Creeps and Cat Calls

catcallsI posted the above graphic on my Facebook page the other day and it elicited a good bit of discussion.  I had started writing a response to someone’s comment and it was getting a bit long so I thought I would turn it into a blog post since it goes to the very roots of how I became a feminist.  Actually I would rather say “how I began my journey to become a feminist” because I don’t know if I truly am yet.  It takes a lot of time to overcome social conditioning in a world tilted against half of the population.

It wasn’t until the age of 23 that I had really fallen in love and had what I considered my first serious relationship.  Her name was Anna (well still is) and she was just a wonderful human being.  She announced to me early on that she was a feminist and studied gender sociology.  The word feminist at that time, and even still today, had a negative connotation and I was not unaware of it, but I’ve always been one to go beyond the label to know the quality of the person, but one can’t help but have the only ideas that you know about feminists in your brain, even though I knew that there was no reason for men and women to be treated differently, and so I had no problem having her teach me more.  The fact that she was crazy about me made me feel pretty good about myself because it meant that I wasn’t like other guys and that there had to be some spark of equality in me that made her feel safe.  She taught me a lot of things, but it’s interesting how academic it can all feel.  Not that I don’t take academic research seriously, or even feel a certain level of outrage, but sometimes things don’t hit home until you really see it and it becomes personal.

We were both grad students at the University of Oklahoma and while I had roommates she had her own place and our relationship got to the point where I was spending most nights there.  One night we were fast asleep in bed, when the phone rang, which was next to her bed.  It woke me slightly and I heard her pick up the phone and say “Hello?” A few seconds passed and she once again said “Hello?”. And then after a few more seconds she yelled “Oh my God!” and hung up the phone.  When I asked her what was wrong she said it was a guy on the other end of the phone and he asked her to keep talking so he could masturbate to her voice.  It was an incident so befuddling to me that I almost couldn’t process it in the moment.  I know I held her, but I don’t think at the time I could truly understand how it made her feel.  However, I did know at the moment that something was wrong.  Something was fundamentally wrong in the world.  This was not the first time she had experienced something like this.  And it was by far not a rare experience for women in general.

kate-nash-quote-feminismFeminism has come far, fighting a lot of the big and obvious things that have been suppressing women in our society, but the undercurrent of misogyny remains.  I realized the day after that night time phone call that there were simply certain things in this world that I would never have to face.  While laws had been passed to protect women, to give them better opportunities for jobs, better pay, a wider variety of careers, there were certain things that I would never feel.  I would never be cat called, and I would never have some creepy person calling me in the middle of the night using me for purposes of masturbation, and I would never have a guy honk at me because I of the clothes I was wearing.  It would be easy to be glib here and say as guys we would love all these things, but it’s a position of privilege to feel this way because I could enjoy the fantasy and then once it’s over I would go back to being a man.  Someone who isn’t judged based on the most superficial qualities about myself.  No one would really question my morals for wanting to be sexy or liking sex.  No one would criticize me if I wanted to be more modest.  I would never have to deal with a date who seemed nice, but felt that if he was going to pay for dinner I had to put out.  That he had a right to my body at a certain point, and that being physically weaker I might not be able to fight him off.  I would never have to face the humiliation afterward when my body, when my very personhood was violated and reported the rape that so many women have faced by having the finger pointed at me.  What was I wearing?  Did I have any alcohol?  Did I lead him on?  Did I invite him into my home?  None of these things are permission for rape.  And so like so many women I might also make the decision to not say anything.  Just suck it up and move on so as not to invite criticism and judgment, and possible even more violence at the hands of the person who raped me.

traditionThese incidents are not rare.  They are not spread out sparsely across the multitude of women.  They are common, there is no hiding from them, they happen every day.  It is the totality of all these things a woman has to face.  This oppression and disregard is sometimes more obvious and sometimes less so, but they are ever present.  Is it any wonder that many women begin to think the worst of men?  Find it hard to trust them?  Find it hard to trust themselves when it comes to even telling one of the good ones from the bad ones.  At times I have been one of those men who complained about women not appreciating a nice guy.  I was wrong to do so, because even if I am nice, given what so many women have gone through, my compassion should always have been at the fore.  And if all this isn’t sad enough, it’s important to remember that this is one of the countries where women can consider themselves having it good compared to many places.

Look, I’m not blind that there are issues that negatively impact men as well, but the issues men face aren’t even close.  I also find that as we actually truly start to value those things that we consider feminine those culturally narrow definitions of masculinity also begin to fade.  While I may not know yet whether I am the feminist I want to be, I know that the fight for equality is everybody’s responsibility and that it lifts us all to a better position morally, ethically, and spiritually.  The only way for everyone to have power is through equality.  Power combined with inequality means that someone is losing.  And women have been losing for far too long.

46 thoughts on “Creeps and Cat Calls

  1. Fortunate enough to grow up in a household where absolutely no bigotry, sexism, class distinction, whatever, of any flavour, was exhibited, or tolerated. It’s always been, therefore, quite baffling when I see or hear any of this in action.

    Great post, Swarn.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you John! I too am fortunate in a lot of ways, although I’d say my parents still had fairly traditional gender roles, but likely better than some. For me, having to parents of different races certainly gave me a big advantage in terms of how I view race, in addition to growing up in a very diverse Canadian society. I feel very fortunate that way. As I was talking with Victoria the other day, it’s all in how we are raised and what we see as normal growing up. It becomes harder to overcome those obstacles of inequality as an adult, but it can be done providing those of who are blessed to have overcome the obstacles or never having faced them show vigilance and courage over complacency in our lives. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

        1. I am not sure I can always keep that quiet. I mean if my kid becomes my facebook friend they will probably no who I support seeing some discussion of politics. But I think it’s more important to not simply vote for someone simply because of their party or some other superficial reason. I will always make it clear why I would support one particular candidate over another and make the discussion about the issues rather than the person only.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. The only way for everyone to have power is through equality. Power combined with inequality means that someone is losing.

    Unfortunately, for some, everyone having power isn’t the objective. Making everyone equal means that no one is losing. If no one is losing then no one is winning. If no one is winning then then no one has power. Some people need to have at least some others, in this case women, beneath them to feel powerful.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I agree that this is the psychology that goes through the minds of many, but I would argue that this is an illusion. If everyone is equal, and if no one is losing, I don’t know that it’s also true if no one is winning. I think it depends on your perspective. I think it’s possible that we all are winning if none of us are losing. 🙂


      1. I totally agree. In a society, though, where we have those who think that it’s bush league if everyone gets a trophy we also have those who demand that people lose. I’d love for us all to win. I don’t know why, in the minds of some, that isn’t possible. Moreover, there are some who believe that women are only winning(or insert any other disadvantaged group), if they maintain their lane. Stupid, yes?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Stupid indeed. I think our brains work to categorize and we probably wouldn’t be surviving if we didn’t have a way of organizing information. At the same time we have to be willing to constantly reorganize when we are presented with new information, because we are also famously bad at interpreting the world correctly. The definition of human regardless of gender is that we can adapt and excel in a large variety of situations and so while it might be good to put clothing items in categories it doesn’t work too well for humans which by definition are not limited to a static characterization, but are dynamic and have great potential to be more than they are at any one point in time.


  3. Thank you, Swarn. To say that seems trite, but I don’t think you can grasp the magnitude of that ‘thank you’. I saw a meme today. It’s a question i have thought to myself since I became aware of the apathy that is still dominant today, no pun intended.

    This is not you, Swarn. But this represents most of the good men I know and have known throughout my life. I have wept many times over this reality. There are no scars because the wounds never have the chance to heal.

    Thank you!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you Victoria. These are just words though and when I look back at my life I know that I needed to better and I still feel that way. And I’m okay with that, because this is one issue where resting on your laurels is never acceptable. It’s amazing how something so ever-present still requires careful attention when you’re a man and never have to face these things. In a way I was lucky that the incident I described happen early in my life…but it’s a terrible truth to face, but facing that truth is far easier than having it happen to you. There is no excuse for looking away from it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Anna

    I think you have always been a feminist at heart, even if you haven’t always claimed the title. However, the feminist thinker you have become rivals those of us who have spent our careers studying gender, and social justice issues in general. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh Anna. I didn’t expect you to comment on here, I thought you would just message me. Thank you for those words. I hope it speaks volumes to tell you that those words leave me speechless.


  5. Great post Swarn. Like you, I also feel I am not (yet) a Feminist primarily because I haven’t had enough time to learn properly the Do’s and Don’ts, verbally or in action, and also because I’ve been stereotyped as the typical priviledged white heterosexual male no matter HOW PASSIONATE I might try to be a better ally. Like you and John Zande, I too grew up in a home and with parenting where old “traditional sexism” and gender roles were pretty alien. Despite my true heart and spirit I have sometimes been met with very harsh language and very little patience from female Feminists. Fortunately, my tenacity and resilience have not withered under these attacks even as I wave my white flag… neutral flag. 🙂

    Of course attitudes, language, behavior, political and social action must increasingly take place from hetero males! That’s a given. However, the progress and future of successful Feminism with all gender support, and the extinction of Sexism could be quickened by inspiring, patient, and more stoic female and male teachers for the ignorant and innocent hetero males just learning the ropes. Yes?

    Otherwise, the “movement” I think simply becomes another ordinary divisive hate-group that shoots themselves in the foot. Equality is one thing, achieving it through hate and further division is another. That’s not pure equality. Does that make sense?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You have stated some important things very well here Professor. I think part of the message I tried to bring out in this post is to talk about some of the difficulties of distinguishing what is right from what is normal when you grow up in a skewed environment. Whether that includes your family life or just society at large. I have yet to meet the perfect feminist because I think men and women can certainly been unaware of how they have been nurtured in a society that is patriarchal and often has more subtle ways of impacting your thinking. All we can do is keep learning as we try to equal the playing field. In the long run perhaps all we can do is to try to make it a better environment for our children so that their view of what’s normal corresponds with what is right, better than what we grew up with.

      There is a great reason for women to be angry, and different people are going to let out that anger in many ways. Overall I would say that women have done an amazing job so far, but with there still being a great deal of injustice in the U.S. as well as the world frustration can easily set in because the truth is clear, but continues to get suppressed or marginalized. It’s nice to get taught, but sometimes you just have to research and ask questions. At times you will get treated like “you’re just like all the others” but you just have to be persistent. And I know with your resilience you are. 🙂 I like you prefer to adopt an attitude that is always seeking common ground and inclusiveness and then having established that foundation try to build from there. Everybody has different approaches and maybe there is a place for all those approaches.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I appreciate your encouragement Swarn, especially in that reply. Your post does indeed further enlighten the differences between right and wrong inside a skewed environment — the Southern U.S. is most definitely one of those areas! And I completely agree with you here:

        “There is a great reason for women to be angry, and different people are going to let out that anger in many ways. Overall I would say that women have done an amazing job so far, but with there still being a great deal of injustice in the U.S. as well as the world frustration can easily set in because the truth is clear, but continues to get suppressed or marginalized. It’s nice to get taught, but sometimes you just have to research and ask questions.”

        My specific point was directed to ‘reactions’ on very specific injustices or crimes upon women and then the overall implications upon the entire Feminist Movement (Reconciliation?) based upon those specific injustices/crimes a virtual prosecution would address. Does that make sense?

        As a parent of 2 kids I believe in a familial-social system of “punishment should fit the crime“. What does that mean exactly? If innuendos become too inappropriate, what sort of reaction and ‘punishment’ do innuendos warrant? If sexual assault on a woman has occured, what sort of reaction and ‘punishment’ does sexual assault/rape warrant? I feel there IS INDEED a wide spectrum of appropriate reaction/punishment based upon the crime and inappropriate reactions/punishments. Should there be inconsistent variances on this scale? Should there be any sort of ‘universal justice’? I think so, but getting to that utopia-of-justice WILL REQUIRE an epic amount of stoic patience and consistent articulation, as well as defense of right-and-wrong universally available to EVERYONE! That to me seems like a better approach than harsh deriding on neutrals.

        Last night Megyn Kelly (on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert) said something (regarding Donald Trump & Feminism) that really resonated with me…

        “I don’t like that word Feminist. I think it is alienating. And the reason I think that is because it has been coopted by some people don’t want you in their club unless you see certain women’s issues the way they see them. I think that is alienating. I like more of the Sheryl Sandberg approach where it is… take the more divisive issues and table those and see what we can agree on as women, but my own brand of Feminism, if that’s what it is, is not to sort of talk about it, but to just to do it! I love the Steve Martin motto which is ‘Be so good that they can’t ignore you.’ I was never lined up outside my boss’s office demanding “Give Me An Opportunity!” or “There’s Not A Woman in the Prime Time [TV news]!”…
        I think the best answer and the best way forward for young women out there who want to get ahead is to work your tail off! Work harder than everybody else, be better than everybody else, do better than everybody else, try harder!”

        I think what Megyn Kelly was also implying was increased unity with Moderates and Neutrals will be much more successful toward quicker change than alienation on major issues because there is MORE to agree on than there is to disagree on and alienate. I must agree with Kelly because if you give old chauvinist men (like Trump) enough time to speak, in this day and age they will implode and self-destruct.

        Now, since I’m speaking with you specifically Swarn about this social issue, HOW should male neutrals and moderates be united with healthy progressive Feminism in order to possibly ‘convert’ the inevitably dying chauvinists and achieve landslide victories? Isn’t TOTAL VICTORY what you, myself, and all women want? I do. I don’t want to be discriminated against just because of my skin color or genitalia. Punishments should fit the crime no matter what your gender happens to be.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Well “punishment” in of itself has a limited ability to deter deviant behavior and so if our goal is ultimately to correct behavior punishment is only part of the solution. Of course in the case of rape, very few rapists actually are punishment, so if the punishment could act as a deterrent we haven’t had a very good chance of testing that sadly. In general I think our way of dealing with deviant behavior solely in terms of jail time hasn’t been very effective, and there are probably better ways of doing it. I think though that when it comes to many of the violent crimes exacted specifically against women, much could be avoided simply by teaching our children gender equality at a young age and not defining women solely on how they look and teaching them simply good values and morals which have nothing to do with gender. When we teach are children that boys aren’t allowed to be emotional, and girls are and that is a weakness, this sends the wrong message and is a dangerous seed that grows throughout their entire life.

          In regards to your quote from Megyn Kelly, I’ll be honest I don’t find her to be a very good example of feminism. Perhaps partly because she has chosen to affiliate with FOX News, whose narrative is frequently detrimental to women. I would say while she bears the feminist banner at FOX better than any of the others, she has a long way to go (

          Now in terms of the actual content of what she said here is what I would say. First of all, labels always have that problem of getting hijack, or perhaps have the most extreme of that group be the representative of that group. It’s important however to remember that the term “feminist” was hijacked long ago, and not by women with extreme views, but by men who simply felt that women wanting equality were being extreme. So personally I think many are not willing to give up on that label because it’s definition is simply equality between men and women, and that is all it ever meant. As I wrote in this post, even I had only ever heard a negative stereotype regarding feminism before someone explained to me what it really was. I could have of coursed researched it too, so it was really my own ignorance that was at fault along with a perversion of the term spread by men who didn’t want to give up their positions of power over women. So I think the word feminism has a very good meaning and is rooted in some very good intentions, so I’m not ready to give it up to extremists. I must also make sure that those who seem extreme are actually so. It could be that they are in fact right and that I need to even think my position. So there is a value to even the extremes sometimes. It’s the same thing for atheism. I will not let atheism be highjacked by assholes. It means what it means, which is simply a lack of belief in God. In the end of course you can say that all labels are somewhat pointless, because I think the bigger problem is giving yourself a label, but not acting according to that label. Like saying your Christian but not acting very Christ-like. So I think it’s more dangerous a word for that reason, but not because some misogynists want the word feminist demonized and associated with negative stereotypes.

          And Steve Martin’s motto, while well meaning is not really reflective of reality. First of all there are many instances where women were no worse or even better than men and simply not given a chance simply because of their gender. So “being so good that they can’t ignore you” is a bit naive. Because women have been ignored plenty of time. Steve Martin’s motto might also be great for something like entertainment where you need no formal training, but it’s not so good for engineering or physics. Areas which in the past women were simply not permitted to enter to get good at them. Finally what does “being the best really mean?”. How one defines the best can vary, and lots of things are team oriented in which you want people to have different skills. So diversity is also better. Taking somebody with a slightly lower GPA for a job but adds a diverse element to your staff may actually be a better idea that just simply going for the best according to some measurement rubric. In some cases having that gender diversity opens doors to women that were never open before either. I mean how many women would want to be scientists if they never even saw a female scientist before? Obviously there would be some, but often we are inspired into greater possibilities when we see those possibilities are out there for us. Defining “the best” is also very difficult to do in the Arts. The amount of female directors and females in general working in the movie industry is very small and well documented. The Guerilla Girls in 1986 exposed the lack of gender equality in museums with modern art. There is no way one can tell me that males are inherently better at art than women, especially since there aren’t a lot more male artists than there are female artists. So it seems like no matter how good women were they still were being ignored even in modern times. Being exposed to a diversity of artistic expression from people of all walks of life is important.

          In answering your last question, I would simply say the best thing one can do is to point out sexism and unfair treatment by gender when you see it, and be supportive of policies and actions that lead to equality. Listening to what women are saying also is a good idea. 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Very VERY well stated Swarn! I would only add there at the end… “…point out sexism and unfair treatment by gender when you see it… AND do it with civil integrity and inspiring language, not with bull-horns and pummelling clubs…and be supportive of policies and actions that lead to equality” and not more alienation. 🙂

            Thanks Swarn for all you do toward positive change! ❤

            Liked by 1 person

  6. Thought-provoking post Swarn. And, my thoughts are mixed.
    I don’t know you well enough to know whether you are a feminist/feminist ally or not. But, my first comments are general, rather than specific about this post.
    Of course it’s good to see comments from men supporting feminism. Who can argue with that?
    My concerns are:
    1) women express gratitude. We have to. It’s important to thank men for acknowledging our concerns
    2) men backslap. We are all right-on men who aren’t sexist, and we all think this way
    3) women say the same thing every day and get no affirmation, men say it occasionally and get gold stars
    That’s probably why some of us lose patience. We are expected to be grateful for a token biscuit? Seriously?
    To return to your post, or at least the comments. ie Victoria’s.
    Aside from telling us that being a woman isn’t quite the fun game it’s always made out to be, – ie tell me one woman who hasn’t been physically or verbally abused? – what are men like you actually doing to alert other men to their sexist behaviour and language? Because that would be the biggest help.
    For example, my partner (who isn’t particularly feminist) criticised someone he knew for his behaviour towards a teenage woman. That is what’s needed. Calling each other out. I don’t see it happening, for the most part.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kate, you wrote: “That’s probably why some of us lose patience. We are expected to be grateful for a token biscuit? Seriously?

      Just as a reminder, Swarn’s post was an extension, basically a reply from a discussion we had on his FB page after he posted that meme shown in his OP. We did discuss the importance of men calling out other men. Shortly after he posted here, Swarn wrote and told me that he hoped I knew that he didn’t write it for gratitude. That he wrote it because it needed to be said — that it came from the heart, and that sometimes he is filled with sorrow about this reality. This isn’t the first time he’s written about it, and I think I can speak for Swarn, that he would, in a heartbeat, call out other men.

      When I thanked Swarn, it was reflective of healing and hope. Posts like this one shows me that there are men out there who aren’t just giving lip service. They are actually listening and being proactive, rather than going into defense mode. They are walking the talk. We have every fucking right to be angry, and if some perceive that as hate, that’s their problem.

      “What sane species would treat half of its members — and the very half which gives birth to the whole species — with such contempt and injustice?”

      ~Steve Taylor, PhD (Psychology Today)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A reminder. For a post and a discussion that I neither read nor can even access? Come on Victoria. I am reading this post on face value and you want me to empathise with an FB discussion I don’t know about? Jeez!

        Now. I have no gripe with Swarn. Nor your view of him as a fem ally. Show me one man who claims to be feminist who has called out other men. Please do it, Victoria, because apart from The Arb, I see nothing, but absolutely nothing, apart from rhetoric.


          1. All I want is a single example of a man criticising another man for sexist language/behaviour.

            Not empathy and goo.

            I am not in your FB circuit so I don’t know what goes on there.

            I do not know what Swarn is doing or not. And I SAID, this was not a criticism of him. How many times do I need to say that?

            Now, give me a link to a man who claims to be feminist who calls out other men. Ok?


            1. I read Jackson. They are saying what needs to be done. Easy. When. Do. They. Do. It. Give me one example on the internet. You are giving me oh so nice men who wanna be frenz. I eant men who say other men are sexist. Now. Show me that.


            2. Kate, although it’s rare, I have seen men call out other men during discourse on the internet. Now, if you are asking me to spend my valuable time going through all those past discussions looking for a specific link quoting someone, just to prove to you I’m not being dishonest, it ain’t gonna happen.


            3. No. I’m not. Although you usually manage to find every single link that you choose to support your arguments. So. I take it that finding men calling each other out is rather more rare than the odd dopamine shout out?


            4. Kate, I did say it was rare. But I would like for you to just think about the request you have made. You are asking me to spend hours combing through past comments covering a couple of years, showing where men called out other men,

              I’ll repeat myself. It ain’t gonna happen.


            5. You don’t need to spend ages looking for the rare comments. That’s the point. Men rarely, if ever, call out other men. And, while ever you fight for women, don’t you think those few comments might be worth something? However deep and buried they are?


            6. I am going to comment here because I feel this is where you started to get personal here. When you first commented I think all Victoria did was explain her reasons for liking the post and trying to give a little more insight into me. We are friends and talk a lot outside of the blog and was simply trying to let you know her reasons for thinking that my post wasn’t written for any type of hope of a kudos. Many of the people who have commented on here know me better and so their comments are linked with a more intimate knowledge of the writer.

              Your argument here is a reminder that we all come from different backgrounds and so our reactions to what we read are going to be different. For Victoria’s background of living for many years in the highly misogynistic culture of Christian fundamentalism, and still living in the south, having contact with any men with feminist views is a rarity. For her the internet is her way of finding out there are more diverse views and opinions than the very homogeneous and narrow views that are present in the deep south of the U.S. As to your background I don’t know, but I think it’s worth pointing out that if two intelligent women who I think both share strong feminist values are fighting with each other, then the patriarch is winning. There is no reason for such an argument.

              I am not sure why you chose to attack Victoria personally, but I do feel that you asked her to spend hours of her time disproving a point for which you offered no proof yourself other than anecdotal evidence. She admitted it was rare for men to call out other men, and sadly that is true, but I guarantee it does happen as I have seen it, and you have seen for yourself that I have done it. I can tell this is a very emotional subject for you, and justifiably so, the fact remains that you made blanket assertions that I can simply prove untrue based on my own anecdotal evidence. But there are men who actively represent feminist ideals all the time. Anytime a man votes for a candidate that supports things like abortion rights, extended maternity leave, equal pay for women, having free access to birth control, they are supporting feminist causes. Every time a man hires someone based on their qualifications over their gender they are supporting feminist causes. Every time an art curator makes sure that their contemporary art section in a museum has an equal representation of male and female artist, they are supporting feminist causes. I myself mentioned something to assistant curator at a museum in my home city in Canada that had a strong imbalance in their post-modern section between men and women. I counted it at 23% at brought it to their attention. That curator was a women. Many women don’t even notice the imbalance. And these things are rare…but they are happening and with increasing frequency, compared to when they never happened, and I doubt that any of these people are looking for a pat on the back. And even if they were, it still wouldn’t be terrible because as this older perhaps more selfish generation of men die off, children will be growing up in a world that has greater equality than it did in their parents time. The slow march of progress, doesn’t always happen in a time frame we want it to.

              In trying to do the research that you seemed to want Victoria I found it challenging. Mostly because I wondered what I might search for. I looked at articles about feminist issues and there was very often a big question mark as to whether someone calling out a sexist comment was male or female. Not everybody uses their real name. It was also difficult to figure out how to find an article that was by its nature sexist and look at who complained about it for being sexist. I did find this though. I know it’s American and comes from a politician, but I think he is a good man. He is calling out the so called “Bernie Bros” which are a group of sexist Bernie Sanders supporters who seem to think Hillary Clinton is a bad candidate simply because she is a woman.

              I know it’s an American article, but that’s what most commonly comes up in my google search. But it is one man criticizing a group of man for supporting him based on the fact that he is a man. Hopefully that’s good enough.

              Liked by 1 person

            7. in the future I suggest you state that your position is immovable and no evidence can sway it. Your argument could be used for any example I might find. So there is no point in discussing any further.

              Liked by 1 person

    2. Thank you for your comment Roughseas. You raise some important points and ones that certainly shouldn’t be forgotten.

      1. Unless you are in a social situation in which politeness is required (which this is not) a thank you given under the feeling of obligation is insincere and pointless. I don’t look for thank yous in anything that I write. If it personally touches a chord and one feels like saying thank you, then this is how I take that thank you. As though it personally meant something. I would also say that any man who writes about feminism looking for a thank you from women isn’t doing it for the right reasons. If that man feels slighted because not enough women said thank you that’s a reason to be troubled about that person. Perhaps you have known many of these kind of people so your questioning of my motivations is understandable. As I said in my post it seems completely reasonable why I would not be given the benefit of the doubt. I however do not feel like I should have to qualify any post about feminism with a disclaimer as to my motivations. I would rather leave the reader free to decide what type of person I am, and hopefully you have read enough of my posts to guess that, but if not, than so be it.

      2. I am not sure what you meant here, so I can’t really respond to it. Are you saying that men go around and support each for not being sexist, but don’t contrast that with calling men who are?

      3. Well first of all I do give gold stars for women talking about the injustices. Especially when they share through personal experiences, because talking about such things can be very hard. I think it’s always worth thanking someone for be willing to share some personal and painful in the hopes that it might change a mind or too and alert them to an important problem in our society. I have learned so much from women who are willing to speak out and point out many issues that aren’t immediately obvious when you grow up i a world that is tilted against women. Furthermore, I would think any man who truly has taken feminist causes to heart as I feel I have would be at least some measure of affirmation. I mean if a group of people is oppressed , the oppressors are in a position of privilege. If there is anything that history tells us, is that people in a position of privilege are less likely to give it up. Do they deserve gold stars for recognizing their privilege and trying to fight for those who are oppressed. Perhaps not. It should simply be done because it’s right, but to me it’s an important step. In means the voice of the oppressed has become so strong that they are winning over the oppressors. You would have to admit that the fight becomes easier the more people from the other side join the cause.

      And you are exactly right. Actions do speak louder than words. In my post I think I made it clear that even as someone who knew what was right and wrong I wasn’t always as courageous as I should have been. I’ll admit that I fault I have gotten better at over the years is being bolder. Problem that was across my entire being and not just this issue. I think you have proof of me alone calling out men for their “sexist” ideas just from response to Professor Taboo’s post a few months back when he thought he was making a feminist post. I call out men frequently on the internet. I tend not call anybody names though, but try to reason with them and explain why their ideas might be fundamentally harmful, illogical, or not representing of reality. I am sorry I have not chronicled them all for you to see. You will have to take my word for it or don’t…that’s your choice.

      I would also argue that even though actions do speak louder than words, they do matter. Words have the ability to inspire and move people to action. One person screaming in solitude is less effective than a message sung in chorus. I feel saying this, even if it has been said before has value, even if, in the end it means nothing unless translated into action. Sometimes the diversity of the message makes a difference. Coming from old and young, coming from Christian or atheist, coming from black or white, coming from man or woman. As a humanist I feel there is important in the message coming from the sea of voices and the different backgrounds those voices come from. Important messages that touch every religion, race, and age should come from every religion, race, and age. I don’t expect thanks for my words, but I do hope that those who read it think and that it moves them to actions. I hope those who have a wide audience of readers might take my post and share it on social media, on their blog, or just tell somebody about this great blog post they read and how it struck a chord in them or made them think. And sometimes when I write out my thoughts on a matter it’s a way of reminding me to also stay vigilant, to not become complacent, and to have me strive towards more action. So to me, words have value even if they are of value to nobody else. I write about subjects when I feel moved to do so, and about things that I think are important. I hope other people feel they are important too. I certainly don’t need any thanks or gold stars, especially ones given out of obligation.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thanks Swarn for your thoughtful and considered reply.

        In general comments, well, yes, 1) women do feel obliged for even being acknowledged. 2) yes. 3) yes, men want gold stars.

        And, I’m sometimes too old to even argue or discuss. If you think you are pro-feminist, fine.


  7. This is wonderful, Swarn. I’ve reached an age where media (Hollywood, specifically) make women feel like if they’re NOT getting cat-called (or ID’ed for alcohol, or getting checked out in general), they’ve somehow failed or are no longer sexually relevant. I’ll admit to struggling with this, but as long as there are thoughtful, intelligent, sensitive men like you in the world who value women for so much more than simply how they fill out a dress, I feel better about being alive.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You just followed me now?! 🙂

      Thank you for your kind words Sarah. That’s a great point you make about women no longer feeling they have value if they aren’t sexually relevant. These are the kind of things that seem difficult to erode, because they require vigilance over a long period time. I guess just like erosion!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s