Hole in the Head

I needed feminism because…

 

Hello.

I’m the guy who submitted these pictures to whoneedsfeminism.org. I thought I’d take a few shots that represented my experience of feminism over the years, submit them, and be done with it.

I wasn’t exactly expecting 188 (last I checked) re-posts, comments, etc. It seems I may have struck some nerves.

I wish I could say that I was surprised by some of the NAWALT/NAFALT comments, but I’m not. While I agree that a lot of feminists probably aren’t “like that,” their continued silence and tolerance of the extremist factions within their midst –to me- reeks of ignorance at best, and complicity at worst.

If you are not like that, please consider doing something about those who are like that. They are more vocal than you. You are losing control of your own movement, if you haven’t lost control of it already. Read Christina Hoff Sommers. Read Daphne Patai. The extremists in your movement are causing real pain to real people.

Some people responded to my pictures that suggested that feminists “could not have possibly” said or done the things that I claim, or that the people who did were not “real” feminists.

I assure you they did and they were.

So, for those out there who have chosen to ignore or discount what I have said, because it does not fit the mold of what your ideology tells you, I would like to provide some additional background.

Feel free to continue to claim that it was really “the patriarchy” (whatever that is) that really did this to me. I honestly don’t care. But if what I say can make someone reconsider, even for a moment, then I’ve succeeded in helping us all act like human beings towards each other once again

I needed feminism to teach me that my Borderline Personality Disordered Ex driving me to the brink of suicide was MY fault. I was involved with a woman who was an undiagnosed Borderline. Over the course of a year, she pushed me to this point. I almost stepped in front of a train. Let me repeat that. I almost stepped in front of a train.  At the time, I was completing a graduate program at a university that was demographically 80% women, 20% men. That includes faculty and staff ratios, as well.

The university also sponsored many discriminatory events, and workshops that men were specifically not allowed to attend. We were belittled in classes, where we were told that we our “male ways of thinking” were obsolete, and something that needed to be overcome.  These “ways of thinking” were responsible for all of the ills in the world. Additionally, as a white heterosexual male, I needed to be more attuned to my inner feminine, and “be a better man” by listening to my partner, addressing her needs, putting my selfish needs last, and  practicing self-inquiry to determine how I might be inadvertently causing problems.

I did all of these things (and more), because I loved her. Or, rather, I loved a lie. But that’s a whole other story. The surrender of my identity, my sanity, and the narrative of my life were not enough for her. To add insult to injury, as someone who suffered very real psychological, emotional, financial, and physical abuse from her, I found that there were no resources available to me. There were no battered men’s shelters. There were no books on abusive relationships involving women abusers and male victims. I couldn’t even identify the relationship as abusive, because I’d been taught over and over that this sort of situation doesn’t exist.

It must have been something I’d done wrong. This was a few years ago. I am better now.  Not perfect, but better, with much thanks to Dr. Tara Palmatier at shrink4men.com, and to the MRA movement for helping me find what it really means to be a man. Did a feminist say to me “It’s your fault?” No. Did feminism make sure that resources to help me were scarce to non-existent and that many people (including myself) had never even thought that a man could be a victim in an abusive relationship, and that as a male I was viewed as inherently incapable of anything other than being the abuser?  Yes.

I needed feminism to teach me that wanting to date someone of African descent was engaging in ‘White Trophy Hunting’ and not love or attraction. As an undergrad in 1988-89 or so, I was told this by Elizabeth Richardson Viti of the Gettysburg College French Department, in a one-on-one conversation. At the time, I had started to get to know an Ethiopian student I was possibly interested in dating. From Gettysburg College’s website (http://www.gettysburg.edu/about/offices/provost/jcctl/viti.dot):

Professor Richardson Viti’s research interests focus on the contemporary novel, in particular, from a feminist theoretical perspective. This interest has led her to teach a number of classes in what is now the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program, where she also served as Coordinator from 2005 to 2009 when the program was still Women’s Studies.

I am not advocating contacting her, discussing this with her, starting arguments with her, stalking her, harassing her, or anything like that. Honestly, she is so far off my list of “worries” that I find the whole thing comical. I am merely attributing a quote. Leave her be. It is entirely possible her views have changed since then.

I needed feminism to teach me that my 50 year old alcoholic aunt didn’t rape me when I was 10. I must have raped her. Thank you, Feminism, for setting me straight on that! Yes, my aunt did this to me. Again, the dominant narrative for most of my life has been “only men rape.” Add to this that 99.999% of the books for incest/rape survivors are geared towards women survivors. Add to this that saying “well, just read ‘he’ for every time you see ‘she’ and vice-versa” doesn’t really cut it.

How am I supposed to gain any actual help from a book that continuously lets me know that it isn’t really written for me, and I’m part of the problem? One therapist even told me it “couldn’t” have happened. Additionally, after a rather difficult class dealing with trauma in my abovementioned graduate program, I confided in a classmate who self-identified as a feminist, to offer an exception to the “only men rape” narrative.  Her response?  “That poor woman! How society must have mistreated her to lead her to do something like that!”

I need feminism to ensure that all of the women in my office are empowered enough to talk about their sex lives, stare at and make comments about the UPS guy’s ass, and make sure I know they are better than me, until they need someone to lift a heavy box.  My last three jobs in a nutshell.  Believe me, there’s a whole lot more. Some of the guilty parties are PhDs, too. When I brought this up in an employee survey at one job, it was dismissed because “men can’t experience sexism” and I “wasn’t used to having my privilege challenged.”

 

I needed feminism to silence my voice and invalidate my pain so much that I have to sneak off to the restroom to snap these photos.  My current job, while better than my last three, still contains elements of #4. Do you think I feel safe doing this out in the open?

I am sure that many people think I’m bitter, or hateful, or spiteful, or whatever.  It would be easy to fall into that trap, and after the break up with my Borderline ex, I spent a good two years in the abyss. I am sure there may be others who believe that I’m “just a kid” and don’t know what I’m talking about.

I am 43 years old with a graduate degree, about to get married to a woman who understands that the things that I have been through are bullshit.  I am very lucky.

We also have a one year old son.

And neither of us is willing to let any of this happen to him.

About Edward Jessup

Edward Jessup is an alias for a man who has found his opinions generally unpopular. He has worked in the music industry, academia, and various IT gigs. He is very very tired of bickering, finger pointing, and being blamed for all the ills of the world, based on what he looks like. He wants the world to be a better place for his son

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  • James C

    Welcome Ed!
    I saw your pictures on whoneedsfeminism.org and was curious about some of the issues you mentioned, thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.shrink4men.com/ Dr. Tara J. Palmatier

    Back from the abyss, speaking out and taking a stand.

    Reading your article, I want to cry, applaud and give you a hug all at once.

  • Edward Jessup

    Thank you, James… It felt really good to get this stuff off my chest, both photographically, and here.

    • http://gloriusbastard.com/ JJ

      I’m sorry you experienced your pain at all; let alone in so much isolation for so long. It makes me proud to see you overcoming; as men that is what we do!

      Unfortunately, that trait has been much aligned, and abused by our “fairer” sex. Many men jump in front of the train; we are all glad you didn’t!

      Now use any of us to find men in your old situation and help them, like you are now. Appreciated the article very much.

    • Jake4OClock

      Edward Jessup! I discovered http://www.avoiceforment.com about five minutes ago. THE first thing I read was, “I Need Feminism Because.” How can I say this? Your article was perhaps the most liberating treatise I’ve ever read. Call me crazy, but your article helped me to redefine / rediscover the term, “brotherhood.” Thanks, Edward Jessup. Why do I suddenly feel “connected” again?

      • https://www.facebook.com/pages/A-Voice-for-Men/102001393188684 Paul Elam

        Because you are. Stick around.

      • Turbo

        Welcome Jake4OClock, I think you are going to love this place.

        And Edward Jessup, look at this mate, you have made a difference already, well done.

  • https://www.facebook.com/pages/A-Voice-for-Men/102001393188684 Paul Elam

    Standing ovation.

    • se_men

      I stumbled upon a page at rationalwiki.org on MRA.

      http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/MRA

      Although it is an unpopular site but since it is claiming itself wiki and “rational”, a lot of people might pick a wrong message about MRAs. So, I hope you will refute there every false argument in some article.

      • http://vilo13.blogspot.com/ Lucian Vâlsan

        That website is owned by the folks on Atheism+.
        I do not think they deserve any attention they already received from people around here.

      • http://www.deanesmay.com Dean Esmay

        RationalWiki used to actually be a useful resource. I was going to write an article about how it obviously got taken over by people with an agenda but I decided “fuck it.”

  • http://gloriusbastard.com/ JJ

    Encore!

    You have come to the right place. Welcome; we need many more personable stories. Education is great, but yours hit so close to home. Thanks for adding your strength to our own.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/TruthAndOblivion Woolybumblebee

    Your submissions to whoneedsfeminism.org are wonderful and powerful. The feminists who respond to your photo’s are hateful people who are trying to hide the truth, which is what you are sharing… The truth. And they are terrified of it. I am so glad that you shared your stories here, and I am going to link this story on the .org site so those feminists can cower even more at the truth.

    Here is the entry if anyone is interested in seeing what kind of response it will generate http://whoneedsfeminismdotorg.tumblr.com/post/38319989504/speaking-out-with-the-truth

  • fibtastic

    Fucking genius!

  • malcolm

    Very powerful Edward, thank you for contributing your voice. Lets all work towards making your son’s childhood and adult life free of these difficulties and to make sure that he never feels like he doesn’t have a voice.

  • napocapo69

    I’m glad you didn’t take … that “train”…

    Thank you Ed, for your article. Enjoy your family.

  • ContraTerrene

    Gutted to hear you went through all of that in your life.

    Also glad that you found someone special and doubtless have a son who will no doubt have a great and understanding dad.

  • Lysander Spooner

    Wow, and after all that you are getting MARRIED.

    Dude, don’t.

    • Strangled

      Well, as much as I abhor the NAWALT argument, I honestly have to say my second wife is a decent human being and we love each other sincerely. Mind you, when I realized I was ready to spend the rest of my life with ANY woman after the shitstorm I was (and still am, ten years later) navigating, you could have knocked me over with a feather.

      One thing: I totally recommend having your kids at your wedding! Being married before kids, if you step into that potential abyss at all, is highly overrated. My son got a huge round of applause during the speeches, and was thrilled. He was 7 months old then; 9 years old now.

      • Daniel Kulkarni

        No one’s denying that there are good women out there. The problem is that any woman can take you to the cleaners because she wakes up one day and grows tired of her dull, monotonous life. Women already have enough power over us without marriage (courts and police are on their side), you’re just making it too damn easy for her if you actually go along with marriage.

    • Edward Jessup

      I’ll echo Strangled, and add that I’ve known her for almost a decade. If I was at all concerned, believe me, after all of this, I wouldn’t be doing this at all.

      If anything, my experiences have left me even more cautious. The BPD ex I mention above was the last in a string of people who were bad for me, and who treated me as less than what I deserve. My wife-to-be, I can honestly say, gets it, gets me, loves me, loves our son, understands, and agrees that our son deserves far better than the crap that has been dished out against men and boys by the ones who are “like that.”

      It took me a long time in this life, but occasionally things work out, and surprises do happen. I found a perfect partner, even though I was ready to give the world the finger.

      Life can turn on a dime.

  • Strangled

    I can relate to the train story — EVERY time I see a Metro train rolling into the station, I have to actively prevent myself jumping in front of it. This has gone on for 8 years (before that, I lived in Edmonton, where there IS no rail transit to speak of).

    • Edward Jessup

      I won’t do it, if you won’t do it. How’s that?

  • Tawil

    This is a very powerful article about both your experiences (all too common) and about the nature of feminism.

    Your writing style and chosen content makes a big impact… I’d like to see more from you.

    Tawil: “I like feminism because it incites the best among us to stand up againt hatred and narcissism – of feminism itself”.

  • http://www.avoiceformen.com Dr. F

    Thank you Edward.

    A relief to know you’ve seen the real light when the spotlight was on you all this time. Kudos to you for not surrendering your life when things were at their worst.

    This is a heart wrenching write and like any holocaust we must tell it to our kids and those still in it’s filthy grip. Your cards held up are this reminder and are the signs of the times – for now.

    Thanks to you and others here, we are making those cards closer and closer to faded snapshots our children will look at, just as we do old Movietone reels of war camps gone by.

    You’re home now with front row seats and the show is getting better.

  • Turbo

    Welcome Edward Jessup.

    Your pictures and this article are outstanding, thank you for taking the time to do them.

  • Robert St. Estephe

    I need feminism because I need more lazy officious control-freak bureaucrats.

  • ronwisegamgee

    I need feminism because even though my workplace consists of more than 75% females, I’m needed to do the heavy lifting.

  • null kill

    That is an excellent website. Many of the pics are really quite powerful and moving. Good to see you on there as well, JtO.

  • Kukla

    I need feminism so I can remember that women are always more affected by every natural disaster than men.

  • Kimski

    I need feminism to shame me into going to wars, where my untimely death will hurt the women back home so much more, than it will ever hurt me.

    • harrywoodape

      Well said Kimski

      I need feminism to tell me that my 2 year old son didnt get punched in the face by his mother or if he did…it must have been an accident that occurred while she was defending herself and her child from me.

  • Zarathos022

    I need feminism to remind me that because I had the bad luck to be born with a dick and balls that I’m a potential rapist, serial killer, pervert (insert foul occupation of your choice).

    I also need feminism to remind me why I think romance is complete and utter bullshit.

    Thanks, Assholes.

  • Greg Canning

    Thank you for speaking out Edward, not an easy call, when the experiences are painfull, and previously trivialised by very people / institutions that are meant to ensure help and equity for all.

    I wish you and your partner well in your life ahead and in parenting a son who will surely face hostility because of his sex, I’m sure you will have him better prepared to face those challenges.

  • harrywoodape

    The world is better with you in it. We need the victims of feminism to step forward with their stories and speak the truth fearlessly and look for answers.
    You all saw how uncomfortable the feminists got about the guy at the protest in Toronto that was looking for answers to his friends’ suicides.
    Anyway great story…I can really relate to it.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/Correctrix/videos Correctrix

    Damn good article. Poignant.

  • Lysander Spooner

    in reply to Strangle and Edward Jessup.

    I believe what you are talking about is Holy Matrimony, not marriage.

    I would advise no man to marry, ie. become a signatory to State Marriage Law, until the Laws are repealed any man that Marries the State is no friend of Men’s rights, is a White Knighting fool, or just plain stupid.

    Coincidentally, I had “The Talk” with my girl last night. She wants to get married, I said no. I said I would get engaged and that would be as far as I was willing to go. She replied that we would be common law, I replied no, it does not apply in our State. She seems ok with it, who knows, but I am not marrying the State.
    I think men who do are weak, ignorant or stupid, maybe all three.

  • http://www.avoiceformen.com/ David King

    That might be something to do with the “responsive” (eg mobile support) functionality of our site’s code. Do you still have zero margin if you resize your browser window horizontally?

  • http://www.avoiceformen.com/ David King

    Sounds like you are changing your screen’s resolution. Try (after returning to a comfortable resolution and making sure the browser window is not maximised) shrinking the browser window horizontally. It might sound counter-intuitive that you’ll get more margin by making the window narrower, but it does actually work that way (because the responsive theme is trying to re-arrange page elements to fit within the available space).

    The other thing you might try to do is to zoom in slightly on the page. Chrome and Firefox both support changing the zoom level by holding down the control key and scrolling the mouse wheel. (Sorry, no idea of the Mac equivalent). This sometimes causes the page layout to reflow as well, so you might need to experiment.

  • Daniel Kulkarni

    Depressing end there, mentioning marriage.