Watch as I chuck a tanty

Things got a little heated on the second edition of Feminist Dad, so there are two things I want to make clear.

One: This is not a radfem blog and it is not a women-only blog and I won’t be bullied into making it one. This has always been a feminist blog where women and men are welcome to comment and ask questions and discuss issues. It does not mean I’m “colluding with the patriarchy”. Honestly, could there be a lazier insult to hurl at a feminist? It’s the feminist equivalent of “yeah, well you’re fat and ugly”.

Two: The whole point of Feminist Dad is to make a wide audience aware of Feminist Dad behaviour, so that people read it and think, “shit, I do that” or “shit, my friend does that, I’ll tell him”. And for that to happen, men need to be a part of the conversation. I thought that was pretty fucking obvious.

30 responses to “Watch as I chuck a tanty

  1. Bah, it ain’t chucking a tanty if it’s laying down the rules for your own space! But then someone on another (nonfeminist) blog recently asserted that *I* am a horrible manhating radfem so my perspective may be skewed …

  2. I must admit I didn’t read all the comments but I must admit I find the fact that people got offended over the comic rather silly. But then again I understood the point.

    To me, I don’t really see a differentiation between Feminist dad with a capital F and feminist dad with a lower case f. Simply because I don’t think the act of passing on your DNA to progeny is relevant in this context.

    Whether or not you are a feminist is a binary equation, you are a feminist or you are not. To try and carve out a special category based on the fact you have sired offspring is, in my mind, no different to the congratulatory back patting we reserve for men for doing things they should just simply do (e.g. not walking out on the family). A father who is a feminist is in no way different to a childless man who is also a feminist.

    Feminism is an ideology, it’s a belief in equality and it’s an attitude that permeates every aspect of how you view, interact and treat the people around you, regardless of their relationship to you. Feminism is not a paternal instinct. How you treat your daughter, as a woman, should be no different to how you treat your female coworkers or the pretty young woman sitting at the bar (obviously how you treat your daughter as a person would be different to others, but her sex should have little bearing on that).

    That, from my perspective, is the whole point of the comic. There is no such thing as a feminist dad. Only a feminist. I’m really surprised many people didn’t understand that and took offence.

    But that’s just my humble opinion (which probably should of been said int he other thread but 180 comments is a lot of noise)

    As for the rest of the thread, wow some people really let their personal grudges cloud their point of view.

    • Oh also in the spirit of Lesly Gore, it’s your blog and you’ll through a tanty if you want to ….

      • I certainly can.

        The comments became less about the comic and more about shouting down male commenters. Many of the points raised were good ones, in terms of the way some men can dominate, but I didn’t feel they applied to the people who were taking part in the discussion.

  3. Laying out the problems with including male perspectives on feminist issues in the broader sense was not meant to sound like I’m telling you you’d better make this personal space of yours women- only, and I’m really sorry I made you feel that way. I hope radical women are still welcome to comment here in the future (and challenge men’s comments), and I hope you support women’s right to hang out just with other women if they choose to, on and offline.

    • Linda, of course I support women-only spaces. You already know that.

      I have always been respectful of your feminism, and I expect you to respect my feminism in return. But I’m yet to see it.

      • “I hope radical women are still welcome to comment here in the future (and challenge men’s comments)” – Linda, I’ve read your three posts about how you don’t like the way I run this blog. I don’t mind. That’s your opinion and although I disagree with it, I’m not so arrogant as to assume that mine is the only opinion worth listening to. However, when you put my comments on Feminist Dad down to libfems siding with the patriarchy to keep radfems down, you’re wrong. It’s because I expect everyone here to engage with each other, without resorting to gender stereotypes, and certainly without shouting people down. You’d complain like hell if you were treated that way, and yet that’s the way you treat commenters you assume are male. And me. Which comes back to my earlier comment about how I don’t tell you how to do your feminism, so don’t tell me how to do mine.

        • My recent writing on the subject was triggered by Feminist Dad thread but it’s not about you personally or this blog in particular – it’s part of a much bigger context. To describe it as me blogging about how I don’t like how you run your blog is really a long way from the mark and over simplistic. I also did not resort to gender stereotyping; male dominance is not a myth or a stereotype. I just used theories of power to explain the reactions. ie. Male power in the broader societal context informs men’s individual interactions with women. Other theories besides feminist theory would explain it the same way. I also did not shout any men down; men continued to post in the thread. But you yourself have resorted to a common stereotype – after days of thoughtful and constructive commentary you summed it up by painting radical feminists as nasty, aggressive bullies who attack men into silence; you promoted the idea that women have power to silence men; you bought into MRA myths of men being the victims of feminism. Very unfair and very offensive.
          I can appreciate the dilemma of having friends on your blog (partly why I blog pseudonymously) and in the future I will respect that priority and just shut the hell up. But I can’t see how raising serious feminist issues for discussion can work in women’s interests, in such a space. If men must always feel safe from the mildest feminist challenge then that’s to effectively silence women.

          • Linda, I did not paint “radical feminists as nasty, aggressive bullies who attack men into silence”. You behave like that on this blog. Other radfems do not. I’m not even going to bother addressing the rest of your comment. You expect people to respect your views, yet you show no respect for anyone else’s. That is what this is about.

            • “Linda, I did not paint “radical feminists as nasty, aggressive bullies who attack men into silence”. You behave like that on this blog.”
              I thought you didn’t approve of name-calling. And where exactly have I ever done that?

              • They’re your words Linda.

                • Yes they are and I’ve just read back through the entire thread and I can’t see anything I’ve said that could be construed as remotely aggressive. So could you please stop publicly accusing me of being aggressive towards people? Because I find that mildly slanderous.

                  • Firstly, I’m not surprised you don’t think your comments are aggressive. Secondly, the word you want there is libel, not slander. Thirdly, calling someone aggressive is hardly libel. And oh look, I’ve got a fourth one: since you comment under a pseudonym, there is no libel.

  4. I’ve been following and enjoying NWN for a while, and was stoked to see your stand on this issue.

    For me, dismissing the ideas and perspectives of my male friends, and excluding them from responsibility for any kind of cultural change, simply because they are dudes is not an option. Historical and patriarchal systems, structures and assumptions about the world can be as uncomfortable and problematic for men as they are for women (albeit in different ways) and thinking that men do not and cannot have a voice in such discussions ignores that reality that men are a large (and often wonderful) part of the world. In fact, guys have been some of the people I have learned most from about feminist ideas and politics, and have been especially great in talking about the challenges of feminism in terms of everyday and personal ethics. These men are/would be feminist dads, who challenge themselves to think differently about the world and their place in it.

    I realise this is a wildly contentious and passionate issue, so I’m not really sure what it is I want to contribute here, except to say that I like the idea of engaging with the world and having conversations and admitting that things are difficult and complex, rather than telling people how to think and what to do. Hence, I like this blog.

    • Rebecca, welcome to the News with Nipples. And thank you for that compliment. I try to push my readers and commenters into talking about issues from all sides, and they certainly push me to do the same thing.

      This comment – “For me, dismissing the ideas and perspectives of my male friends, and excluding them from responsibility for any kind of cultural change, simply because they are dudes is not an option” – is wonderful! It’s how I feel about the world, too.

  5. Well, I thought Feminist Dad was quite funny.

    Some people are so touchy.

  6. Hi, I tried to comment on the first Feminist Dad post – along the lines of Hendo’s comment on the second post – but WordPress wouldn’t let me. And that’s probably a good thing, because now I have the advantage of having read all the 2nd post’s comments and can respond more coherently (I hope).

    As a feminist and a dad, I was very disturbed by the comic strip – not because I didn’t get it, but because I felt excluded by it. I’ll try to explain why.

    I was a very active feminist campaigner in the UK in the early 197os, when the big issue I was able to help with was abortion on demand. I could get letters published in the MSM and interviews arranged with politicians where women in the campaign were being ignored. It felt like a valuable contribution and I believe it was appreciated.

    However, I have always been painfully aware that Linda Redfern is generally right about including men in the discussion. Men can too easily dominate the agenda through all kinds of subtle processes that neither the men nor the women involved need even be aware. So, generally, I’ve tended to keep my mouth shut and have tried to be aware of the power dynamics even of apparently simple conversations between friends, even within my own family! It’s a very difficult thing to do and I’m sure I slip more often than I like to think.

    When I’m in the company of feminist women, I’m acutely aware that many of them will doubt my sincerity, my good will, my ability truly to understand the issues, or how it feels to be oppressed. Many will automatically assume I am some version of Feminist Dad. And that’s a reasonable default position.

    And (to get to the point) that’s the problem with the Feminist Dad cartoon. While it attacks a certain type of hypocrisy that is not uncommon among men, I, and men like me, do become tarred with the same brush, we become collateral damage. It reinforces the idea that “feminist man” automatically equals “hypocrite” and makes it harder for men to declare their support. It excludes us.

    Of course, I may be being overly sensitive, and, of course, there is a case to be made that a bit of collateral damage is a price worth paying for exposing Feminist Dad behaviour.

    • No, I think that’s an excellent explanation. Thank you.

      As for men dominating conversations, I prefer to make that call on a conversation by conversation basis, rather than decide that all men dominate all conversations. I’m an optimist.

      • mattinthesprings

        Hi NWN, I think that is eminently sensible (to look at things on a case by case basis) as it means we (the participants) can together look at and critique what is going on, rather than coming in already having decided what is going to go on. Thanks also for your moderation of the big Feminist Dad post, I thought it was considered, reasonable and helpful.

  7. “This is not a radfem blog and it is not a women-only blog and I won’t be bullied into making it one.”

    Is there any chance you could be bullied into increasing the number of comments up from 10 in the RSS feed? What if I just ask nicely?

    I find these threaded discussions make it difficult to follow the flow of the conversation when there is a lot of talk or I am offline for a few days.

    Sorry to be a bother.

    • Sue, I’ve increased it to 15 because I don’t want to fill everyone’s RSS readers with NewsNips spam. With conversations on blogs that I follow, I tend to just delete all the emails and go to the post and read the comments. Go on, be old school!

      • Thank you for that. It is actually reading the comments here that I have trouble with. I am not used to the way the comments are organised. I use the feed to follow the chronological order of things. No doubt I will get used to it with time.

  8. Well this is all very positive. Turns out men can be drama queens too! Chuck a tanty, I’ve chucked many for much less…

  9. Dear KP, I wasn’t reeeaaally hurt by FD, and I feel a bit silly about all the ensuing fuss. However, I did read through Linda Radfem’s comments and they gave me some food for thought. It’s not often a middle class, middle aged git like me is exposed to much radfem thinking, so that’s a good thing and shows your excellent blog is serving its readers well.

    • Thanks Hendo. I think Linda raised some great points, but I don’t think they applied to the comments on that post. Which is why it was important to publish them – so they can be a part of the discussion. I still stand by pulling her up for being aggressive towards other readers.

  10. Pssssttttt……I wanted to let you know that I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award! You can see the post here: http://zenzistake.wordpress.com/2012/04/30/life-on-tuesday-got-nominated-for-a-versatile-blogger-award/
    Congratulations! Here’s the website if you want more info on your award: http://versatilebloggeraward.wordpress.com/

    ~asha

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