If life ever brings you to Kingston you are welcome to stay, sit with a beer or scotch and look through our library, and share stories! It might devolve into discussions of music, too!
Likewise, if you find yourself in the neighborhood of Monterey Bay!
highly, highly recommend one straw revolution. transformative.
I find it remarkable that the author of that article…
…works also as a columnist for GQ.com, a magazine heavily engaged – amongst other topics – into the objectification of the human body, especially of female ones (if examples are really needed, take a look at the German GQ site).
That is true, but I don’t think it invalidates the main point of the article which is essentially that all men are complicit and benefit from a toxic culture and that it is our responsibility to fix it and not let our feelings get in the way. I don’t think the irony is lost on him either.
While I dislike GQ what stands for, I did a quick search of the site and see that he mainly writes about race and racism for them (and is probably a freelance writer).
Living artists who make work for audiences and express themselves in public forums using privilege to start abusive or oppressive monologues should not be rewarded. Immediately stop them from using a safe space for that expression. This is true for people who’s livelihood is not music or art. White male artists don’t get a pass to be part of the patriarchy.
Work should stand on it’s own. If an artist is abusive to their audience, the reception of their work will change.
I’ve been thinking about this article, and I just can’t shake it. So here are a few thoughts:
- “We are all agents of patriarchy, and we’ve all benefitted from it. We are all active contributors to rape culture. All of us. No one is exempt. We all have investments in and take deposits out of the same bank. And we all need to accept and reconcile ourselves with the fact that, generally speaking, we are trash.”
No. I don’t think so. He might as well be talking about original sin here. It’s not immediately apparent to me that everyone is trash…or that even half the population is trash. This is especially important because when we start thinking of people, and equating them with unclean things–even becoming disgusted by them–this is the feeling associated with genocide. People are not trash.
It’s not immediately apparent to me that we should divest from any social construct that cultivates and maintains hierarchy. There are such things as competence and ability. These are excellent things that can build a hierarchy…and it’s a good thing that one can progress through! We can master things, and perhaps others will look up to us as we look up to others. This is a healthy kind of hierarchy.
What he’s describing is a sort of religious self-loathing. There are very old pre-Chrisitian ideas in there. That only through penance and scrutiny can you even hope to minimize the effects of the evil that is all around you, inhabits you, and possesses you. This is exactly the kind of idea that has built [IMO] unhealthy hierarchies: those built on fear and false authority.
Yes, let’s keep in mind that we shouldn’t be abusive towards each other…but I don’t think we each need to walk around flagellating ourselves with a cat-o-ninetails.
*edit: to fix a typo
Sure, don’t be abusive to yourself.
But by all means, own your shit. You probably did something mean to someone and benefited from it at some point in your life, and this was likely made possible by your privilege. Be aware of it. Reflect on it. If you need to, apologize and/or do something about it.
That’s not self-flagellation. That’s responsibility.
Yes–try to minimize the suffering in the world, and when you cause some do what you can to make it right.
I think that’s something we can all get on board with.
(The article had an entirely different tone though.)
Also, where does that kind of statement leaves us? How useful is it? “If you’re a bourgeois, you’re probably trash” “if you’re white, you’re probably trash” “if you’re occidental, you’re probably trash” and on and on and on. There are so many ways to make you fit inside the “oppressor” cathegory, and for good reasons too, that giving in to this simple narrative is just completely irrelevant to my eyes, especially when, if you take a look at the afformentionned statements they often overlap the victims/oppressors. It just hides the bigger picture, the one that could eventually allow us to change things. So yeah sure, men are benefiting advantages that push them structurally to be oppressors, does that make them trash? I don’t think so. I don’t think that people not conscious of how they’re structurally stuck into a narrative invented to dominate them share the same load of responsability as the people shaping it either. This all feels much more complex than just accepting the fact that men are trash. It’s just convenient and somehow soothing I think to just assume that and consider we just have to make amend for it.
Hmm. The article goes way beyond “men are trash”. The clickbait headline is clearly backfiring (as they always do, people should stop doing that, because it doesn’t actually work) but there is more substance in the article.
The world is certainly in need of better editors in online media, however, there can be no argument on that point.
What I meant was : men / women is not the only unfair paradygm in our society, and it’s not of great use to just focus on that without dealing with the other parameters. We already had that discussion on another topic where we discuss how more often than not we choose one opposition and judge people by the side they’re on, rather than trying to find a hierarchy trough the criterias. Treating all men as guilty is not unfair, but it’s pretty baisc and lowlevel analysis as would be treating all white women as guilty or as it would be to treat all black uperclass person as guilty. I think, ok, we need to own the fact that we’re in the biggest oppressor cathegory, that much is a fact, but there are tons of men who do, and that is not enough. And the word “trash” is just really bad word to convey subtelties especially when adressing issues that concern 50% of the population.
Edit: I’ll just add that, according to what we can see of this world, this forum, with a vast majority of white, cis, european/american males should be considered litterally full of the utter trash of our society. And I think we do, most of us, feel like we have a responsability towards the state of this world. The question I think we need to ask is how do we built the structures that allow more of us to feel that way AND be empowered about it, because making thinkpiece asking for atonement is, in my opinion, not the best possible way.
As an Autist, that’s exactly where I stopped at the article. I’ve been railing against our culture since I was a child. I’m not going to need a how-to guide on appropriate behaviour in the presence of elevated sex hormones, or understanding that all people deserve equal and fair treatment. I know there are others who share this mindset, and I don’t think that they qualify as “pieces of shit” by this metric.
It’s spreading, and people are (finally!) inclined to believe the victims of abuse when they come forward (in droves). I have my doubts that it will reach the household for the next 20 years in the most enlightened of places, but I don’t expect the majority of living male adults to suddenly understand the nature of power and humble themselves before society.
Pessimism aside, I’m happy for this moral reckoning, and I welcome the next. I’d love to see greed take a dive, but the death of the threat of violence would be as welcome. (As if they could be separated…)
I think treating all men as guilty is the very definition of unfair. There’s even an -ism for it.
Guilt/innocence are things that correspond to someone’s actions, not their demographic–unless ALL individuals within that demographic commit the same act.
So for example, the Hutu mass murdered the Tutsi. It was unidirectional. But if there existed just a single Hutu that did not kill anyone (or order anyone be killed), they would not be guilty just because they are Hutu.
It must be kept at the level of the individual.
The article is very poorly written, I think we can agree.
But the statement is not “all men did bad thing”. The statement is “all men benefit from bad thing”, and also, “so what are you gonna do about it?”
Ok, so let’s see:
(1) All men benefit from a bad thing so (2)what are you going to do about it?
Strategically, if you want the most people working on (2), having to concede to (1) can’t be a requirement. And, in fact isn’t a requisite requirement.
Ex. 1 I don’t need to have benefited from the Tutsi genocide to feel like it’s a good thing to be a volunteer in Rwanda. And presumably the more volunteers the better.
You don’t need to be motivated by guilt. You can be motivated by empathy, or curiosity, or wanting to belong, or…etc.
And people can only be responsible for their own actions. It can’t be good for you to feel negative emotions about yourself, based off what someone that looked like you did. If you find that a useful motivator then I guess I can’t knock it as a personal strategy for action, but there are costs as well.
I agree with you.
But there is a pretty large segment of the population that have been blithely drifting along with the attitude of “this does not concern me”.
Clearly the article is the wrong way to say “yes it does” but that was the goal. So why do people choose an ineffective method (motivation by guilt)?
There are a couple possibilities. The first commentor on the article hypothesized that the article was “performative”. In other words “Men are bad, but I’m an exception because I’m the one pointing the finger”. That’s a pretty cynical take, but it might be accurate. Another possibility is that it’s simply a very emotionally charged topic that doesn’t always bring out the best communication style in folks. People get upset. People point fingers. So, you’re right to point it out, that it’s counterproductive.
I’m just saying that while it might not be the best method to achieve desirable goals, it’s also not beyond comprehension why somebody would put it this way.
No denying it…that article is totally effective. Here I am talking about it!
But even though the article was the catalyst for what I said, I wasn’t just wondering about the author’s motivation (I actually didn’t consider that at all).
I just want to keep my head on straight with all of this stuff.
People can fall into mass hypnosis–there is no reason to think I’m immune from that–and so I just want to make sure all the steps add up. Conversations like this help me form my ideas. For instance, if it weren’t for your post–and the way you worded what you said–it wouldn’t have occurred to me that a feeling of guilt is what’s being pushed as a prerequisite for action.
So why guilt? And what does someone gain by convincing someone else to feel guilty…or shame on behalf of?
It may be performative. Saying “you should feel guilty” implies the person saying it is somehow above it.
It may be projecting. So, translate “you” into “me”.
It’s probably both.
Ye olde “he who smelt it dealt it”