid stereotypes.

  4. I want to say that I’m very sorry my words hurt you, and offer a clarification, if it helps:

    I in no way think men, boys, or masculinity itself are inherently evil or harmful, and that is not my message. What I was trying to call attention to and criticize in that paragraph is what you’re describing: that our society systematically hurts and abuses boys, and the way it teaches them to be men is hurtful, when we could be doing better by our boys and men, and offer them real support. I don’t think men are in any way ultra-violent–but I have seen that many times, when a man stands up for being the kind of man who avoids violence or is able to feel emotions other than anger, other men (and women!) will police his feelings and, often through implied threats, try to make him stop. Boys who choose not to participate in the kind of masculinity that cuts men off from each other and teaches them to be too tough, expressing a different kind of masculinity that’s more positive or constructive, are derided as sissies and queers and often hurt by the other boys and men around them. Through a day-in-day out regimen of threats, mockery, and violence, we teach our boys that there’s a very specific way they have to be men, and stepping outside that will get them hurt or even killed.

    I want that to stop. There is nothing wrong with boys that society doesn’t teach them. Children are children, and ought to be protected and cared for and raised in a way that helps them avoid abuse and grow into healthy adults, men and women both. And to do that, I think we do have to criticize masculinity as it functions in our culture, not because masculinity is bad or evil, but because we could be doing it better, in a way that doesn’t hurt men and women and a way that doesn’t expose people like me to even more abuse. There are plenty of men and boys in my life who I respect and love. I want them to live in a world where they’re not constrained to a narrow, limiting version of manhood even when it doesn’t fit them, just as much as I want women and girls to have the same opportunities. To do that, I think it’s necessary to call it out when the way some people use masculinity to hurt people becomes systematic, so we can solve the problem together.

    I really appreciate your openness and honesty here, and never meant to cause you any hurt. I hope my explanation helps.

  5. I appreciate your response, little_light. You should go down to feministcritics.org to post it as there will be a follow up critique posted by Daran.

    But there is a quibble I have. While I agree that there is a dark side to mascuinity often taught in society, you forget that I’ve experienced also the dark side of feminity.

    So far, we’ve addressed masculinity too much and are ignoring the fact that women and girls are not the gentle, peaceful and rational types believed to be by feminist theory and chauvanistic men. I have been on the receiving end of a fair share of emotional abuse from girls and women in my life. So has Toy Soldier. But our concerns are swept under the rug in that subject. And that’s only if we’re addressing them to reasonable people. The unreasonable, fringe element of society shun us and call us “Priveledged”, “Rape Apologists”, “Misoganic”, “Women Haters”, “Right Wing Conservatives” along with other abusive language I’d rather not print in this response.

    I’m well aware of the abuse women suffer but I’m also well aware of the abuse men suffer as well. The problem is, it’s not as pronounced because many men have been shamed into silence, taught that what they’re going through is not “Abuse”. Especially with women. Luckily, there’s information coming out on the subject that certain elements of the public are taking into careful consideration, even if they still would rather see it as nothing worth worrying about.

    I just want to know, little_light, do you agree that women are not perfect? And that men also need help when their antagonists are women in addition to other men? In order for violence to stop, we need to address both sides and not just have one side dominate the discourse. Modern feminism and the domestic violence industry have turned it strictly into a “Male on female” thing when the truth is that both genders are capable of hurting one another. However, this has also been made a “Politically Incorrect” view and anyone who holds it will either be criticised or, at worst, have their character assasinated.

    Do you understand now why people like me found the view you expressed offensive when you first put it out there for public consumption?

    To tell you the truth, I think it would be better if you addressed this at feministcritics.org. Daran is at work on his critique and it will be ready soon. Participate in the debate that comes up as it’s better to hear straight from the source.

    Thank you. Take care.

  6. “What I was trying to call attention to and criticize in that paragraph is what you’re describing: that our society systematically hurts and abuses boys, and the way it teaches them to be men is hurtful,….”

    Blame women. Women socialize boys these days and the carnage is everywhere to see. Look at the inner cities, where most of the men are in jail and the owmen are left in charge. When men start socializing boys again we may see a change.

    If you don’t think women aren’t enforcers behind this kind of thing, stop and ask yourself you have ever, ever heard a woman taunt a man about being a “real man”

    When women admit going around handing out white feathers, then we can start talking about men’s violence. look at Eagle’s comment above – who set the violence in motion?

    You didn’t mean any harm? So what?

  7. that our society systematically hurts and abuses boys, and the way it teaches them to be men is hurtful

    Women socialize boys these days and the carnage is everywhere to see.

    I think it’s much more to do with how boys aren’t socialised in the way they need to be. In today’s risk phobic culture boys are not shown how to use their masculine traits (e.g. strength) in constructive ways. This leaves them with the destructive guidance from the fringes of society, or simply lost having to figure things out on their own.

  8. Blame women…

    I think we need to get past blaming entire genders for anything.

    …Women socialize boys these days and the carnage is everywhere to see. Look at the inner cities, where most of the men are in jail and the owmen are left in charge. When men start socializing boys again we may see a change.

    You make a great point, albeit that you rather overstate it. With men absent from many households, and most infant schools, many boys and girls have little or no adult male involvement in their lives at all.

    I strongly support your call for involvement by men in the care and socialisation of children. I do not, however think it would be the panacea your words imply. How children are socialised is much more important that the gender of the person doing it.

    You didn’t mean any harm? So what?

    Your point is more likely to be appreciated if you make it in a less brutal matter.

    little light, a point frequently (and usually somewhat brutally) made in feminist and antiracist circles is that intent behind a person’s behaviour, whether it be their words or their actions, doesn’t really matter. What matter are its effects. That’s a point of view I agree with, and I think it’s what jim is getting at here

  9. little light, a point frequently (and usually somewhat brutally) made in feminist and antiracist circles is that intent behind a person’s behaviour, whether it be their words or their actions, doesn’t really matter.

    Of course not. You’ll note that I never said the OP shouldn’t express that hurt or call me out on it, nor did I claim my intentions mitigated that hurt. That’s why I began with an unequivocal apology. I thought explaining myself might help assuage some of the hurt, but it doesn’t cancel it out.

    And no, I will not blame “women.” My primary abuser growing up was a female relative. I’ve faced astonishing cruelty from other women. But I don’t blame “women” any more than I blame “men.” I think we’re all better than that, and deserve to be treated with as individuals even while we’re identifying widespread trends.

    I appreciate Desipis’ point–we have the opportunity to socialize men and boys in ways that will help them take constructive places in society, not as anything other than as men and boys, but in a way that helps them use their fullest potential. We’re letting them down by not doing so. For me, as a feminist, this is the goal: to help everyone have the opportunity to live to their fullest potential regardless of sex or gender, by recognizing what isn’t working and working collectively to fix it. It’s not about hating or deriding men, even if the identification of power dynamics and patterns is not always flattering.

  10. little light, thank you very much for coming here to talk to us.

    I in no way think men, boys, or masculinity itself are inherently evil or harmful, and that is not my message.

    Your message, whether it was the message you intended or not, was that men, boys, and masculinity itself are inculcated to evil and harm. The difference between ‘inculcated’ and ‘inherent’ doesn’t make that message any less stigmatising.

    What I was trying to call attention to and criticize in that paragraph is what you’re describing: that our society systematically hurts and abuses boys, and the way it teaches them to be men is hurtful, when we could be doing better by our boys and men, and offer them real support.

    If that was what you were trying to do, then you failed. In particular, you did not call it abuse, but characterised it as “little boys shaping each others masculinity”. There was nothing “each other” about what I went through.

  11. little_light: “And no, I will not blame “women.” My primary abuser growing up was a female relative. I’ve faced astonishing cruelty from other women. But I don’t blame “women” any more than I blame “men.” I think we’re all better than that, and deserve to be treated with as individuals even while we’re identifying widespread trends.”

    You may be forgiving of them, but I’m not. I blame “Women” and I blame “Men”. Both genders were malicious to me. It’s only now I’ve been coming to terms with all the emotional abuse from women. I’m already well aware of how cruel the boys were, especially the ones who called me a faggot and other less than endearing terms. So they don’t get a free pass.

    Neither do women. Any woman who yells and screams at a child because they’re not doing their “lessons” right (which happened to me when I was four years old), any woman who betrays you and sicks their boyfriend on you afterward to threaten you with violence if you ever spoke to her again (which happened to me when I was a teenager), any girl who participates in mobbing someone after school for three days and yanks their pants down with the boys to humiliate them (which happened to me when I was five), any woman who goads you because you don’t do things other ‘normal’ people do and encourages the men to join in on the mocking (which happened to me as a teenager), any woman who calls you a freak or a weirdo (again, it happened when I was a teenager) well they’re not going to be spared being called out.

    Like I said, it’s time we start looking at BOTH sides instead of going with the status quo of putting only boys and men in a cage to poke and prod them. All’s fair in equal accountability

  12. Welcome, little light. No apology is necessary. As I said, I did not think your intention was to cause harm.

    I in no way think men, boys, or masculinity itself are inherently evil or harmful, and that is not my message. What I was trying to call attention to and criticize in that paragraph is what you’re describing: that our society systematically hurts and abuses boys, and the way it teaches them to be men is hurtful, when we could be doing better by our boys and men, and offer them real support.

    I disagree. I do not and have not seen an en masse social rebuke against males behaving non-violently, nor have I seen any general social rebuke of men behaving contrary to the ultra-violent masculinity you mention. I do not see the social expectation that every boy must bully, mock or threaten others or else.

    There are social demands that require a boy to be tough, but I do not see the wholesale admonishing of any male who responds to conflict or problems with anything less than anger that you mention. We do teach are boys that there are certain behavioral expectations. However, I have never been taught to expect violence or death if I failed to conform. Ridicule, yes, but not the expectation that if I were to cry (which I do not), I would be beaten up on the spot. I am not saying those things do not happen, only that what you present is not anything close to what I have experienced or witnessed. Even after attending an all-boy high school, I have never experienced anything like what you describe is the norm for masculinity.

    I think we do have to criticize masculinity as it functions in our culture, not because masculinity is bad or evil, but because we could be doing it better, in a way that doesn’t hurt men and women and a way that doesn’t expose people like me to even more abuse. There are plenty of men and boys in my life who I respect and love. I want them to live in a world where they’re not constrained to a narrow, limiting version of manhood even when it doesn’t fit them, just as much as I want women and girls to have the same opportunities.

    What you present is a narrow, limited view of manhood though, one that does not fit with most males experiences. Not every male experience of masculinity fits into the view you describe. Masculinity is not a social construct per se. It is a manifestation of the tendencies most males have, so you can no more change that males will be physical with one another anymore than you can change that females will form cliques. Those are things we associate with masculinity and femininity, but they appear to be inherently part of men and women.

    So when you say that masculinity could be better, you are in effect saying that boys and men could be better. Or, in words, that they are fundamentally flawed. That kind of view causes a lot of harm because it presents boys and men as “problems” that needs to be “fixed.” I think the underlying point is that what you suggest has very little, if anything, to do with addressing or even acknowledging the needs of boys and men. It is more your needs, as a feminist and a trasnwoman. While the changes may benefit you, I do not think you have considered how they would actually effect boys and men.

    I think there is a difference is stating something akin to “Boys and men don’t cry. How can we fix that?” versus asking “How do boys and men express their feelings and what can we do acknowledge the ways they do it?” The former seems to be the approach you favor, but the latter is the better option. The former is simply another variant of what you suggest society does.

  13. As far as women’s rights are concerned, I’ve forgoed sympathy a bit towards that too. How can I possibly be sympathetic when women’s advocates preach messages like little_lights? I’d certainly feel betrayed if my concern for women as human beings was spit on like that.

    It is always a good thing to sympathize with those who do you harm, if for no other reason than it will help you to understand where they are coming from. While your sympathy may not change their minds, I assure you it is worth the effort.

    I guess what I’m saying is, Male Survivors of abuse and bullying from both sexes are not going to get anything from feminist theory as it is now. It’s downright toxic.

    I agree that male survivors are not going to be served will by feminism on any substantive level. In many instances, like the feminism my aunt ascribes to, it is very toxic. That said, I do think it is worth trying to understand.

    So far, we’ve addressed masculinity too much and are ignoring the fact that women and girls are not the gentle, peaceful and rational types believed to be by feminist theory and chauvanistic men.

    I think this is a separate, albeit important, issue. There is a difference in the way men and women resort to violence and abuse and I do not think they should be conflated. That is not to say that the reasons and the effects are not the same, only that the methods are somewhat different. I do not see how that fits into little light’s post though, which most likely why she did not mention it.

  14. Of course I agree that women aren’t perfect. I’m a woman and so are most of the people I associate with, and none of us is perfect. I was abused very cruelly growing up by a female relative, and had other female relatives do just as much harm to me as male relatives when it came to racism in my family. I’ve been in abusive romantic relationships where another woman was the one harming me, and as a trans person I’ve had cissexual women display extraordinary cruelty toward me. And I know I’m not the only one.

    I think it’s very important to work on our society’s way of dealing with womanhood and femininity, just as much as dealing with manhood and masculinity. I’ve written about it before, and just didn’t cover it in this piece or conversation. In general, our system of gender makes messes for people and needs maintenance bad–and people like me on its margins and blurry areas often take the brunt of policing that’s meant to keep cissexual men and women in line. One of the most pervasive threats to, say, a young man is the threat that he’ll be treated like my kind is usually treated. So protecting me helps remove that threat for every man who’s subject to it and makes him safer; and protecting those men and allowing them more freedom means fewer tools that can be used to harm me, and makes people like me safer, too. We’re in this together.

  15. TS: “It is always a good thing to sympathize with those who do you harm, if for no other reason than it will help you to understand where they are coming from. While your sympathy may not change their minds, I assure you it is worth the effort.”

    I don’t want to. They hurt me, big time, on the same level as the boys. Girls participated in the assault when I was a little kid in kindergarten with the other boys. Women therapists yelled and screamed at me, trying to force “Social Skills” on me when I was diagnosed autistic. A teenage girl tried to get her boyfriend to beat me up but I’m lucky he merely threatened me thank goodness. A teenage girl mocked me for not being “normal” and got the teen boys fired up enough to do their part in the shunning, calling me a “Fucking faggot” or a “Fucking Retard”.

    And women’s advocates hurt me by telling me women have it worse. I’m through being completley sympathetic. Maybe when this rage passes and I’ve dealt with it, then we’ll see. Until then, I’m not going to bother sympathising as it got me hurt too many times.

    It hurts. The pain is too much. I’m crying on the inside. 😦

  16. TS:

    No apology is necessary.

    Maybe not “necessary”, but I do think an apology is called for. The one we’ve had is inadequate.

    little light:

    I’m very sorry my words hurt you

    “I’m sorry I hurt you” isn’t much better than “I’m sorry you were hurt”. What you haven’t yet said is “I screwed up”.

  17. What you haven’t yet said is “I screwed up”.

    Specifically, you haven’t acknowledged that your words were prejudicial, not merely hurtful. The harm they cause goes beyond the incidental pain they cause to a few people who happen to read them.

  18. What you haven’t yet said is “I screwed up” … Specifically, you haven’t acknowledged that your words were prejudicial, not merely hurtful. The harm they cause goes beyond the incidental pain they cause to a few people who happen to read them.

    Sorry to make three consecutive post on this, but this absolutely nails it.

  19. Eagle31, I know that most men aren’t degenerates. It was that implication in little light’s piece that I was jabbing at.

    You and I are on the same side on most issues.

  20. Eagle31:

    I’m through being completley sympathetic. Maybe when this rage passes and I’ve dealt with it, then we’ll see. Until then, I’m not going to bother sympathising as it got me hurt too many times. It hurts. The pain is too much. I’m crying on the inside.

    I am sorry that you are in pain and I understand the way you feel, but that is the reason why I think it is important to sympathize. You do it to help yourself, not them. Doing so assuages the anger, it lessens the pain, not because it necessarily takes it away, but because it helps you to understand those people have no real control or power over you. I am not saying or suggesting that you ought to forgive them, only that you try to see why they are the way that they are.

  21. Daran:

    Maybe not “necessary”, but I do think an apology is called for. The one we’ve had is inadequate.

    I do not think it is necessary for two reasons. Firstly, I would have been triggered regardless of little light’s intent. Whenever I hear or read things like that it triggers me and I automatically shutdown.

    Secondly, I do not think little light understands why her words triggered me. I think she knows that they did, but I do not think she has made the connection as to why they did. To know that harm was done, but to not know why does make for a shallow apology. On that I agree. However, I do not think anyone can make a person understand why such comments hurt. That is something that people will have to come to on their own.

    That is why I think asking for an apology in those circumstances is unnecessary. Until a person understands why his or her actions or words hurt, any offered apology will inevitably be inadequate.

  22. “I do not, however think it would be the panacea your words imply.”

    It certainly would not be any kind of panacea.

    “Your point is more likely to be appreciated if you make it in a less brutal matter.”

    Your criticism is more likely to be received if it is delivered in a way that doesn’t make it sound like you think this is your blog. TS is perfectly capable of reprimanding me if he wants.

    In any case you beg the question – appreciated by whom? I care about Eagle31’s appreciation in this instance; I care not at all for littel_lite’s.

    People like little_lite are enemies to people like Eagle31. The only thing to do with enemies, as opposed to opponents, is to convert them – preferably into firneds or neutrals; failing that, into casualties.

    Eagle31,
    Beyond all that, TS is right about the effect of forgiveness on your own healing.

  23. little_lite: “I think it’s very important to work on our society’s way of dealing with womanhood and femininity, just as much as dealing with manhood and masculinity. I’ve written about it before, and just didn’t cover it in this piece or conversation. In general, our system of gender makes messes for people and needs maintenance bad–and people like me on its margins and blurry areas often take the brunt of policing that’s meant to keep cissexual men and women in line. One of the most pervasive threats to, say, a young man is the threat that he’ll be treated like my kind is usually treated. So protecting me helps remove that threat for every man who’s subject to it and makes him safer; and protecting those men and allowing them more freedom means fewer tools that can be used to harm me, and makes people like me safer, too. We’re in this together.”

    Just to be clear, little_lite, when a man is threatened to be ostricised the way you have, it’s not just by other men. Women do their fair share of shaming and ridiculing, sometimes even encouraging the bullying men by providing more ammo to take the target down, bit by bit. And like you said, women can also be very abusive on their own. It’s not about “Male on female” violence anymore. It’s about violence PERIOD. Violence is not gender specific. Anyone can be a victim of it, including the so-called “Priveledged” men. Speaking of which, your comments section on your blog is rife with commentors who still think men are “Priveledged” and carry pretty extreme views. You ever think about how toxic they can be now that you’re hearing the other side of the story?

    Other than that, I’m starting to agree with you at last. Charity that is reciprical is better than chairty for a single-group’s suffering at the expense of another group’s suffering. Feminists shouldn’t have a monopoly on kindness.

  24. Little light:

    In general, our system of gender makes messes for people and needs maintenance bad–and people like me on its margins and blurry areas often take the brunt of policing that’s meant to keep cissexual men and women in line. One of the most pervasive threats to, say, a young man is the threat that he’ll be treated like my kind is usually treated. So protecting me helps remove that threat for every man who’s subject to it and makes him safer; and protecting those men and allowing them more freedom means fewer tools that can be used to harm me, and makes people like me safer, too. We’re in this together.

    I mean no offense, but this is not about you or your needs. It is about boys and men and masculinity, which you continue to present in a completely negative and distorted manner. What works for you, as a feminist and as a transwoman, does not mean it will work for boys and men. I think you are conflating your experiences as if they are the norm. In doing so you are ironically marginalizing the experiences of boys and men as you seemingly vilify them and their sense of masculinity and self-identity apparently because you do not fit into what the majority of people consider to be the norm. I can understand why you would want to make changes so that you would not be othered.

    What you seem to fail to understand is that those changes and your perception and presentation of masculinity and boys and men are just as harmful as the things that were done to you. In essence, you are endorsing bluntly policing boys and men’s behavior, but in the manner that most benefits you, the effect of which would severely damage the self-identities of boys and men and would punish anyone who failed to ascribe to your perception of gender.

    You want more freedom because how you identify does not match with how the overwhelming majority of people identify. That has nothing to do with males or masculinity, but you keep pointing the finger at boys and men and vilifying them.

  25. On another note, little-lite, I applaud the graceful and deft way you handled your troll on that thread. It was absolutely straightforward and respectful.

    I concur with all the sympathy your commenters offered, but they way you took care of business tells me you may have been alright already.

  26. It’s not about “Male on female” violence anymore. It’s about violence PERIOD. Violence is not gender specific. Anyone can be a victim of it, including the so-called “Priveledged” men.

    I do not think little light is unaware of that. I think she is simply speaking from a certain set of experiences, most likely the experiences that caused her the most hurt.

    That said, my problem with her framing is not just that it presents violence as if it is exclusively male, but that her framing attacks males in general and implies that there is something intrinsically violent about both boys and men and masculinity.

  27. I don’t know how to say more clearly that I do not believe that violence is not exclusively or inherently male. I do not know how to say more clearly that I do not believe there is anything inherently wrong with men or wish harm on men in general. I think the standards imposed on men hurt them and encourage them to hurt each other, but that is about those standards and culture, even if they are carried out by individuals. I do not think this is an exclusive problem that only men share and said so here. In the story I told in that single post, the people involved were men. In other places, I have written about problems and stories involving women and womanhood and femininity. I feel as though by simply centering my own concerns in an autobiographical story in one post on a longstanding blog, I am being taken to task for not telling someone else’s story instead. I have said multiple times here and elsewhere that I am not hostile to men and do not think men are intrinsically violent, and those words keep getting put in my mouth after I’ve already asserted my position. I bring up holding people accountable for abuse of boys, and am told I don’t acknowledge it. I bring up instances of women doing harm, and am told I think women can do no wrong. I say I want more freedoms for men and boys, and less policing, and a culture that better cares for them; what I’m told back is that what I clearly must mean is that I think boys and men are fundamentally flawed and bad, and that I want to constrain them. I’m trying, really trying, to find something any of you have said in this conversation that I’ve disagreed with, though I use different terms to describe it and did say I wouldn’t hold all women blameworthy any more than I hold men blameworthy and do believe there is a differential of privilege and power.

    I think some of this is a language barrier; we use terms differently and it’s tripping us up trying to understand how much common ground we have. Some of this is, I think, a readiness to believe that I espouse positions that some other feminists do but that I do not, because of long-standing rifts between our ideological camps and harsh encounters in the past. And some of this, I think, is that what I wrote simply wasn’t from anyone’s experience or perspective but my own.

    I offered an unequivocal apology that was not “I’m sorry you were hurt” but “I’m sorry my actions hurt you”–taking ownership of my action and its consequences outside of intent, with the same difference between, say, “I’m sorry you were hit” and “I’m sorry I hit you.” And I’ve explained myself, as best I can, only to be argued with in a ways that insists I’m arguing positions I’ve directly disavowed and contradicted. I don’t really know what else I can do, and I don’t think my presence here is benefiting anyone.

    Take care, all. I do sincerely hope that things are better in the future, for all of us, and maybe we can try again some time.

  28. Little_lite, don’t take offense. You’re story is very harrowing and I do offer sympathy because you were hurt in the past. No one should have exposure to the dregs of society nor deserve such harsh treatment due to their differences or eccentricities.

    Maybe you’re right about the language barrier. What I hear from you is a criticsim of masculinity and boys but you say its not. That’s how I hear it. I don’t know what to say and there’s no easy solution to reach parity.

    Which is why I hate how feminism has hijacked such universal terms and twisted them into an “Us Vs Them” mentality. Maybe if there were a more gender neutral movement, we wouldn’t be having this problem.

    Sorry to see you go, little_lite. You read my mind about the language barrier because that’s what I thought through this debate. Heightening this barrier is the rage due to some seriously traumatic experiences (you from boys, and me from boys and girls). At least you can take this away as a sign of making a connection with me. And so will I.

    You take care, too.

  29. Actually, little_lite, here’s a suggestion:

    Maybe you should quit trying to bend and twist your mind to say violence isn’t inherintly male and instead focus that energy on advovcating for both boys and girls. Share the genuine concern you have across the board instead of approaching it from the limited perspective of feminist theory. Boys need role models of both genders. And role models who aren’t of the belife that violence is inheriintly male so we should fix them.

    Take action. Throw away the old “Male Priveledge” thing and be a gender eglitarian feminist. This will show those doubters you mean what you say instead of having to convince them through language alone.

    Hope you take this advice before leaving it all be. Thanks for your company.

  30. I don’t know how to say more clearly that I do not believe that violence is not exclusively or inherently male. I do not know how to say more clearly that I do not believe there is anything inherently wrong with men or wish harm on men in general. I think the standards imposed on men hurt them and encourage them to hurt each other, but that is about those standards and culture, even if they are carried out by individuals. I do not think this is an exclusive problem that only men share and said so here.

    As I said many times before, I do not think that was your intent. However, as Daran noted, what you posted unfortunately frames males and masculinity negatively. You stated, “The first thing you need to understand is that masculinity, maleness, is inculcated and enforced with violence. It’s either actual violence, or the threat of violence, or the implied threat of violence. Constantly.” You went on to say that boys are taught to train each other in violence and that they shape each other with violence. You did not allow for the possibility that masculinity is not in and of itself violent or that boys do not in general resort to violence. Instead, you framed both as if they are only or overwhelmingly violent. That is part of what I take issue with because I do not see the gross social imposition on boys to be constantly violent.

    I feel as though by simply centering my own concerns in an autobiographical story in one post on a longstanding blog, I am being taken to task for not telling someone else’s story instead.

    It was not a matter of you telling your story, but how you presented my experiences and my identity as a male in the broader context of your statement. As I said in my post, I have heard what you stated hundreds of time. You may not consider them harmful, but that does not change their impact anymore than if I said “the first thing you need to understand is that feminism is inculcated and enforced with violence. It is either actual violence or the threat of violence or the implied threat of violence. Constantly.” would change its impact on you. While that has been my personal experience with feminism and feminists, I do not doubt that you would find such framing hurtful.

    I say I want more freedoms for men and boys, and less policing, and a culture that better cares for them; what I’m told back is that what I clearly must mean is that I think boys and men are fundamentally flawed and bad, and that I want to constrain them.

    What you are suggesting is not more freedom. Most boys and men (and females for that matter) have no desire to blur gender. More so, you are not acknowledging how much of male self-identity is tied to be being distinctly separate from anything feminine. Again, you personally may not find that distinction necessary, but many males do. To deny them the ability to define masculinity in the way that works for them would be akin to someone telling right-handed people to use their left feet to write because they will use the creative side of their brains more and free their hands. That may seem like a good idea, especially if you use your left foot to write. It would not, however, work well for everyone who use their hands (or anyone right-footed) and have do so since they first picked up a crayon. It would cause them a host of trouble, especially if they are not allowed to reject the change.

    In that way, what you suggest is just another form of policing masculinity, one that disregards the feelings and needs of the overwhelming majority of males.

    I offered an unequivocal apology that was not “I’m sorry you were hurt” but “I’m sorry my actions hurt you”–taking ownership of my action and its consequences outside of intent, with the same difference between, say, “I’m sorry you were hit” and “I’m sorry I hit you.” And I’ve explained myself, as best I can, only to be argued with in a ways that insists I’m arguing positions I’ve directly disavowed and contradicted. I don’t really know what else I can do, and I don’t think my presence here is benefiting anyone.

    As I said before, no apology was or is necessary. I did not write my post to guilt or blame you. I wrote it because what you wrote triggered me and I thought and still think it was important that someone question the broad statements you made about males and masculinity. More so, I thought and still think it is important that someone address the harm the kind of framing you used, which is really just another form of blunt gender policing, can cause. I do think there is a disconnect, one that I find somewhat interesting and ironic given the circumstances. I cannot force you to understand why your comments triggered me anymore than you can force someone to understand why people trying to make you behave as a boy when you did not think you were male hurt you. However, I would hope that you would be able to see that part of what you expressed in your post is not unlike the things you were subjected to as a child, only now directed at males.

  31. Eagle, that is not helpful. Chastising little light is not going to make her see your perspective. It is just going to make her think that you are throwing your anger at her. Please, do not do that again.

  32. Sorry about that. I guess there’s still stuff I’m trying to articulate but it’s still coming out awkwardly.

    This rage needs to whither a little bit more. All right then. I’ll keep myself in check from now on.

  33. Little light, I do not want to harp on this point, however, I do not think I managed to give a good explanation in my initial response:

    I offered an unequivocal apology that was not “I’m sorry you were hurt” but “I’m sorry my actions hurt you”–taking ownership of my action and its consequences outside of intent, with the same difference between, say, “I’m sorry you were hit” and “I’m sorry I hit you.”

    The problem is not that you did not apologize, but that you do not seem to know what you are apologizing for. As I said in response to Daran’s comment, I think you know that harm was done, but I do not think you know why it was harmful.

    That seems to be the disconnect, and it is not one that is uncommon. Many people who hold negative views about transpeople do not know why their views cause people like you harm. They are certainly aware people are hurt by those views, but since they consider their views acceptable and balanced they see no problem with them.

    In a way, that is the position you have taken in response to my post. You know harm was caused because I said I was triggered. However, had I (and others on Feminist Critics) not mentioned that, I do not think you would have thought of your comments in that light. That said, you still do not seem to understand why your comments triggered me as a male. I do not think that I can explain it any clearer than I did in my initial post, so if we still have this disconnect, this inability to see things from my position, I do not think there is anything more I can do.

    That is unfortunate because I would think that you would be able to understand where I am coming from.

  34. Like several male posters in this thread who have experienced bullying, I was deeply moved by most of little light’s post, and troubled by her introduction. I don’t think little light intended those implications, but I want to try to point out what bothered me:

    1. Conflation of male bullies and victims

    It’s how men and boys are taught to train each other into maleness. This is true even at a very, very young age; go to a kindergarten playground, and you will see little boys shaping each others’ masculinity, according to the rules they’re taught by older boys and by grown men, with violence.

    I have a bit of a problem with the phrase “shaping each other’s masculinity.” It implies that this kind of abuse is something boys are doing to each other. While I agree that some boys victimize each other, it’s not always two-sided. My experience was that the masculine boys terrorized the less masculine boys, and the less masculine boys wouldn’t or couldn’t do anything to fight back: at my school, it was pretty one-sided.

    They shaped me. I wasn’t shaping them. There was no “each other” about it. There was only “other,” and that other was me.

    Describing bullying as “boys shaping each other” fails to reflect the fact that bullies and victims are often different groups of boys, and may falsely portray victims also as victimizers; it’s like describing the Rwandan genocide as “blacks killing blacks” (credit Adam Jones for that analogy, though I can’t dig up the essay right now). The conflation of victimizers and victims is part of the “boys will be boys discourse” legitimizing violence to boys when they share the same sex as their victimizers.

    I’m sure little light doesn’t actually believe anything like this, and fully recognizes that bullying can be one-sided, and that there are innocent little boys. But feminism gives her a poor language for distinguishing between different groups of males, because of its tendency to lump women together as victims and men together as perpetrators. This could be why little light’s paragraph unintentionally erases male victims who were not also victimizers.

    2. Characterization of masculinity

    I also find little light’s characterization of masculinity to be a bit overgeneralized.

    First, I should stipulate that I agree with little light that there are ways that masculinity could be improved. However, I think that there are multiple masculinities, and they aren’t as universally violent as little light portrays. Though it can be easy for us who were on the receiving end of a scalpel to overgeneralize, not all boys are taught to use violence as a scalpel by masculinity, probably not even most.

    My experience was not that boys are generally taught to use violence as a scalpel against others through masculinity. Rather, some boys (and girls) are cruel jerks for whatever reasons of biology and individual/family/group psychology; masculinity may encourage, target, or fail to discourage their behavior, but masculine socialization is only one factor in violence. I think children victimizing each other would be a problem even without our current notions of masculinity; it’s not just the gendered notions held by children that’s the problem, it’s also gendered notions held by adults justifying this violence when both the victimizer and victim are male (“boys will be boys”).

    When there are boys and girls wielding scalpels, I don’t think gender norms are the whole story. I think there are deeper social and biological reasons why people are cruel to those judged as low status in society. I don’t think little light would disagree, but I think feminism will limit her exploration into the full dynamics behind gender-based victimization.

    little light’s description sounds like all, or the majority of boys are trained to be scalpel wielders by masculinity, and that they go around using these scalpels on each other, and on girls. This description suggests boys are generally wielding masculine scalpels. But I think this is an overgeneralization, which makes it sound like the most toxic version of masculinity is all-prevalent, failing to recognize the existence of non-abusive masculinities in boys. Masculinity can be bad, but it’s not universally that bad.

    Furthermore, this generalization rankles those of us who were exposed to masculine socialization, yet felt the scalpel on our skin without wielding one ourselves. It makes it sound like the scalpel game was something we mutually participated in with other children, when really, it was something they did to us.

    Again, it’s a flawed and one-dimensional blaming of “masculinity” in feminist thought which leads little light to sound like she is saying some prejudicial things that I’m sure she doesn’t mean. I don’t think little light should be required to describe the experience of male victims to be able to talk about the victimization of girls, yet I would advocate more interrogation of feminist concepts because of the tendency of those framings to implicitly erase male victims or falsely lump them in with their victimizers.

    little light, if you’re reading this, does it makes sense?

  35. Hugh, could you please update your profile on FCB with a current email address, or otherwise get it contact with us. Neither of the addresses we have have been working and we have no way to reach you.

    it’s like describing the Rwandan genocide as “blacks killing blacks” (credit Adam Jones for that analogy, though I can’t dig up the essay right now).

    http://adamjones.freeservers.com/timor3.htm

    What justification can Mr. Valpy claim for virtually eliminating the male victims of this genocidal assault from his analysis, and focusing instead on the evil male perpetrators and the violence they do to women and children? Are Timorese men simply the victims of “male-on-male” violence, and thus deserving of no empathy or attention? By the same token, I suppose Mr. Valpy could dismiss the Tutsi genocide of 1994 as “black-on-black” violence or “tribal warfare” (another phenomenon “as old as history”?), or female genital mutilation as merely “women cutting women.” But I’m sure such formulations would seem very redneck to him, as they do to me.

  36. The following is a copy of the comment, slightly augmented, that I just posted on little light’s blog. At the time of writing it is still in moderation there.

    Quote from HughRistik’s link:

    Little light: …I mean no offense, but this is not about you or your needs.

    Well. That does lay it out explicitly, doesn’t it? That there’s no room on little light’s blog for little light?

    No, that’s not what was meant at all.

    That her post should occasion discussion of views she neither endorses nor even mentions?

    You put us in an invidious position. Either we respond here, in which case we appropriate a portion of little light’s space for our own purpose, or we do not, in which case we have no reply in the place it was made to a comment which is clearly about us.

    Imagine, if you will, that little light happened upon a post or comment on someone else’s blog which, though peripheral to the topic of of the post, stereotyped transpeople in a hurtful and harmful way. Would you then fault her for writing a post on her own blog about how this affected her and other transpeople?

    Now suppose the author come by at her invitation to say that, no that wasn’t what he meant, what he meant was this… And then expressed views about transpeople that were sensitive and nuanced. Would that invalidate her concerns about what he had said in the first place?

    The second paragraph in the little light’s post isn’t about her. It’s a depiction of masculinity that presents it as tainted by violence. That’s a stereotype that hurts and harms non-violent men, particularly those who were victimised by the very same schoolyard dynamics that little light was talking about.

    We all accept that she didn’t mean it that way. But that doesn’t undo the harm. It wouldn’t undo the harm if she deleted or rewrote the paragraph. It wouldn’t undo the harm if she’d never written it in the first place, because it’s a universal stereotype, and she cannot erase it from the world.

    That’s what we mean when we say that it isn’t about her.

  37. We all accept that she didn’t mean it that way. But that doesn’t undo the harm. It wouldn’t undo the harm if she deleted or rewrote the paragraph. It wouldn’t undo the harm if she’d never written it in the first place, because it’s a universal stereotype, and she cannot erase it from the world.

    It would not undo the harm, but in my case I likely would not have been triggered. What specifically triggered me was the second paragraph in context to little light sharing her experience. I took her comments to mean that what she experienced happened to her because masculinity makes boys violent and as a result all boys mutually participate in and intentionally cause such violence to others. If she had not framed it in that way — in such a negative way that implied complicity — I would not have bothered me on such a level. In that instance it would have simply been a person sharing her experiences of violence at the hands of some boys.

    To be fair, it is not likely that little light could have avoided doing so because, it would appear, she views her experiences in context to her understanding of gender norms. She could no more explain how she feels about what happened without discussing masculinity than a victim of police brutality could explain his experience without discussing authority figures. That is what is so tricking when people use their experiences to make a broader point. It is difficult to address the point without in some way being perceived as attacking the experience, which is certainly not what I wanted to do.

  38. I was strongly triggered on Feminist Critics, also, which is why I stopped visiting. I was told my own experience meant nothing, and if I’d really wanted to, I could have overcome and overpowered my whole family and environment and community and culture, and done something I was specifically not permitted to do as a girl. I was told that my experience and my life are all bullshit and not real.

    If I’d said that to guys? Ha! Daran would be all over me. As it was? He did nothing, not a goddamn thing.

    Why was it okay to talk that way to me, but we aren’t supposed to say that to you?

    The pain I experienced and continue to experience over the events I shared, was extensive–and I was patronizingly informed it was nonexistent. Nobody intervened. I was sacrificed to the mob, rather as Little Light has well described. And by some of the same people on this thread. All I can say reading this thread now is, how dare you?

    LL is 100% right in that male pain is supposed to be respected, but the pain of women and girls is not… and that is the bottom line.

    Yes, go ahead and delete this, as you probably will.

  39. > I in no way think men, boys, or masculinity
    > itself are inherently evil or harmful, and that
    > is not my message. What I was trying to call
    > attention to and criticize in that paragraph is
    > what you’re describing: that our society
    > systematically hurts and abuses boys, and the
    > way it teaches them to be men is hurtful, when
    > we could be doing better by our boys and men,
    > and offer them real support.

    No, I am not buying that bridge. Your “message” IS WHAT IT IS, it is there for everyone to read, and it reads all like an anti-male rant (which is still more bearable than the “let them connect with their feminine side” roedeershit you followed it up with).

    > Children are children, and ought to be protected
    > and cared for and raised in a way that helps them
    > avoid abuse and grow into healthy adults, men
    > and women both. And to do that, I think we do
    > have to criticize masculinity as it functions in our
    > culture,

    NO.

    To do that, you STEP AWAY from men, declare a 25-year moratorium on “criticizing” masculinity and maleness, AND ALLOW MEN TO REGAIN THEIR GODDAMN BREATH FOR ONCE. The current shape of “masculinity” is NOT the result of how “society” conditions men. It is the result of decades of oppression by hostile feminist discourse SUCH AS YOURS, which doesn’t become any less hostile when you substitute pity for open hatred.

    Masculinity is the objective fact of being male. Any other definition is either a feminist attack on men or an attempt to make excuses after such attack.

    > I want them to live in a world where they’re
    > not constrained to a narrow, limiting version
    > of manhood even when it doesn’t fit them,

    They used to, more or less. It was only during the 20th century masculinity un-developed and shed 90% of its diversity. It became nucleized into a hard break-your-teeth kernel – precisely a defense mechanism against hostile discourse.

    > To do that, I think it’s necessary to call it out when
    > the way some people use masculinity to hurt people
    > becomes systematic,

    It has certainly become systematic in one way: the word “masculinity”, with a thoroughly manipulated meaning, is used rhetorically by feminists to hurt men. I am calling you out on this.

    > so we can solve the problem together.

    Stay AWAY from my problems and from me. CEASE the criticism siege for 25 years NO MATTER what immediate negative consequences it might have, and THEN we can talk.

    > and never meant to cause you any hurt.

    I don’t believe you.

  40. > So protecting me helps remove that threat for
    > every man who’s subject to it and makes him
    > safer; and protecting those men and allowing
    > them more freedom means fewer tools that
    > can be used to harm me, and makes people
    > like me safer, too. We’re in this together.

    [strike]… sez one who has opted OUT.[/strike] – Do not attack little light’s identity – TS

  41. > It’s not about hating or deriding men, even if
    > the identification of power dynamics and patterns
    > is not always flattering.

    The problem with your identification of power dynamics and patterns is not that it is “not flattering”, but that it is knowingly, stubbornly, self-servingly false.

  42. > (…) much of male self-identity is tied to
    > being distinctly separate from anything
    > feminine. Again, you personally may not
    > find that distinction necessary, but many
    > males do. To deny them the ability to
    > define masculinity in the way that works
    > for them would be akin to someone telling
    > right-handed people to use their left feet
    > to write because they will use the creative
    > side of their brains more and free their hands.
    > (…)
    > In that way, what you suggest is just
    > another form of policing masculinity, one
    > that disregards the feelings and needs
    > of the overwhelming majority of males.

    Printed, framed.

  43. I was strongly triggered on Feminist Critics, also, which is why I stopped visiting. I was told my own experience meant nothing, and if I’d really wanted to, I could have overcome and overpowered my whole family and environment and community and culture, and done something I was specifically not permitted to do as a girl. I was told that my experience and my life are all bullshit and not real.

    I am sorry if you were triggered. It is very difficult for anyone discussing personal matters, especially in a debating environment, to avoid having someone say or do something that triggers them. I would comment further, but without knowing specifically what you are speaking of I am unsure what to say. I do recall a discussion between you and Typhonblue that may have gone in the direction that you mentioned. However, I do not recall anyone saying that your experience and life were all bs or not real. That neither I, Daran, ballgame or Hugh would have tolerated.

    If I’d said that to guys? Ha! Daran would be all over me. As it was? He did nothing, not a goddamn thing.

    I cannot speak for Daran. I have not seen anyone do as you have said towards you. I am inclined to allow such to go unmoderated because it is technically an opinion. No one has to believe that one’s experiences have been as one claims. I would rather challenge someone, as I did with Cara, on whether his or her view represents the reality of others’ experiences than bar them from making the egregious comment because I want him or her to explain that position. I would suspect Daran is of similar mind, but I am not certain. Again, I do apologize if you were triggered by that. I happen to be so used to people doing that to me that it no longer bothers me.

    The pain I experienced and continue to experience over the events I shared, was extensive–and I was patronizingly informed it was nonexistent. Nobody intervened. I was sacrificed to the mob, rather as Little Light has well described. And by some of the same people on this thread. All I can say reading this thread now is, how dare you?

    I dare because, just like you, what I experienced had a drastic and extensive effect on me and I was (and am) patronizingly informed it was nonexistent. Nobody intervened, for a variety of reasons. Yet, the expectation is not only that I pretend that it did not happen, that it had no effect or that I just get over it. The expectation is also that regardless of what I experienced I ought to consider myself a fundamentally bad person just for being born male and by virtue of being male anything that happened to me was my own fault. There is no aspect of treating people the way I want to be treated, not raping or abusing anyone or never regarding women as lesser than me will ever do to change that. Nothing I do will change that. The message I received as a child is the same as what triggered me in little light’s post: I am bad because I am male and I am complicit in anything negative that I experienced.

    The latter I do not take issue with as I am in complete agreement with it in regards to my experiences. However, I simply do not agree that manhood, masculinity or maleness is inherently negative or even mostly negative. That honestly has not been my experience, even having attended an all-boy high school. When I was younger I did not understand what was said. When I got older I understood it, but lacked the ability to do anything about it. Later, I had the ability to do something, but lacked the language to manage it. Now that I have both the ability and the language to argue against, I will. No one ought to be taught or told that they are bad, flawed or complicit in violence and harm done to them, especially not because of what group they were born into.

    LL is 100% right in that male pain is supposed to be respected, but the pain of women and girls is not… and that is the bottom line.

    I do not know where you got the idea that male pain is supposed to be respected because it certainly is not in society at large. Openly mocked and regarded as a sign of weakness, yes, but not respected on any substantive level. While females are not sitting on a bastion of respect either, their pain is not denied or derided in the way male pain is, nor is their status as women questioned just for feeling pain. This, I think, is another part of the disconnect I mentioned before. There is not much of an attempt to see things from the male perspective. Instead, there tends to be an assumption that males always have it better, always get what they want, always run things, always are in control. However, that is not what a great deal of boys and men experience.

    Yes, go ahead and delete this, as you probably will.

    I have no intention of doing so, although I will say that your comment got caught in moderation for writing “bullshit.”

  44. I am not attacking her identity. I am atacking the LIE that she is in “it” anywhere as much as cis men are. She stepped out of “it”, that’s a fact.

  45. Whether you intend to or not, your statement comes across as an attack on her identity. Her decisions, despite her making them public, are not up for discussion. However, feel free to challenge her views on masculinity and maleness.

  46. In the interest of full disclosure, the thread DDH is referring to with this statement:

    I was told my own experience meant nothing, and if I’d really wanted to, I could have overcome and overpowered my whole family and environment and community and culture, and done something I was specifically not permitted to do as a girl. I was told that my experience and my life are all bullshit and not real.

    can be found here:
    http://www.feministcritics.org/blog/2008/03/24/generalizing-about-feminism-open-thread/

    If you can find someone telling her what she says she was told, you’ve got sharper eyes than me.

  47. “LL is 100% right in that male pain is supposed to be respected, but the pain of women and girls is not… and that is the bottom line. ”

    This is a very strange thing to say. Women’s and girls’ pain is and has been treated with almost reverence in this society. Accusations of rape have been enough to set mobs in motion and a Southerner and a civil rights attorney like DD knows this very well. The damsel in distress is an ancient figure in literature and folklore in Europe and America. DV against women is the only kind that gets any political, legislative, bureaucratic or popular attention. On and on and on. What a strange thing to say.

    The pain of women and girls is not…. at what point in her life was DD ever told to just shut up and take it like a man, I wonder?

    In any case it was not LL’s description of her paiin that was probelmatic and was criticized, it was her characterization of boys and masculinity, a characterization that is a foundational slander in this culture. No level of pain ENTITLES a person to become a “wounded animal” and to strike out in all directions and harm innocent bystanders. That was why her post was criticized.

  48. If I’d said that to guys? Ha! Daran would be all over me. As it was? He did nothing, not a goddamn thing.

    Daisy, I’m really sorry you had a bad experience on our blog.

    You’re right that I did nothing. I wasn’t there. I did not read that thread between my Comment on Jan 5, before it had started to deteriorate, and your departure from it two days later. As far as I can see, neither did ballgame. And TS hasn’t participated there this year.

    ballgame got back before I did, but by that time you’d already left, and there was nothing to do but clean up the mess.

    So I agree that there was a moderation failure. I do not accept there was the double standard you are imputing here.

  49. Pingback: Justifying and Rationalizing Misandry « Toy Soldiers

  50. I’ve cooled down a bit.

    I wrote: I was told my own experience meant nothing, and if I’d really wanted to, I could have overcome and overpowered my whole family and environment and community and culture, and done something I was specifically not permitted to do as a girl. I was told that my experience and my life are all bullshit and not real.

    The example I gave was about my childhood. I was not allowed to learn to play drums, which I desperately wanted to do. My family were musicians, the drums were right there in the house. It would have cost nothing to let me teach myself, but this was something I WAS TOLD girls should/could not do. (yes, I realize there are exceptions, goddammit, but this is what I WAS TOLD.) This was a tremendous loss to me.

    I heard such stories over and over–and finally, as a teenager in the 70s, this is why I was attracted to feminism and believed it contained a truth: it spoke to my real experience. It was not some nebulous “theory” to me.

    And I was trying to explain this, when I was attacked (and triggered).

    Under an Assumed Name wrote: If you can find someone telling her what she says she was told, you’ve got sharper eyes than me.

    Okay.

    Here are just a FEW of the triggering comments (out of 188, did you read them all?) directed to me on the thread:

    How in the heck am I responsible for your plight that occured years and years ago? I’m not a member of your family, don’t know you, and likely will never meet you in person.

    No, I hate it when you turn the issue into how you think you have it worse when in actuality, you have no monopoly on suffering. It’s another pet peeve I have with modern feminists. Try to talk about your experiences then you get assaulted with pity stories designed to negate your experiences to nothing.

    I can’t speak for the 50s, 60s, or heck even 70s, but I know about 80s and onward. Sissies are still treated abjectly, by parents, boys and girls, society, and its still normalized. Being a tomboy is acceptable (now) until at least a certain age, tolerated after, rarely is it ground for disowning someone for example.

    I’ve never felt much conflict over being a masculine woman. Nope.

    Considering that the Beverly Hillbillies had a positive portrayal of a tomboy in Ellie-Mae in the early sixties–and I haven’t heard of an equivalent, positive portrayal of a sissy-boy in the same time frame–I must confess I find Daisy’s assertion unconvincing.

    So… because somebody saw an ex-beauty queen who was one of Elvis’ ex-girlfriends playing a redneck tomboy on a fucking TV show (i.e. not a real redneck tomboy, okay?), I am called a liar. That is to say (?), I guess I really WAS allowed to play the drums. I must have made the whole thing up!

    (And yes, more where THAT came from.)

    In short, I was called a liar. You all did NOTHING. Yes, Daran, this means YOU.

    Under an assumed name: not such sharp eyes, I guess.

    Hey, check what Renegade Evolution just linked to: DERAILING FOR DUMMIES and in particular, some of the methods outlined in the sub-categories:

    Your Experience Is Not Representative Of Everyone

    You’re Arguing With Opinions Not Fact

    Unless You Can Prove Your Experience Is Widespread I Won’t Believe It

    Well I Know Another Person From Your Group Who Disagrees!

    You Have A False Consciousness

    You’ve Lost Your Temper So I Don’t Have To Listen To You Anymore

    Every single sub-category, actually… is right out of that thread. It’s like you all had a playbook.

  51. Pingback: A Little More On Light « Toy Soldiers

  52. Pingback: To Daisy Deadhead (RP) | Feminist Critics

  53. “I can’t speak for the 50s, 60s, or heck even 70s, but I know about 80s and onward. Sissies are still treated abjectly, by parents, boys and girls, society, and its still normalized. Being a tomboy is acceptable (now) until at least a certain age, tolerated after, rarely is it ground for disowning someone for example.”

    I believe this comment was mine.

    I didn’t mean to say your experience was impossible. I’m 30 years too young to even know.

    I’m saying that since I was born, this did not occur, so it seems strange to me to hear about it. To me its all theory, because besides having very gendered clothes and different expectations about appearance, there was nothing about what someone could do, boy or girl.

    Or maybe I ignored it all (very possible) in favor of just doing it anyway and suffering the consequences if any (I’m stubborn like that, I would die for my convicitions – I certainly don’t expect even a small minority of people to do as much).

    In short, I was just saying it was news to me that it actually occurred in real life, not on TV, in movies or in books.

  54. Pingback: To Daisy Deadhead (Restricted) | Feminist Critics

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