The last 24 hours or so, I’ve been engaged in a civilized conversation about male violence and the absence of male voices speaking out against it. I am far more enlightened, and far more discouraged than I was before. I have previously shared my opinion that there are no prerequisites for compassion. It would appear that I have a similar opinion, which is that there are no prerequisites for the compassionate.
My intent was to dispute the following statements:
”The fact that men’s violence against humanity is not mentioned or spotlighted at all by the media is also very problematic.”
“…if women were the aggressors it would be headline news everyday…”
“Men won’t dare to speak out against men…”
It has not been my experience that men’s violence is not mentioned or spotlighted at by the media. I believed I had a good reason why women’s violence is over-reported. I felt the claim that men won’t dare speak out against men was mistaken.
So I posted a reply, knowing I was wading into something I knew little about. I was however, curious to learn.
I won’t give you a blow-by-blow (I’ve included that below) but the response was…enlightening.
The opinion expressed was that the act of speaking out against male violence is not authentic unless a number of prerequisite conditions are met by the man speaking out:
1. You must not be a “sensitive” man who wants to embrace your feminine side.
2. You must be against domestic violence.
3. You must be against the military.
4. You must be against male supremacy.
5. You must be against male nationalism.
6. You must embrace ecofeminism, and be against violence towards nature.
7. You must be completely sincere and altruistic when speaking out.
Unless ALL of the above prerequisites are fulfilled, your speaking out as a man will be viewed as opportunistic, insincere, patriarchal, brutish, in denial, pathetic, bathetic, or a horrifically male-chauvinist, foolish, fake, hopelessly selfish, and beyond redemption. Unless meeting all these requirements, all men are suspect until proven innocent of opportunism, and it is accepted truth that men will always play along just to get along but “their heart will never be in full emancipation.”
I fear this may be a widely held opinion, which is both enlightening and disappointing.
I reject the notion that a compassionate person needs to fulfill any prerequisites in order for their actions to be deemed worthy.
“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” - Dalai Lama
I fail to see the benefit in discounting the compassion of anyone who offers it. Compassion breeds more compassion, contempt breeds contempt. To discount the compassion of anyone who does not meet a list of additional prerequisites puts conditions on compassion that undercut the very nature of developing compassion in the world. Everyone is capable of compassion and all who show compassion are worthy of appreciation and encouragement for that act, regardless of anything else.
I welcome and encourage the compassion of anyone who offers it, regardless of background or situation.
And I encourage you to practice compassion in your daily life, and found this zen habits site to help guide you.
If you care to read the conversation I had over the last 24 hours or so, it is pasted below.
”The fact that men’s violence against humanity is not mentioned or spotlighted at all by the media is also very problematic. Because if women were the aggressors it would be headline news everyday, it would be called an epidemic and specialists from around the world would be involved to help end it.” – Teresa Folds
Moses Seenarine ”It is the absence of media coverage on the topic of men’s violence that I find to be one of the most disturbing aspects of this culture.” Teresa Folds
Trisha Baptie Where did you find her writing, I’m interested.
Catherine Campbell Men won’t dare to speak out against men, and women are afraid to be called man-haters.
Moses Seenarine trisha, she’s an fb friend; not sure if she has a blog
Winnie Small When one or two out of a thousand violent ppl are women, the one or two women get more media attention than the 998 or 999 violent men.
Teresa Folds Thanks Moses for mentioning me. I so appreciate all that you contribute. And no, I have no blog but have been encourage by many to write more.
Christopher Libby Perhaps it is the prevalence of men’s violence that has made the term “violence” synonymous in the same way that all facial tissues are often called “kleenex”. Far from being under-reported, I suggest that it is so prevalent that it has become part of the background noise of our daily lives (and certainly our nightly news casts). That women’s violence is often over-reported is likely a function of its relative novelty, and the media’s overarching business model which thrives on such. Not only is it disputable that the claim “men don’t dare speak out against men” is factual, I would contest that in general the entire legal system has been developed largely in response to men’s violence, rather than women’s violence. As such, I would point to it as a response by men against men’s violence so universal as to be a founding concept of modern civilization.
Moses Seenarine mansplaining never ceases to amaze me; violence in not synonymous with men, but with the “other”, i.e., culture, and a history of racist, sexist laws attest to that; fail! try again…
Monique O’Reilly what’s mansplaining about that? male violence *is* prevalent enough to be media background noise. i don’t see anything worth arguing there.
Moses Seenarine if you’re really interested in addressing male violence, you’d look at the construction of masculinity, rather than encouraging hyper-masculinity through sport, hunting, games and war; the argument that violence is synonymous with men is false; only some men are violent, and the others are warriors for peace
Moses Seenarine there is glorified, sanctified violence for our boys (white/christian) which we support our troops to peacefully commit against the real violence of the terrorists (brown/muslim); all this is mere justification of hyper-masculinity to aid war profiteering
Moses Seenarine the capacity for violence is seen as a mark of civilization! america is the greatest country there ever was because we’re the most violent there ever was; we can bomb anyone into the middle ages, and that makes us strong, powerful and worshiped by all other aspiring male despots; male violence is glorified everywhere, from the war media and movies to children’s shows; nowhere is male violence and the construction of masculinity viewed as something to guard against
Heather Cottin All boys are encouraged here…to be tough…it is quite profitable and makes young men very confused and manipulated…
Moses Seenarine violence is the lifeblood of masculinity, in the absence of menstruation, and men have to prove themselves as over and over again through violence that they are not females, i.e., passive and weak; the oppositional construction of masculinity is the problem, since being a “sissy” is devalued and worthless
Christopher Libby my intent was to rebut the comments made by Teresa Folds by arguing that: 1: all male violence is simply called “violence” because the overwhelming majority of violence is committed by men; 2: that the reporting of male violence is so commonplace as to have become background noise; 3: that female violence is over-reported due to its novelty and the media’s profiting from reporting novelty; 4: that the legal system is a construct of men’s response to male violence; and 5: that the legal system can therefore be considered a universal speaking out by men against male violence. I then tack on a claim that the legal system is a founding concept of modern civilization. Therefore, I argue that Teresa Folds’ comment “The fact that men’s violence against humanity is not mentioned or spotlighted at all by the media” is mistaken, as is Catherine Campbell’s comment ” Men won’t dare to speak out against men”. It also attempts to address Winnie Small’s comment regarding the reporting of female violence. All a bit much for one FB comment, I admit.
Moses Seenarine the “legal” system is based on patriarchal culture and religion; far from seeking to respond to male violence, they all have merely served to encourage it; it’s the women’s movement that has done anything about addressing male violence, and how nice of you to claim that
Christopher Libby I agree that the legal system is based on patriarchal culture and religion, but stand by the claim that it is a universal male response to male violence. Therefore, Catherine Campbell comment “Men won’t dare to speak out against men” is mistaken.
Moses Seenarine oh sure! making it legal to flog enslaved men to death or legally paying for the scalp of men with a slightly different color was a great universal response to male violence; wars are “legal” and so is most of male violence
the is the typical patriarchal bullshit; “aren’t men great; oh, well, actually, we may be a little bad, but look we’re on top of it with all the laws and stuff; men have this covered, ladies, so everyone can go back to sleep now”domestic violence was legal before the women’s movement; so was child labor, jim crow, legal discrimination of immigration of none-aryan races, and other crap not so long ago; it’s women who are the civilized sex; men are the brutes in denial
Moses Seenarine as for men specifically naming and speaking out against male violence, name me one!
Moses Seenarine and don’t bring up “sensitive” men who want to embrace their feminine side and who are against domestic violence, but who support the military, male nationalism, and male supremacy to the hilt
Heather Cottin Yeah. Denial is holding back the struggle, for sure. If they see it, then they have a chance. We really need them to step up, no kidding. Even the best of them have some serious issues! And I am being nice. But lots of women are not stepping up either. They are willing patsies. You can’t move this f orward without them! Back in the 60s, the extreme women called to “smash the nuclear family.” Well, that didn’t get many women over to the revolution. Today there is “slutwalk”, and many women just would not go for that. They aren’t edgy anymore. So maybe there needs to be, in the woman’s movement, a great leap forward? There is IWA, International Women’s Alliance that met in the Philippines in July. And they deal with it all, from abuse to imperialism. We can’t make the men move, but we can make ourselves.
Christopher Libby correct me if I’m wrong: Catherine stated “Men won’t dare speak out against men”. In rebuttal, I gave an example that the legal system is a universal male response to male violence. You have argued that this example is insufficient and ask me to name a single individual speaking out against male violence. You have added the additional condition that I must choose someone who you would not consider sensitive or embracing of their feminine side. They must also have a publicly stated position against domestic violence, against the military, against male nationalism and against male supremacy.
Moses Seenarine yup; that’s sounds about right; good luck!
Christopher Libby OK, I suggest that you’ve raised the bar considerably from Catherine’s statement “Men won’t dare speak out against men” by discounting the speaking out by men who are otherwise blameworthy of a host of offenses you have now stipulated. I will attempt your challenge despite my misgivings that it is unlikely you will find any of my candidates able to meet your standards. While I search, will you ponder why you feel that only wholly blameless men are legitimately considered to have spoken out against male violence? Is speaking out against male violence pointless unless the speaker is blameless of a host of other offenses you have stipulated?
Heather Cottin Yeah, women raise the bar, Chris. That’s called the struggle. You are in this conversation and some major women are in it with you. You sound like a nice person. Do you mix it up with gf fellow men about their really pathetic, bathetic, or horrific male chauvenism or acceptance of the male-dominant paradigm? (I can’t believe I said such a cheesy sociological thing) Take your new=-fpund knowledge, if you have gained it friom the patient and intelligent and honest responses of these fb sisters, and examine what you are doing in your life off facebook. With other men. Becaause we all want a revolution, well, you know…( but the Beattles didn’t)
Monique O’Reilly I still do not understand why Christopher is being jumped on. His arguments are well thought out, and NOT in contradiction to anything other than the “not speaking out” thingy.
What amazes me is that Chris is pounced on while that jerk Jed is allowed post after post of ridiculous logical gymnastics AGAINST feminism, with only a gratuitous tsk-tsk from Moses.
something’s out of kilter here. ::: shakes head :::
Moses Seenarine chris is a new passenger here; there may be some hope for him and his dedication to patriarchal legalism; jed’s a loss cause
besides, chris is attempting to dismiss teresa’s important point; if background violence is assumed to be male by the media, then why seek to glorify some forms of it (wars) and dehumanize others for doing the same thing; it’s not’s male violence they are framing, but the violence of only some males (and they’re never white!)
Moses Seenarine the only “male” violence that counts as violence is violence against capital and some men (propertied/white); all other forms of male violence (against women and nature) are minimized and discounted
Monique O’Reilly well, i didn’t read that much into it, but granted i’m not as educated and experienced in discourse as you are, so i’ll wait it out. you do bring clarity to many topics and dare to touch subjects that others dance around so i’ll fade into background and listen for now. thanks.
Moses Seenarine ecofeminism exposes linkages between the construction of masculinity and male violence in all of its forms; no other analysis does this
Christopher Libby Moses: Thank you for issuing this challenge. It has given me an opportunity to look further into the issue of men addressing men’s violence. For your consideration, I submit the following men as examples:
Heather Cottin Moses you said, ” only “male” violence that counts as violence is violence against capital and some men (propertied/white); all other forms of male violence (against women and nature) are minimized and discounted. ” But they are NOT minimized and discounted…they are encoraged and organized and legitimized culturally and economically! They are trained and is promoted by the “gift” of make supremacy and all that means, but it utterly brutalizes men and makes them dissociate from the human race. The capitalsits buy them! The essence if this was when DSK got away with known rape, brutal rape! And the world’s male media applauded. Arrogant white Zionist French imperial man who can’;t keep his dick in his pants and his hands to himself, this sick bastard was freed to attack again. And they publically internationally pilloried his victim! Says it all.
Heather Cottin This is not academic. It is life, Moses. We aren’t competing here, we should be intreraccepting unless we lack reason.
Christopher Libby Todd Minerson, Exec. Dir., White Ribbon Campaign; Raymond Ludwin, Pres., White Ribbon Campaign; Ulester Douglas, Assoc. Dir., Men Stopping Violence; Eduardo Correia, Board Dir., Men Stopping Violence; Moshe Rozdzial, Co-Chair, NOMAS (Nat. Org. for Men Against Sexism) ; Barry Goldstein, Board Dir., NOMAS; Dr. Michael Flood, Editor-in-Chief, XYOnline; Neil Irvin, Exec. Dir., Men Can Stop Rape
Moses Seenarine heather, i couldn’t agree more and stand corrected; the “reward” of female oppression is the single most important reason why capital/social hierarchy reins supreme, since it co-opts and easily obtains the complicity of oppressed men of all classes/stripes; with liberal and socialist feminist, men will always play along just to get along but their heart will never be in full empancipation
Moses Seenarine chris, i haven’t even bother to look , but i can assure you they all fail distinctly in the specific criteria i outlined and still challenge to produce a single line from this esteemed bunch against militarism, male nationalism and male supremacy; do it!
Monique O’Reilly There’s Quinten Walcott, i don’t know, maybe he’s a male supremacist too? http://www.facebook.com/quentinwalcott
Monique O’Reilly Quinten is the director of CONNECT – Safe Families, Peaceful Communities. maybe he’s a got a secret hankerin for the military. anything’s possible, i suppose.
Moses Seenarine quentin is just like other “sensitive” men opposed to domestic violence but who are without a clue as to how it is related to masculinity and all other forms of male violence; this is not to say that dv isn’t important, but it’s a small part compared to militarism, and male violence against animals and nature; we need a holistic perspective on male violence, not a fragmentary one that barely scratches the surface
Moses Seenarine and like upton said in my previous status, all of these sensitive men’s salaries is dependent on them not understanding male violence
Christopher Libby Thank you for your additional challenge. I continue to learn. White Ribbon campaign has a statement online called “The Seven P’s of Men’s Violence” that speaks out against militarism, male nationalism and male supremacy, I believe. Also, it seems Dr. Michael Kaufman, their International Director has written extensively in opposition to these paradigms. I will continue to research the others.
Moses Seenarine chris, more wishful thinking; not a word on militarism, male nationalism and male supremacy
Moses Seenarine ok, to be fair, kaufman and others do talk about a bit about male supremacy, and there is a very limited sense of patriarchal dualisms, but not a single word on militarism or nationalism; and the talk of supremacy is not linked to animals and nature, a major limitation, if not a fatal one
Christopher Libby Ulester Douglas, Assoc. Dir. of Men Stopping violence uses an ecological model to investigate male supremacy, male nationalism and militarism in his work “Deconstructing Male Violence Against Women”, which I’ve just read.
Moses Seenarine so what does ulester say about the construction of masculinity and violence against women and nature?
Moses Seenarine ulester and co. uses the word ecological to refer to community, and there is nothing even remotely ecological in their approach, nor is there a single word on militarism or nationalism;
violence careerists are in this strictly for the $, and are pimping domestic violence interventions for a fee; not one of these male fools have the slightest interest in learning about male violence
Christopher Libby Moshe Rozdzial and Barry Goldstein of NOMAS would not fit your criteria it seems, they self-identify as pro feminist, anti-racist, and gay-affirmative but do not deal with ecology, militarism or nationalism.
Christopher Libby Dr. Michael Flood, Editor-in-Chief, XYOnline, while hosting some articles that relate to nationalism and male supremacy, is not the author of same. His work appears to be more about the cultural underpinnings of male violence.
Christopher Libby Neil Irvin, Exec. Dir., Men Can Stop Rape would also appear to lack an ecological focus, instead studying the effects of masculinity definitions on male violence, the bystander effect, and DV prevention programs.
Heather Cottin Are they recieving pay for this? If they are, they are men and they are profiting from the male-chauvenist system their so-called good hearts are in the hands of the Soros and MacArthur and Ford Foundations and the grantmeisters that keep the system down, and help not a soul, Not even their own. They are part of the fake and nefarious NGO game that changes absolutely nothhg on earth.
Christopher Libby I concede defeat. Of my original eight names I submitted as examples of men who speak out about male violence who are also not “sensitive” men who want to embrace their feminine side, and who are against domestic violence, the military, male nationalism, and male supremacy, as well as employing a strong ecological approach (ecological defined in an naturalist sense), it seems I have failed to present one who fits all of your stipulations for consideration of having legitimately and sufficiently spoken out about men’s violence.
Heather Cottin They may be nice, Chrius, but they are still not really challenging the system. But the problem is…who is?
Christopher Libby I have asked Moses to consider: “why you feel that only wholly blameless men are legitimately considered to have spoken out against male violence? Is speaking out against male violence pointless unless the speaker is blameless of a host of other offenses you have stipulated?”
Moses Seenarine well, it’s not pointless for dv pimps; they’ve all probably paid off a house in the city and one in the country, and are now working on a second vacation home; and as a result of all these pimps getting paid, a few court-appointed abusers may have learned not to remain abusive to women, but i would argue that we’d get more out of the public money if we focused more on reporting and implementation of existing laws
the problem of male violence is an extinction-level event; yet the few men who are remotely concerned with this issue are in it purely for profit; it only leads one to conclude that men are hopelessly selfish and beyond redemption
Christopher Libby I’ll add “unpaid” to the list of stipulations. So, Catherine Campbell’s comment “Men won’t dare to speak out against men” is true in your opinion in so far as the efforts of any man to do so are not eligible for consideration unless the man in question is: not a “sensitive” man who wants to embrace his feminine side, who is against domestic violence, the military, male nationalism, male supremacy, employs a strong ecological approach (defined in the naturalist sense), and draws no pay from the speaking out against men.
Moses Seenarine thanks, chris
given 10,000 years of male domination, i expect all men working on women’s issues to act with complete sincerity and altruism; accounting for this long history means that all men are suspect until proven innocent of opportunism
taking male violence seriously enough to include issues of violence against women and nature, militarism and nationalism, is the basic minimum given the extent of the problem and its intractable nature; the fact that this challenge appears out of reach for most all men, even the professionals, speaks volumes on male entitlement, false privilege and denial – all conveniently self-serving, of course
Christopher Libby this has been an informative exchange. thank you. best wishes until we cross paths again.
Note: [this entry is part of a ninety night blog challenge I've given myself. This is Night Twelve.]