Being a Boy: Lesson Learned

Originally published on March 12, 2014

I spotted this story on the r/MensRights subreddit. The author recounts how his feminist mother taught him not be a rapist and the harm it did to him:

My mother was basically what you’d call a “radical” feminist. She thought everything was an indicator of child molestation by that person’s father, that any man is probably a child molester, any physical contact between a man and a child is sexual, etc.

She had coached me into thinking my father had molested me as well to try to get him arrested, but that is a separate issue that I’d love to share in another thread.

What really, really fucked with me deeply, was when she convinced me my father had molested me, that his father had molested him, and that if I didn’t tell people what my father had done, I would become a rapist.

That is not the first time I have heard a story like that. I experienced something similar with my aunt, and the impact it had on me and my younger brother has shaped how we interact with women. One of the foster kids who lived with my foster parents also experienced something similar. It took him years to unlearn all the things his mother, aunt, and grandmother taught him, things such as his morning erection being a sign that he wanted to rape women.

The feminist response to such stories is to write them off as outliers, claim that these women are not “real” feminists, or say “that’s not my feminism.” The problem with those arguments is that there is nothing these women taught that is anathema to feminist thinking. Most feminists would agree that boys should be taught not to rape. Most feminists would agree abused boys are at high risk of becoming abusers. Most feminists would agree that men should not be allowed around children because the men might abuse them.

The only thing feminists may disagree with is the manner in which these women chose to impart those messages, and even that is debatable. In my experience, feminists will refute those acts publicly, but they are less inclined to disagree with them in private. I see a more “I don’t agree with it but if it works” attitude when feminists think no one is looking.

The author went on to explain how the abusive teachings affected him:

I used to be a cuddly little kid, and physical contact with people was one of the ways that I bonded socially, it’s just how I was. I liked holding hands with people, I liked lying in the grass with my friends in a pile, I liked wrestling with my siblings.

After what my mom did to me, I developed a severe aversion to physical contact. She made it so that the main way that I bonded with people was tainted, I was not ok with touching other people or being touched. If anyone touched me I’d tense up and try not to cry. I became quiet and isolated, and I stopped making friends. I also became a bully, one of my deepest regrets.

Additionally, it made me feel as if ANY sexual contact was inherently victimizing. I was not ok hugging girls, because I thought that I might hurt them. I wasn’t even comfortable talking to them. In high school, I’d zone out when girls would obviously flirt with me, because it was so uncomfortable, didn’t these girls know that I might become a rapist any second? I didn’t form any sort of sexual relationships in high school, I just couldn’t. I had a girl who I was very attracted to kiss me, ON THE LIPS, and I just pulled away and got really quiet. Who knows how that affected her, but I doubt she felt good about it.

That has been the response I experienced and what I saw in others. I suspect that is the intention, i.e. to make boys so adverse to wanting to be around girls that they would not speak to them, let alone touch them.

Of course, many feminists would say that is not the intent. However, nothing in the feminist message contradicts my conclusion. It is also not just those directly fed these negative ideas who reach that conclusion. Average men and boys not raised by feminists but who simply hear the feminist message think the same thing: feminists want men and boys to walk on eggshells around women and girls.

It should be obvious how damaging these kind of messages can be. Think of the friends a boy misses out on because he was taught that he cannot be trusted around girls. Think of the relationships that will be ruined or never began. Think of how difficult it will be for those boys who become fathers of girls. Imagine what they will go through trying to simply change their daughter’s diapers.

Again, I cannot see this as anything other than intentional. I do not think a rational person could not see how harmful such thinking could be. Unfortunately, it appears people like the author who shared his story have to point it out.

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18 thoughts on “Being a Boy: Lesson Learned

  1. “She thought everything was an indicator of child molestation by that person’s father, that any man is probably a child molester, any physical contact between a man and a child is sexual, etc.”

    What the hell? Who thinks like this?
    When I was very young and could still enjoy physical touching by most people, some of my favorite ‘cuddlers’ were male friends/relatives. Even after the abuse started, I was initially able to be comfortable sitting close to my friends and their fathers…one of whom I’m pretty sure knew “something” was not right and took special pains to treat me like a child of his own. To spout out this horrendous view that all men are rapists or incapable of lovingly playing with/holding children is beyond words.

    As for this crock of “teach men and boys not to rape”? Why don’t we tackle the real issue and teach *people* to just be respectful of one another’s boundaries and needs? I have a feeling that if we stopped unnecessarily turning every social issue into a male vs female arena, we as a society would be much better off.

  2. ” I suspect that is the intention, i.e. to make boys so adverse to wanting to be around girls that they would not speak to them, let alone touch them.”

    I wonder. This kind of thinking (and you’re right, it’s clearly suffused into mainstream feminism) seems targeted more toward men and older boys. My belief is “teach men not to rape” is a way to demonize men so society will be more willing to clamp down on them. Usually when a group of people is subjugated they are first portrayed as less than human, lazy or thieving or uncivilized. Feminists must know that it won’t be easy to convince people to help them whittle away at men’s rights unless they first make it seem as if men don’t deserve those rights.

  3. “Most feminists would agree that men should not be allowed around children because the men might abuse them.”

    I don’t think that’s factually correct. I’m sure that feminists exists who think like that, but I doubt very much that “most” feminists would agree with that, the majority of feminists I’ve met have quite to the contrary been arguing that men should spend substantially MORE time with children than they currently do.

    I agree with the rest of this piece though, I too have been told that I’m a danger because of my gender, and I think that’s both a harmful and an abusive thing to tell a kid.

  4. “I don’t think that’s factually correct. I’m sure that feminists exists who think like that, but I doubt very much that “most” feminists would agree with that, the majority of feminists I’ve met have quite to the contrary been arguing that men should spend substantially MORE time with children than they currently do.”

    Too bad the feminists at N.O.W. argued against Shared Parenting, claiming it would be used by abusive fathers to gain access to their kids when in reality it was only an OPTION and void if evidence was shown that the mother or father were abusive. If they want fathers involved in kids lives, you’d think this would be something they’d endorse.

  5. Yeah, sure Eagle, but they’d say there’s a difference between “abusive fathers” and “all men”, of course any man risks being ACCUSED of being abusive, regardless of if he actually is or not, but that, I think, is a separate issue.

    Can you give some examples where feminists argue that men generally should not be allowed around children ? If “most” feminists really think so, then surely there must be a ton of examples where they come out and say so ?

  6. Thanks ! Yeah, I agree, examples such as this one qualify. She is guilty of the classical reversal-fallacy in her argument here:

    Most abusers are male (she claims!), thus one should not use males for jobs that give ample opportunity for abuse.

    The problem of course, is that even if you accept her claim (I’m not so sure I do) that most abusers are male, that doesn’t change the fact that most men are entirely innocent. If you allowed this logic you might as well say that given the fact that most prostitutes are women, you would be justified in treating all women as if they’re probably prostitutes.

  7. “Yeah, sure Eagle, but they’d say there’s a difference between “abusive fathers” and “all men””

    No they wouldn’t. They didn’t say it when opposing the proposal. “Abusive Fathers” is all they said, no quantification, nothing.

    And I’m not buying that bullshit of “Oh, I didn’t mean all men” excuse anymore. I’ve heard it way too many times it’s become tiresome and aggravating.

  8. I don’t think that’s factually correct. I’m sure that feminists exists who think like that, but I doubt very much that “most” feminists would agree with that, the majority of feminists I’ve met have quite to the contrary been arguing that men should spend substantially MORE time with children than they currently do.

    Those are two different ideas, agrajag. The first is the idea that men are a threat to children, while the second is the idea that fathers should bear more of the load raising children. Feminists seem willing to allow men around children as long as they are the “right” kind of men, i.e. pro-feminist men. Yet even then there remains the notion that men must still be careful because their masculinity and maleness makes them inherently abusive.

    As for an example of feminist attitudes towards men being around children, here is a fine one. Feminists pushed for airlines to bar men from sitting next to unaccompanied minors, claiming that men would abuse the children despite having evidence to support that position.

  9. And I’m not buying that bullshit of “Oh, I didn’t mean all men” excuse anymore. I’ve heard it way too many times it’s become tiresome and aggravating.

    That argument does not work anyway. When one looks at feminist commentary about men, the commentary ends up contradicting itself. Take Kate Harding’s infamous Schrodinger’s Rapist piece. She claims that she does not believe all men are rapists and concedes that most men will never commit rape, but then argues that because she cannot tell which men are rapists and which are not, they are all rapists until proven otherwise (which incidentally fails to follow the actual logic behind Schrodinger’s Cat). Feminists applauded and reblogged the article, with few questioning the obvious misandry of it but plenty claiming that they are not accusing all men of being real or potential rapists.

  10. Agrajag,

    There are more feminists that I’ve spoken to (both online and IRL) who hold the views that Soldier and Eagle35 talk about than not. Even as an egalitarian, I’m amazed by how often they slip up and need to constantly reclarify their positions on men/boys in general.

    That aside, the issue I see is this:
    Some women have swallowed the line of “men bad, women good” to the extent that they will *refuse* to allow their children to be alone *in public* with men…even when the child in question is also male. Yet show them that a woman is in the general vicinity, and the child gets dropped off immediately. I unfortunately see this at least once a month in my job, and each time I find it equal parts sad and revolting.

  11. @Soldier

    ” Take Kate Harding’s infamous Schrodinger’s Rapist piece. She claims that she does not believe all men are rapists and concedes that most men will never commit rape, but then argues that because she cannot tell which men are rapists and which are not, they are all rapists until proven otherwise (which incidentally fails to follow the actual logic behind Schrodinger’s Cat).”

    I loathe arguments such as this. It gives the man or woman who’s using said argument the leeway to say “well, not all men are rapists/not all women are cruel, but *enough* of them are to condone my personal bigotry against them.” I have no time for either feminists or MRAs who do this…

  12. Pingback: Being a Boy: Lesson Learned | Manosphere Me

  13. “I do not think a rational person could not see how harmful such thinking could be”
    Ideology tends to subjugate rationality.

  14. Pingback: Being the son of a feminist mother

  15. There was a post on GMP where the dad goes on about how he needs to teach his son not to be a horrible person, not to rape women, etc. It was chilling in its obliviousness. I don’t recall how many feminists supported it in the comments.

    Eagle35:

    And I’m not buying that bullshit of “Oh, I didn’t mean all men” excuse anymore. I’ve heard it way too many times it’s become tiresome and aggravating.

    Especially when they don’t allow the same wiggle room when it comes to apparent sexism against women. “Do as I say…”

    Tarnished:

    Even as an egalitarian, I’m amazed by how often they slip up and need to constantly reclarify their positions on men/boys in general.

    I’m not amazed. I’m terrified. Terrified by how these people who honestly think they’re being fair just spout sexist nonsense without thinking, often actively contrary to other claims they made. When feminists are too often indistinguishable from conspiracy theorists in terms of logical inconsistency…

  16. Pingback: Top Posts of 2014 | Toy Soldiers

  17. Feminists are without any doubt, stuck in the early 1970s. Their entire understanding of sexual abuse is based on long since debunked philosophy, which they still cling onto like lampreys.

    This guy’s experience is no exception. The feminist philosophy on the subject is as an action done solely by men to women (and even with male victims of both male and female abusers, and female victims of female abusers being proved to be in existence, they often wave them away and dismiss them, even jezebel pointed out the harm in this), as a conspiracy of a patriarchy to oppress women and keep them down (yet the existence of these other abuse paradigms disproved this utterly), and this kind of approach contributes to the suffering of these other abuse victims. I should know (as anyone who’s read my comments before probably does).

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