Male responsibility in ending the cycle of discrimination

A real life example and another reasons why men need to call other men out on their shit. This is an area that women cannot make any progress in because we’re not part of the male homosocial group.

In her post, Distinguished Schmuck Visits, Misbehaves, Zuska relates an incident of sexual discrimination that happened to a female science professor while her male colleague looked on in horror. The guy, of course, only waited until after the discriminator had left to say something about it. Zuska says that it isn’t good enough and gives an example of how it should have gone down.

She then goes onto say this:

Sadly, few men think like this. They need training. They need training to the effect that THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR INTERRUPTING THE CYCLE OF DISCRIMINATION. It’s not all on our shoulders to figure out the solutions. They have to figure out how to re-socialize each other. They are plenty good at socializing each other how to be Real Men and How To Be Macho and How Not To Be A Wimp And A Pussy. They are perfectly capable of letting each other know when one of them has Behaved Like A Faggot, You Wuss. They are good at reminding each other Not To Cry Like A Little Girl. Clearly, they do have this mechanism built in for communicating to each other expected norms for male social behavior. So I don’t think it’s asking all that much to expect the more enlightened among them to start using that mechanism to pressure the dolts, schmucks, and morons to start acting like decent human beings, even if they can’t be made to think like such.

So, to all you would-be REAL Nice Guys (TM) out there (and this can go for REAL Nice People (TM) too — whites, straights, cisgendered people, etc), take heed of this. You want to be a REAL nice person? You gotta do your part to mold socialization because if seeing discrimination makes you feel uncomfortable, think how the person being discriminated against feels.

Via She’s Such a Geek! Blog.

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5 thoughts on “Male responsibility in ending the cycle of discrimination

  1. I find this problematic in two different ways:

    1) Both genders are responsible, since both genders take part, even if the joint participation results one gender having it better and the other worse (I know the author wasn’t suggesting otherwise, but for all the feminism-doubters out there, this needs to be made salient)

    2) It is not fair to characterize non-feminist men as “the dolts, schmucks, and morons”. They aren’t stupid for believing in patriarchy any more than the “bimbos, ditzes and dumb bitches” are. Patriarchy is insidious, charming, and deceptive. If only the dolts, schmucks, and morons fell for it, it would be just as mild and goofy as, say, Scientology. We would object to characterizing women who want the traditional trappings of patriarchy so harshly, citing false consciousness. Men can be falsely conscious too.

    We feminists tend to (understandably) run in feminist circles, and that makes it easy to forget that those “schmucks” can be simultaneously normal human beings who go through tragedies and triumphs like everyone else. We also tend to forget the snobby, reveling-in-their-privilege fashionistas who hate feminism as much as any other average Joe.

    Just a cautionary note, I guess. I do agree that men need to call each other on that bullshit. I don’t think they realize how powerful it is for a guy to hear one of his friends say, “Hey, man…seriously, that’s not cool.”

  2. I agree with both – men absolutely have to participate and call others on their bad behavior – especially sexual discrimination and harassment. However, they’ve been trained and often don’t realize its happening (and often they do.

    But there are some instances where men should realize what’s happening and have every ability to step up and do something about it. Sure, its hard coming out of your comfort zone, but we women do it every single day and are forced to do it. I have a friend who is a female grad student, was hit on and sexually harassed very publicly by a male professor – in front of a room full of students!!!!! – one other student called it out – a male student, while the rest of the room laughed it off.

    And, as much as I hate to say this, sometimes I think it “legitimizes” that it is sexual harassment or discrimination if a male steps up and realizes it. Not in the eyes or experiences of all us women who have experienced it of course – but in the eyes of society.

  3. I constantly have this fight with my SO. When we shop, it’s usually either that I have the money or I know what we’re buying, but I’m totally invisible to the sales critters. We fight about him not being aware enough of the sales people ignoring me, we fight about how I “don’t speak up” except that I can never get a word in edgewise. What am I supposed to do, turn a half hour fun shopping expedition into a screaming match with the sales person? How loudly do I have to say “excuse me”, and do I risk getting crappy service if I say it too loudly, thus labling myself “bitch”? It would be helpful if he could say it clearly and distinctly “I’m not the one you should be paying attention to, she’s here to buy a computer.” And continue to redirect the sales person to me until they get the point. And complain with me about shoddy service if I’m continually ignored. The sickest thing is, if I leave him in the car, I don’t get so much as a greeting. Sometimes I feel like I should wave a bank statement under the sales person’s nose and say “Help me make a sizeable dent in this number, please” and see if that works.

  4. Huh. Why do you think it’s a fight, rather than a phenomenon you’ve just had to explain to him once or twice (and perhaps remind him of in the moment if he’s absent-minded)?

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