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Mark Smith ([personal profile] zorkian) wrote2014-05-27 05:59 pm

re: UC Santa Barbara


Need to reread, but, on the first read: yes. I need to learn how to talk about this better with my male friends.
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[personal profile] synecdochic 2014-05-28 04:04 am (UTC)(link)
That is a really good article. Thanks for the link!

(And, yes, you talking about it with your male friends is a big help. It's pretty much been proven that men will listen to other men on matters of sexism more than they'll listen to women, just like white people will listen to other white people more about racism, etc. It helps a lot to have guys talking about stuff like this on so many levels.)
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[personal profile] aposiopetic 2014-05-29 08:03 pm (UTC)(link)
On the talking to other men front, there are two things I want to add:

The first is that misogynists (and racists, and homophobes, and so on) interpret silence as endorsement. Extremist thinkers tend to believe that other people within their peer group hold similar views unless they are directly challenged. On of the most powerful things men can do as allies to women is to respond to misogyny where it arises. It doesn't have to be anything really bombastic, just a simple "No, that kind of humor isn't acceptable" or "No, that's not ok".

The second is that responding negatively to misogyny in conversation with other men does more than remove support from misogynists; it also has a direct impact on the other men listening. When groups of men are "primed" with sexist jokes, they are more likely to immediately make decisions that preference men or actively harm the interests of women (cutting funding from women's programs, for example). It's not conscious, we're just social creatures and very responsive to social cues. There's some evidence that having a member of the group challenge or shut down the misogyny *resets that social cue* and diminishes the negative impact of decision-making.

So please, yes, yes, yes, talk to your male friends about this stuff in general, and especially if casual sexism, rape jokes, and other misogynistic commentary arises.
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[personal profile] aposiopetic 2014-05-29 09:29 pm (UTC)(link)
Privilege in a nutshell, pretty much.
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[personal profile] aposiopetic 2014-05-29 09:41 pm (UTC)(link)
I do think, for what it's worth, that by and large you can shut down overt misogyny without losing a ton of face or friends. I mean, I think losing friends who are willing to drop you if you don't endorse their overt misogyny is a good thing, but I get that sometimes this stuff comes up with people you don't know well or in the workplace or whatever, and it's a different dynamic.

One reasonably reliable method in those settings is the ask-a-stupid-question shutdown: if someone cracks a joke, ask them why it's funny. Then keep asking questions, even if they try to play it off. It's a little deceptive, since you already know that they find it funny because of culturally-ingrained misogyny, but asking questions makes everyone present comes face to face with that in an uncomfortable way. But you're not a jerk, right? You were just asking for clarification!

If that's too aggressive or awkward for you, just saying "No." is also pretty good. I mean, elaboration is great for getting people thinking, but a simple "No." shuts things down, and it's a big step that requires very little risk on your part, since you're not getting into dialogue. And the thing is, most men don't want to think of themselves as misogynists and bad guys, so outing yourself as an ally and a good guy will probably do you more good than harm.

Ultimately, I encourage you to take risks, to surround yourself with good people, and to have tough dialogue and be part of the conversation, because that's what being an ally *is*, and we need them. We need you. But you have a choice, always, because of your privilege.