What Place Should Men Have A Feminist Politics?

1319 Words Jul 12th, 2015 6 Pages
What place should men have in feminist politics? Given the record of men 's violence against women, abusive attitudes and speech, relentless sexism in high culture and the mass media, it 's not hard to justify the notion that men have no place at all in the women 's movement.
Yet, while we undeniably live in a sexist culture, men are far from monolithic in support of its sexism. There are significant resources among men that can be tapped for the resistance. Some men want to support feminism, and some men--not always the same ones--have been useful to feminism (for instance, in passing anti-discrimination laws, introducing women 's studies programs in universities, and so on). Yet after a generation of continuous feminist mobilizing, men 's support is erratic, contradictary, and mostly small-scale. Why, and what can be done about it?
Not an Easy Ride
Anti-sexist politics for men is difficult at a personal level. Feminism (especially feminism concerned with violence) often reads to men as an accusation. If the accusation is accepted, the result is sometimes a paralyzing guilt. For sympathetic men, the encounter with feminism can easily be more disabling than energizing.
Nonetheless, some men do get energized--such as those who have gone to work with abusive men to reduce domestic violence. But for others, the encounter leads to a turn inward, in which men focus on reconstructing their own personalities and lose their impulse to reform social relations. There is a small but…
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