Walking on eggshells


This post or rather set of questions have become very sensitive. One is almost always wrong, especially if they happen to be male. 

Mansplaining- is there a women corollary?

All men are trash- is there an opposing corollary?

All men are retards- is there a women corollary?

How are men to navigate the discussions around feminism without appearing to silence women’s voices, appearing to be guilty of mansplaining and so on? 

To put it differently, how are men to be feminists allies?

And finally, what is feminism?

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About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

120 thoughts on “Walking on eggshells

  1. Hariod Brawn says:

    Just you remember, there’s no such thing as misandry. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Liked by 2 people

  2. renudepride says:

    Mansplaining: explaining a male perspective or interpretation. It does not include defending male behavior that is abusive, demeaning or disrespectful or insulting. All men are trash: all women are trash. All men are retards: all women are retards. Personally, I find the use of the word “retard” in any context offensive.

    I think that males may be able to discuss feminism without silencing women or mansplaining by NOT defending or endorsing behaviors or beliefs that belittle, insult, offend or disrespect women or feminism.

    Feminism is the movement, thought or process of complete equality for all women in a world that is too often dominated by men.

    Good questions, my Kenyan brother. Naked hugs!

    Like

  3. Good questions. I find the “all men are trash” nonsense to be as insensitive as the “all women are trash” nonsense. Yes, some guys are truly fuck-wads, but not ALL men. Anyway, great questions.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. I find that being a European gay male of means allows me to say anything I want about feminism (or anything else) and most people don’t dare contradict me ๐Ÿ˜€

    Liked by 5 people

  5. jim- says:

    I guess I would answer Is RBF for bitchface or what?

    Like

  6. Violet says:

    How can men be allies to women in the fight for equality? Most importantly, do NOT deny women have been oppressed over the course of history…that will only make you look like you live under a rock. Listen more than you talk (and thus no “mansplaining”). Do not tell women their perspectives are wrong on female issues…women know their struggles moreso than men. When women try to discuss their issues don’t try to one-up them with male issues, as this makes you look defensive, angry, and in denial (bring up male issues in a different discussion). Don’t for a second defend the behavior of men who treat women badly or sexualize them in male-only company…only the POTUS can get away with that shit.

    In my mind, feminism is about giving women equal rights and opportunities. In some ways this has already happened, but we still have further to go. I am looking for fairness and equality, not the suppression of the male sex under the female sex. Neither sex should be silenced…both should have a voice and a forum to speak. Neither sex should have to deal with abuse from the other sex, be it verbal, physical, or sexual.

    It is in my awareness that men have their own battles to fight, one in particular is the education of our boys. In the US boys have a rather shocking dropout rate and they don’t go nearly as high in their education as women. This is unacceptable. We must focus on helping both sexes move forward and live in this world successfully.

    Liked by 5 people

    • makagutu says:

      Excellent response.
      A few follow up questions.
      1. Mansplaining only applies to women specific issues? What is the scope? I have seen men accused of mansplaining for commenting on a general topic asked on twitter. How is this?
      2. Since most men and women and especially those of colour have been screwed by a small elite, should the struggle for equality include their struggles or are we to separate these struggles?
      3. How are we to bring up boys? And girls?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Violet says:

        Mansplaining can apply to any issue, and females can mansplain too. Just the other day my hubs told my I was mansplaining my fury over healthcare issues in the US. I guess the lesson here is to try to be succinct and give the other person a chance to speak too.

        2. The struggle for equality is for everyone. I’m a fan of letting groups make known the particular issues that affect them, and so this tends to break people up into smaller and smaller groups. There are positives and negatives to having so many little groups, but it’s good to hear a variety of perspectives. I don’t know how else we can strive for equality unless everyone is allowed to make their important issues known.

        3. That’s a big question and I don’t think I can cover it all in a comment. To be brief, I’d say we must strive for equality between the sexes, but certain individual traits of men and women need to be recognized and addressed. For example, girls and boys respond better to different teaching methods in school, so we must incorporate both to ensure the best for both.

        Liked by 1 person

        • makagutu says:

          On you two you make a lot of sense. But don’t you think be separating the struggles, we may miss the bigger picture?
          Is it equality in opportunities or in access because again no two people are equal?

          Liked by 1 person

          • Violet says:

            Yes absolutely, we may miss the bigger picture allowing so many groups to speak. The goal here is for equal rights for all, on a big scale and a small scale. This will have to include big, inclusive discussion, and also discussion on a small scale, where individual oppressed peoples have the chance to voice their issues. I don’t think it’s an either or….it’s an issue of using both methods to reach toward our ideals.

            It’s true there are no two people who are equal, so equal access is damn hard to reach. This is especially prominent in the disabled community (which I’m a part of), where a huge variety of disabilities means people have vastly different access problems. Equal access definitely has to be addressed because without it there is no equal opportunity. How to solve this problem is complex and I don’t have all the answers (nor do I even know all the right questions).

            Liked by 1 person

          • makagutu says:

            We don’t have to know all the right questions, just a few of the right questions will do

            Liked by 2 people

    • basenjibrian says:

      donโ€™t try to one-up them with male issues, as this makes you look defensive, angry, and in denial (bring up male issues in a different discussion).

      I have to confess I did violate this rule once. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I was called to task on it. The

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      • Violet says:

        As to one-upping: that rule can be applied to pretty much any conversation where someone is giving voice to their pain. We all make the mistake of violating that rule…many times it’s because we think we’re giving empathy by telling someone we’ve shared a similar pain. Unfortunately that usually backfires and then both people are left feeling wounded.

        The psychology of communication is complex, and it’s a skill that is difficult to get right when you’re “in the moment” and have to think fast. I’m a former psych nurse and have been given a great deal of education on effective communication, and even I fuck it up on a regular basis.

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    • Swarn Gill says:

      I liked your response here, but I have a question regarding one point and perhaps you could elaborate.

      Do not tell women their perspectives are wrong on female issuesโ€ฆwomen know their struggles moreso than men.

      Okay so I don’t really disagree with this. But let’s say I talk to one woman and she says, I don’t know “Cat calling is no big deal”. And another woman I talk to says “Cat calling is demeaning and it should stop.” So here are two female perspectives on female issues. While I agree I should never tell anybody what “their” perspective is (man or woman), I should be free to disagree with the former point of view. And yet at times I will disagree with a woman on her perspective, because I have been informed by other women of their perspective and I happen to find that perspective more sound. Yet I have gotten in trouble for such a disagreement. The point is that I think we can agree that not all women are equal feminists. The fact that of course some women don’t see how their perspectives are skewed because they themselves are socialized by a patriarchal culture is part of the problem, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to assume some subset of women know less about feminism, or are less feminist in their views than I am.

      I think what many men feel like is that they aren’t even in a position to join the discussion despite how many women they listen to, despite how many articles they read about feminist points of view. Honestly my feminism is solely shaped by listening to women, I’m not reading books called “Men on feminism”. I realize your point with that sentence was perhaps a little bit different than what I’m going into here, but it seemed like a good launching off point and your openness here made me feel safe to ask this question. For many people I don’t even feel safe asking the question.

      I read one explanation of the drop out rate for boys as related to patriarchal values. In poorer communities boys still have this mentality that they have to be breadwinners and where opportunities are so low, they feel a sense of hopelessness and this is one reason that they might be dropping out. The other point that they made was in reference to the lower amount of men attending college, that for similar reasons as I just stated many are choosing not to go to college because they feel the need to work and make money and not go into debt because of college. Again this relates to the growing lower income communities in the U.S. I have yet to find a consensus as to why this is, but that was one that sort of makes sense. I find many issues that are unique to men are also correlated to stereotypes of women. Largely I feel that fighting for feminist values also resolves many male issues as well. For instance the amount of stay at home dads has more than doubled in the last 30 years. And I would say that this is part and parcel of not only more opportunities open for women, but less stigmas for a man to be a stay at home dad.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Violet says:

        Before I begin, let me say I appreciate you asking the questions you did. We cannot have a society where people are afraid to ask each other thoughtful questions because they’re afraid of getting their heads ripped off. Now let’s get into it:

        “I should be free to disagree with (her) point of view.”

        LOL…go ahead and disagree with her and see what happens! You said the best words yourself: “I agree I should never tell anybody what ‘their’ perspective is.” So don’t do it, especially when you’re talking to a women about hot issues like feminism. Talk about things you do agree with her on and keep your disagreements to yourself. When talking with men about men’s issues, I may disagree on many things but I keep my mouth shut. It’s not my place to give an opinion as I’ve never faced struggles unique to men. However, I do feel free to discuss things that would benefit every man, like paternity leave, equal education, etc. There *are* things we can all agree on…we could all do better by focusing on those issues instead of the divisive ones.

        There are many theories as to why boys are dropping out of school at alarming rates and not bothering to get any higher education. Here’s just a few:

        1. public education focuses on the “sit down, shut up, and listen to the teacher” mode of teaching. Study after study has shown girls can thrive under this, but boys cannot. As the decades go on boys don’t seem to be mastering the same basic academic skills as girls, especially at poorer quality schools. Who wants to continue to do something they’re failing at?

        2. Video games are specifically programmed to hit on the pleasure centers of the brains of males…and boys are spending vast quantities of time playing them in these last decades. Google this topic and you’ll be alarmed at the ramifications video games are having on young men. How big a part are video games playing in the overall problem? No one knows, but it’s likely to be some part.

        3) More boys are having aggression problems which are getting them thrown out of schools at faster rates than before…why? Is it violent video games? It is poor teaching methods which lead to frustration over academic failure? Is it drug use, poverty, divorced parents or absent dads? Again, we’re not sue.

        There seems to be no firm answer as to what is happening, but the answer must be found. I do not for a second buy into what some people are saying, which is that the latest generations of males are stupid and lazy. NO. We as a society simply *cannot* leave generations of males behind on the garbage heap. We can only be successful if both girls and boys, women and men, are respected and valued.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Swarn Gill says:

          Thank you for your thoughtful response. I guess what I was saying in terms of getting into a discussion with women on feminist issues is more about being able to have a research based discussion over one of anecdotal evidence. The same type of discussion I might have with anybody. Someone may have a bad experience at the hands of a black person, but if they are making assumptions about all black people, I think it’s fair to challenge that assumption. So in the example I gave you a woman who says she doesn’t mind cat calling, or sees it as generally harmless, I think it’s reasonable to say, “While this may be true for you, not every woman feels similarly.” I feel like I can safely say that knowing how it makes other women in my life feel and what I have read about the subject. It’s not like I am saying to someone their experience is invalid, but I don’t think it’s also wrong to discuss the larger picture. I think, in general, when we learn our experience is not necessarily the experience of others and moving out of the black and white to the grey seems more productive for any topic. It seems to me that some views that women have might actually be harmful to other women. It doesn’t seem wrong to point that out.

          A month ago, on my page, I posted an opinion piece by a woman on the #metoo trend. Many women liked what it had to say, many did not. Two women who were rape survivors had opposite views of the piece, and so “in listening to women” what is one to do if they are at complete odds? Is there no fact based discussion to be had? If it is all entirely subjective can any problems be addressed. I mean you have weighed in on a men’s issue, now if I were to say to you that I don’t want your fact based discussion because my subjective experience is different from what you are saying, that doesn’t seem to be very productive.

          In general it seems we don’t have a problem discussing the anecdotal subjective experience to a broader research/fact based discussion, but with certain topics you can get in a lot of trouble for doing so.

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          • Violet says:

            People tend to care the most about their subjective experiences because that’s what they know to be true. Cold hard facts may or may not fit them so they care about them less. I don’t see this changing anytime soon.

            Basically discussion of gender issues is just like discussing religion. If someone brings it up and you want to state an opinion or counter their points, be prepared for a fight. That’s all there is to it.

            When it comes to men’s issues I will not have that fight because it’s not my place to. I just let men state their opinion and don’t contradict. It is other men’s job to worry about their own bigger picture (and I recommend you let women worry about their own bigger picture too). My job is to support men’s larger picture when I can, but I’m not going to start arguing with men about what their issues should and shouldn’t be…that’s a recipe for disaster.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Swarn Gill says:

            See I don’t see why it has to turn into a fight or why it has to mean that gender has anything to do with a fact based discussion about the issue. There are plenty of people who feel a certain way about religion that I disagree with but certainly doesn’t always turn into a fight. We might disagree at the end, but it doesn’t mean that someone who is attempting a fact based discussion shouldn’t be allowed to sit at the table.

            And perhaps I’m different but I welcome the larger perspective to compare against my own experience, because often time I am glad to know what others have experienced or found through research. I don’t fear disagreement, but I think to always just minimize someone’s point of view solely because of gender or race is prejudicial in nature.

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          • Violet says:

            The thing that matters is how much skin you have in the game. Say for example, you don’t think birth control should be paid for, and are angry that some women feel it should be covered by insurance. As a man you don’t have any skin in this game, so I’d recommend you stay quiet with your disagreement. If you do support birth control being covered, by all means voice your support.

            If you feel women don’t deserve maternity leave, keep your mouth shut. Because women are the ones who get pregnant and give birth, and they have a lot of skin in this game. Now if you vote for women to get mandatory maternity leave, by all means tell women you did.

            If a woman says catcalling isn’t a big deal to her, let it slide…this is not worth fighting over for the sake of the “bigger picture.”

            Here’s the point: Mak, you, and other men in this post want to know how to be supportive to women. You can be supportive by verbalizing agreement when you agree, by using your vote to help us, and by treating women with respect yourselves and helping other men to do the same. As men, you do not support us when you tell us what our issues should and shouldn’t be. You do not support us when you disagree with what we say IS important to us. You do not support us when you tell us our experiences don’t matter (for whatever reason).

            I attempt to support men in the same way. I verbalize my support when they have gender issues I agree with, and I stay quiet if it’s an issue where I have no skin in the game. I will fight for them to have mandatory paternity leave, equality in custody battles, and no penalties at work if they need to take care of family…because all these things are for the greater good of humanity.

            Many male patients at the hospital told me they wanted a larger number of viagra pills covered by the insurance companies…but many women can’t even get access to birth control in our country! So no, I don’t support that, but I’m not going to tell a man I think he’s wrong about an erection being important to him. Get my gist?

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          • Swarn Gill says:

            I get your gist, but perhaps I just disagree in the end, and will likely get myself in trouble. Again there are measurable reasons why birth control is important to cover. These have been studied. And it’s an issue that has ramifications to both men and women. It has positive outcomes for families in general.

            A person who things cat calling is okay, could potentially vote for somebody who also thinks that it’s acceptable behavior. But lax attitudes towards such behavior causes real harm to women. I don’t think I should be silent about it when a man says it’s okay, so why should I be silent about it when a woman thinks it’s okay. And again, the impact of such behaviors on women is documented, I’m not expressing opinion. In the end I guess I don’t think your gender disqualifies you from meaningful and civil discussion on any issue. I think that is a construct that ultimately fuels division instead of bringing people together. Now certainly sometimes dialogue is unconstructive, undefended and opinionated, and heated, this can happen and we’ve both seen discussions like that go sideways on any number of issues. But I’ll let anybody sit at the table on any issue, but when their opinion is unsubstantiated and flies in the face of consensus of research then I’ll say so in as nice a way as possible. And I expect them to take it to heart just as I might take their opinion to heart if it’s a point of view I’ve never considered.

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          • Violet says:

            All that is totally fine. Just don’t be surprised when a woman rips your head off as you weigh in on her feminist issues. ๐Ÿ™‚

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            It would be insensitive to tell someone their experiences don’t matter.
            This makes a lot of sense.

            Liked by 1 person

          • makagutu says:

            Sometimes, there are people who would not want facts to come between them and righteous anger. My solution is to engage only when the likelihood for the conversation remaining civil is high

            Liked by 2 people

          • Violet says:

            For some people, facts don’t support their personal experiences, so why should they be held slave to them?

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          • makagutu says:

            This would be tricky if one’s experiences could not be found within a set of facts. But I get your meaning. In interpersonal communication, we should let people speak about their experiences without trying to shut them down

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          • Violet says:

            Yeah, after I wrote that comment I was thinking how it could be misapplied to religion…the argument doesn’t work well in that context at all.

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          • Violet says:

            I need to explain further on this: If you’re a policy maker, worry about stats and facts. If you’re talking to women individually or in small groups, don’t boil them down to a set of stats and disregard their life personal life experiences.

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          • makagutu says:

            We are in agreement on this

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          • makagutu says:

            Arguing with anyone about what should or shouldn’t be their issues of course is bound to end in acrimony

            Liked by 1 person

          • Peter says:

            I can vouch for Violets expectation of being savaged. This happened to me a couple of times when I expressed views on abortion. It was made very clear to me that as a man my opinion was neither sought nor valued but rather was treated with complete disdain.

            After being ‘beaten up’ a couple of times I retreated to the sidelines. I realised that women were so emotional about the issue they were not going to listen to me.

            Liked by 2 people

          • Violet says:

            Know why women are so pissed off about this issue? It’s because men have have control over their reproductive lives for all of history. In the US today, 13 old, white, religious men in the oval office have decided the reproductive rights for 7 million women. Many women can’t get access to birth control, and even if they could, they can’t afford it. In entire areas of the country you can’t find an abortion provider. The government pulled funding to all clinics of our country’s largest provider of reproductive healthcarealthcare, because they had the audacity to give abortions at a handful of the clinics. Then when we inevitable get pregnant, we don’t even get mandatory paid maternity leave and end up losing our jobs. Men have zero experience dealing with this kind of thing.

            So women have very, very good reasons for being angry over this. So unless you’re in support of our reproductive freedom, do not speak.

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          • makagutu says:

            There is a problem when men purport to know or best suited to adjudicate women’s reproductive health issues. I would make an exception if these were doctors but getting some billionaire Christian donors to be the judges of women reproductive health, there we have a problem

            Liked by 1 person

          • Violet says:

            Amen!

            Like

        • makagutu says:

          We need a generation of lazy men and women who will sit and philosophize. But they should not be reduced to search state because society didn’t give a damn but that they had other choices in life

          Liked by 1 person

      • makagutu says:

        What I have seen on twitter and in articles is the variance in what different women see as feminism and often times one is lost in the exchanges because you find women being told they are doing feminism wrong. How can you, as a man, do it right when women talking about their lived experience are doing it wrong?

        Liked by 2 people

        • Violet says:

          Men weighing in on women’s issues is dicy and has to be done with great sensitivity. If you at all doubt your skills to manage this, best to stay out. In turn I try to be very sensitive about discussing men’s issues and their rights. The best rule of thumb: if you can’t be supportive, it’s best to not engage.

          Some men and women are “right fighters.” That is they disregard other people’s personal issues in order to put forth their facts or truth. Here’s a motto to help you figure out the best way to engage when confronting hard issues: if there comes a point where you have to choose between being right and being kind, go with being kind. Policy makers are the ones who really need to worry about being “right.”

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  7. Violet says:

    Upon reading through the comments it appears we have different definitions of “mansplaining.” IMHO mansplaining is not about a man giving a male perspective. I always thought mansplaining was the tendency of men to dominate a conversation to the point of not letting another speak, or thinking the other person is too stupid to offer a valuable opinion (and so being condescending in tone). I think mansplaining can happen on any topic and be done by both sexes.

    Liked by 3 people

    • makagutu says:

      In the way I have seen it used, and mostly by women who claim men are explaining something to them they already know. That’s why I actually asked for a corollary and whether it happens to men too?

      Liked by 2 people

      • Violet says:

        Yeah, I think I’ve seen it used like that too, so I guess the term can be used in several different ways.

        If it makes you feel any better, I’ve also been accused of mansplaining by a group of feminists. A couple months ago I was on a forum discussing various feminist issues (healthcare, education, harassment, etc). When asked about my education I told them I had a bachelors of science. Then the entire forum ganged up on me and told me I could not weigh in on the issues because my education gave me too much privilege, and that I had no understanding of how “real women” struggle.

        So I’ve been called an “elitist” by other feminists…it doesn’t matter that I’m disabled and damn near living in poverty, with no access to healthcare, disability benefits, or opportunities to work.

        Liked by 3 people

        • makagutu says:

          How is it possible that you, a woman, can do feminism wrong just because you have an education

          Liked by 2 people

          • Violet says:

            To my astonishment, it IS apparently possible for an education to negate the female gender. Don’t ask me to explain it!

            Shortly after that my husband was depressed because he tried to weigh in on a feminist issue, and the women skewered him for being a man. When I told him some feminists skewered me for being a *woman* with too much education, he laughed for the rest of the night.

            Religion isn’t the only thing in this life that makes no sense. ๐Ÿ˜‰

            Liked by 2 people

          • makagutu says:

            In this case, an educated man cannot win. If you, as a woman, is not doing feminism right, how do I stand a chance.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Violet says:

            There will always be unreasonable people…try not to hang out with those types. If you should find yourself in their company, back away and live to fight another day (hopefully a day filled with people who have better logic and common sense).

            I, for one, am happy to have men join in the fight for the equal rights of women. Sometimes they might make a misstep, but I believe their intentions are good and that they will help us achieve not only equality for women, but equality for all. ๐Ÿ™‚

            Liked by 2 people

          • makagutu says:

            I avoid them the way one avoids silence of mind. I can’t touch even with a ten mile long pole.

            Liked by 2 people

        • I’ve been withholding comment until someone touched on a point I believe is crucial to this topic. The cultural polarization in society is so bad now that nothing provocative can be discussed rationally. Debates usually descend into emotional exchanges reflecting identity politics. It’s men vs women, white vs black, Christian vs Muslim, sectarian vs secular, right vs left, capitalist vs socialist, rich vs poor, and on and on and on. If one nominally within any of these groups deviates from the established rhetoric, they are castigated as disloyal and unworthy of inclusion. It is a festering cancer on the face of civilization.

          The fate of our species hangs in the balance. Considering the existential crises we face, endlessly battling amongst ourselves with no resolution in the offing will only hasten our end. None of us are perfect. None of us have all the answers. None of us are immune from error and misjudgement. We simply must learn to lessen our egos, admit our mistakes, and accept the diversity of our opinions. It isn’t that hard.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Violet says:

            Agreed. This is the huge downside of having lots of little groups speaking their minds. Making attempts to silence people will always though, sooner or later, backfire. So then you have to rely on people to moderate themselves, and of course the the unreasonable ones will refuse to do so. What’s the solution? I’m not sure there is any, and it’s an extremely concerning state of affairs.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Peter says:

            ‘The cultural polarization in society is so bad now that nothing provocative can be discussed rationally’

            So true I am saddened to say.

            What I find distressing is how extremists as so quick to label people who disagree this them and then use that as justification for not addressing valid critiques of the extremists positions.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Indeed, Peter. It’s also distressing how substantive disagreement is so quickly labeled as “extremist.”

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            Address valid critique would mean coming down from a high horse, something many of us are not capable of doing

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        • Peter says:

          I have been fascinated watching from the sidelines the bitter feuds between the feminist and transgender communities on social media.

          I would never dare comment on such exchanges as a ‘CIS’ man I would be vilified by both.

          An I did have to look up the term ‘CIS’ in an urban dictionary. I kept seeing it in social media posts and had no idea what it meant.

          (CIS: means one has retained their birth gender)

          Liked by 2 people

          • Violet says:

            Yeah, the conversations get nasty, don’t they? I can tell you that Rough Seas (RIP) pretty much ripped out my beating heart and stuffed it down my throat a few times. She didn’t care for my watered down feminism and wanted to behead me for my concern over certain men’s issues (but hey, I have son and I worry about these things). For the record, I’m for the equal rights of trans people…to put it lightly, Rough Seas was not.

            I wonder if perhaps my views are so moderate because when I worked on a psychiatric unit for 13 years, I worked with all sorts of people with all sorts of problems. I have up-close and personal stories of many trans people, refugees, gay people, soldiers, POWs, etc. I can’t help but see all sides after such an experience, and many people don’t like that I can’t get more extreme in my opinions. Although when it comes to religion I am extreme, and hold staunch anti-theist views.

            I had to giggle a little Peter that you had to consult the urban dictionary. Almost always, it’s the people who are actually CIS who have no idea what the term means. ๐Ÿ˜€

            Liked by 1 person

          • makagutu says:

            You are not alone, Peter. I had to use urban dictionary to find out the meaning of CIS men and women

            Like

  8. There are idiots everywhere, in every gender, but no one gender is solidly made up of them.
    I have witnessed and felt the frustration of many males on WP who genuinely wish for equality, and support feminism, but have been swatted down like flies at times purely because they are male and therefore ‘cannot understand’ and are almost banned from supporting women at all in some cases. It’s frustrating because we shouldn’t put down our allies and belittle them, and I’m talking here about educated, kind, thoughtful men (yes, I’m including Mr Pink folks hahahaha), not ones who are constantly trying to ‘mansplain’ or basically be big patronising arses.
    It’s a shame, and it happens quite frequently. I for one take heart and celebrate people of any gender who want the same level of equality for everyone. Because if your ultimate goal isn’t humanist in nature you aren’t actually after equality, you’re after winning some kind of mind-screwing cruel and unfair game, one where ‘victory’ has a cold ring to it.
    – Esme Cloud saying it as she sees it

    Liked by 5 people

  9. Ruth says:

    Mansplaining = a man acting as if he has expert knowledge of women’s issues and explaining to a woman why she is wrong for her perspective. As if he would know better than she. The female corollary would be a woman telling a man what it’s like to be a man. Have you seen this happen? If so you saw womansplaining.

    All men are trash – sure, there are women who say such things. It doesn’t make them right. The opposite corollary is men who think all women are whores and objects to be used.

    All men are retards(I hate that word) – Women aren’t as intelligent as men comes to mind. Women are often talked over and down to because they are women.

    Now, having said all that, these are extremes. There are extremists who do such things, yes. But most of us live somewhere in the middle. No one likes to be talked down to, no one likes to be treated as inferior, and no one likes to be treated as if they are incompetent knobs. No one.

    I don’t think that all men who try to take part in a discussion with women about womens’ issues is mansplaining. I certainly don’t think all men are trash nor incompetent. Although I will say that women have endured this kind of treatment for centuries. Women seem to be the scapegoat for all the ills of the world for some men(I’m thinking particularly about religious men, but non-religious men can be just as chauvinistic).

    I agree with Violet that feminism is about gender equality, not superiority. I, too, welcome men on the front lines of feminism. But too often, I think, both men and women can’t admit what they don’t know. We cannot hear if we are talking.

    Liked by 3 people

    • makagutu says:

      Hey Ruth.
      It’s been ages since I last saw you! Happy new year and hope you and yours are all well.
      On your very last point, I agree. We should be willing to admit what we don’t know. Maybe then we can be open to learn

      Liked by 3 people

  10. Swarn Gill says:

    I agree with Violet’s and Ruth’s definition of mansplaining. Here’s my take on it.

    Recently I was in a discussion with somebody who I consider to be a pretty strong feminist. She was describing a meeting she was having and this guy was explaining how some education event was going to work even though she had done it many times and this was his first time. She said “classic mansplaining”. So being the kind of person I am, I step into the deep (and a little too hot) water. I said “How do you know it’s mansplaining though?” Meaning how do you know it’s gender related? How do you know that this guy isn’t an asshole and would be doing the exact thing to a man? I eventually got her to back down a little, but she wasn’t pleased. I assured her that I know for certain that mansplaining is a real phenomenon, because I’ve seen it. But for me to know if someone is a “mansplainer” I have to see whether they behave differently towards men than women. And there are men who definitely do. Such men are not only condescending, but they tend to use more confrontational and demeaning language, beyond just a tone. But for me I think it’s important to see a difference in behavior towards a particular gender, because some people are just assholes to everybody!

    As far as the other two questions, I honestly don’t get into discussions with people who say those things. It’s just going to get messy and I feel that there’s a bit of zealotry there. Some women are angry, and they perhaps have every right to be, but there is not much fruitful discussion to be had there in my opinion.

    Like

  11. Peter says:

    I had come across some reports criticising men for ‘manspreading’, sitting with legs apart on public transport and the like.

    I must admit I naturally sit with my legs apart, it is just more comfortable and natural for me. I suppose that means I am sexist.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Violet says:

      Nah, that doesn’t make you sexist. Normally I sit with my legs together because I’m freezing cold and it’s warmer in that position. Some people have told me this posture means I’m signaling submission to men. Ridiculous!

      But to give you an example of what happens when I sit with a wider stance (usually due to hip pain): I’ve had multiple men in bars walk by me and call me a “whore”…I’m seriously not joking about this. I’ve had men in business meetings stop and ask me in the middle of the meeting why wasn’t I “sitting like a lady?” So, just wanted to make the point that women can’t really get away with manspreading without getting negative remarks. No woman has commented on my sitting posture, ever.

      I wonder if men get accused of being gay if they cross their legs? I’ve never thought about that angle.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, yes. I generally cross my legs because it helps calm my muscular tension. An evangelical lady neighbor noticed it and asked me if I was gay. When I answered “no,” she didn’t believe me. Also, a lady optometrist ordered me to uncross my legs (she didn’t state why) – no kidding, true story.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Violet says:

          So people do think men’s crossed legs are a signal of being gay. Interesting.

          OK, I know why the lady optometrist asked you to uncross. When you’re in those special eye exam chairs and you cross your legs, your foot sticks out and the docs get kicked as they lean in close to check your eyes. I’ve also been asked to uncross at the eye doc.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Okay, but she could’ve explained herself. I thought she was being rude and was tempted to kick her in retaliation – lol!

            Liked by 1 person

          • Violet says:

            I only know that little detail because after being told to uncross my legs for years at the eye doc, I finally asked what was up with that. I agree; it seems like it wouldn’t be that hard to give a brief explanation.

            Liked by 1 person

    • makagutu says:

      Ha ha. I sit with my legs crossed most times and if there is a leg rest, they will be on the leg rest.
      In the contraptions we have passing as public transport, there is no room to manspread.

      Like

  12. Carmen says:

    Hi Mak! I am commenting to get me re-subscribed. ๐Ÿ™‚ Hopefully that will get your new posts rolling again. . .

    Like

  13. Peter says:

    If you want a good laugh have a read of this academic article. Yes great idea remove gender from sport:
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-01-15/why-it-might-be-time-to-eradicate-sex-segregation-in-sports/9329054

    Just to give you context, a few facts:
    – in 2016 the Australian Women’s soccer team (one of the world;s best teams) played the u17’s of an Australian mens club side and lost 7-0;
    – the qualifying time for the men’s 100 m at the olympics is more than 0.20 seconds better than women’s world record (and the world record set by Flo Jo is daylight ahead of what anyone else has run – Flo Jo retired as soon as random drug testing was introduced).

    It annoys me how academics put ideology ahead of common sense.

    Just to clarify a point for Violet, many ardent feminist are opposed to transgender folk who they see as men stealing women’s positions, When the BBC Women’s Hour included a transgender person as one of the five women of the year the feminists went ballistic. (of course I could point out the BBC appear not to have a Man’s Hour – but what is the point).

    Like

    • makagutu says:

      Whatever goes on is some academies is troubling. Take for instance the last standarded marathon held in Nairobi. All the athletes start at the same time, weather conditions alike but close to 50 or more men finish the full marathon ahead of the first female athlete. Sex segregation would not make sports fair.

      Like

      • Peter says:

        Yes this is abundantly clear to the average person, but somehow escapes the notice of the academic.

        The real issue here is that the academic objects to women having to undergo ‘gender’ tests so she devised a new categorisation basis that was far more problematic and would essentially decimate women’s sport.

        Billie Jean King did beat Bobbie Riggs in the ‘Battle of the Sexes’ but Bobbie Riggs was 55 at the time and had not been seriously training and Billie Jean King was at the peak of her career.

        Like

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