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Why I Find It Hard To Relate To Men


I find it rather hard to relate to cis men. (Cis means non-trans; I can relate rather well to many trans men, for reasons that might become clearer as you read on).

The main reason for this is that I am very much aligned with a feminist worldview. (By feminist, I mean anti-sexist. If you think feminist means anything other than anti-sexist, you probably haven’t spoken with many feminists and have just taken on board the skewed image of us painted by the media).

By understanding things from a feminist viewpoint, I see how oppressive most men’s understanding of masculinity is.

Cis men are socialised in such a way that they feel the urgent need to prove themselves to be masculine, or to defend their masculinity from attacks. The strange thing is that “masculine” doesn’t really mean “masculine”, not in the sense of the actions that tend to come out of a male gender identity. “Masculine” in this case means: rough, aggressive, sexist, homophobic, disconnected, emotionless, compassionless.

Why else is it that vegan men are often attacked for being not manly enough, when really they are only attempting to align themselves with non-violence? So non-violence means feminine? Non-violence means too feminine? That’s interesting because as far as I’m concerned non-violence has nothing to do with gender and gender expression and everything to do with being a decent human being.

The thing with male socialisation is that sexism is a core component of it. You can’t have unquestioned male socialisation without being sexist.

How come? Well, male socialisation has at its core the distancing of men from women.


Women are allowed to wear men’s clothing. In fact, a lot of what is just considered gender neutral clothing nowadays used to be exclusively the realm of men. It actually takes effort for a woman to wear clothes that would stand out as too masculine. However, men are not allowed by society to wear woman’s clothing. Compare the difference between a woman walking down the street in a T-shirt and jeans, to a man walking down the street wearing a dress.

This is reflected in many other things; how women can be tough, but men aren’t allowed to cry; how women can be professionally ambitious, but a man who chooses to be a house husband is looked down on.

So it seems that women are allowed to bring themselves closer to men, but men cannot do female-associated things without being attacked and rejected by their peers.

So men never really become comfortable with female-associated things. In this way, men feel a distance from women which women don’t feel from men. There is a boundary there, something which makes it clear that there is a fundamental difference between the two.

This is why some men say things like, “I just don’t understand women,” or even “I could NEVER kiss a guy!” (Most women feel far more free to explore their sexuality than men ever do). This is why sexual harassment and rape are so rampant in our society; men are taught not to empathise with women, and can’t immediately see why these things are so horrible.

And this is why I feel distant from most cis men when we interact. There’s a boundary there. When men act tough or rough or subtly homophobic, I feel uncomfortable, because I know that’s part of the system which makes it hard for them to empathise with me, and which encourages violence.

Besides which, it’s just fake. And I can’t really feel close to someone who feels fake.

If you want to change this, I encourage you to learn to empathise with women. Learn to see female perspectives which our male-dominated society has hidden from men.

The internet is here, now. So read. Read about sexual harassment. Read about rape. Read about sexism in the workplace. Read about sexism in the media. Read, read, read. Do it until you empathise with women. Do it until you can start to feel how your social conditioning makes you subtly oppressive towards women.

That will feel uncomfortable. Own it. Embrace the discomfort, because by doing so you know you are making progress.

Here are a few links for you to start:

Feminspire.com

Feminist Frequency

Not All Women / Yes All Men

A Gentleman’s Guide To Rape Culture

Lessons From A Day Spent With The UCSB Shooter’s Awful Friends

And of course anything in the Feminism section of Sophiagubb.com.


{ 5 comments… add one }

  • J Remi August 22, 2014, 12:30 am

    I get where you’re coming from. As a male growing up, I’d had the whole hyper-masculine thing shoved down my throat as well, but it never clicked with me or made too much sense. I’ve never saw anything wrong with the feminine aspects of life or crying when feeling bad about something, but I stopped crying for the most part only because I’d figured that crying never solved my problems when I got in trouble or felt bad about something and that is another story. I was always left to cry my eyes out until I fell asleep as a result when I was a kid as cold as it sounds. I’d always though it was a natural part of being human regardless of gender. We are not robots, yet society expects men to be emotionless beings that don’t give a shit. I’ve never understood the meathead nonsense that came came with masculine culture myself. I’ve never really could relate too well to most males myself, and found that I got along better with females and enjoy associating with them more and even had closer friendships in the past with them. I found their company more pleasant as I had very few male friends in my life, and guess what? They didn’t fit the barbarian male archetype which is very like why. Maybe it’s because I’m a starseed like you, and we come from higher places were such things don’t exist, but who knows.

    I see things from a more broader and bigger preservative though. I see things such as sexism as a symptom and not the problem which is connected to the fact that the world values people who are tough, aggressive, mean, assholes types, including so called bad asses. They are praised by modern society, they are often in leadership positions, and they even get the girls since lets face it, many females out there like bad boys, but female desire for a bad boy is only a reflection of our social consciousness and going on primate instincts since they see these bad boys as protectors who are on top of the food chain, but that is because most people still behave and think like wild animals who live on instinct which goes into sexual harassment and lack of self control and boundaries which is indeed a serious problem as you said in your other posts.

    We live in a world were we have a predatory economic and social structure that fosters this type of behavior. In a world were to get ahead, people end up stepping on others to get to the top and those on the top keep them down by exploiting them and using the State as their strong arm in the process through using law enforcement and even the military if things get geopolitical (think free trade and the robbery and sabotage of indigenous lands for international corporate use) to enforce their will, and influencing law makers to favor them more than the commoner. In a more conscious and spiritual world, people will naturally become less aggressive, and this will lead room for people starting to question how they treat those based on gender, skin color, and nationality. People will simply start to cease this behavior, and this hyper-masculinity will start to fade away since this will finally be seen as primitive and something that was once apart of a savage world. The same world we currently live in.

    I’m sorry that I’m going to have to say this and don’t take this personality, but I don’t go by labels such as anti-sexist or even anti-racist or whatever. I distance myself from any political and social movement as well since it only had created more tensions between race and gender because of the double standards and hypocrisy that arose within them. It also doesn’t help that you are not allowed to question or have any criticisms or flaws about them without being shammed or ridiculed by certain members of said groups if you had struck a nerve with them when asking one of the hard questions, and you should know since you saw the other side of the fence yourself. I even don’t like the guilt tripping and shamming I often see within them, and I find it plain wrong because it reminds me of how organized religion works in a sense because just like it, it talks down to people telling them that they are unworthy or sinners that will burn in hell if they don’t accept some savior into their lives or something, blah, blah, blah.

    It makes no sense to give myself these labels since we should naturally not discriminate base on gender and even race I may add in the first place. Overall, I can empathize with you since I can put myself in other people shoes. If I were you, I’d would have great anger for this world in general since I see things such as sexism as a symptom, not the problem since sexism is not going to go away until the world population start to raise their consciousness and spiritually wake up from this material nightmare that fosters aggression to survive in this cruel world. Even with laws that protect women from sexism, it only had put a band-aid on something that is going to keep peeling off because of this.

    Until people start to finally question and desire to change our economic and social structure, then how are we going to start respecting the positive feminine aspects of life in the current state of things where greed, aggression, negative individualism (the fuck you and leave me alone kind of individualism), and selfishness is seen as a virtue instead of a vice because of the structures that encourage this behavior? Even the people who are often on top socially and economically are often not the best people, especially when it comes to the banking system and politics. The feminine is seen as bad and weak because we live in a world were nice guys and gals finish last unfortunately, and will continue to until then.

    You can choose to call yourself a feminist, and I don’t hold that against you but that still doesn’t change the fact that many feminists either have contempt or talk down to men in general along with not policing their own when it comes to the man haters and hypocrites of their moment. That is why I distance myself from them as well despite the good points they do bring up. It’s the same as the Men’s Rights Movement, they have good points that are seriously worth addressing, but I don’t like their vibe as well along with their social conservative overtones within the movement, and their negative attitude towards females in general due to either their limited experience with them or only dealing with the ones that had been polluted by the toxic values of today’s society. MRAs are also apart of the hyper-masculine and homophobia problem as well.

    I just wish both sides see that they are both right about something in their grievances, but both overall have issues with hate and contempt since the radicals are the loudest of the bunch while people like you don’t do enough to represent the positive side of your movement while stamping out as much as the negative as possible, but only apologize about it instead which is why many people including myself (I admit) cringe at the feminist label. I would give feminist like you more credit if you policed your fellow radicals and call out the ones that make you and others like you look bad and tarnish the feminist label you carry! You non-radical feminists are gentle in comparison and are not doing the damage, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t ignore those who make you look bad. Anyway, thanks for reading, and I hope you understand. It took me more than an hour to write and edit this message.

    P.S.

    I would like to speak to you more about this issue of homophobia and gender live if possible. I think it would be interesting if possible.

  • Sophia Gubb August 22, 2014, 11:48 am

    I can’t reply to all of this but regarding the feminists who talk down to men:

    There IS such a thing as a bad feminist, just as you can do anything else badly. Do you expect every movement to be made up only of exemplary people? Why is feminism the only movement that seems to be entirely discredited by an unpleasant minority?

    I spend a lot of time in the feminist scene and I rarely meet anyone like you mentioned. I agree they exist, but they are much less common than you seem to think.

    I think people have such a problem with feminism because the propaganda against it has been very successful, creating myths about feminists that are distortions of the actual picture.

  • J Remi August 22, 2014, 8:38 pm

    I would not say propaganda since there is some truth to what I see if, but like I said it’s really what I have saw. I really don’t want to turn this into a long conversation since I am not in the mood nor I can explain it any better since I suck at arguing and debating which i hate to do as well, but you ask if I expect every movement to have exemplary people? Well, I know that is impossible, but these said people had made their mark within the one you supported and it still doesn’t change the issue of hypocrisy that has sent a ripple through it through some of the laws such as VAVA (Violence Against Women Act) which doesn’t have any protections against men who are falsely accused of domestic violence since they are jailed without due process, along with ignoring domestic violence committed by women themselves which is something that is covered up and not as rare as you think, but could be the fact that most men fear telling anyone about it out of ridicule or not being taken as seriously, and many of the issues of the gender bias in family courts that weight against men during divorce proceedings if you heard the horror stories surrounding this. along with paternity fraud which is a silent issue, and how women on average get a lesser jail sentence than men for committing the same crimes? From what I seen when people question feminists about this, they get ridiculed, shamed, and accused of being a sexist as examples of why feminists look bad, and were some of this “propaganda” of you speak of comes from.

    Why don’t I see feminists like you talk about this as well if they stand for gender equality? Just an honest question and no I’m no accusing you of being one of those hypocrites by asking you this. Like I said, you can be a feminist all you want, and I’m not here to change that, but it won’t change the fact that I will stay away from these movements that had done nothing to solve this issue outside of handing out everyone bandages since they missed that key points I was talking about concerning why this is still an issue to this day. If you read my whole post carefully which I took a long time writing, then you would get were I am coming from, and why I see the solutions that many of them come up with as inferior in comparison to realizing

    I wrote a long essay on this issue a few days ago that is more detailed but you may see this one day when I finally get my blog up. I think the problem here is that we are coming from difference worlds here which is why you don’t get me, but I do get you. I know all feminist are not the same so no need to be apologetic about it since I get it already, but it still doesn’t change the fact that you should be militant about policing your own since I have seen the man hating feminists and their negativity in various forums and comment boxes I came across over the years along with them being unable to answer the hard questions without resorting to insults (I’m not talking about you).

    You have to look out for those tarnishing that label as well or at the very least do more to show that feminists is suppose to be what I’ve seen. I don’t even follow media. I get my info based on critical analysis and thoughts of those who were screwed over by people who called themselves feminists. That is all I have to say since I don’t think you’ll ever agree with me or at the very least get me. I don’t even like talking about this as it is to be honest. I still respect what you do here on this website so don’t think I am out to get you or anything like that, I just need to ask the hard questions, no matter who they are.

  • JR again August 22, 2014, 8:44 pm

    I meant to say. “You have to look out for those tarnishing that label as well or at the very least do more to show that feminists is not suppose to be what I have seen.” Oops.

  • Me again. August 23, 2014, 12:47 am

    Also sorry for some of the typos. Omit the words “to realizing”.

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