The importance of dealing with Occupy's misogyny problem

2 posts / 0 new
Last post
Left Turn Left Turn's picture
The importance of dealing with Occupy's misogyny problem


Issues Pages: 
Left Turn Left Turn's picture

[url= importance of dealing with Occupy's misogyny problem[/url]

I grew up playing video games and late night D&D with them. I empathize with them in a lot of ways. They come from a generation of men experiencing social displacement connected to changing gender roles - a transition that is absolutely imperative, but nonetheless left these men without accessible mentors or models, as they were told not to follow in the footsteps of their fathers, and a great many grew up without fathers to help them navigate this shift.

Taken together, the result of all of this is intense feelings of alienation. And like everyone in our society, they grew up with patriarchy.

Patriarchy is historically rooted in male ownership of, and thus entitlement to, female bodies. Media gives us no shortage of examples of this; 'be a man' type statements are underwritten with the notion that accessing women at will for sexual and other kinds of personal gratification is the basis of socially acceptable masculinity, providing yet another source for the feelings of exclusion and rejection these men carry.

Due in large part to the social and economic factors I've identified, and exacerbated by their personal anger and defensive tendencies to reject before they are again rejected, in my experience these men tend not to have many close women in their lives, and express not having the level of sexual "success" they desire - unwittingly parroting that patriarchal construct about access to women.


It's a red herring, at best. The issue is women's safety, not men's honour or reputation. Frankly, when we get to a point that all women have to fight to defend is such intangibles because their physical integrity is no longer under threat, we'll be living in a much more equal world than we are today.

Until such a time as that, we have to continue to be bold enough to take collective action in defense of our sisters. A revolution that does not seek to address systemic patriarchy is not a revolution but just another manifestation of the status quo.

These men do not need our condemnation, they face no shortage of that from the world at large, but they do need us to continue to assert clear boundaries and enforce them when necessary. The challenges these men face will not be resolved through conflict with the women around them, but through challenging the social structures that do contribute to their lived experiences of alienation.

And that means taking away the safe and comfortable scapegoat of blaming women, so we engage in struggle not with each other but with the systems in need of transformation. Doing so is essential to both their liberation and ours.