If You're Not Gay, Why Do You Stand Up For Them?

Gah!  I could be saving the galaxy from the Sith, but instead I can’t pull myself away from people saying silly things!

Here I was this morning, powering through the blogs I read in order to take up my lightsaber and go play some Huttball, when I read a perfectly legitimate gripe by the Skeptical Novice.

This evening I was browsing photos of a friend on Facebook, when I stumbled across one with my friend and another guy that was wearing a shirt with a picture of a rainbow and the phrase “More like gay-U” on the front. Seeing as he’s a KSU fan, I am assuming this is supposed to be some sort of an insult toward KU.

My first reaction was a well-deserved facepalm. Not because he is *attempting to* insult my university of choice but because he thinks “gay” is an insult at all.

Turning gay into an epithet: not a good thing!  Who could ever argue with that?  I’m not sure who, because they commented anonymously, but someone did find a way to take issue…

How dare you insinuate that gay individuals are offended by the phrase “that’s so gay.” [Insinuate? Plenty of gay people tell us they are offended by it] Unless you are yourself a lesbian, do not take it upon yourself to speak for the gay masses. [And if you're not a woman, where do you get off fighting for their right to vote?  Let them fight that battle themselves!  And what was up with those white people who took it upon themselves to speak for slaves in the antebellum South?  The  nerve!] Just because you wear rainbow t-shirts and wave your flag of atheism gives you no right to play the role of spokesperson for gays. [My compassion for others leads me to not use inherent facets of their person as a form of derision. All I need for that is a conscience] In fact, many of my gay friends use the phrase “that’s so gay,” [if it doesn't offend every LGBT person it must not be offensive!] and they use it often… but of course, they aren’t intellectuals who spend all their time trying to disprove the existence of god [nobody's perfect], so what the fuck do they know? [They know their own personal comfort level with it.  It's you who is trying to "be the spokesperson for gays" by extrapolating their personal preferences onto all gay people]

Where do these people come from?

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Aquaria

    Where do these people come from?



  • MathMike

    I’ve heard before the idea that, “If you’re not part of group X, then your support for the cause of group X is less legitimate than someone who does.” This seems like a rather insidious idea. I will never know the pain of hearing ‘gay’ used as an insult, but I don’t think that lessens my disgust in hearing it.

    • Kubrick’s Rube

      It’s quite the catch-22 they’ve created. On the one hand, as you pointed out, people say, “If you’re not part of group X, then your support for the cause of group X is less legitimate than someone who does.” But then people will also say, “If you do belong to group X, you can’t be as objective about the issue as someone who doesn’t.”

      • Kate from Iowa

        That’s right up there with a white girl once telling me I wasn’t black enough based on the music (mostly classical, quite a bit of opera) she knew I listened to at the time.

        In other words, thank you for trying to help, but learn when (and about what) to keep your fucking trap shut on your stupid fucking opinions. Shorter (and less successful) version of that “self-edit.” Please.

      • http://www.ziztur.com Flimsyman

        Exactly that. I get that more than any other response; “Oh, you’re for gay rights? So are you gay?”

        “That’s irrelevant. Please address the content of my argument.”

        “Well, if you’re gay, then you’re clearly just arguing for your own rights, and I have to take your arguments with a grain of salt.”

        “… that’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. Whether I’m queer or not has nothing to do with the validity of the actual arguments.”

        “Ah, so you’re obviously gay …”

        *big vein in my head explodes**

  • Zinc Avenger

    “Pro-gay”? I’m anti-bigot.

    • The Christian Cynic

      That’s pretty much my stance. I’ve gotten a similar response from my students (I teach high school English, and I make it clear from day one in my class that “gay” and “retard” as epithets are verboten), and it never ceases to amaze me that they think I have to be personally offended in order to frown on and want to discourage that kind of language. No, I oppose any kind of bigoted or prejudicial language because it dehumanizes people. That’s enough for me.

  • FlickingYourSwitch

    We’re all humans, are we not? That means we are all in that same group, and that’s good enough.

  • Zugswang

    How small-minded some people are. It’s a helluva lot bigger than standing up for one particular oppressed group, it’s about standing up for the virtue of equality, whether it be in regard to race, sexual orientation, religion, sex, gender identity, ethnicity, socio-economic standing, etc.

    The idea that any group should be treated differently purely based on the superficial criteria that make up the subjective opinions of a bigot is something that should be rejected universally.

  • b00ger

    I’m confused. Are we really arguing against bigotry here or merely semantics. The word gay originally meant “care-free, happy, bright and showy” it was used in that sense as a euphemism for effeminate homosexual men and gained broader use as a synonym for homosexual. Now days, it is often used as a pejorative to mean “stupid” or “dumb” without reference to sexuality. As in “this test is gay.” I’m pretty sure that the test has no sexuality. My homosexual brother calls things “gay” all the time. He is not offeneded by the use of that word to mean “stupid thing” and he finds it quite humorous if people refer to him as “a gay.” Now, if someone calls him a “stupid gay faggot,” he gets a little pissed off.

    My point here is that context really does matter. The reverse of your point in the OP about “if it doesn’t offend every LGBT person it must not be offensive!” is that “if it does offend 1 LGBT person it must be offensive!” I find that sentiment also ludicrous. I might be offended by the use of the term “nerd.” Does that mean noone can use that word? I think not.

    JT, while I normally agree with your rants, I think you are really reaching with this one.

    • julian

      Now days, it is often used as a pejorative to mean “stupid” or “dumb” without reference to sexuality.

      You and your brother must be entirely removed from the outside world then. Gay means gay, queer, faggot, not heterosexual.

      You know what, fuck it. I’m sick so sick of fuckwits like you I’m going to re embrace the custom of my high school and start using black to mean stupid or dumb.

      Quit being so black, b00ger.

    • http://www.ziztur.com Flimsyman

      The mistake in there is obvious; you can’t equate the “original” definition of “gay” with the current ones because “gay” IS NOT commonly used anymore to indicate being care-free and happy. No one would hear someone exclaim “I’m so gay today!” and assume that they were really happy.

      Oh the other hand, as Julian says, “gay” DOES obviously mean homosexual, and is currently used that way. So yes, context does matter. That context is that “gay” is currently used, almost universally in modern English, to refer to homosexual people, thus using it as an insult IS a slur against homosexual people.

    • isilzhaveni

      Now days, it is often used as a pejorative to mean “stupid” or “dumb” without reference to sexuality.

      He is not offeneded by the use of that word to mean “stupid thing” and he finds it quite humorous if people refer to him as “a gay.” Now, if someone calls him a “stupid gay faggot,” he gets a little pissed off.

      So, are you saying your brother refers to himself as a “stupid thing”?

      When you use the term gay pejoratively (“that test is so gay [stupid]), not descriptively (My brother is gay [homosexual]), then you ARE saying that being homosexual is a negative thing. The reason that the term gay has come to have a negative connotation is because there have been so many people who have seen being homosexual as something that is inherently ‘bad’, something to deride.

      Do you not see how each time you use the word gay to mean that something is bad/stupid/dumb then you are also promoting the idea that being homosexual is bad/stupid/dumb? To say, “that test is gay” is not saying the test has sexuality. However, it IS saying that homosexuality is such a horrible thing that to say something is homosexual is just another way to also say it’s bad/stupid/dumb.

  • shouldbeworking

    Because I am my brother’s keeper.
    Because I do unto others as I would have others do unto me.

    Why can’t the religious assholes apply their own religion to thier own lives instead interfering with others’?

    • papango

      Yes. This exactly.

      And because I can. I’m not suffering the same discrimination so I can stand up and say things without as many negative consequences. I have a privileged position and I’m not afraid to use it.

  • HFM

    I’m on board with the idea that reclaiming a slur ought to be done by the people affected by it, not by allies. (If an obviously gay person uses “that’s so gay”, it’s reclamation; if I use it, this just encourages the mouth-breathers to think it’s socially acceptable.)

    But otherwise? Gay rights are human rights; these people are my friends, neighbors, and colleagues, and I don’t mind speaking up on their behalf. (Same with minority rights, women’s rights, etc.) It doesn’t take a moral giant to figure this one out. Sometimes I do it wrong, but I’m at least willing to try.

  • julian

    Quit being black, people! Don’t you know how silly you look!

  • b00ger

    It’s amusing to me (in a cynical way) how perturbed some people get by certain words. The meaning of words change, and some words have more than one meaning and just because you can’t let go of a certain meaning you are attached to, doesn’t mean others can’t.

    Let’s not confuse bigotry with semantics. The word “retarded” is another word that originally just meant “slowed down” or “halted” but was then used to refer to people with mental handicaps and was not used as an insult. Then it became an insulting term and now is just used to mean “dumb” or “stupid.”

    I normally consider myself a whiny politcally correct liberal, but with these 2 words, I’m just not convinced the have the same general meaning that they used to. To the majority of people, “don’t be gay” does not literally mean “don’t be a homosexual” anymore. For some people it does, and they are bigots. Which is why I say that context matters.

    • julian

      Quit so fucking black, b00ger.

      Of course most people who say ‘don’t be gay mean don’t be a homosexual.’ As someone who was bullied all the way into high school and still gets that kind of crap from his coworkers, I have never heard it used to mean anything but that except by one guy. A guy who likes to make rape jokes and generally feels people who’re offended or hurt by language deserve to be harassed into they break down.

      • b00ger

        In response to Julian’s comments I just had to double check with my homosexual brother so I texted him. His direct response to the question is “No, I say it all the time.” I think Julian’s comment about being bullied and abused by coworkers indirectly speaks to my point above about context mattering. Because he is used to the word “gay” being aimed directly at him considers it a slur against all homosexual people. My brother who (although being bullied somewhat in high school) grew up in a much more accepting environment, has no problem with it being used in a more generic sense. I don’t think that people that are offended by language deserve to be bullied or harassed until they break down, but neither do I think they should be the sole arbiters of language. Words mean different things to different people in different contexts and just because you have a specific go-to context, it doesn’t mean that I use the same one all the time.

        • julian

          Oh! But you changed your argument their, b00ger. You began by saying it didn’t mean what I said it meant. In fact you described it as the common meaning for the phrase today. Now, running against that, you’re arguing that only the context is relevant and since you and your brother only ever mean dumb or stupid that’s al that matters. So what, you admit that you were wrong to say gay most commonly means stupid or dumb?

          And if you have something to say to me, you nasty little pissant, say it directly.

  • Ringo

    I usually respond to “X is so gay” with a cheerful “Me too!”. Makes people think… usually.

  • http://alysonmiers.wordpress.com Alyson Miers

    Just because you wear rainbow t-shirts and wave your flag of atheism gives you no right to play the role of spokesperson for gays.

    but of course, they aren’t intellectuals who spend all their time trying to disprove the existence of god [nobody's perfect]


    I think it’s telling how this commenter wants to make such an issue of tying Skeptical Novice’s atheism to her opinion about using “gay” as an insult, when she didn’t even say anything about the significance of religion or atheism in her post.

  • Caru

    It starts by calling things that are stupid “gay.” Then a kid realises that the stupid “gay” and homosexual “gay” are the same and gets real clever.

    ‘John is stupid’ -> ‘John is gay’ -> ‘John sucks cock’
    I don’t know where you come from, but I only see this in homophobic, racist, misogynistic environments. In liberal environments people just don’t do that at all.

    Those who cry,’It’s just semantics!’ are the ones overthinking it. Nobody gives a shit about your magical intentions when your actions are othering. Do you use the word ‘gay’ when you’re trying to say ‘happy’? No. Because people will think you mean ‘homosexual.’ Are you only willing to miscommunicate when it could be harmful? (And even if the gay person you know isn’t offended, what about the rest of society? You think those slurs don’t have an effect on how the privileged think?)

    Also, I think the show Glee portrays this issue quite realistically.

  • Nathair

    And don’t miss CPP’s blog on how a man can not be a feminist. I guess attacking and alienating allies is the new clever.

    • julian

      Please do not mischaracterize that post or the thread. He had a very specific issue with the authenticity of one self described male feminist and he seems to have had a point. The thread isn’t to discourage men from getting involved in feminism. It’s a reminder of how not to do it and how to be mindful you aren’t seizing the podium from women.

      No one there chastised men for standing for woman’s issues or being an ally or encouraging some reflection on how we generally view woman, which is what made the dismissiveness of the anonymous poster in the OP so insulting.

      • Nathair

        I was referring specifically to the comments in which, well, here:

        I see self proclaimed male feminists as disingenuous and sycophantic, like when children(and Republicans, lol) loudly proclaim innocence to hide their guilt.

        “male feminists” can fuck off


        • julian

          Only your first quote in comparable to the situation in Mr. Eberhard’s post. The second comes in reaction to the issues with self described male feminists outlined in the article piece linked to in the very same sentence you truncated.

  • http://www.decrepitoldfool.com george.w

    Why? Because I want to live in a world where people stand up for each other instead of only look out for themselves.

  • timberwoof

    Now days, it is often used as a pejorative to mean “stupid” or “dumb” without reference to sexuality. As in “this test is gay.” I’m pretty sure that the test has no sexuality.

    I’m pretty sure that “gay” as a pejorative is directly related to its meaning of “homosexual”. I overheard some teenagers saying, “Oh, that’s so gay!” when they meant “Oh, that’s doubleplusbad!” I told them to stop saying that, that it is offensive. They were a little shocked at me telling them that, but they complied … and said, “Oh, that’s so homosexual!”

    I had to be clear and precise: ‘Gay’ is perfectly fine to use for ‘homosexual’, but don’t use either word as a pejorative. There’s nothing bad about being gay, so don’t use gay as though it means bad. They were a lot shocked at me telling them that, but they complied.

    I’m gay and I find the use of “gay” as a pejorative to be offensive. I don’t speak for all gays—they took my Gay Card away because I play ice hockey. I also don’t believe that anyone has the right to be not offended. However, neither do dimwits who say “gay” as a pejorative, knowing full well they mean “homosexual”. And if it serves as a good opportunity to let some dork know that there are more gay people in the world than he thinks and that we are everywhere, then I will take it. If that makes the jerk uncomfortable, then that’s his problem.

    • julian

      It goes beyond simply being offended, though. As a mostly hetero male who only started experimenting recently, I’m relating mostly what I’ve heard from other gays, but simply having who you are so readily associating with what’s wrong and bad has an over all detrimental affect on someone’s mental health.

      As a the son of a single mom (and an immigrant at that) who spent a good bit of time on welfare, having stuff like that thrown at me hurts. Literally, it causes me pain when some douchebag says ‘Don’t worry. I know you Mexicans don’t pay taxes’ regardless of whether their ‘just joking.’

      I can only imagine what’s it’s like for trans and gay people who grow up with that everyday. (OMG It’s a trap! or Dude quit acting like such a faggot…) Yes I understand some don’t mind the faggot this or faggot that. Whatever. You have no more right talking to people like that than you do to bully them in any other way.

  • b00ger

    I will agree to not use the perjorative use of the word gay around people who are deeply offended by it. Not because I think it’s in anyway wrong, but because I don’t think it’s nice to purposefully push peoplese buttons (too much anyway). This is the same reason I won’t say the word “fuck” in front of my grandma. So, the little brother and I will continue to say “this fucking shit is gay” when we mean “this dumb thing is stupid.” I will change the way I talk to you because you have a chip on your shoulder, but I will not change the way I talk in general just because you think I should.

    I know I’m not a bigot. I have absolutely no problem with gay people and I will stand up for their rights when they are truly being prosecuted or bullied. However, this is not one of those times. The OP was about using the term Gay-U to make fun of K-U. Gay rhymes with K and makes it funnier. Stupid-U doesn’t roll off the tongue as well. You should be more offended by the KU mascot, the Jayhawk which is named after the Jayhawkers, a gang of murderous raping thugs during the Civil War.

    • julian

      Oh, you’re so clever.

      If you’re ever looking to insult me you can always call me ‘Jew-lian.’


      Jew is not racist. Jew just means money grubbing and bad.

    • Alukonis, metal ninja

      The OP was about using the term Gay-U to make fun of K-U. Gay rhymes with K and makes it funnier. Stupid-U doesn’t roll off the tongue as well.

      So if gay = stupid, then why do people have Stupid Pride Parades? Why is there a Stupid/Straight Alliance at many schools? Why are there advocates for Stupid rights? Why is there a Stupid Anti-Defamation League? Why do people advocate for Stupid marriage?

      You don’t get to say “well in THIS context it means stupid, but in EVERY OTHER context it means homosexual” without inevitably making the tautology gay=stupid=homosexual. Perpetuating insults like this DOES contribute to continued bigotry and oppression.

      The entire “humor” of the shirt ENTIRELY RELIES ON “BEING GAY” AS “BEING A BAD THING.” It’s a RAINBOW SHIRT. It is obvious that the shirt is calling KU homosexual, and that is an insult because to be homosexual is a bad thing. Otherwise, THE INSULT DOES NOT WORK.

      As has been pointed out, similar language has been used to oppress other groups of people for years. It’s still extremely common to use “woman” or “girl” or “girly” as misogynistic insults, for instance (e.g. “don’t be such a girl!” only works as an insult if being a girl is somehow bad).

      Your brother doesn’t have a problem with it? I’m guessing he’s not an activist for gay rights, and neither are you. But if you can’t see how this shirt is saying that being gay is inherently bad, then I wonder, what CAN you see from the inside of your own ass?

    • timberwoof

      Okay, that’s fine. I just won’t call you a dumbass to your face; only when you’re not around to hear it. I understand you have a chip on your shoulder about not being a bigot, so I will try not to knock it off. But when you’re not around, I’ll just say what I want about you. And I’ll now it’s okay to do that because some dumbass said it was.

  • Igakusei

    We have known for a long time that the opinion of a member of a political majority speaking on behalf of a minority carries far more weight than the opinion of a member of a minority speaking on behalf of themselves. After all, that’s part of what makes them minorities in the first place.

  • carolw

    Missing the point, in six.
    Booger, let me try to make this painfully clear to you. It’s not cool to say “that’s so gay” when you mean “that’s so stupid.” It is also not cool to say “that’s retarded” when you mean “that’s stupid.” Your arguments from linguistics are fallacious. That means they don’t hold up in an argument. Your poor brother probably acts like he’s okay with you using the term “gay” because you’re his brother. I’m going to take a wild guess and say neither of you is out of your twenties? Those terms hurt people who are gay/mentally disabled, who have gay/mentally disabled friends, should hurt those with gay/mentally disabled family (I’m looking at you). Hell, those terms hurt all of us because say that people are “stupid.”
    How about “that’s so Booger”? How’s that sit? Not well, or do you not care?

  • b00ger

    carolw, you are correct in assessing that myself and my brother are both in our 20′s. Is this an age thing then? For those of you disagreeing with me, are most of you older? Could it be that you don’t see the changing definition with the younger crowd?

    I just talked to my brother on the phone and he thinks I’m an idiot for arguing on the internet with you people. You don’t know him so don’t claim he just acts OK with the way I talk. It’s the way he talks as well.

    You can use b00ger as a pejorative all you want. In fact, the reason the name stuck was because I hated it so much at first. Now I own it and it doesn’t bother me. In fact I find it quite fun to use now.

    The word origin of using the word gay as a pejorative I have no doubt originated because of its use to mean homosexual and that was perceived as bad. However, it has now become common to use outside of the homosexual sense to just generally refer to a bad thing. The same thing with the word retarded.

    Maybe Louis CK can better explain my point.

    • julian

      Quit running to your brother. For the love of Christ, at least have some integrity and argue your case. What’s the worst that can happen?

      Nothing. Nothing is quiet literally the worst thing that can happen if you actually tried to form an argument.

    • Allie Clark

      Maybe Kassiane Sibley (prominent autistic self-advocate, co-founder of the neurodiversity movement) can explain it to you better:

      And on why you may not understand:


    • carolw

      And you completely missed Louis CK’s point! The bit is funny because he actually would not go around calling anyone f****t.

      I bought up the question of your age because it flashes like a neon sign. I’m old enough to (probably) be your mother. So do yourself a favor and read some Queer Lit (and yes, that is a legitimate term), get to know more gay people than your brother, read some LGBTQ websites, whatever you need to do to expand your sample size of gay people beyond one.

  • F

    If You’re Not Gay, Why Do You Stand Up For Them?

    Because stupid question, that’s why.

  • F

    Not sure WTH happened with the blockquotes there. Only the post title was supposed to be quoted.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com WMDKitty

    Because I AM one of “them”. (I fall into the “B” part of “LGBT”.)

    Because I’d expect the same of “them” in standing up for others’ basic rights.

    Most importantly? Because it’s the right thing to do.

  • raymoscow

    Just to echo what others have already said: there is no ‘them’, just ‘us’. Gay rights are just the same rights as for everyone else.

  • Gregory

    First they came for the communists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

    Then they came for the trade unionists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

    Then they came for me
    and there was no one left to speak out for me.

    Rev. Martin Niemöller

    Sometimes, even a theist hits the nail on the head.

    If we do not speak out against the injustice inflicted on others, who will speak out when we are the target of injustice?

  • http://www.facebook.com/cogwheel mattheworlando

    A simple response to the title question would be “If you’re not rich, why do you vote Republican?” You’ll get responses like “it’s not about self interest it’s about doing what’s right.” Well … there ya go.

  • JoeBuddha

    Don’t forget, the first step in making harassment acceptable is dehumanizing your target. If you allow “gay” or “retard” or whatever to be used as an epithet, you’re enabling the whack-jobs who are looking for an excuse. (Sorry about my dehumanizing language re: “whack-jobs”)

    • oldebabe

      Yes, @28. When I’m asked if I’m gay (I’m not, but don’t care if anyone is, and say so), I always say `sometimes’, preferring the correct usage of the term to mean carefree, happy, even joyful, etc.) Stops most people cold, tho some smarter ones smile.

      • bcoppola

        From an old “Barney Miller” episode: “Well, no, but I’m jovial from time to time.”

  • FlickingYourSwitch

    Oh, and to say things like “this is gay” or similar makes one look like an immature 14 year old douche. Or so I always imagine people who so that, anyway.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002450271843 nataliebaldwin

    I can’t believe there are people arguing the point.

    When you use a term that doesn’t have any negative qualities, and shouldn’t have any negative associations, as a pejorative, you’re perpetuating the concept that the term is itself a negative, icky, bad thing to be. When you call someone a “fag” as an insult, you’re saying a fag is a terrible thing to be. When you call someone a “pussy” to suggest they’re cowardly and weak, you’re suggesting women are cowardly and weak. It’s clear as day. The OFFENSE is completely secondary. What matters is the social consequences of spreading certain destructive ideas and speaking of things in certain belittling, hateful ways.

    And yeah, there ARE social consequences. Like normalizing homophobia. Which can lead to things like people getting beaten up or killed.

    And as for the “well one gay person I know once said ‘fag’ and he didn’t mind!”

    a) Social context matters.


  • carolw

    Thank you, Natalie. You rock, as always. :)
    Also, George Takai. Boom!

  • Argh

    This is exactly what is going on at the Physioprof blog right now, where an overwhelming majority of commenters believe that men should stay away from women’s rights issues.

    • julian

      That is not what the ‘overwhelming’ number of commentors feel or expressed. The objection was the co-opting of feminism by men and men speaking in place of and over women.

      As the poster Athena Andredis said

      Nicoleandmaggie said: I want men saying, “Listen to her and treat her as well as you treat me” not “I’m alienated by the movement.”

      As a PhD who has been doing basic research in academia for more than three decades and a lifelong feminist who was literally stoned for being one (long story), I have to say that all the problems discussed in this thread are distilled in that sentence: men get to speak and define what’s acceptable — to other men; women are the receptacles of these decisions.

      It is a perfectly legitimate concern. Please don’t let your anger or offense color your judgement here. I know Comradde’s post was pretty…yeah, it got to me too. But they do have a point and there is no reason to misrepresent it or the people who posted.

      • Argh

        I’m sorry, but if THAT was the point, then is should have been clearly stated that this was indeed the point. It was not.

      • Argh

        Oh, and I also don’t agree that a man self-identifying as a feminist in any way is “talking over women” or is in any way limiting women’s ability to speak on the issue.

        • julian

          I don’t think anyone meant or said that.

          What was said is that a man describing himself as a feminist makes them suspicious. One poster linked to a blog post that outlined why. Many men (in their experience) who adopt the title for themselves have been guilty of talking over women, being dismissive of women, taking the podium away from them and explaining to them what they should or should not feel.

          That would given anyone reason to be worried if it happened constantly. Personally I get nervous around ‘I’m not racist but…’ people for very similar reasons so I can see (somewhat) where they’re coming from with this.

          If you’re supportive of feminism and never take the mic away from the woman speaking, I honestly doubt any feminist in that thread would take issue with you. Even the most apprehensive expressed acceptance of men who are supportive of feminist goals. They just don’t want us usurping the movement or trying to define it our way.

    • raymoscow

      I took his statement

      I don’t call myself a feminist, because it’s not my call whether I am or not. It’s women’s call.

      to be quite a sensible position. Men should support women’s rights, but it’s a bit much to self-label ourselves ‘feminist’.

  • Makoto

    Here’s a for example – my mom? She’s female. And you know what, I support feminism, though I’m male, not in the least because I can see how smart and capable she is. My mom was my first example of the fact that women are equal to men.

    I support the thought that redheads (like my father) are actually human, despite comments about gingers with no souls. I feel that left handed people (like me) can be intelligent, despite some comments about southpaws. And blondes? They can be smart. And so on, and so forth.

    So yes, I support gay rights. I support feminism. I support the idea of breaking “traditional” thoughts about left-handed people, gingers, blondes, LGBTQ, and so on. Because people are people, and we should all recognize and support them as such, no matter their sex, who they want to spend their lives with, what hair color they have, or anything else.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002450271843 nataliebaldwin

    Yeah… the male feminist thing can kind of go both ways. Sure, sometimes it seems like a way to just pat oneself on the back and magically absolve yourself of your misogyny, but it also seems suspect to me to say that only women are capable of being feminists.

    There are PLENTY of very good reasons for a man to be a feminist that go beyond simply looking out for women’s rights (in the sense of a straight person looking out for a gay or bi person’s rights, for instance). Truth is, misogyny and misandry play directly into one another. You break down that binary, and men suddenly benefit a whole lot too.

    Those custody battle inequalities that MRAs always harp on about? When the concept that women are by nature suited for domesticity and motherhood is undone, then the flip belief that men aren’t is also undone.

    Also, at this point in its history, feminism has expanded far from being simply about women’s rights and has taken on the characteristic of being about equal rights, equal value, equal consideration and equal respect for ALL iterations of sex and gender.

    So personally, rather than simply treating any male feminist with suspicion, I instead try to reserve that for the ones who offer additional, more substantive reasons to be suspicious. And the creepers will usually give you such reasons much sooner than later.

    I’ve also met a good number of great male feminists who DO respect the opinions and thoughts of women, DO defer to their perspective on feminist concerns, DO have a good understanding of privilege and how to deal with it, and DO have a genuine, honest commitment to feminism, and to learning more, and building a better world. I don’t want to spit on the immense effort and awesomeness of those guys just because there are some creepos elsewhere who happen to have laid claim to the term.

    Also? Feminism is by nature multi-faceted as all fucking hell.

  • Argh

    Well, if anything is patting one’s own back, it would be bragging about how you’re such a feminist that you won’t even call yourself a feminist.

  • Bertram Cabot

    JT is an atheist with admitted mental problems. I sympathize, but why do we have to have such a self absorbed nutcase as a spokesman for atheists?

    At least get rid of that horrible picture, JT. It brings out the insanity in your eyes too much.

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com WMDKitty

      Dude, you’re kind of a jerk.

      Please to be rethinking your opinion, there, and I’ll reconsider my opinion of you.

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd JT Eberhard

      It’s strange. The few who try to capitalize on my insanity to cast suspicion on my ability to reason never seem to point out where I’m wrong – just that I’m crazy, and then I guess everybody is just supposed to assume that makes me wrong somewhere.

      If my condition has corrupted my judgment, it should be easy for you to point out where. So odd you’ve not done that.

      • papango

        He’s the Cabot-troll. He’s often on atheist websites spouting this sort of nonsense. He’s not here to talk about your judgement, he just wants to shit in the punch-bowl and giggle from the corner.

  • http://www.decrepitoldfool.com george.w

    @36 Bertram Cabot – everyone you know is screwed up in some way, including the man in the mirror. JT confronts it head-on, which is a very sane (and courageous) thing to do. You think you could tone down the bigotry a little? It’s early and I haven’t had my coffee.

    • papango

      Don’t feed the Cabotroll. This is his schtick.