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Tony Grist

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Reflections Of A Good Nazi [Nov. 14th, 2004|10:38 am]
Tony Grist
It's only a hundred years or so since men in the West stopped regarding women as property.

Of course I'm talking Law here. In private lots of men still do regard women as property. We've learned to be shocked by slavery, by genocide, but the overwhelming horror of a set-up where one sex dominates and abuses the other hasn't quite hit us yet. We're recovering, we're in denial. The thing is too huge and we're all pretty much incriminated.

So when we sail into third world countries and beat them up for not being like us, we tend not to put women's rights very high on our agenda. Damn it all, you will have a democracy! But the burkha, female circumcision, forced marriage, the denial of education to women- these are all cultural phenomena and maybe it would be a little racist and imperialistic to criticise.

Where women are concerned all men are nazis. Some of us, perhaps, are good nazis.
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[User Picture]From: sorenr
2004-11-14 10:58 am (UTC)
Where women are concerned all men are nazis...

Statements like that don't wash with me. I do not belief that this discrimination is some sort of original sin for which all males are to blame. We are, surely, part of the male logos, but not necessarily to blame for the fact that it has so often been (and is being) used to oppress women.

Apart from that I think we pretty much agree.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-11-14 11:18 am (UTC)
I guess I'm in an angry mood.

Original sin? Maybe not. But I was born into a very patriarchal world (in the 50s, dig) and the sins of patriarchy clung to me well into adulthood. My first wife (a lesbian who took a long while to come out of the closet) did a lot to get me educated.

Maybe younger men can honestly claim never to have been part of the system that does women down, but I doubt if any men of my generation can.
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[User Picture]From: glitzfrau
2004-11-14 11:48 am (UTC)
But the burkha, female circumcision, forced marriage, the denial of education to women- these are all cultural phenomena and maybe it would be a little racist and imperialistic to criticise.

Unless, of course, it's convenient to do so, when suddenly the evil headscarf is top of the agenda. How many winsome pictures of little Afghan girls going to school in Kabul have we seen in the last year? How many, conversely, of little girls sobbing in pain in Egypt, where over 90% of women still undergo female genital mutilation? Few things make me more incensed than the hypocritical adoption of supposedly feminist agendas to legitimate right-wing wars. The direct link between poverty, repression and the abuse of women are also rarely commented upon. Take honour killings: where the rule of law doesn't prevail, women are more likely to be murdered, as systems of tribal honour become the only means of keeping order.

But sadly, in part I agree with you. Much oppression is structural - perhaps most - but individual men still make individually abusive choices. That said, I'm not sure the word "nazi" is either accurate or useful in this context.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-11-14 01:14 pm (UTC)
90%! Christ, I didn't know that!

Nazi? Well I was trying to be provocative. But I think I'll stand by it. The oppression of women by men is a colossal evil that has been going on for all recorded history- and we're largely blind to it. We don't have a language to pin it down. The 70s terms of abuse- chauvinist, patriarchal- have been defused and turned into joke words. And so one reaches into a depleted arsenal for terms that will still deliver a sting.
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[User Picture]From: karenkay
2004-11-14 03:39 pm (UTC)
The other day when I was talking to the ET, I mentioned that sometimes I just like to spend time with other women, and I asked him if he ever felt that way about men. I thought for sure he would say yes (partly because he is gay), but he said no. He did say that he has heard a lot of women express the same sentiment, more than men. I guess you've presented a lot of reasons why this might be true.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-11-14 04:35 pm (UTC)
I have always preferred the company of women and hated the things that "real" men are supposed to enjoy- like gathering in tribes to watch sport.

The majority of my LJ Friends are women and most of my male ones are gay.
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[User Picture]From: sorenr
2004-11-14 04:39 pm (UTC)
I could try to be really straight acting if that would improve matters...
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-11-14 05:16 pm (UTC)
"underachiever" is that more cutting than "nazi"?

The nazis, of course, put the underachievers in power.
There's a classic essay by J.B. Priestley (from 1940 or thereabouts) where he says picture all the nasty, creepy, shifty people in your neighbourhood then think what it would be like if they were put in charge of everything and you've got a pretty good idea of what a nazi state is like.
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From: morrison_maiden
2004-11-14 06:22 pm (UTC)
Where women are concerned all men are nazis. Some of us, perhaps, are good nazis.

This sums up exactly how I feel towards men. I love men, but I'm very scared of them too. I know that there are probably lots of guys out there who are good-hearted, but I'm very afraid of most of them :\
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-11-14 06:45 pm (UTC)
There are good men out there.

Look for one who doesn't run with the pack.
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[User Picture]From: besideserato
2004-11-14 09:47 pm (UTC)
Today, Nov. 15th, is my birthday. I share this fine holiday with Erwin Rommel. We are Desert Foxes.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-11-14 10:04 pm (UTC)
Happy birthday, Anaiis.

We Brits always did have a bit of a soft spot for Rommel. He was an officer and a gentleman.
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[User Picture]From: besideserato
2004-11-14 10:16 pm (UTC)
I have always loved him, too! Fabulous strategist and elegant soldier. I am thrilled silly that he was born on the same day as I.
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