Men Need to be Feminists

There are many men who believe that they can not or should not be feminists. That is to say, they believe the movement to bring women’s equality in social, legal and economic forums is a concern that is the responsibility of women. Or some kinder and gentler men believe women would not like men to be mansplaining their issues. Forcing their way into a women’s only club with that self-righteous upright chin of the all knowing men.

But, I believe they are wrong and I will explain my reasoning here.

The goals of feminism is fundamentally a problem of and for men. A society of cultural norms and mores which we as men benefit from, but rarely understand. It’s not the job of women to find our inner demons, our abuses and unkindnesses and explain and then campaign for us to change our ways. No. That wouldn’t and doesn’t work anyway.

Any group of people have their ways of doing things. Their memes, their protocols which have been passed down from father figure to son figure. This is what makes us a social group with tendencies and values which while not strictly true, are often just so. Men are a social group, often with ideas about how things ort to be.

It’s our responsibility as men to be introspective and look critically at these and how they reflect in our actions. Our ways of doing things. We need to understand that we are sometimes and often wrong. Women have told us there is a problem, that they suffer in ways that we don’t recognise. That’s really as far as they can take it. And yet, so far, we have refused to take the baton of responsibility from them and carry out a full audit of our social place and the way we act and treat the people around us.

I believe that some of these ideas that many men hold are the ideas that need to change in order for equality to spring forth. These ideas can’t be changed from the outside by women. Instead they must go through the full process of reflection, where one understands there is a problem, discovery where new ideas that challenge the old are sought and found and then a violent battle between the old and new ideas must take place where both are destroyed in a process that gives birth to new, stronger ideas which are internalised.

It’s this processing of new ideas which I can see happening. Sometimes the new ideas are forged in hatred, the wrong idea at the wrong time and result in a symptomatic backlash against the progress of equality. But while some men find hatred others will find their way to greater enlightenment winning their internal battles. It is the men who find peace and fraternity with the goals of feminism who must not let their hard won ideas rest in their heads, but speak out and actively encourage them in other men. Cheat on the test for their brothers by giving them the answers to their own internal equality exam. Not just for those men, but for women, boys and girls too. So we propagate the best of what we have worked out.

In order for this to work, we need not just women fighting for their rights, but men fighting for their own change and their own social group’s change in attitudes and common ideas. Maybe it will take generations to forget the old ways, to uproot the very deep notions and general practices which often were created back when aggressive sexism was the norm. But they must be removed because they are unjust and it is our backyards that these injustices stem.

We are Men and OUR ideas need to change. Help me challenge them.

Is open siege under sourced? Let’s not hope!

An excellent post by txwikinger on his blog called Is open source under siege? Let’s hope not! paints a picture of all the recent movements in the business world which seem to undermine free and open source in economics (withdrawal of support) and in philosophical backing (maybe working together isn’t good?).

When it comes to the ideas surrounding free and open source, the commons and free culture in general we have to remember that our cultural values are subject to dialectic interpretation as much as any set of ideas. Our main mooring has been the sometimes radical and always socially objectionable Free Software community who has been very strong on purpose and clear on what it considers to be for and against the free software ideal.

This I think has allowed us to be protected in a lot of ways from being swept away by dialectic diffusion; where your ideas mix up so much with other people’s that identifying the core values become impossible. The gentle sound of the waves of free culture crashing against the seemingly impossibly immovable shore of commercial reality has over time not changed radically commercial reality, but the shape of commercial advantage and where there is easy and attractive exploitable resources.

It’s not a surprise to me that as the impending beat of market forces in conjunction with the reality of software and all soft media increases in tempo, the fear of the old world companies is leading them to seek even more government protection. Every governmentally supported artificial barrier conceivable is being employed by the biggest and most well resourced organisations to try and keep a status quo that can not be.

To conclude I would say that the free and open source ideas are changing the world, they are as well being changed as you’d expect. Sometimes for the better and sometimes in ill advised ways that should be rejected by everyone who wants to keep their free software ideals. The proprietary companies and people who think as they do that protectionism and government monopolies are better than the free market will struggle something fierce while they either morph or die into something survivable.

Remember your concern over what Microsoft, Apple and Oracle are doing is nothing but a fraction of the fear and dread that they have over a real open free market in software and the work we all do to hasten it.