You can contact Clementine on clementine DOT ford AT gmail DOT com. If you are Ryan Gosling, she is single.
My friend Cecilia Winterfox wrote this as a comment response to an article I wrote about Emma Watson and #HeForShe and I thought it was so right-on that I wanted to give it a post all of its own.
She articulates so much of my irritation with this fixation on contradicting man-hating stereotypes (which have existed since the very first woman decided to demand more from the society which relied on her oppression). It is distracting and circular - we are kept defending ourselves against the label, no matter how many times we prove it’s not true, and we will keep being forced to defend ourselves because it’s a convenient way to keep women afraid and to stop them from actually organising and getting shit done.
I know when I stopped worrying about being thought of as a ‘man-hater’ (read: ugly, unfuckable, angry, hostile, confronting), it felt incredibly liberating and stopped me being so afraid to speak openly and honestly about the oppression that women face. And actually, there are shitloads of men who understand that it’s not synonymous with that, and whose presence in feminists’ lives proves it to be untrue. Many of the people who positively interact with my feminist writing are men. So let’s just all stop bloody worrying about it and treating it like this big thing that needs to be dealt with.
Anyway, here is Cecilia’s amazing take:
"To those expressing concern that feminism is synonymous with "man hating" and that we should for some reason be directing resources to debunking this "myth", I put this question: what is man hating? What does "man hating" actually mean, and what does it do that hurts men in any way?
The only answers I can come up with are: an individual “man-hater” doesn’t sleep with men. She might shake her fist angrily and say such things as “all men are jerks!” because, like most of us, she’s probably experienced violence or discrimination at the hands of men. She may not conform to patriarchal beauty standards - heaven forfend! The individual “man hater” - if she indeed exists, probably goes quietly about her life avoiding men, maybe not shaving her legs, maybe feeling angry, maybe wishing the world were different, fairer - all of which she is entirely entitled to do. But she wields no power, and her worst crime is what - not having sex with men?
What does an individual woman-hater do? We can all recall countless examples of how misogyny is acted out on women’s bodies and dignity each and every day.
Collectively “man-hating” could be defined as… what? Women objecting to their oppression, perhaps? Collective consciousness and righteous anger? Women have every right to be angry, but this so called “hatred” - what does it do? How has it translated into any actual or proposed harm to men as a class, or even as individuals?
A man commented on Mamamia the other day saying he couldn’t get on board with feminism if it meant that women would be superior and men would be kept in stud pens. Fuck. Off. What a luxury to express theoretical fear at this imagined dystopian future which no feminist has suggested ever when the reality is that women ARE actually kept in rape-camps, and forced childbirth is used as a tool of ethnic cleansing.
Every day women are raped, murdered and discarded like garbage. Women have been oppressed socially, politically, economically and physically for time immemorial the world over. Feminism is the political fight to liberate women from this oppression. It cannot be rationally construed as “hatred” of men in any defensible way, so I propose that exactly zero resources are devoted to exploring this myth any further.”
Hear bloody hear. Zero more resources. Think of me as a man-hater if you want. I’ll be busy over here trying to make the world a better and safer place for women to be free in.
Lots of shares on Emma Watson’s UN speech. I just wanted to share a different perspective from my friend Melanie, an incredible woman who’s on scholarship in New York right now and whose work history includes working for NGOs in Canberra and campaigning for LGBTQI rights with All Out.
"Ew. First of all, this speech is thoroughly mediocre.
Secondly, this ‘engaging men’ stuff drives me nuts! And goes against all actual evidence.
Did black people proudly launch a ‘white4black’ movement in order to crush Apartheid/slavery? No.
Did feminists of the 70s spend all their time f*cking around trying to include men? NO. Allies will join when your movement gets power. Til then, better off focusing on yourselves. Because humans never voluntarily give up power. Power must be demanded.
So can we stop pretending that Emma Watson has said anything remotely original or that men are the key to women’s empowerment?! Thank you.”
So then, these are my thoughts:
I’m glad that someone in her mainstream position holds these views and isn’t afraid to share them (and shown how accessible they are to others who may think they don’t need them).
However, I find it immensely patronising to keep hearing how ‘game-changing’ and ‘inspiring’ it is. Women are doing this work day in and day out, most of them to little fanfare (I’m thinking of the women who work in, for example, shelters, rape crisis centres and in lobbying groups, and also the countless women working to liberate themselves and their fellow countrywomen while being erased by an external western culture that expects or even sends in white people to try and lead it for them).
It strikes me as incredibly dismissive of all that difficult, soul-exhausting work to pretend that all we need to ‘change the game’ is to have a celebrity come along and talk about how gender equality needs more men on board. (Note: I don’t blame Emma Watson for being manipulated by a broad media which has been too heavily influenced by Upworthy style journalism. I want to be really clear that I don’t think she should be accused of stupidity or simplicity, or be the target of derision. The problem isn’t with EW, it’s that the broad mainstream conversation around this stuff is comfortable with only ever going skin deep. It’s not her fault that feminists and women are infantilised to the point where those sentiments can be marketed as incredible new thinking.)
I also share Mel’s frustration and disgust with this ‘engaging men’ business. It’s disruptive and distracting, and it positions women’s equality and liberation as something that men need to be coaxed into. Real allies are on board because they have done the learning themselves and they recognise that if they don’t challenge the structures of power and privilege to which they are beneficiaries, then they are complicit in oppressing those who are not. But if you don’t treat men like children who need to be encouraged and given rewards, you’re told by so many people that you’re actively turning men away from the movement and you’re the reason feminists are considered hostile. It’s patronising, infantilising bullshit.
Real change and liberation for women WILL NOT HAPPEN if we continue to believe that we need to make way for men to lead the charge just because we’re worried that excluding them will make them feel bad. It’s a total contradiction and we need to stop feeding it and fawning and swooning every time a MAN says something that differentiates women from doormats.
As Rita O’Grady says in ‘Made In Dagenham’ (after her husband demands that she give up the protest for equal pay and feel grateful that he doesn’t drink, beat her or screw around), “That is as it should be. Jesus, Eddie! What do you think this strike’s all been about, eh? Oh yeah. Actually you’re right. You don’t go on the drink, do ya? You don’t gamble, you join in with the kids, you don’t knock us about. Oh, lucky me. For Christ’s sake, Eddie, that’s as it should be! You try and understand that. Rights, not privileges. It’s that easy. It really bloody is.”
That’s as it should be. Rights, not privileges. It’s that easy. It really bloody is.
EDIT: I feel like maybe it’s worth linking to the HeforShe website that this speech is about. Unless people can see something different to me, this seems like a totally symbolic gesture that actually means nothing. So men click ‘I agree’ on a pledge and that’s supposed to be taking action?
Conservatism is an ideology built around the preservation of “traditional” values and social structures. But those “good old days,” for marginalized groups like women and people of color, were largely a time of oppression. Why would we want to preserve them?
Conservative politicians and thinkers—who have seen great success aligning themselves with racist, xenophobic, and evangelical voting blocs—actively work to strip women of their voices and exclude us from seats of power, proudly champion policy that keeps women out of the workforce and chained to the “traditional” family structure, promote abstinence-only education, shame and blame the victims of sexual assault, and give no credence to the possibility that women are best placed to make decisions about our own bodies.
Broadly speaking, conservatism is bad for women. So, yes, we want a “conservative bad, liberals good take on teen issues.” That is the explicit purpose of the site.
If kids want a “traditional,” victim-blaming, slut-shaming, conservative perspective, many of them can already get that at home or at school. This site aims to provide a counterpoint to that oppressive narrative, for the kids who have none and are struggling because of it.
YES YES YES. I love that IBYINYF didn’t acquiesce to this dumbshit argument. Conservatism IS bad for the victims of oppression and discrimination.