Tagged: gender


In a piece on the Santa Barbara shooter, Laurie Penny writes:

So no, it’s not all men. But then it never was.

But if you think for one second, for one solitary second, that demanding tolerance for men as a group, that dismissing the reality of violence against women because not all men kill, not all men rape, if you think that’s more important than demanding justice for those who have been brutalised and murdered by those not all men, then you are part of the problem. You may not have pulled the trigger. You may not have raised your hand to a woman in your life. But you are part of the problem.

One has to accept the structural fact that men (regardless of their personal disposition or individual history) are situated differently than women. Men must understand that their point of view on what women face (and feel) in a world arranged by gender hierarchy is not privileged. It is better to listen and reflect; it is better to reflect on why women would feel a need to exclude men from a discussion; accept that there’s a good reason for it, and don’t take it personally or react as if one is now the victim of discrimination. What is difficult is to balance the demand for equality with a recognition of structural differences, without the latter hardening into a dogma. The goal remains equality. However, the path to it may necessitate moments of difference.

Regarding Penny’s either/or, I would put it this way: “all men” are complicit in structural masculine domination if they demand a “but not me” qualifier as a condition of participation in efforts to deconstruct it. The outlier doesn’t disprove the general pattern.