[As written for thegoodmenproject.com, prior to the heavy handed editing of it’s management – PE]
It’s hard to decide, when approaching a subject such as this, exactly the best approach to take. Explaining the Mens Movement, in however cursory a manner, involves exploding so many of the cultural myths we live with day to day that it really does involve a bit more than a lone article, or even two. In a way, this plays a bit into my hands for a couple of reasons; I hate quoting statistics (and they’re boring anyway), and I’m not interested in telling you, the reader, what to think.
What I hope to do is to show you a couple of fresh approaches to certain subjects in a manner that makes you want to do some investigating on your own. If you do that, I’m confident you and I will be ‘teammates’ sooner or later. But enough of that, what’s up with this ‘Mens Movement’, are we all just a bunch of whiny woman-haters with victim complexes, or is there more to it?
My involvement with the mens movement began over a decade ago, back when Glenn Sacks still had his radio show, before Reddit and almost before Google (unless my drug-addled brain has yet again forgotten to keep time correctly). That should give you an idea of how long this particular fight for recognition has gone on. Almost 15 years, in this incarnation.
Back in those days, there was a thing we call the ‘Lace Curtain’, which is still in effect but to a much lesser degree, which basically was the media’s unwillingness to take a male-sympathetic view of anything, even to the point of suppressing any male-favourable comments, letters to the editor, etc. Yes, back in those days we actually sent out email alerts whenever someone got a letter to the editor published in their local paper. Men simply getting a mention as somehow being worthy of concern in the media was greeted with celebration, it was so rare.
We forget these things, and many of the newcomers think this movement is three or four years old, and thus think we make no progress…
But progress at what, exactly? It’s obvious we exist, and that we’re angry and loud…but what are we on about? Sometimes it’s hard to get the signal through the noise, and the diffuse nature of the Mens Movement makes it even harder. I started a webzine called MenZ Magazine to help with that, and if you’ll bear with me, I aim to help right here, and right now.
Here are some basic facts:
Men have no reproductive rights throughout what we would call the Political West. What this means is that men have no right to choose if they are ready for parenthood post conception, even though women have that right (and staunchly defend it, in fact). While the morality of letting men abandon pregnant girlfriends is left in question, the base inequality of the current situation is not. We have a blatant legal double standard based solely on the sex of the person involved. Given our societal navel-gazing in regards to sexism elsewhere, this is a blatant hypocrisy. Either give men the same rights as women, or restrict women’s rights to equal those of men, we don’t care which. But to fail to do so is to admit sexism as official government policy.
Men also have no parental rights unless conferred on him by the mother. A man’s name cannot go on a Birth Certificate unless the mother consents, or states that this man is the father. In addition, a man has no medical assurance the child is actually his, unless he jeapoardizes his relationship by asking for a paternity test (and in some cases, the mother can refuse him). In relation to all of this is the assignation of paternity common in Family Court (and society), either through lying to the father from the outset, or making him responsible because he dated a single mom for a while. Think men paying for children that aren’t theirs is rare? In California over 2/3rds of child paternity is assigned via “default judgement“, make of that what you will.
While we’re on the Family Court tack, how about those Child Support tables…? They were based in part on hysteria generated by Lenore Weitzman, who declared after divorce women’s standard of living went down, and mens went up. Her study was never peer reviewed, and her data never examined (and admitted later to have been faulty), but that didn’t stop the government from employing, get this, a guy who owns a child support collection agency to determine what was ‘fair’. The Feds attached a commission to the State for every dollar collected through official channels and VOILA!, they have a huge ‘backdoor’ revenue stream (that’s right, Child Support is used as a revenue stream for each individual State). And they get to look like they’re ‘helping women’ while they destroy whole generations of men.
To add insult to injury, this is all done under the regime of “No Fault” divorce, which basically means no reason needed, no punishment for wrongdoing. Even in cases where one spouse is decent and hardworking and upstanding, and the other is an alcoholic, cheating gambling addict who takes off with the kids, there can be no assignation of ‘blame’…for some reason. Which in and of itself is no big deal, until you factor in the misandric culture we live in, where accusations of wrongdoing are gendered in the media (when was the last time you heard of a male victim called a ‘man’ instead of ‘victim”worker’ or somesuch? How quick do they throw Gender out there when it’s a “gunman”?), the DV industry and their sexist propaganda that only women are victims, only men perpetrators, the ‘sensitivity training’ all levels of our legal system are indoctrinated with, etc.
Speaking of the justice system, men have particular concerns there too. First and foremost is the massive spike in incarcerations in the US over the last 30 years or so (Fig 1). Nearly all of those are men, and nearly all of those men are poor, and usually black. While some might see tough on crime, I see a society locking their ‘undesireables’ out of sight. And while there is a tendency for black and white men to be treated differently, the treatment women receive vs. men for the same crime is substantially lighter, far more than racially motivated disparity in fact.
A lot of those guys are even in jail because they were broke, and couldn’t pay their child support.
Which brings me to the economy. And jobs. Men are falling WAY behind women in employment, but what seems to never quite reach the surface is that most of the areas in which women dominate are publicly funded, or heavily unionized. Which means Affirmative Action. And of course, Affirmative Action only ever goes one way…
What this all really boils down to, is the loss of the male half of the ‘gender conversation’ that has been going on for millenia. Actually, the deliberate suppression of. Which brings me to…
Why Do MRAs Hate Feminism So Much?
In a nutshell, because nearly every word out of their mouths is a lie. Why do men enjoy such a hated reputation, where men are afraid to help small children for fear of an accusation? Why is the general assumption “if there’s smoke there’s fire”, even when a man is acquitted of rape (and for that matter, why is he not anonymous until conviction too?) never questioned, and indeed championed? Who is promoting the idea of a ‘rape culture’, and that one sex is responsible for the safety of the other? Who has consistently painted all things masculine as evil, toxic, or in need of improvement?
MRAs reject the very notion that ‘men oppressed women’. It didn’t happen. Ever. Men worked with women, in the roles they were allowed, and men’s roles were no less restrictive than women’s. Indeed, most of the time the men’s roles were far MORE restrictive than women’s. Of course, Patriarchy Theory doesn’t address this simple fact except to blame it on, you guessed it, men.
But more than that, feminists don’t even live up to their own rhetoric. And the reason for this? They don’t have to.
Feminism bills itself as a revolution for women, taking on radical new freedoms and exploding the envelope that surrounded women’s lives, hemming them in like so much cattle. Feminists take credit for such things as women’s suffrage (in Canada, non-landed women and non-landed men got the vote on the same day in 1920, after approx 1 million men died in WW1 without having it) without showing any clear connection, and they do so with pride. But should a clearly Feminist organization support a misandric policy, even a national one, suddenly there are millions of different ‘kinds’ of feminism.
This carpetbagger approach is tenable because Feminism is nothing radical, it isn’t even new thinking. It is simply more of the same Gynocentric thinking we have pursued as a society steadily for thousands of years. Feminism is little more than Government sponsored and enforced Chivalry. There’s nothing ‘equal’ in Feminism, and they have steadily attacked mens priveleges without giving up one iota of their own (and fiercely oppose those who seek parity…like MRAs for instance).
Feminists have, from the very outset of the Mens Movement (in its current form at least) ridiculed, dismissed, viciously attacked, mischaracterized, and misrepresented the Mens Movement, pretty much in that order. As it stands today, Feminists are castigating us for not wanting to play nice, as if the last 60 years didn’t exist. As if we hadn’t noticed they haven’t changed one damned bit.
While these people may be adept, like a woman with NPD abusing her husband, at ‘plausible deniability’, we do not live in a court of law, and men see what is happening.
And men are angry. Very angry.
What Men Are Doing To Cope.
In their zeal to avoid talking about the elephant in the room, the multitude of articles written these days about men and boys don’t talk much about the issues I outlined above. Many of these articles still don’t even bother to ask men what they think. Instead, many turn to female ‘experts’. In an age where even articles discussing the state of men refuse to talk about the male viewpoint, or even ask men what they think, what exactly can a man do to get by?
Well, that seems to depend on your goals and your realistic expectations. These are the major sub-groups:
Men Going Thier Own Way, or MGTOWs, are one major subgroup of the mens movement. These men are, as the name suggests, essentially dropping out of society as we know it. A good portion of these men are the ones Kay Hymowitz and the like are complaining about a lot…the men playing vids, drinking beer and smoking weed, and not ‘manning up’ as expected.
For the most part, these men are responding to the lack of reward in our current culture for those who do ‘man up’, coupled with the massive risk involved in playing the game by the rules in place. They have, quite literally, decided that not only women, but society itself is more trouble than it’s worth.
This is the fastest growing segment of the MRM right now, by my reckoning, followed closely by PUAs.
Mens Rights Activists (or Advocates) are sort of the generic term for those men concerned primarily with the political/legal aspect of the issues facing men, with a strong concern for the social forces enabling these injustices as a close second. The defining characteristic of an MRA has yet to be found, but it seems to be a concern over enough legal/political issues regarding men overlapping, as opposed to any kind of ideological leaning.
There are devoutly religious MRAs, and ‘devoutly’ Atheist MRAs. There are black, white, asian, aboriginal, and Indian MRAs. There are straight MRAs, and gay MRAs. And there are male and female MRAs. MRAs have no particular stance on things like abortion, other than men should have the same rights women have. They are neither ‘left’ nor ‘right’, they are not libertarians or traditionalists. They are simply men and women concerned about the legal and social state of men today.
In fact, MRAs don’t have a catchy name because they didn’t expect to have a movement on their own, they originally believed the Feminist movement would help. And yes, their faces are red about that foolish mistake (myself included).
PUAs – Pick Up Artists.
Contrary to popular belief, there is enormous benefit to knowing ‘Game’, whether it’s utilized or not. PUAs are quite simply the practical application of some very astute analysis of female sexual behaviour. These guys are the ones who have decided they will take the counterpart spot to feminism’s “slut culture”, or they want to anyway. And PUAs have the know-how, and the advice, that fathers used to give their sons, back when fathers were allowed in the family.
It’s a well known fact that people like sex. Men and women both. In fact, as Game theory states, women are FAR more ruled by their libido than men are…men have simply forgotten how to push the right buttons. The effectiveness of this approach, as compared to (Single) Mom’s advice of ‘just be yourself’, can be easily seen nearly anywhere men and women interact.
In fact, the biggest objection I have seen against Game Theory so far has been that it…um, works too well, and it’s just not fair. Honest to God. At the very least, Game theory provides some protection against the petty manipulations men are subjected to daily. See: Esther Vilar’s “The Manipulated Man.”
While many women have complained about the presentation and the tone of the facts, sites like Roissy’s Chateau routinely have sheepish women admitting they are exactly as described. And while your mileage may vary, some advice is far better than none, espeically in an age saturated with messages that ’empower’ women’s base desires, denigrate (and demonize) male sexuality, and wreak havoc upon whichever playing field they’re on.
When Will The Mens Movement Go Away?
Likely never. This is perhaps the very first time in history that a sex has forced his/her gender role off his/her shoulders. Feminism certainly didn’t do so, in fact only manipulating already existing social biases to be more favourable to women, while leaving their gender role intact as a ‘fallback position’. Men are now literally saying ‘screw you’ to women as a sex, and society in general, and for the first time ever, are dismantling the Chivalric infrastructure. And turning their backs on a crumbling society.
Men are hardwired to love and idolize women. It’s why we want to protect them and support them. They literally give our lives purpose, generally speaking. They are the center of our families, and they are the comfort at days end. They are the makers of the home, the calm in the storm. Some measure of softness in an often too-hard world.
Well, rather, they WERE those things.
Now women are our competitors at work, our opponents in politics (womens issues begat mens issues), our critics in relationships. Women are told to fear us, to hold us in contempt and to feel empowered when their success is greater than the men whose legs have been cut off to enable it. They are inbued with massive self-worth, and told their every accomplishment is worth celebration in this ‘male-dominated’ world (and all evidence to the contrary is ignored). And this leads them to believe all the men she meets, who she has been told her whole life have it even easier than her, are total losers. How else could they have failed to succeed, after all?
Women feel entitled to take advantage of men these days. There is little social pressure on women who, say, capitalize on men’s loneliness by demanding free drinks as payment for her company, to stop this practice, since it’s seen as ‘normal’. To the men who may not have much money, who simply want to meet a nice woman and don’t know any better, this seems like cruelty. And to that man, it is.
We live in a society that caters to female hypergamy. We have structured our legal and social systems to accomodate the female desire to be able to ‘upgrade’ at whim with no consequences (for her anyway), and it has devastated Marriage as an institution, and dating in general. We cater to the female desire for power, institute AA type programs, and educational initiatives, all to have them declare men inferior when it becomes apparent we’ve overdone it, by a lot, even though we can’t say it out loud. We live in a society that doesn’t care, at all, about men that are not ‘alpha’. You see it everywhere, the top slice of men doing as well as ever, with the bottom 80% falling off a cliff.
The Mens Movement started, because no one else was talking about this stuff. The Mens Movement continues, because even after hearing about this stuff, many people are too complacent, or too convinced by opposing beliefs, to do anything about it. As long as men and boys are given the raw end of the deal (usually because society depends on the disposability of men to survive), the Mens Movement will be in existence in some form or other.
I suppose that if this is a concern, one could always take solace in one simple fact:
Even after 10 years, and attacking all these major problems and more, and being the LONE voice doing so for most of that time, there is yet to be established a single publicly funded mens rights advocacy agency anywhere. So at least the mens movement won’t likely be surviving on your tax dollar, but will continue to thrive on the volunteer efforts of everyone involved.