Male Commentaries

I’ve been being a voyeur in the comments to the Sleeping with the Enemy posts over at Feministe. I haven’t contributed directly because I couldn’t think of anything productive about the original post and didn’t think it was my place to argue with the commenters (plus I feel they would run circles around my thoughts — their feminist fu is much stronger than mine).

However, I do think it’s interesting that I was not alone in commenting from afar– 4 other male bloggers also did so. And here we are: Corey, Mike, Matt, Quixote, Julian. And it makes some sense, as it allows one to avoid invading a feminist space to tell people how their movement should be run. And I almost wrote another such post…

…but it feels weird to have a bunch of guys staring in and making judgments. After talk with my wife, comment-reading, and reflection, I think our commentaries are kind of illegitimate. Feministe commenters are not (and thus are not speaking as if they were) spokespersons for The Feminists or arbiters of movement-membership and it hardly makes sense to get upset at what seems to be their exclusivity or condescension.

Identity discussions force us into a tortured use of language full of disclaimers and qualifications, and it’s unsurprising that people struggle to communicate and get pissed off. However, experiencing meanness at the hands of feminists is not a legitimate reason for men to not pursue feminist goals. Those goals are inherently valuable, independent of whether liberated women are nice to men or not or are willing to call men feminists or not.

Moreover, we’re all basically participating in the damaging “feminists hate men!” narrative by disproportionately concentrating on a few over-the-top comments, and mostly ignoring both Jaclyn’s original post, which was thoughtful and measured, and the majority of the comments, which share those qualities. We should be picking nutty comments out of the threads at RedState, not Feministe.

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