“Men as a group hold power in society and this power, damages women as a group.”

I think I need to put this comment I just made into a separate post.

Why I believe that contemporary feminism cannot base itself on the following statement as its underlying assumption about the world:

Men as a group hold power in society and this power, damages women as a group.

I believe that this statement is a gross simplification that is built on a gross generalization. I don’t find it useful at all. You can’t just subtract issues of class, race, education, cultural differences, etc. etc. from the equation. If you do, you come up with an over-generalized statement that doesn’t promote genuine understanding.

This assumption worked when immediate goals of basic rights for women needed to be achieved in the XVIII and XIX centuries. Today, we will get nowhere if we don’t start developing a more nuanced, profound approach.

At the very least, the questions that need to be asked of this statement are: Which men? Which society? Which women? What kind of damage? What is the price both groups pay for this system?

Only then will we start to progress. The times of “bad, horrible men exploit and oppress good, long-suffering women” feminism are so over. We need to move on already.

17 thoughts on ““Men as a group hold power in society and this power, damages women as a group.””

    1. When uttered by a feminist, it’s usually a white middle class feminist, and she will overlook or diminished the importance of issues such as race, class, etc. That hurts the feminist movement as a whole.

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      1. Exactly!! And then there are also cultural differences that often make the feminists you describe very annoyed when you bring them up.

        I often encounter this problem when I bring the subject of the culturally specific areas of my feminism.

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  1. I would amend it to: Men as a group hold more power in society; this power imbalance damages both men as a group and women as a group.

    As ever, individual experience may vary.

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    1. Then, we get the question of power over some aspects of life as opposed to other. Financial and political power is obviously in men’s hands. However, the right to own and express your emotions freely is not. The damage that does to men’s health as a group is horrifying. Then we also have social demands. We have male gender identity that is too tied up with extraneous issues such as employment and financial status.

      All these aspects deserve individual attention, which is why I say that generalizing doesn’t help.

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  2. I believe that this statement is a gross simplification that is built on a gross generalization. I don’t find it useful at all. You can’t just subtract issues of class, race, education, cultural differences, etc. etc. from the equation. If you do, you come up with an over-generalized statement that doesn’t promote genuine understanding.
    Hell even allowing for the subtraction of race, class, etc… until you only have gender left its still a gross generalization.

    Personally I think its just funny how when looking at the state gender in society people will look only at the relatively few men at the top and then conclude that men have power. I’ve lived as a man long enough to know those guys at the top are not looking out for me because I share gender with them. They are looking out for themselves and will mow down anyone man, woman, or child to maintain their own power. I wonder how all that power is helping the millions of men in prison, the millions of men that are homeless, the many that fight to stay in their children’s lives, etc…

    I think there is way too much evidence of the harm society does to men to make declarations like that.

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    1. “They are looking out for themselves and will mow down anyone man, woman, or child to maintain their own power. I wonder how all that power is helping the millions of men in prison, the millions of men that are homeless, the many that fight to stay in their children’s lives, etc…”

      -Very well-said and absolutely true.

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  3. But I said that statement to caricature feminism. I don’t believe the statement is true I believe it is how feminism presents gendered power.

    eg Melissa Mcewan
    eg Julie Bindel
    eg The LSe which is being sued for misandry
    eg OBJECT organisation
    eg Eaves project
    eg Feministe blog
    eg Jezebel
    eg The Guardian

    etc etc

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  4. I agree wholeheartedly, and that’s one of the problems I continue to encounter with mainstream feminism. Men have more power than women in a business environment; women have more power than men in the domestic sphere. There are countless other examples, as you and Danny and others have mentioned, but that’s the one that always sticks out to me. You can’t say with a straight face that men have all the power when you look at the way the court system works when it comes to child visitation, parental rights, and issues like that.

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