This weekend I read a guest editorial on the Feminist Wire by a guy named Matt Graber. Given the brevity of the piece and the wonderful and clear open access policy has for reprinting: I am including the entire post here. It either has a brilliance that I do not understand, or it is pretty awful.
“Please don’t call me “man” or “dude” any longer. I will not join you in friendship or partnership on a male-supremacist, patriarchal project. I will not condone the view that women are born to provide you with sexual gratification, and to do care work for you.
I will not be your wingman. I will not support your objectification of women’s bodies. Women are not accessories to you, regardless of how much money you have. In social settings such as parties, bars, or clubs, I will not accompany you when you violate the personal space of others. When they refuse to allow you to enter into their personal space, I will not ease or comfort you.
Please learn to love and care for yourself. You are incredibly beautiful, and I want you to be cared for. Learn to cook, clean, sew, and care for yourself, your body, and your personal space. If you do not know how to care for yourself and are seeking a romantic partnership on the basis of finding somebody to do that work for you, then I will remain skeptical of your capacity to love and care for others.
I hope that we can differentiate between coveting bodies and loving people.
I love you. I want a friendship with you that is based on realizing the infinite possibilities of ourselves, our love, our bodies, and our gender expressions; a friendship based on falling head over heels in love with all life and all people. It is all far too beautiful than to be used and abused by you and me for the sake of manhood and masculinity.”
I get confused right off the bat in this piece. In the first sentence he say that he does not want to be called a man or a dude anymore because he believes that is what makes a person a member of patriarchal oppressive system. Let’s pass that one by and try to puzzle out this: “I will not condone the view that women are born to provide you with sexual gratification, and to do care work for you.” Who is the “you” in that sentence? Surely he cannot be making such a crazily sweeping indictment against all men. Surely he understands that a lot of men do not actually believe that women are just fuck-puppets, cooks, parlor maids and nothing more.
But what Matt’s piece seems to be saying is that all men except him are knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing sex fiends eager to get their predatory hands on the nearest woman. And Matthew declares quite solemnly that he will have no part in your predation, and therefore will not be your wingman. Fair enough. I am pretty sure that his services as such were not in terribly high demand.
What bothers me is the naked contempt that Matt shows for his fellow human men. Because of his ethic – which is so much purer than that of the normal human guy – he will not offer you any support if you are looking to meet a nice woman, nor will offer any “ease or comfort you” if your appropriate approach is shot down. I also don’t understand his desire for his fellow men to fall head over heels in love with all of life and every person. Is it just me, or are there some people that are better not friended let alone loved? And there is a lot of life that I don’t feel any compunction to love, like cancer and spiders.
I am honestly trying to understand how this is not just another example of gender hatred, only from a man directed towards a man. Can someone help me understand if this guy is, in fact an ally, and if so how he is helping?