The Adventures of Feminist Dad* – cup of milo edition

* Because every man becomes a feminist when he has a daughter**
** Cough, bullshit, cough

The Adventures of Feminist Dad - cup of milo edition

The Adventures of Feminist Dad - cup of milo edition

Who is Feminist Dad?

117 responses to “The Adventures of Feminist Dad* – cup of milo edition

  1. Way to lose your male fans KP.

    • Ha! Hendo, I know you’re not Feminist Dad. And you know you’re not Feminist Dad.

      • I’m a feminist dad and a fan, and I have to agree with Hendo…but understand you’re making a point worth making. Though the ‘I know YOU’RE not like that’ line seems a bit of a copout.

        • Perhaps this should help: Who is Feminist Dad?. I’ll chuck it in the post.

          I don’t think my comment to Hendo is a copout. It was to indicate that I’m not taking the piss out of every man because Feminist Dad is not every man. Perhaps I should have called him ‘Thinks He’s Feminist Dad’?

          • How about Born Again Feminist Dad?

          • No, on rereading I think you’ve got it right. I guess I found ‘Feminist Dad’ a label I wanted to apply to myself (without your particular spin on it, I mean) because speaking shallowly that’s what I am, and when I observed what you meant by it I felt alienated, and felt like you were unfairly generalising. If I’d stopped to pay attention to the superhero ‘F’ on Feminist Dad I’d probably have got the joke better. It was hard to spot the difference between ‘Feminist Dad’ and ‘a feminist dad’ when I’ve got this emotional investment in it.

            I don’t think you should have to explain that it’s not a generalisation, either, though obviously it sounded like I did – even if I disagreed I think the need to explain kills the joke, speaking generally. So: sorry about that.

  2. And we’re left with “some men are pricks and some aren’t.”

  3. Doesn’t your lampooning of ‘typical blokes’ do just that?

    • No, I don’t believe it does. Feminist Dad isn’t about typical blokes. It’s about a particular type of man who believes that since he has a baby daughter, that he’s now a feminist. That after being oblivious to/ignoring/denying sexism around him for all of his life, he’ll suddenly announce that sexism is bad and expect everyone to pay attention simply because he said it. Yesterday’s cartoon introduced that.

  4. I’ve been AWOL for a little while, and I’m back with another name… and I’m glad I came back when I did. I’m loving Feminist Dad. 😀

  5. Hurrah for the continuation of Feminist Dad! And indulgent sigh for the commenters who just have to jump up and down and insist that you can’t satirise popular tropes because They Know A Guy Who Totally Is A Real Feminist Dad. If it’s not about you, people, it’s not about you.

  6. A splendid second edition.

    “Feminist Dad will be a semi regular thing. I hope.”

    You might consider pacing yourself a little bit and starting a backlog. There’s bound to be dry times eventually.

    And I disagree that it comes off as an attack on every man, the typical man or the true feminist dad. The target and the irony are obvious to me. Hopefully me loving it is not evidence that it is actually unacceptable.

    • Yes, I will be pacing myself. It might not even be a weekly thing. Besides, I don’t think my drawings really need to be seen that often.

      Your last sentence makes me laugh. Earlier today, I was thinking about offence and that if someone is offended by Feminist Dad, maybe they’re offended because it’s a little too close to home, rather than it being offensive. And then I thought about what a hypocrite that makes me.

  7. Pingback: Poking fun at some men is offensive to all men. Apparently. « Woolly thoughts (and fuzzy logic)

  8. I think Tony Abbott should be an honorary Feminist Dad with this comment (published on Mamamia)

    “Margie, obviously, working in child care, is very attuned to these issues. I want my three daughters to be able to have a real choice, to have careers and families rather than being forced to choose the one or the other, or to have less of a family or less of a career because they had to focus more on one than on the other.”

    • What he means is, “my wife knows about childcare, but I haven’t bothered to find out about it, even though it’s PART OF MY JOB TO KNOW. And then blah blah blah real choices because someone in my office told me to say that”.

    • But he doesn’t support them having only a career, by choice. In his mind they would only choose not to have a family if they were “forced to” choose that choice. For him, not breeding is not an option, and if he has to support child care policy in order to enforce that ideal, then he will godamnit.

  9. Well done exposing collective male hypocrisy in such a humourous way. There is nothing simplistic about it at all! It conveys very complex meaning which is instantly recognisable to people who have lived female experience in a male-dominated system. Oppressed peoples know the oppressor class much better than it knows itself. Looking forward to reading more.

    • “… collective male hypocrisy …”
      ” … nothing simplistic …”
      However humourous one might find it, I believe it is indeed a simplistic take on the attitudes, morality, emotions and behaviours of half of humanity.

      • “However humourous one might find it, I believe it is indeed a simplistic take on the attitudes, morality, emotions and behaviours of half of humanity.”
        Do you? Oh dear.

        • Hendo, it’s not about half of humanity, it’s about a particular type of man. And Linda, it’s not about collective male hypocrisy because all men are not like that. But this is a discussion you and I have a lot!

  10. As a Dad (who for various reasons does not call himself a feminist) of three daughters (5,12 & 25) I have to say keep up the good work. no need to worry about losing male readers, cause you know if anyone gets offended they can just f*&k off.
    There is a qualitative difference when the oppressed attack the oppressors.

    • Well now I want to know why you don’t call yourself a feminist…

      • If I was to make a label for myself I guess I would call myself an anarcho-communist, in that I see Capital as the main enemy and seek to create a classless society. So while I am, obviously against the patriarchy, I see the battle against Capital as being the ‘main game’. But really any differences are only of quantity, not differences of quality.
        Also I have seen too many men call themselves feminists as a way to get into women’s pants, so I am against that sort of idea. Is it even possible for a man to be a ‘true’ feminist?
        Anyway keep up the good work! And have made a link to your site from my blog 🙂

        • Given what a broad church “feminism” is, I think it’s as possible for a man to be a true feminist as it is for a woman. Though there are undoubtedly internal conflicts. My husband for instance identifies as feminist, but many of his attitudes are distinctly not. Still, I don’t want to deny his right to claim that label; after all plenty of radical (and not so radical) feminists could question my own “feminism” as a stay-at-home, leg-shaving, high heels wearing married mom. (Just picking some random, highly symbolic choices.) Is it possible for anyone living and working in a capitalist society to be a “true” anarcho-communist? (Thinking here of the self-proclaimed Trotskyite I know who happily subscribes to the company share scheme, etc etc…)
          I would like to see as many people as possible proudly claiming feminism, even though it’s absolutely guaranteed that most of us will disagree with each other on many points. Because I’m sick of the “I’m not feminist, but” line. I’m sick of hearing (from apparently intelligent and otherwise reasonable people) that “Of course feminists are all fat ugly women who can’t get a man.” I can’t think of any other movement or philosophy that generates that same conflict: people who support its goals but refuse to accept the term.

          • True. Because the patriarchy has done a fucking good job at demonising the term ‘feminist’.

          • “…people who support its goals but refuse to accept the term.”

            We have to be just as wary of people who do accept the term but refuse to support the goals. It shouldn’t be enough to accept at face value a man claiming to be feminist, without analysis or criteria. As tomsk alludes to, there have been many examples of men appropriating the term “feminist” to serve their own interests and many who have not only not supported the goals of feminism, but actually impeded them, and harmed women in the process.

            Woolly, no radical feminist who is truly committed to women as a class, would criticise you for wearing heels or doing whatever it is women have to do to survive each day under patriarchy. We all make concessions in some way – it’s impossible not to as you say.

            • “We have to be just as wary of people who do accept the term but refuse to support the goals.”
              Oh, sure. I don’t mean to say that every claim to feminism should be taken at face value – this is after all Feminist Dad we’re commenting on, and presumably we both see the joke. Just that I don’t at all believe it’s *impossible* for a man to be a true feminist. And since I think even a sincere feminist can make un-feminist choices, for a variety of reasons, in fairness I apply that to men as well as women; although I’d certainly be inclined to scrutinise a “feminist” man’s actual behaviour way more closely than a woman’s, and to question his motivation.

              “no radical feminist who is truly committed to women as a class, would criticise you for wearing heels or doing whatever it is women have to do to survive each day under patriarchy”
              I’d like to think so, but people do. Forget the heels issue, which is pretty much a cartoon token of antifeminism. Where motherhood is concerned, a *lot* of choices are widely attacked or dismissed as un-feminist. But that’s a whole nother kettle of fish.

              • I used to perceive that in radical feminist spaces too, but not so much anymore. As a radical feminist and a mother myself, I blog lots about this issue because I used to feel alienated by anti-child commentary in some radfem forums, commentary that I found to be highly unfeminist. I think things have improved of late or perhaps I’m just more careful about where I hang out.

                • Sadly I think it’s more your perception. I’m not even talking about radical feminism specifically, there is a lot of virulent *mainstream* commentary that is declaredly feminist yet anti-mothering. Especially specific types of mothering (attachment parenting etc). I wish I had time to fish out some links, but then again they’d make me cross all over again, so… But I’m glad you agree with me that these attitudes are highly unfeminist!

                  • I understand the anti-mothering discourse to be a reaction to patriarchy’s obsession with control over the means of reproduction, which necessarily means control over women’s bodies. As well as the entrenched idea that birthing children is a social and moral obligation for women. I do get that. But to take that out on mothers and children is contra to feminist goals.
                    Still, more recently, at least on the radical sites where I hang out, there is a much better understanding of children’s oppressed status in a patriarchal society and an awareness that children are also the victims of men’s violence along with women. I’ve long argued that women are only provided with inadequate, residual supports in the role of mother, and that if we want to do that role we should be free to do it without the increased risk of health issues, poverty, homelessness and violence that goes with it.

                    • mattinthesprings

                      I think we need to be cautious about acting as if the “patriarchy” is a “something” that can do these things. Patriarchy does not have a headquarters where they make decisions that then get fed to the men to put into practice. Therefore to say that patriarchy is obsessed with control over the means of production is to make a category error. This is not to say that there aren’t men who, in doing their work in the world, are not trying to control the means of production. It is not even to say that there aren’t a majority of them (I don’t know), however when we talk as if these things exist as things “in and of themselves” we neglect to see how these actions emerge in the world, where they come from and how they keep being supported. I reckon that you would benefit from reading some Gabriel Tarde, Linda (a French sociologist/ philosopher from the late 19th C). What he talks about (contra Durkheim) is that what we see as structures are actually the products (not the producers) of society, including things like gender, class, social roles etc. In order to understand how they come to appear as structures is the thing that needs to be explained, i.e how, in humans doing their work in the world do such similarities emerge. It really is very interesting and important. I am happy for you to recommend me some things to read too, lest you think I’m being a smart arse.

                    • Mattinthesprings, this is my feeling too. That if we keep saying the patriarchy is to blame, we’re not going to get any further because the patriarchy isn’t comprised of specific people that we can contact and say “you are wrong and this is why”.

                    • mattinthesprings

                      Yes NWN, when we think of such things as “patriarchy” having power to act we buy into the idea that it is the “thing” acting, not individual people. Individuals, if you use this metaphysics, become subservient to the social system- it is the social system that allocates power, and people within it are powerless to act in alternative ways. If the social systems analysis worked nothing would ever change and we certainly would not have the society we have today. The problem with such a metaphysics and its analysis is that any social system is nowhere to be found except in the collected actions of individual people. Therefore we should start looking at how it comes into being in the real world. Again, possibly to labour the point, this is not to say that patriarchy does not exist. However it cannot be remade anywhere but in the real world by real people acting in new ways. Given this we need to observe how individuals are enabled to act in particular ways in particular spaces and work with this to open up new conversations about alternative futures. Sure it may not be as grand as taking down the patriarchy in fell swoop but it is actually the only way things change in the real world.

                    • “I reckon that you would benefit from reading some…”

                      Referring to “patriarchy” in such a way is in common usage within radfemological discourse, despite not being grammatically correct. I could have said “men’s control over reproduction” (we’re talking about mothering here which you seem to have not noticed), but then we’d be back to “But not ALL men…”. However, I’m not going to be quibbled into a circular debate. Such quibbling is one of the reasons I don’t advocate trying to fight male supremacy with carefully worded logic, one man at a time. You could try checking out Michael Flood online, Crimitism online or Lundy Bancroft online for examples of men who get it, and who and don’t try to reduce feminist struggle to some kind of amusing verbal sparring match devoid of context and urgency.

                      Or try this to get a feel for how dire I and other radicals believe the situation to be: http://radicalhub.com/2012/03/11/big-porn-inc/#more-7506
                      That link contains highly distressing content.

                      Patriarchy HQ is otherwise known as planet earth.

                    • mattinthesprings

                      I’ll take in on trust that you are not saying that I am trying “to reduce feminist struggle to some kind of amusing verbal sparring match devoid of context and urgency”. Ok moving on…I still think there is a problem with saying “men’s” (as in, the ones who control reproduction- which was what I was responding to in your post) as if this group somehow exists as an a priori category that somehow controls what men do. What “men” do can only be the collected acts of real men doing real things in the real world. That is why, for me anyway, the only thing worth worrying about (and the only place in which change can happen) is those real situations in which real people live their lives. If patriarchy has any power it is because it is constantly re-enacted in the real world. What we need to understand is how it does this through the actions of real people, for it is only here that we can change it. At least that is what I think

                    • “If patriarchy has any power it is because it is constantly re-enacted in the real world. What we need to understand is how it does this through the actions of real people, for it is only here that we can change it.”

                      Like the actions of real men on the internet who contribute to a post about sexism by talking about how not all men are nasty, or by telling women their feminism could really benefit from reading some more dead white men’s writing from the nineteenth century?

                    • But Hedgepig, not all men are nasty. And a friend of mine saying he’s offended by my cartoon is a perfectly valid contribution to this discussion of the cartoon.

                    • I’m not sure if this will nest properly but anyway, no-one is saying all men are nasty. Someone did however effectively say “I’m not nasty”, which was a derail, wasn’t it? The cartoon is about men who are non-feminist or anti-feminist suddenly spouting feminist pronouncements once they have female children. It is not about men who aren’t like that. So, back to if it’s not about you it’s not about you.

                      Thanks for the interesting discussion everyone. I find a lot compelling about both viewpoints and look forwards to lots more (no pressure).

                    • Yeah, wordpress wigs out the nesting thing every now and then. At least it seems to be letting people comment, which was the problem last week.

                      I think I’m just a little too close to the issue and will defend my friend’s right to comment here, even when I disagree with him.

                    • Fair enough, it’s your blog!

                    • I think the first comment by David and the second comment by David are exactly the reason why we shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the views of someone who doesn’t find Feminist Dad funny. And just because someone doesn’t find it funny, doesn’t mean that they are Feminist Dad.

                      Hendo is right to say that “all perspectives are forced here by the host”. Almost all conversations on this blog start at the post and end up being about something else. I think that’s a good thing, because it’s how good conversations should be. This conversation is no different. And in the comments is an informed and informative discussion of different feminisms and the problem of just blaming the patriarchy. So, because I’m a wanker, I’ll repeat a comment I made earlier: we can talk about gender inequality all we like, but it will achieve fuck-all if we don’t include men in that conversation. And yes, that’s because I’m a small-l liberal feminist.

                    • I definitely see that someone can think it’s not funny but still understand it’s not about them, like David did.

                      I certainly agree that men should be included in the conversation. How well that goes will depend though on how they participate. I find Feministe threads fascinating because these issues come up there all the time.

                    • mattinthesprings

                      No, just one man suggesting to one woman that she might like to read something that may be of interest because we all have something to learn.

                    • “we can talk about gender inequality all we like, but it will achieve fuck-all if we don’t include men in that conversation.”

                      And I’ll say again that there is no theoretical, statistical or empirical evidence-based justification for that approach, in fact plenty to the contrary. This thread alone with the obfuscation tactics and the blatant mansplaining tactics is a neat little example of why it doesn’t work. But it is your space and if you say it’s a space where you want male friends to be comfortable then so be it – this is why we have radical feminist women-only blogs to tackle the issues raised in this thread.

                    • Linda, I’m just not seeing the mansplaining and obfuscation that you see. I see people of different viewpoints having a discussion.

                    • “Like the actions of real men on the internet who contribute to a post about sexism by talking about how not all men are nasty, or by telling women their feminism could really benefit from reading some more dead white men’s writing from the nineteenth century?”
                      Thankyou!

                    • Mattinthesprings also asked for you to recommend things to read, so let’s not pretend that it was an outrageous comment.

                    • mattinthesprings

                      Hi Linda and hedge pig, just to clarify it was one man writing something to one woman in relation to something that someone else has written ( I’m not sure why their colour, gender or their aliveness matters that much) that may have been of interest from a sociological point of view. I certainly wasn’t trying to diss anyone’s anyones approach, merely to say that there are other perspectives and other work that may be of value. I am at a bit of a loss as to why the suggestion that we all (possibly) have something to learn could be regarded as sexist but there you go. I did also want to say thanks Linda for those sources which I will look up- I should have said this in my last post.

                    • “Linda, I’m just not seeing the mansplaining and obfuscation that you see.”

                      I know. But now that the focus here has become all about defending men it’s time for me to call this thread a day and return to my own planet. Ciao everyone.

                    • Linda, get your hand off it. Everyone on this thread has shown more respect for your views than you’ve shown anyone else. And if you choose to view and dismiss all my comments as “defending men” and “colluding with the patriarchy”, then yes, it’s probably time you did go back to your own planet.

                    • “No, just one man suggesting to one woman that she might like to read something that may be of interest because we all have something to learn.”
                      This is a great example of how differently situated people can experience a dialogue in different ways. For a woman with feminist consciousness, to be told by a man that her understanding of patriarchy is flawed and would benefit from reading an archaic work written by man is not “just one man suggesting to one woman that she might like to read something that may be of interest because we all have something to learn”. It’s yet another time when a man has wielded some privilege (however mild it might seem to him) and told her to do something that is backed up by patriarchal society, i.e. consult the writings of male intellectuals, woman, in order to find out more about yourself and how the system under which you live operates.
                      It’s like telling an Afro-American his understanding of racism would benefit from reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin, or some such work written by a white person. And in liberal circles, that would be considered outrageous.
                      Sorry, Linda, if I appear to be speaking for you, it’s just that this same thing has happened to me so many times I just feel unable to keep my trap shut.

                    • “I’m not sure why their colour, gender or their aliveness matters that much.” You don’t? Seriously? Pretending that someone’s position in the world hierarchy bears no relationship to what they will have to say about that hierarchy, or how what they have said will be received in the world, is such a basic failure to achieve a minimum standard of understanding that I can’t see how you can even claim to have an interest in patriarchy as a topic, let alone helping dismantle it.

                    • Orlando, I think the points raised here by you and Hedgepig are good ones, but I think it’s a bit of overkill in this situation. My understanding of that sentence is that mattinthesprings was responding to the comment by Hedgepig that he dared suggest a dead white guy to read. I read plenty of things by dead white guys. And dead white ladies. It’s all part of having a greater understanding of the way others think, or just some damn good fiction. Don’t forget that mattinthesprings also asked for suggestions for him to read, so interpreting his comment as ‘you feminists should read this dead white guy to understand what you think’ is a little unfair.

                    • woollythinker

                      I have to say* I tend to agree with Linda and Hedgepig on this one – despite my unradical bent. Unsolicited recommendations to go read this guy and then you’ll understand have more than a whiff of mansplaining; and no, saying “you can give me a recommendation too” really doesn’t change that. It’s still just as patronising. I have no doubt that it was intended in a constructive way, and that Mattinthesprings is a really nice guy, but it’s still a problem, and we should pay attention to that.

                      This thread is full of nice guys. And I am in principle totally on board with talking to the nice, well-meaning, feminist guys and including them in the conversation. But I am utterly baffled at how this really mild (and funny!) cartoon provoked such a reaction. It’s… a joke. You can get it, or not get it, but to say it’s going to “lose your male readers” is just… egregiously male-centred, no? I seriously struggle to understand how this cartoon can be considered offensive, except to someone who thinks everything is All About Them. And surely a feminist blog is not the place to bend over backwards to protect those fragile male feelings.
                      ____
                      * In the full realisation that I’m a new visitor to this blog, and it’s not really my job to take sides, so forgive me; but hey – opinions, I haz em.

                    • Like I said in my previous comment, the point raised by Hedgepig and Orlando is a good one, but I just don’t think it’s totally accurate in this particular case with the reading recommendation. If we call this mansplaining, then it means that no male commenter is going to be able to suggest something to read on this blog without being called a mansplainer, and mansplainer is too awesome a word to use in cases it’s not really warranted.

                      Looking back over the comments, the majority are from women arguing about radical feminism vs liberal feminism. I’ve indicated when I think criticism of other commenters is unfair. So I don’t think it’s fair to say it’s about men being offended by the comic and me bending over backwards to protect male feelings. I actually find that accusation – like Linda’s that I’m colluding with the patriarchy – to be quite offensive. Fuck, it’s my comic and my blog – *stamps foot* – and yet my views are the ones that are being dismissed. This has ALWAYS been a place where women AND men can talk about feminism, without name-calling and snark. And I intend to keep it that way.

                      I was talking to a male friend at the pub this afternoon who was originally hurt by the comic because he thought I was mocking men who identify as feminist. Same response as Hendo and David. Of course, once he realised that it was mocking Feminist Dad, not feminist dads, he saw the humour in it. That’s why I have no problem with the discussion that’s followed this post and have tried to make my position very clear: that men are welcome on this blog and welcome in this discussion. My feminism is inclusive. I don’t see the point at railing at the patriarchy because then what? You can’t exactly organise a meeting with The Patriarchy and state your case. As I’ve said before, my feminism is about changing attitudes and you don’t change attitudes by lecturing people.

                    • woollythinker

                      I apologise NWN – I can see why you’re offended. I was actually thinking not about the whole thread (which has gone on some stupendous digressions, and yes, largely from women arguing* among ourselves), but more about where it all started, and I was thinking about that because of your acknowledgment of Hendo/David/your friend’s hurt over the comic. Which… I just don’t get. I seriously don’t. (The hurt – not the acknowledgment.) And the whole thing is confusing and surprising to me.

                      So I’m sorry for the bending over backwards comment, which was inappropriate, because I agree you’re not doing that (and didn’t mean to imply you were – I expressed myself poorly). It’s a good thread with plenty of healthy discussion. I’m just so far from understanding the supposed offensiveness, and am reacting to the whole idea that this comic could be considered remotely out of line on a feminist blog – not to what has actually happened, but to what seemed to be being called for. (“I’m a nice guy and I’m offended by this feminist joke! You stop this right now!”)

                      ____
                      * In an “energetic debating” sense, rather than quarrelling

                    • Woollythinker, thank you for the apology.

                      Read David’s second comment again – that pretty much sums up why feminist dads are feeling hurt by Feminist Dad.

                    • mattinthesprings

                      Ok, Id like to take follow up to a few of the comments beginning with Hedgepigs comment following my “one man, one woman” post. Yes it is absolutely true that “differently situated people can experience a dialogue in different ways”. Looking back at it I can see now why what I wrote could be regarded as someone trying to say (as woollythinker said) “go and read this guy and then you’ll understand”. This however is not what I was trying to say and so I am sorry that it has been taken that way. But let’s look into this a little deeper (but before I do a disclaimer, I am not writing this to try to derail this thread and talk about my hurt/ fragile feelings (which, even if I had them are not relevant, as I said at the start of my first post on this thread I love Feminist Dad (the cartoon), I am writing this out of an interest in how our social world works, and how things like class, gender, patriarchy, identity and a million other things emerge in social practice). It seems to me that the criticism of my post revolves around two things, one, that I was seeking to invoke a dead white privileged man to tell a woman that she still had something to learn, and two, in doing so I was invoking my own male privilege. I’d like to deal with them one at a time.
                      One- invoking the DWM. I can absolutely see now why this might be considered offensive. If I had my time again I would have substituted Kathryn Pyne Addelson for Tarde. KPA is nearing the end of her life and is one of my intellectual heroes (she has an interesting website http://www.entangledb.com/) . She considers herself to be an activist feminist philosopher and writes about morally responsible work and collective action. It is just that I think Tarde does a better job of explaining how things like class etc emerge in the world through the collected acts of people (and no I don’t think his gender etc matter that much, they matter, but not to the exclusion of what he is saying). When I wrote it I was engaging with Linda in what I thought was a good faith conversation and neglected to think through the possible implications of it. So I’m sorry about that. I wonder if I had have substituted KPA for T some of the following commentary would not have happened. Even so (going back to Hedgepigs comment) if we can accept that different people read things differently we should also accept that our view of what is written is no more definitive than another’s. This means that although my comment about Tarde can be read as male privilege reproducing itself, it does not need to be. And if it is that is not an objective reading of the world.
                      Two- that I am doing male privilege as I do my writing. This I think is the most interesting point in this and goes to the heart of what I’ve been trying say. If I have privilege in this context where does it come from, how did it get here and how did it work? Note I am not trying to say I don’t have privilege, however it seems to me to be up to us collectively to explain how it worked in this particular real world example. To say that I’m a man and therefore I have it explains nothing- again not trying to say I don’t have it, it is just that nothing has been explained (and if we can’t explain it how can we do anything about it?). If we are content to say that male privilege attaches to men and they just take it with them wherever they go wielding it, then I am at a loss as to how anything will ever change (because the implication is that it is something that pre-exists individual men and women). I believe that it is constantly re-enacted in the real world, and hope that my good faith engagement with the comments and the topic demonstrate that I have something to learn so as to not unconsciously keep on reproducing it.

                    • woollythinker

                      Well, I had read it again, and have now, and was (am) still stumped – I see what he is saying but am seriously confused by how easily the “real feminist dads” (small f etc etc) are offended/fail to see the joke. I don’t want to belabour the point, presumably my failure to “get” their problem is as fundamental and personal as their difficulty in getting the joke.

                    • And I think that’s the issue, isn’t it? Or perhaps it’s because when you first think something is about you, you get your back up, and that makes it harder to see that it’s not. It’s pretty easy on first glance to think Feminist Dad is mocking all dads who identify as feminist.

                    • I’m with you wollythinker. Furthermore, in David’s second comment he says he understands the point of the comic and acknowledges being offended was his issue. Doesn’t this mean that we can surely expect other male readers to deal with it in this manner and effectively ‘get over it’?

                      Not sure if anyone has mentioned this yet but I suspect the offense is to some extent on behalf of all men.

                    • I wouldn’t have a clue how other male readers felt about the comic because none of them commented. And I don’t blame them. The radfem attack was aggressive and if I was a bloke, I would have stayed well away from it.

  11. I am lucky enough to have a real feminist dad but I see a lot more Feminist Dads than I do feminist dads. I’m 37 and I was kind of expecting the men of my generation to have caught up to my dad by now…

    • I’m also surprised that so many men in their 30s have outdated attitudes towards women. But then I think of the pay gap, and about how women are offered lower starting salaries than men, and how male managers are unlikely to promote women and realise that it’s not the old guard making it harder for us.

  12. “And Linda, it’s not about collective male hypocrisy because all men are not like that.”

    Referring to it collectively doesn’t mean I’m referring to all men, just a lot of men, and clearly a lot of men ARE like that or it wouldn’t be A Thing and we’d be living in a very different context where this conversation wouldn’t need to be had. Just the fact that the thread has moved away from the issue and into the “but not ALL men…” is a good example of just how subtle male power can be. We should be able to have these discussions freely without feeling like we have to temper them with “It’s ok we know you’re not all like that!” because that effectively forces us to make male perspectives the centre of any discussion of women’s issues; it’s a kind of informal censorship. The nice men who actually get it, don’t make those demands.

    “But this is a discussion you and I have a lot!”
    Well, not really. But I think we’re both just very aware of each other’s position and this informs our interactions. Which is a good thing.

    • Your last sentence is exactly what I meant by the two of us often having this conversation. But you said it better. And good point about the collective stuff. I took it the wrong way in your earlier comment.

      But I don’t feel that the comments from Hendo and David have stopped us having a free discussion. I think it’s natural, when confronted with a negative image of your gender, to want to point out that you’re not like that. I do it with the “women as recreational shoppers” steretype. Or “girlfriends as fun police”. But when I point out that I am not like that, I also point out that many women are not like that because we are not all the same. So how is that different to saying that they are not Feminist Dad? I hope that they now point it out if/when their male friends are being Feminist Dad. Which is how we chip away at Feminist Dad and get rid of him. There’s no point having this discussion amongst ourselves because we can’t change it. And by spelling out our arguments clearly, they’re here for others to read.

      I’m not saying that I disagree with your point about turning the conversation so it’s from a male perspective, but I think there is more to it. Particularly when the men involved are regular commenters, and one is a friend so I know he’s a feminist dad and not Feminist Dad. But perhaps I allow more shades of grey with commenters I know/feel I know because they comment often…

      • For the record, I’m not an anything-nist. But for the purposes of this discussion I am (or have been for long periods) a boy, a “boyfriend”, a man, a single father to a little girl, a son, married, divorced, married a second time, a grandson, the father of two daughters, one of three men in a staff with 34 women, someone who has spent most of his 25 year career working for female bosses, an uncle to two nieces and a complete and utter wanker. Of course, the response to that could justifiably be, “So what”? I don’t claim special insight or empathy with feminist notions, but I am surrounded by women in every corner of my life and I like to think that I’m not blind to struggles of gender. Furthermore, I’m not sitting at my computer weeping for myself as I type this – afterall it’s just bullshitting around on a blog. Nor am I trying to force a male perspective “to the centre” of discusion, Linda. All perspectives are “forced” here by the host, who chooses to publish them. I’m just saying I think the statement “Because every man becomes a feminist when he has a daughter (Cough, bullshit, cough)” is stupid and simplistic – and I’m not sure what the point of “Adventures of Femininist Dad” is.

        • The point of Feminist Dad is to poke fun at people who believe that statement. That is all. Not everyone’s going to find it funny, and it doesn’t mean that those who don’t find it funny are Feminist Dad.

  13. “There’s no point having this discussion amongst ourselves because we can’t change it.”

    Agreed. I think it would be a terrible waste if this was just women mocking men with no objective other than some laughs. I can see how men would be upset by this if they miss the irony or do not find it funny. And I do not think they are doing anything wrong by choosing to politely engage with the author rather than staying silently resentful. To repeat what others have said: If you are a feminist dad who does not behave like Feminist Dad, this is not about you. If you are a feminist dad who does behave like Feminist Dad, you are doing it wrong. If you take the irony away, the strip loses its punch and stops being funny.

  14. “But I don’t feel that the comments from Hendo and David have stopped us having a free discussion.”

    Well we don’t know now do we? We don’t know who didn’t join if for fear of being labelled the dreaded man-hater.

    “I think it’s natural, when confronted with a negative image of your gender, to want to point out that you’re not like that. I do it with the “women as recreational shoppers” steretype. Or “girlfriends as fun police”. But when I point out that I am not like that, I also point out that many women are not like that because we are not all the same. So how is that different to saying that they are not Feminist Dad?”

    It’s not the same at all. We’re not both (as in men and women) arguing from equal positions of power. Negative images of men offend (or threaten) individual men – that’s it. Negative images of women serve to reinforce an entire global system of male dominance which has immeasurable negative consequences for women at individual and institutional levels. Anything from work place discrimination to violence and death. Individual men’s feelings are not more important that this. Further to this, most women have learned to ignore the 7864 negative images they see of themselves every day, or when they do dare to point them out they get told to lighten up, chill out, stop being a bitch etc. Men on the other hand have the privilege of being acutely aware when they see something negative about men because those events really stand out in the vast sea of pro-masculinist propaganda.

    ” I hope that they now point it out if/when their male friends are being Feminist Dad.”

    Let’s ask them if they are planning to do that.

    “Which is how we chip away at Feminist Dad and get rid of him.”

    Well, this is a fundamental difference between the ideological lenses we are both of us using to view and understand the problem. A radical take sees the problem as structural, not about the need to reform each individual male’s attitude. Chipping away hasn’t worked after several thousand years because no matter how many nice men understand, there will always be enough other men to maintain the system of dominance, a stsem which all men, no matter how nice, benefit from at women’s expense. To quote Marilyn French: “As long as some men use physical force to subjugate females, all men need not”

    “There’s no point having this discussion amongst ourselves because we can’t change it.”

    I’m really aghast at this comment, so I’ll just assume that you don’t really mean that literally because the implications for such an idea are far too huge for me to be able to address in this forum.

    ” And by spelling out our arguments clearly, they’re here for others to read.”

    Well, this is what I’m trying to do. Although already I’m wary after that Iain Hall incident. I took your OP as evidence that it was safe to advance a radical feminist perspective but it seems that applying a structural analysis and naming the agent is not what was expected. This is where a liberal perspective falls down; it never really gets to the root cause of the problem.

    • Linda, what I mean by “There’s no point having this discussion amongst ourselves because we can’t change it” is that we can talk about gender inequality all we like, but it will achieve fuck-all if we don’t include men in that conversation. And yes, that’s because I’m a small-l liberal feminist.

      Also, what’s the point in criticising the structure if there’s not a Committee in Charge of Structure? By including people, we take it from being abstract railing against the patriarchy – a surefire way to make sure a lot of people DON’T listen to us – and make it something that we can change.

      • Plenty of significant changes already have been achieved as a direct result of women talking and activating amongst themselves. Many of the women at the forefront of positive social changes that we now take for granted, have been radical, separatist and/or lesbian feminists. But history shows us that when men have been “included” they will dominate, appropriate and misrepresent the cause.

        • Yes, it’s true that many significant changes have been achieved by women and that women are still working very hard, but if you want to change attitudes, you can’t just lecture people about it.

  15. “But when I point out that I am not like that, I also point out that many women are not like that because we are not all the same.”

    Sorry, I also meant to use this part of your comment as a good example of our different ideological perspectives. As a liberal feminist you point out that you’re not like that, or that lots of women aren’t like that. As a radical, I would point out how these stereotypes and narratives are sustaining systemic discrimination and oppression of all women and supporting male power at the expense of all women. Not making that a personal criticism, just using it to highlight an essential difference between liberal feminist and radical feminist responses to patriarchy.

  16. mattinthesprings

    Hi all, I love feminist dad (the cartoon)! As a feminist of the Addelsonian school (Kathryn Pyne Addelson) I’d just like to offer another perspective on Linda’s take on the radical perspective: “A radical take sees the problem as structural, not about the need to reform each individual male’s attitude”. To me there is no such thing as structural (in the sense that it determines individuals perspectives); rather the structure emerges in action. That is the something that we call a structure has actually come about from the myriad actions of people imitating and innovating in the social world (to use Gabriel Tarde’s frames). KPA, who would see herself as a feminist activist academic, would say that we need to look at how we do our work in the world and how this supports (and inhibits) options for doing things differently in the future. Importantly we are participants in this process and we do not have any particular privilege in terms of changing things other than as a participant by pointing them out, doing things differently and finding ways to tell of our experiences. Where we might have privilege is in where and how we tell our stories. Blogs like this are important sites to tell the stories of how the “feminist dad” in the worlds we inhabit emerges in day to day action and how he is supported to keep on reproducing this position. Sites like this are also important as places where we can tell our stories of how we work against such things. Thanks NWN!

  17. Nicely said mattinthesprings. It is important to point out these things by way of story and experience. It might not be a popular thing to say, but often ‘feminist dads’ are simply acting out what it is to be truly male – competitive, protective, victorious etc. That women have suffered oppression because of these natural masculine traits is almost a given since, as a culture, we value strength and competitive spirit. This is what I think you mean by ‘structure emerges in action’. Yes, we need to keep struggling to protect women from oppression through economic, social and political reform, but we can also stop trying to emulate male qualities as it only reinforces what we (wrongly) think is superior. Of course satire can be a great way to point out injustice, and yet, the female’s response in Feminist Dad 1 is more telling than the male’s. True feminine power will come when it is respected as equal to the male force. Yin and yang together. Boy oh boy, am I going to get hell for this??? ha ha – scary shit!

    • Surely you can be competitive and protective without having double standards, which is what Feminist Dad has when he says his daughter deserves to be free and safe but THAT girl is a slut.

  18. “Well we don’t know now do we? We don’t know who didn’t join if for fear of being labelled the dreaded man-hater.”

    Linda, we do not know how many people you might have scared off either. If you try to stamp out every such comment, you really have stopped having a free discussion.

    Dave and Hendo are not abstract representations of male dominance. They are people. Any conversational framework that treats criticism of one group as unethical on principle but forbids another from even questioning criticism against them seems to me to be unfair and exclusionary to the point of being counterproductive. If your radical perspective sees no need to reform men’s attitudes — or engage with men at all — what does it involve?

    • I’m not your unpaid tutor, Sue. Go and look it up yourself.

      “Linda, we do not know how many people you might have scared off either.”
      Hah! Right, because radicals hold so much institutional and discursive power?

  19. Deliberately interpreting a radical perspective as “scary” is buying into right wing fear-mongering politics, and a lazy way to respond.

    • Linda, your argument seems to be that men must be excluded from participation because they will always dominate and intimidate others to some degree. But any woman who feels any such pressure from a woman identifying as a radical feminist is deliberately misinterpreting things because they are lazy/right-wing/fear-mongering/etc. Were you not the one who called me a troll, told me this was not the place for me to debate and suggested I go and start my own blog?

      I could read all the literature ever written about radical feminism and it would not tell me anything about what YOU think practical action involves. Only you can do that.

  20. Without buying into the false narrative of women having the same power to silence people as men do, lets just go back a few days and see how we got to this place. When conversations span several days the context, understandably, sometimes gets lost.

    The OP and the previous cartoon raised a couple of gravely concerning issues that are experienced disproportionately by women, and at highly shameful rates, globally; sexual violence and systemic workplace discrimination.

    Sadly, no men posted about this in any way that could be interpreted as being supportive or acknowledging of women’s struggle against these things, even though we know these things support male power at women’s expense.

    Instead, a couple of men immediately took offence and gave the impression that we shouldn’t notice these issues because it upsets the nice men. I made the comment that we should be free to discuss the issues without having to appease men. From then on it became a discussion not about the issues raised in the OPs and men’s apparent cognitive dissonance regarding them, but about how we should be nicer to and more inclusive of male opinion about them. On top of not showing support for women’s struggle against violence and oppression, the conversation was wormed about to ignore the actual topic and bring the focus around to men and their feelings.

    Now here we are ironically arguing amongst ourselves about whether men really do what they have in fact just done right under our noses. You see what they did there?

    • Linda, what I see is that the discussion has been steered to this place by your assertion that men shouldn’t be a part of the discussion. I think your comment does raise a good point about the conversation becoming about men, but I disagree with your opinion as to how we got here.

      Sure, we haven’t been discussing the Milo edition itself, but the comments on almost every post on this blog tend to turn into a conversation, rather than simply a response to the post, and that’s something I love about it. Because if everyone just said “good post, I agree” or “this is shit”, it would be pretty boring.

      • Hendo is a friend IRL, and that he is offended by Feminist Dad has made me try to see the comic from his point of view. I think that’s a good thing for friends to do, and I hope that he is also trying to see the comic from my point of view. I can also see how, to Linda and others, that looks like I’m pandering to the patriarchy.

        I do think it’s important to try to see things from someone else’s point of view. I also think the conversations we have here are important, not just for our benefit/enjoyment, but because although this post has 60 comments (so far), thousands of people have read it. And when I re-read the comments, I see loads of information about different viewpoints in feminism, and I also see a respectful conversation between people of differing opinions. And that makes me impressed by everyone here. Thank you.

    • Well, if we are done arguing with each other (for now) shall we return to arguing with them that Feminist Dad is fine the way it is? I think we agree on that at least.

  21. “Linda, what I see is that the discussion has been steered to this place by your assertion that men shouldn’t be a part of the discussion.”

    You mean by saying this?
    “We should be able to have these discussions freely without feeling like we have to temper them with “It’s ok we know you’re not all like that!”

    …which I said after we had already got to that point. On the contrary, I’ve kept to the topic and posted in good faith, from a feminist perspective. Why else raise such serious feminist issues if you don’t want that to happen? Because it’s just fun to talk about it for the hell of it? Really, I don’t know.

    “if you want to change attitudes, you can’t just lecture people about it.”
    Thanks for trivialising my activism, but no, I don’t seek to change attitudes of individual men. As a rad feminist I seek the liberation of all women and children from male power. Why that’s controversial is beyond me.

    • I wasn’t suggesting that your feminism is about lecturing people. What I meant was that, on any issue, just telling people they’re wrong isn’t going to change attitudes. And my feminism is about changing attitudes. My feminism and your feminism are both very important, because together, all feminisms are a multi-pronged attack!

  22. “My feminism and your feminism are both very important, because together, all feminisms are a multi-pronged attack!”

    Potentially, of course I agree. But not if the prongs are attacking each other, and when one strand (libfem) is tolerated by the oppressor class and the other (radfem) more heavily demonised/punished, and the more tolerated strand collude with this, then the only winner is patriarchy. In my view the attitude stems from the unequal power structures; change the structures and deny the domination of one class over all others, and the appropriate attitudes will follow. Not over night – probably not even for a generation, but eventually…

  23. Btw are you micro-policing this thread? Or just me?

    • If by “micro-policing”, you mean am I moderating comments on my own blog? Yes, I am. If you want your comments automatically published, then you can do that on your own blog. And since I haven’t been sitting in front of the computer all day, I’ve been publishing according to my schedule, not according to yours.

  24. Whoa ok…I just thought I noticed some other comments appearing automatically and I wondered if I was being targeted specifically.

    Also, I never meant the previous comment to imply that I thought we had been attacking each other personally in this particular context. I meant that in a theoretical sense because it’s been a constant problem between lib and radfems. I said it in order to try to add to and enrich this discussion not as snark as you seem to want to interpret it.

  25. These types of discussions are ones that I take far too seriously to resort to snark.

  26. Can I just say that I have always enjoyed reading the discussions between newswithnips and Linda Radfem because they are such good proponents of lib and rad feminism respectively, and there is a spirit of good faith and good will in your debates that is quite rare between advocates of these forms of feminism (particularly on the intertubes).
    While I agree with Linda about what the male commenters on this thread have achieved, I do think that since newswithnips is a self-identified small “l” liberal feminist we rads can hardly demand that she not engage with the concerns of the male commenters on her own blog.
    The methods of dealing with male responses to feminism advocated by the two branches of feminism are a source of some of the deepest rifts between the two groups (who would have thought we’d fall out over men?!) Liberal feminism holds that a clearly expressed, indubitably logical feminist argument delivered courteously must influence a reasonable listener, male or female. Radical feminism holds that most men are too heavily invested in the status quo to let truth threaten their privilege. This is a well known difference between our two camps. Let’s not have too big a barny over it.

    • Thanks. I think clearly explained logic can fix everything. If the ‘stop the boats’ gang just heard the facts and stopped reading the Daily Telegraph, everything will be better… Of course it’s unlikely, but I’m an optimist!

  27. I would agree with all that Hedgepig. NWN and I go back quite a long way when she linked to a post of mine about media misogyny. That was when both of our blogs had barely any readership to speak of and we’ve since come along way, so I feel a bit nostalgic about this place despite our ideological and other differences. While I would never demand that NWN not engage with male readers on her own blog, I still think it’s important, in the interests of good old fashioned consciousness-raising, to point out how it’s problematic. However, I’ve only brought up the differences in these ideologies here in the hopes that it will help non-rad readers to get where I’m coming from and so get a smoother discussion. It appears I might have failed in that.

    • I don’t think you’ve failed in that. When I read back through all the comments on this post, I see so much information about different feminisms and this is a very good thing.

    • You may not have achieved “a smoother discussion” but you’ve succeeded in adding a valuable point of view, and certainly made it clear where you’re coming from. (It occurs to me that may sound sarcastic; it really isn’t intended that way.)

  28. I have found both NewsNips and Linda’s points really interesting and informative and compelling, so thank you (and Hedgepig et al).

    It’s been a really educating read.

  29. apropos the discussion about using the term patriarchy, I think it is totals valid and correct to say this. it is not this or that person we seek to fight against, but rather the system that allows female oppression to happen. i read an article by Slavoj Žižek this morning and he summed it up better than i could “First, let us not blame people and their attitudes: the problem is not corruption or greed, the problem is the system that pushes you to be corrupt.”
    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/04/24-6

  30. Pingback: Watch as I chuck a tanty | the news with nipples

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