Monday, October 16, 2006

Pro-feminist man = gay?

I was talking to a female friend of mine recently who is single and looking. She may well be coming to the Reclaim The Night march and I said, "Well, it's unlikely you're going to randomly meet a decent guy in the pub or in the street, but there might be some at the RTN rally." She said something like, "but won't a lot of them be gay?"

During a conversation with a feminist friend of mine and Man With A Bald Head, I was joking about organising his social life around feminist events and he came out with, "I'm a gay icon!" Feminist friend and I were like, "whaddy'a mean gay?"

MWABH has since stated that his proclamation had nothing to do with the conversation, he just likes the term "gay icon". Ok :) Nonetheless, it is a common assumption that pro-feminist men must be homosexual. Take the following extract from Jackson Katz's "The Macho Paradox" (highly recommended by the way), where he is demonstrating against a misogynist comedian outside the (packed) venue:

"As we carried our homemade picket signs outside the arena, some of the young men on their way into the show shouted and taunted us. Some were clearly drunk. "Fucking fags!" "Fucking homos!" are among the more articulate epithets I can recall. AFter I heard that screamed for the umpteenth time, I finally realized its significance. Those guys were saying, in essence, that because we care about women, we must want to have sex with men. At one point I was holding a sign that read, "Love women, don't hate them." It was a rather prosaic slogan. A man walking into the concert saw my sign and stopped about ten steps away. He made a contemptuous face at me and shouted, "I hate women, you faggot!" It was an unintentionally revealing pronouncement. What does it mean that large numbers of people - men and women - question a man's heterosexuality if he is overly concerned about men's violence against women? Most importantly, what does it say about their expectations of heterosexual men? If a man has to be gay to care about women, then heterosexual men must not care about women."

As Katz points out, this is an effective way to silence men who are concerned about women but don't want to be thought of as gay. But what is the implication for heterosexual women?

If heterosexual men must not care about women, how then must they view their relationships with women? How must they view heterosexual sex?


Blogger sparkleMatrix said...

You have raised a question that I have pondered many a time. It also sometimes stretches to other things with a ‘female energy‘, animals, children the earth etc.

Katz’s work is highly recommended, his writings on the European witch-hunts was a very different slant than many of the historians.

12:28 PM  
Blogger KATA LEVENO said...

Pro-feminist man = Gay ICON ?
Quite possibly.Gay icons are not usually gay (think Madonna,David Beckham,Hugh Heffner et al)

2:08 PM  
Blogger jo22 said...

They're not usually pro-feminist either, citing your examples. Besides, that wasn't the point of my post.

2:58 PM  
Blogger stormy said...

"If heterosexual men must not care about women, how then must they view their relationships with women? How must they view heterosexual sex?"

I think porn gives the answer to that. (I never thought I'd cite porn as the reference for anything!)

7:54 PM  
Blogger andrew said...

I cannot recall the author or the work's title, but the published thesis was that most pro-feminist men are inspired by a meaningful relationship, predominately of the heterosexual, monogamous variety but not excluding the familial or otherwise.

I would certainly cite the former as the primary reason for my own views in this area.

6:24 AM  

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