America’s Next Bill Clinton!


A new take on violence …

It certainly took a lot of time to deconstruct, but I think I can safely say that I’ve come up with the conclusion that violence – no matter how justified, is not a trait belonging to the feminist movement – and that just as we speak out against domestic violence, we must also speak out against all other forms of violence.

I write this because my journey to feminism hasn’t been an easy one – it’s been filled with trials and tribulations – particularly dealing with my tendencies to display violent toward those who I deem misogynistic.

But said thoughts and actions, no matter how well intentioned, still reeked of the patriarchy. As feminism asks males to give up our privileges, we too, must also give up the things that we hold closest to. For me, it was the ability to prove to others that I can overpower them, and can render them powerless.

This idea of masculinity, then, is also a social construct. Just as we are socially constructed to believe men and women ought to behave a certain way, we are also socially constructed to believe that violence is a part of masculinity – that somehow, if one walks away from a fight, or shows a desire for peace, that one isn’t “man” enough.

I was ready to give up other privileges, but somehow, I was still reluctant to give up violence. Somehow, for me, to give up violence meant to give up a part of me – that to give up violence, I would no longer be a man, but rather, an “other.”

To truly give up privileges means we should give up the privileges we are uncomfortable with giving up – not just those we feel like giving up. For me, violence was one of those privileges I did not want to give up. I’ve come to realize that feminism is not meant to make us comfortable. It’s meant to challenge us – the way we think and the way we behave.

Consider this: in speaking out against misogynistic actions and the objectifications of women, we are speaking out against social constructs of what it means to be men. To be consistent with ourselves, we must, too, give up violence.

We have to acknowlege that we are affected by the Hollywood version of what it means to be a human being – what it means to be tough – and what it means to be a man. For most, this means embracing violence.

Just as social constructs have affected women negatively in others ways, they also affect women through violence. By my mere actions of embracing violence, I am sending the message to others that, indeed, violence is acceptable. While all of the violent actions I embraced were gears toward those I believed deserved such violence, through their anti-feminist actions, what I did not realize is those violent actions in themselves, were anti-feminists.

After all, the violent actions I take will only uphold violence – by embracing violence, I only reinforced the idea of what it meant to be a man – and while I won’t be affected, such actions have a domino effect, as it further fuels the violence cycles, and the recipients of said violent actions are women and teenagers, whose minds are still impressionable, and thus the cycle of violence continues.

Being a feminist does not mean we get to pick which forms of violence to reject. The truth is all violence is bad – and by picking and choosing, not only are we being incosistent with our feminist beliefs, it also means we are upholding the very things we are fighting against.

For those who have been so patient with me in my walk closer toward feminism, thank you.

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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?