Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Cultures and violence

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  • Emma Hart,

    I'm not really sure how that particular incident reflects on the usability or otherwise of feminist theory for blokes, though.

    I can give you my absolute assurance that the person in question would not have behaved that way to a woman, and that she used 'feminism' as the justification for her behaviour. I... will shut up now, before I use the phrase "pissing contest".

    All I'm really trying to say is that a lot of people (myself included) have genuine negative experiences of trying to engage in discussions on feminist websites, and those negative experiences will inevitably shade the next discussion on a similar topic they try to have.

    Heh. I may have told you my story about walking up Ponsonby Road at night many years ago and steadily picking up my pace to put some distance us between when I realised there was a woman walking behind me, so she wouldn't feel threatened.

    So then I told the story to Matthew, and he was all, "Yeah, I do that all the time."

    I would not be surprised to see a real mixture of regualtory mechanisms in play simultaneously. In short, everyone could be right at the same time.

    Because biology. It's always everything.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4328 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Evolutionary psychologists have ruined the word "hard-wired" for me forever and ever, amen.

    (This discussion is making me wish I'd got to the end of Cordelia Fine's Delusions of Gender: The Real Science Behind Sex Differences, which was, I thought, pretty eye-opening about how even some science is a bit... dodgy about this stuff. But I didn't finish it, because babies. Oh, the irony.)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3623 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Lilith __,

    “this is why men can’t load the dishwasher

    that sounds like a mighty convenient line, but I can't even see a plausible mechanism there

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16279 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Lilith __,

    Anna Notherthing...

    But girls DO do math.
    Lots of girls excel at math!

    ..and lotsa other stuff as well
    - that's why they're called Pollymaths...
    ;- )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4555 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    I was agreeing with you.

    Oh, I missed that. ;-)

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3411 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Danielle,

    This discussion is making me wish I'd got to the end of Cordelia Fine's Delusions of Gender: The Real Science Behind Sex Differences, which was, I thought, pretty eye-opening

    See also her Let's say goodbye to the straw feminist, in convenient blog-post-length.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7320 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Sacha,

    “this is why men can’t load the dishwasher

    that sounds like a mighty convenient line, but I can’t even see a plausible mechanism there

    It's possible that was a John-Gray-ism, alternative title Pop-psychologists are from Uranus . Or some other book I'd like to send into orbit.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3411 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to Emma Hart,

    All I’m really trying to say is that a lot of people (myself included) have genuine negative experiences of trying to engage in discussions on feminist websites, and those negative experiences will inevitably shade the next discussion on a similar topic they try to have.

    This is why feminists can't have nice things? :)

    Look, I take your point that some feminists are annoying (in the same way that some PEOPLE are annoying, but they get to use different language to do it), but this shouldn't affect the usefulness of feminist theory *in general*, and it certainly shouldn't matter all the way over here in the PAS-bubble. We're some reasonable-assed bitches up in here.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3623 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan,

    As Keir noted, part of the problem for men discussing gender is that it will almost always be a discussion framed by women, and by women who have the benefit of a particular academic background, and will use a particular related vocabulary. (I don’t really know what “performative” means.)

    First of all: Performative.

    More seriously, here’s the thing. I was trying to have a conversation about masculinity. I explicitly said that there seems to be very little point having that conversation when it’s centred around women, and what they have taken away from men. And I was jumped all over for mentioning privilege. Which, incidentally, I never mentioned here except to resile from my comments on Twitter, or to respond to other people. And given how many expletives I generally populate my posts with, I don’t think I could be described as having an academic persuasion. I understand ideas because I read about them, because it’s important to me to do so, but I don’t generally expect other people to do so.

    I have written over and over again about how important I think it is for men to have a place in feminist spaces. Because there’s very little point us having the discussion by ourselves. I’ve been an advocate of men and women talking about gender together. I’ve done that over and over again here. But after this discussion? I don’t really feel like Public Address is a safe space for me to be involved in it. After the way I’ve been spoken to, the tone argumenting, the general dismissing of my argument and experiences, I am stepping back in here incredibly warily. With an actual physical sensation of fear.

    For what it’s worth, I’m also not sure that being yelled at by mean feminists is worse than the 2 rape threats I’ve had this week, after writing about men on a blog that gets, on average, less than 300 hits a week.(Though that particular post did get to a much wider audience.)

    I do think there are feminist constructs that are useful. Privilege is one of them. Because it helps us to understand intersectionality, and as far as I am concerned, there’s little point having feminism without that. It also helps people to understand how feminism actually applies to them. I write about my own experiences being a woman, because it helps me to recognise how, in the grand scheme of things, my problems aren’t all that big. Which is why I also do a bunch of stuff to do with women in the Pacific.

    Which is not to say that any of these concepts, or, in fact the science, is perfect. It all informs how we understand ourselves, our brains, and the world. I don’t understand why people seem to think that everything has to be explained by one theory, or one experiment, or one belief structure.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1273 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Megan Wegan,

    I'm really sorry you've suffered, Megan, and I hope you can come back and feel comfortable here. If I seemed to dismiss your experience, that was never my intention and I'm doubly sorry. I've found aspects of this discussion quite hard too. And I was furious at the way you invoked "immense privilege" on Twitter, because if you were talking about the men in that column, it seemed to me you were talking about people way out of the mainstream, like my boys. And I'm very, very protective of them. Let's move on.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18513 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    I like how when men are angry, it tends to come out straightforwardly. Maybe that's an aspie preference?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16279 posts Report Reply

  • Josh Addison,

    Aaaaaanyway... Best response I've seen to Huckabee's arseholery re: Newtown, from John E. McIntyre:

    Then in 1962 the Supreme Court decided that the State has its hands full teaching reading and writing and mathematics and science, which it doesn't always do very well anyhow, and maybe parents and the Church should do the praying and teaching about God. 1962. That's fifty years since Engel v. Vitale, so if you want to know why God waited half a century to show he was mad at the Supreme Court, and had little children in Connecticut shot to show it, you would have to ask Mr. Huckabee.

    I do have a fondness for that man.

    Onehunga, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 297 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason, in reply to Josh Addison,

    I do have a fondness for that man.

    We are an Inclusive bunch.....

    Watch, listen, drop jaw, scream at screen!!!

    It is my Great Stress Reliever. My Daily Fox Entertainment.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1479 posts Report Reply

  • Josh Addison, in reply to Ross Mason,

    To be clear, it is Mr. McIntyre I am fond of, not Mr. Huckabee...

    Onehunga, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 297 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Megan Wegan,

    I don’t understand why people seem to think that everything has to be explained by one theory, or one experiment, or one belief structure.

    +1
    Megan, thank you for giving us another chance, and for being clear about it.
    I find the net and twitter (which I know only a little about) make tone very hard to gauge, a veritable minefield at times, as people can respond far too quickly, to small pieces, not always in context, and then make sweeping generalisations, beyond their experience (I am guilty of that) - I strongly urge people to always use a Preview facility, where available, or at least read and reread before posting, to see what modifiers and clarifiers need to be present for objectivity, and empathy.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4555 posts Report Reply

  • JacksonP, in reply to Emma Hart,

    So then I told the story to Matthew, and he was all, "Yeah, I do that all the time."

    Or speed up to walk in front of women on their own, or in places where your following them could be seen as threatening. Or cross the road. I find the instinct natural, which I guess is easy to say, but I've always struggled with being tall as well, so generally lean back or crouch in close proximity to others.

    Being intimidated by people bigger and scarier than me at school might have some influence on this, but also it bugs me to think I could instill fear in others by virtue of existing. So I try to avoid it.

    This conversation has been very hard to watch. I agreed with Russell up thread when he talked of empathy, because I was trying to look at it from his point of view as a parent, and the other parents who describe their experiences. We hope our children will turn out Ok, but who can give us a guarantee? Therefore, empathy. Logical leap?

    Megan, FWIW, I appreciate your being here, and coming back to explain. And Danielle, I was going to play The Human League, but can we take it as read?

    Auckland • Since Mar 2011 • 2107 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Lest our conversation here seems unreasonable, the nutty National Review chimes in (safely via DailyKos).

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16279 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Megan Wegan,

    I was trying to have a conversation about masculinity.

    And I've really appreciated your posts on the subject. You've provided much food for thought.

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 1965 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to JacksonP,

    This conversation has been very hard to watch. I agreed with Russell up thread when he talked of empathy, because I was trying to look at it from his point of view as a parent, and the other parents who describe their experiences.

    Yes. That's what my original post was about. The challenges facing me as a parent are the key fact of my life and have been for many years. It's a particularly acute fact when the headlines are as they are now.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18513 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Hi folks. I’m closing the thread now. Love you all.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18513 posts Report Reply

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