Men in the shadows
I just read this intense story on feh-muh-nist. I thought it was powerfully written, and started to write a comment saying how I thought it was powerful and beautiful, but I stopped myself. There were already several insightful and supportive comments from women and transmen, and I decided it’d be better not to add my voice.
I reel myself in like this with some regularity, for several reasons. In this case, I felt that to comment was to imply that the conversation is incomplete without a man-born man’s perspective. In other cases, I’m pretty sure that whatever it is that I am thinking about the topic is shortsighted. It’s more likely that I have something to learn from continuing to ponder what’s already been said than it is that the women readers have something to learn from my perspective.
I sometimes won’t post because I know my opinion is likely to change radically in the coming months, and I don’t want my ignorance immortalized. Other times, I just don’t want to convert a woman-only space into a mixed space, because I know how valuable woman-only spaces can be. And many women bloggers prefer to have as strong a woman:man ratio as possible, and I want to respect that.
I’m pretty sure that there are a lot of men who lurk in the feminist blogosphere who have learned that their role, most of the time, is to shut up and listen. Unfortunately, those men become completely invisible and the remaining commenters are men who think that it’s their job to help women figure out their plight.
The appearance, then, it is that men just don’t get it. But the truth is, all the men who get it have figured out that they’re supposed to be largely invisible.Â And new men who find the feminist blogosphere are left to figure out that their role models are unseen, which is a hard thing to figure out.
It’s a paradox.