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What Should Hugo Schwyzer Do Moving Forward? Why More Listening, More Honesty, More Time, and More Abuse Clearly isn't the Answer

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This blog exists to challenge white heterosexual male supremacy as an institutionalized ideology and a systematized set of practices which are misogynistic, heterosexist, racist, genocidal, and ecocidal.

image featuring Hugo Schwyzer is from here

This post is a follow-up to one I wrote yesterday. Since then I’ve
seen how much there is to read about and by Hugo Schwyzer. So let me cut to the chase and answer the question posed by him, which I use in the title of this post.

What Hugo should do moving forward is
stop being a presence online. Stop giving interviews. Stop writing for
publication on his own blog or anywhere else. Stop teaching. Stop
calling himself ‘feminist’ or an ally to women. He needs to see how much
male power and entitlement he has and how horribly he misuses and
abuses it.
He needs to start taking responsibility for his actions by not perpetrating them any more. 

Hugo Schwyzer is an on-going, compulsive, and self-absorbed sex
abuser. Why a college or any academic institution would want him to be
around young female students is for him and them to answer, possibly in

What follows is political analysis of his abusive and anti-feminist behavior,
noting the ways his ‘feminist’ writing and sexually abusive behavior against women reinforce one another. For more on his attempts to make amends for the racist and misogynist harm he’s committed, you can read this.

In an on-going exercise in self-involved self-promotion, Hugo Schwyzer has done an interview that was published two days ago here at The Daily Beast, of all places. Hugo likes to talk about himself, and feels–and is–endlessly entitled to do so as (according to the banner on his blog) an “author, speaker, professor, shattering gender myths.” He routinely reinforces gender myths as well.

One way he does this is discussed in some depth below.* Another is by feeling so bad for what he’s done and still does, while knowing he is going to continue to do it anyway. Hugo Schwyzer reads
and writes a great a deal about his life. He discloses his history of abuse and then proceeds to not be sufficiently attentive to the responses. Several times–in what little of his
I’ve read–he states that he can’t possibly read all the critique there
is and respond to it appropriately, on his own blog in the comments
sections. From a blog post (which appears below in full with my

I have not been able to keep up with the sheer
volume of emails, much less follow all of the blog commentary about me,
my role in feminism, my personal history, and my work. But I’ve
followed enough to have a good sense of what at least the main
criticisms are.

Admittedly, he gets LOTS of
comments. One post had over 250 and that may well be typical for him. This shows
social eagerness to place the allegedly profeminist views and expressed
values of a white heterosexual man front and center. But I would argue
has a profeminist response-ability to very carefully understand the
particulars as well as the general critique: if he isn’t going to do it
on his
own blog, where might we expect him to take the time to do so? The
answer appears to be in interviews and other writings, which are, to my
eyes, geared towards self-promotion more than accountability. There, he practices a kind of savvy ownership of privileges and entitlements while retaining all his rights and capabilities to act them out abusively. To correct something from yesterday’s post, I had indicated that he may not demonstrate awareness of his own white and male privileges. Here is one example where he does:

I’ve been “detained” and cuffed at least five times in my life, all
before I was 31.  But I was never actually arrested, much less charged
with a crime.  I doubt it has much to do with a run of good luck,
either.  The deference and the genuine kindness I’ve been repeatedly
shown have more to do with the color of my skin and my class than
anything else.
[Source: here]

I’ll modify my critique in this way: I’ve seen a few white men be aware of their various privileges and entitlements, talking about them in apparently responsible ways, but at the same time demonstrating a kind of persistent self-referencing and self-involvement that indicates a sociopathic proclivity for taking advantage of them without much regard for others. I think many men learn how to talk about the damaging stuff they’ve done in a way that makes them appear responsible and accountable, or at least sorrowful and remorseful. But in daily, private or public practice, they are not. The function of this way of speaking is to manipulate one’s audience to think one actually cares about other people. His sexual betrayal of several spouses and sexual abuse of several young women serves as evidence that his tactics work all too well.

In reading some of his work, I am struck with how often he states that he has friends who are feminist to whom he holds himself accountable. He apparently doesn’t hold himself sufficiently accountable or he’d take the necessary steps to be able to abuse anyone again. And as he’s struggled with feelings of suicide, let me be clear: I don’t mean by killing himself. I mean by physically and emotionally removing himself from arenas, online and off, where he has compulsively acted out in the past and present. Any statements he makes about having people in his life to hold him accountable misses the point that the job is his, not theirs.

Most men choose as friends the people who will only hold them accountable for things they wish to be held to account for; they ditch or ignore people who hold them accountable for things they have no intention of changing. Or, they lie to and deceive their friends, spouses, colleagues, and those they target for abuse: he has done all of that chronically.

None of this is to say that any of his friends don’t take him to task in ways that are not comfortable for him. I don’t know who his friends are and certainly don’t have that kind of intimate knowledge of how such things play out. I can only determine the degree to which he is deceptive by his published writings and interviews, and in those he, himself, often notes such dishonesty and half-truth telling followed by disturbing outbursts of confessional ranting:

What’s driving his current notoriety is his very public Twitter meltdown
last Friday in which he sent out more than 100 tweets in an hour,
admitting to building a career “on fraudulent pretenses,” to being an
addict, and to teaching feminism with no specialization or degree in the
field. This came on the heels of the revelation last month that the
46-year-old married professor wasn’t taking his own advice when he
sexted with a 27-year-old sex worker activist.
[Source: here]

I also am leery of men who speak of personal transformation as “conversion”–as arriving at a place one wasn’t at before as if also leaving behind the person they were, as if one is thoroughly transformed with all traces of harmful action wiped clear. I’ve known men who say they’ve done this and witness how much of their allegedly old behavior is still in practice.

I also witness how male privilege, power, and entitlement isn’t something that goes away; it is an on-going structural reality and not a personally remedied behavior. This isn’t to say individual men can’t do better. It is to say that in my experience, many men who find feminism of interest also are predators. One example that comes immediately to mind was a feminist-identified male who battered his female spouse during the time he promoted his feminism. Kyle Payne is another example.

The anti-sexist men I tend to find more credible are people like Byron Hurt, who doesn’t pretend that his struggles to be more responsible and respectful with women are over. Hugo, on the other hand uses his professed feminism ad a way to keep his abusive past from remaining in the past. Needless to say, a conversion has not occurred.

CT: Your sexual history also makes you a controversial figure with
some feminists. How do you respond to that? You consider yourself a
feminist — how does your sexual history influence your feminism today?

HS: I learned early on in the amends process that some people would
never believe my conversion was real. They would never trust that the
leopard had changed his spots, as it were. You can’t prove a negative; I
can only live the life I do now as best I can and live it openly. I’m a
pretty open book.

My behavior with students from 1996-98 was unacceptable for a male
feminist and, for that matter, an ethical person. The question is
whether the penalty for that ought to be a lifetime ban from teaching
gender studies, or writing about the subjects I write about. Some
feminists feel yes, it should be. I disagree, but only because so many
wonderful feminist mentors of mine have encouraged me to stay in this

Biggest takeaway: I need to be accountable. If someone on campus or
elsewhere sees me do something that doesn’t seem kosher, as it were, he
or she can come speak to me. I have an “accountability team” of men and
women whom I count as my friends (many are feminist academics). I’m
willing to listen to hard criticism from them, without insisting that
they parent me. If you’re gonna be a male feminist you need those
accountability partners in your life.
[Source: here]

Here we see this proclivity to state harm in terms of “something not quite right”: as “something that doesn’t seem kosher”. Note the lack of ownership of whether or not the behavior is oppressively harmful or not. I am struck with the fact that he puts the obligation of stopping such harmful and oppressive behavior on people who see him commit it. (This conveniently means if no one directly involved sees it, for all intents and purposes, it hasn’t occurred.) “He or she can come speak to me” ignores the whole issue of whether students or staff wish to risk their own reputations by calling out a tenured faculty member. It pretends the power differential he has acknowledged existing, somehow ceases to exist at that point. (I’d argue that point is one of many in which such a power imbalance is very likely to show up in his favor.)

Another indicator to me that someone male is not politically honest
is that he states things that appear to show awareness, while at the
same time demonstrating a practice of putting himself in a frame that
makes his actions appear less harmful than they likely were. Here is an
example, on consent:

CT: You have a somewhat controversial sexual history. You’ve
openly acknowledged doing things as intense as chaperoning a class trip
on which you slept with four of the students. How does this influence
your thinking about sexuality today?

HS: Hah, I love the ambiguity of the word “intense.” In terms of my
sexual history with my students (which for the sake of clarification
ended abruptly when I got sober in ’98), the key word is simply
“unethical.” Though my promiscuity was hardly confined to my own
students, that behavior stands out as deeply and profoundly wrong. Even
if it was consensual, and involved students who for the most part were
my approximate chronological peers, it was still a boundary violation.
In the broader sense, that aspect of my past has made me keenly
sensitive to power imbalances in sexual relationships. It’s made me
mistrustful of the possibility of consent in those instances where one
person has so much more experience and authority than the other.
[Source: here]

speaks of his behavior in ethical terms–as wrong–not in terms of the
actual harm done. This leads me to wonder if he knows the actual harm
done. He states at the same time that it was consensual. And that it was
a boundary violation in the context of a power imbalance in sexual relationships. In many feminist and profeminist circles, a sexual relationship built on power imbalances that involves a violation of boundaries is called “rape” or at least “sexual abuse”. We can note he doesn’t call it that. Yet he’s mistrustful of consent being present or meaningful, why shouldn’t everyone else be as well? Why shouldn’t he be considered a serial rapist or serial abuser–one who has not stopped engaging in sexually predatory and compulsive behavior?

His language also isn’t the language of owning one’s
harmfulness; it’s typical over-intellectualising and harm-minimizing
language designed to avoid accountability. Meanwhile, he describes having an accountability team. This positions himself as the team captain. Who does someone in such a position choose? Those he wants around him or those who most want him held to account? I’d argue that the latter group isn’t likely to be found on the team.

He states only a willingness to listen. This isn’t sufficient. He’d need to demonstrate that the behaviors are not on-going. Some people who commit harmful acts are good at listening. And are very good at saying the right things. Those two qualities are often what allows others to believe they’ve stopped being politically harmful.

Taken together, these ways of viewing himself and his actions don’t speak to me as coming from someone intent on changing his behavior. I think people believe that’s the case because he owns so much more than most men. That’s a very dangerous standard.

What follows is his post, from his blog, on what he foresees happening as a result of so many ethical violations and commitments of harm to women. My responses are in brackets and are highlighted yellow. 

Moving Forward: An Update

Posted on

An update on where things stand.

I am still very much in the process of listening to many voices about
how to respond to the multi-faceted controversy about my past. [Political harm isn't primarily a "controversy"--such a way of speaking about the harm one has done is minimising of its effect, instead focusing on the social effect of the news hitting the media, for example. Privileged people want our behavior to always be in process and to always be seen as very multi-faceted; there are always more and more self-protecting and self-deluding ways that rapists and batterers and sexual terrorists ought to be seen by critics and how they view themselves. Among more sociopathic perpetrators, their views of themselves tend to highlight areas of their own victimisation (past and present) over that of their victims (past and present).] Over
the past few weeks, issues around my pre-sobriety past as well as my
present writing have attracted intense attention and sparked
considerable debate. ["Issues" is another term of distancing and understating. It is remarkably predictable that men who do systematic or chronic harm will raise as central the matter of substance abuse, as if substance abuse teaches men how to be predators and abusers. We can see that in the recent case of Bob Filner's gross sexual harassment of women. Note the similarity in the privileging of either medical or psychotherapeutic understandings over political ones, here.

"Filner, 70, elected in
November as San Diego's first Democratic mayor in two decades, is hoping
to ride out a tide of sexual misconduct accusations and demands by
fellow politicians and others for him to resign.

Last month, Filner announced he would be in an intensive therapy program the weeks of Aug. 5 and 12. But he reportedly entered the therapy program earlier than announced. He is set to return to City Hall on Monday.

Filner will take "personal time" this week, said a statement from
lawyer James Payne, whose Irvine firm, Payne & Fears, is assisting
Filner's defense against a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a former
staff member.

He will continue therapy "on an outpatient basis," Payne said.] 

I have not been able to keep up with the sheer
volume of emails, much less follow all of the blog commentary about me,
my role in feminism, my personal history, and my work.  But I’ve
followed enough to have a good sense of what at least the main
criticisms are. [As stated early on in this post, I would argue he
has a profeminist obligation to very carefully understand the
particulars as well as the general critique. And understanding the problem is only a very preliminary part of the solution. Not putting himself in places and situations where he has academic and sexual access to women would be a more substantive, meaningful place to start.]

The Issues

There are three main issues: my past [I am struck at this moment with how often men refer to abusive behavior as the extraordinarily benign terms, such as "my past" --something everyone necessarily has. How different it would be if every time he said "my past" he instead wrote or said "my extensive history of harming women, which isn't only in my past but is perpetrated through to this day"], my writing, and my positioning
in the feminist movement. In turn, those issues raise three main
questions [arrived at by him without thoroughly reading the criticisms]:

1. Should my pre-sobriety history disqualify me from teaching the
courses I teach, from speaking about the topics I speak about, and from
writing where I write? [I'd say definitively and unambiguously: Yes, yes, and yes. You will note he will not easily resign his position. You will also note he will continue to speak and write about the subjects that most interest him while he is predatory.] Do I need to make further amends or participate
more extensively in restorative justice? [I'm reluctant to value men seeking to make amends while not owning the ways in which their politically harmful behavior is on-going.] My take has always been that
the work I do is part and parcel of that amends. [I'd argue the work he does is part of what allows him to do harm: the on-going confessions only make him appear to take personal responsibility and be remorseful and in actual courtrooms and the court of public opinion, a combination of earnestly stated self-responsibility and remorse, not an end to the harmful behavior, is what most people want to see in order to forgive and move on, allowing someone the same amount of access to potential victims and power to act out one's entitlements and privileges.] But some detect
self-aggrandisement rather than atonement.  [Some "detect" it? This is consistent with framing his own behavior as the opinion of others--who may or may not be seeing things the right way. Can he not tell when he's being self-aggrandising? Is it only for others to name it when it occurs?] What’s the way forward? [You can start by doing what those feminists you disagree with say you should do.]

2.  Are there problems with my writing today? [Why frame this as a question? This is part of never really fully owning his own politically problematic and oppressive behavior. He could take the responsibility off others by stating, clearly, "There are problems with my writing to this day."] I’ve got eight years
worth of blog archives and thousands of posts on this site; I’ve also
written extensively elsewhere.  I’ve written things I regret [no mention of his writing being male supremacist, white supremacist, and otherwise oppressive, only the ownership of a self-referential feeling--another of the feelings that listening people often are manipulated by when forgiving someone who has little intention of making substantive changes in behavior], and I’ve
changed my position on some issues (like pornography, for example) in
recent years. [What does changing one's mind on social issues have to do with doing what others are asking or demanding you do? Changing position happens, in his case, after lots and lots of people make similar points over and over again, and he finally acknowledges the truth in what they're saying--it requires lots of attention focused on him. He could just read what anti-pornography feminists have written and accept it as valid enough to change his position. Does he support the Dworkin-MacKinnon ordinance becoming law? Will he work toward that happening? What else occurs other than a change of opinion?] Yes, I am regularly quoted out of context. [And he is regularly not quoted out of context because he does so many interviews which helps set the context by the direction and content of his answers. And because anyone can find his statements in the context he presented them in, on his blog and on other websites where he has his work published. This is in the self-referential category of "I'm the one being harmed here".] But even
allowing for the universal but lamentable habit of “cherry-picking”, are
there still elements of my work that are deeply problematic? [Yes, including framing up the relatively benign behavior of others' "cherry-picking" and not framing up your own actions as harmful, let alone lamentable. Such a wording--identifying the allegedly poor habits of others--positions himself as a moral superior and social victim.]

3.  Does my modest fame/notoriety block or create opportunities for
others? [I'd ask a different question that doesn't use the term "modest" at all: Does it block or create more opportunities for him? The chronically and critiquing by feminists of his oppressive and abusive behavior could result in opportunity, for a woman or women to take his place in the academic institution where he is tenured, although they'd likely have a harder time getting tenure, especially if they are of color.] Do the speaking gigs and interviews I get mean that I’m taking
what wasn’t mine to take?  [It means, at least, that he continues to exercise his privileges and entitlements to center himself as the issue.] Should I  give up teaching women’s history [yes, and he's been told this far too many times by the feminists who he hasn't made a part of his personal and private accountability team],
working in positions of leadership in organizations that focus on
women’s rights [most certainly yes] — not just because of my particular past, but because
it’s fundamentally wrong for a man to hold these roles? [Both, but perhaps especially the former. But yes, he should not work in any positions of leadership in organizations that focus on women's rights. I believe the reasons for this ought to be abundantly clear to him, given how many people have articulated why that ought to be the case. It appears he cherry-picks which criticisms and calls to action he takes most to heart, and to his political practice.]

I don’t have final answers for myself to any of these questions. [Why not? We can see how effectively (if not intentionally) manipulative it is to pose the questions not only without answering them, but while stating, quite clearly, that his own internal process of decision-making necessarily won't arrive at any changes in behavior.] I know many people who do
have certainty about what I should do. I hear from them daily. Some
want me to step down; some want me to step back up and stay where I am.
[He conveniently counter-points any call for him to resign with the mention that it's not unanimous, as if such a call to give up position as a white man ever would be in a white male supremacist society. Why aren't the perspectives of those who want him to step down sufficient? Because he doesn't want to step down, and won't. That, in a nutshell, is a glaring example of white male privilege, entitlement, and power.] I’m on the receiving end of a lot of praise and vitriol. [Curiously positioning himself as both hero and victim.] I’m trying my
best to process what I’m hearing, [I wish he'd listen and act in accordance with what others are saying, more than just hear; I also don't believe this is his best--few of us do our best at anything] remembering the truth that one is
never as bad as one’s detractors suggest, nor as good as one’s admirers
insist. [Again, this moral positioning himself as moderate in all things, including the political (not only moral) matter of being a chronic abuser of women. Here and in so many other places, he fails to take into account why such admiration exists at all, when none exists for countless women of color who do far more good without doing any of the harm.]  But it’s difficult work, and it will take more time. [Always, more time. More time. More time. Men do many things within a time-frame: he writes up syllabi; he gets to class; he grades papers. He knows how to get things done. Except when it comes to arriving at a plan that necessarily abdicates some of his power and privilege.]

Moving Forward 

The fact that I haven’t reached clarity yet about what my future
holds doesn’t mean I can’t share certain decisions I’ve made about
myself, my work, and my public presence.

As I wrote yesterday, Healthy is the New Skinny/Perfectly Unperfected
and I have parted ways.  My presence threatened to become a dangerous
distraction to the good work that HNS and PUP are doing.  Resigning was
the only viable course of action. [That's a start.]

I’ve also resigned from my role as faculty adviser to the Pasadena City College Feminist Club for much the same reason. [That's also a start.]

As for my writing and speaking, I will for now continue to do both.
[This position is predictable. He still feels--and structurally, institutionally is--quite entitled to speak with authority about matters of gender and politics.]
The editors at Jezebel, who are aware of this controversy, have asked
me to continue to write for the site. [Does this mean he couldn't say no?] I am pleased to do so. [Why does it please him, given all the harm he's done to so many women and so many feminists in particular? I find that comment to be smug and self-satisfied.] I will
continue to explore writing opportunities outside of explicitly feminist
spaces, recognizing that my presence in those spaces is controversial,
divisive, and unhelpful. [This modest adjustment and recognition--he's 'unhelpful' (like not sweeping a floor) not harmful (as in chronically and systematically abusive to women)--is part of his M.O.] I will continue to explore speaking
opportunities as well, but will be adapting my lectures so that I am
focusing primarily on issues around men and masculinity. [Why? Doesn't this just afford you more financial opportunities to speak to the gender that has more money to pay you? This adjustment is self-serving.]

I teach a variety of gender-themed courses at Pasadena City College.
 The one women’s studies’ course we have at PCC in the Social Sciences
Division is History 25B, Women in American Society.  I’ve taught it
every semester for nearly two decades.   The syllabus does include the
history of feminism.  PCC plans its offering nine months in advance; I’m
already booked to teach 25B this spring semester and in the coming
autumn term.  [He could resign. He'd then be replaced.] But I will be talking with my colleagues on campus and
elsewhere about asking for a change in assignment for spring 2013, the
earliest term for which a shift can be made. [That's bullshit, quite frankly. If he wanted to, he could resign immediately. I mean, what if he was arrested and imprisoned for several years for the crimes he's admitted to committing? An interim faculty member would teach his classes and a search would be done to find someone to teach other classes that fulfill the same requirements; his approach is entirely self-serving and his conclusions are dishonest.] I haven’t made a final
decision yet, but as of now, am leaning towards not returning to women’s
history. [And of course the decision is his; the power to determine the course of his life is his: this is white male supremacy, all naked and pink.]

I will continue to teach my rotating courses in the Humanities
department, including my “Men and Masculinity”course.  But those courses
do not include feminist theory or feminist history on their syllabi. [Why don't they? How could they not? Do we actually believe men have the best perspective on men? Doesn't his own behavior show us that men cannot be trusted to name their own abuses accurately? What is the usefulness of having a male sexual abuser teach courses on men and masculinity? What message does that give to men and everyone else on campus?]

Continuing the Conversation

A conversation about some of these issues began in a moderated space last week.  The Feminism and Religion blog reprinted my “response post” from earlier this month, and invited comments.  A dialogue has begun there, and will continue. [See, if you wish to read that, here for part 1, and here for part 2. For an interview with him at the blog Feministe, see here.]

I will continue to listen. [And that's not nearly enough.] I’m receiving an average of 50-60 emails a
day, equally split between detractors and supporters.  [I recommend he skip the ones from supporters. He has plenty of evidence before him to know he's being greatly supported by various institutions which are not structured to hold himu to account for any abuses he has committed, let alone to critique him.] I’m trying to
read at least some of the web commentary. [Selectively? How do we know what he's choosing to read and what he's choosing to ignore?] The difficult part is
separating what is legitimate criticism (and there is
legitimate criticism) [This is the power of white men: to name reality. Here is a rare time when we see his acknowledgement that the perspectives of others might actually be correct, but only to them be modified as he typically does with what follows] from unfair personal attacks.  By the same token,
I’m trying to separate what is thoughtful and wise encouragement from
what is unhelpful, ego-aggrandizing flattery. [He needs to understand the difference in his own writings and speaking.] Given the tremendous
volume and speed of all of this input, that’s difficult work and will
take a considerable amount of time.  [In a white male supremacist society, more time is always needed. A considerable amount as determined by the accused person. White men holding themselves to appropriate levels of account ought not be rushed, according to such a society's political dictates. We wouldn't want to see any white man curb his power prematurely.] The end result, however, is likely
to be my departure from explicitly feminist spaces. [I'll believe it when I see it, including from the feminist spaces known as Gender Studies classrooms.]

*For another example of his reinforcement of gender myths–not that we need any more, there is this:

Women are shamed for their sexuality in a way that men aren’t. That
has innumerable consequences. For example, we raise women to be objects
of desire. This is where we get the famous Paris Paradox (which goes back long before Paris Hilton), where girls learn how to be sexy long before they discover their own sexuality.
At the same time, we raise boys to believe their bodies aren’t as
beautiful, as desirable, as appealing as those of girls. Boys get to be
sexual, but too rarely get to trust that they’re wanted, lusted for,
[Source: here]

in what he says, “sexy” is a set of political practices in a context of
male supremacy where men define, require, profit from, and enforce it.
“Learning how to be sexy” is what is demanded of female models in
pornography who are, more often than not, pimped, battered, and raped,
all before the age of consent. Their pimps, batterers, and rapists are
not infrequently the directors of the pornography. It is these abused women who Hugo repeatedly seeks out for sex.

implies that most or all women do, in fact, discover their own
sexuality. I’d argue anyone’s sexuality is shaped or influenced by patriarchy and its violence in an
on-going way. Some of us achieve relative self-possession and
self-definition. I don’t think most people do. I don’t think most people get to think about what that would even mean. To have the discussion usually means one is living a privileged life in some regards. I have heard women earnestly make statements about how much their sexuality is their own. But when men abuse women sexually, men will speak about their own sexuality as if it isn’t theirs, as if they are commanded by drugs, alcohol, or mental illness to act out the way men who don’t do drugs, don’t drink, and aren’t mentally ill act out patriarchal sexuality.

a white gay male, I’ve found that “sexy” (and “sexuality”) often and
normally is, is “sufficient dissociation from one’s body and feelings to
not know or appreciate the level of harm done to us”. What it typically
is, is learning how to please one’s oppressor; a version of Stockholm
Syndrome on the level of sexual expression and contact. Many feminists
have written about the social, cultural, and political construction of
“sex”. For example, Patricia Hill Collins in Black Sexual Politics, and Catharine A. MacKinnon in Women’s Lives, Men’s Laws.

Hugo seems to equate “sexiness”, “beauty”, and the knowledge of being desired. He does so while centering and privileging heterosexual men’s experience. If women learned their bodies were beautiful, as Hugo states, how come no woman I know thinks her body is beautiful or attractive enough? If “we raise boys to believe their bodies aren’t as
beautiful, as desirable, as appealing as those of girls”,
how come many men I know are quite comfortable in their bodies, of whatever shape and size?
Men with and without hair on their head, facial hair, and body hair;
with and without fat; with and without washing; with and without grooming or self-reflection on appearance of any kind.

Consider the degrees to which women attend to their appearance while being systematically shamed, harassed, and abused for either presenting themselves the way men desire them to, or for not doing so. Consider the degree to which women, compared to men, are bombarded with messages to attend to their appearance for the sake of pleasing men before leaving the home. Consider who benefits politically, materially, socially, and sexually from such a system. Consider who benefits from women being in systems of prostitution: men.

In his interview published two days ago, we see him moralizing about his behavior once again, and never stating that his anti-feminist and misogynist behavior occurs not because of a lack of moral strength but because of having far too much political power and continuous access to those he hurts:

So, do you believe it is fine
for you to be with a 23-year-old, or do you believe in your heart that
what you argued in that essay is how it should be?

am not sure right now. I am very confused. I am looking at having blown
up my career and blown up my marriage. I think that, yes, men should
try to stick to women their own age. And I am guilty of hypocrisy, but
the fact that I am guilty of hypocrisy doesn’t invalidate the truth of
what I was saying. I was just too weak to live up to what it was I was

Moral weakness, chronic dishonesty, and political strength are a trecherous combination.

*          *          *

That is the way the power of men is manifest in real life. That
is what theory about male supremacy means. It means you can rape. It
means you can hit. It means you can hurt. It means you can buy and sell
women. It means that there is a class of people there to provide you
with what you need. You stay richer than they are, so that they have to
sell you sex. Not just on street corners, but in the workplace. That’s
another right that you can presume to have: sexual access to any woman
in your environment, when you want.

Now, the men’s movement suggests that men don’t want the kind
of power I have just described. I’ve actually heard explicit whole
sentences to that effect. And yet, everything is a reason not to do
something about changing the fact that you do have that power.

Hiding behind guilt, that’s my favorite. I love that one. Oh,
it’s horrible, yes, and I’m so sorry. You have the time to feel guilty.
We don’t have the time for you to feel guilty. Your guilt is a form of
acquiescence in what continues to occur. Your guilt helps keep things
the way they are.

I have heard in the last several years a great deal about the
suffering of men over sexism. [...]
This is a new wrinkle. Implicit in the idea that this is a different
kind of suffering is the claim, I think, that in part you are actually
suffering because of something that you know happens to someone else.
That would indeed be new.

But mostly your guilt, your suffering, reduces to: gee, we
really feel so bad. Everything makes men feel so bad: what you do, what
you don’t do, what you want to do, what you don’t want to want to do but
are going to do anyway.  — Andrea Dworkin, 
“I Want a
Twenty-Four-Hour Truce During Which There Is No Rape” (1983, thirty
years ago).
  [Source: here]

“An activist and writer at the blog, A Radical Profeminist”.


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