America’s Next Bill Clinton!


I am not a flirt! I am just a (3rd wave) feminist!

Recently, I’ve been told – by more than just one woman – that the actions I take when around them tend to me misleading – and that I tend to be, according to some, a “flirt.”

I find this problematic and interesting because I am a pro-feminist male, and as such, I tend to treat everyone equality without regard to gender, but I cannot help but think somehow, because of my behavior, I am ending up confusing the shit out of some people, and in a sense, “leading them on.”

Because of my activism on and off campus in the feminist as well as progressive politics movements, I often dine with a lot of women – and have a lot of what I call “friendly outings” with them.

That’s certainly not the problem. The problem comes in when, in our interaction, I may say things that – in a gendered society as we know it, be considered flirting.

A touch on the shoulder here, a brush on the lap there, a “you’re amazing here,” a “you’ve got a beautiful mind,” there. Just compliments – and just friendly touching – all of which are welcomed. But then I’ve been accused that, because of this, women are taking it as a sign of a come on, and that I somehow don’t “follow through” with my actions, because I then go on and gloat about Emily and how wonderful she is and how much she means.

Perhaps that’s what bothers me the most about the gendered world as we know it – people can’t appreciate and show affection for one another – albeit a very platonic and friendly one, without having to feel as though they are somehow showing signs of romantic interests.

It’s not that I feel bad for myself – I live in a world with male privilege and have absolutely no rights to bitch or complain. I just feel bad that I may be leaving people with the wrong impression.

Really, in the end, is a brush on the lap, stroking someone’s face, or a compliment about how much you like them as a person, really a sign of a come on?

I mean – as a straight male, I do that to male friends, too. It’s a sign of affection. It’s a sign of closeness.

I don’t know. Maybe I’ll just be a robot, sit there and show no signs of emotions or affection whatsoever. Maybe then, no one would accuse me of being “well on [my] way to be America’s Next Bill Clinton – in behavior.”



A pro-feminist male in love (with a feminist!)

I am very sorry for a most cheesy post! 

So, I think I’ve met the woman I would like – the person who is going to be the Hillary Clinton to my Bill Clinton. Some of you  have heard about her before – but I’d like to say this one more time – she is amazing. In the words of my favorite poet, “I don’t know if love conquers all, but I know it’s conquering me at an alarming rate.”

We met at a feminist conference; she interned this summer for a women’s rights organization; she’s spent time overseas to help poor people; she is not religious; she is active in progressive politics both on and off campus; she has a beautiful mind; and her greatest ambition is to one day win the Nobel Peace Prize. What more can a person ask for in a mate, right?

To be sure, we are not a couple – and I like it that way. But I feel this affinity and longing for her. Yet, the funny thing is that I am very much interested in women, in general, and I do go out with a lot of women – most of whom are feminists.

Some people have told me that doing so is inconsistent with my values, because I am “playing the field.” They’ve said that if I truly do feel good-and-love for her, that I should just try to be with her, and not go out to dinners and dates with any other women.

Here, the word “date” becomes one that needs to be defined: is going to dinner with a woman considered a date? Is it a date if you two are the only ones at the table at dinner and drinks? I certainly don’t think so, but others seem to. The thing is I am interested in the way women think – their minds, their thoughts, their experiences and the way they see things. That’s why I go out with women to dinners and cocktail bars. I like finding out about them. I expect nothing in return, and mean nothing by going out to dinner with them. Yet, some people don’t seem to understand that.

On another different note, I’ve been on two dates and a friendly dinner this week, and all of them were feminists. It’s funny because the two dates and the dinner friend broke gender roles, and paid for my dinner and drinks. I am a feminist,  but somehow, I felt uncomfortable with it – as if I owe them something for paying for my dinner and drinks. I don’t know how to take it when a woman pays for my dinner. The feminist in me tells me that it’s good for reversal of gender roles. The person in me tells me that I don’t want to burden them.

[one more note on the feminist I am interested in] She’s not ready for a relationship, and I understand that. And, in fact, I do appreciate her just as her – a person. I appreciate that she is in my life. If, in the end, nothing happens, she’d still be a great person for whom I am thankful to be in my life. I’d like to love her as America’s Next Hillary Clinton, but I already feel the world for her as just a person. I don’t need romance to appreciate her for who she is.

Thoughts?

 Also, I am driving up to DC for her birthday, which means I need to take a day off from work and drive up there at night. This song below popped into my mind. It’s called I-95, by Fountains of Wayne.

They sell posters of girls washing cars
And unicorns and stars
And Guns N’ Roses album covers
They’ve got most of the Barney DVDs
Coffe mugs and tees
That say Virginia is For Lovers
But it’s not
Round here it’s just for truckers who forgot
To fill up on gasoline
Back up near Aberdeen

It’s a (four) hour drive
From me to you
(North) on I-95
And I’ll do it til the day that I die
If I need to
Just to see you
Just to see you

Hip-hop stations are fading in and out
All I’m receiving now
Is a kick drum mixed with static
Constellations are blinking in the sky
The road is open wide
And it feels so cinematic
‘Til a van
Driven by an elder gentleman
Cuts right in front of me
From then on that’s all I see

It’s a (four) hour drive
From me to you
(North) on I-95
And I’ll do it til the day that I die
If I need to
Just to see you
Just to see you



Feminism and sex.
August 30, 2007, 7:56 pm
Filed under: equality, erotica, feminist, love, rape, relationships, sex, sexuality

A feminist friend and I had a conversation a few days ago, and the conversation of feminism and sex came up …and the conversation was pretty interesting, as we’re both aware of each other’s penchant for certain sexual practices, and I’d like to get some of your opinions on sex and feminists.As feminists, we stand for equality, justice, and all those things, to include non-oppression.

But as humans, we’re sexual beings and our degrees of sexual practices vary.

Said friend confided in me that while she is against sexual crimes and works at a women’s shelter, she sometimes still gets turned on by fantasies of force and such, especially hearing stories from these women.

While I cannot relate to that, personally, for me, as a feminist, it’s a struggle because on one hand, I am still a red-blooded American male, and on the other hand …I’ve got some adventurous practices and preferences when it comes to intimate relationships (sex and love are different agencies, by the way).

In a recent feminist thought class, the point was made that we are primates and animals when it comes to sex, thus having various thoughts and fantasies and acting them out in consensual fantasies is acceptable.

But then the argument was also made that we have to draw the line somewhere, because there is a slippery slope.

My feeling on that is a confusing one: the personal is political, thus what we do in the bedroom extends to how we treat people in the world. But at the same time, we’re also smart enough people to separate sex from politics and equality, so long as the sex is consensual.

One can still separate one’s sexual fantasies and practices and bed room habits, no matter how “adventurous” from being a feminist, one girl I met argues; I think otherwise. But I also think that we shouldn’t be hypocrites. At the same time, we shouldn’t deny ourselves of what pleasures us, if it’s consensual and a mutual understanding between two people who understand what they’re doing is just “in their head” and confined to their private lives.

Thoughts?????



Feminism and violence MUST go hand-in-hand

Although I understand that from the many perspectives and schools of thoughts for feminism, violence is often never the answer, I still assert that feminism and violence can indeed go hand-in-hand and we can use violence in a positive way to affect feminism.
 

This, of course, isn’t a very political ideal. It’s more of a social ideal, one in which we must fight fire with fire and hate with hate. 

Consider this: sometimes, the political simply doesn’t work. Sometimes, teaching a person does nothing for that person, and we waste our time. But imagine how a person would react differently if, seeing that person acting in sexist or misogynistic ways, we confront them with verbal violence. If need be, we can also confront them with physical violence – that is, breaking a beer bottle over a guy’s head if he gets grabby, touchy or misogynistic at a party or any other social scenes. 

Too often, we’ve played by the rules as feminists. For us, even in the third wave, peace and love have played a more important role in our activism than anything else. Imagine what would happen if we spoke out against misogyny? The guy who’s touching you too much at the bar? What if you made a scene? Would he continue doing it, or would he actually stop due to embarrassment? What if we all stood up and spoke out against this sort of thing? What if we became the violent ones?  

Sexism is based on the power of control. To fight it, we must seize the power and take back the control. As for now, we know women don’t often feel safe walking the street at night. What if sexists and misogynists all the sudden became the prey rather than the predator? What if rather than being victims, women (and feminists of both genders) start being more violent? We then fight fear with fear. The misogynists and sexists who walk down the street have to be afraid and look over their shoulders for the big, bad feminists.  It’s a Robin Hood kind of attitude, and one that creates a sort of poetic justice. But it works, doesn’t it? Did Lorraina Bobbit’s husband commit anymore acts of abuse? Absolutely not.
 

Sometimes, talking to a person isn’t the answer. In a society that’s based on power and violence, the only way we can solve the problems sometimes is to give someone a swift kick in the ass. This all gives a whole meaning to the compliment I’d like to give my feminist allies, “You are a kick-ass feminist.”Thoughts?