Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Hitting a Wall: how not to start a men's group

(note: This was first sent to me by my friend Dru last January, who participated in the follwing project-discussion (Hitting a Wall), I believe sometime last year. I have read this many times, each with new reflection, and I want to get this piece on the blogosphere and nominate Dru, Robert and Clayton and their online discussion for the Blog Against Sexual Violence Carnival. This dialogue is an important part of the work people with boy gender privileges are able to do, doing tangible work against sexism - sexual violence - patriarchal culture, on person to person day by day basis .. robin)

Hitting a Wall: Three Anarchists Talk About their Experience with Men’s Groups

Dru, Robert and Clayton all helped start up men’s group, all of which dissolved within a few months. They met together in cyberspace to discuss male involvement in feminist movements, the ups and downs of being in men’s groups and other thoughts on patriarchy.

[clayton]: well, shall we start?
[dRu]: sure
[Robert]: yes
[clayton]: First off, thanks a lot for doing this you two.  It can be hard to find time that works with everyone, esp. across three states
Also, this is a discussion rather than an interview.  I have a few questions written up, but feel free to throw our your own questions and take it into direction that are helpful for you.
[Robert]: sounds good
[dRu]: sounds good as well
[clayton]: I thought it would be good to start with intros: who we are, our connection to feminism, radical politics, relevant identities and whatever else you'd like to include
We could just go alphabetically, which means I go first :) In college I spent a fair amount of time studying feminist theory, though didn't major in women's studies or anything.  I think more importantly has been my close friendships with feminist women, that has taught me much of what I know today.  I've also attended anti-oppression workshops whenever I get the chance.  

Currently I have been learning more and growing by dating a single mother and playing a child-rearing role. I still have much to learn and feel like I have just scratched the surface of what it means to be a feminist man.  I'm white, male, in a committed, long-term relationship with a woman who is also a mother.  While my family and I live in poverty technically, both of our parents are well off. I live in Laramie, WY. done (sorry that was long)
[dRu]: most of connection to feminism has been to the people i am really close to. my first radical friends were all strong feminists, and mostly queer. i have been doing a lot of reading on feminism as well, lately trying to read it from the perspective of people of color and working class. i have been involved with mens groups for about a year
and half, mostly through workshops and one time discusion groups but a friend and i also organized a short lived group in boston...
(Robert leaves due to technical problems with his computer)
[dRu]: i currently live in fort collins colorado but mostly grew up in the northeast coming from a white privileged middle class background. sometimes people mix up and my race and a lot of times people mix up my gender even when identifying as a man. i recently came out as genderqueer and have been using 'zi' and 'here' for pronouns. its
been really interesting applying this to mens groups.
[clayton]: so what I was going to ask next was why our various groups started.  Why and how did yours start?
[dRu]: a friend and i had  who had traveled together and both gotten really interested from mens groups from a workshop we went to at a cleveland food not bombs gathering. when we were back in boston we started talking to other men in the area who we thought would be interested. a couple weeks later we started having meeting after hours at the lucy parsons center. it was about 4-5 of us.
[dRu]: how about you?
[Men's Group]: Robert has entered at 9:24 pm
[Robert]: Hey, are you all still on here
[clayton]: I feel like the idea of a men's group had been kicked around in our little community of sorts, but it finally happened when the anarchists here wanted to start a collective.  One member said she would join only under the condition that a men's group start.  So ultimately it was from the prompting of a women in our group that we
actually formed.
[clayton]: yeah, we just started to talk about how our groups started, before that we were just talking about FNB stuff so you haven't missed much
[Robert]: sorry, I don't know what happened.
[clayton]: it's ok, do you want to introduce yourself?
[Robert]: sure
[Robert]: I'm a white male.  I've been struggling with how to define my sexuality, but I believe I take considerable advantage of heterosexual privilege.  One of my concentrations in school is Women's Studies.  A major influence pushing me toward feminism has certainly been not being good at living up to the expectations that a sexist
society has of young men.
[clayton]: How and why did the men's group start which you were a part of
[clayton]: Robert?
[Robert]: There were actually a few different men's groups which started in Albuquerque, none of which every really got off the ground.  I believe there was a sense of obligation among the men, that this was the right  thing to do to be "radicals."  One of groups was prompted by a woman who felt her male/transgender partener needed to work on
his shit.
[Robert]: As well other women felt that their male parteners needed to work on their #$%^&* also.
[clayton]: That sounds similar to my group's beginnings, did you have similar experiences dru?  Was there pressure from women for men to work on things in addition to the interest from men themselves?
[dRu]: there were definetly a lot of issues around sexism and men not taking enough accountability, but there was never and explicit push for a mens group. the one we formed was deeply rooted in personal healing as well as being better allies. womyn were definetly supportive and made lots of suggestions though.
[Robert]: How long did your group exist, dru?
[dRu]: it went on for a few months, maybe a bit longer. it slowly dwindled into nothingess after internal problems
[dRu]: how long did each of yours?
[clayton]: gosh I can't believe I can't remember clearly but somewhere around 3-5 months
[clayton]: with that said I feel like we did not get very far with
anything.  We met infrequently and when we did meet
it was generally very awkward and superficial.
[dRu]: how about you robert?
[Robert]: The first attempt lasted for only 2 meetings.  The second met maybe 4 times, before it turned into almost a completely different group of people with me being the onley one from the original.  It  lasted about 2 months.
[clayton]: what kind of purpose did your groups agree upon?  Dru, you touched on the fact that it was a place for personal healing and being better allies, could you elaborate?
Robert, what was the intent of your group(s)?
[Robert]: Our focus was definitely not on personal healing.  I think that would have provided a more personal, direct interest in the group, if we did focus on healing.  Our focus was on examining how we were sexist and many of the many seemed unwilling to critically explore those issues.
[clayton]: That's how our group worked as well.  We first started by writing a statement of purpose.  I still might have it somewhere, but essentially we agreed that we were radical feminists politically, so we were opposed to patriarchy as an institution and not simply the equality of genders within capitalism.  That discussion was one of our better ones because it remained in the realm of "talking politics."  From there we tried working on our own sexist pitfalls.
[dRu]: i think everyone agreed that they were somehow hurt by trying to fufill the role of man or fit into manhood. we did not have a strict purpose except to sit down and talk about the sexism in our lives. we did talk about points we all agreed on, such as '' we live in a patriarchy'' and '' womyn clearly have the short end of the stick despite us feeling oppressed by gender as well," mostly so we had something to work up from.
[Robert]: Was there tension between the goals of personal healing and being better allies?
[dRu]: maybe it is hard to say, it might have come up more had the group continued longer. i think some people demonized womyn internally and were still comig to terms with that. I think they did start to realize that they couldnt blame womyn as part of their healing but it was never talked about so explicitly. it was actualy a real struggle to get men to talk about their feelings.
[clayton]: i know that question was directed at dru, but for our group there definitely was tension between those two goals.  Working on our #$%^&* ended up being prioritized, but some of us were more interested in doing some personal bonding, getting to know one another better, etc.  We were all interested in both but some involved felt that if we weren't feeling uncomfortable that we weren't doing enough, digging deep enough.
[clayton]: taking that approach makes it hard to have dialogues regarding our own feelings, esp. with men conditioned to not talk about what's going on inside to start with
[dRu]: it seems all the groups we worked with ran into that conditioning
[Robert]: You could feel how uncomfortable our group was with talking about their feelings.  We never really got to a point where it became explicit.
[dRu]: are there any ways you all tried to talk about feelings more and dive into mroe uncomfortable areas?
[clayton]: yeah.  The best meeting we had was when we decided to talk about our mothers, which was an idea from a woman in our community.  It was also around Mother's Day. Anyways, it lead to some really good discussions about the way we were raised, we went into things about our dads, about our relationship to brothers,
other guy friends...someone in the group even brought up the phenomenon of our difficulty as men to talk about things besides politics and just bullshitting with each other
[Robert]: In the last incarnation of our group. I tried to start each meeting by going around and simply talking about what happened during our week and in our lives.  None really opened up though.
[clayton]: we also started each meeting with a check-in and we had the same problems.
my brother was in a group for awhile and he told me that they started their check-in with "how has patriarchy affected you today?"
[dRu]: i designated one week were we went around and just talked in depth abour history and to how we ended up in this group. it started off really terrific but was actually
interupted by some ''punk scene drama'' when a guy walked into the store cause he thought we were just talking #$%^&* about him. after someone calmed him down, it
never took off again.
[dRu]: it felt really tragic in a way
[clayton]: damn!
[Robert]: We also started with what forms of patriarchy have you witnessed and how have you confronted them?
[Robert]: It definitely made me pay more attention and be more vigilant during the week
[clayton]: Did that still get little response?
[Robert]: That got a little bit better response.  It's not quite as personal.
[clayton]: Something that dru and my "breakthroughs" shared was personal history.  I think maybe that is a good way to try and get a group going.  In hindsight I think it is crucial to build personal connections within the group.
We struggle with just relating to one another that I feel like even if not done in an overly political way, just men sharing things about themselves is a radical, feminist act.
[Robert]: In an anti-racism group I'm in, one of our best discussions was talking in depth about our histories/identities.
[dRu]: it definetly to see where everyone was coming and actually see how different we are though we still felt pressured to play a certain role.
[clayton]: are there any other highlights either of you have to share?
[Robert]: Is a large group the best strategy or starting place for
building those personal connections?  Maybe one-to-one would work better?
[dRu]: our group started out with 4-5 people and decided that after that we had to check in with the group before brining new folks in.
we decided to keep it with men who could understand our principles and if they didnt someone could talk with them on a one and one basis (if they wanted to)
[clayton]: that's an interesting idea.  We started with 5 people too and made it a closed group after that.  At the time I thought it was a small group, but for us maybe one on one would have been better.
[Robert]: Our group started with 6. the second had three or four.
[clayton]: Another idea would be to incorporate one on one work into a small group.  I know this is something we did for awhile in our collective house and I thought it was great.
[dRu]: i probably got more  personally out of my one on one conversations with folks from the group, but there were also very dominating males who had to be called out a lot they they were talking too much. i like the idea of incorporating both. It seems like it would create space to releive tension between individuals in the group while still experimenting with a group dynamic.
[clayton]: I agree, I guess one benefit to starting a men's group is that it doesn't require a lot of people to join for it to work
[Robert]: sorry, I was kicked off again.
[Robert]: I'm back now.
[clayton]: stay with us robert!!
[dRu]: so why did the groups actually fall apart? and what was the response to that?
[clayton]: ours fell apart because I stopped calling people to schedule meetings.  I just got burnt out and felt like, if this group falls apart just from me not calling anyone, then there
really isn't true interest in the group and it's a waste of time
[Robert]: It was two reasons I think:
1) one person having to take on all the responsibility for the group being organized and
2) people not being authentically invested in the group.
They just stopped meeting.
[clayton]: the response was anger amongst some women, frustration and dissappointment from me and a mix of feelings from others in the community
[Robert]: I think women in the community were unsurprised and men were generally oblivious.
[dRu]: i think people were interested but jsut not commited. then a friend and i who set up the group had a big falling out and i felt alienated from projects we were working on
together while he still remained unaccountable for some things he said.
[clayton]: yeah I just asked my partner what she thought and she said she saw it coming and thought it was a bit ridiculous that we didn't just talk about the problems the group was having because we were all talking about it to our various women friends and partners, but not each other.
[clayton]: which is so typically male- complain to the women in our lives but not work through it with each other
[dRu]: yea i definetly ewnt and compalined and sought comfort in my womyn friends and just stopped trying to be involved the group anymore
[dRu]: which lasted two more meetings, one which i heard wastched and defended fight club
[clayton]: yea, during that one breakthrough talk one guy John (not his real name) told us how his younger brother will confide in John's wife but not him.  He doesn't even talk to his own brother about significant things in their lives.
[Robert]: There was a lot of defending what I thought were clearly undefendable actions in our group too.
[clayton]: could you give us some examples?
[Robert]: Like while talking about rape, getting on to tangents about the need for proof and due process. not that I'm against due process  but. . .
[clayton]: gotcha
[clayton]: did either of you find any zines, book, other resources useful in starting and then coordinating the men's groups you were involved with?  Are there any you know of now you wish you had before?
[dRu]: i had the zine ''on the road to healing: a guide for men against sexism"
[dRu]: it has a lot of wonderul questions but we never really used it, also there is a really good criss crass article I passed around that we never discussed
[clayton]: is it entitled something like "Going Places that Scare Me"?
[dRu]: yea, i can send the link later. its also in the men can stop sexism zine i did
[clayton]: cool, yeah.  Speaking of Chris Crass, he recommended a book by Paul Kimmel.  I think it's called "Men's Work"  It has a bunch of roleplays and exercises for men.  We never used it though.
[dRu]: if you go to HYPERLINK "" \t "_blank"  i know you can download he second issue of on the road to healing
[dRu]: i think coming up with questions is really good...
[dRu]: a friend and i doing a workshop just sat down and thought of a bunch of questions and led to more and more for ourselves
[clayton]: Also, I read bell hooks "The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity and Love"  It's awesome and I wish I would have read it before our men's group.  My brother suggested we read it for our men's group but like other things it didn't happen.
[clayton]: besides my own desire to process the demise of our men's group with other people, I wanted this discussion to also be share with other men interested in this kind of
work.  Are there any other words of advice for men thinking of starting a group or just working on things individually?
[dRu]: i think men have this view like we can join a group or befriend a feminist and we are healed without acknowleding how deprooted sexism is in our lives, i expect to be
working on my #$%^&* for possibly my whole life
we also dont have a sense of urgency around this issue as womyn do, which why we dont make more effort to build stronger connections. when we dont build connections with each other we are giving more work for womyn and still taking an active part in contributing to patriarchy
[dRu]: anything else or new to add?
[clayton]: yeah, i think we were kind of paralyzed by this urgency to get #$%^&* done.  Interestingly we used a generally masculine trait of efficiency which led to us overlooking process.
[dRu]: its like we have this urgency to get it all done and put it behind us
[clayton]: it was like- ok what do i need to work on?  next i will work on it.  It's just not that simple and when we tried to dive right into what we need to do we didn't feel comfortable actually bringing up issues we had with each other or within ourselves.
[clayton]: yeah exactly.  In general we operate out of very results based activity.
[dRu]: yea and its hard operating with that process building mindset with a large group who may not operate as such
[clayton]: not just on feminist issues but with everything.  I think that's why direct action is so popular- because it's direct and it's action.  It can be very useful to have such urgency and demand for immediate action, but for work like this it can really work against us
[dRu]: and anything not requires long term work or inner work is not as important
[clayton]: one thing i learned from working in a men's group is how completely clueless I was to that kind of work. I know how to prepare for mass protests or how to set up a fnb chapter or table an event...but I was mostly in the dark with setting up a men's group and so were the others in the group
[dRu]: or seen as so... i have been in many activist groups that have looked upon it that way
[dRu]: yea... there is really no downtime from sexism or racism or other oppression
[dRu]: you cant pack up and head back to your own city, its there with you everyday
[dRu]: and that is scary
[clayton]: which also makes it hard to do this work just because of the transient nature of this movement and this age group.
[clayton]: and people coming to the meetings consistently was definitely one of the things that brought the group down. people not coming i mean...
[dRu]: yea even the mens group over the course of a couple months the faces changed quite frequently with the core group of folks being 2-3

(We called it a night at this point. We picked up where we left off a few nights later. Here’s part two of our conversation)

[Robert]: so you two talked about resources last time. Our groups used various zines.
[clayton]: does one of you want to start? it sounded like you two had more specific things on your mind than I did. which ones? how did you use them?
[Robert]: We used the "Are you a manarchist? questionair" and the Train the Trainers Man-ual for leading an workshop on understanding and confronting patriarchy.
[dRu]: what is the train the trainers...?
[Robert]: The second one in particular has some good exercises. such as one where you create a web about all the dimensions of patriarchy. I was created by male students at the Institute for Social Ecology
[clayton]: that sounds like a really good activity, did it go well?
[dRu]: yea id be interested in more actvitity oriented guides
[Robert]: I thought it did it really helped spurr my thinking.
[dRu]: yea i felt like a lot of conversation ended going to circles or tangents, where as more activities might have helped move forward more
[dRu]: some folks in the group i was in did not like the term ''manarchist'' so i dont think the questionaire would
have been taken to well but i have read it and liked it
[Robert]: Our problem with the questionaire was people took it too literally and not as a tool for introspection.
[clayton]: yeah we used the manarchist questionaire, but the conversations didn't get very deep. Once again we were both afraid to claim relevancy to those things as well as afraid to tell people "umm well actually I think you do such and such"
[Robert]: exactly, clay.
[Robert]: What was the problem with the term?
[dRu]: i think maybe like the questionaire they took it very literally and were offended
[clayton]: were there other exercises in the man-ual that you found helpful robert?
[Robert]: Somewhat, another was a list of "I" statements such as "I listen to mostly male musicians." And the group was suposed to think if that applied to them. It shows well how gendered our lives are. But again its similar to the questionaire.
[dRu]: our group had this very casual feeling to it. most folks wanted to jsut start talking and see where the discusion went which left it open to be co opted by people and made it hard to reach deep into topics
[dRu]: it made it hard to feel like we were applying what we had discussed and leanred into our daily lives nd
spread it into our communities
[Robert]: Perhaps that shows how the topic of sexism isn't really taken serious by men.
[clayton]: yeah, while I'd love it if these things could just happen naturally they didn't for us. One thing we talked about doing was watching a movie together and then discussing it. We didn't ever do it, but I wish we had. Did either of your groups try this?
[Robert]: No, that's a good idea I think. But I think dru's right that a lack of structure will really infringe on how deep the conversation gets.
[dRu]: we watched ''fight club'' but i didnt go to that meeting, i heard that when the machismo ascpect was brought up and people were arguing against that
[clayton]: that would be a good one since fight club seems to be so popular within anarchist circles
[dRu]: thats when the group was collpasing and people went to that meeting who had not showed up before too
[dRu]: especially glorified amongst men
[clayton]: one tip for having a movie discussion is have a few questions ready to pop if the discussion lags
[dRu]: or a discusion in general
[clayton]: one thing some friends of mine did in Denver was watch some mainstream movies that dealt with transgender issues. The idea came from when they were all just watching Mrs. Doubtfire for the fun of it and noticed lots of #$%^&* d up messages being sent out. I like it because usually when we radicals watch movies they are generally ones that are in line (at least in part) with our own views. We do watch movies that critique mainstream media, but it seems like a good exercise for us to be doing it
[clayton]: on our own
[dRu]: i have been watching a lot of older mainstream movies from when i was younger and notice all the horrible messgaes it has to it but we never sit down afterward and talk about exactly what was so f ed up about it
[clayton]: which reminds me, Tough Guise by Jackson Katz, though I haven't seen it in its entirety, is really good. It takes a look at the evolution of the male hero in media
[dRu]: i requested it from the library jsut the other day    
[clayton]: yeah, i watched peter pan with my son and did not realize how much sexism there was in that film. it made me really think about the way that boys are socialized from an early age.
[clayton]: speaking of peter pan, have any of you heard of the peter pan syndrome?
[Robert]: Sut Jhally, Katz' collegue, has also made some really good ones. particularly about rape culture in music videos.
[dRu]: and we see it today especially with activists glorifying movies like fight club and things like pirates and violence esp among men
[Robert]: What's the peter pan syndrome.
[dRu]: it sounds like a good idea to start conversation because its actually picking out a peice of our socialzation growing up and analyzing how it effected us
[clayton]: i hope i can explain it well... basically it follows the actions of peter pan, the desire to never grow up, to always be on wild adventures and thus refuse to be accountable to anyone
[Robert]: Sound like imperalism, a masculine adventure into exotic lands
[clayton]: yeah, there is definitely a strong link to that
[clayton]: it's connection with sexism is that this kind of lifestyle perpetuates the role most men play in child rearing and in the family- always gone, distant, unable to give consistent support to his partner and kids
[clayton]: which of course leaves others, generally woman, to do the less glamorous work which keeps the family going. i found this to be especially fitting while I was travelling throughout Eastern Europe, meeting with anarchists and radicals to learn about the work that goes on.
[Robert]: It shocks me to think about how much work my mom does to maintain extended family and connections for our whole family.
[dRu]: yea ''travel kid'' culture seems to be the apitimy of peter pan syndrome
[clayton]: my trip in itself plays into the peter pan syndrome. Also, it was consistently women that would meet us at the train stations, find us places to sleep, be cooking, fixing the squatted house, etc. The men generally were doing things like planning meetings, engaging in militant protest activity and always eager to be the ones
[dRu]: i agree robert, my dad often seems so emotionally distant or unavilable even when i know something serious is going on, it has always been my mom to really reach out to me or talk about any family issues with
[clayton]: i share the same experience. To this day, despite raising a son myself we have yet to talk about parenting, fathering, etc. Usually I have to be the one to say "I love you dad" when I hang up the phone.
[Robert]: Yeah also mom is the one to alway communicate with aunts, uncles, grandparents etc. She hold the family together
[dRu]: it seems we pick up on that role
[clayton]: It's really sad because my mom has told me that he gets really depressed at times because he feels so disconnected from us, yet he can't take those steps towards changing them, just tell my mom. I just found out (again through my mother) that he has saved every card and letter I have ever given him. It's incredible how I know
that loves me yet can't express it.
[dRu]: my mom and dad have been seperated but not divorced since last year, my mom moved to england to teach and though i talked extensivly to my mom about her and my dad and us as a family, my dad never mentioned it all or gave the slightest int anything was wrong
[dRu]: *hint
[clayton]: i agree dru, it's something i am trying so hard to break. It was when I read bell hooks' book, The Will to Change, that I started to look at my own tendencies toward being passive aggressive behavior in a different light. Originally I just saw it as an undesirable characteristic of mine. After reading her passages about how men are
socialized to express only the emotion of rage or nothing that I saw how a lot of my inability to talk about what is bothering me was related socialization
[Robert]: How are you breaking that?
[dRu]: it was hard growing up with manic deppression cause i had these very extreme emotions but felt i couldnt express them cause ti would be looked own upon and i would be written of as crazy, though wen i saw womyn break down and cry it seemed more natural to their role
[clayton]: i see myself breaking that the most with Obsidian. When he cries or throws fits I tell him it's ok to be sad or angry and ask him why he feels that way. I also try to tell him how much I love him often. Also, since reading the Will to Change I've been working on being more open and communicative with Whitney (my partner).
[clayton]: Besides Obsidian, men to men work hasn't been that big. I still don't feel close to my guy friends, except my brother and sibling. We talk quite a bit about really important, vulnerable issues and I value them very much for that.
[clayton]: how about you two? are there ways you've been breaking that cycle of conditioning?
[dRu]: a lotof it has been coming to terms with manic deppression and in general feeling very emotional at times, learning to ask for support from my partner and friends and feeling that it is oh k to cry, also listening to other peoples feelings. largely validating that we are all emotional and social creatures
[Robert]: There are little steps. Consciously going out of my way to hug my male friends and relatives despite how awkward it feels, for example. But it still feels really scary.
[dRu]: its definetly harder with other socialized males because there is just that wall there that needs to be broken down and sometimes its a one way battle
[Robert]: Where do you both think that fear comes from, asumming you both experience it? What is it a fear of? I think it must be more than simply socialzation/ideology.
[dRu]: i think part of it is getting over you might not get back what you want to hear as well and i think that is part of the fear as well
[clayton]: i definitely do experience that fear. Honestly, it's not something I have examined much so what I say will just be thinking out loud
[dRu]: i have a close friend right now and there often seems to be a lot of tension sometimes because i met him while his partner was away and we formed a strong loving relationship and a lot of that died when his partner came back
[clayton]: I feel like the fear for me stems from being vulnerable. Like dru said, what happens if i reach out to someone and it isn't returned? Even further, what if it's not merely a lack of reciprocity but an attack from that person? Growing up I felt like I was always having to defend my toughness
[dRu]: and its something noticable that has changed in our relationship but we never realyl talked about how are relationship changed or checked in with each other before or after his partner returned
[dRu]: not to say i dont get along and lvoe them both
[dRu]: yea there is this male need to be and remain tough
[clayton]: usually when I was teased it was about being scrawny, the way to defend myself from that was by developing a thick skin and putting others down. I got pretty good at being sarcastic and used it to deflect attacks. When you put all that down you're left to be attacked once again. Homophobia is something that can be so evident, so pungent that it honestly leaves me scared, even as a straight guy.
[dRu]: i feel like in sports growing up when i was physically hurt you are told to stick through it even if it makes you
uncomfortable, emotions are the same away except worse.
[Robert]: For me,a big part of homophobia was fear of physical violence.
[clayton]: i really thought that after high school the bullshit machismo stuff would stop, but it didn't stop in college and still goes on in my life now. It blows my mind. I mean, I';ve definitely met men that don't fall into that as much, but it's still so prevalent
[dRu]: it jsut manifests itself differently in more culturally acceptable ways
[dRu]: not that how males act in high school isnt culutally acceptable
[clayton]: dru, could you talk more about some of the culturally acceptable ways you see emotions being driven inward? like some specifics you see a lot? I just want to make sure I'm on the same page
[dRu]: i have never really thought about listing thembut i am sure i can think of some examples. it seems fighting or aggression is accepted to a lot of degrees
[clayton]: ok, yeah
[dRu]: specifically in sports or even personally
[dRu]: i think in fight club it said that males jsut need to beat the #$%^&* of each other to let out pent up emotions
[clayton]: i feel like the passive aggressive bit is one way that men "tough it out" in regards to emotions
[dRu]: or if you have a problem with someone and bring it up you obviously want to fight them as opposed to talking about issues
[dRu]: yea!
[Robert]: I've found myself relating to men of color in sexist ways, ways I wouldn't tolerate with white guys. Have you two experienced this? Dru are you white?
[dRu]: i am more identify as white privelege because i dont always feel white depending on where i am, but i did grow up in a white enviroment in a white town
[clayton]: another thing i see a lot is men just unloading and yelling and storming off. Their reaction afterwards can be sexist too. Sometimes it's this whole "I'm soo sorry, I am such an asshole. I don't deserve you, blah blah" which I feel like is just a ploy to get the people you hurt to forgive you and say "no no you're not that bad, it's ok."
[dRu]: it goes from one extreme to the other like you jsut pointed otu clay
[dRu]: aggressiveness to pleading but never dealing with the actual issue
[Robert]: I hate it when female friends tell me what a good guy I am, it feels like such a easy way out for me.
[clayton]: i've experienced this too robert. again, this isn't something i've examined within myself much. I feel like it might stem from my own internalized racism. I don't have many guy friends who are people of color. I think it might have to do with both my desire to be cool in their eyes and gain acceptance as well as a greater fear of men
of color than white men. Despite attempts to unlearn the racism I have internalized, the stereotype of the black thug is one that is still partly within me.
[clayton]: that could be connected with that physical fear we were talking about earlier
[dRu]: to answer your question rob, i definetly feel like i sometimes tolerate sexism among people of color cause either i feel too nervous because of internalized racism or i feel like ''whom am i as a white priveleged person to call out a person of color''
[clayton]: do you think that second point is valid dru? or just a way to appease one's self? i think i can relate to it as well
[Robert]: I think its a similar dynamic for too. Also its a racist belief that men of color are inherently more sexist than whites.
[dRu]: yea or that jocks are more sexist than punks, its always passing the blame off on another party and not accepting sexism as a larger issue in our society and communities
[Robert]: bell hooks wirtes alot about how black sexism sells to white audiences, such as in rap. I think it needs to be called out in order to be in solidarity with women of color. Racism is not just a male issue as it is portrayed to be.
[clayton]: good call robert
[dRu]: i was thinking about how i can think more about issues of sexism because i am usually surrounded by womyn and trans folks but tis harder for me toincorporate race and class issues because most of the folks i am surrounded with are also white priveleged and with upper or middle class background
[clayton]: that brings up another good point dru, i think that i am also less likely to call out men from more working class backgrounds for similar reasons to reacting that way with men of color
[dRu]: it makes me realize how connected all these issues really are. how they cant be just divided
[Robert]: Absolutely.
[Robert]: Did either of you have men of color in your groups.
[dRu]: no
[clayton]: no
[clayton]: did yours robert?
[Robert]: there were a couple in the groups i was in.
[dRu]: did that change the dynamics at all?
[dRu]: did it bring out race issues as well?
[Robert]: One of them is always really quite in general which I think has to do with his socialization in a racist society.
[Robert]: We didn't confront issues of race though. I don't think the resources we used brought that out at all.
[dRu]: on the road to healing zine has some questions on race, class and ableism along with sexism which i liked. It’s also done by an arab american
[clayton]: colours of resistance ( is a good resource too
[dRu]: yea there was a good article on the site about men of color and sexism
[Robert]: Actually in our exercise of the web of patriarchy we did get into white supremacy and racism.
[dRu]: or i think that was the apoc website
[clayton]: we only have a few more minutes left, were there any issues you all wanted to bring up but haven't yet?
[Robert]: dru, how can I get a copy of that zine to you?
[dRu]: i think i have a lot ot think about from this chat which is nice
[dRu]: yes, the person who does it is sending me some hard copies so when i receive them ill send you both a copy
[dRu]: you can also downlaod the second issue from
[dRu]: but most of the questions are in the first issue
[Robert]: good night everyone.
[clayton]: good night robert, thanks for another good talk
[dRu]: good night
[clayton]: good night dru and thanks for your contributions


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