Monday, November 30, 2009

Sympathy for The Devil: The Political Function of Caring More about White Men than Everyone Else

[image of album cover is from here. NOTE: Slaine is not a feminist or profeminist band. They are an entirely white male Swiss hardcore band who pride themselves on not being political. (That they don't see how being european white non-Jewish, heterosexual men is political is not surprising.)
To see what the musicians look like, go here.
And let's see if the US and UK MRAs go after them for slander!]

Given some recent exchanges here on the blog with two women about bdsm and my sexism, I'd like to clarify something.

I am VERY critical of male procurers and prostituters of women, and of pimps and pornographers, and of rapists and batterers and various white male predators and perpetrators of sexism and racism, men who think tying up women in order to have sex is "fun" and "good", men who believe that women's agency exists in a context where there is no white male supremacist force ubiquitously woven into society, and of men who don't do a damn thing about rapism and racist patriarchal atrocities.

That should not be interpreted to mean I generally feel critical of women in pornography and other systems of prositution, women who are raped, beaten, stalked, harassed, or who enjoy "bondage" or other bdsm activities.

I am critical of the cosmetics industry, but not of women who wear make-up. I am critical of capitalism, but not of shoppers. I think McDonalds Corporation is evil--racist and classist--and is part of an atrocity against poor urban people; it mass produces and sells cheap "food" creating cardio-vascular disease without remorse--but I'm not critical of people who eat at McDonalds. I'm critical of Big Tobacco, but not of individual smokers, unless they blow cigarette smoke in my face.

I may not always be clear about those distinctions, and was especially unclear about them in my exchange with a woman who is into bdsm. I felt and was critical of her points of view that stated that if consent is present, whatever happens between two adults cannot be abuse. I disagree. And the ways I was critical were, in attitude and action, sexist (oppressive to that woman), as well as triggering for another woman here due to me being yet another white man who was telling a white woman "what the truth is". I address and attempt to make amends for all that at this post.

I unequivocally hold the view that men who want to degrade women, in order to have sex or for any other reason, ought to be called out as being sexist/racist pricks. That doesn't mean I think women who want men to constrain or degrade them ought to be called out. I hope the ethical and political distinction is clear.

All that being said...

So there's this guy I don't even know. His name is Simon. (I have since found out he's white, is not poor, is not Jewish or Muslim, was raised Catholic but is now an atheist, and is not gay. This is to say, he has a ton of privilege.) He's on my chat list, so we must have connected about something once upon a time. I just checked. He wrote a comment to this blog asking for my email address. I wrote to him asking what's on your mind? and he replied that he's working with a CNN political analyst, Leslie Sanchez, on a book: He said in the email that [the title of the book is] "You've Come A Long Way, Maybe," and has some fairly in-depth statistical analysis of how Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Sarah Palin were portrayed in the media and how the national narrative was created about them during the 2008 election. He asked if I wanted a copy of the book. I said thanks, but I'll get it from the library. (Honestly, I probably won't. Matters relating primarily to dominant U.S. electoral politics bore me, and I don't expect much from the U.S. Republicrats, including President Barack Obama, or Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. They're all pro-capitalist, pro-military, pro-white male supremacy, pro-genocide activists who won't even try and do anything to end rape or racism.)

So that's how Simon and I met. And this is what has transpired between us just very recently:

In trying to place him I found his blog and this post:, which I find utterly disturbing. What I also found disturbing is how this male supremacist/stalker/rapism behavior is just mentioned so casually, as if "hey, here's something else that's f*cked up that's going on" without any sense of need to do anything about it. Like it's all just one big TV show, and we're all only viewers, passive and uncritical. I don't expect anything different from him, and know I have no relationship to him to use as leverage in getting him to look at this stuff more closely, more critically. So I didn't even feel angry with him while chatting. Just sort of sad and discouraged... he's yet another white het man who "doesn't get it". Add his name to the long, long list.

I'll post the content and comments below, because it is also a warning, a reminder, that men, anywhere in any public space, can and do physically violate and stalk women, in this case after leaving a movie theatre. (I personally, due to women friends and I not going to movies at theatres any more, forgot about this form of misogynistic, extremely predatory behavior.) 

***IT WILL LIKELY TRIGGER ANYONE*** who has been followed or stalked or had their personal space and property invaded by some strange man and may be very upsetting to anyone with a woman-centered soul. If you wish, you can skip reading the blogpost from Bloggasm, and just read my paragraph just below, and then what follows the blogpost copied and pasted below that.

Below the post is a chat I engaged him in (based on me reading that blogpost), on this and related subjects. It reveals a lot about how normal U.S. heterosexual white men feel about their own responsibilities to end rape, to even do anything at all about it. And it reveals a troubling, delusional and extremely self-serving code of ethics. It demonstrates a value system that, in my view, is dangerous in its ethical vapidity and "Good German" attitude and behavior. If you read on, you'll see what I mean. And feel free to skip the upsetting blogpost, and just go to the chat exchange.

Here's Simon's blogpost content. ("Bloggasm" is the name of his blog. No comment.):

Craigslist post of the day

New Moon midnight showing – m4w – 27 (Fargo, ND)
i sat behind you at he midnight showing of New Moon last night. Me: medium height, dark hair, long nails, mysterious. You: straight long blond hair, full ruby lips, you were wearing black cargo pants and a twilight hoodie. as your hair draped down behind your seat i just has to hold it and smell it deeply(pantene. great choice). i dont remember much ov the movie but i will always remember the smell and texture of your hair. the way you sound when you whisper and laugh. after the movie i followed you and your friend to perkin’s. i waited outside in my car so i could watch you eat and smile. i followed you home and made sure you got there safely.i noticed you left you car unlocked so i went to have a look into your life. i can tell by looking in your car that we have a lot in common. if you want your dash ornaments back you will have to meet me and we can have a great time getting to know each other. “grin”
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  1. sara Says:
    Just like Edward. ;)
  2. Matt Osborne Says:
    “I’d like mine extra creepy…”
  3. Julian Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Why don’t men call this shit out for what it is? Rapism.
    It’s only because men allow each other to do this shit, to stalk, to talk pornographically about women, to believe in and support one another’s right to have 24/7 access to raped women’s bodies online, to disrespect women in humor and in relationships… need I go on? It’s due to all that and more that men will never really be anything other than boys who don’t have the courage or the will to challenge other men’s fucked up behavior towards women.
As soon as I posted the comment I saw that he was online and thought I'd ask him directly what the deal is with men, from his perspective. This is what followed in chat:

me:  hey simon.
 Simon:  hey
 me:  i just posted to a blog post on the latest shit off craigslist.
i am wondering: why don't men call one another out on this stuff. Why does it all just sort of go by unchallenged?
I recently posted about this on my blog, and it's really perplexing, but I wanted to actually ask a man I respect.
 Simon:  i don't see the post

 me: hold on... i'll go grab the url...
 Sent at 8:57 PM on Sunday
 Simon:  i don't see anything about craigslist
 me:  No, my post precedes yours chronologically.
I'm asking what you think is up with men not calling one another out on this stuff?
 Sent at 8:59 PM on Sunday
 Simon:  on sexual fantasies that are degrading to women/
 Sent at 9:01 PM on Sunday
 me:  On sexual behavior that is violating and abusive to women... like what that guy wrote about smelling that woman's hair, following her, taking shit out of her car... and the guys I write about in my post.. who think abusing women sexually is fine as long as it's "consensual"... what's up with this? What's your own take on why men don't call each other out on this?
(I'm not talking fantasy at all: I'm talking REALITY)
 Simon:  i mean, i think all men and women universally think what that guy did was creepy
 me:  Yeah, let's hope so, but there's so rarely any commentary about it.
 Simon:  as for consensual role playing, I don't have much of an opinion
 me:  It all just gets tossed about as if it's sort of "creepy but normal" and men have nothing to say about it, critically, i mean.
 Simon:  i've read feminist arguments that women should deny their own rape fantasies because on principle it's wrong
 me:  Do you think, personally, that if a woman wants to be mistreated during sex, that it is ok for a man to mistreat her? Or that if he wants to bind her and hit her in the face, that if she doesn't leave or object that that's ok to do?
(I'm trying to tap men's minds on this... and you're the man I found online!!)
 Simon:  i suppose
have you ever seen the documentary Sick: The Life & Death of Bob Flannigan?
 me:  No. thanks for the link... checking it out....
(Have you ever seen Dreamworlds II, b[y] Sut Jhally?)
 Simon:  excellent documentary, explores some of these issues from a particularly unique perspective
 me:  Oh, so some self-exploitation flick on some guy into being "dominated" sexually by women?
So it is really critical of men's fucked up behavior towards women?
 Simon:  yeah, but at the time he was one of the oldest living people with Cystic fibrosis
 me:  (The cover image doesn't make it sound too serious a film.)
And into being abused sexually?
 Simon:  and the S&M is the only control he has over the pain he has, it becomse a form of therapy in terms of dealign with his disease
 me:  lemme send ya the link on Dreamworlds II, ok?
I think it may actually be viewable in parts online.
I'd be interested to know your take on that film, and what it has to say.
 Simon:  documentary? i might recommend it to my doc club
 me:  Yeah, a doc.
Please do!
And if there's discussion about it--is your doc club online??--I'd be really interested to know what men, especially, have to say about it, as it is a film made to be viewed by heterosexual men, primarily.
 Simon:  it's just a bunch of DC people and we take turns hosting
 me:  Well done. I have some problems with it--like Sut not giving any time to women to critique the material, but...
Did you just see the one you recommended?
in that doc club?
And have you seen Tarnation?
(One of my fav docs.)
And Darwin's Nightmare?
And Life and Debt?
 Simon:  we saw it a few months ago
 me:  Oh, and Killing Us Softly--the most recent version?
so what's the last doc you've seen with them?
 Simon:  Mr. Death, an Errol morris documentary
 me:  This one would be a great intro to Dreamworlds, as they are both short and could be seen in one night:
I'll go look it up...
 Sent at 9:15 PM on Sunday
 me:  So it's about a neo-Nazi?
(A Nazi Holocaust denier?)
 Simon:  that's the debate, whether he is anti Semitic or whether he happlessly got swept up into their society through no fault of his own
 me:  I see: Documentary about Fred Leuchter, an engineer who became an expert on execution devices and was later hired by revisionist historian Ernst Zundel to "prove" that there were no gas chambers at Auschwitz.
So how does a "Killing Us Softly 3 and Dreamworlds II" double feature sound?
Just a suggestion, given what we were discussing earlier.
 Simon:  i can suggest it, the host picks though
 me:  i understand.
Is it pretty evenly split in terms of gender?
And how about sexual orientation?
 Simon:  high ratio of female jews, come to think of it, ha
 me:  (What are the demographics of the group, also with regard to race?)
 Simon:  probably because the main organizer is jewish
 me:  What was their take on the Mr. Death film?
(I'm not assuming one view...)
 Simon:  i think we all had a level of sympathy for the person
 me:  for the denier?
 Simon:  yes
 me:  And does the discussion, do the discussions, ever reach beyond the individual being discussed, to the larger issues... like about anti-Semitism and racism and misogyny?
 Simon:  yeah, especially with a room full of jews
 me:  Are you also Jewish? (I am.)
 Simon:  nope
 Simon:  reared catholic, atheist now
 me:  Anyway, I just wanted to check in about some of this stuff, and hope that the group is up for doing that double feature... the first film, Killing Us Softly 3 is like about a half hour long! And the other is about one hour.
So it would allow time for discussion for sure.
If it happens, lemme know, ok?
And I understand it's not your call, at least this round.
 Simon:  ok
 me:  have a good night.
 Simon:  ditto
*     *     *

So here's the thing. Due to liberalism and individualism as well as white heteromale supremacy and corporate capitalism in countries white men dominate and control, these men do not feel in any way responsible for what white men do, as white men, in "our" name. Instead, white men generally feel apathetic, callous, disinterested, and could care LESS about what white men do as a political group, as a political force interpersonally, locally, socially, nationally, institutionally, and internationally. This callousness and lack of regard for how white men oppress and destroy other people makes white het men The Devil, in my view. It's not my view alone. Many Black Nationalists have held this view. Some white women have held this view. Some radical women of color have held this view. Marimba Ani tells you everything you need to know about how such views came into existence in her brilliant book, Yurugu, and I believe that book is a must read for all white men, if white het men want to know what they do, collectively. 

What especially makes white men The Devil is the blatant and unapologetic unwillingness to own what we do, to name what we do, to be responsible about what we do, and to stop what we do. Simon's comments demonstrate this "devil-may-care" attitude perfectly. He really can't be bothered to consider matters of anti-Semitism, white het male supremacy, or misogyny. This issues are simply off his political and emotional radar screen. While his ethnic heritage may go back to the Republic of Ireland or the UK, this lack of compassion for those he structurally oppresses, for those white het men structurally oppress, makes him yet another "Good German/Good Man". Maybe after viewing Killing Us Softly 3 and Dreamworlds 2 he'll begin to think more about what his role is in the atrocities that are done in his name. I hope that's the case. If you're reading this here, Simon, please let me know the effect those two films have on you and other white heterosexual men who see them with you.


Anonymous said...

"Given some recent exchanges here on the blog with two women about bdsm and my sexism, I'd like to clarify something."

While I agree that men shouldn't be telling women what we should and shouldn't like, I have to say that I didn't find what you wrote in that thread about your friend and Matt, sexist.

I think what happened is you had a pozi woman and a woman deeply triggered by both what the pro bdsm woman and you were talking about. I didn't find that to be sexist at all, though.

First, the way C brown was writing, I thought it was a male writing in about how another male wasn't endorsing his sexual desires. Then after a while it comes out that C Brown identifies as a woman/is queer identified. To be honest with you, I question whether C Brown is a born woman, or a trans woman, and I do so because there is tons of unchecked and unowned male privilege among trans women, so I will let zhe (since I am not clear on what zhe meant in her description of how zhe identifies) clear that up. I'm not mentioning this to you expecting you to do it, btw.

Away from all that, reading further into this post, when you talk about white men not thinking they are responsible for each other... I can say as a black woman, black men aren't either.

See white men aren't ever regarded as a demographic by society. MOC are, but still even THEY won't be held accountable to one another.

I was recently in a discussion with a group of men about black male and female relationships. I was challenging the way some of them were calling a woman who wrote about it crazy, narcissist and more. I said we have got to stop blaming the white man for EVERTHING that black men do wrong. I pointed out how far black women have come given our dual oppression as black and as women. The response was a man screaking fuck you at me, telling me I probably bleached my skin (which is stupid, I'm a dark chocolate sista) instructing me to straighten my hair, and put in my blue contacts in and accusing me of being white identified etc etc. In all of this, did any of those men say anything to him?


And what's worse, when I challenged the one who was responsible for facilitating the discussion, he turns to me and says "he is responsible for his own actions."

So I can tell you now, it's certainly a male thing. White men do it because of their white male privilege. Black men do it because of their access to male privilege. It's a man thing.

Julian Real said...

Hi Soul Sis,

That is so disgusting about how you were treated for calling out men on their misogyny/sexism.

I don't personally know of a community of men, or an ethnic group of men, or a nation of men, where men call one another out routinely and regularly on any sexism or misogyny that appears on the scene in men's behavior--whether in male-only groups or when a woman is around too. Men just sit back and watch other men do their CRAP and pretend "that's got nothing to do with me!" How conveniently supportive of male supremacy and misogyny! And how utterly callous and what a complete betrayal to you, not that we expect much more from men in situations like that.

If I have to say it fifty thousand times I will: THAT'S why male supremacy continues: because men will not hold other men accountable to our misogynist/sexist/racist crimes against womanity.

And what you point out is something I've been trying to establish here for... well, since this blog began: white men ARE a demographic, and are "a people". Yes, it's only because white men are so used to seeing the world in terms of themselves as the standard of what it is to be human

An aside to the men:
This is NOT true--we're the minority everywhere, ok?: there are always more women than men in a social population, so that makes us NOT representative of humanity EVER, even more so if we're white!)

Yes, Soul Sis, it just never occurs to whiteboys or Black men to own that, yes, we are a people who are active politically, and who don't call each other out on anything, hardly, unless it's for one man "coming down too hard on another man". Please.

I hope you've recovered from the vile exchange where men show how manly they are by NOT being responsible for one another and in the process leave you without any support or validation. Typical male bullshit, that should've stopped getting "typical" decades ago.