My partner just showed this manarchist questionnaire to me–a great list of questions for radical men to reflect on. “Manarchist” is basically a term for anarchist men embodying patriarchy, in activism and in everyday life. There are extremes (the man who takes up all the space at meetings, cracks sexist jokes, takes no responsibility, etc) but these questions get at some of the more subtle ways men can embody or reproduce patriarchy. The questions certainly helped me reflect on some of my own patterns of behaviour…
This was originally posted on Infoshop News in 2001, but the formatting was annoying, so I cleaned it up and reposted below:
ARE YOU A MANARCHIST QUESTIONNAIRE
1. Do you ascribe to either:
A) Passive-Aggressive Patriarchy:” (often come across as a victim/helpless/in need/dependent and get women in your life to be your physical and emotional caretakers? to buy you things? to take care of your responsibilities? pick up your slack? use guilt or manipulation to get out of your responsibilities and equal share of the work? do you treat your female partner like a “mom” or your secretary?)
B) “Aggressive Patriarchy:” (Do you often take charge? Assume that a woman can’t do something right so you do it for her? Believe that only you can take care of things? Think that you always have the right answer? Treat your female partner like she’s helpless, fragile, a baby or weak? Do you put down your partner or minimize her feelings? Do you belittle her opinions?)
2. How do you react when women in your life name something or someone as patriarchal or sexist? Do you think of her or call her a “PC Thug,” “Feminazj,” “Thin-skinned,” “Overly-Sensitive,” a “COINTELPRO-esque” or “Un-fun?”
3. Do you see talking about patriarchy as non-heroic, a waste of time, trouble making, or divisive?
4. If a woman asks your opinion, do you assume she must not know anything
about the subject?
5. Do you believe that women have “natural characteristics” which are Inherent in our sex such as “passive,” “sweet,” “caring,” “nurturing,” “considerate,” “generous,” “weak,” or “emotional?”
6. Do you make fun of “typical” men or “frat boys” but not ever check yourself to see if you behave in the same ways?
7. Do you take on sexism and patriarchy as a personal struggle working to fight against it in yourself, in your relationships, in society, work, culture, subcultures, and institutions?
8. Do you say anything when other men make sexist or patriarchal comments? Do you help your patriarchal and sexist friends to make change and help educate them? Or do you continue friendships with patriarchal and sexist men and act like there is no problem.
9. As a. man, is being a. feminist a priority to you? Do you see being
a feminist as revolutionary or radical?
10. Do you think that you define what is radical? Do you suffer from or contribute to macho bravado” or ‘subpoena envy? (I.e. defining a true or “cool” and respectable activist as someone who has: been arrested, done lockdowns, scaled walls, hung banners, done time for their actions argued or fought with police, done property alterations, beat up nazi boneheads, etc.)?
11. Do you take something a woman said, reword it and claim it as your own idea/opinion?
12. Are you taking on the “shit” or “grunt” work in your organizing? (i.e.: Cooking. cleaning. set up, clean up phone calls, email lists, taking notes, doing support work, sending mailings, providing childcare?) Are you aware of the fact. that women often are taking on this work with no regard or for their efforts?
13. Do you take active step to make your activist groups safe and comfortable places for women?
14. If you are trying to get more women involved in your activist projects, do you try to engage them by telling them what’ to do or why they should join your group?
15. Do you ever find yourself monitoring and limiting your behavior and speech in meetings and activist settings because you don’t want’ to take up too much space or dominate the group? Are you aware of the fact that women do this all the time?
16. Do you pay attention to group process and consensus building in groups or do you tend to dominate and take charge (maybe without even realizing it)?
Sexual/Romantic Relationships and Issues
17. Do you make jokes or negative comments about the sex lives of women
or sex work?
18. Can you only show affection and be loving to your partner in front of friends and family or only in private?
19. Do you discuss the responsibility for preventing contraception and
getting STD screening prior to sexual contact?
20. Do you repeatedly ask or plead with women for what you want in
sexual situations? Are you aware that unless this is a mutually consented upon scenario/game that this is considered a form of coercion?
21. During sex, do you pay attention to your partner’s face and body language to see if she is turned on? Engaged, or just lying there? Do you ask a woman who she wants during sex? What turns her on?
22. Do you ask for consent?
23. Do you know if your partner has a sexual abuse, rape, or physical abuse history?
24. Do you stay with your partner in a relationship for comfort and
security? Sex? Financial or emotional caretaking? If you’re not completely happy or “in love” with your partner anymore? Even though you don’t think it will ultimately work out? Because you’re afraid or unable to be alone? Do you suddenly end relationships when a “new” or “better” woman comes along?
25. Do you jump from relationship to relationship? Overlap them? Or do you take space and time for yourself in between each relationship to reflect on the relationship and your role in it? Do you know how to be alone? How to be single?
26. Do you cheat on your partners?
27. If your girlfriend gets on your case for patriarchal behavior or wants to try to work on the issues of patriarchy in your relationship, do you creak up with her or cheat on her and find another woman who will put up with your shit?
28. Do you agree to romantic commitment and responsibility and then back out of these situations?
29. Do you understand menstruation?
30. Do you make fun of women or write them off as “PMS-ING?”
31. Do you tend to set the standard and plans for fun or do you work with the others in the group, including women to see what they want to do?
32. Do you talk to your female friends about things you don’t talk to your male friends about especially emotional issues?
33. Do you constantly fall in love with your female friends Are you friends with women until you find out that they are not in love with you too and then end the friendships? Are you only friends with women who are in monogamous or committed relationships with other people?
34. Do you come on to your female friends even jokingly?
35. Do you only talk to your female friends (and not your male friends) about your romantic relationships or problems in those relationships?
36. Do you find yourself only attracted to “Anarcho-Crusty Punk Barbie”, Alterna-Grrrl Barbie,” or Hardcore-Grrrl Barbie?” (The idea here being that the only women you arc attracted to fit mainstream beauty standards but just dress and do their hair alternatively and maybe have piercings and tattoos) Do you question and challenge your internalized ideals of mainstream beauty ideals for women?
37. Have you ever heard of or discussed “sizeism” and do you think it is low on the oppression scale?
38. Are you aware of the fact that ALL WOMEN, even women in radical communities, live under the CONSTANT PRESSURE and OPPRESSION of mainstream patriarchal beauty standards?
39. Are you aware of the fact that many women in radical communities have had and are currently dealing with eating disorders?
40. Do you make fun of “model-types” or “mainstream” women for their appearance?
41. When was the last time you walked into your house, noticed that something was misplaced/dirty/etc. AND did something about it (didn’t just walk by it, over it, away from it or leave a nasty note about it) even if it wasn’t your chore or responsibility?
42. Are you constantly amazed by the magical “food fairy” who mysteriously acquires food, brings it home, puts it away, prepares it in meal form and then cleans up afterwards?
43. Do you contribute equally to domestic life and work?
44. How many of the following activities do you contribute to in your home (this is a partal list of what it takes to run a household):
- Sweep and mop floors and clean carpets
- Wash and put away dishes
- Clean stove, countertops, sinks and appliances if they are messy and each time after you have prepared food
- Collect money, do food shopping, put away food and make meals for people you live with
- Do house laundry (kitchen towels, bathroom hand towels, washable rugs, etc.)
- Clean up common room spaces, even if it’s not your chore
- Pick up other’s slack
- Deal with garbage, recycling, and compost
- Take care of bills, rent, utilities
- Deal with the landscaping and gardening
- Clean bathrooms and make sure bathroom is clean after you use it
- Feed, clean up after, and take care of housepets
Children and Childcare
45. Do you spend time with kids? If you do, do you spend time with children (yours or anyone’s) in a way that is gendered? (do certain things with boys and other things with girls?
46. If you are a father, do you CO-parent your children? (Spend equal time AND energy AND effort AND money to raise them)?
47. Do you make childcare a priority? (at both activist events and in daily life)?
48. Do you help make the lives of single mothers in your life and community easier by finding out if and how you can assist?
49. Have you politicized your ideas about child rearing and parenthood radical communities? Do you believe that individuals who are in the movement have children or that the movement has children?
50. When was the last time you showed a woman how to do a task rather than doing it for her and assuming she couldn’t do it?
51. When was the last time you asked a woman to show you how to do a task?
52. Do you get emotional needs met by other women, whether or not you are in a romantic relationship with them? Or do you cultivate caring, nurturing relationships with other men in which you can discuss your feelings and get your needs met by them?
53. If a woman discusses with you or calls you out on your patriarchy, do you make an effort to be emotionally present? Listen? Not emotionally shut down? Not get defensive? Think about what she said? Admit you fucked up? Take responsibility/make reparations for the mistakes you made? Discuss your feelings and ideas with her? Apologize? Work harder on your own shit to make sure that you don’t make the same mistakes again with her or other women?
54. Do you look inside yourself to find out why you fucked up in these relationships and work to both change your behavior and be a better anti-patriarchy ally in the future?
55. Do you organize regular house meetings or activist meetings to resolve conflict in the house/group?
56. Do you use intimidation, yelling, getting in someone’s physical space, threats or violence to get your point across? Do you create and atmosphere or violence around women or others to threaten them (i.e.: throw things, break things, yell and scream, threaten, attack, tease or terrorize the animals or pets of women in your life)?
57. Do you physically, psychologically, or emotionally abuse women?
58. Do the women in your life (mothers, sisters, partners, housemates, friends, etc.) have to “remind” you or “nag” you or “yell” at you in order for you to get off your ass and take care of your responsibilities?
59. Do you talk to other men about patriarchy and your part in it?
60. When was the last time you thought about or talked about any of these issues other than after reading this questionnaire?
Scoring: ALL MEN need to work on issues of patriarchy, sexism and misogyny. However, this questionnaire may point out to you areas of particular focus or concentration for your own anti-patriarchal/sexist/misogynist process and development.