Respondent 483

Does patriarchy exist?

Yes

How would you define patriarchy?

The assumption that men and ‘male traits’ are default and superior.

How has patriarchy hurt you?

It hasn’t hurt me directly; mainly the hurt caused has been derivative of notions of masculinity.

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

I can’t really think of, or identify, times when I’ve hurt people in a way influenced by patriarchy.

How would you define masculinity?

Notions of how men should behave, usually in a superior position relation to women and children. That position needn’t be intrinsically harmful or domineering; it can be caring and/or protective, but it’s difficult to define such notions in a productive manner. It’s a problem that there doesn’t seem to be any positive notions or definitions of masculinity really, one’s that are compatible with gender equality.

Does misandry exist?

Maybe

I think it exists in few few and particular situations, and it’s not equal in misogyny at all. However, there are assumptions/suspicions about men and children, for example. I like children and I enjoy being a positive influence on the ones in my life, but I’ve felt reluctant to volunteer to help children, for example, as in the back of people’s mind there’ll always be suspicions about motivation.

Have you experienced gender and/or sex related prejudice?

Yes

I’m sure I’ve benefitted far more by being a man than not; I certainly see sexism (against women) on an everyday level. Some of this is obvious (to me) and others are less so. For example, my long-term partner was/is deemed exceptional at her job and was on a fixed-term contract. It was up for renewal, but her (supposedly liberal) employer suddenly went cold on offering her a permanent position once they found out she had a long-term partner. Another, quite different, example in the work place was when I was working in a predominantly older female environment. I did feel as if I was made to feel unwelcome or not part of the group, and sometimes semi-openly mocked because of it. I don’t have a problem working with or under women in other contexts; my experiences have been mixed as they have with male bosses. Probably just over half of my friends are female too. That said, especially amongst older generations (I’m 34), gender homogenous groups can often resent an ‘intruder’. I’ve experienced being a man in such a male-only semi-professional situation, and the ‘blokeyness’ about doing a pretty woman who took us to our table (for example) was pretty distasteful for me.

What best describes you?

A feminist

I do call and consider myself a feminist; my only reluctance to do that is that feminism is obviously diverse, meaning that I inevitably disagree with some feminists on some things by agreeing with other feminists. (Germaine Greer condemning FGM for white women but regarding it a valid cultural practice for muslim was a particular low point). That said, in that situation of me being a feminist who disagrees with (female) feminists does put me in an awkward situation of feeling as if I’m telling / mansplaining to women that they’ve got feminism wrong. That said, because I think feminism is still much needed (as well as a much more masculine-positive models in our culture), I generally stick to calling myself a feminist.