Feminism Revisited

I’ve reconsidered my prior post on feminism.

The comments in this thread, especially this comment by Tigtog, have cooled my rage considerably. Realizing my mistake and seeing that feminism is really about women’s struggles, I now understand why the role of men is limited, and concern about men’s issues so incidental. The position is reasonable.

Having said that, I must also reject the notion that simply improving women’s status in society will free men. It’s not enough to merely release one’s grip on privilege; one must also develop a new way of relating to society and the world, a new way of vigorously building one’s personal conception of the good life. That takes more than giving up old ways and old roles, more than just tearing down concepts of masculinity. New ways, new roles, new conceptions are needed. And these are things that feminists, and especially feminist women (leaving aside the argument as to whether men can be feminsts), cannot provide. Nor will the sort of changes they seek, in and of themselves, provide them.

Tigtog expresses hope that I may be an “ally”. In a way, perhaps. I have my own struggles, and that’s where my energy must go, but there will surely be areas where my efforts will coincide with feminist work. And feminist theory may at times be useful as I search out the solutions to my problems as a man. But there are many areas that I must address that feminists have nothing to do with, or even that may place me in opposition to them on this or that issue. It will perhaps be natural for them to consider me at best a fair-weather friend, even if the goal we share is the same.

So, I’m still turning away from feminism, but on different terms and for different reasons. Instead of anger, I’m feeling more melancholy, the sort of quiet sadness that tinges acceptance of the Way Things Are.

Curiously, this change of heart, slight though it may be, has calmed me a fair deal. It is rather like a pin prick in a balloon, allowing built up pressure to subside. I’m no less alone, but much of my anxiety is gone. It’s strange that I should find comfort in these circumstances, but there it is.

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~ by arkhilokhus on March 26, 2008.

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