On trying to be a much less noisy cultural presence…

This guest blogpost has been submitted by a man who wishes to remain anonymous. If you would like to submit something either anonymously or with full attribution email goosefat101@gmail.com


I don’t usually go in for writing about anything serious online, at least not without obfuscating it under enough weird metaphor to camouflage it as nonsense, but I’m going to make a brief exception as I’ve been directly asked to.

Specifically, I’ve been asked by Dave Pickering, @goosefat101 on twitter, to write a guest blog in response to his survey of 1,000 men on their understanding of patriarchy and masculinity.

I suspect he has asked me because of a DM conversation in which I explained why I, and possibly a lot of other men, would rather chew off our own wrists than venture a public opinion on patriarchy and its effects. It’s not because of the mean old feminists waiting to jump on us; it’s because we’re a bit worried that speaking up might make everything a bit worse.

One thing I think I can say for sure about patriarchy is that women get the worst of it, and another is that part of the problem seems to be a cultural bias towards the male voice. Because of these two things, it feels uncomfortable at best, part of the problem at worst, to pipe up with another male opinion.

There have been lots of times when I’ve been about to pile into a discussion, and stopped myself on realising that beneath my superficial belief that I’m helping to Make Things Better, I’m actually just looking to do a big old bit of virtue signalling in the hope people will think I’m a better person.

As such, I’ve taken the personal decision that it’s better to sit down, shut up and listen to people – overwhelmingly women – who are actively trying to sort out a horrible cultural mess, than spend time making sure people know how *I* feel.

Having listened, I’ve found I have changed an awful lot of my behaviour – by recognising there are things it is better not to say. For someone so prone to being loud, loquacious and inclined towards thinking they have something worthwhile to venture as me, silence is a challenge; it’s action rather than apathy.

A small example: despite having once been an enthusiastic user, I almost never say the c word anymore, unless I’m directly quoting the fruit vendors I hear roaring it at each other on the way to work every day. If it hurts other people when I use it, and it doesn’t hurt me to stop, then doesn’t it make sense for me just not to say it?

(Of course, this logic should extend to telling other people when it’s not cool to say things, but challenging other people takes a different sort of courage to challenging yourself, and I’m often poor at it.)

Having said all this, I’m now breaking the habit and telling you all what a good chap and what a great ally I’ve been. Surely my medal is in the post, right?

Well, if my understanding of Dave’s project is correct, it’s consciously surrounded by huge parentheses and prefixed by towering capital letters saying “READ IF YOU WANT TO” – and so I’m only saying all this within the electric fence of that particular Jurassic Park. And anyway, this is an anonymous post, so nobody will know who to send all those wonderful medals to anyway.

Having read a lot of the survey responses, it seems I’m speaking for a lot of other guys whose growing consciousness of patriarchy has prompted them to try and be much less noisy cultural presences.

In fact, I’m quietly confident there are plenty of men who have gotten so good at this that they didn’t respond to the survey at all, even though it was anonymous.

Whether this stance is a constructive attempt to show rather than tell, or just an exercise in cowardice – whether we are quiet bat people, or whether this is just the projection of a lurid Virtue Signal onto the underside of Gotham’s clouds – I’ll leave to other people to decide.

Suffice to say though, while we may or may not be helping by not speaking, we’re at least doing our best to listen.

Respondent 1003

Does patriarchy exist?

Yes

How would you define patriarchy?

Men rule

How has patriarchy hurt you?

Men cant make all the rules

How have you hurt people in a way influenced by patriachy?

Yes going by stereotype notion

How would you define masculinity?

Excess muscles

Does misandry exist?

Yes

Have you experienced gender and/or sex related prejudice?

Yes

What best describes you?

An egalitarian

Respondent 1002

Does patriarchy exist?

Yes

How would you define patriarchy?

As a burrito with sour cream

How has patriarchy hurt you?

Okay seriously, I’m kind of effeminite and bi and “traditional” ideas about masculinity have hurt me. I grew up being told not to be such a girl, I’ve taken a fair few beatings because of it. Sometimes I’d rather wear a pretty dress than “men’s” clothes. On the other hand, sometimes I think that “effeminite” isn’t really a thing. There are lots of butch lesbians who aren’t “effeminite” but they’re still women. Patriarchy pushes us into roles we may not be comfortable in or naturally fit into.

How have you hurt people in a way influenced by patriachy?

Before I admited to myself that I was bi I would use words like faggot a lot, but I think I was just being defensive.

How would you define masculinity?

As a large pizza… sorry I’m on a diet in order to fit into afor mentioned dresses and I’m really hungry

Does misandry exist?

I’m going to go with yes but not as a system of oppression and it’s not as bad as misogyny which is a systemic problem

Have you experienced gender and/or sex related prejudice?

Yes

Mostly because of opressive gender norms that I don’t fit into.

What best describes you?

A feminist

Respondent 1001

Does patriarchy exist?

Yes

How would you define patriarchy?

A system in which men hold the majority of public power and means to affect their environment to their advantage.

How has patriarchy hurt you?

It has pushed me into roles I cannot subscribe to and I find detrimental to my wellbeing (and that of other men). It has also left little room for women to affect their surroundings in a public and straightforward manner, imbuing their role with many issues and behaviors that have been harmful to me (and themselves).

How have you hurt people in a way influenced by patriachy?

By proxy, most likely. It’s a subtle thing sometimes.

How would you define masculinity?

I don’t. I see no value in historical behavior prescriptions based on gender when I can derive desirable traits in people from rationale and personal preference alone.

Does misandry exist?

Yes

Have you experienced gender and/or sex related prejudice?

Yes

What best describes you?

None of the above

Respondent 1000

Does patriarchy exist?

Yes

How would you define patriarchy?

A dominant social system that privileges straight cus white men over all other people.

How has patriarchy hurt you?

Social pressure to confirm to what society considers normal for men.

How have you hurt people in a way influenced by patriachy?

Learned and often unthinking prejudice against and stereotyped expectations of others.

How would you define masculinity?

Anything society deems inherent to men but not to women or other groups.

Does misandry exist?

No

In concept being anti-male exists but prejudice without power is almost meaningless.

Have you experienced gender and/or sex related prejudice?

Yes

What best describes you?

An ally to feminism

Respondent 998

Does patriarchy exist?

Yes

How would you define patriarchy?

Men swinging their dicks around. Dominance, brutality, greed.

How has patriarchy hurt you?

Dudes in politics. Dudes in power, dudes everywhere making dumb dudes decisions.

How have you hurt people in a way influenced by patriachy?

I’m a dude. I suck. Despite being well read on the subject and being raised by my mother and grandmother I still make dumb dude decisions. I dick swing.

How would you define masculinity?

Being caring, capable, useful, strong, vulnerable, honest, opinionated, empathetic. Able to hug someone and reassure them, then fix a broken thing, then troubleshoot a problem, then fuck something up and admit it, then have a cry at the futility of existence, then cook a meal, then make some love without the focus being on my jizzy time and being open to having my butt explored by my female lover for happy fun time.

Does misandry exist?

I don’t know what misandry is!

This is man hating right? I hate some men. So yeah, it exists.

Have you experienced gender and/or sex related prejudice?

Yes

Some bitches hate me. And my ilk. Cos’ of my dangly bits. I kind of agree with them.

What best describes you?

An egalitarian

I had to look that up too. I’m so tired.

Respondent 997

Does patriarchy exist?

Yes

How would you define patriarchy?

Men do/receive all the good stuff, women not so much.

How has patriarchy hurt you?

My dad never hit me. My mother was quite differently arranged, however. Under the more typical definition, though, it hasn’t.

How have you hurt people in a way influenced by patriachy?

I’m not sure I have, knowingly, but I probably have, although I can’t recall a specific example.

How would you define masculinity?

I can probably lift things better than most, but not all, women.

Does misandry exist?

Yes

Hatred of everything exists. People are varied and weird.

Have you experienced gender and/or sex related prejudice?

Maybe

I find it odd that I can’t think of any examples of this. I’m sure I must have experienced a situation at some point, albeit one that did not directly affect me.

What best describes you?

An egalitarian

Respondent 996

Does patriarchy exist?

Yes

How would you define patriarchy?

Old fashioned customs

How has patriarchy hurt you?

I’m not aware of it hurting me.

How have you hurt people in a way influenced by patriachy?

Don’t think so.

How would you define masculinity?

Standing up for people and doing the right thing.

Does misandry exist?

Respondent skipped question

Have you experienced gender and/or sex related prejudice?

No

What best describes you?

An ally to feminism

Respondent 995

Does patriarchy exist?

Yes

How would you define patriarchy?

A society in which, men are the heads of families, heads of industry and heads of state and where men conspire to prevent women from attaining those positions of power.

How has patriarchy hurt you?

Respondent skipped question

How have you hurt people in a way influenced by patriachy?

No. I’m not a bloody catholic.

How would you define masculinity?

Being born with male genitalia

Does misandry exist?

Yes

Have you experienced gender and/or sex related prejudice?

Yes

constantly bullying at university by feminist staff, being marked down in any essay where I argued against the dogma of feminism, regardless of how well presented and referenced my work was.

What best describes you?

None of the above

Respondent 994

Does patriarchy exist?

Yes

How would you define patriarchy?

The systematic, historically ingrained, and societally internalised privileging of men over women.

How has patriarchy hurt you?

Pressure to look/act/behave a certain way (especially towards women) to “be a man”. Insecurity. Limited exposure to the diversity of women in industry and entertainment. Comments like “if you think this web page works, get your mum or your wife to try using it [and watch how they screw up]”.

How have you hurt people in a way influenced by patriachy?

Sexist jokes, blinkered view of the “role” of women in society, objectification of women.

How would you define masculinity?

The heteronormative, ableist construction of desirable male attributes and behaviours.

Does misandry exist?

No

What MRAs describe as “misandry” is basically just women wanting human dignity.

Have you experienced gender and/or sex related prejudice?

Only in a way that has advantaged me

What best describes you?

A feminist

Social Justice Cleric