The Honey Badgers interviewed Warren Farrell again. The conversation wavers between topics. I found one exchange interesting.
Warren Farrell described a men’s group he hosted at his home during his time with the National Organization of Women. The group was meant to give men a space to share their feelings. Farrell found, however, that after a couple of hours the men would shut down and want to leave. Farrell found this confusing, but continued the group. Eventually he began to record the meetings and while watching the playback he noticed something he had missed.
Rather than listening to the men and allowing them to explain their feelings on their own terms, Farrell would cut in and tell the men what they felt and why they felt it. He would parse their experiences through a feminist lens, ignoring the men’s own interpretations.
I find that this occurs in many spaces run by feminist men. Feminists seem less interested in what men actually feel and experience than they are confirming their own theories and biases. When a man says something that runs contrary to those views, feminists ignore or downplay it. This is particularly true in male feminist spaces where these men have a greater need to prove their feminist credentials.
The result is that they often have few men participating in those spaces, and the men who do are largely feminist or feminist-leaning men. This leads to an echo chamber effect in which only one set of views about men’s experiences ever gets through. The moment someone tries to include something outside of the feminist sphere it is either shut down or pilloried.
Farrell fortunately realized his mistake and decided to let the men speak for themselves. He found that this completely changed the dynamic. The men were more open with their feelings and more willing to stay longer to discuss them.
Unfortunately, many feminist men fail to make the same realization. They hold to their theories and the result is that they often never have the substantive discussion about men’s issues or experiences they claim they want to have.
As for Farrell’s conversation with the Badgers, it is an interesting one. The topic of discussion does jump around quite a bit, but I thought the above anecdote was worth sharing.