America’s Next Bill Clinton!


A sincere apology …

I know I said I won’t be posting much, but the fact is that I need to apologize. It’s been less than a week since school is back in session, and I’ve already been challenged to look at my world from a different lense. For that, I am thankful. The apology note is below.  

I feel the need to apologize to all who’ve been on this blog during the past few months. It’s all my fault.

 I am not making any excuses for it, but I will say this: I failed to see things from your perspetives and paradigms, and I am wrong for it. I wasn’t wrong because I didn’t see it, but because I refused to take the time to see it.

Instead of being critical at myself and my own belief systems, I became critical of the knowlege and claims of radical feminism. I held my “truth” and “values” as the only ones that could be correct, and as a privileged male, doing so only furthered my patriarchy. I took the advice to “listen to women” as meaning “submit to women,” while all along, it simply means to learn from women’s voices and experiences.

 In doing so, I leaned further to the other side of the line – the one that I’d been a part of all my life. In doing so, I moved further from feminism, and deeper into the patriarchy. For that, I apologize.

 The words I use and the jobs I take, while I can justify them with the way I view the world, take on a whole different meaning for women. Rather than trying to see things from women’s perspectives, I was defiant and defended my own perspective. My shots at radical feminism was based on my lack of understanding of untapped knowlege and experiences. My attack on radical feminsm was based on on the male lense, the lense of the oppressor, rather than the oppressed.

From my vantage point, I don’t see everything. I see very little because in belonging to the class that rules, rather than the one being subjugated, I DID NOT need to see a lot. I was wrong.

To truly be effective in feminism, I must not only have the values and the convictions, but also the knowlege of women’s experiences. Too often, I’ve neglected those stories and experiences when they are told to me, because in my world, individual stories are written off as meaningless. They are written off as being useless in the fight for power and control.

Know that while my convictions and values were there, my practice was not, and most of the time, it was an unconscious decision. Most of the time, it was based on my “intuition” and “instincts,” the majority of which was socially constructed based on male power.

As such, I strive to do better in the future …to share less and listen more. The paths to social activism starts with the values and convictions that all are equal, but without the knowlege of what or how to best serve women, then said values and convictions are useless.

 I am working on that knowlege and I will continue to do so. Sometimes, all I need is a dose of reality – a talking-to by a feminist mentor, for me to see what I’ve done wrong.

Perhaps that’s what scares me the most …what the hell do I do when I am out of college and there are no professors for me to call and ask the critical questions? What the hell do I do when I don’t know what’s best for women? Do my professors hold all the answers, or do individual experiences of individual women matter more? Those are the questions I am still trying to answer, and in coming back to the women’s studies program this semester, I hope to answer those questions.

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If I were a woman …

I’ve come to the conclusion that no matter if I had fuller breasts and long, golden hair that ran out my head, I wouldn’t make a very nice woman.

It doesn’t matter if you give me a uterus, or different sets of chromosomes, or even if you made me smell nicer, or stay cleaner, I wouldn’t make a nice woman.

Hell, give me my own vagina, with its own well-built system of reproduction and centers of pleasure, and I’d still wouldn’t make a very nice woman.

I know this because I know that by the time I am 12 or 13, I will hate men.

I wouldn’t hate them for their biology; I’d hate them for their ways to looking at me.

I’d hate them for their leery eyes and roaming hands – and the way they refer to me, not by my name, but as “hottie,” “sexy,” “babe,” or a myriad of other nicknames used to objectify me.

I would hate them for blaming my anger and attitude on my being “on the rag,” when in fact it is their ways of treating me that makes me angry.

I would hate that they holler at me as I walk down the street. What, should I come over there, drop my pants and jump their bone?

I would hate that if I bring up anything that makes me upset about them, I am being a whiny bitch.

I would hate them for treating me like a princess, but instantly call me a bitch if I were to turn down their sexual advances.

I would hate them for looking at me at a vehicle for their pleasure, and not as my own complete person.

Even in their compliments, I’d hate them for pre-supposing that just because I am a smart girl, that I am unique.

I’d most definitely have trouble trusting them – for I would never knew if one was genuine, or came from a long line of those trying to get in my pants

I would hate them for not knowing what the word “no” means. It doesn’t mean continuing to pursuit me. It doesn’t mean I am playing coy. It means you’re probably a dumbass and I am not interested in you.

I would hate them for roaming at bars, even when I am talking to my friends, trying to break in to our conversations. Leave me alone! I am here with friends!

I would hate the drinks they offer as a way to “break the ice,” as if somehow I am a prostitute and they are buying my time with drinks

I hate them because they control the media and images of me are distorted to be the way THEY see it

I would hate them because images of my body are spread everywhere – some of which are mutilated, as a way to promote their products

I would hate the porn industry. I would hate the pressure they put on me to act “accordingly.”

I would hate that I cannot be myself, but have to compare myself to unrealistic standards.

I would hate the make-up, the shoes and everything else that I need for a job interview just to be successful.

I would hate that I must always be perfect, but perfection is not good enough. I am encouraged to diet more, look better, lose more weight.

I would hate that I am robbed of all that is me – that I am made out to be what the patriarchy wants me to be. I would hate not being my own person.

But, thankfully, I am not a woman. I am a man, full of privileges and free to live my life as I see fit. I am still raging mad.

I am mad that my friends, sisters, loved ones, potential lovers and future daughters are subjected to shit they’d never think of doing to a man.

I am piss-hot the people I love are viewed as objects and not people.

I am upset that most people don’t empathize with the people I love.

But thankfully, I am a man. If a were a woman, I wouldn’t make a very nice one. By 14, I think I’d be in jail for murder.



Can I still be “masculine” and be a feminist?

My apogogies for the lack of posting. I’ve been extremely busy, and extremely sick. I am still kind of walking around in a haze, not having eaten since Tuesday because of this really bad flu … 

Can I be a feminist and still, at the same time, hold on to my masculinity? I mean, if a female feminist can still cling on to her “womanhood” and be a feminist, why can’t I be the same? If a woman can still wear make-up and high heels and be a feminist, why can’t I be masculine and still be a feminist?

I bring this up because lately, I’ve been charged with not being a feminist because I still enjoy male privilege.

The most serious charge is that I still want power – that in having political ambitions, rather than giving up power, I am clinging on and going after power.

But if I am using such power for something good – feminism, why is it so wrong?

So what if I enjoy a good fight? So what if, upon hearing a Navy guy make an anti-women, anti-feminist comment at the bar, and acting like a misogynist objectifying jackass, I challenge him to a fight? Sure, it’s violence; but it’s violence for feminism?

So what if I enjoy the sense of women (sexually or otherwise) or the taste of beer, or that on Sundays, I am watching football? So what if I love the feeling of being able to shoot my M-16 so accurately that i can hit a target 500 meters away? I am still a feminist.

I can still be tender, loving, caring, and I can still stick by my values and convictions.

To be sure, those who accused me of such are 2nd Wavers, those who live in their own worlds, reject what is reality, and just are “radical.”

I like sex, I like beers, I like violence, I like football, and I still speak out on behalf of human and women’s rights.

I still fall in love I still enjoy wooing women, I still enjoy wearing my heart on my sleeve.

I love being the center of attention. I love power. I love being in control.

But I would never harm, objectifying, hurt, or deny women of their humanly rights.

Why am I not a feminist?

A girl I just spoke to told me one can still be masculine and “manly” and be a good person and a feminist and that I am an example of such.

I shouldn’t give a fuck what the 2nd Wave thinks. But I still need to give up male privilege, as it is how we pro-feminist males are supposed to act.

What am I to do? What’s a guy supposed to do? If I give up masculinity, all that’s in me will be gone. I’d be left with no passion, no drive, no ambition. This is not because it’s what defined me as a man, but it’s because it’s who I am.

I want to be a man, but I still want to be a feminist.

Thoughts?



Of love and masculinity

For the last few weeks, I’ve become more interested in exploring the theories of masculinity in feminism. This came after charges were brought up that I was still hanging on to male privilege – and that my tendency to compete, be violent and even my ambition to grab power and go into politics are signs of male privilege. Because of that, I will be exploring male privilege and masculinity a lot in my notes.

 

One thing I’ve noticed a lot – sometimes in my own life, but in other men’s lives, is their reaction to a rejection of love – and how, no matter how genuine they were in wanting to get to know someone, a rejection drives them into showing their masculinity.

It is, as if, a rejection of love is a challenge to their “manhood” and masculinity – speaking volumes of their maleness when they are rejected. More over, it also says something – coming from a male perspective, that they’re not manly enough and that they don’t have what it takes.

The rejected man, his ego and self emasculated, takes it upon himself then, to re-energize his manhood. How does he do this? He does this by being a womanizer. This does not always have to be about sex – but sometimes does include it. He has to prove to himself (not to others because the rest of the world probably doesn’t know or doesn’t give a damn) that, much like Stacy’s Mom, he still has it going on.

He has to prove to his close circle of friends that he still has it. That he can still get women – even if it just means them falling for him, and him rejecting them. This reinforces his masculinity and ability to attract women. I am not a fan of evolutionary psychology, but I think that there’s some truths hidden in that idea when mixed with masculinity.

This brings up a paradox: if women are seen as less than men, and if what is “feminine” – or belonging to women – is considered negativity, then why does a man, in his manhood, need a woman to elevate his status and to make him feel good about himself?

The reason I bring this up is that I am beginning to realize that masculinity can hurt us all. It hurts us in that our relationships and interactions aren’t defined by who we truly love or care for, but rather, how does our interaction with that person make us feel? Further, it also opens doors to less-than-desirable relationships, in which the purpose isn’t to nurture and to share and to love, but to boost one’s ego.Also – in such cases, the victims are also the women who fall for men who feel like they need to be with these women to feel boost their masculinity. When come to find out that they’re not in it for the love, but rather, their status, women are hurt.

Moreover – it does make one wonder: did this man want to get into the relationship with the original and supposedly true object of his affection because he truly felt something for her, or was it just to boost his masculinity?

Love, after all, isn’t defined by how you react if your romantic advances are welcomed. It’s how you react if your romantic gestures have been turned down.



Pornography, women, misogyny and feminism

I’d wanted to write about my recent examination of my own musculinity, violence, the struggle for power and the patriarchy, as a response to claims that I lacked (indeed I do) of self-examination, but I ran across something yesterday, after corresponding about musculinity and violence with Dr. Robert Jensen, a women’s studies professor, that I wanted to write about. More, tomorrow, on my recent discoveries of why my urges to fight for power through violent means are a direct result of male privilege and masculinity. For now, you get this.

As many of you know, I’ve become fascinated with research of pornography and how it effects our daily lives. I was in the middle of research when I found a slideshow that already had the things I was looking for. The link is below – and it’s upsetting.

http://www.yousendit.com/transfer.php?action=download&ufid=44490EB8214A0657

More than just objectifying women, porn also affects us in ways we’ve never really thought of before – in tells us what is sexy, what is desirable, and more importantly, how women should be viewed.

With porn, women are no longer seen as whole, complete people with feelings and minds, but rather, a vehicle for men’s pleasure. If we can separate fantasy from reality, is it wrong? The problem is when it starts becoming that prevelant in our culture, it’s hard to tell.

We start to buy into these ideas, and as a result, two things happen: women are harmed, in that they are seen as sex objects, and will become subjects of harrassments, bad relationships, and worst, rape.

Secondly, it doesn’t allow us to truly love one another – because we see our partners through the pornographic lense – they are all resemblences of what the porn industry portrays.

I have to admit – even as a pro-feminist male, I’ve gotten into the mindset of (in the past) women with whom I’d like to have sex, and women for whom I feel an affinity, and would like to know as a person. It’s the slut vs. good girls syndrome, and it pits women against one another.

The thing that most saddens me about porngraphy is that no one is spared. As you can see in this slide show, whether you are college student, school teacher, mother, wife, black, white, Asian, Latina – so long as you’re a woman, you are objectified.

Sex, no matter how kinky, is beautiful when it comes with respect and love. But these sex acts, especially when it comes with describing women as bitches, whores, dumb sluts and other adjectives, I have a problem with that. It’s hurtful, and it does not treat women as equals.

Feminism isn’t about just freedom to do whatever the hell we want. It’s the ability to free us all – from oppression, from a violent, male-dominated culture, from the social norms that have hurt us rather than free us



Sexual harassment victim suspended.

On Friday, I was informed by a friend of mine that one of his students had been suspended for five daysafter SHE was sexual harrassed.

The story goes something like this: in class Friday, when he was teaching Latin, the girl just bursted “I am sick of this shit,” and started crying. He took her outside, and she confided in him that she would “slit his throat and throw him in a ditch.” She went on to inform him that the student in the next seat over had been sexually harrassing her, telling her to “suck [his] dick” among other things …it got worst.

After confirming the information with other students, he wrote up a slip to send the harrasser to the front office for disciplinary actions. But security had already arrived, and took them both to the office.
Come to find out, another school administrator had heard the sexual harssasment victim’s angry comment about throwing her harrasser’s body in a ditch (and she made it in confidence, while angry and crying, TO A TEACHER) and called security.

So, what’s the end result? The girl was suspended for five days for making dead threats, and the guy got two days for being indecent! She also had to apologize to him. Worst part of it all? She is now removed from the class permanently because SHE posed an unhealthy classroom learning environment to him!

Is it just me, or is something extremely backward here? If I got sexually harrassed, you bet your sweet ass I am going to get angry and threaten to kill someone. But I still doesn’t make the harrasser the victim in all of this. WE ALL KNOW WHO THE VICTIM IS!

Furthermore, my friend talked to her and she said she was told that she needed to control HER feelings and not have outbursts. What the fuck? Excuse HER for not remaining prim and proper and “lady like” after being a victim. What’s next? Sending a rape victim to jail instead of the rapist and having her apologize to him for having to fight back? And we’re further reinforcing patriarchy by telling her that all of this is her fault? UGH! It makes me want to pull my hair out.

I really don’t know how we can go about handling this – and am waiting for a call back from my campus director of the Feminist Majority Foundation, but it’s ticking me off.



Feminism, strip bars, and an exotic dancer.

For the last few days, I’ve wanted to write about my experience at the strip club, but I am glad I didn’t, because tonight, I actually got to talk to a stripper about feminism, so it made me think a bit deeper on the issue.

Please don’t kill me – but a few nights ago, my old friends took me to a strip bar, despite my protest. They didn’t put a gun to my head, but I reluctantly went anyway, seeing it as a way for us to spend time together. In that, I feel guilty because I felt as though I was contributing to the objectification and commodification of women by being a patron there. Further, I have to admit that I was somewhat turned on by the visuals of it all. But I am, after all, only human.

 As one of my buddies offered to buy me a lap dance, I refused, out of me feministic values. “Real men don’t have to pay to see a woman naked,” I told him as a way to politely refuse, yet still adhere to my feministic values. But at the same time, even said statement, for me, is problematic, as it defines what a “real man” is supposed to be.

But I felt extremely bad that I was at the club, and that I was physically enjoying the sight of a woman’s body, who was only there because of an imbalance of power. There I was – the male with privilege and money to see her dance naked …I was just like the rest of them, contributing to the misogynistic view of women.

 What was even more upsetting for me, I think, was I saw the cocktail servers walking around in tight little bikinis. While I love the woman’s body, I don’t feel as though I have to part-take in sexism to appreciate it. Although there is always a “no-touch” policy at any strip club, the regulars were actually slapping one of the servers’ butt. I wanted to say something, but realized it was neither my place nor the time. I let it go, and continued talking to my friends. I am sorry!

 Tonight, while sitting at a coffee shop near my house, I was next to a couple a table over. Lost in my new book, “Giving,” by Bill Clinton, as well as texting people, I looked up to the girl asking me if the Ms. Magazine sitting on the table was mine. I offered it to her, and the guy she was with told me she is new to feminism. So, a conversation ensued.

It turns out she’s an exotic dancer, and came to feminism after reading Jessica Valenti’s “Full Frontal Feminism,” and now wants to go to college majoring in women’s studies.

I asked her how she dealt with the political and personal of her life, being both a feminist and a dancer. Her reply was something to this extend:

“It depends on why people dance. For some girls, they dance because they feel they need the approval of men to feel pretty. Some can’t dance unless they’ve got alcohol in their system. I dance because I make a lot money doing so, and I am my own person. I don’t need men’s approval to feel pretty, but I am empowered by it. In the end, it’s about what I do for my own life and not have to feel ashamed by it. I do it because I make my own schedule and report to no one.”

I thought about her answer and wondered: what if stripping truly does make some women happy because they are in control? What if stripping made them happy because they are empowered by the money? What if they are doing it out of their own choice?

Driving home, I think I’ve come up with the answer for it all, and perhaps said answer is still muddled by my experience as a male with male privilege, but I think that feminism shouldn’t be about what we can get out of it, but how we can make the world a better place.

In the end, what we do shouldn’t be motivated by what we can get out of it, but rather, whether it will positively affect woman?

Does seeing women naked make me happy? Sure. But am I contributing to the comodification of women? Yes. So should I do it in the future? No.

The same thing, I think, goes for this woman. This is not a judgement. It’s merely what I think. But as was brought up in my conversation with her, our views on feminism change everyday, as we learn more, and experience more. Perhaps that’s just the case with me.

I recommend to her, “To Be Real,” by Rebecca Walker. I suggest it to all of you, too. 🙂

Thoughts?