Years back, in another life, I presented at seminars and conferences that provided continuing education units for professional re-certification. In one particular module, I used a portable grease board in a room in front of my waiting audience. Without introducing myself or saying anything else, I used a grease pen to write the words “Men are…” at the top of the board, and then silently invited the audience to finish the sentence.
Almost invariably, “pigs” or “dogs” was the first offering, accompanied by a room full of good-natured chuckles. I would nod my head and write it down on the board and return to the audience, still silent, for more.
“Controlling,” says one. “Afraid of commitment,” says another. “Aggressive.” “Macho“ “Afraid of intimacy.” “Violent.” “Sexist,” and “Power hungry.” More of the pejoratives, and almost only pejoratives, would come from the audience till the board was full.
I then flipped the board to the other side. “Women are…” was the cue, and the answers were even more rapid fire than they were with men. “Strong.” “Capable” “Empowered” “Sensitive.” “Nurturing,” and the like would fly from the audience to the grease board like a barrage of arrows, till that side too was full.
“What do you imagine,” I would ask, taking a strategic pause for a sip of water, “that these answers tell us about the real nature of sexism in the way we view men and women?”
Asking them a question with actual spoken words must of thrown them for a loop, because the stock response to that question was almost invariably a room full of nonplussed, cognitively dissonant faces. And that confusion usually gave way to irritation, clearly at me, though every answer on both sides of that board had come from them. And by the way, the participants in the crowd? They weren’t accountants or nurses or teachers or financial advisors.
They were mental health professionals.
They were counselors, psychotherapists, social workers and the like; the very people we love to imagine possess the objectivity to rise above the mindset of bigotry and sexism. And the people, despite our want of faith in their work, least likely to actually do it.
I wanted a little more pressure so I asked more questions. “How could this affect our therapeutic alliance with clients?- Could it make our relationships with females enabling?- Punitive with men?” And always, the final question I asked was “Do we carry sexism, against men, unconscious or conscious, into our work with each and every client?” With that question the anger usually intensified.
In one talk, a female participant, a social worker, jumped out of her chair and threw her papers everywhere. “You’re the sexist!” she hissed at me, and stormed out of the room. She later wrote letters of complaint both about my topic and the fact I would not sign off on her attendance.
Welcome to the wacky world of mental health.
It is a telling study in the psychology of hate. Indeed, as we peel back the layers of fantasy from the profession, we are forced into a most disturbing conclusion. Psychology is hate. At least as it is practiced in western culture.
It’s most evident in the junk psychology market. Since the mid-eighties, get-rich-quick psychology gurus have often made their way to bestseller lists. Books like Robin Norwood’s Women Who Love Too Much, Susan Forward’s, Men Who Hate Women and the Women Who Love Them and others have been runaway hits, all predicated on rigid stereotypes of men who hate and women who love; all just more additions to the already crowded grease board.
Some time ago Karen Salmansohn appeared in a Fox News segment on women executives. She was given a nice plug for her new book, Bounce Back. They could have, and probably should have in the interest of balance, given her credit for her previous publication, How to Make Your Man Behave in 21 Days or Less Using the Secrets of Professional Dog Trainers. I don’t make this stuff up. Unfortunately, I don’t have to.
Currently, male bashing monarch Phil McGraw reigns in the ratings, and it won’t be long before another emerges, fighting to be top dog in dogging men. All you need is a warped worldview and a nod from Oprah. And these are just the media hucksters. At least we can say that the men and women who embrace their misandry-for-profit schemes are just another dumbed-down group in a dumbed-down media culture.
The more culpable and dangerous are the ones with the air of legitimacy. These folks don’t write, or don’t just write. They teach, do research, and most dreadfully, hang out their shingles and help infect the world, one gullible client at a time.
The world of psychology in academics and practice has become a weapon in the realm of gender politics. Almost all pretense to objectivity and academic integrity has been forced aside by ideologues with an ax to grind against men and who are using the loathsome disguise of helping professionals to further their agenda. If you think that is extreme, read on.
Allaboutcounseling.com is purportedly an information and referral resource for people seeking mental health services. What it is in reality is a portal, a conduit that induces women into the mentality that it is the vile scourge of manhood at the root of their problems. And they offer feminism as the solution before the first session is booked.
Some tidbits from their site include some detailed hype about the fundamentals of feminism and some reassurances that not all feminists are lesbians. I suppose they figure heterosexual women need such basics. And it’s good pre-sell to overcome objections before they are raised. Ask any used car salesman.
They even have a nifty section promoting a new masculinity. These people have the key to re-engineering men for the better, with the implication, of course, that the way men are now is defective and in need of an overhaul.
Part of that overhaul is a gag. This is just one of the standouts, as it appears word for word on the site.
Openness- To others (especially to women) criticism of our behaviors and attitudes, listen, listen some more, and only speak if the critic wants feedback.
This isn’t even speak when spoken to. It is shut up and take it. Speak with permission only, from whichever woman is attacking you at the moment. Ah, the finer aspects of mental health.
They have much more there. Enough bogus stats on domestic violence, rape and sexual abuse for a N.O.W. convention, and staunch defenses of feminism tied in directly with the counseling message. Their ultimate point is clearly that sound mental health for women depends on embracing feminism, and with it the hatred for men. Sound advice for those seeking love and intimacy if I ever saw it.
At this point, the grease board is showing more grease than board.
I wish I could say that this was the bottom of the pit; that the infection stopped there, but we are still dealing more with the symptoms than the actual disease.
Enter the American Psychological Association, and it’s Division 51 group The Society for the Psychological Study of Men and Masculinity. (SPSMM)
Here are two of the bullet points from their Mission Statement:
- Endeavors to erode constraining definitions of masculinity which have historically inhibited men’s development, their capacity to form meaningful relationships, and have contributed to the oppression of other people.
- Acknowledges its historical debt to feminist-inspired scholarship, and commits itself to support groups such as women, gays, lesbians and people of color that have been uniquely oppressed by the gender/class/race system.
Aye, there‘s the rub, and with it goes the last remaining bit of room on the grease board. Men are defective, pernicious banes to civilized society, incapable even of healthy love and connection. Feminism, of course, the ideology that so maligns them, is the answer.
Even our most revered experts in human nature are saying as much.
And this is how it worked in the old Soviet Union. It is wise to consider that in the Solzhenitsyn era of gulags and iron fisted reaction to political dissent, that most of the dissidents were imprisoned in “mental health facilities,” the logic being that if you disagreed with the state, there must be something wrong with your mind.
It was also a strategy of, and yes, I will say it without reservation, the Hitler regime, to poison the minds of the populace with disinformation about Jews, prepping the people to look the other way while they were dispatched in the name of a master race.
The plans for men may be less extreme and of longer duration, but it is happening nonetheless. Men are being marginalized year after year. Their numbers in college graduating classes are waning. 42% at last count. They have lost over 80% of the jobs in the current recession. They are dying by suicide and all other manners of death at rates that make women’s lives look like vacations in Fiji.
It’s hell having all this power. It is a wonder how we find time to oppress the world with it, much less twirl our moustaches and snicker while we do it.
But the anti-male hate machine keeps grinding away. SPSSM and others would no doubt classify the men’s movement as a mass shared psychosis, and men’s human rights activists individually as detrimental to society. In fact, it is already happening.
I used to remember that social worker who threw the tantrum in my class with a smile. It was a funny image. But that was some years ago. At the time, I knew the sexism was there, but it was not entrenched as deeply as it is today. And I naively thought it would go away.
I am not smiling about it any more.