Originally posted on December 20, 2014
How unsurprising that the Good Men Project ran yet another long-winded, misandrous article accusing men of being vile, patriarchal, privileged misogynists who ironically cause their own extremely rare and unharmful problems and make the world horrifically horrible for women just by existing.
I could comment on the article, however, John Anderson already did an excellent job pointing out its flaws. Instead, I want to focus on the core problem that prompted the author to write the article: disbelief.
Specifically, the feminist unwillingness to listen and believe men when we talk about our experiences. Throughout the article, the author addresses many of the complaints non-feminists have concerning the feminist position on masculinity, manhood, and maleness. He does so by dismissing those complaints outright. Instead of listening to what men say, the author follows the typical feminist tract of telling men what their feelings, opinions, and experiences are, and demanding that men abide by those opinions lest they prove their privileged bias.
This attitude results is pure condescension, as illustrated by a commenter named Andrew Pauls. He writes:
Personally, I believe, its hard for men to hear criticism about being a man. I think it is indicative of deeper experiences that don’t have language attached to them. […] I think [that] cynicism arises from a lack of language we have to verbalize our experience.
I think it is rather condescending to tell someone verbalizing his opinions about his experience in plain English that he lacks the language to verbalize his experience. You may disagree with what he says, but it is disrespectful to claim he cannot tell you what he thinks after he did that precise thing.
But can we have a discussion about how to have a discussion?
You do not want to have a discussion. A discussion involves an exchange of ideas, including ideas with which you may disagree. You want to have a lecture, specifically one in which you tell someone you know nothing about who they are as a person.
Again, I think you bring defensiveness into the conversation because you don’t know how else to respond.
Again, that is a condescending response. Disagreement is not defensiveness. Your ideas are not above criticism. The notion that criticizing what one considers inaccurate or unfair constitutes defensiveness is merely a silencing tactic.
About being honest about feelings? I think there is a conversation needed about how to express feelings between men. My point is men don’t have a lot of experience around this.
And your solution to this is to dismiss men when they express feelings that do not coincide with your political views? Smacking men down for have feelings you do not like typically does not prompt sharing; it prompts silence.
To suggest that maybe we have good reason in my view doesn’t expand on your beliefs.
The commenter expressed no beliefs. He gave an explanation for his opinion. The reasons he holds those opinions would expand your understanding of his position. However, it does not appear you are interested in fostering that understanding. It appears you only want men to parrot back the negative image of them expressed in the article.
Movements of this sort? […] Perhaps what you are referring to is the patterns of communication that you have encountered when discussing issues of this sort.
Again, this is rather condescending. It is obvious that the issue is the manner in which feminists discuss men, masculinity, and manhood. There is no need to dance around that.
“And yet it does that by bringing in that tired out privilege concept” This is not a tired out concept.
Yes, it is. It is rhetorical scapegoat trotted out to shut down discussion. When you mention “privilege,” you do so to indicate that said “privileged” person’s lived experiences need no consideration. It is a silencing tactic, and it is often quite effective.
I get the impression from the author of the article and Andrew Pauls that those who share their political views are not interested in helping men. They are more concerned about pushing a particular political agenda and using men as the necessary adversary in their false dichotomy to justify said agenda.
However, should their concern for men be genuine, allow me to offer some advice: instead of telling men what you think, you should just listen and believe.