Let's begin with one basic observations about how things work in dominant Western societies:
Misogyny is not only corporately manufactured, but is also promulgated, promoted, heralded, and honored as "sacred" in a society that continually finds new ways to violate and degrade women as a gendered class.
A relatively young white man who appreciates many of the postings on this blog asked me to define what I mean by "a white man".
I'll attempt to do so here.
There was another post made here a couple of weeks or so ago that a good friend noted was potentially transphobic, or, at least, not very welcoming of trans visitors to my blog. I agreed with her and pulled the post. I revised it so much it became something else. What follows is that something else. (I sometimes use the word "they" or "them" as synonymous with "she/he/neither" and "her/him/neither", respectively.)
What immediately follows is from the book Love and Pornography (2009). (See the previous post for more.)
Male privilege is a complex, vast, endemic matter, a bit like air--hard to notice unless it hits you in the face. If you're a woman living in a home with a man, that happens literally with atrocious regularity. I say this with knowledge that in the U.S. it is now "Domestic Violence Awareness" month. (I think it should be called "Let's Do Something About the Terrible Fact that Men Beat the Shit Out of Women at Home" month, but that's a topic for another post.
An open letter to all white men.
I am a white man, which means I can be (and have been), at any time, in any place, a white male supremacist. This is not a revelation about my genetic code, or an indictment of my own soul. This is a statement about structural political reality.
[To post a comment, please click here.]
I am a U.S.-born radical activist and writer who strives toward the realization of women's full human rights. I support radical feminists' humanitarian struggles to end all manifestations of white, heterosexual, and male supremacy, and have done so for the last twenty-plus years. Most of my closest friends during that time have been women systematically harmed by what I not-so-affectionately call Corporate Racist Atrocious Patriarchy (CRAP):
From around 2005 until early 2006, I delusionally entertained an idea of myself as ungendered. Then a radical activist friend, Yolanda Carrington, pointed out to me how politically absurd this notion of mine was. And I realized that the white male supremacist mind—mine in particular—is quite capable of generating lots of mental CRAP. How could I have grown up in a deeply white male supremacist society, and not be socially and interpersonally gendered? Her point was that regardless of what I thought of myself as, I am in a real world where gender—and race—matter, a lot. And being gendered, as a woman or man, a girl or a boy, is not something one can escape. Privileges and power are distributed based on how we are perceived, and according to our anatomy. The anatomy is biological, but the political meaning is entirely social.
By Julian Real, 2007, with invaluable input from Celie's Revenge
Here's a list of what men can do:
First, recognize and accept that the personal is political, and that interpersonal behavior is part of your political work as a responsible humane being. Stop either/or'ing the private and the public, the personal and the social, the interpersonal and the institutional. All are breeding grounds for male domination of women and children.
Given the above: