Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Women, Men and Gender (updated)

I am actually working on a much longer post about gender disparity, gender constructs and modern feminism, but that post is shaping up to be something akin to a research paper and will take a while. In the mean time there have been some interesting discussions going on besides the one in which I was recently engaged (as well as some discussion right here ). If you want to wander even further back, you can follow the links that I didn't - I wandered into the discussion over at Zuska's blog - the one about reading materials for proto-feminist men. This post in turn, linked to CPP's guest post at Dr. Isis' blog - the one that is a handy dandy guide for men commenting on feminist blogs.

To ensure clarity, I really like CPP . Through our interactions on the intertubes, I have come to consider him a friend and occasionally dispenser of good advice. I don't always agree with him, but we definitely share some pretty fundamental attitudes/personality traits. I have an immense respect for him, because not only does he write a great deal about things that are very relevant to the decisions I am making about the path my education and ultimately my career will take, he also goes off on excellent rants complete with expletives.

I make this clarification because as much as I adore CPP, this guide he wrote made me vomit in my mouth a little, a couple of times. This is not to say that everything in his guide is wrong - most of his points are quite reasonable. Ultimately, it's not so much that the one's that I found so distasteful are wrong that bothers me - it's actually the fact that his guide is pretty accurate when it comes to discussing gender issues on many forums that makes me queasy. It is also why I don't get involved in a lot of discussions on feminist forums.

And just to be absolutely clear, there are many discussions where it is absolutely inappropriate to go and push the ideas I am going to discuss here. For example, the Letters to our Daughters project is all about the women. The context is important, when it comes to discussing gender disparity...

(2) If you are using the words "men", "boys", "fathers", or "sons", you are almost certainly fucking up.

(3) If you are using the words "should" or "useful", you are almost certainly fucking up.

(15) Women will get along just fine without your input. If you are entertaining and funny, they might tolerate your presence.


The problem with this, is that gender disparity isn't just about the women. First and most critically, gender disparity is an issue that involves women and men. Men are part of the problem and by necessity, men are also an important part of the solution. And ignoring the negative impacts of gender disparity on men, ignores a significant part of the gender disparity puzzle. Both sexes fall victim to gender disparity - recognizing this doesn't mean that we ignore the impact of gender disparity on women - it doesn't signal yet another exertion of male privilege. What it does is foster the understanding that men have a personal stake in fighting gender disparity.

Men, boys, fathers and sons are part of the gender disparity problem. We are dealing with social gender constructs that have millenia of momentum driving them into the twenty-first century. Awareness of a huge part of the problem does not, unfortunately, lend itself to resolution. It is no simple task to wind your way through the manifestations of gender constructs that are inherently abusive, while maintaining a sense of gender identity - changing behaviors that have been reinforced since we were first capable of discerning rudimentary language.

Many feminists (though certainly not all) seem to feel that the only place for men in the discussion of gender disparity is as an active listener who will go forth and do what he's told, spreading the gender dogma that said feminist happens to be disseminating. We are just supposed to behave a certain way and pressure other men to behave that way as well. This works well enough when we're talking about men who actually care to listen - some of us even change our behavior, in an attempt to avoid perpetuating gender disparity. But we are a finite group of men (and women for that matter) and this is not a solution that lends itself to changing the society in which we live. To functionally change our society, we need to go much deeper. The heart of the problem is our social gender constructs and they aren't just going to go away because a few of us change superficial behaviors. We should, or more to the point, must root into the heart of archetypal social male gender constructs and work on changing the fundamentals, instead of focusing on the superficial.

When it comes to deconstructing male gender constructs, men are a critical part of the equation. There is only so much that women can contribute to fundamental changes in what it means to be a man and fostering that change across the strata of our society. That is not to say they have nothing to contribute - they do and should make those contributions. But changing the masculine is going to be largely the purview of men. Likewise, men also have something to contribute to the same discussion on the feminine side of the equation. What women do, who they are affect men, just as what men are and what they do affect women.

(Update)
To be totally clear, I am not suggesting that feminist blogs should all be or always be open forums for discussing solutions to gender disparity. I recognize that they are also often safe places for women to unload. Believe me, I recognize the importance of safe spaces and have absolutely no desire to see them over-run by assholes or derailed into something different...

We are all harmed by and responsible for perpetuating gender disparity. It's time to stop pretending that gender disparity is a women's issue that only women can stop. We are all, every single damned one of us, an inherent part of the solution...

29 comments:

Comrade Physioprof said...

When it comes to deconstructing male gender constructs, men are a critical part of the equation.Absolutely. The point of my guest post at Isis's is that feminist blogs are not the place for men to "deconstruct male gender constructs".

LostMarbles said...

First, as CPP said, those are rules for feminist discussions not all discussions of gender. The fact often discussions on gender constructs that occur outside of feminist forums get invaded by so many trolls and loons that any discussion is impossible, is a separate issue.

Second, as I understood that post, it was not so much actions every man must avoid every single time he sees a feminist discussion lest he come off as a jackass. I thought it was more aimed at men who are just starting to learn what feminism is about and have made their way to the feminist blogosphere. In that context all three of those rules are good advice. For example, I agree that men need to be included in discussions of gender constructs and disparities, but most times when "men', 'boys', 'fathers', or 'sons" are brought up the comments serve only as a derailment.

DuWayne Brayton said...

But the problem CPP, is that it's not just deconstructing male gender constructs. It is about dealing with gender disparity, something that a lot of feminist bloggers are rather keen on. Yet though they are keen on fighting gender disparity, a significant factor in gender disparity - men - are supposed to sit quietly and just listen to what women have to say.

My point is that this should be a conversation that involves men as active participants. It should involve men being willing and able to talk about their side of the equation and how to get other men on board with actually doing something about gender disparity.

I am not saying that guys should be active participants in every feminist discussion - there are a lot of discussions where it is wholly inappropriate. But in the context of more generic discussions of gender disparity, men should be encouraged to take part.

Eliminating gender disparity is only going to be possible through collaborative efforts between men and women. Deconstructing male gender constructs is pointless without the input of women. Likewise, strategizing about eliminating gender disparity that victimizes women, is going to go a lot further if women are better able to understand men and where this bullshit comes from.

I guess it really boils down to whether feminist bloggers are interested in fostering deeper change in society, or whether they are in this for catharsis and finding a small segment of society that will foster superficial changes in their own lives. If it's the latter, then by all means these discussions should follow your guidelines. OTOH, if it's the former, then the active involvement of men is going to be a critical component.

Becca said...

CPP may have presented something that works within a certain corner of the bloggysphere, but I think the hyperbole inherent in CPP's writings makes it sound like it's meant to apply to all feminists. Actually, for all I know, it may even apply to anyone CPP considers a real feminist. However, it's certainly not applicable to all the feminists I know.

If you go back through the messy bloggy history, there are a lot of good ideas for how men can learn from feminist blogs where, given the context, things really are about women.

If I understand you correctly, the way you are going about addressing disparities (which is assuredly a feminist goal) is to look at gender from multiple perspectives, and discuss which aspects need to be changed and how we might go about that.
If this is your aim, it's a worthy one. But it is not what every feminist blog is doing. Nor is it the only way to achieve meaningful change in society.

I personally see a lot of value in examining multiple perspectives on gender disparities, but for me personally much of that is from a desire to deconstruct gender. Personally, I've been faintly disappointed that deconstructing gender does not play a larger role in some feminist blogs.

Of course, CPP's entire post may also have just been utter nonsense and a typical desperate plea for being the center of attention.

DuWayne Brayton said...

LM -

The problem is that a lot of feminist discussions are directly addressing gender disparity and that is very much a discussion that should involve men and women, regardless of the forum. It's one thing for those rules to apply to discussions that are very specific - such as the Letters to our Daughters project. There, I would definitely say CPPs rules are entirely appropriate.

DuWayne Brayton said...

Becca -

I am all about deconstructing gender and fostering a society that is conducive to human interaction that accepts people as they are, not as their anatomy would somehow dictate they should be.

And I totally understand that not all feminist blogs are geared toward the discussion of gender I am calling for here. The problem is that there are many discussions that come up, that would be the discussion I am calling for - in many ways are - but they have no interest in interaction with men. When feminists want to talk about what men should be doing and have an expectation that men will listen, they should also expect and accept that they will get a lot further, if they include the doods in such discussions.

Having grown up male, we might know a thing or two about how to actually convince other doods to quit being fucking assholes.

Ambivalent Academic said...

DuWayne - great post. I think that the points raised by becca and LM are reflective of the sorts of blogs that PP was referring to with those rules.

Again, much is dependent on context, and yes, deconstructing gender is a valid tool for combatting gender disparity. When that's the topic of discussion, then it's totally appropriate to include men as active participants because they have a stake in it too.

But a lot of feminist blogs aren't about deconstructing gender, however worthy that may be. A lot of feminist blogs are about providing a safe place for women to be angry with impunity, and to rant against the injustices dealt to them by all kinds of crap (including gender disparity).

Does this mean that men shouldn't also be able to rant against the harms that gender disparity foists upon them? No, of course not. But a blog that is specifically for providing a safe place for women to do so isn't the place to do it. I for one, am really glad that you do that here.

Again, so much depends on the context of the blog. If it's a place for women to get out some cathartic anger, and other people can learn something by observing - great. But to try and derail one of those conversations toward "dear god, what about the men?" (while a fine thing to discuss elsewhere) diverts the very purpose of such a space.

I think that declaring all feminist blogs to be such spaces is a bit short-sighted, but telling people to listen before they talk is great advice for anyone.

LostMarbles said...

The problem is that a lot of feminist discussions are directly addressing gender disparity and that is very much a discussion that should involve men and women, regardless of the forum.I disagree. Just because an issue can and should be addressed from all groups that it affects doesn't mean that there should not be a forum where a marginalized group can discuss the topic without undue intrusion from the privileged group(s). Feminist forums are there for the discussion of how the patriarchy affects women and just because that same system also affects men doesn't mean that feminist forums are the right place to discuss that. This doesn't mean that men can't contribute; it means that when they contribute, they should remember that it isn't about them.

Becca said...

DuWayne- On the one hand, I agree that d00ds might be good at telling d00ds how to not be fucking assholes. Of course, if we were actively deconstructing gender in this conversation, it wouldn't have come up ;)

On the other hand when, in our feminist spaces, we end up with men casting themselves as "the authority" (on what women feminists are looking to hear, of all things), you can see just how badly we need spaces designed to amplify women's voices.

Communication strategies are messages themselves. You don't wanna know what message CPP's strategy sends to me ;)

I find the attitude "men should be ignored in feminist spaces" annoying. At the same time, I think good things can come from voluntarily undertaking the challenge of hearing female voices as 'louder' in various contexts (of course, for my own benefit, I'd like it if people started at scientific conferences...). It can start to make you realize how much you are used to hearing men.

"but they have no interest in interaction with men"Who is "they" in this context? In what conversations involving deconstructing gender have you felt unable to contribute?

I want to understand why you feel you're being silenced (if it was just CPP's rant, then I think I get it, but I'm wondering if there's more to it).
At the same time, I want you to understand how incredibly, infuriatingly common the feeling you're being silenced is for women in an amazing variety of situations.

DuWayne Brayton said...

I am not suggesting that safe spaces for women to express their anger is the appropriate place to throw in the discussions I am suggesting. Where the goal is catharsis, CPPs rules are quite reasonable. I also think that listening before one talks is always a great idea - regardless of the forum or topic.

The problem is that CPP wasn't specific about context and there were no qualifiers.

The other problem is that there are very few feminist forums that both discuss solving gender disparity issues and welcome men as active participants. And unfortunately, there are few enough forums that are geared towards men discussing these issues and the ones that exist, are rarely, if ever, frequented by women. And as I mentioned, this is an issue that requires active cooperation and discussion with men and women.

I guess it just seems to me that some feminist blogs would be pretty ideal places to engage in this discussion. Mutual self interest and all that.

Becca -

The most egregious and irritating time I was silenced, was when I was specifically asked to attend a live forum that was basically about deconstructing gender, though that is not how it was worded. The reason I was asked to attend, was because I had several friends who knew that I am pretty comfortable stepping outside social gender constructs, yet also exemplify several traditional masculine sterotypes. I was asked to listen to the discussion and then offer my experience with stepping out of male gender constructs and ideas about how to reach out to men. I didn't get very far, before getting hit with "who the hell cares?" and "why is this asshole even here?" One of the women who was involved in the decision to ask me to come started to throw up some support for me, but was shouted down by another of the women involved in that decision who basically said that it was really a mistake to have asked me to speak.

The only reason I attended, was because I was asked to provide my perspective. Not that I have a problem with attending those types of forums to learn something, but I had to take time off work to go.

I have also been hammered a few times over the years for engaging in discussions that were already about men and traditional masculine norms. Silly me for thinking I might have some insight into how men think and why...

DuWayne Brayton said...

By the way Becca, there is more to it than what I explained, but the rest is a very different context. And I am all too aware of male voices v. female voices.

Tyler DiPietro said...

While I may not like CP's post for any other reason, I appreciate its honesty. "Fellate our echo chamber or GTFO." Most blogs really aren't that honest about what they expect from commenters.

Stephanie Zvan said...

Taking everything above about the need for safe spaces and venting as a given, because goodness knows I've pointed that out myself, I think it's absolutely critical for females who want to see gender equity (since CPP seems to have, ironically, co-opted "feminist" to mean something even more specific) to listen to men more--on the subject of men. If a guy is going to try to tell me what it means to be female, I'm going to laugh in his face at the very least. However, on those rare occasions a guy wants to open up about what it means to him to be male, damn straight I want to hear it. I can't get that from my own experience.

One of the most educational evenings of my life was spent hanging out with a couple of drunk sailors the night before one of them got married. It wasn't all introspection, by any means, but even funny stories can tell you a hell of a lot if you're listening (and not trying to match the sailors beer for beer). Ditto for talking to guy friends who are dealing with pressure to "succeed" when they're already doing something they love, or who are primary caretakers for disabled kids, or who have suddenly found themselves head of a family due to a matriarch's decline, or who are trying to play a role in their kids lives after having been too terrified to be there earlier.

No, these stories and perspectives aren't more important than those shared in the cathartic safe spaces, but they are important, to women as well as to men. I worry that safe spaces sometimes get too safe, and that we feminists (nope, sorry, CPP, still my word too) don't step out of them enough to challenge ourselves to listen more broadly. And when one of the major requirements of standard male gender roles is that one doesn't talk about these things, where are we going to find guys sharing this important stuff, if not with us?

Toaster Sunshine said...

From Stephanie Zvan:
And when one of the major requirements of standard male gender roles is that one doesn't talk about these things, where are we going to find guys sharing this important stuff, if not with us?Exactly! Western masculinity is predicated on stoic strength, and feelings other than anger or pride are automatically perceived as weak. Introspection isn't manly, it's weird. We're allowed to nurse anger, grudges, resentments, but we're not allowed to express the original hurt behind them.

D. C. said...

I guess it really boils down to whether feminist bloggers are interested in fostering deeper change in society, or whether they are in this for catharsis and finding a small segment of society that will foster superficial changes in their own lives.In other words, "are we having a venting session or a problem-solving session?"

I have observed that people are rarely clear on that point even when it's just one of us. The more parties involved, the less clear the point gets. This leads to some rather disfunctional dynamics.

--

Party A presents a problem in "complaint" form -- but phrased as a problem to be solved.

Party B chimes in with support, intending to vent.

Party C attempts to clarify the problem in the first post.

Party B gets bent because C isn't being supportive of the vent session. (which may lead into a pissing contest with C.)

--

And that's with only three participants. Just imagine the fun with more involved!

Azkyroth said...

I'm still trying to get my mind around the persistence, in apparently rational, progressive people, of the notion that certain people are supposed to be excluded from or marginalized in certain discussion spaces, or to not have or express opinions on certain topics, on the basis of gender. I'm personally uncomfortable with that idea across the board; I honestly can't think of a single topic where I feel that the general class of members of any gender category having substantive input, a firm opinion, or even a consistently active voice in discussions, is inappropriate. Am I really alone in this?

D. C. said...

A lot of feminist blogs are about providing a safe place for women to be angry with impunity, and to rant against the injustices dealt to them by all kinds of crap (including gender disparity).I've noticed that very few of them have "no boyz allowed" signs hung out, and none of the threads I've seen have "this is a vent session, constructive discussion not allowed" markers.

Instead, the "safe place to rant" rule is used as a trump card that can be invoked to close discussion at any time, with a majority of the (regular?) participants holding trumps. The mathematical conclusion is pretty obvious.

D. C. said...

I'm still trying to get my mind around the persistence, in apparently rational, progressive people, of the notion that certain people are supposed to be excluded from or marginalized in certain discussion spaces, or to not have or express opinions on certain topics, on the basis of gender. I'm personally uncomfortable with that idea across the board; I honestly can't think of a single topic where I feel that the general class of members of any gender category having substantive input, a firm opinion, or even a consistently active voice in discussions, is inappropriate. Am I really alone in this?Yes.

No, seriously -- there really need to be "girls' clubs." Online as well as IRL, because just the presense of men can kill the "safe space" security that some women need. Repeat, need.

No question about the necessity for those "safe spaces."

One problem I perceive (Becca has described others) is that the "safe space" marker can be invoked unpredictably. DuWayne alludes to this in regretting the dearth of fora for open discussions of gender disparity issues.

It seems that all too often, open discussion fora fall prey to disruptors: either the trolls arrive, or CPP comes along telling others to STFU or GTFO, or whatever. One way or another the SNR goes in the toilet.

Azkyroth said...

No, seriously -- there really need to be "girls' clubs." Online as well as IRL, because just the presense of men can kill the "safe space" security that some women need. Repeat, need.

No question about the necessity for those "safe spaces."
I guess. I certainly have no use for "boys clubs" in any context, though...

....WHY THE BLOODY FUCKING HELL DOES BLOGGER STILL NOT SUPPORT BLOCKQUOTE?!!

Jason Thibeault said...

I think trying to delineate internet forums that are open to the public as being "girls" or "boys only" is impossible, not the least reason being because on the internet you're wholly anonymous unless you specifically choose a name that brings to mind a particular gender. Because the internet is difficult to segregate based on views, you get trolls, or people who honestly want to converse but are labeled as trolls even before they exhibit any trollish behaviour because their viewpoints are anathema to the theme of the blog as a whole.

Until On Rules part the 47th on Stephanie's blog, I was unaware that CPP is male, and it hadn't occurred to me to wonder at his gender at all. It honestly didn't matter. The fact that he's created the rules to codify what is acceptable and unacceptable conversation on a "pure feminist" blog is strange to me, and has a stifling effect on conversation for people like me, people that desperately need to converse with and explore these topics because they are not intrinsically good at such conversations.

I understand the need for a "safe spot", a home base, for people to discuss these things in the relative safety of sympathetic commenters who are willing and able to boost their self esteem and build up what's been wrecked by an unjust society. I really do. I just think it's a shame more people can't be included in constructive dialog -- people that earnestly want to participate but feel that they can't because they're breaking any number of "the rules".

That I have problems with his rules probably has something to do with my inability to understand normal social rules even in face to face conversation. I'm going to have to post sometime about this myself -- because I'm really not good at this kind of thing, and I need practice, and I need to explore what my own opinions on the matter are.

Never mind the fact that I first-post fairly often -- if everyone who posts first in any thread is de facto an asshole, how are you going to attract any conversation at all?

DuWayne Brayton said...

Azkyroth -

I actually think it's really important for people to have safe spaces, forums that are not open to general discussion. I have no problem with women needing such spaces to vent, but then I have used safe places myself. Ex-Christian dot net is one of them and there are also several forums for those with neurological issues that have been invaluable to me.

Ex-Christian in particular is a very heavily moderated forum, because there are a lot of members who suffered significant damage at the hands of their respective religions. Non-constructive criticism is strictly prohibited and constructive criticism better be very constructive and not accusational (i.e. not couched in "you're wrong" terms, rather it should be couched in "this is what worked for me" terms).

DC -

The lack of delineation is very frustrating, as is the often arbitrary enforcement.

One of the discussions that I found myself censored in that I didn't list, was when a sex worker blogger I like was getting hammered by puritanical feminists. On one of the blogs in particular, there were actually several guys commenting affirming the puritanical bullshit. OTOH, there were also a few women dissenting and, having been a sex worker (stripper no less) and strong proponent of sex worker's rights, I chose to interject in support of sex workers.

I was shouted down and my comment disenvoweled.

The same sort of thing has happened to me when I have jumped into conversations that are slamming transgendered people - a very disturbing trend I have noted from women who follow certain "feminist" paradigms. Rather interestingly, I have noted that this almost exclusively comes from the more puritanical branches of feminist theory. I am not at all ok with people discriminating against trans people...

That, and I find the whole notion of puritanical feminism rather ironic, given that their fellow puritans define patriarchy.

Jason Thibeault said...

"I was shouted down and my comment disenvoweled."
I know of this practice, and as much as I dislike this method of silencing dissent, I have to say this is the funniest description of it I've ever seen. Heh. I'm still chuckling.

"That, and I find the whole notion of puritanical feminism rather ironic, given that their fellow puritans define patriarchy."
The extremists, puritans, fanatics and loons always define a movement, because they're the loudest and easiest to spot. This is sad.

D. C. said...

Ex-Christian in particular is a very heavily moderated forum, because there are a lot of members who suffered significant damage at the hands of their respective religions.And therein lies the hallmark of a true "safe space." IMHO a proper "safe space" should be members-only, rather than forcing a moderator to judge every post ex post facto (sorry but I couldn't resist.) That way the trolls etc. don't get started, and it actually takes some considered effort to revoke membership.

And, obviously, membership also means that there's a big "here's why we're here, don't bug us if you're not with the program" sign. I'm fine with rules, as long as they're consensual.

Becca said...

"In other words, "are we having a venting session or a problem-solving session?""*lightbulb*
OH!
So that's why I was feeling prickly when it seemed DuWayne was contrasting "a strategy that makes you feel better" vs. "a strategy that can actually change the broader world". Because it also breaks down along gender lines, and makes the stereotypical male strategy sound more effective.

Aside- making you feel better is changing the world, of course. You gotta start somewhere. Venting sessions are important.
Expressing empathy for each other in the absence of "problem solving" stereotypical male approaches is incredibly important. Men are welcome to learn stereotypically feminine empathy at any time, of course.
Oh, oh, oh... that also explains where the rule making comes in. There are a lot of socially codified expectations about how to offer sympathy or empathy (some of which can seem quite mysterious).

"Online as well as IRL, because just the presense of men can kill the "safe space" security that some women need. Repeat, need."This gets so messy. *remembers Take Back The Night Drama re: trans individuals*

"if everyone who posts first in any thread is de facto an asshole, how are you going to attract any conversation at all?"I, being the self-sacrificing martyr that I am, am more than happy to first-post on any thread you may need. I am just that kind of asshole.

DuWayne Brayton said...

Becca -

I'm sorry that I really wasn't very clear about that. I definitely see a great deal of value in catharsis and really should not have put it in a way that implies there's something wrong with that. And I definitely made that implication.

Because it also breaks down along gender lines, and makes the stereotypical male strategy sound more effective.I definitely don't see sterotypical male strategies very effective at all in gender discussions. For the most part men really fucking suck at this sort of thing.

And ultimately, I think there would be significant value in cross-gender bitch sessions. I am going to write a post soon that will welcome men and women to vent about gender disparity and how it affects all of us.

D. C. said...

Becca:
Aside- making you feel better is changing the world, of course. You gotta start somewhere. Venting sessions are important.Of course they are. I hope none of us implied that they aren't.

Expressing empathy for each other in the absence of "problem solving" stereotypical male approaches is incredibly important.Of course it is. Violating one of CPP's rules by citing my totally-inapt-male-experience: I deal a lot with people who are hurt -- there's nothing I can do for them after I've made them as comfortable as circumstances allow except be there and show that I care.

This isn't rocket science, it's just giving people what they need.

The question is, when is it appropriate to discuss something else, such as the relative effectiveness of proposed courses of action?

Call it gender-typical behavior or whatever, but I have my own agenda: I don't want my granddaughters still dealing with the problems that women my mothers' age had to deal with, and women my age had to deal with, and women Isis' age are still dealing with, and ...

Abby Normal said...

For the most part men really fucking suck at this sort of thing.There you go with your misandry again. [/teasing]

Overall an interesting discussion. I agree that disparity is not an issue either of the predominant two genders can address alone and that good communication is vital to progress. I also want to acknowledge the importance of those most affected having a safe environment to work through their thoughts and feelings about themselves and their world.

My initial reaction to CPP's guide was amusement with a vague undercurrent of being offended. Nothing strong mind you. Just a kind of "something's not right here" feeling. I've been trying to put my finger on it.

Something Becca said finally made it click. I was reacting to codification of "proper" behavior. Personally I've rarely had an issue when talking (or typing) with feminists. At least no more so than any other group and less than many. So the idea that special guidance was required was contrary to my experience.

I was taking it too personally, trying to apply it to my own life and finding it didn't fit. Stepping back and looking at it for what it was and how it could help some folks become more aware of their own preconceptions and auto-responses, I began to see its utility. I know CPP tried to address that in his update. But it just now clicked for me.

So how does all this further the discussion? It probably doesn't. I'm just sharing. ;-)

Azkyroth said...

Aside- making you feel better is changing the world, of course. You gotta start somewhere. Venting sessions are important.
Expressing empathy for each other in the absence of "problem solving" stereotypical male approaches is incredibly important. Men are welcome to learn stereotypically feminine empathy at any time, of course.
You know, it's entirely possible that the measurable results of an approach are more important than whether it's "male" or "female."

Becca said...

"You know, it's entirely possible that the measurable results of an approach are more important than whether it's "male" or "female.""You know, it's entirely possible that one's perception of the measurable results of an approach (given a non-controlled experiment like, oh, most of life) are influenced by one's socialization.
It's also entirely possible that one's implementation of a given approach will be more or less effective based on how one's gender is percieved by the rest of the world.