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Gender and Battering--A poll for Men
November 9, 2004
12:43 pm
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Worried_Dad
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Here is a bit from the DV FAQ's of this site.

"There is a major piece to battering rooted in our culture. Most battering males have (developed) very rigid views of gender roles. They tend to be sexist in attitudes toward women (not all batterers, but most). This cultural issue seems to be the most consistent among batterers."

The idea seems to be that we as Western Men are steeped to believe that women ought to be subservient and that therefore we as men are entitled to do anything we like to them.

Question: How many men here believe that way? Have you met many men who believe that way? Do the batterers you know seem to belive that way?

November 9, 2004
12:49 pm
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Worried_Dad
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I guess I would have to say that in 40 years I have not met even a sibgle man who professed to believe the Patriarchal view of women as inferior.

Most of the male batterers I know would deny strenuously that men are superior to women, would deny that they feel any "manly prerogatives." And the female batterers don't seem to think women are superior.

But all of them, men and women are incredibly entitled, disrespectful, jealous and possessive. And the worst of them are master manipulators who are deficient in empathy, and therefore conscience. In other words, they are personality disordered.

Anyway, speak up guys: who thinks we should repeal womens sufferage? Anyone?

November 9, 2004
2:27 pm
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southgoingzax
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I'm not sure I want to get into this again with you, but honestly I feel you are missing the point. It is not so much that a guy (or woman) walks around saying "I am superior to the opposite sex!"

It is that the system has been constructed to view men and male characteristics as positive, and women and female characteristics as negative. Look at Bush, his supporters say "Yay! We finally have a president with the gonads to fight!" People are happy that he is an arrogant, uncompromising jerk. The female-gendered qualities of negotiation, compromise, "playing nice" are seen as weak, especially in this situation.

While we are generally all taught that men are women are "different but equal", anytime you have a dichotomy you get a positive and a negative. And because men all over the world have been in power since time immemorial, they get to be the positive. The male norm is the standard for all of humanity...That's why, up until very recently, only men were used in medical research. No one even thought that women might react differently to the same medication.

I'm saying that it is pervasive and extremely subtle. And women who buy into the idea of the system, who see that their only way to gain power and/or acceptance (whether in relationships or in a career) is to behave like the men, well, what do people usually say about those women? They are bossy, bitchy, presumptuous, angry, lesbians, man-haters...what have you. Look at what has been said about Hillary Clinton, if you need an example.

The patriarchal system encourages domination against everything, not just against other genders. Domination over the environment, over other countries, over other businesses, over other people. It's a pyramidic structure that only values those at the top. It is this idea that leads to both men and women presuming that they have a right to batter another human being. Because they have been taught to value power above everything else.

zax

November 9, 2004
2:31 pm
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southgoingzax
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oh right, this was only a poll for men. Well never mind then.

November 9, 2004
2:51 pm
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I'm sorry. I'm not a man.

Is it possible that:

There are as many women who believe they are inferior to men as there are men who believe they are superior to women?

The soul inhabiting the body has no gender, thus it is about the evolution of "soul" vs the evolution of the physical that lends itself to progress or digression?

That most of us don't search for enough self-awareness to comprehend what all our prejudices are, thus there may be men who believe women are inferior and they don't realize it?

That a cruel-hearted soul in a woman's body can do as much spiritual damage as a cruel soul in a man's body?

Just some things to think about. I don't hate men. In fact, just the opposite and I can assure you that if my partner's soul inhabited a male body rather than a female one, I would be legally married!

Sincerely,

Ren'ai

November 9, 2004
3:54 pm
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Worried_Dad
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What I am trying to get at is....Orthodox feminist theory attributes battering to a pervasive culture of male entitlement and female subservience. So where are the knuckle dragging male chauvanist pigs who think that way? Where? Admittedly, I currently exist in a world of educated, middle class people, but you would think that in 40 years I would have met at least one of these neanderthal men.

Therefore the reason I do not believe that battering is due to the patriarchally imposed culture of male entitlement and female subservience is that I think that such a culture does not exist--it is a myth.

November 9, 2004
4:23 pm
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southgoingzax
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Again, still missing the point. The patriarchal system DOES exist - just look at how many female presidents we have had...

The pervavsive culture is one of entitlement, regardless of gender. There are many feminist theories, and what we feminists are ALWAYS careful to point out is that the black/white perceptions of male/female behavior are wrong...most people are shades of grey, and do not have SOLELY feminine or masculine traits. The patriarchal system teaches men (and women who seek to participate in the patriarchal system) that emotions and feelings are weak and unmanly. That talking about your feelings is weak and unmanly. If it is not manly, then what is it? It is feminine. And the feminine is to be disguised. There was a study done in the 90s, where 5th through 8th grade students were asked what they would do if they suddenly woke up as the opposite sex. Guess what the majority of the boys wrote? That they would kill themselves, or run away, rather than be a girl. The girls wrote of how they could play sports, or get more attention, basically, how good it would be to be a boy. So you are simply not seeing the reality when you say the patriarchal system is a myth.

Batterers do not limit their sense of entitlement to the opposite sex. That is why they are frequently cruel to animals and children. The patriarchal system encourages them to have power over another, not just power over the opposite sex.

I think you think everyone is against you because you were abused and you are male and not much has been written about the subject. But just think, if it wasn't taboo for men to talk about their feelings, if there was no socio-cultural standard that said men should be strong and women weak, if we accepted everyone just for who they were instead of their gender, then more men would talk about abuse that happened to them and more would be published on it, and you wouldn't feel so alone. The patriarchal system negatively impacts men as well,

ZAX

November 9, 2004
4:29 pm
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WD,

If you could find it within yourself to volunteer at a womens shelter for DV survivors, in the capacity of working with offenders, I promise you would see plenty of men who think as you've described.

Working in the field of DV for upwards of 12 years has taught me there are plenty of men out there who believe it is their right not only to beat but to rape and humiliate women (but you sure as hell won't find many of them willing to admit it!)

Ren'ai

November 9, 2004
6:19 pm
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Worried_Dad
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I wonder if they'd even let me volunteer there. Definitely I've been itching to be more involved the intervention/shelter side. But wow, what hard work.

And I am aware of my own sampling error--I haven't met everyone yet.

So let me think of the wife beaters I know. Okay Five.

One was the son of a Georgia farmer, living in Florida in the nineteen-sixties. Definitely had Male Entitlement--he actually thought that it was a man's right to have mistresses. And his wife agreed and tried to teach other women to go along with it!!! And a while later, we found his wife with bruises all over her chest and torso.

Except for his cruelty to my Grandmother I was actually fond of the guy. His mistake. I kind of lost desire to talk to my Grandfather after that. Next day we had granny on a plane with the family for a three year stay in Ecuador. I hope that taught him a lesson.

One was just scary, kind of a street-tough kid with a knife. He hadn't done any injury yet, but he had all the signs, you know. "P" asked me to help her and her daughter run to a shelter. She seemed afraid to go back to her place for their things, so I went with her and tried to look intimidating. That bad guy went to jail for a couple of years. He did have kind of a Latin Machismo gig going on now that I think about it. And come to think of it, he did have a fetish for being sexually unfaithful and flaunting that fact.

One beater is a well-known and respected minority author and professor. Another is a counselor. The counselor, as far as I know "only" deceives, humilates and emotionally traumatizes his victims,

The professor also bruises and breaks their victim's bones. He's kind of a professor of destruction, if you will.

They aren't easily categorizable as sexist. They are very soft spoken, well mannered professionals who can go on and on about the dignity of humanity and oppression of women and minorities.

They are both slime and they know it. But sneaky slime. It's hard for me to express how very, very much I detest those two. And the slime is so slimy it defies description almost.

I can't say that they are really nice to men either but at least they don't hit them.

Okay, I'll go as far as this. Any man who thinks it is appropriate to disrespect women will be capable of hitting them. The lingering scar tissue of a recent history of virtual enslavement of women that is called variously Patriarchalism, or the Good Ole Boys club actually teaches disrespect for women (and others of course) So if you are a guy stuck with that cultural programming and you are also a fuckhead (that's the clinical term fuckhead) you will likely discover violence to be pleasurable and profitable. Until you go to jail you piece of....

But damn, seems like by the time we get them to jail much damage of various kinds has already been done. We need to stop the damage before it gets that extreme and make it easier to get physical protection.

The whole thing about the sneaky, charming "stealth" abuser just freaks me out. Like the evil Life Coach played by Patrick Swayzee in Donnie Darko. Dum dee dum de dumm, everythings sunny until then one day--Bam! The guy's been a monster all along.

November 9, 2004
6:38 pm
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Worried_Dad
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Zax et-al,

Look, you guys know there's a bit of the imp in me. But really, he's well intended. He likes to break things down and put them back together again before your eyes. He's a coyote, a contrary, a radical.

I don't deny history.

I respect the women who literally, were required to give their lives so that data could be avaliable so that we could even be discussing this phenomenon. They don't call it Battered Woman Syndrome for nothing. I like to think that women got tired of being bumped off, they figured out "Hey we're dropping like flies! Aren't we citizens who pay taxes and vote? We don't have to put up with this! Let's figure out what the hell is going on and learn how to stop it!" And they did.

So now we have a relatively young science which studies the use and misuse of power in relationships. I think the science can be useful in terms of studying politics, even. And should be. But wow, look at the heap of dead women it took to get to this place. I guess I have to give any woman the right to still be pissed off.

November 9, 2004
9:35 pm
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Those are good points. But I like to think of women and men as well first of all as human beings.

November 10, 2004
12:56 am
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southgoingzax
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WD,

I know people like you...it's not such a bad thing, to push a conversation/argument, just to see where it will go. A lot of academics are like that.

On the stealth-abuser...A very good friend of mine, attending a different university within the state, sent out an email with an attachment of the newspaper article...her very own PhD advisor, a man she had worked closely with for four years, was arrested for nearly killing his wife in front of their two year old. She had broken her jaw and her collar bone and when police arrived he was dragging her back into their apartment...

I'd like to reiterate here, that this is not a male vs. female issue to me. I don't hate men and don't fault them for the way they have been conditioned to behave. We are ALL conditioned to be one way or another - the problem is no one has really taken seriously the consequences of that conditioning, AND by acting as if it were intransmutable, that it is "natural" and has always been this way, society makes it very difficult for change to occur. And I agree, it has to occur very early in life. I have three newborn nephews - I plan to be the coolest, feminist aunt they could ever have. Because it HAS to start in childhood. These perceptions start so young, even by age two male and female children can recognize so-called "gender-appropriate" toys. The sad thing is, most people do not realize they are passing these biases on to their children, because they are not aware of it themselves.

Keep it coming, WD...I like a man who thinks,

zax

November 10, 2004
6:03 am
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Worried_Dad
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I suppose my emotional reaction and that of some other men to the permeating culture of patriarchal oppression hypothesis is that I go "But that's not me!" I mean, shouldn't I feel more patriarchal? Shouldn't I feel more dominant and entitled?

I dunno. I have always strived for a kind of androgyny--feeling anything like "manly strength" is only something I've recently tried to cultivate, and that only because women seem to like it.

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