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dating tips for the feminist man

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Dating Tips for the Feminist Man
Dating Tips for the Feminist Man

This post is in honour of male feminists and their dating rituals.

You’re a straight monogamous cismale who identifies as a leftie. Maybe you’re a Marxist or a socialist; maybe you’re an anarchist. You respect women. You would never act like a player. You fall in love with strong, smart, feminist women. You believe that our movements are stronger if they include everyone.

This is not the 1950s; if you’re committed to social justice but you are still marching along using ‘the rules’ http://therulesbook.com/ to govern dating, it’s time to consider the connection between your politics and your personal life. Social justice is intersectional; we can't just fix our economic relationships without fixing our personal and cultural ones. 

So identifying as a male feminist is a tricky line to walk. It's important that men use the term. But keep in mind that you'll get kudos just for taking on the term as your own; it may even help you gain trust extra-quickly with women you're dating.

Want to be worthy of that trust? Practice your skill at meaningful consent. Here's how, in a tidy list. 

You're a straight monogamous cisgendered feminist man,and you want to hook up with or date women? OK.

Here's the deal:

 

1. learn to recognize your own emotions. Consent requires honesty, and you can't speak honestly about your intentions unless you know what they are.

2. Just as we teach high schoolers that ‘if you're not ready for the possible outcomes of babies and diseases, you're not ready for sex,’ the same is true of emotions. Sex brings up emotion. That is just the reality of choosing to engage in sexual relationships. If you're not ready to work with the emotion to make sure everyone is ok afterwards, then you're not ready for the sex.

If you're the kind of person who avoids your own or other people's emotions, then you're not going to be able to have good consent conversations until you get more comfortable with your own and other people's emotions. Sign up for a consent skills workshop, or several. Read books on consent and on radical conflict resolution skills. Recognize that you agreed to or initiated a romantic relationship, however short or long-lived, and so you are responsible to the other person in that relationship as well as to yourself. Nobody put a gun to your head and made you make out with this person, so own your choices and their effects. People need different things after a hookup; know your own needs and be responsive to the needs of the other person.

*Don't* say or act like you are serious about someone, make out with them, and then avoid them. Can I say this clearly enough? If you make out with somebody, you are responsible for checking in to make sure they are ok, not just during, but also after. Discuss casual sex as casual sex, and ambiguous sex as ambiguous sex. If your initial connection seemed serious but things don’t work out the way you hoped, do the work to end on good terms with this person. You may have to have some emotions-talk first to get to a good place and clear up any miscommunications or accidental harm you caused; if so, you're responsible not only for grudgingly going along, but for actively initiating and holding space for that conversation. Do not make it their job to ask for a conversation to get you both back to a good place together. It is your job as much as theirs. Do not run away if things get uncomfortable or you start to feel emotions that confuse you. If you need space to calm down, pick a specific near-future time in which you will come back fully present and taking a proactive role in getting back to a good place. If you are in a conflict with this person due to tangled emotions, pick a process and, if you need it, a friend to help. Remember the goal is for you both to feel ok about things, not for one of you to win and one of you to lose. If you’re uncomfortable with process, work on that instead of making it their problem.

3. In that same vein: actively invite conversations before, during, and after a hookup to check if you are on the same page and have similar ideas about what it all means. Oxytocin's a powerful drug; when you're hooking up and having those heady feelings, you're both vulnerable to misreading, or seeing what you want to see. It's up to both of you to initiate reality check conversations: "what are you expecting after this? what do you think this means? are you ok with this if it's casual? Are you ok with this if it's serious? Do we understand each other properly?" Those conversations are not a one-time thing, just as you can't get one-time consent to touch somebody. Consent is continuous and has to be established through ongoing checkins. If you want to be a good male ally, get comfortable with changing emotions - yours and the other person's, and good at talking about them as they change. Life is messy; we have to be able to move with changes as they happen. This comfort is necessary in order to be honest with the other person, and to create shared expectations so no one ends up feeling used or played.

4. if you don't know how you feel, or you're not sure, or you have conflicting or ambiguous or confused emotions, say that. Say "I'm not sure what this means. Do you want to continue even if I don't know  where we're going?" Do not tell the other person what you think they want to hear - you do not know what they want to hear. Do not say the thing that is easy for you to say, or oversimplify in order to keep them happy (and making out with you) in the moment. This kind of fuzzy communication can end up being dishonest communication.

It is ok to not know how you feel for a time, as long as you are committed to figuring out how you feel as soon as you can, and honest about your uncertainty in the meantime, so the other can make informed consent decisions.

Do not tell someone you're serious about them or planning to follow up with them romantically if you're actually not sure. For example: do not promise to date them again or say you will spend romantically-oriented time together again if you're not sure whether you will. Casual sex needs to be discussed as casual so both people involved can feel respected and cared for.

If your feelings change, simply name the change. If you were interested in a possible partnership or in an ongoing relationship, and then aren’t or are less sure, and you feel bad about that, do not avoid saying so to make your life easier. Just name the emotion and be available and present to the changes in the other. Try things like this: “I felt this way when I said and did that, but things have changed, and this is how I feel now. This is why and when they changed. I feel bad that I let you down or inadvertently misled you. Are you ok, and what do you need?”

5. Don't mix up acting 'nice' with being a genuinely good person. Kindness and treating people well are valuable, but politeness can be violent if it masks normalized oppression. Naming oppression, even when done gently, is not always perceived as being 'nice' because it pushes back at status quo ways of relating, seeing, and thinking.

When naming oppression happens as a response to naturalized harm, the anger you're hearing is a response to actual harm that you may have enacted while thinking you were being 'nice.' So before you decide that you don't have to listen because someone is breaking politeness protocols, consider whose interests those protocols protect. Don't mix up your internal defensiveness, which can arise at having your real privilege pointed out, with the external message you are receiving. Is there trust being offered to you behind anger or critique - trust that you're the kind of person who is open to growth and change? Notice that trust, and earn it.

6. Lest you be thinking "but sex should be fun! All this how-are-you-feeling-talk would be suuuuch a mood-killer!": just like conversations about condoms, consent, in addition to being basic human decency, is also sexy. Cuz guess what? Trust is hot.

Lest you be thinking "but women don't want men who talk about feelings" or "talking about how I feel is emasculating":  not all men have to be masculine, or feel the need. But for those who do, there are ways to know yourself and offer the truth in a responsive way that are not 'just the same' as what 'women' do necessarily. Masculine energy can be deeply protective and powerful when it is accountable in these ways, where emotions are present to heal, protect, and create shelter. Knowing how to recognize and honour your own needs at the same time as those of a lover, or former lover, has got its own energy. It lets you love from a deeply grounded place. People can feel that. And fuck is it sexy. 

Knowing the person you're hooking up with has the skills and capacity (not just the intention) to stick around afterwards to make sure you're both ok, that both your dignities and your capacity to get along will survive the hookup - or the relationship - after it ends makes for much, much better sex. And maintaining trust post-hookup builds stronger movements, because the physical and emotional intimacy shared creates a permanent bond, instead of a permanent rift.

7. Actively taking on the identity of a feminist man means you are equally responsible to do your own research and actively notice these things. Help your friends of all genders see them. Realize this is your responsibility. If you miss something, you don't do the work yourself, and someone has to approach you with a way in which they feel you've been sexist or clueless, don't make them convince you. Stretch yourself. They've done enough work in figuring it out, extracting the internalized programming that tells them your sexist behaviour is totally normal and that they're just crazy, and then offering you the gift of their honesty. That shit is not easy when you’ve just been harmed by behavior normalized through dominant scripts. If someone has bothered to share this with you after they manage to figure it out? The likelihood is that they hope you'll hear them - even if they sound defensive, scared, sad, angry, or otherwise upset when they bring this to you. Instead of challenging them to logic battles or insisting that they provide evidence, kindly recognize just how hard it is to understand and name harm one has experienced. Assume there's some truth to what they're saying, and take on the role of helping them articulate it better if it's wordless or fuzzy at first. Honour the gift by listening and asking questions, and taking it upon yourself to educate yourself.

8. Notice if your tendency when called out is to bolt. Notice if your tendency when you bolt is to turn to a reaffirming other female friend and ask them to reassure you that you're really not sexist. If your friend feels loyal to you, they'll want to support you and they may see things your way, but they aren't the one who experienced the problematic behaviour, so they're not the one you should be listening to. A female friend who is not the person you dated may not know how you behaved in that dating context, and so may not be the best one to tell you whether you've actually acted like an unconscious douche. The nature of structural forms of oppression like sexism is also such that we all internalize the normalcy of oppressive behavior; discomfort with conflict or a desire to be the 'good' member of that group, or simply to be on your side because they are your friend, can also come into play. Be wary of your desire to just seek proof of your goodness, rather than actually being a good person by being open to learning about ways you can be a better ally. If you notice you want to retreat to women who praise you, take time to check that response to find out what you can learn from the women who trust you enough to tell you where you have blind spots.

9. Give up on trying to be perfect. It just gets in the way. Get used to process. You fuck up, you learn, you grow. If you want right relationships with other human beings in our shared spaces and communities, show that you walk the walk by being big about admitting mistakes quickly and rolling with them. Make amends, make it better in your actions as well as your words. That honours the trust people have given you.

10. Share the load. Consider it your responsibility to be continually self-reflexive about your actions and their effects. Don't wait to be taught, because that puts multiple burdens on the other: to understand and name the harm that’s affecting them, and to take the risk to talk to you about it, and to find language to articulate it in a way you’ll hear. Those things all take a lot of energy and are not easy. So if someone you're dating gets angry at you and has a hard time articulating why, check your defensiveness and listen. If you want to be a feminist, you are going to have to challenge yourself to invite having things you do, that you don't notice, pointed out, without withdrawing or attacking or putting the burden of proof on women. Don't try to defend yourself and say you're 'not sexist.' One of the features of oppression is that it creates silence. Articulating what has happened to you is particularly difficult when you've born the brunt of oppression, particularly if you were raised to believe it is normal. So it is hard enough for someone experiencing the impact of your actions to figure out how to name them; if you want to be a feminist that is your job, not just hers.

11. Do you believe in solidarity and mutual aid? Do you also believe we are all just individuals? Notice the contradiction in those beliefs. Question the assumed values you may have inherited from capitalist forebears, and put them to the test of your belief in mutuality. If you are a socialist who still believes that we are all individuals who enter voluntarily into relations and can exit them without accountability, notice the contradiction. Human beings are not interchangeable, fungible entities who freely enter into contractual relations; we are interdependent and need each other to live. It is a very privileged position to be able to retreat to your individualism when you have harmed someone, rather than being in relation with them, and staying present for the change as that relation shifts out of a romantic one to something new and long-term you both are comfortable with. Your theory and your lived daily practice will line up if you notice this contradiction.

12. Which leads to the next point: if you cause harm, even by accident, and someone calls you on it, and you believe we are all mutually interdependent, 'i need space' is not an acceptable response. You can take space to get your head clear so you can listen and know yourself better - but that kind of space is measured in hours, or at most days. If you want 'space' measured in months, you're not taking space, you're avoiding responsibility.

Get used to being uncomfortable and learning to have loving, clear, and interconnected boundaries that honour your internal voices as well as the needs of the other humans you share this planet and this community with – that is where learning happens. So when the zombies or the bankers come for us, we won't have to waste energy fighting each other.

13. Saying 'sorry' only means something if your behaviour changes. On its own it does not remedy the situation. 'sorry' has to come with responsiveness.

14. Similarly, don't threaten to leave if emotions are running high. Those kinds of threats just exacerbate the situation. If you can calm your own knee-jerk tendency to avoid, and offer a grounded listening presence instead that honours your own emotions and those of the other person, you'll find that foundation reduces the intensity of the emotions coming at you quite a lot. remember that you care about each other, and/or that you're both humans sharing this planet, and that we need each other to survive. connect your daily life and daily relationship practices with your beliefs in social justice, mutual aid, anticapitalism, marxism, etc. When the zombie apocalypse comes (or we bring it about?) we will need skills for getting along with each other and being able to work together even after we hook up. Start practicing now.

15. If you find you are paralyzed with feelings of guilt and  resentment (sample script: “I feel guilty, but I shouldn't feel this guilty because i didn't do anything, well maybe i did something small, but it's not worth feeling this guilty, and I feel guilty because she's upset even though I didn't do anything, so it's her fault I feel guilty, so since she made me feel guilty unfairly, I don't have to deal with this!), notice the internal script, and check it. Your feelings of guilt may be completely useless and completely out of proportion to the situation.

If they prevent you from being responsive and accountable, they cause more harm than good. Learn to recognize the difference between internal feelings of guilt or shame, and the external messages you are receiving or reality you are observing. Practice this skill in general in your life to be a more responsive radical; the same skill at working through inherited guilt scripts to become responsive, that makes you a better lover and friend to your exes, also makes you more responsive to the violence of colonization, and other structural violence in which most of us are complicit.

16. If you find yourself disregarding something she is saying because she is upset as she is saying it, notice that this is sexism. You may have been raised to believe emotion is not rational and is therefore not legitimate. That is for you to unlearn, not for you to impose on others. Emotion and intuition, when finely honed, serve clear thinking. Don't retreat into your head or use logic to disconnect from empathy when you find emotions coming your way; clear thinking is informed by ethics and compassion. Build up your capacity to feel and to respond to feelings in a rational, intuitive, self-aware way. You'll be more human for it, and a better feminist, too.

17. Sometimes being wrong is a gift. be grateful for your mistakes and for the interdependence that lets you maintain relationships through them. Feel proud of your strength to be able to say “I messed that up. I’m very sorry. I’d like to not make that mistake again. How do I make things better?” and then to be able to follow through in your actions.

18. The benefits? other than 'integrity' and creating a better world and movement, the personal benefits of walking the walk include deeper friendships with those strong feminist women you find yourself attracted to, after the hooking up ends.

Benefits may also include creating more spaces where kind, gentle, intuitive people - who may be the same people as those strong feminist women you like so much - can be themselves and open up to you.

Practicing consent, which includes the ability to work with emotions during and after a hookup or a relationship ends, creates more shelters, more places from which our movements can heal, ground, and resist from a place of strength. It calls into question received forms of masculinity that shut down parts of men from the time they are young. It is good solidarity. And it just may open your heart.

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nora_samaran (Nora Samaran)
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Nora Samaran lives in Montreal, where she divides her time between bagel making, donut hole stuffing, and other suggestive and vaguely crass metaphors. She works as a freelance editor and street busker when she is not otherwise engaged in donut making.

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Comments

This is a guide for everybody, not just for men.

I am a man who has sex with women, and I wish more women would read and follow this guide.

These points in particular:

*Don't* say or act like you are serious about someone, make out with them, and then avoid them. Can I say this clearly enough? If you make out with somebody, you are responsible for checking in to make sure they are ok, not just during, but also after. 

Do not make it their job to ask for a conversation to get you both back to a good place together. It is your job as much as theirs. Do not run away if things get uncomfortable or you start to feel emotions that confuse you.

It's up to both of you to initiate reality check conversations: "what are you expecting after this? what do you think this means? are you ok with this if it's casual? Are you ok with this if it's serious? Do we understand each other properly?"

You can take space to get your head clear so you can listen and know yourself better - but that kind of space is measured in hours, or at most days. If you want 'space' measured in weeks or months, you're not taking space, you're avoiding responsibility.

Most of the women I have been with have not actively taken on these responsibilities.  The behaviours you describe—not checking in, running away, avoiding communication for long periods of time—I've been on the receiving end of all of them.  And it sucks.  There are few experiences as emotionally painful as opening yourself up to intimacy with someone, believing that they might feel what you do, and finding that they won't communicate or even acknowledge that you have feelings to address.

In 10 out of 10 cases, I have been the one to initiate these conversations; the women have not stepped up.  It's scary, believe me.  It's a vulnerable thing to do.  Often it hurts because I don't hear what I want to hear.  But it's the right thing to do.  And everybody should be doing it, not just the men.  "The goal is for you both to feel ok" is a great principle that we should all live by.  I bring it to all my relationships.  If only the women in these relationships had taken ownership of this goal as well!

I love, love, love this paragraph:

If you are a socialist who still believes that we are all individuals who enter voluntarily into relations and can exit them without accountability, notice the contradiction. Human beings are not interchangeable, fungible entities who freely enter into contractual relations; we are interdependent and need each other to live. It is a very privileged position to be able to retreat to your individualism when you have harmed someone, rather than being in relation with them, and staying present for the change as that relation shifts out of a romantic one to something new and long-term you both are comfortable with.

I think many women are socialized to forget that sex can be emotionally vulnerable and sensitive for men too, and simply aren't aware that they should be checking in, communicating, and "staying present for the change" like this.  But they have a responsibility to work to overcome that socialization.  Many women simply need to learn that men have feelings and that, in intimate contexts, they bear some of the responsibility for them, too.  They need to read this guide and learn from it, just as much as men do.

d

d

Hi there!  What happened to

Hi there!  What happened to your comment?  I saw that you had posted an interesting and thoughtful note here, and was thinking about a reply, but it looks like it recently got replaced (perhaps accidentally?) with a "d".

I agree

This is a great article but I feel this can be directed to a much broader group of people and the headline might be detracting that. This advice transcends gender and 'feminist men' or any feminist in general. Maybe it wasn't intended that way, but it's great regardless. I have experienced those behaviours from just about every single female I've hooked up with or briefly dated in the last 5 years. This is about everyone being able to communicate properly with each other in any relationship.

I have consistently initiated all these forms of communication on these topics of interaction, and it's a very big struggle to get anyone I've been involved with to express even the most basic emotions or thoughts about a given situation, a hook up or any emotional/sexual interaction or relationship.

 

From a male perspective, I personally feel that as much as the broader consequences of patriarchy contribute to these modes of behaviour and interaction, the direction and advice has absolutely no gender divide on the issues at hand.

 

It's also a great read to keep ourselves in check, regardless of our gender.

I'm pasting in a comment from

I'm pasting in a comment from later down this thread:

where in a line that says 'respect women' do you see 'disrespect men'? sorry, i just don't see it.

Similarly, the title of this piece is not 'dating tips for feminist men (who all have to learn what women innately know)' or 'dating tips for feminist men (to the exclusion of all other humans)'. It is stuff I want people who date me to know. and i date (or so far have dated) (mostly) straight cisgendered men. And two out of the i dunno maybe ten or fifteen guys I've had encounters with in my adult life have been bad at these skills. And I want more of the people I might date in the future to be better at these kinds of skills, so i don't have to limit my dating pool to only my awesome exes.

I'm happy if people who read it pick it up and make it make sense to them in their intimate relationships of all sorts. That is amazing and I'm learning from the ways people have picked this up and made sense of it in their own ways - and sent letters back telling me things I'm missing, like about how applies to all men, or to all humans as well, etc. in variuos ways. That's awesome. But that awesomeness stops cold at 'women do this just as baaaaaaad so STOP TALKING ABOUT MASCULINITY.' yes. we need to talk about masculinity. Because unquestioned masculinity is still doing specific kinds of harm (to people of all genders), and having milquetoast conversations about 'people in general' instead of about masculinity, or without addressing masculinity specifically, does not get us very far. if you assume my specificity means that I think ONLY men use or can learn or ought to learn these skills, that's simply a misread. But we need to talk about the specific ways these things play out in standard scripts about masculinity.

kapish?

if you agree that 'that kind of naming' is 'a valuable thing to do' - how do we do it without talking about what we're talking about? if we have to talk about EVERYBODY ('don't say 'respect women!' always say 'respect people! allllll people!') then how can we ever focus on the things that need attention?

?

This response is a rediulous rant. 
Please give us your definition of masculinty.  So that we may know from which stand point you are arguing from.  Masculinity is an ambiguous term.

Notice that by even holding a definition of "what it is to be a man" you have taken a biased and illogical stand point.  You have in your mind a set of characteristics that make up the term masculine.  You again here have applied deductive generalizations out into the real world, where they have no meaning.  What I believe a man should be will not be the same as what you define as what a man should be.  And if we expet all men to be and act the same, then we may as well do as the extreme feminists say and just exterminte 90% of men, abort male fetuses and only keep a healthy stock as sex slaves for reproduction.

If you won't apply a concept universally, then you are a hypocrit. 

Arguing feminist ideology is like sword fighting a fart.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7tFV2Y6Hxk

some responses

just sharing some of the incredible range of responses that've been passed my way from public forums:

 

...more accurately, 'dating tips for the decent human being'

 

...

 

yummy!

 

....

 
One is not born, but rather becomes, a feminist.
Emotions don't fit in boxes. You have to communicate your desires, needs, and emotions; and although you should try to understand them, you never have to justify them. Partner honest self-analysis with open communication. You have to be willing to push the envelope. You have to be willing to grow. Share your time, ideas, and love.  You make a living by what you get, you make a life by what you give.
 
* * *
 
The lack of this foundation is precisely what keeps me out of relationships with straight, cis dudes. I wish I had faith that a tip sheet would help. Can't hurt though
* * *
 
Don't be misled by the title: it isn't just a guide to dating, but to living with vulnerability, emotional expressiveness, honesty and respect, to addressing the impact of patriarchy not only on the lives of others but on your own.
* * *
 
wow!
 
* * *
Don't show this to david gilmour!
* * *
 
This is a solid read. I've definitely fucked up in some of the ways that this author describes. The important thing is to keep trying to be a better feminist and fuller human. I definitely dig the sentiment of being more in touch with your emotions. There's lots of good stuff in here.
* * *
 
These are good tips, and not just for dating.
* * *
 
One of those articles you wish you'd read when you were 17...
 
 
...
 
thank you for this
 
...
 
 
dating tips for everyone!
 
 
...
 

While this article recognizes

While this article recognizes many general problems with relationships and current society, it is written from the point of view of someone who seems extremely frustrated in their own life and relationships (maybe this isn't the case, but thats is how it comes off) or what she sees in others around her, and does not have much application when looked at from the point of view of "there is a problem with men".  

One can see the bias taken by the author in the words used and the point of view described.  In all sentences and paragraphs, men are the subject.  All negative descriptions are of men.  All positive bias's are towards women.  Which all suggest that the author is not a humanist, which is what most feminists actually are, but refuse to call themselves.  In identifying as feminist, you associate yourself with extreme feminists who advocate for eugenic policies against men.  Be a humanist, strive for human freedom from all oppression and stop concentrating on the manufactured divide being driven between men and women through the artificial constructs of society and culture, being driven by large monied intrerests.

This is a cultural and human problem, not a problem with men alone.  The attributes you have described, apply equally to both women and men.  Just as the statistics of domestic violence show that it is equally split between the genders, and the same split in the LGBT community.  

The real problem such an article should be (and is, in its own bias'd way) tackling is the lack of social development and knowledge of how human beings act within any relationship, be it romantic, casual sex, business, family, etc.  Empathy for others and the ability to put oneself in anothers shoes before acting has either been lost or is being muddled by media and lack of moral direction at home.  This was partially the results of the intentional break up of the family, via the usurpation of the suffarage movement by the major tax free foundations in the united states, who were looking to break up the labor movements of the pre-WWI America.  

Men go to war, women must keep economy going so they take the jobs.  Men return, women are (rightly so) attached to their new found freedom and responsibility.  The work force has now doubled, and cut the cost of labor in half.  Now both parents MUST work in order to put food on the table.  What happens to the children?  They are abanonded to be raised by the state school system (which was mostly funded by the same tax free foundations as well as the teachers pension system and has the explicit goal as stated by those who funded it, 'to extend childhood', , strangely enough I found this today http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-24173194), which is an establishment who's authority rests on the threat of violence and the use of force, an altogether illogcical position for a 'representative of the people'.  One might call government humanities greatest superstition.  

Can we wonder, then, why the last 5-6 generations of human beings in the western world have been coming out more and more immoral and less and less empathetic to the individual conditions of other human beings and their welfare.  Welfare, compassion, mutual defence ..... thats the governments job, we dont have to think about that or do anything about it, we've had money stolen from us to take care of that.

The choice, by the author, to connect feminism with 'leftie' or with socialist/communist ideals is baffling, and suggests that the author believes that only collectivists can achieve the mental clarity or logic and reason to approach a relationship properly.  Another glaring bias of this article and the website content generally.  

By placing yourself in an '-ism' state of mind, and using a group mentality to solve individual problems, movements are apt to be usurpted and directed to someone elses political ends.  Two instances of the feminist moment being usurpt and directed are the "Torches of Freedom" campaign by Big Tobacco and Edward Bernays (listen to the man himself describe his motives and actions here, http://www.gnosticmedia.com/the-professional-practice-of-public-relation...), as well as the above mentioned intentional division of the family through war and labor relations.  For insight into this division of labor I highly recommend the two congressional investigations into where the educational system came from and its goals as well as the roles and goals of the foundations in its beginnings, those are the Cox Committe and the Reese Comittee. An interview with the head researcher of the Reese Committee, Norman Dood can be seen here and is very informative.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUYCBfmIcHM

I highly recommend the following interview:
The Ultimate Histoy Lesson: A Weekend With John taylor Gatto

Audio - peacerevolution.org
Video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQiW_l848t8

As well as the work of Karen from
http://owningyourshit.blogspot.ca/
And
http://www.youtube.com/user/girlwriteswhat

And interview can be found here that is very interesting concerning her ideas about the "feminist Fallacy"
http://www.gnosticmedia.com/karen-of-girlwriteswhat-interview-the-femani...

Great reply and points. The

Great reply and points. The perspective and gender divide of the topics should be absent as everyone acts out these fault yhuman behaviours, regardless of gender

Also I highly disagree with this statement:

I highly disagree with the assumptions made in this statement:

"Do you believe in solidarity and mutual aid? Do you also believe we are all individuals who should manage our own problems on our own or with those who choose to freely associate with us? Notice the contradiction in those beliefs. "

Solidarity/Mutual Aid and Individualism are not mutually exclusive and I see no contradictions in holding both ideals as part of a moral stance in life.

If you can defend that statement I'd love to hear it.

My Facebook Intro to this post:

Here's how I introduced this piece when I shared it on Facebook.

"This very eloquent article speaks to and articulates so many of the challenges the all people, not just feminist men, face in trying to have intimate relationships built on honesty, integrity and respect in a sexist society. It offers thoughtful, non-judgemental insight, understanding and kind encouragement around exactly where relationship tangles occur, especially between men and women, and I think would be useful reading for just about anyone. I'm still feeling quite astonished at Nora's ability to put all those pieces together and say it so clearly and without the least bit of blame or edge."

hope

Thank you so much :)

it's generated a lot of hope that this piece has been taken up by so many people - especially folks like you who've received it in the spirit i intended it....  :)

it's opened up a lot of good conversation around home and with friends here as well. so happy to see that spread. 

q's re how to meet/initiate/flirt without being a sexist douche

Hey world,

So, in the shocking and amazing viralness of this post (107 000 pageviews in 4 days? wtf?), I've gotten a whole lot of thoughtful letters. One thread in those responses is from feminist guys who are genuinely trying to figure out how to flirt/initiate/meet/start something with women without playing out patriarchal douche scripts. Is all flirting with women bad? hell no! It's primarily a question of responsiveness and communication skills: no means no, in body or speech, but yes also means yes, and it's not up to you to decide for the other person what they want just because you are trying to counter gender scripts. 

It's a real question. And it's been asked in some thoughtful ways. Have been talking with feminist guys I know who I think do this well, and another column may be brewing. If people have ideas, I'd love to see them here in the discussion thread. 

Have also gotten letters about the applicability of these practices to all men, not just straight monogamous cismen. Several writers have kindly pointed out that, for instance, transmen and gay men benefit from male privilege and patriarchy and share these responsibilities.  And of course poly folks do too! (I learned a lot of this from more poly friends). I'm also super interested in insights on those questions and thank everyone who's written in to challenge me! Those letters have sparked some great discussion over here. 

Thank you to everyone who has shared it on twitter and facebook, discussed it on their walls and in their homes and with lovers and friends, and especially to everyone who has tagged https://www.facebook.com/nora.samaran or followed https://twitter.com/NoraSamaran so the conversations can help me continue to expand my thinking and grow! 

Please continue to retweet and share the link and look for future responses to your questions :)

in gratitude,

Nora

So many great links!

Hey the feminist internetz universe has been revealing up its awesomeness, and I just had to share a few of these:

 

This fantastic and hilarious video by Tae Phoenix http://taephoenix.com/ The Art of Subvertising on FB, or Why You Don't Need to Get Married:

and this wonderful, wonderful post "Modelling Consent"

http://disruptingdinnerparties.com/2013/09/26/modeling-consent/

 

 

this beautifully articulated piece, 'feminists are not  responsible for educating men':

http://feministcurrent.com/8098/feminists-are-not-responsible-for-educating-men/

so glad for things folks are sharing.....

 

 

 

nother great link

and this awesome blog :)

 

http://intersectionelle.net/

 

and this! hilarious and open-hearted and wonderful response: 

http://www.shedoesthecity.com/dating-tips-for-the-feminist-man-is-a-must-read-for-men-and-women

 

I'm loving hearing all the ways folks have made this their own:

http://fourthwave.quora.com/Dating-tips-for-the-feminist-man

 

http://vitaminw.co/culture-society/no-shame-in-emotions-after-casual-sex

 

and allll the debates on this page:

http://groupthink.jezebel.com/alternate-title-dating-tips-for-decent-human-beings-1428100529

(thanks to the poster who noticed the point: that emotions and intuition are perfectly rational, thank you very much, when approached in a rational way. i actually like the language another poster suggested that might help make that point clearer - and might revise the line :)

 

http://www.fistinthemouth.com/ for this beautiful shout out that biggened my smile today:

http://www.fistinthemouth.com/content/shout-out-dating-tips-feminist-man

 

 

This intelligent, critical discussion on the same theme:

http://jaythenerdkid.wordpress.com/2013/10/31/ten-things-male-feminists-need-to-stop-saying/comment-page-2/#comment-431

 

 

and thanks to all these rad sites for reposting!
http://paper.li/tag/feminist

http://suitesculturelles.wordpress.com/2011/02/01/feminist-inventory/

http://womenorgnow.tumblr.com/

http://frozenrevolutionary.tumblr.com/

http://poptortes.tumblr.com/

http://en.wordpress.com/tag/casual-sex/

http://www.pinterest.com/bananaseed/pins/

http://ponylunchbox.tumblr.com/

http://ca.nonviolenceinternational.net/?page_id=21

http://www.solventmagazine.com/oppositionradio/category/progressive-radio/election-fallout/

http://www.angeranddepression.com/ketamine-may-be-quick-effective-treatment-for-untreatable-depression/

http://shesophisticated.tumblr.com/

http://aferg.tumblr.com/

http://poptortes.tumblr.com/post/62757378870/dating-tips-for-the-feminist-man

 

 

:D

nora

hee hee, google says the page even made it onto 4chan, though the link's gone down..... 

 

 

 

 

Hallo,While I hesitate to

Hallo,

While I hesitate to reply to this odd Ad Hominem:

"it is written from the point of view of someone who seems extremely frustrated in their own life and relationships (maybe this isn't the case, but thats is how it comes off) or what she sees in others around her, and does not have much application when looked at from the point of view of "there is a problem with men".  

 

I thought for the sake of perspicacity and respect due certain very caring and wise men in my life, a brief response might be appropriate:

The post was written to a great extent in response to having witnessed these skills in action with several men in my life over the years, all of whom are still friends. I've been lucky to have caring, compassionate, self-aware and responsible partners and I've learned a tremendous amount with and from them. 

I was inspired by experiences with men who are in fact better at this than me, who have taught me things, whether as partners for long or short relationships, or more briefly as lovers and then long-term as wise friends.

While I was building the groundwork for this piece, I was actually in dialogue with several close friends who were once my partners, who helped me think this through. i was also learning from and with guys who are just friends who think about and practice these skills, who shared insights and helped me clarify my thinking. 

My personal rule (and I know this isn't everyone's way)  is not to ever be lovers with someone if we can't be genuine friends afterwards. I've never broken that rule from my end; in my adult lifetime, two others have broken it.  The inspiration for the piece arose as I was thinking of one person who did break that, and his inability to handle his own or my emotions, which admittedly ran very high. I was frustrated with this individual human being who bolted as soon as emotions came into the equation, not because he didn't care, but because he simply could see no other way to respond. 

However, I was also thinking how easy it would have been had this one feminist man had the skills of five or six other men I know who are deeply emotionally aware and skilled, who have taught me things and given me the lived experience of just how well, how heart-opening, and how deep, these loving consensual trust-building connections can go, when both people practice these kinds of responsibilty-taking and honesty.  

I was wishing (in vain, I thought... though 150 000 pageviews has renewed my faith) to share that knowledge, which men in my life are already skilled at and are practicing in an ongoing way, with those who do not have it or who are not yet even willing to entertain the idea that these skills might exist and might be helpful.

So you're hearing frustration - yes - but with masculinity's pressures and distortions, not with 'men' writ large.

I thought it was hopeless, but seeing the ripples this post has created has definitely helped me feel like something very positive has come of some sadness. 

hope that's taken well, as it's intended respectfully. 

Hi

P { margin-bottom: 0.21cm; }

Glad you decided to respond. I would have seen your response earlier had you hit 'reply' to my post instead of making your own, eitherway, I'll address your points in the order you presented them.

I will point out that you avoided mentioning or responding to every major point I made and concentrated on this, the least important part of the post i made. 

Also, I'm not meaning to sound angry or aggressive, so please don't take it that way, I'm just very assertive and blunt with my words, and some people take that as offensive. Try not to.

An ad hominem is a general category of fallacies in which a claim or argument is rejected on the basis of some irrelevant fact about the author of or the person presenting the claim or argument (I stress the word IRRELEVANT). The reason why an Ad Hominem (of any kind) is a fallacy is that the character, circumstances, or actions of a person do not (in most cases) have a bearing on the truth or falsity of the claim being made (or the quality of the argument being made).

My statement contained two caveats to indicate that the idea within the statement (about the author) was speculative and should not be taken as fact, until the author confirms (or denies) the assumptions made, which you did by stating:

“The inspiration for the piece arose as I was thinking of one person who did break that, and his inability to handle his own or my emotions, which admittedly ran very high. I was frustrated with this individual human being who bolted as soon as emotions came into the equation, not because he didn't care, but because he simply could see no other way to respond.”

Back to fallacies, given that my statement was speculative in nature and self-evedently so, given that the speculation was not infact irrelevent to the topic being discussed (as experential bias plays into all disagreements), and given that your follow up statement confirmed (if only partially) that my 'ad hominen' as you called it and 'speculation' or 'guess work' as I would call it, was correct, and I can only therefore conclude that ... my statement was in fact NOT an ad hominen. But I'm glad you at least know what that is.

I will say that pointing out logical fallacies isn't exactly the best way to begin a reply to what, from my point of view, was a well thought out, well laid out, informative, thoughtful response to your rantings about the male population and its ills. If you would like to get into pointing out logical fallacies I would be more than happy to run through this article again and dissect it word for word. I'm sure I can find at least as many fallacies as you have points for men on dating.

I am glad that you personally have had mostly, it seems, good experiences with men, but in light of this, I wonder:
- why you use such strong generalizations when talking about men?
- why you address men as group(s) at all, we are all individuals are we not, with individual wants, needs, goals, modes of action, morals, and minds? Notice that I don't try to give you dating advice just because Paris Hilton and Snooki are dirty, rich, whores who use people to whatever ends they can. That wouldn't make any sense, because, I don't know you and you're not Snooki.
- why don't your generalizations include women of the same ilk as the men you are perporting to giving advise to?
- why call apon the gender divide at all, when talking about an issue that doesn't discriminate based on gender?

Your personal rule of not being lovers with someone you can't be genuine friends with after a break down in the physical relationship is logical, yet it is strange rule to hold along side your presented opinion of most men in the dating scene, because you can't really read the future. A man can present himself as someone you might think that about, but you may not like what you find when you get a closer look ... after the fact. This article you wrote is about dating, also known as the art of courting a woman (which is what males have been doing since the beginning of time), but is partially about lying and false representation. However, it's presented as if women don't wear make up or pushup bras, which is representing something that doesn't exist, so its a lie, its false advertising.

If your assumptions about men are true, that we are for the most part players, ie. liars, that are not in touch with our emotional selves and therefore cant' possible understand or act responsibly in a relationship, how can you ever get in any relationship ever again? Some psycho/socio-path might be pretending to be a 'straight monogamous cismale feminist' (as if the rules of relationships and communication were different for different gender identities) and reveal themselves down the road to be something else entirely (or decided they aren't a feminist man, probably when they realize what feminism actually means).

False representation happen all the time on both sides, and especially to those who have been financially successful in life. There are many men (as an example) living in hell, because a woman presented herself as something she wasn't, then got pregnant (honestly or through trickery), intentionally makes life a living hell and then proceeds to collect alimony for decades while taking over the family home, car, etc, etc, and also gets custody of children, due to the sexist laws in place that favor women in consentual relationships. All I'm saying is that men can make the same shallow accusations against women, should we choose to use generalizations in the same manor that you have in this article (except we don't have the coersion of government on our side), with the caveat, of course (sarcasm alert), that 'straight monogamous cisfemale masculinists' are exempt because they understand men and the kinds of relationships men want.

The relationship skills you have detailed (rightly or wrongly) in this article are not tips that need to be applied to men, they are life skills that nearly every human being in the western world has been denied from learning due to being locked in a social engineering experiment known as the public schooling system. The definition of an unhealthy relationship is the relationship between governement and individuals. School is the prime example, there is no voluntary relationship in a school. For 15000 hours, that takes up 13 years of our life, we are locked in a box where we are forced to associate, conditioned to accept; that we have no control over our lives; that we have no freedom; that truth is what strong/smart people say it is; that obedience to authority (nationalism) is the highest of virtues; and that we have no privacy. We are taught class position, confusion, indifference, emotional dependancy, intellectual dependency, provisional self esteem and that one can't hide. So is there any wonder, then, why young adults come out of high school totally frustrated? Aggressive? Incoherent? Lacking empathy? Any wonder, then, why you see a domestic violence split of 50/50 whether we look at straight or LGBQ relationships?

My impression is that you are an intelligent person that has recognized an ill in society, but have not been able to pinpoint its root cause. You see the poor ability of human beings to relate to one another in a changing and propagandized world where, whether you want to see it or not, we have all been manipulated and partially engineered to react in similar fashions to stressful stimuli. Regardless of your point of view, there is always an '-ism' to catch you and point the finger at an faceless generalized oppressor, in the feminist case, men. I suggest you look more closely at what has taken place over the last 200 years, especially regarding schooling and governance, because they are at the heart of the relationship ills you see in the world.

I also want to address another issue that I see as driving a wall between men and women, and that is this idea of Patriarchy as pure evil and always has been. People who use Patriarchy as a dirty word, only show that they are uninformed of, ignoring or openly distorting history. Partiarchy as you've termed it (LETS SMASH IT, YEAH), developed in a time and place where society at large, recognized the value of women and decided to protect them from an extremely violent human and natural environment that existed outside the home. Women are the gender naturally given the ability to have children and as such were (bio-)logically the appropriate choice to be the ones segregated (for lack of a better word) from the environment at large in order to help ensure the healthiest possible offspring. Men went out into the dangers of the world to hunt, work, fight, and generally provide, with his physical person, all that he could in order to keep a healthy family alive.

Where this ideology, if you can even call it that, went astray was when men began to be held legally responsable for all the actions of their wives. If your wife committed a crime, the husband was held responsible. Thus began the division of the family unit and the hypocracy of feminism. This also began the epidemic of domestic violence, because if you are being held responsible for someone elses actions and yet have no control over them, you have no recourse but physical violence in the extreme cases. Illogically, domestic violence, whether performed on a woman or by a woman was punished on the man, who was the only 'person' in the relationship, therefore the only responsible party for the dependent in his care (not that I agree with those terms I just used, but in the context of the day they are legally correct). I suggest you find a new slogan other then lets destroy a system that was designed around and based solely on the value that men placed in the health of women. Maybe you might even want to return to a modified form of what it originally ment.

All I got from that was

All I got from that was "Share the Load"

 DATING TIPS FOR EVERYONE

 DATING TIPS FOR EVERYONE

>>a rendition of "dating tips for feminist men" sans the heteronormative assumptions [because we are ALL entitled to an education on radical communication and consent not just the straight cis males]<<

This is not the 1950s; if you’re committed to social justice but you are still marching along using ‘the rules’http://therulesbook.com/ to govern dating, it’s time to consider the connection between your politics and your personal life. Social justice is intersectional; we can't just fix our economic relationships without fixing our personal and cultural ones. 

So identifying as feminist or a radical or simply trying to communicate better is a tricky line to walk. Keep in mind that you'll get kudos just for taking on the challenge as your own; it may even help you gain trust extra-quickly with people you are dating.

Want to be worthy of that trust? Practice your consent skills. Here's how, in a tidy list. 

You're a radical communicator, or you want to be, ,and you want to hook up with or date another radical? OK. You should both read this!

Here's the deal:

1. learn to RECOGNIZE your own emotions. Consent requires honesty, and you can't speak honestly about your intentions unless you know what they are.

2. BE PREPARED. Just as we teach high-schoolers that ‘if you're not ready for the possible outcomes of babies and diseases, you're not ready for sex,’ the same is true of emotions. Sex brings up emotion. That is just the reality of choosing to engage in sexual relationships. If you're not ready to work with the emotion to make sure everyone is okay afterwards, then you're not ready for the sex.

If you're the kind of person who avoids your own or other people's emotions, then you're not going to be able to have good consent conversations until you get more comfortable with your own and other people's emotions. Sign up for a consent skills workshop, or several. Read books on consent and on radical conflict resolution skills. Recognize that you agreed to or initiated a romantic relationship, however short or long-lived, and so you are responsible to the other person in that relationship as well as to yourself. Nobody put a gun to your head and made you make out with this person, so own your choices and their effects. People need different things after a hookup; know your own needs and be responsive to the needs of the other person.

*Don't* say or act like you are serious about someone, make out with them, and then avoid them. Can I say this clearly enough? If you make out with somebody, you are responsible for checking in to make sure they are ok, not just during, but also after. Discuss casual sex as casual sex, and ambiguous sex as ambiguous sex. If your initial connection seemed serious but things don’t work out the way you hoped, do the work to end on good terms with this person. You may have to have some emotions-talk first to get to a good place and clear up any miscommunications or accidental harm you caused; if so, you're responsible not only for grudgingly going along, but for actively initiating and holding space for that conversation. Do not make it their job to ask for a conversation to get you both back to a good place together. It is your job as much as theirs. Do not run away if things get uncomfortable or you start to feel emotions that confuse you. If you need space to calm down, pick a specific near-future time in which you will come back fully present and taking a proactive role in getting back to a good place. If you are in a conflict with this person due to tangled emotions, pick a process and, if you need it, a friend to help. Remember the goal is for you both to feel ok about things, not for one of you to win and one of you to lose. If you’re uncomfortable with process, work on that instead of making it their problem.

3. TALK FIRST -actively invite conversations before, during, and after a hookup to check if you are on the same page and have similar ideas about what it all means. Oxytocin's a powerful drug; when you're hooking up and having those heady feelings, you're both vulnerable to misreading, or seeing what you want to see. It's up to both of you to initiate reality check conversations: "what are you expecting after this? what do you think this means? are you ok with this if it's casual? Are you ok with this if it's serious? Do we understand each other properly?" Those conversations are not a one-time thing, just as you can't get one-time consent to touch somebody. Consent is continuous and has to be established through ongoing checkins. If you want to be a good male ally, get comfortable with changing emotions - yours and the other person's, and good at talking about them as they change. Life is messy; we have to be able to move with changes as they happen. This comfort is necessary in order to be honest with the other person, and to create shared expectations so no one ends up feeling used or played.

4. BE HONEST. BE CANDID. if you don't know how you feel, or you're not sure, or you have conflicting or ambiguous or confused emotions, say that. Say "I'm not sure what this means. Do you want to continue even if I don't know where we're going?" Do not tell the other person what you think they want to hear - you do not know what they want to hear. Do not say the thing that is easy for you to say, or oversimplify in order to keep them happy (and making out with you) in the moment. This kind of fuzzy communication can end up being dishonest communication.

It is ok to not know how you feel for a time, as long as you are committed to figuring out how you feel as soon as you can, and honest about your uncertainty in the meantime, so the other can make informed consent decisions.

Do not tell someone you're serious about them or planning to follow up with them romantically if you're actually not sure. For example: do not promise to date them again or say you will spend romantically-oriented time together again if you're not sure whether you will. Casual sex needs to be discussed as casual so both people involved can feel respected and cared for.

If your feelings change, simply name the change. If you were interested in a possible partnership or in an ongoing relationship, and then aren’t or are less sure, and you feel bad about that, do not avoid saying so to make your life easier. Just name the emotion and be available and present to the changes in the other. Try things like this: “I felt this way when I said and did that, but things have changed, and this is how I feel now. This is why and when they changed. I feel bad that I let you down or inadvertently misled you. Are you ok, and what do you need?”

5. CALL IT OUT Don't mix up acting 'nice' with being a genuinely good person. Kindness and treating people well are valuable, but politeness can be violent if it masks normalized oppression. Naming oppression, even when done gently, is not always perceived as being 'nice' because it pushes back at status quo ways of relating, seeing, and thinking.

When naming oppression happens as a response to naturalized harm, the anger you're hearing is a response to actual harm that you may have enacted while thinking you were being 'nice.' So before you decide that you don't have to listen because someone is breaking politeness protocols, consider whose interests those protocols protect. Don't mix up your internal defensiveness, which can arise at having your real privilege pointed out, with the external message you are receiving. Is there trust being offered to you behind anger or critique - trust that you're the kind of person who is open to growth and change? Notice that trust, and earn it.

 

6. TRUST. Lest you be thinking "but sex should be fun! All this how-are-you-feeling-talk would be suuuuch a mood-killer!": just like conversations about condoms, consent can be sexy. It's all about how. Cuz guess what? Trust is hot.

Lest you be thinking "talking about how I feel is embarrassing": Don't worry; that's normal. The toughest guys, the most sensitive ladies, and the queerest of the queer feel shy and we all need to develop the skills to overcome this fear. Emotions are not male or female and we'll all have them. Embracing those feelings as a part of our process, being honest and receptive to our partners emotions can be both powerful and empowering. Emotional energy can be deeply protective and powerful when it is accountable in these ways, where emotions are present to heal, protect, and create shelter. Knowing how to recognize and honour your own needs at the same time as those of a lover, or former lover, has got its own energy. It lets you love from a deeply grounded place. People can feel that. And fuck is it sexy.

Knowing the person you're hooking up with has the skills and capacity (not just the intention) to stick around afterwards to make sure you're both ok, that both your dignities and your capacity to get along will survive the hookup - or the relationship - after it ends makes for much, much better sex. And maintaining trust post-hookup builds stronger movements, because the physical and emotional intimacy shared creates a permanent bond, instead of a permanent rift.

7. BE PROACTIVE -Actively taking on the identity of a feminist radical communicator means you are equally responsible to do your own research and actively notice these things. Help your friends of all genders see them. Realize this is your responsibility. If you miss something, you don't do the work yourself, and someone has to approach you with a way in which they feel you've been sexist or clueless, don't make them convince you. Stretch yourself. They've done enough work in figuring it out, extracting the internalized programming that tells them your sexist behavior is totally normal and that they're just crazy, and then offering you the gift of their honesty. At the very least the have recognized some part of our shared inculturation and trust you enough to share it with you. That shit is not easy when you’ve just been harmed or hindered by behavior normalized through dominant scripts. If someone has bothered to share this with you after they manage to figure it out? The likelihood is that they hope you'll hear them - even if they sound defensive, scared, sad, angry, or otherwise upset when they bring this to you. Instead of challenging them to logic battles or insisting that they provide evidence, kindly recognize just how hard it is to understand and name harm one has experienced. Assume there's some truth to what they're saying, and take on the role of helping them articulate it better if it's wordless or fuzzy at first. Honor the gift by listening and asking questions, and taking it upon yourself to educate yourself.

8. DON'T RUN- Notice if your tendency when called out is to bolt. Notice if your tendency when you bolt is to turn to a reaffirming other friend and ask them to reassure you that you're really not sexist. If your friend feels loyal to you, they'll want to support you and they may see things your way, but they aren't the one who experienced the problematic behavior, so they're not the one you should be listening to. A friend who is not the person you dated may not know how you behaved in that dating context, and so may not be the best one to tell you whether you've actually acted like an unconscious douche. The nature of structural forms of oppression like sexism is also such that we all internalize the normalcy of oppressive behavior; discomfort with conflict or a desire to be the 'good' member of that group, or simply to be on your side because they are your friend, can also come into play. Be wary of your desire to just seek proof of your goodness, rather than actually being a good person by being open to learning about ways you can be a better ally. If you notice you want to retreat to women who praise you, take time to check that response to find out what you can learn from the people who trust you enough to tell you where you have blind spots.

9. BE REAL Give up on trying to be perfect. It just gets in the way. Get used to process. You fuck up, you learn, you grow. If you want right relationships with other human beings in our shared spaces and communities, show that you walk the walk by being big about admitting mistakes quickly and rolling with them. Make amends, make it better in your actions as well as your words. That honours the trust people have given you.

10. SHARE the load. Consider it your responsibility to be continually self-reflexive about your actions and their effects. Don't wait to be taught, because that puts multiple burdens on the other: to understand and name the harm that’s affecting them, and to take the risk to talk to you about it, and to find language to articulate it in a way you’ll hear. Those things all take a lot of energy and are not easy. So if someone you're dating gets angry at you and has a hard time articulating why, check your defensiveness and listen. If you want to be a feminist, you are going to have to challenge yourself to invite having things you do, that you don't notice, pointed out, without withdrawing or attacking or putting the burden of proof on your partner. Don't try to defend yourself and say you're 'not wrong.' One of the features of oppression is that it creates silence. Articulating what has happened to you is particularly difficult when you've born the brunt of oppression, particularly if you were raised to believe it is normal. So it is hard enough for someone experiencing the impact of your actions to figure out how to name them; if you want to be a feminist or a radical that is your job, not just theirs.

 

11. BE SKEPTICAL. Question the assumed values you may have inherited from capitalist forebears, and put them to the test of your belief in mutuality. If you are a socialist who still believes that we are all individuals who enter voluntarily into relations and can exit them without accountability, notice the contradiction. Human beings are not interchangeable, fungible entities who freely enter into contractual relations; we are interdependent and need each other to live. It is a very privileged position to be able to retreat to your individualism when you have harmed someone, rather than being in relation with them, and staying present for the change as that relation shifts out of a romantic one to something new and long-term you both are comfortable with. Your theory and your lived daily practice will line up if you notice this contradiction.

12. BE ACCOUNTABLE Which leads to the next point: if you cause harm, even by accident, and someone calls you on it, and you believe we are all mutually interdependent, 'i need space' is not an acceptable response. You can take space to get your head clear so you can listen and know yourself better - but that kind of space is measured in hours, or at most days. If you want 'space' measured in weeks or months, you're not taking space, you're avoiding responsibility.

Get used to being uncomfortable and learning to have loving, clear, and interconnected boundaries that honour your internal voices as well as the needs of the other humans you share this planet and this community with – that is where learning happens. So when the zombies or the bankers come for us, we won't have to waste energy fighting each other.

13. PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE OUR MOUTH IS. Saying 'sorry' only means something if your behaviour changes. On its own it does not remedy the situation. 'sorry' has to come with responsiveness.

14. WEATHER THE STORM Similarly, don't threaten to leave if emotions are running high. Those kinds of threats just exacerbate the situation. If you can calm your own knee-jerk tendency to avoid, and offer a grounded listening presence instead that honors your own emotions and those of the other person, you'll find that foundation reduces the intensity of the emotions coming at you quite a lot. remember that you care about each other, and/or that you're both humans sharing this planet, and that we need each other to survive. connect your daily life and daily relationship practices with your beliefs in social justice, mutual aid, anticapitalism, marxism, etc. When the zombie apocalypse comes (or we bring it about?) we will need skills for getting along with each other and being able to work together even after we hook up. Start practicing now.

15. STAY GROUNDED If you find you are paralyzed with feelings of guilt and resentment notice the internal script, and check it. Your feelings of guilt may be completely useless and completely out of proportion to the situation. (sample script: “I feel guilty, but I shouldn't feel this guilty because i didn't do anything, well maybe i did something small, but it's not worth feeling this guilty, and I feel guilty because the are upset even though I didn't do anything, so it's their fault I feel guilty, so since she made me feel guilty unfairly, I don't have to deal with this!),

If they prevent you from being responsive and accountable, they cause more harm than good. Learn to recognize the difference between internal feelings of guilt or shame, and the external messages you are receiving or reality you are observing. Practice this skill in general in your life to be a more responsive radical; the same skill at working through inherited guilt scripts to become responsive, that makes you a better lover and friend to your ex's, also makes you more responsive to the violence of colonization, and other structural violence in which most of us are complicit.

 

 16. THINK, FEEL, LISTEN.  If you find yourself disregarding something your partner is saying because they are upset as they are saying it, this is bad communication. You may have been raised to believe emotion is not rational and is therefore not legitimate. That is for you to unlearn, not for you to impose on others. Emotion and intuition, when finely honed, serve clear thinking. Don't retreat into your head or use logic to disconnect from empathy when you find emotions coming your way; clear thinking is informed by ethics and compassion. Build up your capacity to feel and to respond to feelings in a rational, intuitive, self-aware way. You'll be more human for it, and a better feminist, too.

*16.5 BE HEALTHY When is enough, enough? Learn to recognize emotional manipulation and abuse and when to take a break from arguing. Other peoples feelings are still their responsibility even after you've stirred them a bit. You have a responsibility to recognize and acknowledge your partners feelings and hopefully an inclination to share the skills of exploring and embracing the emotional process but it is not your sole responsibility to open all the doors as well as carry all them bags. Share the responsibility of having a radical relationship and the implications that come with it. Sometimes a common agreement is not easily discovered. Take a breather and if resolution is not found in timely fashion consider a radical councilor to bring more skills to the struggle. *[paragragh 16.5 is not from the article '..tips for feminist men']

17.BE WRONG- Sometimes being wrong is a gift. be grateful for your mistakes and for the interdependence that lets you maintain relationships through them. Feel proud of your strength to be able to say “I messed that up. I’m very sorry. I’d like to not make that mistake again. How do I make things better?” and then to be able to follow through in your actions.

18. ENJOY -The benefits? other than 'integrity' and creating a better world and movement, the personal benefits of walking the walk include deeper friendships with those strong feminist women you find yourself attracted to, after the hooking up ends.

Benefits may also include creating more spaces where kind, gentle, intuitive people - who may be the same people as those strong people you like so much - can be themselves and open up to you.

Practicing consent, which includes the ability to work with emotions during and after a hookup or a relationship ends, creates more shelters, more places from which our movements can heal, ground, and resist from a place of strength. Radical Communication calls into question perceived normative roles that shut down the dialogue from time to time. It is good solidarity. And it just may open your heart.

__________________________________________________________________________________

This feminism radical communication intersectionality discussion is not something that only straight cis males need to work on. The very notion that straight women are endowed with innate communication abilities not necessitating this education or that they have made more progress in 'figuring it out, extracting the internalized programming' is fallacious. I hope my edits reflect this well.
__________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Bravo!

Bravo!  Thank you Nora and thank you Will!

agreed and thanks !

Hey,

Read this and love it. You nailed some things that I hoped were implicit in the piece, but better. thanks so much Will!

thoughts on gender scripts

hullo again

thinking about this some more on my walk today. 

 

The very notion that straight women are endowed with innate communication abilities not necessitating this education or that they have made more progress in 'figuring it out, extracting the internalized programming' is fallacious. 

 

I'm curious if you read the piece as saying that 'women are endowed with innate communication abilities not necessitating this education' etc.? I don't actually see that in the piece, as I don't believe that, but I'm curious where you see it in the piece itself (i.e. maybe it's there, and I just don't see it). 

I have to admit that I wrote this piece to think through a specific set of relationships I was trying to make sense of. I really expected five of my closest friends to read it, and had no idea it would strike such a chord (which it clearly has: 20 thousand fb shares and over 100 000 pageviews - and counting - in five days!). Since I wrote it mainly for me, I wrote it about my own experience, which is as a straight ciswoman (though admittedly with some genderbendy traits?) who has primarily been attracted to and partners with cisguys of various sorts, not as a rule, but certainly thus far as a pattern. There are also women in my life who don't practice these things, and there are men who have more of this wisdom than I do, who teach me and remind me of things when I forget them. 
 
That said: I'm curious what you think about the ways gendered scripts play out in straight-world dating/flirting/hooking up. they play out in all kinds of complicated ways in queer-world dating (this is the subject of a coming-soon column written in collaboration with queer friends and in response to many smart letters that came my way). but don't they play out in specific ways for people flirting across the Big Gender Divide? 
 
I'm open to being challenged on this - but it seems possible to me that queer folks aren't navigating quite as much as cis het folks in rigid walls about who pursues whom, who protects themselves from being played and who gets points for successful conquests.... I think we all have to practice these skills, but I think we're under different kinds of pressure to play out roles in different ways. people gendered as male have more work to do to undo the training: training to conquest, to cut themselves off from their emotional worlds, and to make all the decisions. So I think everyone would be happier with these skills, and certainly leftie movements are stronger when people can practice these skills. I don't think queer folks and particularly transguys are exempt in some way. but beyond 'we all have to practice these things' is the reality that men (including yes, the men I date and all men, transmen included) are pressured to think and act in certain ways and they are less pressured to do this kind of emotional work - in fact they may be penalized for it. So it takes some serious fucking bravery to reinvent masculinity.
 
Fundamentally the differences matter: I don't think guys who want to flirt with women partly by advertising their 'feminist' identity have the right to chase by saying things like 'I'm a feminist' without actually being willing to question their actions... (or, as in the sitch that inspired this post, saying 'I'm a feminist' and also saying things like: 'I'm really serious about you,' 'I'm going to be consistent and honest,' 'I want to spend two months trying out living with you' ;P) and then bolting abruptly and saying 'i thought you knew i wanted to just be friends who hook up' when the emotions get less clear.
 
ie they don't have the right to engage in dishonest conquest behaviour, even if the dishonesty is caused by an unwillingness to examine their own needs, desires, emotions. Casual sex needs to be discussed as casual, and ambiguous sex as ambiguous, and then they're fine cuz everybody can make their own decisions.
 
If called out on that bad consent communication I don't think 'feminist' guys have the right to continue using the term, if their response is to say 'oh now I don't want to talk to you any more because you said I'm sexist, how could I be sexist, I'm a feminist/all my friends are women' ;P - and I *do* think cisguys are more likely to act in this way, because we live in social scripts that support this kind of action and discourage more careful communication. It's different, I think, from less hetero gendered hooking up? But really open to hearing otherwise. Is queer dating governed by these scripts in these same (or similar) ways? How does 'these skills are good for everybody' (which I agree with) land on the ground of existing conquest and patriarchal narratives about how we're all 'supposed' to behave?
 
Granted the ideas apply to way more scenarios than the specific sitch that inspired it - which is why the letters and thoughts people have been sending in are super useful. I've had lots of good challenges and expanding-thoughts discussions in the past week!
 
 

The problem with feminist men is that they feel guilty

This article dwells exclusively on the negative side of masculinity.
Also, I take issue with some of the points, such as point 7 which includes.. "Realize this is your responsibility. If you miss something, you don't do the work yourself, and someone has to approach you with a way in which they feel you've been sexist or clueless, don't make them convince you. " I disagree with this statement. Yes, guys. listen to your partner and seek to understand them and be empathetic, but stand up for your own experiences and make sure that you are understood as well.

The write of this article appears to me to assume that there is a "right" and "wrong" way of behaving, but who is to judge this? Also I think the writers use of labels such as "unconscious douche" perpetuate judgmental and violent language.

I think most feminist hetero men need to focus on the positive side of their masculinity, drop the guilt, do some pushups, and follow there dreams and desires. This will help them know themselves in relationship with women.
 

Hetero Guys, I say skip this article and go read David Deida.

all feminist men?

hey friend,

I'm not sure that allll feminist men feel guilty, or more to the point, that they all handle feelings of guilt the same way (by assuming someone else is necessarily making them feel guilty, rather than just noticing the emotion itself and the scripts it runs, and the actions in themselves it generates?). The piece specifically says to get over the guilt and move to responsiveness and honest self-reflection instead, and I think that's a big part of the work. interesting that your response is to say 'don't even bother thinking about this.' ;P

It also specifically says 'know your own needs and honour them, and know the needs of the other and honour them.' If you believe those two things can't happen together, then I respectfully submit that this piece is for you, and ask you to think about it again, cuz right now you may be arguing with somebody else who isn't in the room, not with this piece. ;)

 

be well,

n

 

 

Great piece

just want to share another relevant piece that a friend resent me, that went around a while back:

 

http://bookishboi.tumblr.com/post/26099278113/i-dont-give-a-fuck-about-how-you-fuck-or-your-hot

Respect is for everyone

Thanks for the pointer, Nora.

I'm sorry, but goodness me, what is it with the casual acceptance of heterosexism and disregard for non-female-identified people in this community?  There is a lot of good advice in that piece, but the opening line:

"You center respect and love for women and femmes in how you do relationships"?

No.  You center respect and love for everyone in your relationships.  If your relationships center respect and love for only certain categories of gender identity/expression and marginalize the rest, they will not work.

Don't you find it as strange as I do that progressives can write recommendations as one-sided as these without batting an eye, and that they are so broadly accepted without challenge?  I thought we were making progress moving beyond the gender binary and heterosexist assumptions about relationship roles.  Posts like deepfriedcoconutbutter's (and bookishboi's endorsement of it, and yours) make me think we have a lot of work to do.  (deepfriedcoconutbutter or bookishboi, if you are reading this, please engage with me; we need to move forward on this together.)

playing field

Hi,

briefly: we aren't playing on an even playing field. so we have to be able to name existing power dynamics that current arrangements want to hide (except for the people feeling the daily brunt of them, they can't be hidden except by silencing). that is why naming the behaviour of people with more kinds of power isn't 'perpetuating' the problem. kapish? if you don't agree, ask yourself what daily kinds of harm you experience in your social role in the world. and what kinds are experienced by the people around you. this isn't exactly original, but 'one of the benefits of privilege is not having to notice'.... 

repeating old adages - edly yours,

n

Respect is for everyone

Oh, I agree it's not an even playing field.  That's not my claim; of course there are existing power dynamics and forms of oppression under which we all live, and calling them out is a valuable thing to do.  That kind of naming, as you call it, is not what I'm pointing at here.

What I'm pointing at is the explicit hierarchy of gender in the line I quoted, the idea that certain categories of gender are more deserving of love and respect than others in relationships.  That does not work.  And the erasure of relationships in which neither party identifies as a woman or femme.  That also does not work.

Simply put, there needs to be a generous helping of love and respect for everyone involved, and declarations that categorically limit who is entitled to it don't help us.  Can we agree on that?

Thanks for taking the time to thoughtfully discuss this with me!

-

-

why masculinity

"Oh, I agree it's not an even playing field.  That's not my claim; of course there are existing power dynamics and forms of oppression under which we all live, and calling them out is a valuable thing to do.  That kind of naming, as you call it, is not what I'm pointing at here. What I'm pointing at is the explicit hierarchy of gender in the line I quoted, the idea that certain categories of gender are more deserving of love and respect than others in relationships."

 

where in a line that says 'respect women' do you see 'disrespect men'? sorry, i just don't see it. 

 

Similarly, the title of this piece is not 'dating tips for feminist men (who all have to learn what women innately know)' or 'dating tips for feminist men (to the exclusion of all other humans)'. It is stuff I want people who date me to know. and i date (or so far have dated) straight cisgendered men. And two out of the i dunno maybe ten or fifteen guys I've had encounters with in my adult life have been bad at these skills. And I want more of the people I might date in the future to be better at these kinds of skills, so i don't have to limit my dating pool to only my awesome exes

 

I'm happy if people who read it pick it up and make it make sense to them in their intimate relationships of all sorts. That is amazing and I'm learning from the ways people have picked this up and made sense of it in their own ways - and sent letters back telling me things I'm missing, like about how applies to all men, or to all humans as well, etc. in variuos ways. That awesome. But that awesomeness stop cold at 'women do this just as baaaaaaad so STOP TALKING ABOUT MASCULINITY.' yes. we need to talk about masculinity. Because unquestioned masculinity is still doing specific kinds of harm (to people of all genders), and having milquetoast conversations about 'people in general' instead of about masculinity, or without addressing masculinity specifically, does not get us very far. if you assume my specificity means that I think ONLY men use or can learn or ought to learn these skills, that's simply a misread. But we need to talk about the specific ways these things play out in standard scripts about masculinity. 

 

kapish?

 

 

 if you agree that 'that kind of naming' is 'a valuable thing to do' - how do we do it without talking about what we're talking about? if we have to talk about EVERYBODY ('don't say 'respect women!' always say 'respect people! allllll people!') then how can we ever focus on the things that need attention?

 

 

Focusing on what needs attention

Hmm, that's true. You're clearly right that we have to be able to identify specific harms, inflicted by specific people on specific others. To place that off-limits would be silly.

I do still have concerned feelings related to what I've written above, but I haven't fully reconciled my feelings with the logic of this clearly right statement. So, let me take a moment to think about why I feel this way and see if I can articulate it better. Thanks!

A late reply

All right... so I've been thinking about this for a while and now I have a clearer mind about it.

First to get this out of the way:

  • where in a line that says 'respect women' do you see 'disrespect men'? sorry, i just don't see it.

The line in question is "You center respect and love for women and femmes in how you do relationships".  A center implies a hierarchy: if you put certain things in the center, then the rest are at the margins.  I don't read the line as saying "disrespect men", but I do read it as saying "focus your respect and love particularly on women and femmes", and I don't think it's healthy to define our relationships with that kind of hierarchy.

If we agree that it's better to recommend a generous helping of respect and love for all parties in a relationship than to recommend an explicit hierarchy of certain genders over others, then good!  If all we disagree about is how we read that particular wording, I'm happy to drop it.

***

Now to the more interesting part: why masculinity.

I get what you're trying to say.  Some behaviours are gendered; certain kinds of "unquestioned masculinity is still doing specific kinds of harm", as you said.  No disagreement there.

The argument you're making applies if we are in fact talking about masculinity.  I'm not saying "stop talking about masculinity", I'm saying "I don't see these behaviours as specifically masculine".  What our disagreement boils down to is whether these particular behaviours you describe in the main post are in fact gendered.  Do you classify these as masculine behaviours?  Let's take one for an example:

  • If you make out with somebody, you are responsible for checking in to make sure they are ok, not just during, but also after. 

Okay, you're telling feminist men that they need to check in.  Does that mean you think that making-out-and-not-checking-in is a specifically masculine activity?  What makes you think that?

If this were the sort of thing that were 90% done by men, I'd have no issue.  But I don't think so; I really do think everybody does it.  In fact, it may even be more done by women than by men; the stereotype in heterosexual relationships is that the men are expected to initiate discussion of romantic feelings, so it may be that women are socialized not to initiate such conversations (this accords with my limited personal experience).  If it's true that this is the sexist socialization we are trying to fight, then your advice actually has a larger audience of heterosexual women than heterosexual men.

A few other examples:

  • Give up on trying to be perfect.
  • If you cause harm, even by accident, ... "I need space" is not an acceptable response.
  • Don't threaten to leave if emotions are running high.

Do you think these are all gendered, specifically masculine behaviours?  I don't.

 

Masculinity

Re, 'are these gendered traits (socialized or otherwise...) I guess we'd have to do some research.

Re: 'Centre respect for women and femmes' isn't about hierarchising women and femmes *above* men because it is responding to the existing rapeculture/generalized misogyny that is still naturalized in our culture and myriad small and big ways. Men are still raised to conquest and count notches on their belt (those many men who do not wish to behave this way have to actively navigate the pressures and someyimes violence of masculine spaces and cultures to be themselves despite this generalized culture). Do you agree that that's the case?

Thanks for engaging thoughtfully - appreciate the conversation. :)

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dating tips for the feminist man

Blog posts reflect the views of their authors, and are not subject to Media Co-op journalistic standards.
Dating Tips for the Feminist Man
Dating Tips for the Feminist Man

This post is in honour of male feminists and their dating rituals.

You’re a straight monogamous cismale who identifies as a leftie. Maybe you’re a Marxist or a socialist; maybe you’re an anarchist. You respect women. You would never act like a player. You fall in love with strong, smart, feminist women. You believe that our movements are stronger if they include everyone.

This is not the 1950s; if you’re committed to social justice but you are still marching along using ‘the rules’ http://therulesbook.com/ to govern dating, it’s time to consider the connection between your politics and your personal life. Social justice is intersectional; we can't just fix our economic relationships without fixing our personal and cultural ones. 

So identifying as a male feminist is a tricky line to walk. It's important that men use the term. But keep in mind that you'll get kudos just for taking on the term as your own; it may even help you gain trust extra-quickly with women you're dating.

Want to be worthy of that trust? Practice your consent skills. Here's how, in a tidy list. 

You're a straight monogamous cisgendered feminist man,and you want to hook up with or date women? OK.

Here's the deal:

 

1. learn to recognize your own emotions. Consent requires honesty, and you can't speak honestly about your intentions unless you know what they are.

2. Just as we teach high schoolers that ‘if you're not ready for the possible outcomes of babies and diseases, you're not ready for sex,’ the same is true of emotions. Sex brings up emotion. That is just the reality of choosing to engage in sexual relationships. If you're not ready to work with the emotion to make sure everyone is ok afterwards, then you're not ready for the sex.

If you're the kind of person who avoids your own or other people's emotions, then you're not going to be able to have good consent conversations until you get more comfortable with your own and other people's emotions. Sign up for a consent skills workshop, or several. Read books on consent and on radical conflict resolution skills. Recognize that you agreed to or initiated a romantic relationship, however short or long-lived, and so you are responsible to the other person in that relationship as well as to yourself. Nobody put a gun to your head and made you make out with this person, so own your choices and their effects. People need different things after a hookup; know your own needs and be responsive to the needs of the other person.

*Don't* say or act like you are serious about someone, make out with them, and then avoid them. Can I say this clearly enough? If you make out with somebody, you are responsible for checking in to make sure they are ok, not just during, but also after. Discuss casual sex as casual sex, and ambiguous sex as ambiguous sex. If your initial connection seemed serious but things don’t work out the way you hoped, do the work to end on good terms with this person. You may have to have some emotions-talk first to get to a good place and clear up any miscommunications or accidental harm you caused; if so, you're responsible not only for grudgingly going along, but for actively initiating and holding space for that conversation. Do not make it their job to ask for a conversation to get you both back to a good place together. It is your job as much as theirs. Do not run away if things get uncomfortable or you start to feel emotions that confuse you. If you need space to calm down, pick a specific near-future time in which you will come back fully present and taking a proactive role in getting back to a good place. If you are in a conflict with this person due to tangled emotions, pick a process and, if you need it, a friend to help. Remember the goal is for you both to feel ok about things, not for one of you to win and one of you to lose. If you’re uncomfortable with process, work on that instead of making it their problem.

3. In that same vein: actively invite conversations before, during, and after a hookup to check if you are on the same page and have similar ideas about what it all means. Oxytocin's a powerful drug; when you're hooking up and having those heady feelings, you're both vulnerable to misreading, or seeing what you want to see. It's up to both of you to initiate reality check conversations: "what are you expecting after this? what do you think this means? are you ok with this if it's casual? Are you ok with this if it's serious? Do we understand each other properly?" Those conversations are not a one-time thing, just as you can't get one-time consent to touch somebody. Consent is continuous and has to be established through ongoing checkins. If you want to be a good male ally, get comfortable with changing emotions - yours and the other person's, and good at talking about them as they change. Life is messy; we have to be able to move with changes as they happen. This comfort is necessary in order to be honest with the other person, and to create shared expectations so no one ends up feeling used or played.

4. if you don't know how you feel, or you're not sure, or you have conflicting or ambiguous or confused emotions, say that. Say "I'm not sure what this means. Do you want to continue even if I don't know  where we're going?" Do not tell the other person what you think they want to hear - you do not know what they want to hear. Do not say the thing that is easy for you to say, or oversimplify in order to keep them happy (and making out with you) in the moment. This kind of fuzzy communication can end up being dishonest communication.

It is ok to not know how you feel for a time, as long as you are committed to figuring out how you feel as soon as you can, and honest about your uncertainty in the meantime, so the other can make informed consent decisions.

Do not tell someone you're serious about them or planning to follow up with them romantically if you're actually not sure. For example: do not promise to date them again or say you will spend romantically-oriented time together again if you're not sure whether you will. Casual sex needs to be discussed as casual so both people involved can feel respected and cared for.

If your feelings change, simply name the change. If you were interested in a possible partnership or in an ongoing relationship, and then aren’t or are less sure, and you feel bad about that, do not avoid saying so to make your life easier. Just name the emotion and be available and present to the changes in the other. Try things like this: “I felt this way when I said and did that, but things have changed, and this is how I feel now. This is why and when they changed. I feel bad that I let you down or inadvertently misled you. Are you ok, and what do you need?”

5. Don't mix up acting 'nice' with being a genuinely good person. Kindness and treating people well are valuable, but politeness can be violent if it masks normalized oppression. Naming oppression, even when done gently, is not always perceived as being 'nice' because it pushes back at status quo ways of relating, seeing, and thinking.

When naming oppression happens as a response to naturalized harm, the anger you're hearing is a response to actual harm that you may have enacted while thinking you were being 'nice.' So before you decide that you don't have to listen because someone is breaking politeness protocols, consider whose interests those protocols protect. Don't mix up your internal defensiveness, which can arise at having your real privilege pointed out, with the external message you are receiving. Is there trust being offered to you behind anger or critique - trust that you're the kind of person who is open to growth and change? Notice that trust, and earn it.

6. Lest you be thinking "but sex should be fun! All this how-are-you-feeling-talk would be suuuuch a mood-killer!": just like conversations about condoms, consent can be sexy. It's all about how. Cuz guess what? Trust is hot.

Lest you be thinking "but women don't want men who talk about feelings" or "talking about how I feel is emasculating":  not all men have to be masculine, or feel the need. But for those who do, there are ways to know yourself and offer the truth in a responsive way that are not 'just the same' as what 'women' do necessarily. Masculine energy can be deeply protective and powerful when it is accountable in these ways, where emotions are present to heal, protect, and create shelter. Knowing how to recognize and honour your own needs at the same time as those of a lover, or former lover, has got its own energy. It lets you love from a deeply grounded place. People can feel that. And fuck is it sexy. 

Knowing the person you're hooking up with has the skills and capacity (not just the intention) to stick around afterwards to make sure you're both ok, that both your dignities and your capacity to get along will survive the hookup - or the relationship - after it ends makes for much, much better sex. And maintaining trust post-hookup builds stronger movements, because the physical and emotional intimacy shared creates a permanent bond, instead of a permanent rift.

7. Actively taking on the identity of a feminist man means you are equally responsible to do your own research and actively notice these things. Help your friends of all genders see them. Realize this is your responsibility. If you miss something, you don't do the work yourself, and someone has to approach you with a way in which they feel you've been sexist or clueless,don't make them convince you. Stretch yourself. They've done enough work in figuring it outextracting the internalized programming that tells them your sexist behaviour is totally normal and that they're just crazy, and then offering you the gift of their honesty. That shit is not easy when you’ve just been harmed by behavior normalized through dominant scripts. If someone has bothered to share this with you after they manage to figure it out? The likelihood is that they hope you'll hear them - even if they sound defensive, scared, sad, angry, or otherwise upset when they bring this to you. Instead of challenging them to logic battles or insisting that they provide evidence, kindly recognize just how hard it is to understand and name harm one has experienced. Assume there's some truth to what they're saying, and take on the role of helping them articulate it better if it's wordless or fuzzy at first. Honour the gift by listening and asking questions, and taking it upon yourself to educate yourself.

8. Notice if your tendency when called out is to bolt. Notice if your tendency when you bolt is to turn to a reaffirming other female friend and ask them to reassure you that you're really not sexist. If your friend feels loyal to you, they'll want to support you and they may see things your way, but they aren't the one who experienced the problematic behaviour, so they're not the one you should be listening to. A female friend who is not the person you dated may not know how you behaved in that dating context, and so may not be the best one to tell you whether you've actually acted like an unconscious douche. The nature of structural forms of oppression like sexism is also such that we all internalize the normalcy of oppressive behavior; discomfort with conflict or a desire to be the 'good' member of that group, or simply to be on your side because they are your friend, can also come into play. Be wary of your desire to just seek proof of your goodness, rather than actually being a good person by being open to learning about ways you can be a better ally. If you notice you want to retreat to women who praise you, take time to check that response to find out what you can learn from the women who trust you enough to tell you where you have blind spots.

9. Give up on trying to be perfect. It just gets in the way. Get used to process. You fuck up, you learn, you grow. If you want right relationships with other human beings in our shared spaces and communities, show that you walk the walk by being big about admitting mistakes quickly and rolling with them. Make amends, make it better in your actions as well as your words. That honours the trust people have given you.

10. Share the load. Consider it your responsibility to be continually self-reflexive about your actions and their effects. Don't wait to be taught, because that puts multiple burdens on the other: to understand and name the harm that’s affecting them, and to take the risk to talk to you about it, and to find language to articulate it in a way you’ll hear. Those things all take a lot of energy and are not easy. So if someone you're dating gets angry at you and has a hard time articulating why, check your defensiveness and listen. If you want to be a feminist, you are going to have to challenge yourself to invite having things you do, that you don't notice, pointed out, without withdrawing or attacking or putting the burden of proof on women. Don't try to defend yourself and say you're 'not sexist.' One of the features of oppression is that it creates silence. Articulating what has happened to you is particularly difficult when you've born the brunt of oppression, particularly if you were raised to believe it is normal. So it is hard enough for someone experiencing the impact of your actions to figure out how to name them; if you want to be a feminist that is your job, not just hers.

11. Do you believe in solidarity and mutual aid? Do you also believe we are all just individuals? Notice the contradiction in those beliefs. Question the assumed values you may have inherited from capitalist forebears, and put them to the test of your belief in mutuality. If you are a socialist who still believes that we are all individuals who enter voluntarily into relations and can exit them without accountability, notice the contradiction. Human beings are not interchangeable, fungible entities who freely enter into contractual relations; we are interdependent and need each other to live. It is a very privileged position to be able to retreat to your individualism when you have harmed someone, rather than being in relation with them, and staying present for the change as that relation shifts out of a romantic one to something new and long-term you both are comfortable with. Your theory and your lived daily practice will line up if you notice this contradiction.

12. Which leads to the next point: if you cause harm, even by accident, and someone calls you on it, and you believe we are all mutually interdependent, 'i need space' is not an acceptable response. You can take space to get your head clear so you can listen and know yourself better - but that kind of space is measured in hours, or at most days. If you want 'space' measured in months, you're not taking space, you're avoiding responsibility.

Get used to being uncomfortable and learning to have loving, clear, and interconnected boundaries that honour your internal voices as well as the needs of the other humans you share this planet and this community with – that is where learning happens. So when the zombies or the bankers come for us, we won't have to waste energy fighting each other.

13. Saying 'sorry' only means something if your behaviour changes. On its own it does not remedy the situation. 'sorry' has to come with responsiveness.

14. Similarly, don't threaten to leave if emotions are running high. Those kinds of threats just exacerbate the situation. If you can calm your own knee-jerk tendency to avoid, and offer a grounded listening presence instead that honours your own emotions and those of the other person, you'll find that foundation reduces the intensity of the emotions coming at you quite a lot. remember that you care about each other, and/or that you're both humans sharing this planet, and that we need each other to survive. connect your daily life and daily relationship practices with your beliefs in social justice, mutual aid, anticapitalism, marxism, etc. When the zombie apocalypse comes (or we bring it about?) we will need skills for getting along with each other and being able to work together even after we hook up. Start practicing now.

15. If you find you are paralyzed with feelings of guilt and  resentment (sample script: “I feel guilty, but I shouldn't feel this guilty because i didn't do anything, well maybe i did something small, but it's not worth feeling this guilty, and I feel guilty because she's upset even though I didn't do anything, so it's her fault I feel guilty, so since she made me feel guilty unfairly, I don't have to deal with this!), notice the internal script, and check it. Your feelings of guilt may be completely useless and completely out of proportion to the situation.

If they prevent you from being responsive and accountable, they cause more harm than good. Learn to recognize the difference between internal feelings of guilt or shame, and the external messages you are receiving or reality you are observing. Practice this skill in general in your life to be a more responsive radical; the same skill at working through inherited guilt scripts to become responsive, that makes you a better lover and friend to your exes, also makes you more responsive to the violence of colonization, and other structural violence in which most of us are complicit.

16. If you find yourself disregarding something she is saying because she is upset as she is saying it, notice that this is sexism. You may have been raised to believe emotion is not rational and is therefore not legitimate. That is for you to unlearn, not for you to impose on others. Emotion and intuition, when finely honed, serve clear thinking. Don't retreat into your head or use logic to disconnect from empathy when you find emotions coming your way; clear thinking is informed by ethics and compassion. Build up your capacity to feel and to respond to feelings in a rational, intuitive, self-aware way. You'll be more human for it, and a better feminist, too.

17. Sometimes being wrong is a gift. be grateful for your mistakes and for the interdependence that lets you maintain relationships through them. Feel proud of your strength to be able to say “I messed that up. I’m very sorry. I’d like to not make that mistake again. How do I make things better?” and then to be able to follow through in your actions.

18. The benefits? other than 'integrity' and creating a better world and movement, the personal benefits of walking the walk include deeper friendships with those strong feminist women you find yourself attracted to, after the hooking up ends.

Benefits may also include creating more spaces where kind, gentle, intuitive people - who may be the same people as those strong feminist women you like so much - can be themselves and open up to you.

Practicing consent, which includes the ability to work with emotions during and after a hookup or a relationship ends, creates more shelters, more places from which our movements can heal, ground, and resist from a place of strength. It calls into question received forms of masculinity that shut down parts of men from the time they are young. It is good solidarity. And it just may open your heart.

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nora_samaran (Nora Samaran) 
Montreal, QC
Member since April 2009 
About:Nora Samaran lives in Montreal, where she divides her time between bagel making, donut hole stuffing, and other suggestive and vaguely crass metaphors. She works as a freelance editor and street busker when she is not otherwise engaged in donut making.
 
 
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Comments
This is a guide for everybody, not just for men.

I am a man who has sex with women, and I wish more women would read and follow this guide.

These points in particular:

*Don't* say or act like you are serious about someone, make out with them, and then avoid them. Can I say this clearly enough? If you make out with somebody, you are responsible for checking in to make sure they are ok, not just during, but also after. 

Do not make it their job to ask for a conversation to get you both back to a good place together. It is your job as much as theirs. Do not run away if things get uncomfortable or you start to feel emotions that confuse you.

It's up to both of you to initiate reality check conversations: "what are you expecting after this? what do you think this means? are you ok with this if it's casual? Are you ok with this if it's serious? Do we understand each other properly?"

You can take space to get your head clear so you can listen and know yourself better - but that kind of space is measured in hours, or at most days. If you want 'space' measured in weeks or months, you're not taking space, you're avoiding responsibility.

Most of the women I have been with have not actively taken on these responsibilities.  The behaviours you describe—not checking in, running away, avoiding communication for long periods of time—I've been on the receiving end of all of them.  And it sucks.  There are few experiences as emotionally painful as opening yourself up to intimacy with someone, believing that they might feel what you do, and finding that they won't communicate or even acknowledge that you have feelings to address.

In 10 out of 10 cases, I have been the one to initiate these conversations; the women have not stepped up.  It's scary, believe me.  It's a vulnerable thing to do.  Often it hurts because I don't hear what I want to hear.  But it's the right thing to do.  And everybody should be doing it, not just the men.  "The goal is for you both to feel ok" is a great principle that we should all live by.  I bring it to all my relationships.  If only the women in these relationships had taken ownership of this goal as well!

I love, love, love this paragraph:

If you are a socialist who still believes that we are all individuals who enter voluntarily into relations and can exit them without accountability, notice the contradiction. Human beings are not interchangeable, fungible entities who freely enter into contractual relations; we are interdependent and need each other to live. It is a very privileged position to be able to retreat to your individualism when you have harmed someone, rather than being in relation with them, and staying present for the change as that relation shifts out of a romantic one to something new and long-term you both are comfortable with.

I think many women are socialized to forget that sex can be emotionally vulnerable and sensitive for men too, and simply aren't aware that they should be checking in, communicating, and "staying present for the change" like this.  But they have a responsibility to work to overcome that socialization.  Many women simply need to learn that men have feelings and that, in intimate contexts, they bear some of the responsibility for them, too.  They need to read this guide and learn from it, just as much as men do.

d

d

Hi there!  What happened to

Hi there!  What happened to your comment?  I saw that you had posted an interesting and thoughtful note here, and was thinking about a reply, but it looks like it recently got replaced (perhaps accidentally?) with a "d".

I agree

This is a great article but I feel this can be directed to a much broader group of people and the headline might be detracting that. This advice transcends gender and 'feminist men' or any feminist in general. Maybe it wasn't intended that way, but it's great regardless. I have experienced those behaviours from just about every single female I've hooked up with or briefly dated in the last 5 years. This is about everyone being able to communicate properly with each other in any relationship.

I have consistently initiated all these forms of communication on these topics of interaction, and it's a very big struggle to get anyone I've been involved with to express even the most basic emotions or thoughts about a given situation, a hook up or any emotional/sexual interaction or relationship.

 

From a male perspective, I personally feel that as much as the broader consequences of patriarchy contribute to these modes of behaviour and interaction, the direction and advice has absolutely no gender divide on the issues at hand.

 

It's also a great read to keep ourselves in check, regardless of our gender.

I'm pasting in a comment from

I'm pasting in a comment from later down this thread:

where in a line that says 'respect women' do you see 'disrespect men'? sorry, i just don't see it.

Similarly, the title of this piece is not 'dating tips for feminist men (who all have to learn what women innately know)' or 'dating tips for feminist men (to the exclusion of all other humans)'. It is stuff I want people who date me to know. and i date (or so far have dated) (mostly) straight cisgendered men. And two out of the i dunno maybe ten or fifteen guys I've had encounters with in my adult life have been bad at these skills. And I want more of the people I might date in the future to be better at these kinds of skills, so i don't have to limit my dating pool to only my awesome exes.

I'm happy if people who read it pick it up and make it make sense to them in their intimate relationships of all sorts. That is amazing and I'm learning from the ways people have picked this up and made sense of it in their own ways - and sent letters back telling me things I'm missing, like about how applies to all men, or to all humans as well, etc. in variuos ways. That's awesome. But that awesomeness stops cold at 'women do this just as baaaaaaad so STOP TALKING ABOUT MASCULINITY.' yes. we need to talk about masculinity. Because unquestioned masculinity is still doing specific kinds of harm (to people of all genders), and having milquetoast conversations about 'people in general' instead of about masculinity, or without addressing masculinity specifically, does not get us very far. if you assume my specificity means that I think ONLY men use or can learn or ought to learn these skills, that's simply a misread. But we need to talk about the specific ways these things play out in standard scripts about masculinity.

kapish?

if you agree that 'that kind of naming' is 'a valuable thing to do' - how do we do it without talking about what we're talking about? if we have to talk about EVERYBODY ('don't say 'respect women!' always say 'respect people! allllll people!') then how can we ever focus on the things that need attention?

? new

This response is a rediulous rant. 
Please give us your definition of masculinty.  So that we may know from which stand point you are arguing from.  Masculinity is an ambiguous term.

Notice that by even holding a definition of "what it is to be a man" you have taken a biased and illogical stand point.  You have in your mind a set of characteristics that make up the term masculine.  You again here have applied deductive generalizations out into the real world, where they have no meaning.  What I believe a man should be will not be the same as what you define as what a man should be.  And if we expet all men to be and act the same, then we may as well do as the extreme feminists say and just exterminte 90% of men, abort male fetuses and only keep a healthy stock as sex slaves for reproduction.

If you won't apply a concept universally, then you are a hypocrit. 

Arguing feminist ideology is like sword fighting a fart.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7tFV2Y6Hxk

some responses

just sharing some of the incredible range of responses that've been passed my way from public forums:

 

...more accurately, 'dating tips for the decent human being'

 

...

 

yummy!

 

....

 
One is not born, but rather becomes, a feminist.
Emotions don't fit in boxes. You have to communicate your desires, needs, and emotions; and although you should try to understand them, you never have to justify them. Partner honest self-analysis with open communication. You have to be willing to push the envelope. You have to be willing to grow. Share your time, ideas, and love.  You make a living by what you get, you make a life by what you give.
 
* * *
 
The lack of this foundation is precisely what keeps me out of relationships with straight, cis dudes. I wish I had faith that a tip sheet would help. Can't hurt though
* * *
 
Don't be misled by the title: it isn't just a guide to dating, but to living with vulnerability, emotional expressiveness, honesty and respect, to addressing the impact of patriarchy not only on the lives of others but on your own.
* * *
 
wow!
 
* * *
Don't show this to david gilmour!
* * *
 
This is a solid read. I've definitely fucked up in some of the ways that this author describes. The important thing is to keep trying to be a better feminist and fuller human. I definitely dig the sentiment of being more in touch with your emotions. There's lots of good stuff in here.
* * *
 
These are good tips, and not just for dating.
* * *
 
One of those articles you wish you'd read when you were 17...
 
 
...
 
thank you for this
 
...
 
 
dating tips for everyone!
 
 
...
 
While this article recognizes

While this article recognizes many general problems with relationships and current society, it is written from the point of view of someone who seems extremely frustrated in their own life and relationships (maybe this isn't the case, but thats is how it comes off) or what she sees in others around her, and does not have much application when looked at from the point of view of "there is a problem with men".  

One can see the bias taken by the author in the words used and the point of view described.  In all sentences and paragraphs, men are the subject.  All negative descriptions are of men.  All positive bias's are towards women.  Which all suggest that the author is not a humanist, which is what most feminists actually are, but refuse to call themselves.  In identifying as feminist, you associate yourself with extreme feminists who advocate for eugenic policies against men.  Be a humanist, strive for human freedom from all oppression and stop concentrating on the manufactured divide being driven between men and women through the artificial constructs of society and culture, being driven by large monied intrerests.

This is a cultural and human problem, not a problem with men alone.  The attributes you have described, apply equally to both women and men.  Just as the statistics of domestic violence show that it is equally split between the genders, and the same split in the LGBT community.  

The real problem such an article should be (and is, in its own bias'd way) tackling is the lack of social development and knowledge of how human beings act within any relationship, be it romantic, casual sex, business, family, etc.  Empathy for others and the ability to put oneself in anothers shoes before acting has either been lost or is being muddled by media and lack of moral direction at home.  This was partially the results of the intentional break up of the family, via the usurpation of the suffarage movement by the major tax free foundations in the united states, who were looking to break up the labor movements of the pre-WWI America.  

Men go to war, women must keep economy going so they take the jobs.  Men return, women are (rightly so) attached to their new found freedom and responsibility.  The work force has now doubled, and cut the cost of labor in half.  Now both parents MUST work in order to put food on the table.  What happens to the children?  They are abanonded to be raised by the state school system (which was mostly funded by the same tax free foundations as well as the teachers pension system and has the explicit goal as stated by those who funded it, 'to extend childhood', , strangely enough I found this today http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-24173194), which is an establishment who's authority rests on the threat of violence and the use of force, an altogether illogcical position for a 'representative of the people'.  One might call government humanities greatest superstition.  

Can we wonder, then, why the last 5-6 generations of human beings in the western world have been coming out more and more immoral and less and less empathetic to the individual conditions of other human beings and their welfare.  Welfare, compassion, mutual defence ..... thats the governments job, we dont have to think about that or do anything about it, we've had money stolen from us to take care of that.

The choice, by the author, to connect feminism with 'leftie' or with socialist/communist ideals is baffling, and suggests that the author believes that only collectivists can achieve the mental clarity or logic and reason to approach a relationship properly.  Another glaring bias of this article and the website content generally.  

By placing yourself in an '-ism' state of mind, and using a group mentality to solve individual problems, movements are apt to be usurpted and directed to someone elses political ends.  Two instances of the feminist moment being usurpt and directed are the "Torches of Freedom" campaign by Big Tobacco and Edward Bernays (listen to the man himself describe his motives and actions here, http://www.gnosticmedia.com/the-professional-practice-of-public-relation...), as well as the above mentioned intentional division of the family through war and labor relations.  For insight into this division of labor I highly recommend the two congressional investigations into where the educational system came from and its goals as well as the roles and goals of the foundations in its beginnings, those are the Cox Committe and the Reese Comittee. An interview with the head researcher of the Reese Committee, Norman Dood can be seen here and is very informative.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUYCBfmIcHM

I highly recommend the following interview:
The Ultimate Histoy Lesson: A Weekend With John taylor Gatto

Audio - peacerevolution.org
Video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQiW_l848t8

As well as the work of Karen from
http://owningyourshit.blogspot.ca/
And
http://www.youtube.com/user/girlwriteswhat

And interview can be found here that is very interesting concerning her ideas about the "feminist Fallacy"
http://www.gnosticmedia.com/karen-of-girlwriteswhat-interview-the-femani...

Great reply and points. The

Great reply and points. The perspective and gender divide of the topics should be absent as everyone acts out these fault yhuman behaviours, regardless of gender

Also I highly disagree with this statement:

I highly disagree with the assumptions made in this statement:

"Do you believe in solidarity and mutual aid? Do you also believe we are all individuals who should manage our own problems on our own or with those who choose to freely associate with us? Notice the contradiction in those beliefs. "

Solidarity/Mutual Aid and Individualism are not mutually exclusive and I see no contradictions in holding both ideals as part of a moral stance in life.

If you can defend that statement I'd love to hear it.

My Facebook Intro to this post:

Here's how I introduced this piece when I shared it on Facebook.

"This very eloquent article speaks to and articulates so many of the challenges the all people, not just feminist men, face in trying to have intimate relationships built on honesty, integrity and respect in a sexist society. It offers thoughtful, non-judgemental insight, understanding and kind encouragement around exactly where relationship tangles occur, especially between men and women, and I think would be useful reading for just about anyone. I'm still feeling quite astonished at Nora's ability to put all those pieces together and say it so clearly and without the least bit of blame or edge."

hope

Thank you so much :)

it's generated a lot of hope that this piece has been taken up by so many people - especially folks like you who've received it in the spirit i intended it....  :)

it's opened up a lot of good conversation around home and with friends here as well. so happy to see that spread. 

q's re how to meet/initiate/flirt without being a sexist douche

Hey world,

So, in the shocking and amazing viralness of this post (107 000 pageviews in 4 days? wtf?), I've gotten a whole lot of thoughtful letters. One thread in those responses is from feminist guys who are genuinely trying to figure out how to flirt/initiate/meet/start something with women without playing out patriarchal douche scripts. Is all flirting with women bad? hell no! It's primarily a question of responsiveness and communication skills: no means no, in body or speech, but yes also means yes, and it's not up to you to decide for the other person what they want just because you are trying to counter gender scripts. 

It's a real question. And it's been asked in some thoughtful ways. Have been talking with feminist guys I know who I think do this well, and another column may be brewing. If people have ideas, I'd love to see them here in the discussion thread. 

Have also gotten letters about the applicability of these practices to all men, not just straight monogamous cismen. Several writers have kindly pointed out that, for instance, transmen and gay men benefit from male privilege and patriarchy and share these responsibilities.  And of course poly folks do too! (I learned a lot of this from more poly friends). I'm also super interested in insights on those questions and thank everyone who's written in to challenge me! Those letters have sparked some great discussion over here. 

Thank you to everyone who has shared it on twitter and facebook, discussed it on their walls and in their homes and with lovers and friends, and especially to everyone who has tagged https://www.facebook.com/nora.samaran or followed https://twitter.com/NoraSamaran so the conversations can help me continue to expand my thinking and grow! 

Please continue to retweet and share the link and look for future responses to your questions :)

in gratitude,

Nora

So many great links!

Hey the feminist internetz universe has been revealing up its awesomeness, and I just had to share a few of these:

 

This fantastic and hilarious video by Tae Phoenix http://taephoenix.com/ The Art of Subvertising on FB, or Why You Don't Need to Get Married: 

and this wonderful, wonderful post "Modelling Consent"

http://disruptingdinnerparties.com/2013/09/26/modeling-consent/

 

so glad for things folks are sharing.....

nother great link

and this awesome blog :)

 

http://intersectionelle.net/

 

and this! hilarious and open-hearted and wonderful response: 

http://www.shedoesthecity.com/dating-tips-for-the-feminist-man-is-a-must-read-for-men-and-women

 

I'm loving hearing all the ways folks have made this their own:

http://fourthwave.quora.com/Dating-tips-for-the-feminist-man

 

http://vitaminw.co/culture-society/no-shame-in-emotions-after-casual-sex

 

and allll the debates on this page:

http://groupthink.jezebel.com/alternate-title-dating-tips-for-decent-human-beings-1428100529

(thanks to the poster who noticed the point: that emotions and intuition are perfectly rational, thank you very much, when approached in a rational way. i actually like the language another poster suggested that might help make that point clearer - and might revise the line :)

 

 

and thanks to all these rad sites for reposting!
http://paper.li/tag/feminist

http://suitesculturelles.wordpress.com/2011/02/01/feminist-inventory/

http://womenorgnow.tumblr.com/

http://frozenrevolutionary.tumblr.com/

http://poptortes.tumblr.com/

http://en.wordpress.com/tag/casual-sex/

http://www.pinterest.com/bananaseed/pins/

http://ponylunchbox.tumblr.com/

http://ca.nonviolenceinternational.net/?page_id=21

http://www.solventmagazine.com/oppositionradio/category/progressive-radio/election-fallout/

http://www.angeranddepression.com/ketamine-may-be-quick-effective-treatment-for-untreatable-depression/

http://shesophisticated.tumblr.com/

http://aferg.tumblr.com/

http://poptortes.tumblr.com/post/62757378870/dating-tips-for-the-feminist-man

 

 

:D

nora

hee hee, google says the page even made it onto 4chan, though the link's gone down..... 

 

 

 

 

Hallo,While I hesitate to

Hallo,

While I hesitate to reply to this odd Ad Hominem:

"it is written from the point of view of someone who seems extremely frustrated in their own life and relationships (maybe this isn't the case, but thats is how it comes off) or what she sees in others around her, and does not have much application when looked at from the point of view of "there is a problem with men".  

 

I thought for the sake of perspicacity and respect due certain very caring and wise men in my life, a brief response might be appropriate:

The post was written to a great extent in response to having witnessed these skills in action with several men in my life over the years, all of whom are still friends. I've been lucky to have caring, compassionate, self-aware and responsible partners and I've learned a tremendous amount with and from them. 

I was inspired by experiences with men who are in fact better at this than me, who have taught me things, whether as partners for long or short relationships, or more briefly as lovers and then long-term as wise friends.

While I was building the groundwork for this piece, I was actually in dialogue with several close friends who were once my partners, who helped me think this through. i was also learning from and with guys who are just friends who think about and practice these skills, who shared insights and helped me clarify my thinking. 

My personal rule (and I know this isn't everyone's way)  is not to ever be lovers with someone if we can't be genuine friends afterwards. I've never broken that rule from my end; in my adult lifetime, two others have broken it.  The inspiration for the piece arose as I was thinking of one person who did break that, and his inability to handle his own or my emotions, which admittedly ran very high. I was frustrated with this individual human being who bolted as soon as emotions came into the equation, not because he didn't care, but because he simply could see no other way to respond. 

However, I was also thinking how easy it would have been had this one feminist man had the skills of five or six other men I know who are deeply emotionally aware and skilled, who have taught me things and given me the lived experience of just how well, how heart-opening, and how deep, these loving consensual trust-building connections can go, when both people practice these kinds of responsibilty-taking and honesty.  

I was wishing (in vain, I thought... though 150 000 pageviews has renewed my faith) to share that knowledge, which men in my life are already skilled at and are practicing in an ongoing way, with those who do not have it or who are not yet even willing to entertain the idea that these skills might exist and might be helpful.

So you're hearing frustration - yes - but with masculinity's pressures and distortions, not with 'men' writ large.

I thought it was hopeless, but seeing the ripples this post has created has definitely helped me feel like something very positive has come of some sadness. 

hope that's taken well, as it's intended respectfully. 

Hi new

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Glad you decided to respond. I would have seen your response earlier had you hit 'reply' to my post instead of making your own, eitherway, I'll address your points in the order you presented them.

I will point out that you avoided mentioning or responding to every major point I made and concentrated on this, the least important part of the post i made. 

Also, I'm not meaning to sound angry or aggressive, so please don't take it that way, I'm just very assertive and blunt with my words, and some people take that as offensive. Try not to.

An ad hominem is a general category of fallacies in which a claim or argument is rejected on the basis of some irrelevant fact about the author of or the person presenting the claim or argument (I stress the word IRRELEVANT). The reason why an Ad Hominem (of any kind) is a fallacy is that the character, circumstances, or actions of a person do not (in most cases) have a bearing on the truth or falsity of the claim being made (or the quality of the argument being made).

My statement contained two caveats to indicate that the idea within the statement (about the author) was speculative and should not be taken as fact, until the author confirms (or denies) the assumptions made, which you did by stating:

“The inspiration for the piece arose as I was thinking of one person who did break that, and his inability to handle his own or my emotions, which admittedly ran very high. I was frustrated with this individual human being who bolted as soon as emotions came into the equation, not because he didn't care, but because he simply could see no other way to respond.”

Back to fallacies, given that my statement was speculative in nature and self-evedently so, given that the speculation was not infact irrelevent to the topic being discussed (as experential bias plays into all disagreements), and given that your follow up statement confirmed (if only partially) that my 'ad hominen' as you called it and 'speculation' or 'guess work' as I would call it, was correct, and I can only therefore conclude that ... my statement was in fact NOT an ad hominen. But I'm glad you at least know what that is.

I will say that pointing out logical fallacies isn't exactly the best way to begin a reply to what, from my point of view, was a well thought out, well laid out, informative, thoughtful response to your rantings about the male population and its ills. If you would like to get into pointing out logical fallacies I would be more than happy to run through this article again and dissect it word for word. I'm sure I can find at least as many fallacies as you have points for men on dating.

I am glad that you personally have had mostly, it seems, good experiences with men, but in light of this, I wonder:
- why you use such strong generalizations when talking about men?
- why you address men as group(s) at all, we are all individuals are we not, with individual wants, needs, goals, modes of action, morals, and minds? Notice that I don't try to give you dating advice just because Paris Hilton and Snooki are dirty, rich, whores who use people to whatever ends they can. That wouldn't make any sense, because, I don't know you and you're not Snooki.
- why don't your generalizations include women of the same ilk as the men you are perporting to giving advise to?
- why call apon the gender divide at all, when talking about an issue that doesn't discriminate based on gender?

Your personal rule of not being lovers with someone you can't be genuine friends with after a break down in the physical relationship is logical, yet it is strange rule to hold along side your presented opinion of most men in the dating scene, because you can't really read the future. A man can present himself as someone you might think that about, but you may not like what you find when you get a closer look ... after the fact. This article you wrote is about dating, also known as the art of courting a woman (which is what males have been doing since the beginning of time), but is partially about lying and false representation. However, it's presented as if women don't wear make up or pushup bras, which is representing something that doesn't exist, so its a lie, its false advertising.

If your assumptions about men are true, that we are for the most part players, ie. liars, that are not in touch with our emotional selves and therefore cant' possible understand or act responsibly in a relationship, how can you ever get in any relationship ever again? Some psycho/socio-path might be pretending to be a 'straight monogamous cismale feminist' (as if the rules of relationships and communication were different for different gender identities) and reveal themselves down the road to be something else entirely (or decided they aren't a feminist man, probably when they realize what feminism actually means).

False representation happen all the time on both sides, and especially to those who have been financially successful in life. There are many men (as an example) living in hell, because a woman presented herself as something she wasn't, then got pregnant (honestly or through trickery), intentionally makes life a living hell and then proceeds to collect alimony for decades while taking over the family home, car, etc, etc, and also gets custody of children, due to the sexist laws in place that favor women in consentual relationships. All I'm saying is that men can make the same shallow accusations against women, should we choose to use generalizations in the same manor that you have in this article (except we don't have the coersion of government on our side), with the caveat, of course (sarcasm alert), that 'straight monogamous cisfemale masculinists' are exempt because they understand men and the kinds of relationships men want.

The relationship skills you have detailed (rightly or wrongly) in this article are not tips that need to be applied to men, they are life skills that nearly every human being in the western world has been denied from learning due to being locked in a social engineering experiment known as the public schooling system. The definition of an unhealthy relationship is the relationship between governement and individuals. School is the prime example, there is no voluntary relationship in a school. For 15000 hours, that takes up 13 years of our life, we are locked in a box where we are forced to associate, conditioned to accept; that we have no control over our lives; that we have no freedom; that truth is what strong/smart people say it is; that obedience to authority (nationalism) is the highest of virtues; and that we have no privacy. We are taught class position, confusion, indifference, emotional dependancy, intellectual dependency, provisional self esteem and that one can't hide. So is there any wonder, then, why young adults come out of high school totally frustrated? Aggressive? Incoherent? Lacking empathy? Any wonder, then, why you see a domestic violence split of 50/50 whether we look at straight or LGBQ relationships?

My impression is that you are an intelligent person that has recognized an ill in society, but have not been able to pinpoint its root cause. You see the poor ability of human beings to relate to one another in a changing and propagandized world where, whether you want to see it or not, we have all been manipulated and partially engineered to react in similar fashions to stressful stimuli. Regardless of your point of view, there is always an '-ism' to catch you and point the finger at an faceless generalized oppressor, in the feminist case, men. I suggest you look more closely at what has taken place over the last 200 years, especially regarding schooling and governance, because they are at the heart of the relationship ills you see in the world.

I also want to address another issue that I see as driving a wall between men and women, and that is this idea of Patriarchy as pure evil and always has been. People who use Patriarchy as a dirty word, only show that they are uninformed of, ignoring or openly distorting history. Partiarchy as you've termed it (LETS SMASH IT, YEAH), developed in a time and place where society at large, recognized the value of women and decided to protect them from an extremely violent human and natural environment that existed outside the home. Women are the gender naturally given the ability to have children and as such were (bio-)logically the appropriate choice to be the ones segregated (for lack of a better word) from the environment at large in order to help ensure the healthiest possible offspring. Men went out into the dangers of the world to hunt, work, fight, and generally provide, with his physical person, all that he could in order to keep a healthy family alive.

Where this ideology, if you can even call it that, went astray was when men began to be held legally responsable for all the actions of their wives. If your wife committed a crime, the husband was held responsible. Thus began the division of the family unit and the hypocracy of feminism. This also began the epidemic of domestic violence, because if you are being held responsible for someone elses actions and yet have no control over them, you have no recourse but physical violence in the extreme cases. Illogically, domestic violence, whether performed on a woman or by a woman was punished on the man, who was the only 'person' in the relationship, therefore the only responsible party for the dependent in his care (not that I agree with those terms I just used, but in the context of the day they are legally correct). I suggest you find a new slogan other then lets destroy a system that was designed around and based solely on the value that men placed in the health of women. Maybe you might even want to return to a modified form of what it originally ment.

All I got from that was

All I got from that was "Share the Load"

 DATING TIPS FOR EVERYONE

 DATING TIPS FOR EVERYONE

>>a rendition of "dating tips for feminist men" sans the heteronormative assumptions [because we are ALL entitled to an education on radical communication and consent not just the straight cis males]<<

This is not the 1950s; if you’re committed to social justice but you are still marching along using ‘the rules’http://therulesbook.com/ to govern dating, it’s time to consider the connection between your politics and your personal life. Social justice is intersectional; we can't just fix our economic relationships without fixing our personal and cultural ones. 

So identifying as feminist or a radical or simply trying to communicate better is a tricky line to walk. Keep in mind that you'll get kudos just for taking on the challenge as your own; it may even help you gain trust extra-quickly with people you are dating.

Want to be worthy of that trust? Practice your consent skills. Here's how, in a tidy list. 

You're a radical communicator, or you want to be, ,and you want to hook up with or date another radical? OK. You should both read this!

Here's the deal:

1. learn to RECOGNIZE your own emotions. Consent requires honesty, and you can't speak honestly about your intentions unless you know what they are.

2. BE PREPARED. Just as we teach high-schoolers that ‘if you're not ready for the possible outcomes of babies and diseases, you're not ready for sex,’ the same is true of emotions. Sex brings up emotion. That is just the reality of choosing to engage in sexual relationships. If you're not ready to work with the emotion to make sure everyone is okay afterwards, then you're not ready for the sex.

If you're the kind of person who avoids your own or other people's emotions, then you're not going to be able to have good consent conversations until you get more comfortable with your own and other people's emotions. Sign up for a consent skills workshop, or several. Read books on consent and on radical conflict resolution skills. Recognize that you agreed to or initiated a romantic relationship, however short or long-lived, and so you are responsible to the other person in that relationship as well as to yourself. Nobody put a gun to your head and made you make out with this person, so own your choices and their effects. People need different things after a hookup; know your own needs and be responsive to the needs of the other person.

*Don't* say or act like you are serious about someone, make out with them, and then avoid them. Can I say this clearly enough? If you make out with somebody, you are responsible for checking in to make sure they are ok, not just during, but also after. Discuss casual sex as casual sex, and ambiguous sex as ambiguous sex. If your initial connection seemed serious but things don’t work out the way you hoped, do the work to end on good terms with this person. You may have to have some emotions-talk first to get to a good place and clear up any miscommunications or accidental harm you caused; if so, you're responsible not only for grudgingly going along, but for actively initiating and holding space for that conversation. Do not make it their job to ask for a conversation to get you both back to a good place together. It is your job as much as theirs. Do not run away if things get uncomfortable or you start to feel emotions that confuse you. If you need space to calm down, pick a specific near-future time in which you will come back fully present and taking a proactive role in getting back to a good place. If you are in a conflict with this person due to tangled emotions, pick a process and, if you need it, a friend to help. Remember the goal is for you both to feel ok about things, not for one of you to win and one of you to lose. If you’re uncomfortable with process, work on that instead of making it their problem.

3. TALK FIRST -actively invite conversations before, during, and after a hookup to check if you are on the same page and have similar ideas about what it all means. Oxytocin's a powerful drug; when you're hooking up and having those heady feelings, you're both vulnerable to misreading, or seeing what you want to see. It's up to both of you to initiate reality check conversations: "what are you expecting after this? what do you think this means? are you ok with this if it's casual? Are you ok with this if it's serious? Do we understand each other properly?" Those conversations are not a one-time thing, just as you can't get one-time consent to touch somebody. Consent is continuous and has to be established through ongoing checkins. If you want to be a good male ally, get comfortable with changing emotions - yours and the other person's, and good at talking about them as they change. Life is messy; we have to be able to move with changes as they happen. This comfort is necessary in order to be honest with the other person, and to create shared expectations so no one ends up feeling used or played.

4. BE HONEST. BE CANDID. if you don't know how you feel, or you're not sure, or you have conflicting or ambiguous or confused emotions, say that. Say "I'm not sure what this means. Do you want to continue even if I don't know where we're going?" Do not tell the other person what you think they want to hear - you do not know what they want to hear. Do not say the thing that is easy for you to say, or oversimplify in order to keep them happy (and making out with you) in the moment. This kind of fuzzy communication can end up being dishonest communication.

It is ok to not know how you feel for a time, as long as you are committed to figuring out how you feel as soon as you can, and honest about your uncertainty in the meantime, so the other can make informed consent decisions.

Do not tell someone you're serious about them or planning to follow up with them romantically if you're actually not sure. For example: do not promise to date them again or say you will spend romantically-oriented time together again if you're not sure whether you will. Casual sex needs to be discussed as casual so both people involved can feel respected and cared for.

If your feelings change, simply name the change. If you were interested in a possible partnership or in an ongoing relationship, and then aren’t or are less sure, and you feel bad about that, do not avoid saying so to make your life easier. Just name the emotion and be available and present to the changes in the other. Try things like this: “I felt this way when I said and did that, but things have changed, and this is how I feel now. This is why and when they changed. I feel bad that I let you down or inadvertently misled you. Are you ok, and what do you need?”

5. CALL IT OUT Don't mix up acting 'nice' with being a genuinely good person. Kindness and treating people well are valuable, but politeness can be violent if it masks normalized oppression. Naming oppression, even when done gently, is not always perceived as being 'nice' because it pushes back at status quo ways of relating, seeing, and thinking.

When naming oppression happens as a response to naturalized harm, the anger you're hearing is a response to actual harm that you may have enacted while thinking you were being 'nice.' So before you decide that you don't have to listen because someone is breaking politeness protocols, consider whose interests those protocols protect. Don't mix up your internal defensiveness, which can arise at having your real privilege pointed out, with the external message you are receiving. Is there trust being offered to you behind anger or critique - trust that you're the kind of person who is open to growth and change? Notice that trust, and earn it.

 

6. TRUST. Lest you be thinking "but sex should be fun! All this how-are-you-feeling-talk would be suuuuch a mood-killer!": just like conversations about condoms, consent can be sexy. It's all about how. Cuz guess what? Trust is hot.

Lest you be thinking "talking about how I feel is embarrassing": Don't worry; that's normal. The toughest guys, the most sensitive ladies, and the queerest of the queer feel shy and we all need to develop the skills to overcome this fear. Emotions are not male or female and we'll all have them. Embracing those feelings as a part of our process, being honest and receptive to our partners emotions can be both powerful and empowering. Emotional energy can be deeply protective and powerful when it is accountable in these ways, where emotions are present to heal, protect, and create shelter. Knowing how to recognize and honour your own needs at the same time as those of a lover, or former lover, has got its own energy. It lets you love from a deeply grounded place. People can feel that. And fuck is it sexy.

Knowing the person you're hooking up with has the skills and capacity (not just the intention) to stick around afterwards to make sure you're both ok, that both your dignities and your capacity to get along will survive the hookup - or the relationship - after it ends makes for much, much better sex. And maintaining trust post-hookup builds stronger movements, because the physical and emotional intimacy shared creates a permanent bond, instead of a permanent rift.

7. BE PROACTIVE -Actively taking on the identity of a feminist radical communicator means you are equally responsible to do your own research and actively notice these things. Help your friends of all genders see them. Realize this is your responsibility. If you miss something, you don't do the work yourself, and someone has to approach you with a way in which they feel you've been sexist or clueless, don't make them convince you. Stretch yourself. They've done enough work in figuring it out, extracting the internalized programming that tells them your sexist behavior is totally normal and that they're just crazy, and then offering you the gift of their honesty. At the very least the have recognized some part of our shared inculturation and trust you enough to share it with you. That shit is not easy when you’ve just been harmed or hindered by behavior normalized through dominant scripts. If someone has bothered to share this with you after they manage to figure it out? The likelihood is that they hope you'll hear them - even if they sound defensive, scared, sad, angry, or otherwise upset when they bring this to you. Instead of challenging them to logic battles or insisting that they provide evidence, kindly recognize just how hard it is to understand and name harm one has experienced. Assume there's some truth to what they're saying, and take on the role of helping them articulate it better if it's wordless or fuzzy at first. Honor the gift by listening and asking questions, and taking it upon yourself to educate yourself.

8. DON'T RUN- Notice if your tendency when called out is to bolt. Notice if your tendency when you bolt is to turn to a reaffirming other friend and ask them to reassure you that you're really not sexist. If your friend feels loyal to you, they'll want to support you and they may see things your way, but they aren't the one who experienced the problematic behavior, so they're not the one you should be listening to. A friend who is not the person you dated may not know how you behaved in that dating context, and so may not be the best one to tell you whether you've actually acted like an unconscious douche. The nature of structural forms of oppression like sexism is also such that we all internalize the normalcy of oppressive behavior; discomfort with conflict or a desire to be the 'good' member of that group, or simply to be on your side because they are your friend, can also come into play. Be wary of your desire to just seek proof of your goodness, rather than actually being a good person by being open to learning about ways you can be a better ally. If you notice you want to retreat to women who praise you, take time to check that response to find out what you can learn from the people who trust you enough to tell you where you have blind spots.

9. BE REAL Give up on trying to be perfect. It just gets in the way. Get used to process. You fuck up, you learn, you grow. If you want right relationships with other human beings in our shared spaces and communities, show that you walk the walk by being big about admitting mistakes quickly and rolling with them. Make amends, make it better in your actions as well as your words. That honours the trust people have given you.

10. SHARE the load. Consider it your responsibility to be continually self-reflexive about your actions and their effects. Don't wait to be taught, because that puts multiple burdens on the other: to understand and name the harm that’s affecting them, and to take the risk to talk to you about it, and to find language to articulate it in a way you’ll hear. Those things all take a lot of energy and are not easy. So if someone you're dating gets angry at you and has a hard time articulating why, check your defensiveness and listen. If you want to be a feminist, you are going to have to challenge yourself to invite having things you do, that you don't notice, pointed out, without withdrawing or attacking or putting the burden of proof on your partner. Don't try to defend yourself and say you're 'not wrong.' One of the features of oppression is that it creates silence. Articulating what has happened to you is particularly difficult when you've born the brunt of oppression, particularly if you were raised to believe it is normal. So it is hard enough for someone experiencing the impact of your actions to figure out how to name them; if you want to be a feminist or a radical that is your job, not just theirs.

 

11. BE SKEPTICAL. Question the assumed values you may have inherited from capitalist forebears, and put them to the test of your belief in mutuality. If you are a socialist who still believes that we are all individuals who enter voluntarily into relations and can exit them without accountability, notice the contradiction. Human beings are not interchangeable, fungible entities who freely enter into contractual relations; we are interdependent and need each other to live. It is a very privileged position to be able to retreat to your individualism when you have harmed someone, rather than being in relation with them, and staying present for the change as that relation shifts out of a romantic one to something new and long-term you both are comfortable with. Your theory and your lived daily practice will line up if you notice this contradiction.

12. BE ACCOUNTABLE Which leads to the next point: if you cause harm, even by accident, and someone calls you on it, and you believe we are all mutually interdependent, 'i need space' is not an acceptable response. You can take space to get your head clear so you can listen and know yourself better - but that kind of space is measured in hours, or at most days. If you want 'space' measured in weeks or months, you're not taking space, you're avoiding responsibility.

Get used to being uncomfortable and learning to have loving, clear, and interconnected boundaries that honour your internal voices as well as the needs of the other humans you share this planet and this community with – that is where learning happens. So when the zombies or the bankers come for us, we won't have to waste energy fighting each other.

13. PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE OUR MOUTH IS. Saying 'sorry' only means something if your behaviour changes. On its own it does not remedy the situation. 'sorry' has to come with responsiveness.

14. WEATHER THE STORM Similarly, don't threaten to leave if emotions are running high. Those kinds of threats just exacerbate the situation. If you can calm your own knee-jerk tendency to avoid, and offer a grounded listening presence instead that honors your own emotions and those of the other person, you'll find that foundation reduces the intensity of the emotions coming at you quite a lot. remember that you care about each other, and/or that you're both humans sharing this planet, and that we need each other to survive. connect your daily life and daily relationship practices with your beliefs in social justice, mutual aid, anticapitalism, marxism, etc. When the zombie apocalypse comes (or we bring it about?) we will need skills for getting along with each other and being able to work together even after we hook up. Start practicing now.

15. STAY GROUNDED If you find you are paralyzed with feelings of guilt and resentment notice the internal script, and check it. Your feelings of guilt may be completely useless and completely out of proportion to the situation. (sample script: “I feel guilty, but I shouldn't feel this guilty because i didn't do anything, well maybe i did something small, but it's not worth feeling this guilty, and I feel guilty because the are upset even though I didn't do anything, so it's their fault I feel guilty, so since she made me feel guilty unfairly, I don't have to deal with this!),

If they prevent you from being responsive and accountable, they cause more harm than good. Learn to recognize the difference between internal feelings of guilt or shame, and the external messages you are receiving or reality you are observing. Practice this skill in general in your life to be a more responsive radical; the same skill at working through inherited guilt scripts to become responsive, that makes you a better lover and friend to your ex's, also makes you more responsive to the violence of colonization, and other structural violence in which most of us are complicit.

 

 16. THINK, FEEL, LISTEN.  If you find yourself disregarding something your partner is saying because they are upset as they are saying it, this is bad communication. You may have been raised to believe emotion is not rational and is therefore not legitimate. That is for you to unlearn, not for you to impose on others. Emotion and intuition, when finely honed, serve clear thinking. Don't retreat into your head or use logic to disconnect from empathy when you find emotions coming your way; clear thinking is informed by ethics and compassion. Build up your capacity to feel and to respond to feelings in a rational, intuitive, self-aware way. You'll be more human for it, and a better feminist, too.

*16.5 BE HEALTHY When is enough, enough? Learn to recognize emotional manipulation and abuse and when to take a break from arguing. Other peoples feelings are still their responsibility even after you've stirred them a bit. You have a responsibility to recognize and acknowledge your partners feelings and hopefully an inclination to share the skills of exploring and embracing the emotional process but it is not your sole responsibility to open all the doors as well as carry all them bags. Share the responsibility of having a radical relationship and the implications that come with it. Sometimes a common agreement is not easily discovered. Take a breather and if resolution is not found in timely fashion consider a radical councilor to bring more skills to the struggle. *[paragragh 16.5 is not from the article '..tips for feminist men']

17.BE WRONG- Sometimes being wrong is a gift. be grateful for your mistakes and for the interdependence that lets you maintain relationships through them. Feel proud of your strength to be able to say “I messed that up. I’m very sorry. I’d like to not make that mistake again. How do I make things better?” and then to be able to follow through in your actions.

18. ENJOY -The benefits? other than 'integrity' and creating a better world and movement, the personal benefits of walking the walk include deeper friendships with those strong feminist women you find yourself attracted to, after the hooking up ends.

Benefits may also include creating more spaces where kind, gentle, intuitive people - who may be the same people as those strong people you like so much - can be themselves and open up to you.

Practicing consent, which includes the ability to work with emotions during and after a hookup or a relationship ends, creates more shelters, more places from which our movements can heal, ground, and resist from a place of strength. Radical Communication calls into question perceived normative roles that shut down the dialogue from time to time. It is good solidarity. And it just may open your heart.

__________________________________________________________________________________

This feminism radical communication intersectionality discussion is not something that only straight cis males need to work on. The very notion that straight women are endowed with innate communication abilities not necessitating this education or that they have made more progress in 'figuring it out, extracting the internalized programming' is fallacious. I hope my edits reflect this well.
__________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Bravo!

Bravo!  Thank you Nora and thank you Will!

agreed and thanks !

Hey,

Read this and love it. You nailed some things that I hoped were implicit in the piece, but better. thanks so much Will!

thoughts on gender scripts

hullo again

thinking about this some more on my walk today. 

 

The very notion that straight women are endowed with innate communication abilities not necessitating this education or that they have made more progress in 'figuring it out, extracting the internalized programming' is fallacious. 

 

I'm curious if you read the piece as saying that 'women are endowed with innate communication abilities not necessitating this education' etc.? I don't actually see that in the piece, as I don't believe that, but I'm curious where you see it in the piece itself (i.e. maybe it's there, and I just don't see it). 

I have to admit that I wrote this piece to think through a specific set of relationships I was trying to make sense of. I really expected five of my closest friends to read it, and had no idea it would strike such a chord (which it clearly has: 20 thousand fb shares and over 100 000 pageviews - and counting - in five days!). Since I wrote it mainly for me, I wrote it about my own experience, which is as a straight ciswoman (though admittedly with some genderbendy traits?) who has primarily been attracted to and partners with cisguys of various sorts, not as a rule, but certainly thus far as a pattern. There are also women in my life who don't practice these things, and there are men who have more of this wisdom than I do, who teach me and remind me of things when I forget them. 
 
That said: I'm curious what you think about the ways gendered scripts play out in straight-world dating/flirting/hooking up. they play out in all kinds of complicated ways in queer-world dating (this is the subject of a coming-soon column written in collaboration with queer friends and in response to many smart letters that came my way). but don't they play out in specific ways for people flirting across the Big Gender Divide? 
 
I'm open to being challenged on this - but it seems possible to me that queer folks aren't navigating quite as much as cis het folks in rigid walls about who pursues whom, who protects themselves from being played and who gets points for successful conquests.... I think we all have to practice these skills, but I think we're under different kinds of pressure to play out roles in different ways. people gendered as male have more work to do to undo the training: training to conquest, to cut themselves off from their emotional worlds, and to make all the decisions. So I think everyone would be happier with these skills, and certainly leftie movements are stronger when people can practice these skills. I don't think queer folks and particularly transguys are exempt in some way. but beyond 'we all have to practice these things' is the reality that men (including yes, the men I date and all men, transmen included) are pressured to think and act in certain ways and they are less pressured to do this kind of emotional work - in fact they may be penalized for it. So it takes some serious fucking bravery to reinvent masculinity.
 
Fundamentally the differences matter: I don't think guys who want to flirt with women partly by advertising their 'feminist' identity have the right to chase by saying things like 'I'm a feminist' without actually being willing to question their actions... (or, as in the sitch that inspired this post, saying 'I'm a feminist' and also saying things like: 'I'm really serious about you,' 'I'm going to be consistent and honest,' 'I want to spend two months trying out living with you' ;P) and then bolting abruptly and saying 'i thought you knew i wanted to just be friends who hook up' when the emotions get less clear.
 
ie they don't have the right to engage in dishonest conquest behaviour, even if the dishonesty is caused by an unwillingness to examine their own needs, desires, emotions. Casual sex needs to be discussed as casual, and ambiguous sex as ambiguous, and then they're fine cuz everybody can make their own decisions.
 
If called out on that bad consent communication I don't think 'feminist' guys have the right to continue using the term, if their response is to say 'oh now I don't want to talk to you any more because you said I'm sexist, how could I be sexist, I'm a feminist/all my friends are women' ;P - and I *do* think cisguys are more likely to act in this way, because we live in social scripts that support this kind of action and discourage more careful communication. It's different, I think, from less hetero gendered hooking up? But really open to hearing otherwise. Is queer dating governed by these scripts in these same (or similar) ways? How does 'these skills are good for everybody' (which I agree with) land on the ground of existing conquest and patriarchal narratives about how we're all 'supposed' to behave?
 
Granted the ideas apply to way more scenarios than the specific sitch that inspired it - which is why the letters and thoughts people have been sending in are super useful. I've had lots of good challenges and expanding-thoughts discussions in the past week!
 
 
The problem with feminist men is that they feel guilty

This article dwells exclusively on the negative side of masculinity. 
Also, I take issue with some of the points, such as point 7 which includes.. "Realize this is your responsibility. If you miss something, you don't do the work yourself, and someone has to approach you with a way in which they feel you've been sexist or clueless, don't make them convince you. " I disagree with this statement. Yes, guys. listen to your partner and seek to understand them and be empathetic, but stand up for your own experiences and make sure that you are understood as well. 

The write of this article appears to me to assume that there is a "right" and "wrong" way of behaving, but who is to judge this? Also I think the writers use of labels such as "unconscious douche" perpetuate judgmental and violent language. 

I think most feminist hetero men need to focus on the positive side of their masculinity, drop the guilt, do some pushups, and follow there dreams and desires. This will help them know themselves in relationship with women.
 

Hetero Guys, I say skip this article and go read David Deida.

all feminist men?

hey friend,

I'm not sure that allll feminist men feel guilty, or more to the point, that they all handle feelings of guilt the same way (by assuming someone else is necessarily making them feel guilty, rather than just noticing the emotion itself and the scripts it runs, and the actions in themselves it generates?). The piece specifically says to get over the guilt and move to responsiveness and honest self-reflection instead, and I think that's a big part of the work. interesting that your response is to say 'don't even bother thinking about this.' ;P

It also specifically says 'know your own needs and honour them, and know the needs of the other and honour them.' If you believe those two things can't happen together, then I respectfully submit that this piece is for you, and ask you to think about it again, cuz right now you may be arguing with somebody else who isn't in the room, not with this piece. ;)

 

be well,

n

 

 

Great piece

just want to share another relevant piece that a friend resent me, that went around a while back:

 

http://bookishboi.tumblr.com/post/26099278113/i-dont-give-a-fuck-about-how-you-fuck-or-your-hot

Respect is for everyone

Thanks for the pointer, Nora.

I'm sorry, but goodness me, what is it with the casual acceptance of heterosexism and disregard for non-female-identified people in this community?  There is a lot of good advice in that piece, but the opening line:

"You center respect and love for women and femmes in how you do relationships"?

No.  You center respect and love for everyone in your relationships.  If your relationships center respect and love for only certain categories of gender identity/expression and marginalize the rest, they will not work.

Don't you find it as strange as I do that progressives can write recommendations as one-sided as these without batting an eye, and that they are so broadly accepted without challenge?  I thought we were making progress moving beyond the gender binary and heterosexist assumptions about relationship roles.  Posts like deepfriedcoconutbutter's (and bookishboi's endorsement of it, and yours) make me think we have a lot of work to do.  (deepfriedcoconutbutter or bookishboi, if you are reading this, please engage with me; we need to move forward on this together.)

playing field

Hi,

briefly: we aren't playing on an even playing field. so we have to be able to name existing power dynamics that current arrangements want to hide (except for the people feeling the daily brunt of them, they can't be hidden except by silencing). that is why naming the behaviour of people with more kinds of power isn't 'perpetuating' the problem. kapish? if you don't agree, ask yourself what daily kinds of harm you experience in your social role in the world. and what kinds are experienced by the people around you. this isn't exactly original, but 'one of the benefits of privilege is not having to notice'.... 

repeating old adages - edly yours,

n

Respect is for everyone

Oh, I agree it's not an even playing field.  That's not my claim; of course there are existing power dynamics and forms of oppression under which we all live, and calling them out is a valuable thing to do.  That kind of naming, as you call it, is not what I'm pointing at here.

What I'm pointing at is the explicit hierarchy of gender in the line I quoted, the idea that certain categories of gender are more deserving of love and respect than others in relationships.  That does not work.  And the erasure of relationships in which neither party identifies as a woman or femme.  That also does not work.

Simply put, there needs to be a generous helping of love and respect for everyone involved, and declarations that categorically limit who is entitled to it don't help us.  Can we agree on that?

Thanks for taking the time to thoughtfully discuss this with me!

-

-

why masculinity

"Oh, I agree it's not an even playing field.  That's not my claim; of course there are existing power dynamics and forms of oppression under which we all live, and calling them out is a valuable thing to do.  That kind of naming, as you call it, is not what I'm pointing at here. What I'm pointing at is the explicit hierarchy of gender in the line I quoted, the idea that certain categories of gender are more deserving of love and respect than others in relationships."

 

where in a line that says 'respect women' do you see 'disrespect men'? sorry, i just don't see it. 

 

Similarly, the title of this piece is not 'dating tips for feminist men (who all have to learn what women innately know)' or 'dating tips for feminist men (to the exclusion of all other humans)'. It is stuff I want people who date me to know. and i date (or so far have dated) straight cisgendered men. And two out of the i dunno maybe ten or fifteen guys I've had encounters with in my adult life have been bad at these skills. And I want more of the people I might date in the future to be better at these kinds of skills, so i don't have to limit my dating pool to only my awesome exes

 

I'm happy if people who read it pick it up and make it make sense to them in their intimate relationships of all sorts. That is amazing and I'm learning from the ways people have picked this up and made sense of it in their own ways - and sent letters back telling me things I'm missing, like about how applies to all men, or to all humans as well, etc. in variuos ways. That awesome. But that awesomeness stop cold at 'women do this just as baaaaaaad so STOP TALKING ABOUT MASCULINITY.' yes. we need to talk about masculinity. Because unquestioned masculinity is still doing specific kinds of harm (to people of all genders), and having milquetoast conversations about 'people in general' instead of about masculinity, or without addressing masculinity specifically, does not get us very far. if you assume my specificity means that I think ONLY men use or can learn or ought to learn these skills, that's simply a misread. But we need to talk about the specific ways these things play out in standard scripts about masculinity. 

 

kapish?

 

 

 if you agree that 'that kind of naming' is 'a valuable thing to do' - how do we do it without talking about what we're talking about? if we have to talk about EVERYBODY ('don't say 'respect women!' always say 'respect people! allllll people!') then how can we ever focus on the things that need attention?

 

 

Focusing on what needs attention

Hmm, that's true. You're clearly right that we have to be able to identify specific harms, inflicted by specific people on specific others. To place that off-limits would be silly.

I do still have concerned feelings related to what I've written above, but I haven't fully reconciled my feelings with the logic of this clearly right statement. So, let me take a moment to think about why I feel this way and see if I can articulate it better. Thanks!

A late reply

Do you think these are all gendered, specifically masculine behaviours?  I don't.

nope, i don't. did i say that?  

 

 

 

 

 

the Learning Channel and other fun places this page has gone

ok. so this just gets more and more fun. 

 

The Learning Channel!   

http://blogs.discovery.com/tlc-new-now/2013/10/what-guys-should-know-about-feminism.html

 

and some other wonderful reflections and responses:

http://lachristagreco.com/lachrista-greco-1/so-you-think-youre-a-feminist-man/10/2/2013  (I loved this! thank you!)

 

which also went up here https://www.facebook.com/guerrillafeminism/posts/542020542535245

about here http://guerrillafeminism.tumblr.com/

also a wonderful site that I'm happy to find. :)

 

ooh and here! Geek Feminism Blog! which made me happy and I'll check again - a good resource: http://geekfeminism.org/

 

the learning channel sorta takes the cake for surprises. and, well. they sorta wrote a different article for half of it (you don't always have to take out the garbage! woot ;P hahaha). but stil fun. :D

 

 

 

 

 

dating tips

Well I'm just being curious about this. Is there a hidden secret to breaking the ice in the dating sphere? I've read an article saying or giving advice to those who have self-confidence and a good sense of what constitutes sexual harassment, not necessarily. So before you plunk down money for that dating self-help book, learn how to speak with a woman without seeming like a creepy stalker with a Gomez shrine in your parents' basement. Make the obvious small changes yourself, depending upon your sexual preference. Resource for this article: why now don't you visit https://personalmoneynetwork.com/cash-advance?

Next column!

Hey! Haha thanks for that letter - we've had a few people ask that very same question, so it's the topic of the next column: how to initiate with women without being a sexist douche :)

Dating

hey your blog is cool. I read a few posts and I liked them. There is a very interesting site about this. Here’s the link <a href="http://www.angelreturn.com">http://www.angelreturn.com</a>
Looking forward to your next post!
Elena

addressing people responding who aren't feminist men

hi to the world at large,

I'd like to write one (1) post to address the rather nasty comments (snooki is a whore? feminism is a fart? where, exactly do statements like that leave this conversation?) that have, of course, sprung up in the comments section. 

this post was written to talk to feminist men. men who identify as feminists. that is the intended audience for the post. that means men who value learning about male privilege and patriarchy and how they impact all of us in our daily lives, and men who wish to be better allies to women and variously gendered folks in their lives. 

if you're not a feminist man, i don't actually think we have enough foundation to be discussing the post. So I can't stop you from writing sexist crap in this comments thread, but I'm also not interested in addressing the sexist crap you wish to spread about. I think, in fact, that if you are at all interested in these things, you might pick up the item about Doing the Work and Sharing The Load. I'm not interested in sharing any of my vital life force Convincing You That Patriarchy Exists and Affects All of Us Despite our Best Intentions. That's a given. if you don't see it, that's your call. You don't come off as particularly thoughtful when you go ahead and write sexist crap on a page about feminism (you come off looking like, frankly, a lonely bored schmuck who wants someone to absorb some of their anger at the world and uses the anonymity of the internet to spread their misery), but it takes all kinds. 

thanks :)

nora

Is it possible to be a feminist and an asshole?

Maybe I'm new to online feminist discourse, but this blog post appears to have a lot of responses from well-meaning male feminists doing their best to nitpick with the entry's point. I expect that is because the post is written rather aggressively in the imperative verb tense ("Do this", "Don't do this"), and so said male feminsists feel targeted enough to get on the defensive and levy any crticism they can think of against the piece.

Well good. It probably got this article more views, shares, and discussions. That is one of the goals of journalism and art, so sometimes there is value in being aggressive so as to get under someone's skin.

Which brings me to my question (nitpicking at the main point): can't a person be both a feminist and an asshole? An equal-opportunity asshole, if you will?

This article contains good advice, articulated amazingly well, much of which I have experienced the truesism behind in my own relationships. I have in fact bookmarked this link to return to it and remind myself once in a while of the insightful and informed way some of this advice has been worded.

My nitpick, however, is that this advice, largely about being sensitive, empathetic, and proativcely so, isn't just for feminists but everyone wanting stronger relationships, and I would argue in my own advice column (if I had one) that there are advantages to _sometimes_ being both a feminist and an asshole.

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