Manly.

So, Jody Allard has now publicly shamed her two teen sons (between 16 and 19, it seems, from her original post) a second time.  During her first post, she talks about her position on rape culture and misogyny and how she must get them to see how they contribute to it, even by their silence.

I have compiled some thoughts for a friend.  Any quotes of the original post that prompt my response are to be credited to her and not to me.  I’ll be quoting inline to save you the time of going back and forth.  However, it’s up to you if you want to toss her a hit to her site and actually read the entire thing.

They are good boys, in the ways good boys are, but they are not safe boys. I’m starting to believe there’s no such thing.

Of course there is no such thing.  Men were not designed/evolved to be safe.  If a woman is in danger (and lacks ability to defend or protect herself – not saying all women lack these!), a safe man won’t help her.  She (and weaker men) need (even if they don’t want) the alpha unsafe male to do his thing; he makes unpopular decisions and takes unpopular actions to ensure the safety of those around him, but he is not safe himself.  I gave her a piece of my mind in the comments on her original article.  This desire for safe men is ruining real masculinity.  Yes, I have very strong opinions on this.

I didn’t think it would be controversial when I wrote it; I was sure most parents grappled with raising sons in the midst of rape culture.

How could she not think it would be controversial?  She’s either naive or unwisely living in her little, (not really) safe, progressive bubble.  What about those of us who are raising daughters in rape culture? She’s totally diminishing the stress of parenting anyone who isn’t raising sons, but raising daughters instead.  Parenting is hard work.  Last night, I was present when my daughter addressed some things about one of her colleagues.  She takes responsibility for her own mistakes and doesn’t push her expectations on others, beyond legal and professional ones.  It’s her first job and she’s learning about corporate culture and responsibility.  However, she recognizes that not everyone experiences morality the same.  

He is angry at me now, although he won’t admit that either, and his anger led him to conservative websites and YouTube channels; places where he can surround himself with righteous indignation against feminists, and tell himself it’s ungrateful women like me who are the problem.

Of course he’s angry with her.  She attacked his identity – not his behaviors.  She attacked him for something he can’t control.  Being a man.  Oh, no.  He went to conservative websites?  If I ever shared my thoughts publicly regarding my daughters as being included in something I fear or hate (not that I have any), even with their permission (she said she had her sons’ permission, too), I’d expect anger, hurt, even retaliation that I’m the problem.  I don’t remember all the details of her article last year, but I can totally get why her “good” son thinks his mother is part of the problem. That’s not to diminish the challenge of women who are single parents to sons.  Not at all.  

I teeter frequently between supporting my son and educating him. Is it my job as his mother to ensure he feels safe emotionally, no matter what violence he spews? Is it my job as his mother to steer and educate, no matter how much that education challenges his view of himself? I think it’s both, but the balance between the two has proven impossible to pinpoint. When I hear his voice become defensive, I back off but question whether I’m doing him any favors by allowing his perception of himself to go unchallenged. When I confront him with his own sexism, I question whether I’m pushing too hard and leaving him without an emotional safe space in his home.

Last year, the sons were 16 and 18.  I think it’s safe to say that her job educating them is done or nearly done.  For several years, it has not been her job to make them feel safe. The fact that he would get angry and irritated during those diner conversations surrounding yet another discussion of rape culture and misogyny… not unlike the frequent conversations in our house about adolescence issues, healthy and unhealthy behaviors, and friendships.  She’s not okay with letting him be (in her eyes) completely wrong.  My bride and I are often concerned our children might be wrong about things.  However, if we shield them from that now, while under our roof, they won’t develop the skills necessary to experience disappointment and correction the hard way later through corrective action and documentation with their employers.  No; she needs to let someone else challenge him.

As a single mother, I sometimes wonder whether the real problem is that my sons have no role models for the type of men I hope they become. But when I look around at the men I know, I’m not sure a male partner would fill that hole. Where are these men who are enlightened but not arrogant? Who are feminists without self-congratulation? If my sons need role models, they may have to become their own. …  White people aren’t safe, and men aren’t safe, no matter how much I’d like to assure myself that these things aren’t true.

It’s not enough for her to want them to have role models for who she wants them to become, but who the world needs them to become – and she needs to recognize that the two potential results may not be identical.  Only through adversity will a real man be shown who he is.  (i wish I could take credit for that, but I read it somewhere; this note is to not take credit, but it’s to not plagiarize either.  I just don’t remember where I saw it before).  Who is she to say what’s enlightened?  Her view is the only enlightened one?  And who is she to say what’s arrogant?  Feminists without self-contratulation?  It’s like the meme about vegans and crossfitters.  They can’t walk into a room without announcing their presence or proclivity to avoid animal products and participate in some extreme workout regimen.

If the feminist men — the men who proudly declare their progressive politics and their fight for quality — aren’t safe, then what man is? No man, I fear.

So, only progressives (she doesn’t use the word liberal, because progressive sounds forward-thinking) can be feminists?  This woman needs to be shown a Venn diagram and explained that her boxes are not mutually exclusive positions.  I know men, including myself, who believe and demonstrate that men and women are equals – but different.  I work in a female-dominated field with male patients.  I know I’m disadvantaged in some ways surrounding masculine and feminine stereotypes, and I’m working through that.  Of course a feminist man isn’t safe.  If he espouses the position that women can take care of themselves, he’s not going to defend her.  If he defends her, he’s not a feminist (because she doesn’t need defending), and if he doesn’t, he’s silent in the face of misogyny.  He cannot win within the framework of her position.

I do not want to prove my pain, or provide enough evidence to convince anyone that my trauma is merited. I’m through wasting my time on people who are more interested in ideas than feelings, and I’m through pretending these people, these men, are safe.

I recognize this woman writes from a position of having a traumatic past.  She didn’t (and still doesn’t) deserve what happened to her.  Many people put their insecurities on others based on their past.  That seems to be what she’s doing here.  Placing her questions, fears, and disappointments on her sons – unfairly.  It’s like she blames them for her rape.  Interestingly, feminism is based on ideas – not feelings.  She’s duplicitous in her wanting to address her feelings.  Perhaps a therapist can help her with that.  I hope she finds peace in the midst of her pain.

I love my sons, and I love some individual men. It pains me to say that I don’t feel emotionally safe with them, and perhaps never have with a man, but it needs to be said because far too often we are afraid to say it.

Um.  I don’t understand the idea of anyone having sex with someone with whom he or she doesn’t feel emotionally safe.  Thus, I’m confused as to if she felt safe enough with their father(s) for their conception – Note: I don’t recall seeing if they were full or half-siblings.  This is not a statement regarding promiscuity or an indictment on her character.

This is not a reflection of something broken or damaged in me; it is a reflection of the systems we build and our boys absorb. Those little boys grow into men who know the value of women, the value that’s been ascribed to us by a broken system, and it seeps out from them in a million tiny, toxic ways.

She refuses to look in the mirror of her own mind.  First, she generalizes that “we are afraid to say it” and then she displaces her feeling of lack of safety to others, denying the brokenness in herself.  We all have some form of brokenness.  Hers is different than mine or yours. 

I don’t know what the balance is between supporting these men and educating them, but I know the toll it takes on me to try. I am too valuable and too worthy to waste my time on men who are not my flesh and blood. But as my boys grow into men, I wonder whether I’ve done enough to combat the messages they hear from everyone but me. They are good boys, and maybe that’s the best they can be in the system we’ve created for them.

This is not the first time she talks about supporting and educating.  Her kids are in their later teens.  However, her position at this stage in her life is not to educate.  And supporting them is different than it used to be.  Unless someone is mandated, it is not possible to force education on them.

Those are my detailed thoughts.  Overall, this perspective is hurtful to society.  Just as the Genie from the Disney movie Aladdin says, “You can’t make anyone fall in love with anyone else.”  We can’t make someone feel something, short of blatant psychological manipulation.  Perhaps that’s why her sons are annoyed.  They feel trapped in the conversation because of her authority as Mom and the location being the dinner table in her home.  She is also removing their sense of individuation.  As adolescents start to develop their own set of beliefs and morals, they step away from parents a bit to experience and test their beliefs in the world; she fears that.  Generally speaking, though, mothers who fear their sons, fear them because of some psychopathological or sociopathological trait they see, like parents of serial killers.  Perhaps these boys will be.  But I doubt it.  They will cut her off and she will be disappointed when they don’t let her see her grandchildren.

She will be lonely.  And that makes me sad, even though it’s the consequence of her own actions.

I’d love to receive comments and feedback.  I wanted to link this in my comments on her article as well, but the hate is strong against her and the comments were closed.  Please consider sharing this post in your social media circles.

 

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7 Responses to Manly.

  1. jillpatebarlow says:

    I am a divorced mom with two teenage sons. They see their dad some, but he’s not close to them. I would never say some of this stuff to my boys. They are good boys and speaking life over them is more important than trying to put them down for their gender. That’s stupid.

  2. You may be a therapist, but I’m sure glad you’re not mine. Or this woman’s – because you sound like an arrogant asshole.

    “Men were not designed/evolved to be safe… This desire for safe men is ruining real masculinity. Yes, I have very strong opinions on this.”

    YOUR idea of “real masculinity” being “protective” and “strong” and “animalistic” (in that men aren’t evolved to be safe) is actually toxic and problematic. Her desire to feel safe around men is not. Men weren’t evolved to be safe? What? Men are human beings, not animals. They have full control over their conscious choices, just as women do. This thought line of “men aren’t designed to be safe, they can’t help it” is bullshit and just excuses men for behavior they have control over. I, too, have very strong opinions on this.

    “What about those of us who are raising daughters in rape culture? She’s totally diminishing the stress of parenting anyone who isn’t raising sons, but raising daughters instead?”

    Deflecting to raising daughters in rape culture is not the point of her article. She’s not “totally diminishing the stress of parenting anyone who is raising daughters” – she’s speaking on her experience only. This argument is just to point out why you think it’s either harder to raise daughters, despite never having raised a son (I’m assuming based on your post), or to critique her for leaving out part of the equation for other people who aren’t her. You’re also giving her unsolicited parenting advice, based on your standards of parenting and how YOU would handle it (again, despite never having raised a son yourself).

    “If I ever shared my thoughts publicly regarding my daughters as being included in something I fear or hate (not that I have any), even with their permission (she said she had her sons’ permission, too), I’d expect anger, hurt, even retaliation that I’m the problem.”

    About her son feeling attacked – maybe the way she worded her message was wrong and disrespectful to her own children. That’s a fine and fair argument – though its not really the point of your post anyway since its titled “manly”

    “Last year, the sons were 16 and 18. I think it’s safe to say that her job educating them is done or nearly done. For several years, it has not been her job to make them feel safe. The fact that he would get angry and irritated during those diner conversations surrounding yet another discussion of rape culture and misogyny… not unlike the frequent conversations in our house about adolescence issues, healthy and unhealthy behaviors, and friendships.”

    You say her job is “done or nearly done.” What? Parenting is a life long job. Or, it should be. People continue to learn across the lifespan and shouldn’t just stop being educated on important issues once they learn to drive or a bank account. Then, again, you go on criticizing her parenting style because it’s different than yours. Do you know the ratio of conversations in her home? On this topic to conversations on other things – like “adolescence issues”? And do you not consider discussion of rape culture and misogyny, in your words, “healthy and unhealthy behaviors, and friendship”? Just because she talks about these things from a different perspective than you, to her childrenm who are different children than yours?There are things ALL kids hate to hear their parents go on and on about. That doesn’t mean the issue isn’t important, nor does the teenager being irritated mean the parent is wrong for talking about it. At the end of this paragraph, you again just criticize her parenting with how YOU think she should do it: “she needs to let someone else challenge him.”

    “Feminists without self-contratulation? It’s like the meme about vegans and crossfitters. They can’t walk into a room without announcing their presence or proclivity to avoid animal products and participate in some extreme workout regimen.”

    Really, dude? Is this supposed to be a lighthearted joke? You come off like a childish and arrogant asshole who’s exactly part of the problem she’s trying to address by making fun of feminists in an article about rape culture. If you want to really critique someone’s argument, making fun of them for being proud to call themselves a feminist is a pretty shitty way to present your case.

    “So, only progressives…can be feminists? This woman needs to be shown a Venn diagram and explained that her boxes are not mutually exclusive positions. I know men, including myself, who believe and demonstrate that men and women are equals – but different.”

    Doesn’t sound like you actually know what feminism is. This is not a feminist position, its a conservative evangelical Christian position. Your bio says you’re “not promoting any agenda” but this entire post REEKS of your agenda.

    “Of course a feminist man isn’t safe. If he espouses the position that women can take care of themselves, he’s not going to defend her. If he defends her, he’s not a feminist (because she doesn’t need defending), and if he doesn’t, he’s silent in the face of misogyny. He cannot win within the framework of her position.”

    Again, doesn’t sound like you actually know what feminism is or what a feminist relationship would look like. This is the same thing you have done in critiquing her for parenting sons differently than you parent your daughters – you are speaking about something you clearly have no experience in or authority to speak on it.

    “I recognize this woman writes from a position of having a traumatic past. She didn’t (and still doesn’t) deserve what happened to her. Many people put their insecurities on others based on their past. That seems to be what she’s doing here. Placing her questions, fears, and disappointments on her sons – unfairly. It’s like she blames them for her rape. Interestingly, feminism is based on ideas – not feelings. She’s duplicitous in her wanting to address her feelings. Perhaps a therapist can help her with that. I hope she finds peace in the midst of her pain.”

    Do you really, though? Because I’d sure as shit hate to be this woman in your therapy office, if this is how you perceive her – as some poor victim, acting out of pain that only a therapist like you can fix. And I’d hate to be your patient at all if you spend your free time armchair diagnosing people on the Internet based on their blog posts, because it’d show you care less about her as a person and more about tearing down her point of view that you disagree with. People who may agree with her (even only in part) would never feel safe with you again after reading this blog post you wrote. Like, this is a really, really bad response for a therapist to take. Borderline unethical, even. Probably why you’re using a psuedonym blog

    “Um. I don’t understand the idea of anyone having sex with someone with whom he or she doesn’t feel emotionally safe. “

    Again – speaking on things you’ve never experienced. Congratulations, straight, middle aged Christian white man, on never having had the experience of sex with someone you’re not safe with. Why is her sex life even an issue for you? Must be that evangelical thing of obsessing over other people’s sex lives. You not understanding her sex life is so irrelevant to her problem of trying to teach her sons not to rape women or participate in a culture that dismisses rape. And whether or not she did or didn’t feel safe with their fathers is also beside the point. Maybe the point is, even the men who we love and choose to procreate with carry a level of risk and fear with them if they are not actively denouncing rape culture. Again, an experience that you as a straight, middle aged, Christian white man would never and could never understand.

    An idea: just listen, instead of trying to mansplain to her why she’s wrong for how she’s experienced life.

    “She refuses to look in the mirror of her own mind. First, she generalizes that “we are afraid to say it” and then she displaces her feeling of lack of safety to others, denying the brokenness in herself. We all have some form of brokenness. Hers is different than mine or yours.”

    Right – we all have our shit. So what’s the purpose of you trying to untangle hers despite not knowing her at all? I return to that “borderline unethical” thought for a therapist.

    “Her kids are in their later teens. However, her position at this stage in her life is not to educate. And supporting them is different than it used to be. Unless someone is mandated, it is not possible to force education on them.”

    Once again, I’ve lost count of how many times you assume YOUR standards of parenting and when YOU think “education” should stop onto someone else who has a different family than you have. She’s not “forcing education on them.” She’s communicating with her children about something she thinks is important, out of her love for them. I’m sure you do the same thing to your kids about other issues.

    “We can’t make someone feel something, short of blatant psychological manipulation. Perhaps that’s why her sons are annoyed. They feel trapped in the conversation because of her authority as Mom and the location being the dinner table in her home.”

    Ok, seriously dude. How old are your daughters? Not teenagers, I take it? Almost all teenagers are like this. It’s not because she’s talking about rape culture. Get real.

    “She is also removing their sense of individuation. As adolescents start to develop their own set of beliefs and morals, they step away from parents a bit to experience and test their beliefs in the world; she fears that. Generally speaking, though, mothers who fear their sons, fear them because of some psychopathological or sociopathological trait they see, like parents of serial killers. Perhaps these boys will be. But I doubt it. They will cut her off and she will be disappointed when they don’t let her see her grandchildren.

    *Expletive!!!* What??!?!?!?! Removing their sense of individuation by talking to them about rape culture and misogyny? Do you know ANYTHING about this family outside of what she’s put on the Internet? How dare you make a claim like this about someone else….borderline unethical is crossing into unethical pretty damn quickly. Are you a licensed practitioner? I’m amazed that someone with a legitimate education in mental health would do this kind of post, much less say this stuff. Especially these HUGE leaps about “mothers fearing sons” and sociopathy, and assuming they’ll cut her off and withhold her grandchildren from her. What? You’re projecting YOUR fear for her children (based on YOUR worldview and perception of their life and perspective) onto them, here (yep — I’m analyzing you, even though I don’t know you at all – pretty fun, right?).

    This entire post was a perfect example of the exact misogyny she doesn’t want her children to participate in. You spent your time “mansplaining” to a single mom how to do her job as a parent to two sons, despite being a married father to two daughters. You could not be more off base. You abuse your authority as a therapist by using it to give you assumed “klout” in analyzing and critiquing this family, whose beliefs don’t match yours. This is shameful and disgusting.

    I will probably be the only one who comments this much here, but I guess I can’t help myself. Someone I know shared this and I was so appalled – I wouldn’t have commented at all and just kept it to myself but the end said you wanted feedback. Hope you are receptive to actually hearing and not just asking for it for the sake of it.

    And again I’ll say this – try LISTENING instead of just jumping to defensiveness about why you’re justified to do this or say this or etc. etc. etc. This post makes pretty clear your attitude of “I know it all” and “my way is right, why doesn’t everyone else see what I see here, they’d be so much better off” and those are such dangerous traits in a professional therapist, to be so closed minded

    • Roman Hokie says:

      The thing is, if I was your therapist, you wouldn’t know my personal beliefs on things. That’s not an appropriate part of the therapeutic alliance.

      If I was Jody’s therapist, I’d help her to explore her pain and find meaning in her life post trauma. The damage that she is doing to herself and her sons by continuing to allow it to stay at the core of her identity is incredibly dangerous to her future relationships. This is one reason why sexual assault and rape is so damaging. There’s the physical and sexual trauma, but even more pervasive is the emotional and how it has the power (if we let it) to interfere with every good relationship we have.

      I would validate her bravery for surviving and also honor her for telling her story. Many men, particularly, may struggle with hearing of trauma from women. I’ve heard worse. I’ve honored female patients who have been so angry at would-be step fathers who have lined up to abuse them. I’ve also cried with young ladies who felt they had no value other than to be human playthings. It’s heartbreaking and brings up anger in me. But I need to not own responsibility for what happens to them. Just as Allard’s sons don’t have to take responsibility for what happened to their mother. I think she may be looking for a little empathy, something she doesn’t seem to be getting from them.

      I feel for her, but I can’t relate to her in her frustrations over her sons. My children aren’t on the same page as me entirely. And they don’t have to be. My job is to show them the world and teach them to make the best and healthiest decisions possible. Not to make them into mini-mes.

      Thanks for the feedback.

      • Abby Sumner says:

        I’m glad to hear that you wouldn’t treat your patients like this and hope that you would truly be able to separate your personal beliefs and experiences from them. I don’t know what t is but this post, when I read it last night, lacked so much empathy and to read it as a woman was disheartening to hear a man tell some woman how she’s processing she trauma wrong and hurting her children. Maybe you’re right but it is not your place. It seems like you just exploited this woman’s story and pain to advocate for yourself and your agenda rather than even trying to have compassion .

        I was pretty angry when I commented last night but stand by my assessment and appreciate you taking the time to respond and consider what I said

  3. Whitney Treloar says:

    Maybe we should do a brief study in feminism, consent, and sexual abuse before we continue the discussion. I’m not going to facilitate it here, but I encourage anyone reading any of this and forming an opinion to do so before proceeding.

    Then, we should take off our anti-feminist glasses and read her stuff again. I’ve read comments all over threads that she’s mentally ill, a feminazi, unfit, etc. She’s not unloading her baggage on her sons. She’s using her experience to teach them. That’s how we proceed as humans. Our lives are shaped by our experiences. She’s had bad experiences with men, and now she’s raising men. Of COURSE she’s going to focus here. That’s responsible and necessary.

    It’s a shame that she’s been abused, but it’s not at all uncommon. Most women I know have been sexually abused/assaulted/raped. Most women we all know. If they say they haven’t, then the don’t know what sexual assault/abuse is.

    Her sons are so irritated with her because they haven’t personally experienced any of what she fears AND they lack empathy. She’s doing her best. If all parents worked as hard as she has to impart feminist values, empathy, and common decency in their children, we’d have less animosity, violence, and fear.

    I think what my generation grew up believing was GENTLEMANLY behavior has evolved, appropriately, into SAFE behavior.

    I am 48 years old and I’ve just recently been exposed to the idea of CONSENT. I didn’t grow up with it. I wasn’t taught it as a kid. I highly doubt my sexual partners from my younger days were taught it. I doubt my own husband understands it. If half the people in the world are my age or older, then more than half the people in the world weren’t raised with the idea that clear and loud consent should be established before consensual sex for it to be clearly considered consensual sex.

    I could write for days on end about how religious circles, pockets, families, traditions view even marital sex. Purity culture has brought sex back to the Middle Ages. Where sex is emphasized in evangelical groups and churches teach complementarian views, not only is consent not considered, but scoffed at. And this is today. And this is prevalent.

    And I’m keeping my comments limited to strictly our American culture. Considering how often our worldly cultures overlap and mix, it’s wholly appropriate to consider global views on sex, consent, abuse, dominance, ownership, headship, slavery, polygamy, and more.

    To say that a SAFE man won’t protect a woman is ignorant. To say an alpha male is an unsafe male is reckless. Maybe we need an additional Venn diagram. We as people need to protect and stand up for each other. We all are vulnerable and need help. That’s humanity – not a men and women thing. She’s teaching her sons to be good people who respect women in a world where women are STILL marginalized and disrespected and have to fight to be recognized as equal; in a world where we need ideas like ‘feminism;’ in a world where having a few more kind, deliberate, considerate, empathetic MEN who see the broad picture of us vs them and act on it is a win for mankind.

    She’s working her single, damaged, broken, tired butt off, as a woman in this climate, with this old, white, rich, good-ol’-boys administration, to bring men up to BE THE CHANGE. I totally get where she’s coming from. And no wonder she’s disappointed. I applaud that she’s still persisting. If THESE young men don’t step into the path set out for them, I don’t know who will. That’s terrifying to me.

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