Mudge, Ben
Title:Sexism & Stoicism. Theorising Profeminist Strategies.
Published in:
Volume/Part:Submitted as partial requirement for the Degree of Bachelor of Arts (Honours)
Place:Women´s Studies Department, Faculty of Social Sciences, Flinders University of South Australia
Type:Published works
Keywords:profeminism, sexism, stoicism

      In his bachelor´s thesis "Sexism and stoicism" Ben Mudge explores different kinds of profeminism and men´s movements. Mudge states his own position as a profeminist. The focus in his approach is on the relation between men's sexism and stoicism. By stoicism he means the psychic state of suppression and control of emotions. Mudge states that while the so called 'men's movement' pays a great deal of attention to men's stoicism - calling for men to 'get back in touch with their feelings' - and by doing this usually reinforces patriarchal power, the men who have acquired a profeminist stance focus on sexism rather than stoicism.

      The basic question for Mudge is how to overcome the "crisis of profeminism" as he states it. Mudge sees that within profeminism there are two contemporary strategies for eliminating men's sexism and developing more profeminist ways of being: ethical-causation strategy and emotional-causation strategy. According to Mudge both focus exclusively on either morality or emotionality and actually serve the maintenance of patriarchy in some ways, for different reasons. The problem with emotional-causation strategy is that by focussing on emotional issues, it fails to consider numerous power issues to do with men's sexism and therefore ends up to reinforce patriarchal power. But according to Mudge also the ethical-causation strategy has proven to reinforce patriarchal power relations in many different ways. By focussing exclusively on ethical persuasion as the means to eliminating both men's sexism and stoicism, the ethical-causation strategy leaves untouched many of those aspects of men's sexism that are related to their emotional processes.

      To solve "the crisis" of profeminism Mudge develops an alternative strategy using poststructuralist feminist theories of subjectivity. The resulting symbiosis strategy combines both morality and emotionality and states that men can have various subject positions. Acquiring a profeminist subject position in morality doesn´t necessarily lead one to acquire a new, not sexist subject position in emotionality. Therefore one needs to concentrate both on emotionality and morality. Mudge also sees as an advantage in symbiosis strategy, that it can reach men who will only consider profeminism if they perceive it to be in their own interests. Mudge writes that with only about ten percent of men actively involved in the men's movement currently attempting to adopt a profeminist subjectivity, profeminism needs to develop ways of engaging larger numbers. His approach is therefore a political one, the goal being "converting" more men into profeminism: "While there are many political problems with the 'men's liberation' movement and the emotional-causation strategy, the men engaged in them have chosen them instead of the ethical-causation strategy. If these men are to be converted, they will need good reasons (according to them) to do so."

Last Modified: 15.04.2002