What

What’s Current: Men’s role in feminism, celebrate the holidays with sexism, & Camille Cosby implies her husband is the true ‘victim’

The question men’s role in feminism is both complex and simple: “Show, don’t tell.” We knew the Rolling Stone story would be used in attempts to discredit rape allegations, but now this has actually happened: “Bill Cosby’s wife invoked the Rolling Stone sexual assault story to defend him.” How do you make men listen to women’s issues? Numbers! “Hilary Clinton spurs ‘Gender Data Revolution.‘” More studies on women are great, but, of course, data can always be misleading. Google+ is following in Facebook’s footsteps by implementing system for users to self-assign their gender identity. “How self-tracking apps exclude women.” The tech industry’s embarrassing lack of female perspectives is showing again. Also breaking news: menstrual apps designed by men end up being out of touch with...
Continue Reading »
Podcasts

PODCAST: Can men be allies in the fight to end violence against women?

What role can men play in the fight to end violence against women? Whether or not men can or should be involved has always been a controversial debate within the feminist movement. Can they be trusted? Does their socialization and male privilege make allyship impossible? Do we even need men in a woman-led movement? It’s a question the feminists have struggled with and continue to struggle with. Often men who claim to be allies turn out to be abusers or simply aim to dominate, unwilling or incapable of seeing the space they take up in the movement. At the same time, there are men who wish to join the fight against patriarchy and men who do work to end male violence against women. In this episode I speak with...
Continue Reading »
Blog

Part of the problem: Talking about systemic oppression

Last week I wrote a piece about the Jian Ghomeshi scandal and how it is, in my opinion, an inevitable and direct result of our societal “culture” of predatory misogyny. In doing so, I discounted the notion that it is “not all men” and expressed, rather, my belief that as misogyny is a systemic oppression it is, in fact, all men who are a part of it and who bear both a collective responsibility for it and for fighting with our sisters to end it. While this piece was very favourably received by many women and some men, it also elicited a very strong and very negative reaction from many men, and some women, who objected to it on the inaccurate grounds that it supposedly “blamed” all men for...
Continue Reading »
Blog

No, ‘female-appreciation’ is not the same thing as feminism

A bunch of folks are all excited about how “feminist” Pharrell Williams’ new album, G I R L, is. He says it’s about “appreciating” women, which always sets off some red flags for me. While I like some of the stuff Williams’ produces (and maybe the new album is good or even, like, not totally sexist!), I’m skeptical about the notion that he’s feminism’s new ambassador. this album is his effort to set the record straight on how he really views women, in the wake of the backlash he reportedly received for his contribution to the lyrics and video for Robin Thicke and T.I.’s hit song “Blurred Lines.” Dropping a few lines to explain his stance on how women routinely get the short end of the stick would’ve probably sufficed, but...
Continue Reading »
Blog

Learnings from talking about ‘healthy masculinity’

I’ve been pleased that my essay “How Talking About ‘Healthy Masculinity’ Is Like Talking About ‘Healthy Cancer’” has been generating a robust conversation online. Though I’ve responded here and there to questions and comments that have come up, I’d like to pull together what I’ve learned from following the conversation. The first thing I’ve learned is that though most people seem to have read the piece pretty accurately, others have completely not. For example the title: It’s intentionally a teaser provocation, and I expected it could lead some to think they were about to read an article that equates masculinity with cancer. In fact that’s not at all what the piece says or does; the title is a blatant bait-and-switch. The piece actually continues a theme from Refusing to...
Continue Reading »
Blog

How to be a (male) feminist ally

1) Read as much as you can about feminist issues and feminist critical thinking … and keep reading. Not just mass media either. In fact, with a very few exceptions, reports about feminists and what they do in the mass media are apt to be oversimplified, sensationalised or outright sexist. 2) Talk to women and mostly listen. Or ask questions. Try not to presuppose. Be curious as opposed to critical – for your own education and our good. 3) Think for yourself but do it mostly by yourself. It’s your work, not the work of feminists, to educate yourself. Don’t come to us knowing nothing and acting as if you know everything. We are most often treated by men as if we are in need of their advice and...
Continue Reading »
Blog

The trouble with male allies

As I’ve said before, when it comes to men being feminist allies, “show, don’t tell.” Now, more than ever before, feminists should be skeptical of men who claim the title of “feminist” or “feminist ally.” We’ve learned a number of things (one would hope) from the Hugo Schwyzer debacle – one of those things being that we should be skeptical of any man who claims to be an authority on feminism (particularly when these men have a history of abuse, but in general as well). In an interview with activist and writer, John Stoltenberg, published here at Feminist Current this week, he responds to the question of where “pro-feminist men” fit into our movement with this: “First of all I don’t think any man of conscience—whether self-identified as pro-feminist...
Continue Reading »
Blog

John Stoltenberg on manhood, male supremacy, and men as feminist allies

This interview was originally published in french on Isabelle Allonso’s website and was translated by Sporenda. Q: “Refusing to Be a Man” was first published 23 years ago (1990). Do you consider that since its publication, the message of the book has inched its way somewhat in the mainstream, or is it still marginal? I’ve been very heartened by the renewed interest in radical feminism, which—as I can see now on social media—is international. I always intended the ethical framework of “Refusing to Be a Man” to be congruent with radical feminism’s critique of gender as a hierarchy—and that critique definitely seems to be catching on, especially among young activists. Q: In  1994 you published a book entitled “The End of Manhood.” Do you consider that we are indeed...
Continue Reading »

Transcript: Meghan Murphy interviews Shira Tarrant

This interview was transcribed by Ernesto Aguilar and was originally published at his site: People of Color Organize! This post was reprinted with permission. This is a flash transcript of an interview by Meghan Murphy with Shira Tarrant, conducted Feb. 27, 2012. This transcript reflects the broadcast version of the interview aired on Vancouver Co-op Radio. The podcasted version of the full show can be found at rabble.ca Referenced in: Men, Feminism, Race, Movements and the Cult of Hugo Schwyzer: An Interview with Ernesto Aguilar   INTERVIEW:  Meghan Murphy: Do you think a man can be a feminist? Shira Tarrant: I think we can all agree that discrimination and sexual assault, stereotyping are things we all want to fix. And the fact is that men have always been part...
Continue Reading »

Men, Feminism, Race, Movements and the Cult of Hugo Schwyzer: An Interview with Ernesto Aguilar

Hugo Schwyzer, a Pasadena City College (Calif.) instructor promoted in some circles for his work related to gender, has been at the center of an online controversy since December when he disclosed an attempt to kill an ex-girlfriend. The Atlantic recently covered the story, for those not familiar with Schwyzer or the incident in question. The story, the defense and the reactions since have created many debates about men in feminism, forgiveness and violence against women. The following is the transcript of an interview conducted by writer and radio host Meghan Murphy. A shortened version of the interview aired Feb. 27, 2012 on Vancouver Co-op Radio. This transcript is of the full interview. Further thoughts to add to this discussion: I have not written or spoken much about the...
Continue Reading »

On Pornography and the Persistence of Patriarchy

Michael Laxer is a Canadian bookstore owner, a political activist and one of two spokespersons for the Socialist Party of Ontario. This post was originally published on Michael Laxer’s blog and was reprinted with permission from the author.   There is a debate that exists among leftists and feminists as to pornography. This, as a result of the imagery and social implications of the Internet, is an increasingly important debate As a man, I cannot speak to the differences that exist within the feminist movement regarding pornography. It is not, by definition, my place. But I can speak to the perceptions or misperceptions of pornography that seemingly exist within the broader left and among men. I can also speak to the fact that, as uncomfortable as it may make...
Continue Reading »

Men, Feminism, Power, Pornography & Slutwalk: Part two of a conversation with Hugo Schwyzer

Hugo Schwyzer is a gender studies professor at a college in Southern California, a writer, and was an organizer of Slutwalk LA. Though our opinions and positions diverge significantly in some areas, in an effort to engage in civil debate and have an honest conversation, Hugo and I have asked one another 5 questions, posting our respective responses here and at hugoschwyzer.net Hugo’s responses to my questions were posted on Monday. I look forward to hearing readers thoughts and comments on these conversations. Hugo and I will respond to one another late next week and I would like to be able to include some reader comments in my response. Thanks to Hugo for his interest in and willingness to engage in these conversations and thank you to commenters for...
Continue Reading »

Feminism, Porn, and SlutWalk: part one of a conversation with Hugo Schwyzer

Originally posted at Hugo Schwyzer’s blog. Hugo Schwyzer is a gender studies professor at a college in Southern California, a writer, and was an organizer of Slutwalk LA. Though our opinions and positions diverge significantly in some areas, in an effort to engage in civil debate and have an honest conversation, Hugo and I have asked one another 5 questions, posting our respective responses here and at hugoschwyzer.net My responses to Hugo’s questions will be posted on Wednesday. I look forward to hearing readers thoughts and comments on these conversations. Hugo and I will respond to one another the following week and I would like to be able to include some of your comments in this response. Thanks to Hugo for his interest in and willingness to engage in...
Continue Reading »