This is a re-blog from http://feministcurrent.com
I actually just ran into this situation yesterday while dealing with several (at least 5-6) men on Twitter who decided to jump into a conversation I was having with two other women. They started out mansplaining and demanding us to show proof of violence towards men but after a while, they, and consequently more friends of theirs, just started trolling, trying to exact responses out of me by calling me a “sick fuck” (several times, actually, that was his favorite phrase for me) for suggesting male violence occurs and that women should be able to have safe and private women-only spaces, such as women’s bathrooms, dressing rooms, showers, etc. I was even accused of beating my children when I suggested that little girls didn’t belong in the men’s bathroom.
These are men who are completely and utterly filled with their own male privilege. These are men who will always stick up for men (even trans “women”) before they will ever hear or take a woman seriously. These are men who had several women talking to them about the reasons needed for private female-only space and all they could do was demand proof and demand to be educated.
Unfortunately, these are also the same men who would never read, much less listen to a blog post like the one I am re-blogging below. But, hopefully, a few women may see it and they might start to feel differently about “well meaning men” who butt into their conversations and lives in order to demand some basic education because they refuse to do the work themselves.
I will add 3 snippets of it here to my blog and link to it at the bottom so you can go read the rest and view the comments, adding your own to the author, should you wish to do so. it’s a good read. I sincerely recommend it.
Feminists are not responsible for educating men
As a vocal feminist with many intelligent, lovely male friends, I’m often met with indignance when I choose not to engage with them about feminism. Surely if I reallycared about changing our culture of discrimination and inequality, I should be trying to educate men? Isn’t that an activist’s job? Shouldn’t feminists be grateful when men want to bounce questions off us, because it shows that they are at least trying to understand?
It’s both exhausting and diversionary being expected to hash out the basics with men who haven’t bothered to think about their own privilege before. Men are not entitled to expect feminists to educate them. Real change will only happen when men accept that the burden of education is on them, not on women.
It goes without saying that there is nothing wrong with having basic questions about feminism. Unpacking something as complex and insidious as patriarchy, particularly when it requires an examination of your own privilege, isn’t easy. Where it becomes problematic is when you are so confident that your questions are SUPER! IMPORTANT! that you try and co-opt feminist discussions to have them heard.
To borrow the analogy of another woman:
It’s as if you have walked into a postgraduate mathematics seminar, yelling: “Hey, how can you even use imaginary numbers anyway if they’re not real?” When someone rather distractedly points you to a first-year text-book in the corner, you leaf through the first couple of pages half-heartedly for a few seconds and say: “I don’t agree with some of the definitions in here – and anyway you haven’t answered my question. Doesn’t anyone want to have a discussion with me?!!”
To paraphrase Audre Lorde:
When people of colour are expected to educate white people as to their humanity, when women are expected to educate men, lesbians and gay men are expected to educate the heterosexual world, the oppressors maintain their position and evade their responsibility for their own actions.
If you are in a group that has the structural advantage of wages, safety, health and education – when you’ve basically already won the life lottery just by showing up – it is your responsibility to educate yourself. And really, don’t tell women to be nice. We’re angry. We have every reason to be. Frankly, you should be too.
Read the whole post here: http://feministcurrent.com/8098/feminists-are-not-responsible-for-educating-men/