I’m the guy who submitted these pictures to whoneedsfeminism.org. I thought I’d take a few shots that represented my experience of feminism over the years, submit them, and be done with it.
I wasn’t exactly expecting 188 (last I checked) re-posts, comments, etc. It seems I may have struck some nerves.
I wish I could say that I was surprised by some of the NAWALT/NAFALT comments, but I’m not. While I agree that a lot of feminists probably aren’t “like that,” their continued silence and tolerance of the extremist factions within their midst –to me- reeks of ignorance at best, and complicity at worst.
If you are not like that, please consider doing something about those who are like that. They are more vocal than you. You are losing control of your own movement, if you haven’t lost control of it already. Read Christina Hoff Sommers. Read Daphne Patai. The extremists in your movement are causing real pain to real people.
Some people responded to my pictures that suggested that feminists “could not have possibly” said or done the things that I claim, or that the people who did were not “real” feminists.
I assure you they did and they were.
So, for those out there who have chosen to ignore or discount what I have said, because it does not fit the mold of what your ideology tells you, I would like to provide some additional background.
Feel free to continue to claim that it was really “the patriarchy” (whatever that is) that really did this to me. I honestly don’t care. But if what I say can make someone reconsider, even for a moment, then I’ve succeeded in helping us all act like human beings towards each other once again
I needed feminism to teach me that my Borderline Personality Disordered Ex driving me to the brink of suicide was MY fault. I was involved with a woman who was an undiagnosed Borderline. Over the course of a year, she pushed me to this point. I almost stepped in front of a train. Let me repeat that. I almost stepped in front of a train. At the time, I was completing a graduate program at a university that was demographically 80% women, 20% men. That includes faculty and staff ratios, as well.
The university also sponsored many discriminatory events, and workshops that men were specifically not allowed to attend. We were belittled in classes, where we were told that we our “male ways of thinking” were obsolete, and something that needed to be overcome. These “ways of thinking” were responsible for all of the ills in the world. Additionally, as a white heterosexual male, I needed to be more attuned to my inner feminine, and “be a better man” by listening to my partner, addressing her needs, putting my selfish needs last, and practicing self-inquiry to determine how I might be inadvertently causing problems.
I did all of these things (and more), because I loved her. Or, rather, I loved a lie. But that’s a whole other story. The surrender of my identity, my sanity, and the narrative of my life were not enough for her. To add insult to injury, as someone who suffered very real psychological, emotional, financial, and physical abuse from her, I found that there were no resources available to me. There were no battered men’s shelters. There were no books on abusive relationships involving women abusers and male victims. I couldn’t even identify the relationship as abusive, because I’d been taught over and over that this sort of situation doesn’t exist.
It must have been something I’d done wrong. This was a few years ago. I am better now. Not perfect, but better, with much thanks to Dr. Tara Palmatier at shrink4men.com, and to the MRA movement for helping me find what it really means to be a man. Did a feminist say to me “It’s yourfault?” No. Did feminism make sure that resources to help me were scarce to non-existent and that many people (including myself) had never even thought that a man could be a victim in an abusive relationship, and that as a male I was viewed as inherently incapable of anything other than being the abuser? Yes.
I needed feminism to teach me that wanting to date someone of African descent was engaging in ‘White Trophy Hunting’ and not love or attraction. As an undergrad in 1988-89 or so, I was told this by Elizabeth Richardson Viti of the Gettysburg College French Department, in a one-on-one conversation. At the time, I had started to get to know an Ethiopian student I was possibly interested in dating. From Gettysburg College’s website (http://www.gettysburg.edu/about/offices/provost/jcctl/viti.dot):
Professor Richardson Viti’s research interests focus on the contemporary novel, in particular, from a feminist theoretical perspective. This interest has led her to teach a number of classes in what is now the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program, where she also served as Coordinator from 2005 to 2009 when the program was still Women’s Studies.
I am not advocating contacting her, discussing this with her, starting arguments with her, stalking her, harassing her, or anything like that. Honestly, she is so far off my list of “worries” that I find the whole thing comical. I am merely attributing a quote. Leave her be. It is entirely possible her views have changed since then.
I needed feminism to teach me that my 50 year old alcoholic aunt didn’t rape me when I was 10. I must have raped her. Thank you, Feminism, for setting me straight on that! Yes, my aunt did this to me. Again, the dominant narrative for most of my life has been “only men rape.” Add to this that 99.999% of the books for incest/rape survivors are geared towards women survivors. Add to this that saying “well, just read ‘he’ for every time you see ‘she’ and vice-versa” doesn’t really cut it.
How am I supposed to gain any actual help from a book that continuously lets me know that it isn’t really written for me, and I’m part of the problem? One therapist even told me it “couldn’t” have happened. Additionally, after a rather difficult class dealing with trauma in my abovementioned graduate program, I confided in a classmate who self-identified as a feminist, to offer an exception to the “only men rape” narrative. Her response? “That poor woman! How society must have mistreated her to lead her to do something like that!”
I need feminism to ensure that all of the women in my office are empowered enough to talk about their sex lives, stare at and make comments about the UPS guy’s ass, and make sure I know they are better than me, until they need someone to lift a heavy box. My last three jobs in a nutshell. Believe me, there’s a whole lot more. Some of the guilty parties are PhDs, too. When I brought this up in an employee survey at one job, it was dismissed because “men can’t experience sexism” and I “wasn’t used to having my privilege challenged.”
I needed feminism to silence my voice and invalidate my pain so much that I have to sneak off to the restroom to snap these photos. My current job, while better than my last three, still contains elements of #4. Do you think I feel safe doing this out in the open?
I am sure that many people think I’m bitter, or hateful, or spiteful, or whatever. It would be easy to fall into that trap, and after the break up with my Borderline ex, I spent a good two years in the abyss. I am sure there may be others who believe that I’m “just a kid” and don’t know what I’m talking about.
I am 43 years old with a graduate degree, about to get married to a woman who understands that the things that I have been through are bullshit. I am very lucky.
We also have a one year old son.
And neither of us is willing to let any of this happen to him.