In a patriarchal society, in an unbalanced dynamic, in this system, I’m an oppressor. As a white homosexual male my oppressor role may vary slightly from that of the average white heterosexual male, but it’s still very much there. My feelings don’t negate my class, nor does anything positive that I do as an individual person within said class. “But I…”  , “But to me…” etc. speaks to anecdotal experience, which, when outside ourselves in these conversations hold little to no value. I understand the urge and the intense desire to separate one’s self from the past/present and future actions of their class, but it can’t be done. This bed has been made, and we must lay in it, and acknowledge what has put us here.
MRA types often wax emotionally and pitifully about the woes of men. The male victim of the economy  , the male victim of domestic violence, the male victim of rape, the male victim of this, the male victim of that, the male victim of women(The major lulz factor here). But really, men are just the deserved “victim” of our rather loud reputation. The only way to dispel this reputation will be lifetimes of work by the majority of the oppressor class to overthrow all oppressive systems  that we’ve played our hand at ingraining and institutionalizing. To be fair to reality though, based on all evidence and all of the history we have, this may never happen. The odds are actually, that it will never happen. That’s not to say it can’t, but holding out too much hope can be dangerous and very counter productive.  Hope can placate us into paralysis, into blind faith, and we have work to do.
So I urge everyone who may be reading this(specifically people belonging to the oppressor class, and more specifically men.)…to take a moment and disregard who you are,to see what you are. I want you to see how what you are plays into the bigger picture and I want you to see what that bigger picture is conveying. Can you do everything in your power to help turn the tide? For men this means(in part) can you surrender yours? Can you do so without anything reciprocated? In authenticity? Can you listen? Can you be an ally? Can you just fucking care?
There are, of course, many problems with allyship. Half of the time being that the “ally” is being too loud, taking up too much space, derailing, focusing on themselves, or speaking for. This can be seen in almost any interaction between classes of oppressors and oppressed.While I suppose good intentions are always more appreciated than  negative ones, they mean little when it comes to impact, and you don’t need a cookie for them. Allies like cookies I’ve noticed, some reaffirmation that they are a good person, doing the right thing. I often think that I must come across the same way. The truth is though(and this may well sound pompous), I don’t like sweets and I don’t want your cookies. I say this as a man, I say this as a white person. Most of us should be enlightened enough to not need this pat on the head of reassurance.  I say should. Most often the “ally” will retreat at the first sign of friction back into the talking points of the oppressor class if they notice that their contributions are not awarded good guy badges, as if displaying decency was something to be awarded for.
For people who really wish to be people who are trying to make better, trying to, somehow through it all, make good, the best thing I can think to do is listen. Speak up if asked to, say nothing if it’s not your place to say anything. If you question if it’s your place or not, then it more than likely isn’t. If you do it will form organically and not feel forced. Apologize! you have privilege  it’s your responsibility as a privileged person to try your damnedest to shine a light on it. Don’t be offended when called out, don’t assume you are right, even if you really really really think you are. If you are speaking to someone conveying their experiences as a (fill in oppressed class.), you are not to question it. Period. Stop. The opinion of the oppressor doesn’t matter. keep your “But I..” and “Well I’ve nevers”, don’t waste your time, don’t waste theirs.  Listen to what needs to be done from the people who have been done wrong. Don’t assume you know exactly what that ‘what’ is. That’s not your call. But when you hear something, when you hear an answer…know that ,again, we have work to do on this world around us. Drop your defenses and get to work. Otherwise “allyship” is meaningless.

2 thoughts on “Allyship

  1. Hope does not lead to paralysis, fear does. Fascist regimes cripple people with fear, not hope. That’s why violence is a tool of the patriarchy. It makes people fear for their own lives (mainly female people).
    I disagree the dismantling of patriarchy is unlikely.
    First of all patriarchy is young: 6000 to 10000 years old compared to 200000 years of homo sapiens sapiens. Second of all it’s self destructive: if we keep this going there won’t be a human species for much longer. Third of all the internet and English as a world wide language allow more and more people, including women, to talk to each other and to get informed; it also makes it very difficult for the oppressor class to make sure the knowledge of the oppressed class does not spread between generations, because knowledge and culture are more and more crowd-sourced, that is propagated bottom-up not top-down.
    Lastly there are much more amazing revolutions that happened, for the first time, after million or billion of years of status quo. The universe used to be dark, before the formation of the first atoms, and then it suddenly lit up. Mammals arising from monocellular animals in water. I mean, stranger things have happened in our reality, that make taking down patriarchy look like child’s play :-). We have to work at it, but we will succeed.

    • I think it’s great and I’m not without all hope. Environmentally you make a great point though, what men have done to mother nature, and you know, you can really say men because specifically male body people have been doing the most damage in the way they have managed civilization. In being someone who strives to be an ally (I say ‘strives’ because I don’t really believe in things until the final result, so that will all be in retrospect.) I want to see it happen. I’ve been thinking that a fundamental shifting of power is needed in society with more women having the chance to engage in political systems, to really be as able as a man to have that chance. Could you imagine what a civilization managed by women would look like? Can anyone actually think it could look worse than this? Of course, I’m not advocating for us men to just do nothing, but to just step back. things have got to change.

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