The casual misogyny of the Male Ally

I’ve learned so much about male allies in the past few months. About their tenuous commitment to the cause. About their fragile egos and the heavy burden of dealing with female leaders.  About how that leadership is inadequate when it’s not focused on supporting them and validating their feelings. How their mistakes are my fault. How they are disappointed in me. How they are afraid of me. How I take up too much space. Their anger at my boundaries. Their damning critiques of my ethics, my personality, and my work. Why they won’t associate with me if I’m allied with a group they don’t like. That I’m too radical and not radical enough. And of course, how I need to stop being so “bossy” and let them make the decisions.

I had to let them all go. It was hard. Those relationships weren’t casual; one had been my friend for six years. Another I had grown close to while living and working together in rough conditions for months. Another was assisting me with a legal case versus a stalker. Another was my partner of four and half years. (So goes the age-old story of the radical feminist and her Nigel.)

Is male allyship a lie? It’s so damn persuasive. I was willing to believe it, just as I believed so many lies men use.  

With those comrades pledging to back me up, I felt strong for once. Like, with their support, I could confront the threats and the institutions trying to tear us down, and together we would win.

Losing their support has taken all that. I stopped organizing. No more public events. I feel like there’s no safety, no backup, no allies anywhere. I’m filled with rage and despair.  Which, of course, I’m not allowed to express while the dudes are circling around, growling and snapping, for fear of exciting them further.

It’s like this: I need male allies. They are amazing. They can stand up and be applauded for things that would get food thrown at my head.

Not only that, I felt a huge debt of gratitude to these men. I would defend them to anyone.

In other words, I’ve been a sucker.  Allowing men to speak for me. Growing dependent on them just because they say, “Trust me, I’m here to help you.” Believing them when they say “I’m not like all the others.”

But I’ve found the solution:  Radical dudectomy. Cleansing my life of wannabe patriarchs. Withdrawing my time and energy from them and giving it back to my writing and organizing with women. I don’t even want to talk to dudes on the phone anymore. I’m decolonizing myself.

And now, I find I can breathe again.

Thank you for bearing witness to my struggle.

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10 thoughts on “The casual misogyny of the Male Ally

  1. Hey, thanks for following me! I’ve been following your blog for a while, so I was glad to see your name on there.

    And I totally agree, most male allies who have contacted me have been pedantic assholes at best. I’ve also found that feminist blogs that allow men to comment end up embroiled in counter-productive disputes, while those that don’t are usually far more instructive.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. One of the best things about WordPress is that it allows nuanced comment moderation. Most of the radical feminists I know take advantage of this feature and individually moderate all comments. It creates quite a different atmosphere.

    No need specifically to refuse to allow men, although some women try to. Just deciding you’re in charge of the discussion as much as any major newspaper considers itself to be, is effective enough.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Males will never be an ally to women if he’s not willing to make an atonement for his founding father’s sins; if he’s not willing to admit that he benefits from your oppression; that he’s masturbated to your destruction and that he’s jokes about your rape. If he can not apologize and turn from these things, then he’s just here to deflect you from noticing them.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. The best way that men can be allies is to begin deconstructing their own gendered selves. Men who want to be allies need the sort of “consciousness-raising” groups that women created in the 1970’s — where they can raise their awareness of the multiple ways that they perform patriarchally-approved masculinity. Stop being a product of patriarchy — that’s the way for men to help women.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I learned the hard way too that male feminists are ultimately in it for their own ego and self-image, and without exception they will react with angry misogyny to any criticism of their attempts to talk over women and take control of the group. This belief that they are automatically more knowledgeable, authoritative and worldly than any woman is the foundation stone of male self-esteem. It is so deep-rooted that few of them are even consciously aware of it, they react with knee-jerk hostility when it is threatened or challenged, and this is absolutely true of male feminists too, often more so. They ally themselves with the cause and believe that this is all it takes to prove they are one of the ‘good ones’, but do not accept that they need to examine themselves and their unconscious behaviour and assumptions.

    Liked by 1 person

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