SDS Womyn's Caucus Blog

Concrete Ways Not to be a Total Dude Bro

Posted on: November 18, 2009

Concrete Ways Not to be a Total Dude Bro

i.e., I Can’t Believe You Guys Are Being for Real

by Adrian & Emilyn with special thanks to Christa.

an entirely accurate depiction of Emilyn (in the middle) and Adrian (on the right) defeating the metaphorical "monster" that is patriarchy.

DISCLAIMER: We recognize that the tone of this piece is probably a little aggressive or angry. That’s because we were really angry and upset and in a bad place when we wrote it. We’ve come back a few months later, removed some of the profanity, and tried to be not so confrontational. But it was also important for us to be able to express these things that we’ve felt for so long, and haven’t been empowered to say. So please, when you’re reading this, try not to get defensive, and try to acknowledge where we were when we wrote this.


dude bro: (noun) \ˈdüd \ˈbrō
1. a gender-normative male-bodied person who acts in a patriarchal way
2. one who is macho and/or overly- and obnoxiously-masculine, in the worst way(s) possible

dudely: (adj.)
1. something/someone with the qualities of a dude bro
2. dominated by men

cisgender: (noun.) (in this piece we use cismale/cismen/cisdude)
1. the contrast to trans on the gender spectrum
2. someone who lives and identifies as the sex they were assigned at birth

  1. Stop prowling (also, stop denying it when you are).
  2. Stop lying to yourself — you’re not a good feminist.
  3. STFU&L (shut the fuck up and listen).
  4. STFU&SPTL (shut the fuck up and stop pretending to listen).
  5. Stop kidding yourselves. And stop kidding women. Stop pretending to understand women, women’s issues, and feminism.
  6. Stop doing that manly thing where you feel you need to take charge and fix everything (specifically if you are not involved in the situation), because you’re really only dealing with it in the worst way possible.
  7. If you’re having issues with women, don’t go to men to talk about it; they’re not gonna give you real insight into what women think.
  8. If you’re having issues with men, don’t expect women to solve y’alls problems for y’all.
  9. Stop judging women / your female friends based on whether they will ever sleep with you.
  10. Don’t befriend trans folks/genderqueer folks/women just to get them to sleep with you (or be upfront if those are your intentions). AND don’t just stop talking to them because you realize that they don’t want to sleep with you (don’t think we don’t notice). Perhaps you should entertain the idea that they just want to be your platonic friend?!??!?!?
  11. Don’t assume that trans folks/genderqueer folks/women need mentorship, leadership, education, etc. by you.
  12. Acknowledge your emotions. keep a journal, work on your shit, talk about your feelings with other men, and don’t just dump all your feelings on your (least?) favorite female and/or genderqueer and/or trans friend(s).
  13. Keep yourself accountable to yourself. Hold other men accountable. Don’t expect women/queer/trans folks to hold yr hand, kiss yr ass, and calmly and politely explain to you why you’re being hurtful and how you can change.
  14. Realize that when trans folks/women/genderqueer folks call you out, they do it out of a place of love. (Seriously, if we didn’t care about you guys, we wouldn’t be trying to help you change, we’d be getting you out of our lives.)
  15. If you’re having a conversation about theory, pay attention to who’s talking. If you look around and realize that cismen are the only ones talking, acknowledge that, and then stop and think about why that’s happening. (Also, check to see if there’s a genderqueer person/woman/trans person in the kitchen cooking food for everyone while you’re having that discussion. If there is, for god’s sake, help them!)
  16. It is not necessary to post long diatribes about links people post on facebook or similar venues.  We really don’t need a pissing match on our wall and we have more important things to do than listen to your opinion on everything or read the billion links you suggest we read.
  17. When someone tells you that you’re being patriarchal or hurtful, that you’re making them feel uncomfortable, etc… listen attentively, don’t get defensive, and don’t make excuses.
  18. The only thing worse than a dudely dude is a dudely dude who complains about other men being dudely dudes. (Does that sentence even make sense? Emilyn and Adrian think so, and that’s all that matters, right?)
  19. Stop pretending you’re soooo totally over your patriarchy. You’re not. You never will be. It is a process you will always need to work on.  Accept that. No one likes a self-righteous dude bro.
  20. Please try to listen to what we’re saying, not how we’re saying it. (i.e., Don’t play the tone police. No one likes cops.)
  21. Don’t expect women to be supportive of all your decisions; if they are, recognize that it doesn’t mean that the whole feminist community thinks it’s okay, too.
  22. If we ask you a question, don’t assume we don’t know any information on the topic as a whole — we didn’t ask for a whole fucking history report.
  23. Don’t be emotionally supportive only when it suits you–NO STRINGS ATTACHED!??!
  24. Just because you give me emotional support, doesn’t mean I need to give you emotional support.
  25. Don’t come over for social engagements and expect everyone to be in an organizing mindset.
  26. Recognize that being emotionally supportive is emotionally draining, and that people can’t do it for you 24/7.
  27. Understand that there ain’t nothing like female/trans/genderqueer companionship, that we sometimes need to get away from cismen, and that it’s nothing personal.
  28. Remember that calling yourself a feminist doesn’t mean much on a practical level. Recognize that it doesn’t mean women/trans folks will automatically trust you, talk to you about feminist/women’s issues, sleep with you, etc.
  29. Don’t bother getting into pissing matches over who’s a better feminist or who’s better about women’s/queer/trans issues. It just makes you look like a jerk.
  30. Don’t use feminism as a pick-up line.
  31. Pay attention to how often you interrupt and/or talk over women/trans folks/genderqueer folks. Don’t dominate conversations.
  32. Don’t try to lead women’s events or to dictate feminist politics. Allies are great, but allies support by following, not leading.
  33. Respect the ways in which women (and other oppressed folks) deal with their oppression. (e.g., Don’t try to tell us that joking about our oppression is inappropriate, or that we should do X, Y, or Z to combat our own oppression.)
Post-Script:
Many women have left SDS because of serious issues of sexism that exist within the organization (just as many POC/queer/trans/disabled folk have left because of racism, heterosexism, cissexism, and ableism within SDS). This is serious shit that we need to work on in order to create a movement and to change society. If you think that internal anti-oppression is a “distraction” from “the rev” or from changing society, then you best check your privilege. If you can’t respect us, you can’t work with us.

56 Responses to "Concrete Ways Not to be a Total Dude Bro"

Woot! Its finally up!

hell yeah!

Love it. Favorites: 5, 9 (i thought i was the only one who felt that way!), 13, 14, 16, 25, 29. ummm basically all of them!!

I have some things I would like to say. But I also don’t want to seem overly aggressive. If you believe that i am please ignore me and don’t respond. But if you would like to have areal conversation then I would enjoy that. I don’t believe I understand 6 entirely; but if what you are trying to say is that opening a dialogue about possible solutions is worse than letting it fester I disagree. I absolutely do not agree with 19. It seems to me that you are saying, “We are just posting this so you realize you will never understand us and we know this because we understand you too well.” 23 is completley accurate as far as I’m concerned, but it is not only Dude Bros that ask for no strings attached. Where would you draw the line when I am the one becoming “attached”? 27,31 entirely accurate in my opinion. Most of what you have said does strike home with me and I will try to be a better person for it, but I believe, no I am convinced that this is not a male dominated problem. And contrary to many of the points on this list it will take a concerted effort to solve them. Ahh damn there I go being a #6 again.

Tim,

#6 is not about opening a dialogue. It’s not that women can’t open dialogue(if that was the case, i would totally check male privilege in the room). that one is in regards to dudes who have this sort of hero-complex where a problem will arise and they come up with a solution that anyone else very well may have come up with had a dude not had the attitude of ‘I have the right answer! it’s okay, I’m a dude!” And they then give everyone else the feeling that they expect you to thank them.

#19 isn’t up because we’re saying we know you too well. when oppressed groups say “you’ll never understand”, really, it’s true–you’ll never have lived through what we’ve lived through in the same perspective. sometimes it’s hard to articulate how to make the privileged understand any of our struggle, and really we say these things out of frustration. however, this part of the list is not up just because of that; it’s up because men definitely have a way of thinking that they are *sooooo* good at something, and to say that they are *soooo* totally over patriarchy would definitely be a big fat joke. I mean, we should all know that. Men can’t be completely over patriarchy because we’ve been so aggressively socialized with such. To be self-righteous about this is not going to impress anyone. In cases like these(fighting patriarchy), a modest, and mindset to constantly learn willingly from other people is not applauded, but very much appreciated.

for #23, it’s not about how men ask for no strings attached, it’s about how they impose it on everyone else, because hellooo–men are bad at consent. the line is drawn where the other person feels it’s alright. open dialogue needs to be present, but men just assume that when it comes to emotional support, everything is about them.

we can definitely have a real conversation–just shoot me an e-mail.

oops i forgot to leave my e-mail address

thatcrazybroad@gmail.com

haha that’s seriously my e-mail address.

you like that irony?

hahahahaha…
i love you all. this is VERY good.

Oh my god, this is fantastic!!!!!!!

Ahhh thank you so much for posting this.
I love this blog =]

after speaking to a male ally whose really uncomfortable with this language and tired of hearing the same criticisms, i’ve decided to post this.

i am pretty tired of these worn out diatribes against men. if we are to really change sexism and patriarchy, then we have to speak in less aggressive talk.

while i know that a lot of women in sds have experienced really shit behavior from men, a lot of men have come forward and are real allies. frankly, i think this post further alienates men from changing their behavior and also is a really shitty guilt-trip to really good allies – at least that’s how my male ally felt. i guess i mean that the women’s caucus often comes off as overtly harsh and inconsiderate of men’s feelings. (yes, despite institutional patriarchy and sexism, i do think we should be considerate of men’s feelings, because not all of them are “dudely bros”!)

oh, and btw, the fact that the authors posted that queers and women are natural allies is wrong – please don’t assume that, especially with a lot of “feminists” discouraging open sexuality (how do you think “don’t be on the prowl” feels to a queer guy whose sexuality has been repressed for years?). i often think that most of these diatribes are pretty discouraging of sex-positive feminism.

overall, the women’s caucus has a lot to learn from.

– t

I’m a man I agree with the poster’s comments above. I have a few criticisms though and would appreciate a response. #19 is a bit confusing, if there is no way to overcome our own patriarchy, what is the point of even trying? likewise if their is nothing us men can do about our own ingrained patriarchy, how can we be blamed for something we can do nothing about? (the “logic” seems a bit shaky)

#23: This is not perhaps a “female” issue but the idea of a leader and a follower seems antithetical to an antiauthoritarian movement.

Other comments and questions:

Does feminism always define itself in the negative like this? i.e. “we are what men are not”

There are many instances in which male privilege is trumped by other privilege like class, how does the interaction between a rich female and a poor male change the presence of patriarchy?

Where does this type of feminism lead in terms of a telos? Patriarchy is ‘older’ than capitalism, but civilization is arguably the oldest form of domination, is patriarchy the root of all oppression in feminism or does it strive to grasp something deeper? (depth in terms of the root, not the binary of deep/shallow)

How does this representation of feminism tie into a greater praxis of achieving whatever goal this feminism seeks to achieve?

*I’d appreciate it if this discussion does not descend into ad hominem attacks or ‘guilt by association’ accusations.

“Stop pretending you’re soooo totally over your patriarchy. You’re not. You never will be. Accept that. No one likes a self-righteous dude bro.”

Patriarchy will never be over. You need to realize that first in order to really process what this entry is saying. You will never be over your patriarchy because this world order was made by men, for men. You want to stop working on your shit because you ‘shouldn’t be blamed for something you can’t do anything about’? That is extremely fucked up and oppressive logic.

I as a woman should sit here and listen to you moan about your oppression as a patriarch and how you will never be appreciated as fully as you SO deserve to be because you are allowed so much more space and so much more EVERYTHING?! Fuck that. Work on your shit and affect one woman’s life. SOMEONE’S life. If you don’t think that’s worth it, then shit, I’m wasting my breath.

Number #19. I feel like this is something they tell you at any intro anti-oppression workshop. Its the same for race or sexuality.

You can be a good ally and work on your shit and read about your privilege- but you are never going to be able to understand what it is like to be a woman, person of color, etc.

I am a white person and I live in a racist society with racist institutions. I am a racist because I take part in this system (its almost impossible NOT too). That doesn’t mean I can’t strive to be an anti-racist and work on my shit so I am less oppressive to my friends and the people I organize with. I acknowledge that I have white privilege and that I will ALWAYS have work to do around that as long as our racist system is still in place. I think its the same for gender.

re:destroycivilization

Does feminism always define itself in the negative like this? i.e. “we are what men are not”

I don’t think we are doing that, so I’m not sure how to answer your question.

There are many instances in which male privilege is trumped by other privilege like class, how does the interaction between a rich female and a poor male change the presence of patriarchy?

We are not denying that other oppressions exist and that there is a matrix on domination that exists in our society. None of us identify solely as women (if we identify as women at all) and we know how these different identities affect our experiences. In a lot of ways I have more power than a black man, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t patriarchal. That doesn’t excuse how he treats me and other women. Just because I am a woman doesn’t mean that I don’t have a shitload of white privilege and I’m continually trying to work on that. The classism that is present in the relationship between a rich woman and a poor man does not cancel out the patriarchy that is present. Oppression just isn’t that simple. They are oppressing each other in different ways, and each needs to work on their own shit (and maybe even help each other process).

Where does this type of feminism lead in terms of a telos? Patriarchy is ‘older’ than capitalism, but civilization is arguably the oldest form of domination, is patriarchy the root of all oppression in feminism or does it strive to grasp something deeper? (depth in terms of the root, not the binary of deep/shallow)

This is a really complicated conversation and not something I am really equipped to answer. Its also not something this post is trying to get at. I think basically we are saying : these are things we struggle with on a day-to-day basis and we are sick of dudely ppl being assholes and oppressive…please just stop it already.

How does this representation of feminism tie into a greater praxis of achieving whatever goal this feminism seeks to achieve?

Umm, I’m not actually sure what you are asking here. I think I might defer to what Zack said

“Honest, powerful expressions of rage and emotion are the only way to help men really understand the consequences of patriarchy and experience empathy.
They are certainly the only thing that has ever gotten through to me!”

Sometimes you need to diversify how you approach things. A lot of the time we DO approach it the way some people argued for (less “aggressive”, more sugar-coated, go to them where they are at, etc) But that doesn’t work for some people. So, diversity of tactics!

Perhaps that male ally is uncomfortable because he has not been working on his shit? And if he has been, should he really be worried about this entry? (The answer is still yes, really.) Things like this should constantly be floating around in a dude’s consciousness. Men may say they are allies but they ALL fuck up from time to time, even if this ally is near perfect, internalized patriarchy is a silent killer.

I know that with men in my life, I like to have conversations and I do enjoy engaging them in conversations that aren’t ‘antagonistic’ or ‘harsh’ or ‘alienating’ or whateverthefuck about their patriarchy that affects me and the oppressed people around me. Healing men to heal the movement is important to me. But men also need to get an overview of what the hell they’re doing. Not all men do all of these all of the time. Your ally should mabye not flatter himself by thinking that it is specifically tailored to him.

Perhaps the male ally could be treated like one and have his questions answered? Everyone is abiding by rules 3 and 4, so why not take the time to clarify and correct? If this blog is not about discussion and education, than please let all of us know so we can participate in a real discourse elsewhere. Perhaps assuming your posts and responses drip with absolute clarity is a more alarming form of self-flattery?

I think one thing people seem to be overlooking is #20. We KNOW that this may not be the most productive way to approach anti-oppression work…but we are so fucking sick of our friends being sexually assaulted, women and transfolk leaving the organization, and dealing with all of the fucking bullshit that is thrown at us for being women/trans (not to mention being people of color, queer, working class, mentally ill, fat, etc). You know how many “less aggressive” conversations I have had with dudely organizers ( aka one who is macho and/or overly- and obnoxiously-masculine, in the worst way(s) possible)? A TON. I have sat down with men, gone over their issues, gently called out men on their shit…but sometimes it just doesn’t fucking work!

See Robin’s post about “Effectively” Calling Out Patriarchy here: http://sdswomynscaucus.wordpress.com/2009/02/13/inay-1-effectively-calling-out-patriarchy/

I know that some of our male allies are turned away by ‘diatribes against men’ but maybe if they were truly good allies they would understand that sometimes we just get fucking sick of having to sugar-coat everything and need to express how we really feel!

I don’t think we intentionally allied queers with women…but it might be important to keep in mind that the writers are queer identified folks…so for us a lot of this is intertwined.

number 13 is also saying basically the same thing. Why should it always be our jobs to make men be less patriarchal? Maybe your male ally friend should be doing more work to help men with their shit instead of feeling hurt about a blog post that we wouldn’t have had to post if there wasn’t so much goddamned patriarchy in organizing.

just a short comment…

people with privilege shouldn’t be comfortable with their privilege because we are surly not comfortable with our oppression and they ways they affect our live every day. if you are comfortable you never truly challenge your privilege. so i say it’s about time that men start feeling uncomfortable with how patriarchy affects them and others. and it’s also very sad that he would hide behind you like this instead of saying how he felt to us….how classic dude bro of him.

ty

also if this person were a good ally they wouldn’t be so upset with women expressing how we feel about how patriarchy affects us and the ones we love. think about that…

and think about what ally really means.

tyneisha

When I read the title to this post I found myself wondering if it were possible for a woman to be ‘dudely’ or a ‘dude’? After reading the post in full I think it is clear that the answer is yes. Many of the items listed here are concerned with the basic respect that allows any organization to run well and it is a shame that an organization with such important goals seems to be afflicted with so many problems. There are, however more alarming items scattered throughout what would otherwise be a fine list. Can men ever be useful in a discussion of gender issues? The authors seem to think not, or at least, that male input is inherently less useful because it comes from men. Perhaps even more alarming is the authors’ attempt to accuse men of thought crimes, from which they can never be acquitted. It might be possible that the men who attend these meetings are genuinely concerned with the issues at hand, and are not there just to pick up your phone number, and when they clarify this with you, they might even be honest. If I am completely out in left field, and I may be, then I am accountable for the error, but please follow your own rules and hold yourselves accountable for what is said here, especially those points other readers are concerned with and do so with the care and dignity this cause deserves.

I think we ARE trying to say that all people can be dudely. We tried to express that these actions are most commonly done by cis (straight) men, but not exclusively. Dudely women are also a big problem.

We tried to be clear in our post about that, and since posting this I have tried to clean it up a bit, but its still really complicated because gender isn’t binary and clear cut.

We don’t want ANYONE to do some of these things, and I guess we didn’t do a clear enough job pointing out which ones are more generalizable to all organizers and which ones are exclusively aimed at cismen.

Can men ever be useful in a discussion of gender issues?

I think all of the authors believe they can be. And clearly its vital they be for a few reasons.
1) you can’t expect men to change if they are never involved in discussions about gender
2)They have perspectives to lend to the conversation.
3) There ARE good male feminists.

male input is inherently less useful because it comes from men

Sometimes we DO feel this way…particularly when we are trying to have productive conversations and all we encounter is defensiveness or holier than thou male feminists. Sometimes we just need some alone time (see #27). For the most part we respect male input and value it. We especially like answering questions if they are coming from a place of respect. And the understanding that we can answer questions on OUR time not on their timeline.

Perhaps even more alarming is the authors’ attempt to accuse men of thought crimes, from which they can never be acquitted.

I’m not sure where we do this, so I have no response for it. Clearly not all men prowl, and very few men are always doing it..and lets be honest and you can’t help finding people attractive. But clearly it DOES happen. SDS, and other organizing spaces, are frequently used as a dating service and that is disturbing. I think Ian addressed this well, and I really don’t need to regurgitate it.

RE: destroycivilization

Does feminism always define itself in the negative like this? i.e. “we are what men are not”

i could not agree more. which reminds me of something that i missed from my first post:

the women’s liberation movement needs to discuss these important issues, but does everything have to be reactive to men (assuming that they’re all “dude bros”)? read the majority of feminist authors, and they speak of positive ways that we can combat patriarchy through movement building, ally-building, awareness and fighting back. note: fighting back does not necessarily venting really bitter emotions on a blog post.

i’m sure how you all have felt has been really shit, and i don’t want to take that away because i believe that feeling those emotions are right and give us more courage to empower ourselves to speak out. but we need to create more constructive feminist critiques of sexism and patriarchy than diatribes and curt demands.

also, please be aware of our queer male allies, because they’re trying to liberate themselves from the “guilt” of “prowling”, or simply being flirtatious, on other men, women, and/or transfolk. i agree that men, no matter their orientation, have no right to cat call or cross any other boundaries that a woman has, but let’s be aware of what we say before we potentially discourage against any queer person’s expression of sexuality.

ok, i’m out,

– t

tressa,

Adrian and I were actually reluctant to post this for the longest time because actually, it was just a form of therapy for us. While we’re currently at a better place in mental health, we notice that men are still making these mistakes(multiple times!) and that’s what prompted us to finally post it. Also, we did not want to post it because of the language and the weird gender exclusion, but we did not know what vocabulary to use. We eventually just gave up, and for that, I apologize. We originally were thinking of saying anyone who is not cisgendered heterosexuals, but we also realized that men, even trans men, are able to assert their patriarchy on everyone, as per this article:

http://takesupspace.wordpress.com/2008/09/03/trans-men-and-ciscentric-male-privilege/

also, this blog is for whatever we decide that we want to put about patriarchy. we’re not saying we have all the answers, but this was written because we were just so damn fed up. venting is a part of the process, and i find that a lot of the times, when i vent to men about certain things, they learn a lot. i mean, really it’s just hard to talk about these things when everyone gets so defensive. this is why we hadn’t posted it for so long, we feel attacked and vulnerable.

This is an excuse. It does not answer any of the questions being posed to the authors. Everyone here understands that it was written in a particular mindset. Fair enough, but you decided to post it now, while in a more stable mindset, after reflection, on a forum open to the public. The authors are being held accountable for their words and you are deferring to an excuse. I am really sorry to be this blunt about the matter, but this is becoming a very frustrating blood from the stone scenario for someone who would really love to understand the mindset of this blog. Can the authors defend their position? Can they learn from criticism? Are they willing to modify their position in the face of evidence and reason? or is this blog “Going Rogue.”

i guess since the criticisms weren’t really listened to, i’ll reply one more time.

the fact is, many sds men who ARE allies feel that they’re work is useless when many in the women’s caucus feel that the majority, even the ones in our ranks who are fighting for revolutionary feminist change, are “dude bros”. that’s why i stepped up and voiced my opinion on this post, and that’s why the male ally whom confided in me did not feel comfortable responding to the post.

again, i think these points are valid, but are really off putting to a lot of feminist men (maybe the women’s caucus doesn’t think there is such a thing?), myself, and some women i’ve talked to. let’s talk about the POLITICS of feminism for a change and not succumb to a worn out diatribe of how men have been treating women. we’ve heard it before. lets really talk about why this sexist shit goes on, not generalize all men as “dude bros”, and be more considerate of each other in our movement.

all i’m saying is that instead of being reactive and telling men to “shut the fuck up and listen”, we should be inviting discussion and growth. why does it surprise you that even really well-intentioned, feminist guys don’t respond as much on these posts? granted, most men have A LOT to learn from women, and should listen, but we should also be respectful.

alright, i’m done discussing this, but still struggling for justice,

– t

“i guess since the criticisms weren’t really listened to, i’ll reply one more time.”

SERIOUSLY? What, do you think we just wait at our computers for people to post comments so we can rebut their critiques? You posted this at 4:19 am in the morning!

We honestly just don’t have enough time to answer every single question. We want discussion to happen around this…but its just frustrating to have to continually defend oneself or answer questions when we are already pressed for time.

Sorry, I realize now that the time on the blog is off. But the sentiment is the same. We don’t have time to answer every comment. We are busy with school and jobs and organizing. We barely have time to write and post on this blog.

A slow turn around is completely fine. That is however, not the problem here. Questions are dismissed without consideration and readers are attacked for simply asking questions. No reasonable person wants immediate answers, but when you ask a question and get nothing but noise in response … well, the post proves you know what that feels like.

I guess Im just not sure why you dont think this is sex positive… it does say dont befriend people and lie about your intentions to sleep with them… and not to use privilege as a way of achievieving sexual dominance. I think that in general is good advice for everyone but especially for men who are often socialized to do that.

If I am reading this right, this in no way says that men cant be openly flirtatious or queer men cant…. just to be upfront and to not be sketchy about it or manipulative…also to take no for an answer.

as for a lot of the other points raised about men ending their own sexism or 1-6 in general…. I think its a good for men to not label their own actions and let women do so for us. If women think we are being a good feminist or ally, then they can tell us so, but we shouldn’t assume our own self righteousness in it. Like with the prowling thing, I think it is meant for purposes of exploitation. You can be sex positive and not be exploitative of privilege. Though I do think it can be hashed out more with queer men.

In general, good job…. I think this is a really really helpful list and I am very thankful that you put so much time and effort into it. A lot of my friends really appreciate it too… so props :D

S:

You’re being extremely aggressive about this. Back off. It’s our fucking blog and we’re posting it for ourselves, personally I don’t give a shit whether anyone outside the caucus reads it or disagrees with it. It’s irrelevant, I use the blog for my personal expression. We’re not here to cater to your questions. If Emilyn and/or Adrian want to engage with you, it’s up to them, but you need to stop acting so entitled to their attention. (Is that in the list anywhere?)

To S, destroycivilization, and tessa:

First of all, as I said, I see the blog as a form of personal expression so I really don’t care if the writing here appeals to men or not. For once, it’s NOT ABOUT THEM.

Throughout our society, women’s voices are silenced. We are taught not to tell the truths of our pain in patriarchy because to speak of it would cause men discomfort. And men’s comfort is always valued foremost. Patriarchy is maintained by women and gender variant people’s cooperation in our oppression – we silence ourselves to appease the oppressors whose comfort we value above our own. We bear the pain and say nothing.

In my social circle within SDS, SO many men have personal blogs where they post news, events, and personal writings on politics, etc. Hardly ANY women I know in SDS have personal blogs. Just like in dominant patriarchal society, men’s opinions, interests and stories are dominant in the internal SDS blogosphere. Men feel more confident blogging because they see more examples of men blogging in the greater world.

The Womyn’s Caucus blog is a space for women, genderqueer, trans, gender varient ppl etc to share OUR experiences, interests, stories, opinions, etc with each other. To take up some space. For many writers, it is their first time writing for a blog or a large audience. It takes a lot of guts to put yourself out there and be real with each other. We’ve been taught never to talk about these things, even with each other. (When we do, it empowers and unites us, which holds the potential to dismantle patriarchy.) On this blog, we are not just sharing a glance or eye roll across the room, we are fully articulating our analysis, our experience, and our pain.* As Emilyn said, we make ourselves vulnerable. We do it because we hope that the benefits of potentially empowering other womyn with our words outweigh our fears of taking up too much space, of being too honest and hurting men.

For you to come post on our blog and suggest that we need to scale back our tone because it upsets men says to me that you are missing the whole point.

* I also want to point out that in the dominant patriarchal society decides that things like political opinions are appropriate blog post topics. We are bringing feminist direct action to the blogosphere by posting raw emotions about gender oppression, a topic normally deemed “unprofessional” “not respectabe”, etc. No wonder it makes people uncomfortable.

Obviously this is all my personal opinion, I do not speak for the entire caucus nor do I attempt to.

You have missed the point. If not a single one of the questions were responded to in anyway it would be unfortunate, but nothing more than that. Here questions are not even answered, but responded to with increasingly aggressive noise. It is a shame its takes so much effort to be taken seriously here. While you are right, I am not entitled at anyone’s time, I had hoped that I was entitled to basic respect, and the right to participate in a dialog. I was directed here because I was told this would be a great place to read about radical feminism at the ground level. I can see that statement was inaccurate, this is a personal journal for some very angry, very aggressive, and very confused individuals.

Best of luck,
Samantha

It’s not that I’m not taking you seriously, I’m just confused as to why you’re getting so defensive about it. This is a safe space for us to write our thoughts and feelings, and you come in here completely invasive with a negative tone, instead of with respect. Because after all, you’re expecting that same respect from us, right? It’s not right of you to harass us this way. If you don’t see this as radical feminism at the ground level, you are completely mistaken in that department. I think with more experience, and having read this list, you will slowly start noticing these things more loud and clear. I think it is only a matter of time. I’m sorry that this blog hasn’t helped you, and has only made you feel alienated, but I also feel like you’re not looking at this objectively enough. I can only hope that you will come to this realization eventually.

Emilyn,

Look at the post. Lots of it is great, but it is clear that it contains many statements that are problematic and that require clarification. This clarification never comes. In its place is derision, and an aggressive attempts to paint everyone as in league with your oppressors. Let go of your paranoia and address those concerns that you feel you can, admit when you cannot, and do not assume that every question is a critique. My tone was set by the tone of the blog, as this is the only way to have concerns addressed here. I regularly teach courses on contemporary western history, where these issues emerge for discussion, and while it may not be radical feminism on the ground level it is infinitely more inclusive, more civil, and more useful. In fact, it suffers from very few of the issues listed above. Until you can understand that the key to any successful movement is the open acceptance of all supporters you will continue to be mired by these concerns. I worry you may never have that realization and you certainly will not have it here.

“Until you can understand that the key to any successful movement is the open acceptance of all supporters you will continue to be mired by these concerns.”

I’m pretty sure that’s the key to the CO-OPTATION of any movement. We do NOT need to accept all “supporters”, especially not people who try to tell us our feelings are invalid. This blog is not about doing outreach to gain new members of the feminist movement, and honestly, even if it was, I don’t think it is ever womyn’s responsibility to sugar-coat our feelings to make them more palatable for men.

“I was told this would be a great place to read about radical feminism at the ground level. I can see that statement was inaccurate, this is a personal journal for some very angry, very aggressive, and very confused individuals.”

I would say it’s BOTH, minus the part about us being aggressive or confused. I’d say we’re fucking assertive which is why we’re not taking any crap from people who try to tell us it’s our responsibility not to hurt men’s feelings.

hell to the yeah robin.

if you all don’t like what you see and can’t have a convo about it without being dicks they you need to get up off our blog!

I think it’s really unfortunate that so many folks have chosen to respond to this great blog post with criticism. To my fellow posters who are experiencing male privilege – I feel kind of bad that your feelings were hurt, but jumping all over the blog authors is breaking a really important rule for being a good ally (don’t get defensive about being called out!). Complaining at female-bodied people and demanding that your concerns be addressed (here’s looking at you, “S”) is definitely NOT a constructive way to receive criticism. Let’s remember guys, we’re speaking from a position of privilege. Props to tressa’s male friend for approaching her about it rather than posting a condescending reply after getting to a point he disagreed with. If your feelings are hurt when a woman calls you out, I would suggest actively engaging them and ASKING QUESTIONS (and real ones, not snarky, sarcastic ones) rather than saying “I disagree with this, and here’s why”.

Blog posts like this are super important in my opinion exactly because they are passionate and don’t hesitate to speak from a place of strong feeling. I don’t feel discouraged at all when I read it (@tressa’s stating that male allies may feel their work is useless) because I know that, as good of an ally as I try to be, I fuck up and still have a lot to learn. I also think that I’m not guilty of all of these points, and I don’t think this post generalizes this kind of behavior to all men (the authors do define their terms of what a ‘dude’ and being ‘dudely’ mean at the beginning). But I also know a lot of radical men who still do a lot of the things listed here, and I’m sick of it too!

Finally, I’d like to echo Christa’s point that the concerns in this post have been voiced in less curt tones for a long time. In my opinion we can only publish so many zines and have so many even-toned group discussions about gender. It’s clear to me that, despite all this important work, a lot of radical men still aren’t getting it about patriarchy and how they contribute to it with their actions. For my part, I LOVE the fact that the authors gave a list of concrete stuff that dudes do that is patriarchal – I think it makes what they’re talking about more accessible for folks who are used to analyzing patriarchy in abstract or big-picture terms.

This sort of aggressive, separatist, pathologically individualistic ranting looks a lot like patriarchy to me. This is the first I’ve seen of this blog and I’m fairly certain it’s the last I’ll see of it.

That’s being generous, treating it as if it’s coming from an adult.

Frankly, it reads like it’s coming from someone who has just completed Gender Studies 101 and is relishing the sudden rush of power that comes with a new set vocabulary words.

Decentralize yourself and your own sense of comfort. Feminism is a humanism, which requires that we treat all humans as sacred.

hey “silenced”

1: we don’t need women’s studies….we have our lives to teach us all we need to know about patriarchy. we speak from experience and we speak our truths…they don’t have to be yours.

2: i am all about humanism and a huge part of that is honesty to ourselves…. WE ARE NOT ALL EQUAL IN THIS WORLD SO DON’T PRETEND WE ARE.

3: i am a queer woman of color… should i treat the klan as a sacred institutions full of sacred people? how about my rapist? how about the cops….. let’s be real and not get stuck in fantasy “we are the world” land.

WORD TYNEISHA!!!!!

Men are socialized to bury their emotions, which makes it hard for them to understand and have empathy with the oppression of women and transpeople.

But empathy is the most important thing: it’s only when men truly hate what patriarchy does to our friends (and ourselves), when it really fucking hurts, that men will become good allies. Men gotta learn to feel it.

That’s why I appreciate this post.

Honest, powerful expressions of rage and emotion are the only way to help men really understand the consequences of patriarchy and experience empathy.

They are certainly the only thing that has ever gotten through to me!

I JUST ASK QUESTIONS! Patriarchy is a real problem in this world and unless Sarah Palin gets elected President during the 2010 elections, us women will never win in this world. Because who’s to say that Obama isn’t a muslim jihadist secretly working to corrupt our corporate structure and strengthen our gun control laws so all my Charleton Heston supporters out there can’t buy a .47 anymore? Who’s really to say that Obama just isn’t going to give free health care to all those illegals who cross our border and steal all our good paying American jobs at 6.75 an hour? The next thing we know, Obama is going to use that Nobel Peace Prize as a weapon against our feminist causes and never give Hilary the benefit of the doubt! Who’s to say that he’s just not using Hilary as a decoy for what’s really going on in the White House? I, like all of you, just ask questions. That’s why Sarah Palin is the only hope for our generation of women in the current United States cause she knows that a women’s right to choose is arbitrarily decided and that gunning wolves from helicopters is what we, as AMERICAN women, should be spending our leisurely time doing in this day and age. Sarah Palin knows that banning books in libraries keeps our feminine minds from straying into the matters that just corrupt our thoughts and menstrating cycles. Hilary didn’t mean to mysteriously kill all those people and Sarah Palin didn’t mean for her book to be exposed as a fraud, but who are we, as women, to stand out against our own kind? I ASK QUESTIONS! I HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW THAT OBAMA IS JUST EXPLOITING WOMEN FURTHER!! This is the Right Wing Supporters blog, right?

I love you soooo much Matt

Seriously though, I’m dead serious and I expect civility in this internet battle. I’m so surprised, Christa, that you were sooo uncivil in claiming that you love me. I ASK QUESTIONS! I EXPECT CIVILITY ON THE INTERNET!!! GODDAMN YOU! God, you’re just so aggressive and maybe you’re the ‘dudely’ dude and you know what, Christa? IM SICK OF THIS MISTREATMENT! ITS PEOPLE LIKE YOU ON THE INTERNET THAT CAUSE OUR MOVEMENT OF PALIN SUPPORTERS TO SUFFER SEVERELY!! IM GOING TO END WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE ONCE AND FOR ALL!!!

I mean really, just read the disclaimer. Everything from this list is actually stuff that we’ve encountered(on multiple occasions!). If a male ally had questions, we would be more than happy to help them on it. But they don’t ask. And this blog is for discourse and education, but it’s also an outlet for a lot of us who’ve become frustrated. Anything you want clarified and corrected, I would be more than happy to explain. We didn’t just pull this shit out of our asses because we’re naturally hostile and want to create an oppression for ourselves so that we can just self-loather; this was a result of constant male abuse. We’re not saying we hate men, but we are trying to show how they’ve made us feel and that they need to be aware of that. While a lot of the general ones that we wrote apply to a majority of men, a lot of the ones that are probably confusing to other people are ones that are about men who organize and call themselves feminists. Meanwhile, they’re actually just being blatant hypocrites. It’s actually kind of offending me that people are being put off by this. While there may be things that you disagree on, there IS a disclaimer. We are being honest and leaving ourselves vulnerable when we say that we were in a really emotional and mental state when this happened. Really, we decided to finally post it because while our mental health is somewhat in control now, all of these things keep happening to us still.

Which ones are about the majority of men? Are there items on this list that you feel uncomfortable with because of the state in which they were written, and if there are, which ones are they? If men are offended by some of the things on this list, can they cover their response with a disclaimer so as to avoid calm, well-reason criticism and avoid having to clarify or correct problematic statements?

Numbers 3, 12, 17, and 31 are fairly universal to the majority of men in my experience. That doesn’t mean ALL men, and it doesn’t mean that women and trans folks don’t do them (because we never said they can’t be dudely).

We actually toned down this document a lot from when we originally wrote them and took a few out. I think we all agree that most of these are still problems and things women and trans folks experience often.

“If men are offended by some of the things on this list, can they cover their response with a disclaimer so as to avoid calm, well-reason criticism and avoid having to clarify or correct problematic statements?”

Now you are just being an ass.

Thank you very much for clarifying which items on the list are about a more limited section of society than is clear from the post itself. While you say here that any one can be ‘dudely’ previous posts on this blog do use it to in reference to men only. The term itself appears to refer to a particular way of acting during interactions at meetings and while it may be your experience that these traits are often assumed by men, it is clear from the way that some of the questions on this post were responded to, that it is people that act ‘dudely’, not men.
As for the last bit, you are absolutely correct, I was being an ass. But it did get my question answered, which is more than can be said for civility here. As far as I can tell, that is the flavor of the blog, that aggressive passion accomplishes the most, and certainly disrupts what might otherwise be a very exclusive conversation, especially when some blog posts open with who is and is not welcome to comment or to be offended by the contents of each post.
Again, thanks for the first real discussion I have had here,

Who the fuck reads the womyn’s caucus blog and then gets pissed off that–god forbid–there’s an angry-toned post about men in the movement being assholes?

The degree of self-entitlement is astounding in the assumption that that men have some innate right to feel comfortable in every space at every time.

preach it!

I am totally disappointed and bewildered at some of the responses to this post. I had kind of thought that getting angry at women for being angry about their oppression would be passe by now. It’s just such an easy way to dismiss and silence women’s voices, that I thought maybe people (especially those with male privilege) would understand that it’s step one of things not to do.

Also, I want to say specifically to S, that your insistence on being “uncivil” as a way to get your questions answered no matter who you have steamroll to get them is pretty damn patriarchal and not acceptable ally behavior. No one’s obligated to cater to you.

hell yeah to Belga, Tyneshia, Emilyn, Christa, Robin and Adrian.

Needs more aggression.

Keep up the good work Adrian, Emilyn, and Christa!

Love,
Alan

P.S. #20 #20 #20

Summary point: men clearly are inferior and unequal to women. Keep up the good work, matriarch!

Love it! #16 definitely resonates with my entire facebook newsfeed. I always notice it’s dudebros arguing over which theory is best. A few weeks ago I actually got called a dumb bitch for explaining that women of colour experience a level of oppression white women will never experience. Hmmm.

Reblogged this on feministanarchistdiscourse and commented:
“Ways to Not be a Dudebro” is a great resource for any men who wish to be feminist allies in the feminist movement. This is really important for me in my work organizing around higher education, where it is mostly white male centered (the leaders, anyway).

Also, you don’t need to apologize for being angry. You have a right to be angry. Being angry gets shit done! I’d be surprised if I saw a dudebro apologizing for being angry on his blog.

No apologies. Just organizing against patriarchy.

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