Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Introducing Myself

I thought I'd write a brief post to introduce myself to the blog, and thank Ryan for inviting me along.

I am a chemistry student who lives in Kansas. I've been involved in other political groups, and while I am a socialist I have not been involved in labor politics outside of personal advocation. I have been involved in feminist politics through the campus' philosophy club, which has discussed feminism, gay rights, atheism, and science. I had the privilege to participate in a public debate on abortion, arguing that abortion is generally a moral decision. I've also participated with an on campus anti-genocide group. Maybe all of this at once seems a little ridiculous as I'm trying to show off my credentials, but I wanted to show that while I haven't been in labor politics yet I have a little experience with public politics and I want to get involved with the IWW.

I hope to build some ties here to the labor movement in the United States, because the Midwest needs it! Further, I think there's a lot of potential for bridging between leftish groups, such as feminism and labor, and I thought this blog to be the perfect place to try and find and keep that sort of inter-group building.

As for feminism: I can't say I always was. In fact, one would be fair to say that I fit a fairly stereotypical pattern for a Kansas male with regards to women. But along the way I got to thinking, and I think that this pattern was damaging to myself and my relationships with others, even if it may have facilitated some ground-level immediate understanding, and so I decided I wanted to change that.

My experiences in calling myself a feminist thus far have revealed a few things. Some persons don't respect men that are feminists, some do. It tends to put you in a different crowd. But one thing in particular that struck me was that it's easier for me to say I'm a feminist than for a woman to do so. When a woman does so, even though it's obviously not the case, the immediate description that people generally leap to is an undesirable one. With me, as a man, people generally just don't know what to say. I'm a pretty open guy, and I'm friendly about it, so they may go for a playful ribbing, or just give me a "huh?" expression, which gives me an opportunity to explain myself. So, even in the realm of feminism, it seems that I have the easier job. Go fig! I'm not sure what to do about it -- as I said, I'm pretty open about myself, and I continue to say what I say when it seems appropriate to do so. But talk about a bad gig for the women.


JRB said...

I've always thought one of the best credentials is that you give a damn. Granted, this is bound to get you in trouble from time to time -- especially when you presume to act on it.

Oh, well. Such is strife!

Your point about how women vs. men are received as "feminists" is a good one. Something for male-identified feminists to keep in mind.

Thanks for a great intro, and welcome aboard!

Anonymous said...

Oh give me a break. This ego-maniacal drivel proves your point better than you even know.

Knock it off with the "male feminist" thing. I know the IWW is a misogynist sausage fest, and I can deal with that. What DOES piss me off and alienate me is this kind of shit.

If you dudes struggle and fight for years, you may become "feminist allies" but you are not and never will be feminists.

You're a dude who's not even a worker. Your oh-so-special-snowflake voice contributes what, exactly?

JRB said...


That depends on what you're trying to get out of an experience.

I'm sure there's an interesting argument to made about why men shouldn't identify "feminist" -- so why not make it?

That is the simplest way to discover whether we share the same goals; and if not, why we should be concerned about our differences in the first place.