karen straughan gww girl writes what girlwriteswhat 750

Important video for those curious about the Men’s Human Rights Movement

Welcome to those of you new to what we do here. Although most in the Men’s Human Rights Movement believe that feminism alone is not responsible for all the problems men and boys face in our society, of you want a good starting point on understanding why feminism is frequently criticized, this classic essay will hel explain it to you. It’s one of AVfM Contributing Editor Karen Straughan’s most famous works. –DE

Not too long ago I had it out with a feminist who had come into a male-safe space from a feminist blog just to scoff at the idea of male disposability. She basically said that the entire concept was a myth, that men’s lived experiences were completely wrong, and that they were just a bunch of whiners who were complaining over nothing.

That got me thinking about the concept of male disposability and how that interacts with the feminist movement. Male disposability has been around since the dawn of time, and it’s based on one very very straightforward dynamic: when it comes to the well-being of others, women come first, men come last. This is just the way it has always been. Seats in lifeboats, being rescued from burning buildings, who gets to eat: really, society places men dead last every time, and, society expects men to place themselves dead last every time.

Humans have always had a dynamic of “women and children first” and that has not changed at all. The 93% workplace death gap has to be evidence of this, if only because there’s nobody with any kind of importance or power who’s interested in changing it at all. In fact I remember reading an article in a British Columbia paper not long ago that described the increasing proportion of female injuries on the job as a huge problem, and the insane thing was the change reflected a decrease in male injuries rather than an increase in female ones. Men’s injuries on the job had gone down because the economic downturn had put so many men out of work in the resource sector that there just weren’t as many trees or pieces of heavy equipment falling on men as there had been before. And yet, this was framed as a huge problem for women that required immediate action to solve. It’s like if men aren’t dying at work that 20 times the rate that women are, we must be doing something wrong as a society.

Back when we were still living in caves that attitude was necessary for human survival. Nature is a really harsh mistress, especially when you think of all the animals that never get to die of old age. Things were a lot different for humans through most of our history on this planet than they are now. Life was dangerous, human settlements were small, isolated from each other, and one big disaster that took out a lot of women pretty much meant the end of the entire shebang for that group of people. So really, the level of importance that a human settlement placed on the well-being of women and children reflected almost always how successful that settlement was. And that can be expanded to encompass entire societies.

I keep hearing from the feminist camp that femaleness has always been undervalued by society and that maleness is preferred. But I’ve always contended that it’s the exact opposite: the feminine is intrinsically and individually valuable, simply because females are the limited factor in reproduction. When it comes to producing babies, every woman counts, whereas biologically one very happy man could probably do the work of hundreds in that regard. So the level of instinctive importance we humans place on the safety and provisioning of women and their children is one of the main reasons why we’ve been able to be so successful that we’ve come to dominate this planet.

While I will concede that this drive to keep women safe from all harm has often resulted in extreme limits being placed on women’s mobility, their agency, their power of decision to direct their own lives, all through history and many cultures, and in many cultures even today, I think it’s telling that those cultures tend to be the most backward. When you consider the restrictions placed on women in places like Afghanistan, and then you consider that if we “bombed them into the stone age” it might be progress, I think you could conclude that the most successful societies had a good balance between allowing women freedom and the ability to choose and direct their own paths in life, and the need to protect them and provide for them.

However, feminists will insist that these kinds of restrictions being placed on women in those kinds of societies are the ultimate form of objectification. You lock up your possessions to make sure they will never be lost or stolen or harmed. Honestly, if I were a guy on a battlefield I might appreciate being objectified in that way. I think if I was going to be an object, I’d rather be a sexual one or somebody’s prized possession than an object that can simply be thrown in the trash or smashed into pieces in the service of somebody else’s purpose.

Feminists also have a very simplistic idea that our willingness to absolve women of their crimes, slap them on the wrist, spare them punishment, comes from a deep disrespect society has for women’s person-hood—not seeing them as full human beings capable of looking after themselves, that we see them as children who don’t know any better. And while there are parallels there in our desire to protect both women and children from not only their own poor decisions but the full consequences of their shitty behavior, it’s really not as simple as they try to make it out to be.

Seriously, even today—even today in 2011!–we fully expect that if it comes down to a man and a woman in a burning building and you can only save one, the expectation is that you choose the woman every single time. So honestly, whose humanity are we placing above whose here? We’re not talking about going to work, we’re not talking about getting an education, we’re not talking about freedom to decide what you want to be in life. We’re not talking about getting to take Tae Kwon Do. We’re talking seats in lifeboats here. The person in the lifeboat is going to survive, no matter how capable or incapable they are of managing their own life, and the person going down with the ship is going to die, no mater how independent, self-sufficient and awesome he is. That’s the equation: one life, more valuable than another, and the woman wins every time.

So honestly, is there any argument, anywhere, that women’s humanity has always been held in higher regard by society than men’s? To be important to society, a woman merely has to be; a man has to do in order for his life to have any meaning to anyone other than himself. I think it was ManWomanMyth who said our society reduces men from human beings to human doings. I really think that’s an apt analogy. We measure a man’s worthiness to wear the title of “man” and therefore the title of “human,” through how useful he is, either to society or to women, and one of the most useful things a man can do even now in the eyes of society is to put women and children before himself.

While I think there is plenty of argument that this attitude is at least partly innate—the way most survival traits are, even collective ones—if it starts in the chromosomes we really do everything we can as a society to reinforce this dynamic. Studies have shown that even though baby boys tend to cry and fuss more than baby girls, parents are quicker to attend to or console a baby girl than they are a baby boy. Even just the level of acceptance of infant male circumcision in our culture, when female genital mutilation was banned pretty much the first afternoon we all heard it existed, really says a lot about the differing expectations we have for males and females. Speaking as a mother, the last thing I would ever have wanted was to hear my child cry, especially when they’re at an age when they’re completely helpless, completely at the mercy of outside forces, and utterly dependent on the adults in their lives for every last thing, and yet even knowing how painful that cut is, we expect baby boys only days old to just suck that up.

Just think about what these very first interactions and experiences, these differences in how we nurture our babies depending on what gender they are, what this teaches them: What do we teach baby girls when we attend to their crying so quickly? We teach them to ask for help because their needs are important. We teach them to let us know when they’re afraid or in pain because it’s important for us to know when they’re sick or in danger or hurt, so we can do something about it. We teach them that when they’re sad or lonely to summon comfort and comfort will be there. We teach them that they’re important. Their needs and well-being, both emotional and physical, are important just because.

And what are we teaching baby boys when we leave them to cry? We teach them that there’s not much point in seeking help because it will be grudgingly given if at all We teach them that they should become self-contained in their ability to deal with emotions like fear, helplessness, loneliness, sadness, pain, distress: we teach them stoicism. We teach them to suck it up. We teach them that their fear and their pain are things that are best ignored. We teach them that their emotional and physical well-being are just not as important as other things.

Given all that, is it any wonder it’s like pulling teeth to get a man to go to the doctor when he’s sick?

What we’re teaching that baby boy is all the things a man needs to know and feel and believe about himself if he’s going to stand in front of a cabin with a rifle while his wife and kids hide inside. We’re preparing him for the day he has to fix a bayonet to a rifle and charge a hill under enemy fire, and we’re preparing him to make a decision to resign himself to an icy fate while women and children escape in the lifeboats. We are teaching him to internalize his own disposability.

And baby girls? By attending to her crying so quickly, by letting her know that she’s inherently important to us, we’re preparing her for the day she has to think of her own safety first, even if it means the man she loves is left standing alone with a rifle in front of a cabin. We’re preparing her to take that seat in the lifeboat. We’re training her to not allow guilt or empathy or acknowledgment of a man’s humanity, or any sense that he might deserve it more, to convince her give her seat to him. Because for millenia, the human species absolutely depended on her feeling 100% entitled to that seat.

And that brings me to feminism. You know, the patriarchy smashers? Those righteous avengers of equality? Dogged dismantlers of every single gender role? What exactly is feminism doing to dismantle this traditional role of the disposable male?

Feminism’s greatest victories have only reinforced in everyone that society still owes women provision, protection, help and support just because they’re women. In its collective dismissal and abandonment of male victims of domestic violence, it only reinforces in men that it’s pointless to ask for help, because men’s needs are of no relevance, and their fear and pain don’t mean anything to anyone. Feminism teaches us to put women’s need at the forefront of every single issue, political or social. Whether that issue is domestic violence law, sexual assault law, institutional sexism, social safety net, education funding, homeless shelters, government funding for shovel-ready jobs—jobs that didn’t stay shovel-ready once women got wind of them.

Everywhere you look—everywhere you look!–there are feminists pushing their way to the front of the line demanding women’s “fair share” of all of the goodies, the good stuff, the loot, the booty, the cookies. Even if women don’t need it. Even if women don’t deserve it. And even if somebody else needs it and deserves it more.

And they get it, because we give it to them.

Feminism has done nothing but exploit this dynamic of the expectation on men to put everybody else before themselves. Especially women. Women’s safety and support, women’s well-being, and women’s emotional needs, always come first. This is the most stunning piece of society-wide manipulative psychology I think I have ever come across. Feminism has been down with old-school chivalry right from the start. They might seem like strange bedfellows, but they’re not. Because both concepts are built on a firm foundation of female self-interest.

We made our way as humans through a really harsh history and we became the dominant force on this planet. One of the reasons we were so successful is because we have consistently put women’s basic needs first. Their need for safety, support, and provision. It was in humanity’s best interest for women to be essentially self-interested, and for men to be essentially self-sacrificing. But we don’t need that dynamic anymore. Our species is in no danger of extinction. We’re 7 billion people clogging up the works here!

What’s the worst that could happen if we all just collectively decided that men were no more disposable than women, and women were no more valuable than men? In fact the greatest danger I see to us right now is that in our desperation to bend over and give women everything they want and everything they say they need, we’ve unbalanced society to the point where we’re in danger of seriously toppling over.

And really? The only difference I see between the traditional role and the new one for men with respect to disposability is that maleness, manhood: it used to be celebrated, it used to be admired, and it used to be rewarded, because it was really necessary, and because the personal cost of it to individual men was so incredibly high.

But now? Now, we still expect men to put women first, and we still expect society to put women first, and we still expect men to not complain about coming in dead last every damn time. But men don’t even get our admiration anymore. All they get in return is to hear about what assholes they are. Is there any wonder why they’re starting to get pissed off?

–Karen (AKA Girl Writes What)

About Karen Straughan (aka GirlWritesWhat)

AVfM Contributing Editor Karen Straughan "Girl Writes What" is a middle-aged divorced mother of three who enjoys talking about herself in the third person. Her writing and videography on gender issues features in classrooms in high schools and universities on three continents. But she still has time for the little people, like Paul, and those other guys.

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  • gary959

    Karen, great article, first time I’ve read it. It says it all!

  • Draigo Luther

    Karan Straughn is a big reason why I have come to the movement. And feminists say that MRA/MRM is based on a hatred of women. LOL!!!!

    • garyonthenet

      Yeah me too.
      I thought I was enlightened about these things, until I saw her male disposability video.
      It’s like I knew all the components of what she was saying, but didn’t put it all together in my head as the fundamentally wrong thing it is in a modern society.

    • Fatherless

      This video forever changed the way I saw myself.

      • Sadman365

        Isn’t it amazing how brainwashing and indoctrination can make you see things the exact opposite of what they are ? You (the male) have always been the lesser (in value) of the two (males vs females). You’ve always been supposed to carry all the responsibilities, while women had none. You’ve always been the disposable one whose life wasn’t worth shit. You’ve always been the one whose sufferings and pains didn’t mean shit. You’ve always been the one who’s supposed to give your life for society’s -or even for just one woman’s- interest……

        • Fatherless

          Mostly it has to do with the idea of masculine identity. I was always ashamed of male violence – that so much historical violence can be blamed on maleness, and there was some part of me that was linked to masculinity that was associated with violence.

          But this video helped me see how the violence men have endured and been forced to administer – almost all of it has been in defense of women. The male role was not to dominate women but to protect them – how else could we have survived as a species?

  • Bewildered

    The only difference I see between the traditional role and the new
    one for men with respect to disposability is that maleness, manhood: it
    used to be celebrated, it used to be admired, and it used to be
    rewarded, because it was really necessary, and because the personal cost
    of it to individual men was so incredibly high.

    But now? Now, we still expect men to put women first, and we still
    expect society to put women first, and we still expect men to not
    complain about coming in dead last every damn time. But men don’t even
    get our admiration anymore. All they get in return is to hear about what
    assholes they are. Is there any wonder why they’re starting to get
    pissed off?

    Only a brain damaged feminist or a thoroughly brainwashed purple poodle will disagree with this.
    Shit has hit the fan because many women have not kept their side of the deal and incredibly have been told that they don’t need to !

  • Seele

    Someone should tell the researchers at SBS-TV (Australia) about this; the latest issue of “The Feed” talked about the MRM and the forthcoming Detroit convention in very poor ways. For me, I guess the last television news service in Australia has bitten the dust.

    • http://www.avoiceformen.com John Narayan

      Stopped watching TV ten years ago. Mind you a copy of the video could come in handy.

      • Seele

        It is not up on their YouTube channel, it might be on their website on streaming but you need an Australian IP address for that, apparently. I do not know how to contact Jim Muldoon on AVFM Australia to report this, but I feel sure that such things are getting a bit blasé, to put it mildly.

  • Robert Franklin

    Great work as usual by Karen. Let’s also remember one thing. What was once necessary for the survival of the species no longer is. In hunter-gatherer days sacrificing men and protecting women made sense because one man could impregnate many women but one woman typically had only one child at a time and that child took many years to reach sexual maturity. Back then, those sex roles made complete sense because the species was constantly under threat of extinction.
    To put it mildly, today our problem isn’t too few humans. We’ve got plenty and we know how to keep them alive for a long time. We know how to get women through childbirth and children to survive their own coming into the world.
    Accordingly, the gender relations that were necessary for millennia no longer are. That means special protections for women and disposability for men no longer apply.

    • DukeLax

      There will always be a degree of male sacrifice ….(its biological) …..but the perversions and manufactured statistics Alliances that have poisoned American law enforcement …..Are not biological!!!!!

  • Shamednomore

    Traditionally men have always been sacrificial and we have known it, perhaps more unconsciously than consciously. But I believe most men took pride in knowing they’re role was to protect and provide and were accepting of the possible consequences. But these days its getting harder to sacrifice safety and well being when we are not respected by those whom we are expected to care for.

    • Doug Hart

      Not respected? We are despised by the very people we put our lives on the line for. Which is a component of psychopathy. Psychopaths look at people who help them and who they depend on as chumps and marks and not deserving of the least bit of gratitude.

      • Shamednomore

        Perhaps we are despised by the hard liners, and no longer respected my the mainstream majority.

        • Doug Hart

          Works for me! I spent about an hour today watching youtube feminists and their hyperbole rubbed off on me.

  • Doug Hart

    Bring on the trolls!
    The feminist trolls!

    • Sandon

      Is it working LOL!

  • DukeLax

    The more educated and perceptive women are realizing that the current gender-feminist paradigm that are turning hetero-sex into a legal liability for men….Is a losing game in the long run.

    Some women understand that…. sure, these perversions and manufactured statistics Alliances with American law enforcement do if fact “Empower” women over men in the short term ( a girl can now cry rape..because she doesn’t feel like paying her cab fare)……but when only poor and uneducated men dare to date hetero….many women are not going to like it!!!!

    • Chris Wedge

      Oh, look. a DukeLax post that mentions “manufactured statistics alliances”

      New AVfM drinking game: take a shot every time you see him say that exact phrasing, or the term “pork bloating”

      I’d probably get drunk if I played this one… and I’m teetotal. 😛
      (for those who don’t get it, I’m referring to water poisoning)

    • Flo

      Who cares if they don’t like it or not, they’ve made it, they deal with it.

  • LaVar Patridge

    This is the video that pushed me to investigate my perception on these issues. Haven’t looked back since.

    • Cylux

      Same, it really felt like a slap to the face that woke me from a dream. It’s still somewhat rueful that it took a video by a very articulate women to get me to start caring about men issues too, despite having always been male and even knowing most of these things anyway. Until I watched this video it never even occurred to me to question any of them, I just accepted them, and I can’t thank Karen enough for metaphorically whooping me upside my head and getting me to start looking for myself and start asking questions.

  • Mike Rainbow

    This woman is the one who got me thinking about this stuff. Kudos to her.

  • Dan Slezak

    I had never heard of AVFM, or some of the other giants out there, before I stumbled on to a couple years back.

  • Lastango

    Karen Writes: “But men don’t even get our admiration anymore. All they get in return is to hear about what assholes they are. Is there any wonder why they’re starting to get pissed off?”

    Reminds me of when the troops came back from ‘Nam. The folks doing the spitting were from the same political tribe they are now. Funny how that works, eh?

    On the subject of disposable men who know they are, here’s a snip from a piece that appeared on the web the other day, about Cold Harbor:

    The evening before the battle, a Union officer walked among troops who would be assaulting Confederate positions in the morning and observed something he had not seen before. As he wrote after the war, “I noticed that many of the soldiers had taken off their coats and seemed to be engaged in sewing up rents in them.”

    The behavior was unusual enough that he took a closer look and “found that the men were calmly writing their names and home addresses on slips of paper and pinning them on the backs of their coats so their bodies might be recognized and their fate made known to their families at home.”


  • http://www.genderratic.com/ Ginkgo

    ” She basically said that the entire concept was a myth, that men’s lived experiences were completely wrong, and that they were just a bunch of whiners who were complaining over nothing.”
    The first rule of male disposability is you never talk about male disposability. You always deny it. Because if you don’t and people start seeing it, all your guilt-tripping to maintain your status as a Privilege Princess will collapse.

  • Nate Jones

    Interesting that it’s almost universal to mock men for being stupid when we show little interest in our own well-being, when society shoves that message down our throat from the day we’re born and shames us if we ever forget it. When you express a need and it’s either ignored or you’re made fun of for it, is it any wonder you stop expressing those needs?

  • Sadman365

    “and we get it” because MEN give it to them. It was men -the so-called oppressors of women- who gave and STILL GIVE women EVERYTHING they ask for including the rights they claim they didn’t have.

  • Robjam

    This video perfectly crystalises everything about the utter hypocrisy and detestability of feminism. I’ve had these thoughts for a while but couldn’t quite gather all the strands together and what they really meant. Karan I salute you – you’re a towering intellect and absolute legend.

  • donzaloog

    She’s the best.

  • marcetienne


  • http://www.stgeorgewest.blogspot.co.uk/ Angelo

    GWW is a MHRM god of course. Welcome, here is an important music video for those curious about the MGTOW Movement. P.S. where have you guys been? 😉
    I ain’t the 1 – NWA

    “You can only lay me girl, you can’t play me girl,

    for the simple fact that, I ain’t the one.
    …9 times out of ten they’re giving up nothing

    Feminists get mad when I put it in perspective,

    but lets see if my knowledge is effective”

  • Avatar

    Karen is a one smart women . Most importantly, a great speaker . Its pretty sad that when a women speaks everybody listens . There a lot Male MRA who were saying those things for years but no ne took notice but is OK . Most men live in denial . I personally from where I sit ,don’t see a lot of men who are pissed off . They are getting real good awakening when wife divorced them or cheats with best friend or when she gets him arrested because he did not do what she told them to just like that for revenge . Why ? Because she can . That’s why ? But because of male pride and pressure to be in control they don’t want talk about it . They just kill them self’s instate . For some reason is a lot worse in Anglo -Saxon western ‘so called Democracies . The richer the courtly the more privileged and spoiled women are . Look at Scandinavia . Men are complete Manginaes . Just look what they try to do Julian Assange . Sex by Surprise they say ‘ I kid you not . That’s the charge . Having sex in Sweden with no condom is like Rape . Travesty really !! ” I’m sick and tired of people saying ”Whoaaa women give birth so we have to give them break ‘ ?? They are mothers ….What ? So women could just go out and lie about rape and should be allowed to commit about paternity fraud . No way . I know is in the men’s DNA to be protective for the female but that needs to stop . That does not fly with me . If they want the same rights they should have the same responsibility . Naff said !

  • DukeLax

    Karen…youre work within the MRM just happens to coincide with the recent mainstreaming over the last few years, of many MRM issues. Coincidence???? I think not….May youre writing and speaking career within the MRM flourish, and you find success on all fronts!!!

  • Harlequin

    Watching Karen’s videos served as a kick in the pants (so to speak) for me, but the kick had been needed.

    Thanks, Karen, for shaking me awake.

  • DukeLax

    Karen is simply ahead of her time!!! She is trying to intercept the perversions and manufactured statistics Alliances in American law enforcement…….that are turning hetero-relationships in the US…..into Legal liabilities for men.

  • Old Neanderthal

    In my opinion, Karen is the most effective and valuable MRA
    out there. This is mainly based on what
    I’ve seen of people’s reactions to her videos, interviews and speeches on
    Youtube. I’ve read five of Warren
    Farrell’s books so I have an understanding of how valuable he and others are to
    the movement, but Karen’s videos and speeches have something about them that I
    sense perhaps more people in general can relate to, in terms of accessibility
    and watchability, and in how well she answers questions. That’s my take on it, at any rate. Bravo Karen!

  • Sandon

    Karen is a woman with a mans mind and a woman dialogue, she is brilliant to be a spokesperson for men’s rights, because she can also decipher the minds of a female and relay it to men in layman’s terms and reply to women under women’s logic.

    I love you, beautiful person…….

  • Aaron J Harms

    I remember back in November last year when we went for a stay of proceedings because my right to a speedy trial was infringed upon by at least one year. Even though I am diagnosed with P.T.S.D from the incident and my constitutional rights have been severely violated he denied our claim and said the trial must go on.
    But before that, my family and I sat and watched the first case. It was that of a young woman who was sentenced to one year of community service for a crime she had committed. She had one year to complete the sentence and on that date she had only done 1 month and was several months past her deadline. The judge asked why and she claimed it was because she was in school and over 6 months pregnant!, suffered morning sickness!. He never asked her for a doctors note or any proof of her attendance of school. But did say this ” young lady I’m very well pleased that you are doing well, in my courtroom I’m all about success and I want you to be successful. I am terminating your sentence and you are free to go”
    My family and I all looked at each other and were agast , the young lady who was supposed to be less than 3 months of giving birth was nothing but a toothpick and actually in a state of breach in her sentence, with no proof whatsoever. 3 of my party were female and all had given birth to multiple children and are in fact seasoned grandmothers, all of them agreed that there was no way she was pregnant!.
    It is a lop sided system for men, apparently we are the root of all that is evil. Armed with my doctors reports, therapists, medication, diagnosed P.T.S.D, constitutional rights proven to be egregiously violated I was ordered to stand trial. ( apparently he doesn’t want me to be a success)
    My family and I mocked it and said that the next time I go to court i should say ” your honour, I’m furthering my engineering degree and I am in fact over 6 months pregnant”
    Male privilege.

  • Mr. E

    One of the best Male Rights essays in existence.