Part of the problem with starting a new blog (or joining an already stellar one) is hitting on the right tone for the first post. Come on too strong and the writing appears forced (“ALRIGHT EVERYONE! HERE ARE MY WORDS AND YOU WILL LIKE THEM ALL AND YOU WILL KNOW HOW AWESOMEANDWITTYIAMBYTHETHIRDSENTANCEBLAKJSRSR!!!”), but exercise too much restraint and the blog post may read more like a detailed analysis of proper moisture content for haylage (yes, it’s a real word, and it’s 30-50%, by the way). I had originally written a fairly lengthy article about the current state of research on masculinities in the social sciences is but, you know, haylage. So here’s the plan: I’ve scrapped the post and written a new one, and done my best to lighten the tone a bit while keeping the core argument intact. I probably won’t have too many links contained in the body of the post, but I will absolutely put a small bibliography at the end (complete with Amazon.com links) for some of the more important works in the field.
The study of men and masculinities in the social sciences has been taking place since the very birth of the social sciences. Of course, back in the day just about everything that could be talked about with regards to society and social institutions was about men, by men, and for men. It wasn’t until the arrival on the scene of those uppity wimmenz with their ‘rooms of one’s own’ and their radical demands to be allowed to vote – or even be considered ‘persons’ under the law in the first place – that the analytical lenses of sociology, anthropology, political science, psychology, etc. began to swivel to scrutinize women and women’s lives. And what they found was that women had it pretty bad. Horribly bad, in fact and perhaps it would be wise if some small amount of time was devoted to trying to understand why they had it so bad, don’tcherknow?
Thanks in large part to the work done by those pioneer feminist theorists and the many, many academics, intellectuals, activists, and agitators who followed them, women as gendered beings became the subjects of innumerable research projects and studies; women’s lives in the workplace, women’s lives at home, women’s sexuality and women’s struggles to feel included and welcome in society; all became topics of serious discussion and analysis. And the results? Well, nothing less than an almost complete dismantling and re-imagining of women and women’s lives in society. How society views women has, in many ways undergone some rather profound changes. There are of course recidivists and recalcitrant yokels out there who continue to view women as objects to possess and dominate, and the widespread acceptance of misogyny and gender-based stereotypes remain a significant challenge for us all to deal with and hopefully fix, but I think that it’s rather uncontroversial to say that things have gotten better of the course of the last century and a half. So what does this have to do with men? Well rather a lot, actually.
Once the study of women qua women had been firmly established in academic institutions, some theorists – mostly feminist theorists or those heavily influenced by them – rather naturally began to ask “if the study of women qua women has yielded such positive fruits, then would an examination of men qua men yield similar fruits?” While it was true that men had been the de facto focus of sociological and anthropological analysis for much of the history of the social sciences, they had, for the most part, been studied only in terms of their actions and effects on the world; they had never truly been studied as men. What did it mean to be a man? What is masculinity? How do particular behaviours come to be seen as ‘masculine’, and what does the valorization of those behaviours lead to? And thus was a whole new sub-discipline of gender studies born.
Early examinations of men and men’s lives were pretty shallow and not really all that profound. Men (and women) were seen in essentialist terms – that there was some ideal ‘form’ of manliness out there that all men needed to be measured against. The results of this mistaken belief were fairly tragic; gay men were ‘demoted’ to the status of non-men, or lesser men, as were the men and boys who preferred books and computers over footballs and firearms. ‘Weak’ or ‘girly’ men were shipped off to remote ‘retreats’ where they were encouraged to build fires, beat drums, and get in touch with their ‘primal’ man, as though the only man worth being was the functional equivalent of a cave man in a business suit. Popular culture, as is its wont, twisted and misapplied these early attempts and used them to justify everything from ‘primal scream’ therapy and mythopoetic conceptions of masculinity to the horrific ‘reparative’ therapies which sought to ‘fix’ gay men and make them into ‘real’ men again. In many ways, pop-culture is like that weird older relative that everyone has – the one who listens to science shows but doesn’t understand them and so attempts to fill in the gaps in their knowledge by creatively speculating about what they thought the scientists were implying. Moving on.
The study of men really took off with the arrival of a number of absolutely brilliant scholars in the field – most notably R.W. Connell, Michael Kimmel and Michael Messner. Connell’s work Masculinities is the most-cited work in the entire field and an absolute must-read for students of gender studies. Messer and Kimmel only slight less so. Connell’s theory of masculinities radically altered the way in which gender theorists understood the process of becoming gendered beings. Alright, I’ll admit that Judith Butler had more than a few things to say on the subject, but her writing was physically painful for me to read, alright? We all have our favourites, and Connell is mine. R.W. Connell’s concept of ‘hegemonic masculinity’ made heavy use of intersectionality and her resultant theoretical lens posited that there is no such thing as a singular male gender; there are dozens of competing masculinities, arranged into complex hierarchies of dominance and subordination, and all of them subjugated by – and measured against – an articulation of masculinity that is culturally dominant and rigorously – if subtly – enforced. These competing forms of masculinity are intersected by multiple vectors of privilege and oppression which make the entire structure chaotic, violent, and ultimately self-destructive. Put simply: the single greatest threat facing men today comes from other men. Let’s look at an example.
Consider ‘Alex’. Alex is muscular, athletic, white, heterosexual, and rich. Each one of these variables grants him a form of privilege over others in society, and when taken in aggregate, Alex’s position in the social hierarchy is pretty dominant. Because Alex is all of these things, they seem to him to be both natural and laudable; being muscular is better than being fat, being athletic is better than being lazy, rich is better than poor, etc. Because he believes these things, he may also believe that those who are overweight, poor, or whatever are beneath him – maybe even contemptible.
Whether he is aware of it or not, his attitudes and beliefs may cause him to seek out ways to reinforce the moral rightness of his own position while vilifying the positions of others. He votes for people who share his beliefs – including perhaps figures who would demand that say, a certain level of physical fitness become a graduation requirement for high-schools, or who believes that poor people are that way because they are either lazy or otherwise lacking in some necessary skill. Alex spends his money at venues and on products that cater to his particular brand of ideal man, and his consumption – and the consumption of others like him – spur those companies on to invest in ad campaigns that reinforce the belief that people like Alex are the ideal that everyone should aspire to. Everyone else – especially other men who fail to meet the ‘Gold Standard’ of Alex, are penalized for their ‘failings’; they aren’t as represented in pop-culture, or they are presented as clownish or villainous stereotypes to be mocked or reviled. This is all pretty simplistic, but you get my drift; while some men are portrayed as buffoonish and unintelligent/uncultured/boorish, they are often only done so in order to make other men look better.
The point I’m trying to make is that academic analyses of men and men’s lives are becoming increasingly common in the social sciences, and a lot of the research that is done can (and does) fit seamlessly with feminist analyses of women and women’s lives. The resultant body of data suggests that a better understanding of these sorts of social pressures can go a long way to helping men break out of the vicious cycles of toxic masculinity that threaten both themselves and everyone else. Patriarchy hurts everyone, and recognizing that can help men become better citizens and generally better people.
The Men’s Rights Movement does nothing to help us. Contrary to their wild-eyed assertions that ‘teh menz’ are the real victims in society, the data shows that while men have many, many problems, the vast majority of their issues still take place within a space of almost unparalleled privilege. No, men do not have it worse than women, PoCs or members of the LGBT communities. No, feminists are not out to destroy men or strip them of their ‘hard-won’ rights. No, the struggle for recognition and an equitable share of the fruits of civilization is not a zero-sum game with men at the losing end! Men are not losing out to anyone; everyone else is merely asking to share the same rights and privileges that men have always possessed. Yes, some men do have it pretty rough, and yes, some men might be judged unfairly by the justice system or by other members of society, but here’s the important part: your personal anecdotes or hardships are not the standard by which the rest of us determine the position of men as a social category. Barack Obama is a powerful and successful man; that doesn’t mean that racism is gone forever or that all black men everywhere no longer have to worry about discrimination.
White men are not oppressed.
Deal with it.
Butler, Judith, “Gender Troubles”
Connell, R.W. “Masculinities”
Connell, R. W. “The Men and the Boys”
Kimmel, Michael, Messner, Michael, “Men’s Lives: 9th Edition”
Paap, Kris, “Working Construction: Why White Working-Class Men Put Themselves and the Labor Movement at Risk”
Shitstorm incoming. Be prepared for whiny privilege.
Yeah. Get out your best helmet and put it on your head. The stupid is about to hit you real hard.
You’ve started out well, Edwin. I’ll have to add some of the works you mentioned to my reading list.
Teh MRAs are even more ridiculous when they try to pretend they’re victims of patriarchy too — but then keep on attacking other people who are opposed to patriarchy! Dudebros, if you’re hurt by patriarchy (and I have absolutely ZERO doubt that huge numbers of men really are hurt by patriarchy in many significant ways), then the feminists are your allies, not your enemies!
Bingo. Patriarchy and patriarchal institutions are absolutely damaging to men – after all, the idealized hegemonic masculine framework is unrealistic and unattainable – but MRAs seem desperate to plant the flag of blame firmly in the midst of feminists and pro-feminist allies. Sad and frustrating.
I just said exactly this today, elsewhere! I think I finally understand the MRAs: they are recognizing ways that men are harmed by patriarchy, but misidentifying the harm as resulting from the advances of feminism, not from patriarchy. I compared this to the Free Market At All Costs brigade, who maintain, despite all historical evidence to the contrary, that the REAL way to fix the problems of capitalist markets is less taxation and less regulation, that the negative outcomes we see from enacting those policies are simply the result of us not going far enough. Less-than-shockingly, it’s often the same people claiming both.
Yeah; I’d love to actually work to convince MRAs of why they are wrong and what they can do to help, but I doubt that they are interested, so instead I largely use potty words and rant in academic papers. ::sigh:: It is so frustrating to see them be so right about so many things and so wrong about the solutions.
Really interesting article, though I thought the use of bold font and/or capitalization of words for effect was considered poor blog writing form!
Pfft… how would I know what’s considered proper blog etiquette? My own blog dwells in the hinterlands of the blogosphere (blogodome, Blogomatrix-01?) and so I have no idea how to behave in polite blogger society. I’m the blogging equivalent of a hill-billy (no offense to any actual bills from hills).
I do not agree with Sean.
Bold is generally not, but ALL CAPS generally is. But Edwin was making an all caps sort of allusion, there. And certainly, one could use bold in a ridiculous manner, but it isn’t quite as easy as jamming the capslock key, and thus is nearly a dead giveaway as to content formatted thusly.
It’s a bit of a subtle point. Splashing in more all-caps than Rowling writing Harry Potter in the Goblet of Fire book to convey emotion as a substitute for good wording that could convey the emotion better? Not cool.
Using all caps briefly to illustrate a point and/or as satire? Probably cool.
Same goes for italics, bolding or underlining, IMO.
And in writing, all rules can be broken – if you do it on purpose, and for a good reason. Case in point: I once wrote an essay that was >3/4 introduction just to prove to my prof that I could. He said, “don’t do that unless you’re absolutely sure you can pull it off because if you try and fail, I’ll give you an F,” and I thought “challenge accepted”. Because, yeah. I’m a contrary brat like that. 😛
Solid post! Especially the bits about this not being a zero-sum game: as Raging Bee says, the feminists aren’t out to get men, but to take out patriarchy.
Random OT: I always think of Phil and Lem from the short-lived “Better Off Ted” when I read “Deal with it!”
Great first post! And welcome to the
Here’s the rub partly.
A lot of the misogynists recognise their privilege and just won’t let go. And while privilege is not a zero-sum game, it’s by definition not privilege any more if it’s shared by all. Then it’s just civil rights (yes, I’m punning based on roman law here – I’m that bad).
I think a lot of MRA resentment stems from the fact that feminism has been successful in displaying the effects of toxic masculinity. Some of the MRAs are actually sad because they have no or limited access to their own children. Genuinely. But they haven’t come far enough to see that it’s their own previous lack of involvement that has created the situation. And not far enough to see that it’s toxic masculinity that lies behind their lack of involvement. Such as calling little boys “feminine” for showing emotions.
I just finished a graduate course in which I wrote a paper about FRAs, and you hit the nose on the freaking head. It’s dead frustrating because I am extremely passionate about parents being able to be involved in their children’s lives when they are willing, able, and not toxic, but these dudes hurt themselves and other men more than they help because their whole argument is “bitches be lying about being beaten.” A movement with promise is incarcerated fathers’ rights, considering the disproportionate racial impact of imprisonment.
Yeah, the Fathers’ Rights Stuff is seriously heartbreaking on many levels. A good part of family law in some countries and how it’s applied is plain sexist (e.g. unmarried das having to adopt their own kids in a lengthy process in Switzerland, even though the mother confirms that they’re the father), and women can play dirty too: I personally know a woman who used the “if you don’t move out right now, I’ll tell the police I don’t feel safe for my bodily integrity when you’re in the house” line during their separation, and saw is as a totally acceptable and even feminist way of kicking out her non-violent husband for cheating.
So I can totally sympathise with men fighting to see their kids, and adjusting laws that make it harder for vengeful ex-spouses (of any sex!) to screw the other over.
But then, with the FRA movement usually recruiting its more vocal and active members from the ranks of screwed-over and thus vengeful ex-husbands, the laudable cause of eliminating unfairness is turned into a “we hate women and their rights”-fest that quickly extends to “women are horrible and need to be oppressed in every respect” idiocy.
It hurts to watch.
and it hurts the children trapped in the middle of this.
I believe abuse of the fight for equality for men in custody battles is responsible for the IIRC only case in which US Americans have been granted asylum in Europe. An abusive dude accused his wife of causing PAS, got sole custody, continued to abuse them, and no one was willing/able to do anything even though he left visible bruises on the kids. so the mother fled with the kids to the Netherlands (I believe most of them are adults now and have returned)
It’s the bad old idea that children are trophies and property. And then they “lose” them because, well, they never did much with them when the relationship with the mother was still going.
Yes, women can be assholes who use this to their advantage, who really use their children as weapons, no argument there.
But assholes are a general phenomenon (well, men do so, too, you get at least one story of a shitty ex and father back for every one about a shitty ex and mother you have)
This is simply not true in this generality. I used to think like this too, before getting to know a good number of divorced couples more closely. Their (both sides) stories sound unbelievable at first hearing. Laws, court decisions and official policies still reflect totally outdated gender roles, expectations and prejudices. Personal favourites: years of mutually agreed full-time parenting by the father was deemed irrelevant by the court, mother got full custody, but she still has the kids live with their father, only he has no rights wrt schooling/medical treatment/etc and she has the right to cancel the arrangement any moment; for another couple, where the mother wanted 50/50 shared care, the mediator tried to convince her that she should fuck up her working relationship with the father, and then claim sole custody on the grounds of a “high conflict relationship”.
Plus, consider how accepted it is in society for a father to reduce his work hours so he can be more with his kids. That’s seen as evading his responsibility for his family; the only way to be seen as even less of a man is to actually expecting his wife to work as well and compensate for the lost income.
There are uncaring fathers, yes, but not the overwhelming majority, and they are usually happy with the one-weekend-per-fortnight deal (when they complain, it’s about child/spouse support).
It’s about people using whatever’s at their disposal to hurt their ex or get a better deal, and the most promising approach for women happens to be the custody angle. Yes, it’s bad for the children. No, fathers are not worse or better parents than mothers.
But what about teh poorz? And the aneurotypicalz?
Can a white straight cis male be in enough underprivileged groups to render the big three close to irrelevant? I suppose a non-wscm in the same situation would have a worse time of it. The lack of assistance available to me is an aneurotypical problem, not a white guy problem, but it does frustrate me that I don’t have anywhere to go for general help because if you merely look at me, all you see is privilege.
Of course, none of that means men have it bad in general. Privilege isn’t a super power though, and mine really seems like it’s actually harming me.
It is really tempting (but ultimately futile and deceptive) to try and observe privilege as an independent characteristic like height or weight. Privilege operates only in a relative sense, and usually in binary cases. Saying that “white people are privileged” is an easy short-hand, but misleading. It’s better to say that there is a privilege associated with whiteness (not to be confused with white skin – two similar but different things).
It’s the same for male privilege. It’s not that one ‘kind’ of privilege overpowers other ‘kinds’. It’s that, all other things being equal, a poor and aneurotypical man will have an easier time than a poor and aneurotypical woman. The question of whether a poor and aneurotypical white man is ‘more’ or ‘less’ privileged than a middle-class neurotypical east-Asian woman is a red herring. It’s not useful or meaningful to compare things that way.
The question I have is, is there an extra penalty you pay for being a poor aneurotypical man that a poor aneurotypical woman wouldn’t face? For example, are unhoused women more likely to get shelter space and have their ‘quirks’ recognized as a medical need than men? I have literally no idea what the answer to that is, but it would be an interesting inversion of a privilege dynamic.
Oppression Olympics certainly doesn’t help anyone, and trying to avoid that, I do sometimes wonder if I would have been able to finish college with more… I guess it would be social support. I’m pretty sure I could have found the money (er, loans, fuck America) but since there’s no “society of women/black engineers” for white guys the only entity with a vested interest in me being in school was me, and I saw I couldn’t handle the delayed benefit from effort thing for one year, let alone four.
It’s hard to conclude anything about general situations like your housing example, I know what I suspect, but I also recognize my bias. I think we* need to start from “Its possible for privilege to be detrimental in certain situations,” identify those situations, and then do something about it. Oh, and not get infested by MRAs in the process.
*Society, not you and I specifically, though if it would put food on my table…
Damnit, I finally had a shot in the Oppression Olympics, and you had to go and cancel them. 😛
In all seriousness, though, as you point out, privilege is a social system that operates in sum total, or on average, with respect to relative social positioning of groups. It certainly can be detrimental in a given case to an individual or even the privileged group categorically, usually in situations where marginalized-group-only spaces have been established or affirmative-action-type programs are in effect (with housing as a possible example – because women, on average, tend to make less money and possess less wealth, support programs for the poor might be skewed in their favor, actually giving e.g. homeless women a leg up over homeless men; however, when one considers that, assuming the analysis of need has been done properly, there are far more homeless women than men, women may still be collectively worse off; in a case like that, I would argue for a proportionate – equitable, not equal – division of resources). This doesn’t mean that these things are necessarily bad ideas to enact as correctives, but they do require careful consideration to enact in ways that support the best pro-social outcomes possible.
Re: medical needs, depression is recognized and treated more frequently in women (as are some other mental health issues), while heart problems are not, both based on cultural biases (both from studies cited in my Psychology of Women course textbook, which I don’t have with me, so I can’t be more specific). Depending upon how one sub-divides or specifies the gendered groups, one certainly can come up with situations in which privilege functions as a detriment, but since any vector of privilege only considers the ENTIRE class, not segments of it, in relation to an ENTIRE other class, saying that there might be a situation where there is e.g. “an extra penalty you pay for being a poor aneurotypical man that a poor aneurotypical woman wouldn’t face” doesn’t actually mean much with respect to privilege (other than highlighting a limit on the utility of the concept for describing all possible power differentials).
I find it helpfull to think about privilege as a scientific experiment: You change one parameter at a time and then observe the results.
And different parameters have different effects.
So, you don’t ask the question: “Would I be better of if I was white and gay instead of black and straight?”
Because even if the answer is “yes” it doesn’t allow you to talk about gay privilege. You ask “Would I be better off gay than straight?”
Sometimes it is the case that you are not underprivileged enough to qualify for government assistance (or enough assistance) or for there to be organizations that seek to help with your exact issues in your area. Underprivileged by sometimes arbitrary, sometimes well-considered criteria, that is. Sometimes this is entirely a matter of funding, and “worst comes first” leaves you outside when budgets are tight. This is part of the reason we even have the phrase “falling through the cracks”.
This problem is caused by the same mechanisms that caused the problems for other people who may have gotten assistance when you didn’t.
You don’t seem to be playing oppression olympics, reverse-discrimination games. But it sucks because it makes it difficult to talk about situations like yours without people playing it that way. Which just adds to the overall suckage.
I thought you did a good job of broaching the subject without being that guy.
I’d like to discuss “geekiness” as a possible axis of social status or privilege. I think maybe white, male, straight, cis, not particularly poor, geeky people can be very pissed off and feel like social victims. On paper they are in the topmost status layer, BUT in Jr. High school and High School there are males who resemble them above them trying to hold them down. The dominant white male layer (level of privilege) is more a ladder than a layer. And it has its own punching or pecking order.
(Yeah, I just pulled a “but what about the geekz” query. I don’t know, I think it could be an interesting mental exercise and might get empathy flowing both ways.)
“The dominant white male layer (level of privilege) is more a ladder than a layer. And it has its own punching or pecking order.”
Absolutely it does and the pecking order is frustratingly hard to discern due to the dynamic nature of how gender is constructed, practised, and policed. ‘Jocks’ picking on ‘Geeks’ is just one glaringly obvious example of different forms of masculinity struggling against each other, but it’s also a prime example of how masculine gender practices actively harm other men. Connell has an excellent article that discusses strategies for mitigating this kind of toxic masculine behaviour, and here’s a link (that’s behind a paywall… sorry) http://www.tcrecord.org/Content.asp?ContentID=9614
You said “geeky people” but then you went on to discuss geeky males. What about teh geeky womenz?
“You said “geeky people” but then you went on to discuss geeky males. “
It is the hallmark of privilege that “people” = the privileged group. That’s the privileged behaviour that many people* participate in and that goes unchallenged; the assumption that men are the default and that women are, at best, a sort of sub-species.
*And, by people, I mean people of all genders.
It is a hallmark of privilege. It is also a hallmark of using a generic concept before referring to a specific concept, one of which was the focus of the post, and also the OP article.
Read it, read it charitably, or read it and make hay of it. At this point, the retrospective uncertainty principle makes it less likely that smhll can answer the question posed by mynameischeese accurately. It may be difficult for smhll to examine what they did, now – or maybe not.
It made perfect sense that the post was worded as it was, and the wording could also have been informed by privilege. Privilege is hardly necessary to get that wording here, though. If you parse the sentence, you will also see it is about male geeky people. (white, male, straight, cis, not particularly poor, geeky people) Referring to axes of privilege, no less.
I’m a geek! And a woman! I’ve given a fair amount of thought to how privilege works for male geeks. As you said, the majority of geeks are straight (or bi-curious) white cis guys; and the vast majority also think of themselves as shunned by mainstream society, though younger geeks less so than older ones.
Boys fight, bully each other, and enforce masculinity through violence from a fairly young age. I think those physical struggles themselves are regarded as a rite of passage for guys, giving legitimacy to male privilege. (Even if a guy hasn’t been in more fights than most girls have, it is usually assumed that he has.) Typically jocks start getting the best of male privilege in high school, social status and so on. Geeks spend a lot longer being picked on and/or ridiculed, but since many go for higher education and high-paying jobs, they start getting their best privilege years later. At that point, some geeks feel that because of their bad experiences in high school (or whenever), they’re entitled to maintain their own social isolation and treat everyone they meet as the sort of person who was mean to them in high school. And at that point, they are likely putting down people who have less economic power than they do.
It’s not just geeky men, it’s geeky women too. As someone who has a lot of geeky friends and a great affection for many of them, but who learned a lot about my own privileges, nothing drives me up the wall faster than the persecution complex endemic to geek culture. It’s as if people never think about the reasons why geek culture is represented by the most privileged demographics. Yes, it can be difficult for geeks to re-socialize themselves in society, to feel less isolated. No, that isn’t an excuse for privilege-blindness and elitism.
How does haylage differ from silage?
Typically haylage is a sub-category of silage. Haylage is supposed to refer to making silage from alfalfa, but I’ve heard farmers use it to refer to pretty much any kind of silage that is stored as wrapped bales.
Thank you. We never used alfalfa at home, I think. And baling silage postdates my leaving the farm.
I was under the impression that silage was generally chopped cornstalks fermented and stored in silos. When my uncle made haylage, it was chopped alfalfa, usually stored in covered bunkers or piles with a ground tarp and plastic tarp covers. You have to keep oxygen away or the stuff will sour. I never heard of baling it.
I suppose it could refer to chopped corn stalks… the important thing about haylage is that unlike silage, it is kept under wraps. This absolutely includes baled hay and it goes like this: you cut your hay (in my family’s case, grass hay and alfalfa) and let it sit in the sun for about a day – maybe two or three, depending on the weather. Then, you bale it – usually into round bales, as they’re easier to deal with later. Once you’ve baled them, you drop off your baler, and hitch up the wrapper – which has a sort of bale-grabber (technical term, I know) that flips the bales on to a curved bed of rollers. The rollers slowly spin the bale while the bed itself rotates to allow the arm that holds the plastic wrap to hook the wrap on to the bale and securely wrap it all. You end up with something like a one-ton marshmallow. You can then store them in the haybarn for a couple of years. They stay good for a while, because the outer shell of plastic is airtight.
When we were kids, my dad would take a bunch of those bales and build a simple hollow square, two or three bales high, with a narrow gap on one side. We’d then cover the top with a tarpaulin and presto! Instant all-weather fort! The roof was around 6-7 feet high, and a pole in the middle turned it into a giant pavilion. Those were the days.
The UK definition and the German literal translation of haylage refer to silage-like stuff that been made from grass as old as you would use for hay (i.e. older than the usual young silage grass). It’s more suitable for horses than normal silage due to its texture and lower energy density, and has advantages when you’re trying to avoid the dust component that comes with regular hay.
I can’t believe that windrows weren’t mentioned yet. :p
Thanks very much for writing and for including some relevant books. I’ve been wanting read about gender studies, and I’ll have to add these to my to-read list. To echo what’s already been said, thanks also for emphasizing that it’s not a zero sum game between rights for men and rights for women.
And I would hope that the reverse is also true. My place in your hierarchy of privilege does not negate my story of hardship. Often I’ve seen calls of “check your privilege” as a device for shutting down dissent.
No, you’re right; a person’s personal hardships and struggles should never be ignored or dismissed. When we examine privilege and power in the context of social interaction however, we are no longer dealing with individuals – we’re dealing with overarching trends. At that level of analysis, individual struggles often fade into the background.
When I hear stories of discrimination, I most definitely feel for the people involved; injustice needs to be fought wherever it’s found. All I am attempting to illustrate here is that we cannot infer a general conclusion about a subject from a small number personal experiences. It’s only by analysing these experiences in aggregate, and with the proper controls in place that we are able to discern the larger societal patterns.
I ramble. I know. I’m sorry.
I see saying “check your privilege”, when talking about sexual harassment, as a somewhat more polite way to say “you don’t know what the fuck you are talking about”. Because when a man says “I wouldn’t mind being propositioned in an elevator”, I strongly suspect that he isn’t picturing someIne larger, stronger, pushier and probably older.
Even if half of your friends and half or your relatives are female, you know far less about being female than someone who is female 24-7. Not only do I spend tons of time being female, I spend a lot of time talking about personal life stuff with other women. And likely I’ve read far more feminist theory and have a clearer idea what the feminist POV is.
2 examples, in case you still feel like listening after my intro paragraph. My husband thinks auto drivers sound pretty fucking stupid when they post online in Bicycling forums. They may have been on the same streets, but haven’t had the same experiences. I think my childless siblings sound pretty fucking stupid when they give out parenting advice. And my brother thinks my advice on how to approach women is useless. YMMV.
I need a “like” button for this
If you are dissent is in regards to privilege, then you are probably wrong. Not every person with privilege x has it easier than everyone who is non-x. Maybe you didn’t actually mean dissent. Maybe you mean that your experience differs from the expected results of having privilege x. And if anyone shouts you down saying that you could not possibly have experienced some thing, some disadvantage, some bigotry because, well, you’re x!, then they would certainly be wrong. Your experience is yours. But your negative outcome does not mean privilege x is not real, that others do not suffer because of it, and that those with the privilege do not generally have advantage because of it.
This all kinda hangs on your use of the word “dissent”. Disregard if inapplicable. But please clarify what might have gone better in place of “dissent”, otherwise explain and/or give example of your dissent.
“Contrary to their wild-eyed assertions that ‘teh menz’ are the real victims in society, the data shows that while men have many, many problems, the vast majority of their issues still take place within a space of almost unparalleled privilege.”
I often see such lazy and unsupported assertions in feminist discourse. What data? The data I have shows that men are less educated, less employed, less healthy, less long lived, less likely to live with their children, less likely to have health insurance, less likely to have a roof over their head, and less likely to live free from incarceration, when compared to their female peers. That’s a whole lot of less. Where is all that “unparalleled privilege” to make up for it?
I think most of these things are the result of some men being privileged over others. I mean, there’s this whole idea that getting any form of assistance is ‘shameful’ for men which is why you don’t see more programs that would help them. Worker-men are supposed to be manly and put up with shit conditions and long hours while the boss-man heads out to the country club, and then the worker-men get castigated by the educated writer-men for not having a proper work/life balance. I think part of it is men of status wanting no competition – they want to keep other men down and out and create an image of the ‘ideal man’ that only fits themselves. Investor-men gamble with company money as a way to assert their manliness and then the worker-men are out of a job and seen as less of a man all because some guy in a suit clicked a mouse a few times.
I kind of see this a lot where you get these media representations of working-class men as a bunch of vulgar thugs as opposed to nice, decent men who have college degrees (as if rape on college campus wasn’t prevalent enough to blow the idea that guys who go to college are less predatory or misogynistic) – it’s a way for men of high status to piss on people down the ladder.
Thank you too for the polite reply.
“I think most of these things are the result of some men being privileged over others.”
No doubt there is a hierarchy of privilege based on class and race and education, etc, among men, and that a lot of men suffer reduced opportunities because of that. But what I was contesting is Erwin’s broad assertions about male privilege when so many men who are not at the top of the ladder are doing worse in many important ways than their female peers.
I don’t have the stats at my fingertips, but I’ve heard that men with wives live longer than single men and women with husbands live less long than single women. So I would hate to see you suggest that the lfe span disparity is the fault of women taking advantage of men. The “facts” I referenced suggest that women should get some credit.
My biggest problem with the Men’s Rights Movement (other than some of the truly vile online presences I’ve seen) is that they typically gather all of this data and assume that the cause of all of it is feminism. There are a lot of underlying social causes for all of the problems that you’ve mentioned. Third wave feminism is all about Intersectionality, which Edwin mentioned in his post. It’s taking on multiple causes without being exclusionary to other causes. It’s not a zero-sum game. I can care about the fact that women are, on average, paid less than their equally-qualified male counterparts and still care about the fact that societal gender roles still assume that men are incompetent caregivers, and don’t favor them in custody disputes. In fact, I believe that the underlying causes for both of those issues are strongly related.
Feminism by nature focuses on issues relating to women – that doesn’t mean that issues relating to men are unimportant.
First of all, thanks for the polite reply.
“My biggest problem with the Men’s Rights Movement (other than some of the truly vile online presences I’ve seen) is that they typically gather all of this data and assume that the cause of all of it is feminism. There are a lot of underlying social causes for all of the problems that you’ve mentioned.”
Sure, I agree with that. And I’m not claiming that the cause of all these problems is feminism. But I think these are very serious issues. And I think it’s a problem for feminists when all they have to say about these issues is that men really have “unparalleled privilege”. Because every time you tell that to a man who is struggling with one of these issues – you’ve just justified the existence of the MRM. Who else will listen to him?
Again, the solution is Intersectionality. Multiple societal problems have overlapping causes, and therefore much can be gained from movements joining forces to combat them. I’m not just a feminist – I also hope that I can be considered an ally to minorities, to LGBTQ people, to impoverished people, etc.
Having privilege doesn’t mean that your (general, non-specific “you”) life is full of sunshine and rains of donuts. It means that privilege blinds you to other, just as legitimate issues that face less-privileged groups. Privilege is not a guarantee of success in any way. It’s simply a means of describing social group dynamics and the different challenges that aren’t apparent to everyone. It’s a tool that can be used to teach someone that is denying the lived experience of someone in a less privileged group.
I also have a problem with the Men’s Right Movement taking all of this data about issues facing men and try to turn it into proof that women are more privileged than men. This is not the case. The examples that I typically see of “female privilege” are actually examples of “benevolent sexism”, where women are “protected” by preventing them equal access to certain careers, etc. (I don’t really want to get into specifics right now, because I feel this would derail the thread.)
Yep. And cast everything that’s wrong with the world as basically “men vs women for a piece of the pie”, instead of “people trying to improve things”. Zero sum game and oppression olympics big time…
“The data I have shows that men are less educated, less employed, less healthy, less long lived, less likely to live with their children, less likely to have health insurance, less likely to have a roof over their head, and less likely to live free from incarceration, when compared to their female peers. That’s a whole lot of less. ”
I often see such lazy and unsupported assertions in MRA discourse. What data?
PS: I find the combination of your username and the crap you spew to be hilarious. Go back to the Spearhead.
You’re the one writing the blog with unsupported assertions, Edwin – not me.
So stop derailing and and answer the question. You made a claim to having data. It is not unreasonable of me to ask for it.
You know that your question is a derail, right? This post isn’t “men have privilege and therefore MRAs are dummies”. It’s “MRAs are dummies because the problems facing men (which exist) are not caused by feminism, and are in fact properly addressed by feminist inquiry”
Yeah, half of what you listed (less healthy, less long lived, less likely to have health insurance, less likely to live free from incarceration), if it’s even true (shorter lifespan and higher incarceration rates are the only ones I’m sure of), is a function of patriarchy by way of disconcern for health/danger, stoicism, and risk-taking being normative masculine traits. Did you read the article before trolling?
“Yeah, half of what you listed … is a function of patriarchy by way of disconcern for health/danger, stoicism, and risk-taking being normative masculine traits.”
These things may be a function of patriarchy. But how is it an example of male privilege for those men who suffer from it? If there is any privilege involved, they are not the ones enjoying it.
Your mistake is in looking at privilege as something that benefits all individuals in a population. Not every white person benefits from white privilege – there are some very real ways in which white privilege makes life shitty for a certain segment of the population of white people. That doesn’t make white privilege ‘mythical’ any more than adverse effects make pharmaceutical drugs “poison”.
More to Edwin’s point, if you accept that it could be the function of patriarchy, and patriarchy is a system that is biased towards men (sometimes but not always at the expense of women), then you are left with a conundrum of how to reconcile your belief that male privilege is “mythical”. There are a whole raft of feminists (myself included, but perhaps not often enough) who point out the way in which the current gender system hurts men as well as women. This is because we can look at the mechanisms of gender roles and note their connection to disproportionately negative outcomes.
“You know that your question is a derail, right? This post isn’t “men have privilege and therefore MRAs are dummies”. It’s “MRAs are dummies because the problems facing men (which exist) are not caused by feminism, and are in fact properly addressed by feminist inquiry””
It was not intended as a derail. I was trying to point out that for a man concerned with these issues, being lectured on his privilege is an extremely off-putting and unproductive response that makes the MRM immensely more attractive by comparison.
Where’s you data then?
That’s not really a fair question. The burden of proof is on the person making the original claim (“male privilege exists”). Saying “prove it doesn’t” isn’t a reasonable response.
The thing is that the counterexamples PPM offers are in no way refutations of the existence of male privilege, as much as he would like to present them as that.
The original claim under dispute, according to the part of the OP’s argument quoted by PPM, is the MRA claim that men are oppressed.
Therefor, perfectly fair question. Burden of proof lies with the MRA side.
I realise the MRA argument doesn’t follow, but if they’re going to nitpick about “unsubstantiated claims,” they might as well do a little bit of work and link us to those prison numbers instead of just copying and pasting little tidbits from the MRA’s greatest hits tumblr.
What you’re describing is Apex Fallacy. Gender politics play this game that frames all men as privileged and women as oppressed, but the reality couldn’t be further from the truth. The facts are the facts, and men and boys are being left behind in spades in the US, namely because it’s politically incorrect to acknowledge the glass cellar. To do so would force an acknowledgement that men have it bad, that only a small percentage of men are CEOs, politicians, and so on. The rest are in the middle with women, or below them in the gutter, jail, or simply deceased.
Every time you hear talk about the glass ceiling, notice there’s no calls for women to also make up equal rates of ditch diggers, miners, garbage collectors, and so on.
sorry to tell you, but women have been fighting to get into traditionally male blue-collar work like construction, mining, etc. for as long as they’ve been fighting against the glass ceiling
Those are exceptions. Where’s NOW calling for more women to get into those fields? Where’s Gloria Allred suing for women to sign up for selective service? When feminists start calling for quotas in the mainstream media for women to make up equal amounts of those down right dirty, dangerous, back-breaking jobs, then you’ll have a case.
Being left behind while even in the most privileged class is a function of idiotic political economics based on a culture of privilege and patriarchy and stupid pecuniary emulation and power. Because the most privileged and lucky ones at the top always want more, the keep every aspect of life a zero-sum game as much as possible, and do whatever is necessary to increase their wealth (frequently by lowering expenses in the immediate run the stupid way) and power at the expense of everyone else. (Corporations fucking love higher rates of unemployment to death.)
Just what the hell would power mean if you didn’t have any over the most privileged classes, right? The power spectrum not only has an absolute scale component, it has a relative scale component. And it isn’t some conspiracy or necessarily a conscious desire to keep others down (although in some cases it is), it’s just that those on top generally don’t care who or what loses out or gets hurt while they get more. Sometimes freakishly, ridiculously much more. More than any skill or market force could possibly be responsible for.
And they count on those in the privileged classes to keep blame those less privileged than themselves for this, because socialist wealth redistribution and affirmative action. Right? Believe it. Say it with me now. Poor gay Black girls (children) took our jobs! They kept me from getting into school!
As a female Marine, a feminist, and a feminist who is interested in men’s issues in particular, I’d like to say two things:
1) I am deeply offended by how cheaply most nations hold the lives of men. (They hold the lives of women cheaply, but in different ways.) I am very bothered by this. I don’t think that a woman’s life is worth more than a man’s (and, naturally, do not feel that the reverse is true as well).
2) Because of this, I do not believe in the draft at all. I don’t think that the solution is to draft women (although, if men are up for the draft, women should be, too, and if they would let women serve in combat-related MOSs then that would make this even more practical). I think that the solution is to get rid of the draft.
Please tell me, as someone who argues for equality of risk in the military, and that women should be put in the line of fire if they damn well physically qualify and wish to go, precisely how much I devalue men. Please. I’m sure you’ll manage to twist it that way, but I’m intrigued as to how you might do so.
“Where’s Gloria Allred suing for women to sign up for selective service? When feminists start calling for quotas in the mainstream media for women to make up equal amounts of those down right dirty, dangerous, back-breaking jobs, then you’ll have a case.”
I’m Canadian; my country doesn’t really have ‘selective service’. Also, women serve on the front lines in the Canadian Forces. Your arguments only make sense in an American context, and most people in the world aren’t from the United States.
Why should feminism – in general – concern itself with the cultural peculiarities of a single nation? Feminists in the United States can wrestle with issues of selective service or whether or not women should serve on the front lines in combat; in Canada, we’ve already answered that question – they should. Women are also encouraged – by the Canadian government and private industry – to pick up a trade and jump into heavy industry – something feminists had fought to attain for years. Why should the debates about American Feminism inform your beliefs about feminists in general – that’s like forming an opinion about ‘language’ while concerning yourself only with English.
Your arguments that ‘feminists’ – as a catch-all term for all feminists everywhere – don’t demand that women be able to do the ‘heavy lifting’ alongside men is empirically false and appears more to be a caricature of feminism than anything else.
You realize it’s okay to have privilege, right? That is, having privilege doesn’t make one a bad person, it only makes one likely to misunderstand others’ perspectives. So you shouldn’t be afraid to analyze the ways in which you might have privilege over others.
I don’t have any patience for feminists who essentialize, who declare that men are always privileged over women, and so on. That mindset is going out of date; third-wave feminists and queer feminists like me are getting more of a voice now, and we do not essentialize. But I also don’t have any patience for anyone who is more concerned with proving that men have it worse than with fixing the problems.
The data I have shows that men are less educated, less employed, less healthy, less long lived, less likely to live with their children, less likely to have health insurance, less likely to have a roof over their head, and less likely to live free from incarceration,
Men receive better medical care. That’s been documented a number of times. (See, for example, here or here. If men die younger, it’s because they’re weaker, not because they’re getting less adequate care.
Likewise, multiple studies have demonstrated that boys/men are favored in classes over girls/women, starting in preschool. I’m not going to link out of fear of the spam filter, but go to google scholar and you’ll find documentation.
Men are given advantages by society. If they’re nonetheless failing more often than women, then maybe the advantages aren’t doing them any good. A professor of mine, a woman who had been the first woman to do quite a number of things once said that she felt that men were at a disadvantage as they got older because they were used to having things given to them just for being men (especially white men) and when they got to the age that they faced age discrimination they just didn’t know how to cope and shriveled up very quickly. Maybe men need to face challenges a little earlier so they won’t be shocked by them later in life.
“Men receive better medical care. That’s been documented a number of times. (See, for example, here or here. If men die younger, it’s because they’re weaker, not because they’re getting less adequate care.”
Those studies said nothing of the sort.
No, they say absolutely nothing of the sort, do they?
Nope. You missed the forest for the trees. The conclusion right there in black and white partially contradicts your interpretation of the study.
Which part of “Severely injured women were less likely to be directed to a trauma center across 2 types of providers.” contradicts the conclusion that men tend to get better care after traumatic injury?
Well, have you looked up income and property?
You know, a better education is worth zilch if the guy still gets the job/promotion.
You can do that experiment with “paper people”: fictional applications where you just exchange the names and let people rate them.
People above have explained why men often live without their children: Not only is it assumed that women have to raise the kids (that ain’t a privilege, I tell you), they often do, so in case of a divorce, children go to the primary caregiver.
And let’s not even start about rape.
Most of the disadvantages can be explained neatly by toxic masculinity: Most of the shorter life-expectancy is due the fact that high risk behaviour is held as positive, manly, strong.
“Most of the disadvantages can be explained neatly by toxic masculinity: Most of the shorter life-expectancy is due the fact that high risk behavior is held as positive, manly, strong.”
Don’t discount the fact that women are far less likely to date a man who is broke or without a job. Men take the work they can get, and if it’s dangerous then so be it. The alternative is little to no chance getting female companionship. This is one area women have privilege over men, and it has to be factored into why men die on the job more frequently. Desire for sex translates to taking risks to get the girl, so to speak. That can be on the job, showing off by doing a stunt, and so on. Why is this the case? Because that’s how we evolved and it’s what women select for on the macro scale. This is actually pretty common across mammalian species.
Argumentum ad pussytum, meaning that you’re an asshole to think about men as sex-obsessed idiot.
And a sexist for thinking that women are just not as much interested in sex as men are.
So you’ll raise your own lazy and unsupported assertion? Fantastic!
Never mind that these assertions are based on decades of data, from studies which have been repeatedly posted on the internet no less, and are available via channels where you normally find books and peer-reviewed research. I dunno, this article itself has links to supporting documentation, but I am also too lazy to go listing items for you to research.
So, don’t bother going to back up your own assertions any time soon now.
MRA’s don’t want to fix anything, they mostly want to whine. Even if you turned back the clock and gave them all the female submission they wanted, they’d still be whining.
I think the difference between the MRA crowd and other people who look at oppressed groups is that other groups seek a more egalitarian world and understand that achieving a higher status for some group doesn’t have to mean lowering the status of another. MRA’s tend to seem to think that it’s inherently a zero-sum game.
Their other assumption is that nothing about ‘traditional’ or dominant views about masculinity can possibly be harmful at all to anyone, an assertion not really defended with reasons, logic or evidence but just kind of screamed as if any challenge to it has to be forcefully shut down or vulgarly and derisively dismissed by some personal insults.
And on Oppression Olympics – it’s never helpful. Plus, every person is a combination of identities that in different situations carry different levels of privilege. I mean, I’m educated and that gives me a shitload of privilege, but once I’m out on the street I’m going to hear “hey bitch” from some jackass.
The difference between MRAs and other people is that MRAs know that men have real problems that need to be addressed, not dismissed with contempt because of our mythical “unparalleled privilege”.
No, you unrepentant troll, the difference is that MRAs misidentify the problems that men face as resulting from movements toward social equality instead of resulting from the systems of power, patriarchy being a big one, that inflect all of our lives. This is addressed in the OP; please go read it before you keep trolling.
I disagree with your characterization of PPM as a ‘troll’. He’s asking questions, he’s responding to the answers to those questions. That’s not trolling, that’s just raising an unpopular position. Trolling might happen later, but so far I don’t see it.
If you read what I responded to your above post you would see that I in no way dismiss the fact that men have real concerns. I tried to address each type of concern you brought up in my response there and provide at least an explanation of how patriarchy and the fact that a lot of men are getting a shitty deal might actually be related. I know plenty of people who describe themselves as feminists who talk about every single concern you bring up quite frequently. In fact, someone posted below you there and I think they did a good job of looking at what’s going on there.
Perhaps the MRA sites I’ve countered – which mostly argue that rape almost never happens and that most women who say they have been raped are lying, or that if men can vote and women can’t things would be better for both men and women, or views on women’s role in society that sound pretty much like the Taliban’s or that any man who would have a relationship with a ‘western woman’ might as well be committing suicide aren’t your personal views, but that’s the majority of what I’ve found. The idea is that every single male problem is because of feminism. It’s like arguing that every white person who is unemployed is out of work because of affirmative action.
If I could compress my views on patriarchy, is that it isn’t so much about men over women as SOME men over everyone else; it will rule for the tiny handful of men at the top and suck for everyone else.
“If I could compress my views on patriarchy, is that it isn’t so much about men over women as SOME men over everyone else; it will rule for the tiny handful of men at the top and suck for everyone else.”
Nice summary. I agree.
“The idea is that every single male problem is because of feminism.”
Right, it’s not. But my personal experience is that many feminists I meet in person or online react with extremely hostility to men’s rights or even men’s issues. It’s hard to encounter that type of response and NOT look at feminists as the enemy.
I’m sure you can understand how the identical argument can be made the other way. Swap the groups around in your last two sentences, and you’ll understand why the former is the case. People calling themselves MRAs are very seldom actually well-versed on the relevant issues, and instead spend the majority of time telling feminists that they (we) are either making things up or acting with malicious intent to take things away from men that they (we) deserve. On the other hand, feminists point out that MRAs often show very selective outrage and focus their attention on a group that, at least at an aggregate level, do disproportionately a lot better. This isn’t a case of both sides being equally wrong – it’s one side being belligerent (and often ignorant) and the other side reacting to being almost constantly under siege.
Also, there are a LOT of pieces of shit in the MRM. I doubt you’ll find the same proportion of total scum in the feminist camp.
“I’m sure you can understand how the identical argument can be made the other way.”
Certainly. But in the context of this discussion, YOU are speaking from the position of privilege. MRA 101 isn’t being taught in every college in the country. Feminism is.
Feminism is THE established frame for discussing gender issues. Those of us who find our needs dismissed within that frame go elsewhere.
“Also, there are a LOT of pieces of shit in the MRM.”
There certainly is.
“I doubt you’ll find the same proportion of total scum in the feminist camp.”
That’s a quantitative claim that I’m in no position to evaluate. My web browser has led me to plenty of hateful stuff presented as feminism. But a rotten apple competition isn’t pleasant or edifying.
Your issue keeps shifting. This whole post details exactly the reason why that is the case, and why “MRA 101” is a silly thing to demand parity for. Feminism was a reaction to male sociological dominance. Edwin studies masculinity, which is precisely the thing you’re asking be taught. Feminism is growing and changing, and if your position is “it should grow and change to reflect the fact the gender roles are oppressive to men too” then congratulations, you’ve arrived at the subject matter of this post (finally).
no, the difference is that MRAs take intersectional issues and pretend that they’re issues that men qua men face. the education thing is one such example. the common complaint among MRAs is that boys are being left behind in education in favor of women, and pretend that this is a gender issue. In reality, most demographics send more of their members to college now than in the 60’s, and the numbers of those men who were going to college then haven’t really changed much. what has changes is that other demographic groups have started to enter colleges and among racial minority students, the rise in numbers has been greater among women than among men. And the reason for that is the complex way in which race, class, and patriarchal masculinity interact (I’d suggest Geoffrey Canada’s writing on that, for starters).
so, it’s not men qua men that are being “left behind” in education. it’s ethnic minority men, who tend to be poor because of the way race and class work in the US. Erasing the racial and class component to make it look like this is a gender issue alone is dishonest, but typical.
And incarceration, for another example, tends to work out the same way, as an interaction of class, race, and sex/gender.
I second the recommendation of Geoffrey Canada. His writing on the subject is incredibly informative.
and a good thing, too. Shall we “teach the controversy”?
OTOH, the way patriarchy affects and harms men is taught at colleges. And is being studied at colleges. There’s entire research journals that deal with masculinity specifically. But, oh, that doesn’t count does it, because it’s all part of feminist analysis, eh?
take your pick.
“MRA’s don’t want to fix anything, they mostly want to whine. Even if you turned back the clock and gave them all the female submission they wanted, they’d still be whining.”
That’s quite the straw man.
“I think the difference between the MRA crowd and other people who look at oppressed groups is that other groups seek a more egalitarian world and understand that achieving a higher status for some group doesn’t have to mean lowering the status of another. MRA’s tend to seem to think that it’s inherently a zero-sum game.”
The growing Men’s Rights Movement is essentially a civil rights movement, and a lot of the issues at its core are in fact zero-sum, or pretty close to it. Child custody is one such example. Another is women being responsible for their decisions, or more to the point, ending female privilege. To quote Karen DeCrow, former president of NOW:
“Justice therefore dictates that if a woman makes a unilateral decision to bring pregnancy to term, and the biological father does not, and cannot, share in this decision, he should not be liable for 21 years of support. Or, put another way, autonomous women making independent decisions about their lives should not expect men to finance their choice.”
In other words it is a zero-sum game for women to own up to their decision to have a baby. They either do, or they don’t, and by not doing so they indenture men for their sole decision in the matter.
These are only but a few of the examples I can think of that applies to your mistaken interpretation of the men’s movement.
You know women can’t get pregnant on their own, do you? If you are worried about supporting a child later on, use a condom or get a vasectomy. You share the fun, you share the risks (at least to some proportion). There might be outliers like broken or slipped condoms, but apart from that you can’t have it both ways: put all the burden of contraception on the woman and share none of the risks or demand the she submits to a quite invasive medical procedure against her will to fix the mess you helped creating.
(d’oh if I keep commenting every other day I should really get me a nym…)
Only women have informed consent and full knowledge over whether or not they can get pregnant. Furthermore, only women have domain over their bodies and the outcome of pregnancy. Having a child is a choice, and is a choice only women have any control over. Requiring others to be responsible for this choice infantilizes women. This is a pretty good representation of how things should be IMO:
shorter bob: women’s right to control their bodies is a “special right” unlike the right of men to control their bodies, and should be ranked lower (if it should be considered at all) than men’s rights to their wallets
even shorter bob: children are not people, they’re expensive hobbies.
Tell me again: how does your decision to not provide for your own contraception not imply consensual acceptance to at least the risk of getting the women in question pregnant? You can easily avoid or at least minimize the chance that this might happen (see above). Oh, I see, it’s not you that gets pregnant so no worries, eh?
Bob, here’s my proposal: You want equal rights over the outcome of a pregnancy, you share equal risks and inconveniences. If you get someone pregnant and you want a vote in how she deals with the pregnancy, everything she suffers as part of the pregnancy you will also suffer. If she gets morning sickness, you get to take low dose cisplatin to simulate it. (Added bonus: this will also simulate the immunosuppression of pregnancy.) If you get sick, you will only be treated with drugs and treatments that can be safely given during pregnancy. No x-rays, of course. We’ll just guess whether you have pneumonia or not. We’ll do a few phlebotomies to simulate the anemia of pregnancy about the second trimester. If she gets a DVT you get a vessel ligated until one forms in you too. Labor I leave to your imagination, except to let you know that you should expect pain worse than the pain of a fingernail being pulled off* for about 15-48 hours. If she dies, you die. If she suffers permanent damage, you suffer permanent damage. You get the idea. When you’re ready to face this sort of physical danger, we can talk. (PS Did I mention the nearly inevitable choice between intraperitonal scarring and permanent incontinence? Another fun one!)
*I’ve been through both. Fingernail pulled off=about 6 on a 1 to 10 scale. Labor, closer to 9. Probably not 10. I can imagine worse. I don’t want to, but I can.
Wrt. your brilliant plan: you realize it’s implied that the biological father can force a woman to carry a baby she doesn’t want to term? You realize he can walk away from a pregnancy neither party wanted without as much as a “my bad” without any consequences? This can’t seriously be your idea how to make this world a better place for everyone, can it?
It’s all about balancing reproductive rights and responsibilities. At the moment women have all the rights, but men only have responsibilities. That is morally wrong.
You have no rights over the reproductive organs (and thus her body and her lifetime) of any woman, never ever, under no circumstances! It’s sad that I have to spell that out, but listening to you I get the impression that you don’t grasp this simple concept. It might make you sad that you don’t have an uterus of your own, but this does not give you the right to interfere with the one owned by another human you happen to fuck.
And, to make it clear a third time: you have every right and opportunity to prevent impregnating anyone and you lack the bodily requirements to get pregnant yourself, so how are your reproductive rights or your rights to bodily autonomy harmed in any way?
@Long time FTB Lurker
“you have every right and opportunity to prevent impregnating anyone…”
Sex is not consent to parenthood. Roe v Wade saw to that.
“…and you lack the bodily requirements to get pregnant yourself, so how are your reproductive rights or your rights to bodily autonomy harmed in any way”
That’s quite the straw man argument, but not relevant to the discussion at hand.
Yes, divorce is zero-sum. Extending civil rights to everyone is not.
You still avoid answering any of my questions. What reproductive rights do you want for yourself that you are still missing? Is my interpretation of your flow-chart correct? What about contraception, do you agree that you have equal responsibility to prevent a pregnancy and forfeit some of the rights you want to gain if you don’t provide means of contraception yourself? Do you think you should be able to force or at least coerce a woman to carry your precious proto-child to term? Do you think a woman has the right to terminate a pregnancy?
1. Karen DeCrow left NOW 25 years ago. And that quote of hers is 20 years old. I’m not really swayed by it. Times have changed, and ideas have changed, and ideas about children’s rights have definitely changed, and that’s who the child support is for. I personally don’t find her opinions from the 1970s and 1980s particularly important in the 2010s.
2. Believe you me, child support is not a zero-sum game. Both parents give resources to raise the child. Neither benefits from the other. The relationship between parent and child MAYBE is a zero-sum, if you frame that relationship as economic only.
3. Fathers are not indentured servants, and boo hoo hoo to guys who don’t want to take responsibility for children they create. You make a person, your life changes, roll with it.
Left NOW 35 years ago and that quote is 30 years old. Whoops. 1977 and 1982 respectively.
if we’re making stuff up about Roe V. Wade, let’s at least try to be not silly about it. In the sense you want to have it, Roe v. Wade ruled that sex is not consent to slavery. Losing control over your physical self is slavery; losing control over some of your cash is not. Payments are not slavery, they’re payment, and no one thinks that, ever (unless you’re a libertarian, and then you’re a lost cause anyway)
Anyway, any claim that if women can abort, then men can chose not to pay are disingenuously argued. For one, abortion is legal because it protects a basic human right: the right to bodily autonomy. There is no basic human right to cash, which is why we have taxes and fees and penalties and other payments that you have to make whether you like to or not, and why there isn’t anything wrong with that. For two, the money is not for the woman who made a decision about her body; it’s for the resulting spawn, and the resulting spawn does have the right to be taken care of until it reaches maturity. So, the absolutely only line of argument the defenders of their own cash have is to make arguments for a welfare state large and well-financed enough so that children don’t ever need unwilling parents to pay for their upkeep. but then, dudes would have to part with even more cash, in the form of taxes. And they’d have to do it regardless of whether they produced a kid.
1. Carry the main load of child-rearing and you get the custody
2. You can have all the abortions you want. Oh, wait, you’re never going to be in that situation because pregnancy, a dangerous and burdensome experience that changes a body forever only happens to women (and a few transmen). Abortion rights is about bodily autonomy, not about sex or child support.
Being forced to work under threat of violence is the very definition of slavery. Grown women choosing to have a baby on their own should be 100% responsible for the child’s upbringing so long as the man makes it known he’s not consenting to becoming a father. It’s no different than if the women had gone to a sperm bank.
And if you say children are entitled to the incomes of both parents please realize you’re also making the argument to ban sperm donation for single women.
“so, it’s not men qua men that are being “left behind” in education. it’s ethnic minority men, who tend to be poor because of the way race and class work in the US.”
That’s an extremely weak rationalization you provided for why boys and men are lagging behind at every level of education. And it’s not just minority men either – the deficits can be found for all races and socioeconomic levels.
The AAUW made a disingenuous attempt to rationalize the educational gender gap along the same lines, arguing that men weren’t doing worse, it’s just women are doing better. It’s a fine bit of relativity to take the educational standards of 1970 as adequate for today. The fact is that it’s a changing world, and for men’s educational achievement to be stagnant is the same as falling behind in a world of increasing educational expectations.
But see – this illustrates the whole problem. Men have a problem. Feminists say “prove it” or “no you don’t” or “check your privilege” or “it’s intersectionality” or “women have it worse” or anything to distract from the problem men have. So we conclude you’re full of shit and become MRAs.
Dear god, asking for evidence for controversial, non-obvious claims? What bitches!
The whole essay is marvelous, but these were my favorite lines of all. Thanks for this!
Great start, Edwin!
Nice to hear from a sociologist. It feels like the social sciences are under represented in the skeptical movement as a whole, which sadly can lead to some badly miss informed opinions from some skeptics and freethinkers.
It is a sad thing that everyone keeps saying that men have problems in Western society, and we have an MRA show up to say that no one believes that men have problems.
PostPatriarchalMan, your name is silly. You can’t change reality by declaration, and we’re still stuck in a society corrupted by patriarchy. Part of that corruption includes the problems you’ve listed, and those problems cannot be solved by attacking women. In fact, your best bet is to join in with the female majority and address the greater issue of privilege beyond just being angry over what you see other people having. And somewhere out there, there’s The Man who has been crapping on all of us, laughing that you can’t even see him because you’re so worried about the people who have it more or less just as bad as you do, and all you want is to see them have a little less.
“PostPatriarchalMan, your name is silly.”
Thank you. It’s a joke.
“Part of that corruption includes the problems you’ve listed, and those problems cannot be solved by attacking women.”
The goal isn’t to attack women. It’s to attack the political arm of feminism, which I and others believe is acting to advance special privileges and protections for women that are not enjoyed by men.
The alternative is for feminists to start taking men’s issues seriously. I think that’s unlikely to occur in a vacuum – gynocentricity is too deeply embedded. It might occur as a defensive response to the MRM however.
“all you want is to see them have a little less”
No I don’t. I want a little more for men.
Why do you assume that men deserve more than women automatically?
“The goal isn’t to attack women. It’s to attack the political arm of feminism, which I and others believe is acting to advance special privileges and protections for women that are not enjoyed by men.”
The only thing that I see the political arm of feminism doing is protecting the rights that women have already fought to obtain, and pushing for equality in the areas where it hasn’t yet been achieved. In the U.S., where I’m from, I don’t see the issue of men’s bodily autonomy being voted upon in the House, the Senate, and at the level of state government. I see it consistently and increasingly with regard to women’s bodily autonomy. Men have the privilege of having no state interference with their health care decisions. Women want the same privilege.
“The alternative is for feminists to start taking men’s issues seriously. I think that’s unlikely to occur in a vacuum – gynocentricity is too deeply embedded. It might occur as a defensive response to the MRM however.”
This is me, a feminist, taking men’s issues seriously. What I have a very big problem with is your assertion of gynocentricity in a women’s movement. Also, again, Intersectionality means not having tunnel vision, focusing on one specific cause to the exclusion of all others. Do you really think that feminists work to make women’s lives better, and to make men’s lives worse? Breaking down societal gender roles increases the freedom for everyone, of all genders, to live the lives that they want. Social justice activism will go a long way to solving everyone’s problems – not just the problems of women, or minorities, or LGTBQs, or men. Everyone benefits.
“special privileges”? is that like the “special rights” for gays to marry?
it already occurred, but because it’s feminist and intersectional you don’t like it, and prefer your own narratives of oppression of men qua men
The goal isn’t to attack women.
Well, then, you’re an incompetent failure because you are attacking women. No wonder you can’t get hired anywhere despite being a cis white man.
“Why do you assume that men deserve more than women automatically?”
I don’t. I want more for men in the areas where they have less than women now.
Could you be more specfic about special privileges? Because without specificity we could easily assume the worst about each other?
So tell us again why men can’t discuss their problems and demand the government they’re paying for address them ?
It never fails to amaze me how so many people can conclude that men are somehow privileged when every statistic from a credible source indicates otherwise in the developed world .
The whole point of the past forty years of government policy concerning women and girls was to give them an advantage in various fields and aspects of society . We feminized the school system both unabashedly and deliberately so that females would find it more suitable to their needs . This is undeniable … it was and has always been championed from the beginning as a means to grant females a certain amount of leverage in education .
We have countless initiatives and government departments catering solely to women . There are endless NGOs working to help women and girls .
All of this is in spite of statistics that clearly state that women live longer , work less , do very little of the physically demanding and dangerous work in the first place , are not obligated to risk themselves in any wars , can always rely on a demonstrably biased court system that favors females in every quantifiable way , DO earn as much as men do when apples are compared to apples and oranges to oranges , are encouraged through virtually every medium to be ambitious and proud of themselves as females , constitute a fraction of the homeless and destitute , rarely die on the job compared to men , have parental rights (as opposed to males who in practice have none that are respected by the courts) are pandered to by politicians who go out of their way to ignore the plight of men altogether , still enjoy the privileges of benevolent sexism (chivalry) without being socially obligated to reciprocate anymore , and the list goes on .
Where does this idea of male privilege come from ? I’ve never seen any positive discrimination policies to put more males in female dominated arenas . I’ve never seen a men’s hospital , a men’s shelter , or even a PSA to raise awareness about male-specific issues . In fact , one gets the impression that men have no problems at all . I guess it’s because that drug-addicted/war veteran/homeless/diseased/poorly-educated/abandoned is actually living the dream under that expansive overpass .
I don’t know . I guess I missed the memo but nobody has ever offered me anything whatsoever just for being male . I see plenty of handouts for women and girls though .
How strange is that eh ?
Shorter PostPatriarchalMan: I’m afraid of losing my privileges as a white cis-hetero man. Women might become equal to me! So I’ll claim there are some sorts of privileges women have that men don’t and try to get those privileges removed so I’m still on top!
PS. Bitches ain’t shit.
“it already occurred, but because it’s feminist and intersectional you don’t like it, and prefer your own narratives of oppression of men qua men”
Actually I like intersectional theory quite a bit. It’s a very useful way to understand things. I just think you have your facts wrong. You assume that being male always infers advantage, but the facts say otherwise. Look up some stats on social well being measures such as education, incarceration, judicial sentencing, life expectancy, health care coverage, employment, etc. separated by race and gender. You’ll find that black males are on the bottom of many of those measures. Being male is not a privilege to a poor black man in many aspects of life – it’s a burden. To a lesser extent, it can be a burden to a poor white man too. There are more social programs, charity outreach, and leniency to women at the bottom of the socio-economic scale than to men.
@PPM: I think your main misunderstanding here (I am giving you the benefit of doubt that you don’t just misuse this thread to reiterate how disadvantaged men are) is with the concept of privilege. I’m no expert and there are tons of people here that will be able to explain it better than me, but having privilege does not strictly mean having an advantage. From my reading, it just means in some aspects you will have a high chance to have an “easier”, not necessarily a longer, healthier or wealthier life than an equal person without this privilege IF you control for all other factors.
You (generic) will in all likelihood also find it hard to relate to the specific problems of folks lacking this specific privilege. Women could earn 10 times as much as men but being male would still carry privilege through not needing to worry that much about getting pregnant or raped or being subjected to a barrage of media distorting the perception of the beauty of your body.
No one is denying that being male carries disadvantages as well and those disadvantages might even be offsetting the advantages one gains from the privilege (e.g. the proverbial under-educated poor black man) and I am the first to admit that my privilege as affluent, college educated white-straight-cis-male makes it hard for me to relate to these issues. When someone asks you to “check your privileges”, they are essentially saying that you should try to find a way to see life from the perspective in question, as hard to impossible as is to really step into the shoes of the “other”.
I’m flattered you read one of my articles about toxic masculinity, Edwin 🙂
and of course, personally I wouldn’t have minded “haylage” at all, hehe
Well thanks so much for writing it! Like I said, your post on the subject is fantastic!
OMS, that’s just so rich with irony.
yep. that’s the same silliness as when MRAL (aka “matriarchy”) stopped by pharyngula to tell us that women’s health is taken more seriously because there’s no equivalent to the Go Red For Women campaign (which raises awareness about the female-typical signs of a heart attack, and also of the fact that women can have heart attacks at all.)
Yeah, my college roommates mothe died young of a heart attack because the ER discharged her.
Generally speaking women’s health is taken more seriously. Chalk this one up to the disposability of males.
Furthermore, how many councils are there for women’s health by the govt? A lot. How many are there for men? I don’t think there’s a single one. Another example, look at cancer funding–women get the lion’s share.
Don’t know where you’re from, bob, but here in Australia it’s something-or-other awareness day/week/month all the time, and a good proportion of the time it’s men’s issues, most prominently prostate cancer.
bobsutan: Dig more and you’ll find that a pro-women bias is not needed to explain either higher cancer funding or women’s governmental health panels (although feminism – as taken only as equal treatment for women – does help explain them.) Occam’s razor.
a) Government panels: Reproduction (governments have always been concerned about population), and fights over reproductive control and changing attitudes towards women politicizes women’s health, so you see more government panels. It is more likely that there are more government panels on women’s health because people are both for and *against* women’s health, and debate leads to bureaucracy (even, and especially, after the debate is over).
b) Cancer funding. Women tend to get more sick than men, and it turns out to be not from a difference in reporting as once thought. It turns out a large part of the difference is because they live longer (so cancer costs especially would be higher – it is much more prominant among the aged.) Further suspected factors are relatively less exercise, and issues around and following pregnancy. People that are more sick, have higher health care costs.
@PPM- I am white and female and from a relatively comfortable background. It doesn’t hurt me to recognize that many poor white men have had a harder time than i have. I can recognize that I have certain privileges without getting defensive about it.
This doesn’t mean that I don’t have to work hard, it just means that there are some issues I’ve had the luxury of not having to deal with- like childhood malnutrition for example. I don’t need to join a country club because someone might dare to ask me to acknowledge my own class privilege any more than men need to become mras when others ask them to consider their own privileges.
To not do this just comes off as sort of churlish and petty, and it seems like the people who typically already have the most privilege make the conversation about themselves. Would you go to a blog post about disabled people to tell them how hard you’ve had it? I’m not saying that’s what you did here, but you should understand why you might not be getting the best reception.
“It doesn’t hurt me to recognize that many poor white men have had a harder time than i have.”
I am white and affluent and well educated and male and heterosexual and married and able bodied, and I acknowledge there is privilege associated with each of those.
My objection to privilege isn’t about me. It is whether “privilege” is the appropriate way to frame a discussion about the problems faced by men who have very little privilege at all.
men who have very little privilege have little privilege because they’re poor, disabled, non-white, trans, or any number of other things… but they’re usually still better off than a woman would be in the same situation. intersectionality doesn’t erase privilege along one axis, it merely complicates the way privileges on some axes and lack-of-privileges on other axes shape a person’s life.
“men who have very little privilege have little privilege because they’re poor, disabled, non-white, trans, or any number of other things… but they’re usually still better off than a woman would be in the same situation.”
I don’t think that’s necessarily true. Poor men are more likely to be undereducated, incarcerated, homeless, or dead than their female peers. And when it comes to oppression Olympics, it’s pretty hard to top being dead.
it’s jadehawk. c/p really isn’t that hard.
now, to the point:
1)women are more likely to be poor than men, to begin with, and that’s true across all racial categories.
2)what “Poor men are more likely to be undereducated” actually means, in terms of the above, is that higher education is less of a ticket out of poverty for women than for men
3)while you’re right that men are more likely to e homeless than women, single mothers make up the fastest-growing segment of the homeless population, and they’re homeless longer than men, on average:
4)the two things were poor men are worse off, incarceration and mortality rates, in both cases the solution is dismantling of patriarchal structures as well as decreasing class inequality, since they’re caused by complex interactions between race, class, and toxic masculinity.
meaning, in conclusion, that the comment you thought you were refuting was not refuted, since I didn’t use the word “usually” merely to use more words. It is correct that usually a man will have more privilege than a woman who otherwise shares all his kyriarchical statuses. “Usually”, after all, doesn’t mean “invariably always”.
So how exactly should we frame it?
First you like intersection, then you basically call it evasion. Then you recognize your privilege as an affluent, white, able-bodied, cis male, then you deny that any of this actually confers an advantage.
So how pray tell do we frame this complicated issue of privilege, which you acknowledge exists, without mentioning those things that actually confer privilege?
I have a proposal. Let’s all just do what Edwin did from the get go and say this:
“1)women are more likely to be poor than men, to begin with, and that’s true across all racial categories.”
True but not relevant. We were comparing the status of poor men to poor women, not counting them.
“2)what “Poor men are more likely to be undereducated” actually means, in terms of the above, is that higher education is less of a ticket out of poverty for women than for men”
True but you’re shifting the focus. I was pointing out a disadvantage that poor men suffer to a higher degree than poor women. While analyzing causes of that is worthwhile, this still remains as one counterexample to your claim that poor women are more disadvantaged.
“3)while you’re right that men are more likely to e homeless than women, single mothers make up the fastest-growing segment of the homeless population, and they’re homeless longer than men, on average:”
True, but shifting focus again. The facts about homeless women don’t make the number of homeless men fewer. This claim still stands as a counter-example.
“4)the two things were poor men are worse off, incarceration and mortality rates, in both cases the solution is dismantling of patriarchal structures as well as decreasing class inequality, since they’re caused by complex interactions between race, class, and toxic masculinity.”
Regardless of the cause, my point still stands.
What I perceive here a desire to contest the points I’ve made in some way, despite that you’ve actually agreed with most of them. Why do you do that? Why not just agree that yes, poor men are disadvantaged in certain ways. Then we could move on to the proposed explanations, such as patriarchal structures and toxic masculinity.
“Don’t let facts get into the way of my opinion”
Lack of access to children may actually be a patriarchal problem. Stats Canada indicates that 80% of divorces are not contested. Therefore in 80% of all divorces the parties have agreed agreed where the children are living. The statistics I was looking at are not terribly clear but it appears of the remaining 20% only 2% actually go to trial. I could not find any breakdown of how many of these dealt with custody as the information is only any dispute. This means that again men are agreeing to give custody to/ or share custody with the mothers. There is still a tendency for women be the primary caregivers, especially of young children. Men are less likely to be involved in the child care and house work. (Again from Stats Canada) I still hear comments that put men down for doing housework/child care (mainly from men). So when it comes time to decide where children are going to live it is often because the mother has been doing the majority of the child raising that the children are with her. So to determine whether there is a court bias we would need to look at only that 2%. I believe this was done about 10 years ago but I cannot find the report. I have anecdotal evidence that this is slowly changing and men are in some instances given praise for taking time for family concerns (while women are being told they are irresponsible for taking time off for family concerns).
You have a lot of good points, Mary P. But there is an effect called “bargaining in the shadow of the law” that needs to be taken into account. A man who wishes to contest custody has to take the practices of the family law court into account, and the practice of the court is a preference for maternal custody. If he wishes to contest this practice, he faces an uphill battle from the start. Only those men who are determined to see a lengthy court battle to the end, affluent enough to underwrite the expense, and possibly ruthless enough to risk harm to his kids, can pursue such a path. A man with these qualities is relatively rare. Most men just settle for the default maternal custody, because their odds of challenging it are slim.
That’s why the “presumption of shared custody” is a central men’s rights goal. We wish to have the court take shared custody as the starting point, and only shift custody in favor of one or the other parent when evidence is presented to the unsuitability of the other parent. Of course abuse, irresponsibility, criminal activity etc would count as reasons to give primary custody to one of the parents.
The sad part about this is the usual opponents to such laws are divorce lawyers. And feminists.
As I said to you in a previous comment, breaking down traditional gender roles provides more freedom for everybody. The problem with having “assigned” roles for the genders is illustrated in your concern about custody decisions. More often than not, women are the primary caregivers in heterosexual marriages. Standard practice in U.S. law is to make decisions based on the best interests of the child(ren) in question, not the parents (if they cannot come to an agreement on their own). The judges will rule usually rule in favor of the caregiver because of this. This doesn’t always mean that they make the right decisions, but their decisions are influenced by societal attitudes toward men and women.
Feminists are trying to reduce societal pressures on men and women. There is societal pressure on women to give up their careers in order to take care of children. There is societal pressure on men to be the providers for the family. Removing these rigid expectations will result in more real freedom for men and women in choosing their respective roles, AND will change perspectives on what roles men are capable of filling in their own family.
The proof is in the pudding. NOW fought tooth and nail against presumption of equally shared custody in the US. How is that working for equality?
I live in a jurisdiction with presumed shared custody. The problems are in how this works in reality. Who pays for child care? Who takes time off work to take the kids to the doctor, the dentist, the whatever. Many of the people I know share custody. That often means that the children primarily live with one parent but many of these children are sharing their time equally between both parents. But – this means that the parents have to be able to get along. As soon as parents cannot then the court will intervene because one of the parents (or both) has asked them to. The old study I referred to says IIRC that in contested custody that goes to trial fathers get custody at about the same rate as mothers. I cannot be more accurate because it was ten years ago and I cannot find the report.
A major problem with the presumed joint custody is the problems that arise where there has been any type of abuse. It can be very hard to joint parent where there is this type on imbalance.
If feminism was ACTUALLY trying to break down the gender roles in these areas they would have done something. What have they done? To my knowledge feminsim has actively lobbied for changes in law that presume maternal custody.
Feminism actively or passively supports the patriarchy when it benefits them – in situations such as custody. There is not a large feminist dialogue arguing that custody determinations should be shared custody.
So I ask you, while feminist “theory” opposes the presumption of maternal custody, where is feminist “practice”? As the old axiom goes, in theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they’re different.
Feel free to find me some feminist opposition to the presumption of maternal custody, and I’ll gladly eat crow.
In Ireland, a woman’s place in the home used to be enshrined in the constitution. In those days, a man almost never got custody of his own children, even if his wife died (There’s a film about this starring Pierce Brosnan). The government thought it was better to put children in an orphanage than leave them in a situation where there was no female caregiver.
Since the advent of feminism, this practice has ended and now more men are getting custody of their children. You’d think that men who are sincerely concerned about being able to parent their children would be grateful for feminism for breaking down traditional patriarchal gender roles and allowing them to parent.
And yet there are men here who *claim* to be concerned about this issue, but who are upset with feminism. Why? Because they miss the glory days of women being forced out of their jobs upon marriage, the days when women could be forced to stay married to them (divorce was illegal).
So it’s clear that MRAs want it both ways: They want the good old days when women had no rights, didn’t compete for jobs, did all the domestic stuff and couldn’t divorce them AND they want to parent their children. Although, on closer examination it becomes clear that they are less interested in parenting their children than they are in having legal ownership of them.
And by the way, my dad had legal custody over me as a child and raised me to be feminist. He had the sense to recognise that feminism broke down traditional gender roles and allowed him to parent. And he didn’t have to do any of the things you said in your comment to get custody because the court simply recognised that he was in a more stable situation. Thanks, feminism.
“And yet there are men here who *claim* to be concerned about this issue, but who are upset with feminism. Why? Because they miss the glory days of women being forced out of their jobs upon marriage, the days when women could be forced to stay married to them (divorce was illegal).”
That’s a common attempt to dismiss men’s rights but it is untrue. I am interested in gender equality, but I want the same equality for men as for women.
This conversation serves as an example of the difficulty of accomplishing that in a feminist environment. Not one of you here has been willing to explicitly concede that men are disadvantaged in some areas and then have a discussion about those areas of disadvantage. Instead it’s been deny, dismiss, derail, and change the conversation to women’s problems.
“That’s a common attempt to dismiss men’s rights but it is untrue. I am interested in gender equality, but I want the same equality for men as for women.”
No you don’t and neither do the MRAs here. Men who want to do an equal amount of parenting to women are called “feminists.” Men who don’t want to do the parenting work, but feel like they have a “right” to custody of their kids are MRAs.
“This conversation serves as an example of the difficulty of accomplishing that in a feminist environment.”
Accomplish what exactly? Take away the rights women have fought for? Yes, taking away women’s rights is a difficult thing to accomplish in a feminist environment. Although if you really wanted to work for equality among all the genders, a feminist envirornment would be perfect, as illustrated by the fact that feminism in Ireland has made progress toward equality.
“Not one of you here has been willing to explicitly concede that men are disadvantaged in some areas and then have a discussion about those areas of disadvantage.”
Actually, if you read my original comment, you will see that men not parenting was a problem I identified. But then I acknowledge that feminism has helped to break down this problem over the years, as evidenced by the fact that men in Ireland are now doing more parenting work and are now getting custody more often as a result. And that’s when you tune out.
“Instead it’s been deny, dismiss, derail, and change the conversation to women’s problems.”
My comment acknowledged the problems facing women AND men as parents under the old patriarchal system we had here. Your probleem with it is that it also acknowledged the obvious: that the advent of feminism was good for both male and female parents. And here you are trying to derail by speaking in generalities instead of specifically addressing the reality that feminism has been good for both men and women.
It’s like you’re OK with the conversation ONLY if it revolves around men’s problems. Once women are acknowledged as entities, your emotional reaction gets in the way. You even half admit in another comment that your position is an emotional one (when you say you turn to MRA because you feel your needs aren’t addressed by feminism and that being a MRA is easier). Since you are completely unable to reason through these issues (and many commenters here have patiently attempted reason with you), you should think about working out whatever issues you have towards women with a counsellor as they are obviously emotional, personal issues that you are trying to hide under ideological positions (that, on closer examination, have nothing to do with reality).
I agree to most of your post. Except this part omits an important case:
What do you call women who are strongly opposed to the default assumption of shared care (“equal or substantial and significant time with each parent”) being in the child’s best interest (except in cases with violence etc), as is the case in Australia?
Yes, there are women like this: One of them publishes “scientific” papers with incredibly shifted statistics (proving in the main section that shared care is bad when the parents have an all-out war, and beneficial when parents cooperate, and neutral otherwise, then the summary and conclusions simply state “shared care is harmful” without the qualifying conditions). One of them writes major articles in major, influential newspapers citing a few examples of abusive fathers as a reason that only mothers should ever have custody. At least one of them is a mediator who tries to talk divorcing mothers out of their amicable agreement on shared care.
There are female equivalents to MRAs, and unfortunately they call themselves feminist, too.
bah. logging in at pharyngula logged me in here, too, and now two of my comments are stuck in moderation :-p
“The only thing that I see the political arm of feminism doing is protecting the rights that women have already fought to obtain, and pushing for equality in the areas where it hasn’t yet been achieved. ”
I’ll give an example of what I’m talking about. In the U.S., the Obama administration is discussing upcoming plans to use Title IX to increase the representation of women in STEM subjects. Fine, that’s addressing an inequality. But when you look at the gender disparities in education, nearly all of them favor females. Males are lagging females at all levels of education up to and including Ph.D. Women are graduating at much higher rates from colleges in all fields except STEM and business. Boy’s reading deficiencies are much larger than any STEM deficiencies among girls. So the bulk of the inequalities at all levels are to the disadvantage of males.
What is the Obama administration doing about that? Nothing. Not even mentioning it.
So this fits the feminist pattern – feminists are opposed to gender inequalities – except those that disadvantage men.
“This is me, a feminist, taking men’s issues seriously. What I have a very big problem with is your assertion of gynocentricity in a women’s movement.”
Then why do I keep hearing that men should get on board with feminism because it has all the answers to our gender issues? At least you’re being honest here. It doesn’t. It’s all about women. And I’m fine with that.
“Do you really think that feminists work to make women’s lives better, and to make men’s lives worse?”
Yes I do. I know that if anyone in the Obama administrations said “Hey wait. Let’s do something for all those boys that can’t read!” the AAUW would be all over them like white on rice until they got back to the program of making life better for women and ignoring men.
Jadehawk addressed this in one of the above comments, but I’ll quote it here for you:
“the common complaint among MRAs is that boys are being left behind in education in favor of women, and pretend that this is a gender issue. In reality, most demographics send more of their members to college now than in the 60′s, and the numbers of those men who were going to college then haven’t really changed much. what has changes is that other demographic groups have started to enter colleges and among racial minority students, the rise in numbers has been greater among women than among men. And the reason for that is the complex way in which race, class, and patriarchal masculinity interact (I’d suggest Geoffrey Canada’s writing on that, for starters).
so, it’s not men qua men that are being “left behind” in education. it’s ethnic minority men, who tend to be poor because of the way race and class work in the US.”
Emphasis mine. And by your own admission, the Title IX initiative to increase the representation among women in STEM fields is due to a current inequality. These issues are more complex than “blame the feminists”, which you disavowed when you first started commenting on this thread but is now starting to slip into your explanations for the underlying causes to the issues you’ve brought up.
I (and other feminists) am NOT opposed to gender inequalities that disadvantage men, and that is a pretty disingenuous statement for you to make. I would love to see the stigma of being a stay-at-home dad removed, and for employers to take men’s requests for time off to deal with family issues more seriously than they currently do. (To name just one example.)
What you’re talking about are issues that need to be egalitarian, humanist and social justice issues. I have trouble understanding why feminism, which as I said by nature focuses on issues that affect women, is somehow in the wrong for not championing every single issue that affects everyone, regardless of gender.
Intersectionality means taking on multiple issues, in conjunction with other movement groups. Which is what I’ve been saying to you in almost every one of my responses. Me focusing on issues that affect women does not mean that I don’t care about or focus on issues that affect men. My professional work is in industrial hygiene, and being so interested in men’s issues I’m sure that you’re aware that men account for the bulk of workplace fatalities. I am working to change that, and it’s something that I’m passionate about. I believe that no one should ever go to work and not come home, and I am committed to making my workplace safer.
Also, your belief that feminists intentionally work to make life better for women at the express detriment to men is ridiculous and insulting. The feminist movement is what started inquiry into gender issues in the first place, and the author of this post studies masculinities. The reason that we are having this discussion in the first place is because of feminism.
Fuck. That sentence should read “I (and other feminists) are NOT ‘opposed to gender inequalities – except those that disadvantage men’. Apologies for neglecting to preview.
Your attempt to reframe the education gap as primarily a racial issue rather than a gender issue is not only dishonest but wrong. Please, use all the terms like intersectionality you want, if you refuse to actually cite data, your points are entirely moot.
The factor is that across all races, male enrollment has stagnated while female enrollment in post secondary education has skyrocketed.
Specifically, among men (in thousands) WHITE women went from 3700 to 6000 between 1976 and 2010. In the same time frame WHITE men went from 4000 to 4800. Black, Asian, and Hispanic men have seen enrollment growth from 100% (black) to 500% (Hispanic / Asian). Female black Asian and Hispanic have seen growth from 300% to 1000%.
Your attempt to re-frame this as a race issue is moot when you look at the actual data. The fact of the matter is men are stagnating across ALL races, and white males are seeing the absolute lowest growth in enrollment across all gender / race combinations. Attempting to hide the ball in this manner is intellectually dishonest. And doing so without actually looking at the data is downright stupid.
Source: http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2012/2012045_5.pdf (National Center for Education Statistics, a government agency, 2010 report.)
Jadehawk is factually incorrect. The educational deficiencies suffered by males are evident among all races and socio-economic groups in the U.S.
Click to access whereGirlsAre.pdf
Look at the figures. Figure 1 shows a 14 point deficit for males at age 17 in reading. This gap has doubled since 1980, and absolute male performance has been decreasing since 1988.
Now look at Figure 5, age 17. The gender gaps in reading are evident for all races, and have all gotten worse since 1980.
So despite the spin and dissimulation in this document, the evidence is clear. The gender gap in reading favoring girls is much larger than the gender gap in math favoring boys. The gender gap in reading has been getting bigger since 1980, while the gender gap in math has been getting smaller. The gender gap is evident in all races. The race gaps are bigger than the gender gaps.
It’s true that black men are at the bottom of the scale. This is a case of intersectionality where being male compounds the disadvantage of being black.
“And by your own admission, the Title IX initiative to increase the representation among women in STEM fields is due to a current inequality. ”
Right, and I’m all for that. But the inequalities suffered by males in the educational system today are worse than those suffered by females. However, the only Title IX enforcement is for those few remaining inequalities suffered by females. And the data I’ve provided shows that this is NOT just a race issue – it’s gender issue. This is not gender equality in my mind.
no I’m not. let’s look at the primary sources here, shall we?
on this here site, you click on the LongTermTrend button (the cheez-whiz colored one), and get yourself one cross-tabulated report (or chart) for 6 racial categories and gender
relevant numbers in this table
in 2008 at age 17, the gap between white boys and white girls is a piddly 3 points. it’s the difference between girls and boys in the other ethnic minorities that makes the bulk of the gender gap: 17 pts difference between African Americans, 6pts between Hispanic Americans, and 9pts between Asian Americans.
in the other age categories, the data is slightly more ambiguous, but still: the largest gap is always between African American girls and boys (12pts at 9, 16pts at 13) and that gap is also growing. the smallest gaps are between hispanic boys and girls (5pts at both ages) and between white boys and girls (6pts at 9, 7pts at 13), and those gaps are shrinking.
what I see when I look at the numbers above is not “boys failing” or “boys being left behind”. I see asian girls excelling exceptionally; I see white kids and asian boys doing pretty much equally well (though with some potential for worry for older asian boys); and I see all black and hispanic kids and especially black and hispanic boys badly needing help catching up.
so that’s where I’d focus any effort. On specifically helping poor minority youth, and especially help them with the kind of problems that cause minority boys to not succeed in school*. White guys don’t need any help, but numerically speaking any affirmative action (especially targeted at college admissions) targeted at “boys” in general would benefit white guys most. which would be counterproductive.
*which, incidentally, very often are a combination of patriarchy hurting men by demanding violence from them, and racism by cops and other armed assholes
hmph. i forgot to give the link to where the numbers came from.
also, I seem to have managed a bout of dyslexia/dyscalculia, so the corrected chart is here (with added standard errors, too)
also, it means I need to correct something else: all older teen boys need programs, because even white and asian boys, once they reach the 17-year category, seem to slip up/stagnate.
my point on the priority of focusing on hispanic and black kids, especially boys, stands though. so does the point that affirmative action for college admissions for boys in general also already exists.
I went to the NEAP Data Explorer and this is what I got for age 17 reading scores in 2008:
White (not Hispanic) 2008 National 289 (male) 301(female)
That’s a 12 point gap, consistent with the gap shown on Figure 5 on page 22 in the AAUW report.
The figures for 1980 are 289 (boys vs. 297 (girls). So the gap has increased from 8 points to 12 points over this time – a time period of extensive focus on girl’s education, and I believe, a neglect of boys education.
So one of us isn’t using the NEAP tool correctly. Since my results are consistent with the AAUW report, it’s probably you.
already explained how trying to frame this as a gender issue is pretty close to lying by oversimplification.
incorrect. the bulk of inequalities in education fall along race and class issues, making minority men the slowest-growing group in terms of educational achievements.
meaning, Obama is helping those men who are actually being disadvantaged (poor minority students), and not those that just look disadvantaged by lumping (men qua men).
not that that’s stopped a lot of universities from implementing pro-male affirmative action, for fear of losing prestige by becoming too feminized
Interestingly, all these discussions of “male privilege” seem to actually omit the privilege males have. Aside from the “apex fallacy” this entire article seems to be based on, it’s also a classic example that assumes the conclusion. The assumption is that men are privileged, because of “the patriarchy” so it’s not surprise that you would come to the conclusion that men are not oppressed.
Not only that, but the whole characterization of MRM as “teh menz” is incredibly disrespectful and is nothing more than ad hom. And why should people in the “feminist” camp expect to be engaged reasonably by people they spend most of their time personally insulting (hint: they shouldn’t).
While male “problems” are often results of “the patriarchy” MRM doesn’t rail against women about them. In fact, MRM doesn’t generally rail against women at all. The MRM is incredibly accepting of women. What the MRM is opposed to is feminism due to how feminism is actually practiced – it’s not about equality or egalatarianism, as feminists would claim, but about improving women’s status in areas they think their status should be improved.
Feminists, then make the false equivalence to assert that because the MRM opposes feminism they are misogynistic. But that isn’t remotely true. What MRM opposes in feminism is primarily the hypocrisy that feminism opposes the patriarchy when it is adverse to their interests, but actively supports it or takes a neutral stance when it is not (there is no feminist push that women should be cool with dating unemployed men, see, e.g. http://jezebel.com/5921642/cold+hearted-ladies-refuse-to-date-unemployed-men). While feminists say they’re “fighting the patriarchy” the problem is they’re doing two things: attributing all the problems in society to men, and then actively not fighting those problems when they don’t affect them. This is where the MRM comes in. To pretend like this is just men being whiny, privileged babies is ridiculous.
But back to my original point that all of this assumes the conclusion. The idea that men have some huge level of privilege that isn’t comparable to the privilege women have is a holdover from a world that existed 40 years ago, not the world that we live in today.
We have a world where female enrollment in college is higher than men (57 v. 43), where female attainment of 4 year degrees is higher (45 v. 50), where female attainment of post graduate agrees is higher (14 v. 16), and despite the fact that women’s presence in secondary education is exactly the same as men’s presence in 1972 when Title IX went into effect (57%) to increase women’s participation in post secondary education, the lions share of things like scholarships and other opportunities are available to women. There is no consideration for the fact that men are in exactly the same place women were in 1972, yet Title IX is still treated as a statute that needs to put women even further ahead. Source: http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2012/2012045_5.pdf
We live in a world where women are more likely to get a lighter sentence for the same crime as a men. Where women are less likely to be pulled over, ticketed, searched, or arrested than men in exactly the same circumstances. (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120621130716.htm)
Where women are unquestioned in assertions of domestic violence, and it’s treated completely differently. A man so much as bruises a woman by grabbing her arm and he’s subject to the full extent of the law and crucified in the media. A woman cuts off a man’s penis and it’s treated as a joke on daytime TV. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rkl_oLSKQc)
We live in a world where women are the benefit both of the feminist movement as well as the ingrained bias to favor women in the patriarchy. And what do we have to support the argument that men are just “privileged” and women are “oppressed”? A 40 year old feminist narrative about the “wage gape” which is explainable by choices and investment in human capital? A 30 year old feminist narrative about a “second shift” which has been shown to not actually exist. (source: https://webspace.utexas.edu/hamermes/www/IsoWork120407.pdf)
And yet, People such as yourself (author) and all feminists in general would have us believe that men are simply living a life of privilege and MRA’s are doing their very best to continue the oppressive systems holding women down.
Sorry, but that’s a joke. And so is your characterization about “teh menz” and the MRM movement in general. It’s sad that you would be so quick to uncritically and unanalyically embrace the feminist narrative and turn your back on the rights of your own gender, but I suppose that’s the power of both feminism and the patriarchy which has programmed you, from the very beginning to be extremely deferential to women. But of course, feminism would never fight that stereotype, would it.
“We have a world where female enrollment in college is higher than men (57 v. 43), where female attainment of 4 year degrees is higher (45 v. 50), where female attainment of post graduate agrees is higher (14 v. 16), and despite the fact that women’s presence in secondary education is exactly the same as men’s presence in 1972 when Title IX went into effect (57%) to increase women’s participation in post secondary education, the lions share of things like scholarships and other opportunities are available to women. There is no consideration for the fact that men are in exactly the same place women were in 1972, yet Title IX is still treated as a statute that needs to put women even further ahead. Source: http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2012/2012045_5.pdf”
This is an excellent point. Men are sitting at where women were when feminists demanded equality in education. So, now that the figures have flip-flopped where’s the demands for equality now? Oh, right, feminist sit in their ivory tower and demand more for women. Case in point, Obama just announced his plan to extend Title IX to college degrees too. WTF? As if men weren’t already in need of help as it is.
It’s been fun discussing with you all.
I’m going to leave with this: I think you’re doing it wrong.
The discussions here illustrate the whole problem. Men come and say “We have a problem”. Feminists and masculinists say “prove it” or “no you don’t” or “check your privilege” or “it’s intersectionality” or “women have it worse” or “you hate women” or anything to distract from the problem men have. So we conclude you’re full of shit and become MRAs.
If you really don’t want men to go join the MRAs because that’s where all those misogynists hang out, you might try something different. When a man comes and says “I have a problem”, you say “I understand that. This is why and this is what you can do to make it better”.
Try it sometime.
What, pray tell, do you think feminists mean when they say “The patriarchy hurts men, too”? It means, “Yes, you have a problem, and here’s why. This is what we’re doing to fix it.”
“What, pray tell, do you think feminists mean when they say “The patriarchy hurts men, too”?”
Honestly? I think it’s all theoretical. You admit such a thing is possible in principle. When it really comes down to a real issue with political and economic consequences, the evasion and dissimulation starts.
The education gap is a good example. I provided data above (from the AAUW no less) that clearly shows the gender gap is not just an issue that affects minorities. It affects white males too. But you and Jadehawk will not admit that. A disadvantage suffered by white males just doesn’t fit your concept of intersectionality. So you claim it’s a racial issue, not a gender issue, so the Obama administration’s neglect of the male educational deficiencies is justified.
And that’s the problem in a nutshell. I say there’s a problem. You say no, it’s something else. Because the problem doesn’t fit your ideology, so you turn it into something else that does.
If your “The patriarchy hurts men, too” claim was valid, we’d be discussing why boys are doing poorly in school now. But you didn’t want to go there.
three points. three lousy little points. please, spare me.
“three points. three lousy little points. please, spare me.”
Where do you get 3 points?
Figure 5, page, 22, shows at least a 10 point gap in reading at age 17 for whites, with boys lower. Figure 4, page 21, shows about a 3 point advantage for boys in math at age 17.
I’m comparing the results at age 17, because skills at that age impact college admission or employment.
The latter inequality receives a huge amount of attention from the federal government. The former inequality does not, despite being about 3 times larger.
But you really won’t concede to any male disadvantage, will you?
Women were barrred from doing science degrees at many universities until the mid 20th century.
Men are now behind 3 points in reading scores.
Oh my god, men are so oppressed!
Of course, men are certainly oppressed by patriarchy. Just as Frederick Douglas noted that slavery was bad for white people, too, because it took away their humanity when they dehumanised black people; feminists acknowledge that patriarchy is/was bad for men when it causes them to dehumanise women (amongst other things). However, not all people are equally affected and if you think being behind three points on some test is the same kind of oppression as being barred from studying physics, it’s time to get some perspective.
But since the MRAs here can’t grasp this, maybe we should start speculating as to why they have compulsive, emotional reactions to feminism.
1.Psychosomatic illness. According to Rosalind Minsky, “Projection is also likely to be an unconcsious factor in certain forms of racial or ethnic hatred and in some men’s hatred of women. The people onto whom these projections have been made have to be severely controlled because, like human psychical dustbins, they contain rejected parts of the self.” (86, Psychoanalysis and Gender).
2. There’s the Marxist economic perspective: Feminism is erroding male authoriy and advantage. Men now have to compete with women in work and education instead of just with other men, so MRAs are threatened by feminism the way an oil company is threatened by environmentalists.
3. Pretending to be oppressed on the internet is just a new fad: http://thoughtcatalog.com/2012/pretending-youre-oppressed-the-new-internet-fad-2/
Actually, it’s not that new. We’ve seen protestants in Northern Ireland hijack Critical Race Theory and Postcolonialism to argue that they are a minority group oppressed by Catholics. To understand how absurd this is, up until The Troubles, Catholics were barred from holding public servant positions. So yeah, sometimes if you claim to be part of an oppressed group, you really need to have some proof at hand.
“When a man comes and says “I have a problem”, you say “I understand that. This is why and this is what you can do to make it better”.”
Uh, we do say exactly that. That’s what this entire blog post was about. If you can’t or won’t see that, then I’m afraid I can’t help you. This entire blog post has been an attempt to illustrate the growing body of academic research that is centred around men and men’s lives – how we live, how we interact with each other and the world, and how our own actions often have the effect of harming us. Yet despite this, you continue to claim that ‘feminists don’t take men seriously’. We do. That’s why I study men.
Honestly, I cannot think of a more simple way to put this: As an academic in the field of gender studies, whose entire academic career is being built around the study of men and men’s issues, I can say absolutely that many, many feminists and a growing number of academics of all stripes take an active and serious interest in men.
You are, of course, free to continue to claim that you were rebuffed and ignored when you came here to chat, but the simple, unvarnished truth is that you came, were told that your concerns can be – and are being – addressed by feminist scholars (and others besides) on a daily basis, and you left having dismissed or ignored all of it. That is not my problem, nor is it the problem of feminists. You seem to be invincibly ignorant about the subject of modern gender studies, and I can’t help but feel a bit sorry for you.
Seriously: go pick up one of the many books I’ve linked at the bottom of my post – in particular pick up the 9th edition text by Messner and Kimmel. It may help to open your eyes a bit. Or don’t. I don’t care.
Your response to me was to demand facts for claims that are very easily verified, and should be known by anyone claiming expertise in the subject. And then there was this:
“PS: I find the combination of your username and the crap you spew to be hilarious. Go back to the Spearhead.”
That is a very different response than what you are claiming now.
“As an academic in the field of gender studies, whose entire academic career is being built around the study of men and men’s issues …”
Ever hear of “appeal to authority”? Hint: it’s a fallacy.
Gee- it might also mean that Edwin knows what he is talking about.
Not if he can’t demonstrate it. And he certainly didn’t – at least not in his replies to me.
Not necessarily. Watch this video and note how the sociologists completely dismiss the biological science out of hand simply because it doesn’t fit their ideology…
@PPM (hoping this ends up in the right place). You’re right it is an appeal to authority, but it’s not, as you suggest, a fallacious one. A valid appeal to authority (and it’s a valid rhetorical move) depends on two premises:
1. The authority (Edwin) is a legitimate expert on the subject.
2. A consensus exists among legitimate experts (gender studies researchers)on the matter under discussion.
Both things hold in this case.
On the reading disparity from the pdf you’ve cited
But what’s striking is that white boys and girls consistently outperform children of color regardless of gender, which (as Jadehawk has repeatedly pointed out) means that this issue is more much complex than the way you’re painting it. It’s not boys consistently disadvantaged with respect to girls.
“It’s not boys consistently disadvantaged with respect to girls.”
It most certainly is. Look at the data I pointed out, not the verbiage, which I think is intentionally misleading. The reading gap favoring girls is pronounced across all the races and has increased since 1980. The math gap favoring boys is small across all the races, and has been declining since 1980.
Overall, boys are disadvantaged compared to girls for all races, and the gap is growing.
It is also true that the race differences are larger than the gender differences. (Other data shows that Asian children outperform white children.) This, however, does not make the gender gaps disappear, as you seem to wish it would.
I think this discussion shows your bias. You cannot admit that females are advantaged in any way. That would not consistent with your framing.
No, you’re distorting my point. Look at those data. The gap is greatest between white girls and boys and all other children. yes, girls have some reading advantage over boys, that’s clear. But the effect is compounded by race, which in this context highly suggests that it’s compounded by wealth. The point is more clearly made in figure 17 on page 41. White males outperform all other groups with respect to SAT scores, so the differences in the NAEP-LTT Reading Assessment Average Scores seem not to be borne out in for college bond youth across all genders and races.
What I find interesting in the reading assessment scores is the increase for students of color, male and female from 1975 to 1988, when there’s no significant difference among students of color at age 17. It makes me wonder what’s changed in the period since 1988. I wish there were error bars, btw. It’s also interesting that there’s not a consistent pattern of difference by gender as there’s not a significant difference between boys and girls every year, which sort of undercuts your assertion of a steady upward gap.
Finally, I’m not saying the gender gap should be ignored, what I am saying, but you’re not hearing, is that it’s not a simple story and that the gap is not borne out across all metrics.
it’s actually shrinking for younger white boys, and it’s constant at “almost nonexistent” for older white boys. it’s very specifically African American boys who aren’t catching up as quickly as African American girls are, and who therefore need help. and so do hispanic teens of both sexes, since they’re both not catching up very fast to their peers.
First of all, I appreciate your effort to engage me in a constructive manner.
“White males outperform all other groups with respect to SAT scores, so the differences in the NAEP-LTT Reading Assessment Average Scores seem not to be borne out in for college bond youth across all genders and races.”
Right. There is some selection bias in SATs than the standardized tests that everyone takes. With more girls applying to college, more of them take the SAT, and that can bring down the average. That’s probably only a partial explanation though. It is interesting how different testing methods yield different results.
“Finally, I’m not saying the gender gap should be ignored, what I am saying, but you’re not hearing, is that it’s not a simple story and that the gap is not borne out across all metrics.”
I agree. It is a complex issue, with many factors.
But given that there is a gender gap in reading by some important measures that is bigger than the one in math, can we now discuss the policy implications? I hold that the Obama administration’s exclusive focus on gender equity in STEM subjects to the exclusion of literacy favors females over males.
Click to access gender-equity-in-education.pdf
Here’s a specific example. The report “Gender Equity in Education” from the Civil Rights Data Collection ignores the areas where boys lag girls. And this data shows that girls are surpassing boys in many measures of STEM performance. But yet improving female STEM performance further is the goal of the administration, to the exclusion of worse gender gaps that disadvantage boys.
Please explain why I should regard that as anything other than gender bias against men and boys.
Didn’t watch the whole video just the first part. Part of the reason for the dismissal may be that there is not agreement and may have to be further research. I could not read Dr. Lippa’s articles – only the abstract. I did however find other full articles online. They suggest that although young boys (1 year or less) show a preference for masculine toys young girls do not show a preference for feminine toys. I also only use documentaries as a starting point. What does the research say? What other things might account for the results. When watching the first part of the film I can think of a lot of other factors accounting for what he is seeing. For example the one test revolves rotating objects in space. How much of the difference is lack of exposure. I know the first time I did the test I was terrible. Now (having done the test over the years for various reasons) I score very high on the test. Before you say that I am only one individual and we have to study whole populations isn’t this the point of Edwin’s post.
I have a bunch to do today so here’s a short response to PPM’s last questions about why the Federal government should continue emphasis on STEM for women and girls.
1. It’s not a zero-sum game, no matter how many times you imply it is.
2.From that study – “However, in 2008-09, 31.0% of the degrees and certificates in STEM fields were earned by women.”
Translation: Even if girls are doing better in these subjects, it hasn’t increased the number of women going into these fields.
Finish the video. Around the 29 or 30 minute mark the woman being interviewed makes a very good point that seems to be lost on a lot of sociologists, particularly those who have deeply held beliefs/ideology. Follow along and watch how they cling to their beliefs and dismiss the science out of hand simply because it didn’t fit their worldview.
Do you want us to fetch you your slippers and make you a sammich, too?
A lot of men are oppressed–and quite often by other men. Example: homosexual men. Another example: men from certain races in certain countries. Women would probably get more sympathy from many more men if they were not so often quick to dismiss the troubles men have.
That women are, as an abstraction, and on average, more oppressed than the average abstract man does not change an individual man’s lived experience as potentially feeling and being significantly oppressed. And there are certainly particular individual women with a lot more power than particular individual men–and some women can participate in the oppression of certain classes of men.
It is good for men to oppose sexism and the degradation of women. It is also good for women to oppose the degradation of kinds of men, as well as the degradation of homosexuals and races. And it is good for both men and women to oppose the exploitation of the poor by the the wealthy. I don’t know if there is much benefit to be gained by competing with one another on whether we are most oppressed because of the abstract class(es) we belong to. Millions of people are oppressed, and all of it is bad–well, except perhaps the oppression of the oppressors.
Does a person not deserve sympathy or solidarity if his oppression is not the worst? Do we only care about people who are sick when they have the most horrific diseases?
“White men are not oppressed. Deal with it.”
Some white men are oppressed. Probably not because they are white, but for other reasons–perhaps say because they are poor or because they are gay or because they prefer doing math than watching football. Stand up for them.
So you skipped the WHOLE POST where Edwin makes EXACTLY THAT POINT, and decide instead to comment on the title of a post on r/menrights.
“Gosh, why doesn’t anyone take the MRM seriously? Why do they call us trolls and treat us dismissively?”
This. This is why. What you’re doing right here.
Just wanted to say thanks for writing this and I’m looking forward to your future posts. Will check out the books you’ve recommended as well.
I’m glad to hear that. In particular, if you wouldn’t mind a suggestion, take a look at Messner and Kimmel’s 9th edition textbook (or one of the earlier editions if you can get it on sale). That book contains a wealth of information from a number of different scholars in the field, and each one takes a close look at a different aspect of men and men’s lives.
Connell is, of course, awesome, but her work does take a bit more time to get through.
I am a wandering player (of the theatrical, not romantic, variety); a young man, strolling through the post and the comments.
Here is the conclusion I have come to: for whatever reasons, you are not interested in listening to, let alone helping, me with the problems I face.
You can tell me that I’m wrong; that you are interested, or perhaps that the problem lies on my side (I’m selfish, I can’t see past my own privilege, I have problems but fail to realize that the problems of other, more oppressed types demand your greater attention).
That’s okay, I can understand that. But I’m going to repeat again: I now believe you are not interested in listening to and helping me with my problems.
Maybe you’ll try to convince me otherwise although personally, I’m dubious – you see, I don’t think you actually care. Oh, sure, you can tell me I’m wrong – but it’s a bit too late; my opinion is formed.
I’m not the only one.
I’ll just stroll my way out…
I’m noticing a theme here. “Feminism is offputting you young men like me who would rather have people tell me things that accord with my own perception of reality than be challenged to think differently”. Yeah… I don’t know why you think anyone would be surprised by the fact that people don’t like being told they’re wrong about stuff. Nobody likes that.
Well then WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU COMMENTING? Congratulations, you’ve outed yourself as a whiny dink. Your medal is in the mail.
There is a time in every mans life to be the thoughtful, considerate observer…But you suggest he remain so as a matter of principle. You would have the ideal man to be a shadow lurking on the perimeter of action like a frightened insect. Hiding the dark, beyond sight, a coward shitting his pants like a woman in the presence of a blind and drunken soldier after victory…These are the men you describe…In your article you state that “men are not oppressed”. No man who is married would ever say that.
Such weakness of character you describe is contemptible.
This isn’t even insulting; it’s just sad.
You wandered in here from whatever bridge you were lurking under; you can wander right the fuck back out again.
I feel sorry for every married person you know, then. The problem is that they need to learn to have a functional fucking relationship, and I would say the same about most of the married people I’ve known, regardless of gender. Incidentally, most of the married straight couples I’ve known who fight constantly do so because they are, in some form or fashion, still devoted to some particularly gender essentialist conception of how the relationship should work, and it makes both of them miserable.
We split parenting and housework, and my husband and I are probably the happiest couple I’ve ever met. We squabble occasionally, but we respect each other’s boundaries and we both listen to what the other has to say. We’re both willing to say “I’m wrong” and “I’m sorry,” although this takes time sometimes since we’re both human. We don’t tend to have long-lasting arguments over who does what since we both fucking do everything if it needs to get done. This isn’t some matriarchy like whatever-the-hell you’re describing (and I’ve seldom seen a marriage in which the woman actually holds the power); it’s a partnership. Perhaps people should give it a fucking try sometime, because I am sincerely horribly depressed at the thought of most of the relationships that I see around me and at what I and my previous partners settled for in one another.
Your comment is a sad commentary on the state of marriage in a patriarchal society, not a commentary on what a relationship has to be between a man and a woman. I think that finally letting queer folk marry just might break down some of those boundaries for the less-enlightened, but time will tell on that.
Great, great comment here!
Marriage benefits men far more than women. But it serves sexist assholes like you to complain about “the ol’ ball and chain,” because you get to have your cake (reaping all the benefits) and eat it, too (scorn the work your partner does in the relationship — and, yes, a relationship is work).
Personally, I consider myself a “humanist” more than a “feminist” or “masculinist”, and while I sympathize with a lot of Men’s Rights issues I also sympathize with a lot of Women’s Rights issues (more of which are valid, honestly).
I just wanted to say thank you for your article and the linked resources. I heartily approve. I particularly like how you mentioned that men do have it rather rough, but the fact that they are getting torn apart by other men is indicative of the fact that they are still in a better position than anyone else.
It’s like watching the rich tear apart the rich. No matter how much someone who makes $1m or more per year may feel picked on by other rich people, there is no way that they have it as rough as I do or someone less well off than me. That doesn’t diminish their suffering, but it’s important to realize that it doesn’t put their suffering on par with someone less privileged.
Thanks for your comment, I’m glad that you found something in my post that spoke to you.
Your post has been linked to /r/mensrights – I’m sure the same guys who regularly advocate for violence as a way to change the “matriarchy” will be excited to share their well thought out theories about why they’re really the oppressed ones even though women aren’t smart enough to do anything without teh menz, because, you know, mammoths were hunted. or something.
You know what, I can’t decide if this is a red herring or a staw man. Maybe a little of both?
So sayeth the MRA who’s been derailing the entire thread.
Huh, I was about to get huffy that you called my fellow Aussie Bob Connell “her”, and then I decided to google. My bad! She transitioned sometime after writing the Masculinities book – which is indeed excellent. Obviously I haven’t been keeping in touch. Whoops! Cis assumptions FTL!
Funny story, true story… at my thesis defence I was referring to Connell as ‘her’ and ‘she’, and at the end of it, my supervisor says, “I have a problem with you calling Connell ‘she’; his name is ‘Bob'”. I laughed and had to gently inform him that no, Dr. Connell is a transwoman who now goes by the name Raewyn. He was a bit embarrassed, but hey, when he first read ‘Masculinities’, Dr. Connell still went by the name Bob.
Dr. Connell is straight up one of the most important and influential scholars in the field of gender studies. Have I mentioned that before? Her work is foundational; I can’t imagine the field without her contributions.
This has been an interesting thread. Thank you, Edwin, for starting it. I appreciate the MRAs coming here to assert their claims that men are a downtrodden, oppressed group in Western societies and women, particularly feminists, hold them in the greatest disdain. It reinforces my belief that most MRAs aren’t actually interested in improving conditions for men but rather retaining male privilege over women.
> I appreciate the MRAs coming here to assert their claims that men are a downtrodden, oppressed group in Western societies and women, particularly feminists, hold them in the greatest disdain.
In my experience such ridiculous straw-men are common feminist retorts. It’s just another deny, dismiss, and derail tactic, but it’s a particularly poor one because it makes you look puerile. My teenagers are fond of this style of argument, but you can do better.
I am claiming that men are disadvantaged with respect to women in Western society in certain specific areas which I enumerated, and pointing out that the existence of significant male disadvantage casts doubts on the concept of universal male privilege as stated by the OP.
Claims of specific areas of disadvantage are a long way from “claims that men are a downtrodden, oppressed group”.
Balony. By making that claim you either are lying as a MRA to create wedge issues (read; doublespeak) or you’re not a MRA.
I would prefer the latter, since if those are your only issues, there would be at least some hope for you and thus have recognized that men’s priveledge and power are grossly in their favour in most everywhere else. Because MRA’s by the notion of Men’s Right Advocate is indeed strongly suggesting in their world view is “that men are a downtrodden, oppressed group in Western societies and women, particularly feminists, hold them in the greatest disdain” as ‘Tis Himself put it. And not a straw man. This is similar to those who argue for straight Pride parades. A position that is so ludicrous…one can’t help keep a straight face when listening to their reasons of havng such. Thus concluding their position can only be based in shear self-deluded ignorance and hate.
Thus if you a MRA, your arguements remain unconvincing and likely used as wedge issues at best as I mentioned…similar to ID’ers who use Intelligent Design as wedge to legalize the teaching of Judeo-Christian creationism in school science classes. That is, MRA’s really seem to be about restablishing sexism in favour of males back into our society where women have made gains (read: misogyny). Or tl,d: using flowery, turgid wedge arguments to establish support for extreme postions (read: doublespeak again). If you’re not, then you may or may not be on to something. And I think the OP and others here is trying to address that. Though you dont seem to be listening to them.
Individual men are disadvantaged compared to individual women. My boss is a woman and makes more money than me, so compared to her I’m “disadvantaged.”
Yeah, nowadays more women are admitted to college than men. Certain divorce courts are more likely to give custody of children to the mother rather than the father. And there are other ways in which women are catching up to men.
But let’s go back to my woman boss. She’s a company vice president. Of the ten VPs, eight are men and two are women. There are three executive directors working for my boss, all of us are men, as are all but one of the five directors. However two-thirds of the hourly paid, entry-level clerks working in the audit departments are women. These sorts of statistics are common in American, Canadian and European corporations.
Sorry if reality doesn’t meet with your prejudices.
It’s comical how people attempt to challenge your claim of them performing “deny, dismiss, and derail tactics” by doing just that.
Um, what people? In what ways are they using “deny, dismiss, and derail tactics”? And what about those who are challenging which are not? Or is ths an attempt at a poorly constructed drive-by troll on your behalf because you know your dismissive doesn’t have leg to stand on?
You see ‘Tis Himself, PostPatriarchalMan and myself took the time to explain ourselves. So our audience least have some idea of our disagreement. You on the other hand, seem to be disagreeing about something, but I am not sure what. Neither likely does the audience. So unless you are going to add something of value to this discussion, don’t bother adding anything at all.
Look at the college admissions statistics, with 57% women and 43% men. How is that not men being oppressed? That’s just one example.
If anything, it’s white females who aren’t oppressed.
That’s not how statistical analysis works.
Why do you think there are less men enrolled in college? Specifically.
Read War Against Boys by Christina Hoff Sommers. She hits the high points. Short version, in an effort to improve girls’ education and math abilities, the US educational system underwent a bunch of changes that were detrimental to the ways boys learn, and didn’t take into account any of the disadvantages and areas boys were already lagging in to begin with. You heard a lot about the math gap and how girls were lagging behind, but barely a word about the literacy gap boys suffered.
The book you suggest has been roundly criticised by many, many individuals (including Michael Kimmel – one of the authors I suggested reading) as being filled with the same tired anti-feminist tropes that have been in play for decades. About the only people who find Sommers’ work convincing are the same types of people looking for reasons to hate on feminists. Sommers is a sort of ‘feminist for anti-feminists’ and few modern gender theorists take her seriously. She can apparently write a bestselling book, but so can L. Ron Hubbard, and the bulk of her research has yet to survive peer review.
I didn’t know much about divorce law and “presumptive joint custody”, so I googled and found this page
It’s three years old and discusses a proposed law in Pennsylvania (USA).
My goodness! Comment removed in under ten hours. Color me impressed.
Anyhow, I opted to have some of my friends look over your post this morning, and the ensuing comments. The consensus was indeed again that the modern Feminist movement, despite protests to the contrary, has absolutely no interest whatsoever in the problems or welfare of men.
I would also like to clarify here: I am not arguing that Feminism’s approach to issues is incorrect based on some sort of argumentum ad populum approach.
Rather, I am simply stating that Feminism has an enormous public relations nightmare on its hands, where young people such as myself are being driven away from the movement because of exactly the sort of material present on this page.
Before you remove this comment, consider: am I writing this for my benefit, or for the benefit of you and the Feminist movement?
I’ll stroll my way out…
You’re writing it because you’re concern trolling. You think this is my first day on the internet?
Probably should have thought about that before censoring folks.
Please bear in mind that my handle on some of the lingo here is a bit rusty, but: ‘concern trolling’ would be something to effect of trying to downplay the truth of a message by complaining about the delivery format, correct?
While I certainly was making a point to that effect, your response – that any issue I have with how poorly Feminism trucks with young men – only reinforces my original assertion!
In short: modern Feminism leaves a bad taste in my mouth, for simultaneously claiming to be aware of and willing to engage the problems I face as a young man, and then in the next breath, telling me that said problems are, on a scale of ‘one’ to ‘wholly unimportant’, very much on the latter end.
And you will continue, I’m sure! No doubt I am guilty of half a dozen thoughtcrimes by now – by all means list them; this will absolve you of the nagging feeling that somehow, somewhere, inexplicably the discourse is changing.
By all means, pour your scorn on me, and do so loudly! I will look forward to directing my fellow peers at your comments. “Gentlemen, this is what a Feminist looks like.”
No, that’s tone trolling. Google is your friend.
I’m not sure what response you want from me. You’ve already admitted, in as many words, that you are not here to discuss anything, you’re just here to make your oblique and long-suffering points about how mean the awful feminists are to you. That, and the ‘oh poor me’ attitude whereby you make up my side of the argument so you can refute it by pretending to be somehow victimized (not to mention the fact that you keep threatening to leave, but never actually deliver on that promise) make me think that you have no interest whatsoever in contributing anything to the conversation, and are just here to air out your dirty laundry. Well have at it, chief. Nobody here’s going to stop you.
By the way, just so we’re clear, you’re not the only young man on this comment thread. Hell, you’re not the only young man in this little dialogue we’re having. So your problems with how ‘alienating’ feminism is of your issues (by begging you to have some perspective) isn’t the work of feminists; it’s the product of your own fevered mind and its bizarrely inflated sense of self-importance.
Well to be fair, femenists have a lot of other shit to worry about, like feminists issues. In the same vein the black rights movement cared very little for the opression of the jews….and the atheists care very little about the oppression of gays.
Individual people in feminism care about mens issues ie. see blog post above
Individual people in the black rights movement cared about jews
individual atheists care about gays
But to expect that every movement or any movement will be all encompassing is silly, no one would get anything done. So if a group of people really care about womens issues, thats fine mate, infact that is praise worthy, jst like we have groups that only care about blacks or jews or gays or what have you – its not a stirke against them that they dont care about your issue as much as they do theirs.
Also remember that the feminist movement if you will, do care about men, the feminists movement involves a lot of men and many men identify as feminists. You may have an issue with certain groups of individuals but I am guessing you agree whole heartedly with the feminists ideals.
jst my 2cents mate, let me know if you disagree or think I misunderstood, etc
I went to the NEAP Data Explorer and this is what I got for age 17 reading scores in 2008:
White (not Hispanic) 2008 National 289 (male) 301(female)
That’s a 12 point gap favoring girls, consistent with the gap shown on Figure 5 on page 22 in the AAUW report.
The figures for 1980 are 289 (boys) vs. 297 (girls). So the gap has increased from 8 points to 12 points over this time – a time period of extensive focus on girl’s education, and I believe, a neglect of boys education.
One of us isn’t using the NEAP tool correctly. Since my results are consistent with the AAUW report, it’s probably you.
Post PM – I’d be interested to know if you have any suggestions as to why reading skills are lower for boys outside of blaming feminists. Or perhaps more specific reasons. Are you suggesting that parents are not investing in their sons education?
Sometimes I see men who don’t want to be involved in something that is perceived as female – perhaps boys are equating school with “girly”? If that is true, that does bring us back to problems of patriarchy.
But perhaps that is not true – I am open to hearing your thoughts on why boys lag in reading.
As I stated earlier in the thread, read War Against Boys by Christina Hoff Sommers. She hits the high points. Short version, in an effort to improve girls’ education and math abilities, the US educational system underwent a bunch of changes that were detrimental to the ways boys learn, and didn’t take into account any of the disadvantages and areas boys were already lagging in to begin with. You heard a lot about the math gap and how girls were lagging behind, but barely a word about the literacy gap boys suffered. When the changes kicked in back in the 90s and 00s the problems boys already had were just exacerbated. Now that they’re getting to be college-aged we’re seeing the unintended consequences those changes.
Thanks. I have heard of this. I know a bunch of teachers and they do discuss the issue. The most liberal among them (she bring a true blue communist, as well as a feminist) advocates for same sex classrooms for the gender learning difference reason.
I actually would support same-sex classrooms. It’d allow teachers to customize their material and approach to benefit boys’ and girls’ different learning styles and interests.
I’m just flabbergasted at this idea that all girls learn differently than all boys. You’re going to find some similarities across vast spectra, but you are more likely to find far more differences between individual girls or similarities between any given girl and any given boy than you are between any given individual girl and the way that “all boys” learn. You can’t take a huge sample of data like that and conclude that all women learn this way and all men learn that way, and therefore they must be separated. It’s pseudoscience and it would do far more to hurt both sexes than help, if for no other reason than that, even if your premise were true, neither sex would learn to diversify into the style of the other, and “both” styles (whatever the hell that means) are required in the real world.
Also PPM, ITA that you have an imbalance in *some* educational areas (you yourself note men have the advantage in stem and business). However to some of your other points like incarceration – has that not always been true? Even in the days of King Henry the Eighth? I would suspect that is true for homelessness as well. IOW, if we peel back all women’s rights, these issues would still exist. So I find it specious to tie together some of your stats into a case that there is no such thing as male privilege any more.
I would turn it around on you and suggest that a better way to find solutions to a real problem wrt boys reading would be to bring up the problem and ask for solutions without blaming feminists. That seems counterproductive to me.
Once again my apologies for those newcomers whose comments were held in moderation while I was asleep
There’s much about the toxic masculinity, about the culture of force and violence that is taught to the boys and that actually does backlash when they get into places where bad behaviour is no longer tolerated.
“Boys will be boys” is no excuse when you behave that way towards your boss.
Sweet Jebus yes. One of the most basic – and important – lessons that we need to teach little boys is that violence against others (or themselves) is not something to be praised. We need to teach boys to not be afraid of their feelings or of expressing them, and we need to foster a social environment that does not shame little boys or men who are open and expressive about their feelings and desires.
We need to foster inclusive school environments that teach boys to embrace different ways of expressing themselves instead of treating only one kind of boy as ‘normal’.
There’s so very much work to do, and so many different strategies to achieve the goal of a more inclusive and accepting society, and it’s not the work of a single lifetime, but of generations.
I’m seeing that phrase quite a bit lately, toxic masculinity. I’m curious what the reverse looks like, toxic femininity. Care to take a stab at it?
People already have. See: Ariel Levy’s “Female Chauvanist Pigs” for a perspective on a form of ‘toxic femininity’.
high heels, anorexia, for example. Things that directly damage your body but are part and parcel of the gender expectations.
And all that stuff that ensures female subordination
Edwin, are you aware that Ariel Levy is more than a bit transphobic, and that Girls Gone Wild is pretty damned slut-shamey?
I found this:
“Persons killed during law enforcement activity and cases in which the victim’s gender was not recorded were excluded. A total of 215,273 homicides were studied, 77% of which involved male victims and 23% female victims. Although the overall risk of homicide for women was substantially lower than that of men (rate ratio [RR] = 0.27), their risk of being killed by a spouse or intimate acquaintance was higher (RR = 1.23). In contrast to men, the killing of a woman by a stranger was rare (RR = 0.18). More than twice as many women were shot and killed by their husband or intimate acquaintance than were murdered by strangers using guns, knives, or any other means. Although women comprise more than half the U.S. population, they committed only 14.7% of the homicides noted during the study interval. In contrast to men, who killed nonintimate acquaintances, strangers, or victims of undetermined relationship in 80% of cases, women killed their spouse, an intimate acquaintance, or a family member in 60% of cases. When men killed with a gun, they most commonly shot a stranger or a non-family acquaintance.”
Being a woman has its own many advantages.
In other words, one aspect of this information means that simply being a man puts you at a much higher risk of committing a crime, and being a victim of many crimes. In the end, it is interesting to note, if men on average were in a better social position than women, then why men on average commuted more crimes than women?
“In the end, it is interesting to note, if men on average were in a better social position than women, then why men on average commuted more crimes than women?”
That’s a good question, and certainly more interesting than sitting around whining about how the fact that women kill each other less than men kill each other is somehow a ‘privilege’ women have, and in some way ‘bad’ for men.
Because being a violent alpha male is sort of a thing.
This is actually an easy question to answer: men are the exception gender of the mammalian world, for good and for bad, and humans are no exception. The same reasons men commit the bulk of crimes are the same reasons they make up the bulk of CEOs, politicians, homeless, and on the job deaths….
Nature, and more specifically because of testosterone.
Men take risks and behave aggressively, for good and for bad, far more than women do as a result of biology. Women can be exceptional as well, but they will likely be few an far between for this simple biological difference.
That information is quite interesting, but I’m curious: why did you not bold the fact that while men are the greatest victims of homicide, they are also the most likely to commit them? “Although women comprise more than half the U.S. population, they committed only 14.7% of the homicides noted during the study interval.” Men are more likely to kill other men than anyone else. That’s pretty much been my point from the outset – the greatest threat facing men today are other men. Why is this? That’s what I and others like me are trying to find out.
It’s also interesting to note that one of the reasons why women may be at less risk of violence from strangers (in contrast to men who are at greater risk of victimization by strangers than women) stems from the fact that the majority of ‘house-keepers‘ in the United States continue to be women, which limits their exposure to strangers in their community. In other words, because women have traditionally been relegated to the status of ‘home-maker’ and have only recently (in the last 30-40 years or so) begun to make serious in-roads into the full-time work force, they are less likely than men to be the victims of crime committed by strangers.
Scholars who study criminal behaviour already know these stats, and so do many, many gender theorists who study violence, crime and gender. These are not new to many of us, and while they do point out the victimization of men, they also point out that men are the chief victimizers. As I’ve mentioned both in my post and in the subsequent comments, those of us who study men and men’s lives can quite clearly see that violence and masculinity are intertwined in a way that does not seem to be as strong in other gender groups. This is not to say that men are inherently more violent than anyone else, but it does point to some profound issues within the context of masculinity that need to be examined and addressed.
The stats that you pointed out, contrary to what you seem to be implying, do not indicate that women ‘have many of their own advantages’; they seem to indicate that women are more likely to be murdered by the people they know than men are, and are more likely to be murdered by their spouses. Further, men, in addition to being the more common victim of crime, are also the most common perpetrators (by far) of crime. So men are both the victims and victimizers of other men, predominantly. What does this have to do with women, and how does this show that men are at a disadvantage when compared to women? I’ll give you a hint: it has nothing to do with women at all.
This is a serious problem with many MRM arguments: The real problem seems to be how men treat other men in society, but many MRAs seem to want to turn that sad state of affairs into some kind of cudgel to wield against the ‘privileges’ of women. That makes literally no sense.
That study is also twenty years old and is analysing data that is even older. That doesn’t make it irrelevant, just out of date.
As you said:
“Men are more likely to kill other men than anyone else. That’s pretty much been my point from the outset – the greatest threat facing men today are other men. Why is this? That’s what I and others like me are trying to find out.”
And this interesting paper notes:
“Women are always and everywhere less likely than men to commit criminal acts.”
Click to access steffensmeier_allan.pdf
Actually, mine is more of a purely psychological standpoint than a social or a socio-psychological standpoint.
Note that I am not blaming women for men’s higher crime rates. I am saying if you are a woman, you are less likely to commit a crime, and also less likely to be a victim of crimes. No one really knows the exact reasons as to why men are more prone to crimes than women are; but the fact is, men are. So, being a woman means you are less likely to find yourself in legal trouble and in jail. As I said, we don’t know why it happens and how it happens, but wouldn’t you eventually hold the complex social attitudes of our societies responsible for these differences? Maybe not really a privilege that women have, but couldn’t we call it a social advantage women have over men?
So, it seems to me, if men are the ones who are controlling most part of the society, then it is also men who eventually pay a heavy price for this urge to have power over women.
Consider this fact too:
The relationship between gender and suicide has been extensively researched by Western sociologists, given that males die much more often by means of suicide than do females, although reported suicide attempts are 3 times more common among females than males. American males between the ages of 20 and 24 have a suicide rate that is seven times higher than that of women.
Some[who?] ascribe the disparity to inherent differences in male/female psychology. Greater social stigma against male depression and a lack of social networks of support and help with depression are often identified as key reasons for men’s disproportionately higher level of suicides, since suicide as a “cry for help” is not seen by men as an equally viable option.
Not if the word ‘advantage’ is simply being used as a substitute for the word ‘privilege’, no. I wonder if maybe we’re operating under different assumptions about what the word ‘privilege’ is referring to.
Privilege, like positions of dominance and subordination, are relational; it exists within the aggregate of social activity and emerges from the hazy intersections of gender, race, age, able body-ness, sexuality, class, religion, income, etc. Trying to tease out one or two examples of instances in which it might be ‘better’ to be a woman than a man is ridiculous – it’s like trying to build a score-card of oppression and privilege. Are we next going to try and attach point-values to different ‘kinds’ of oppression or discrimination – “Hey, I am discriminated because my gender are seen as more violent, so that’s… 4 points on the oppress-o-meter. You are only discriminated against because you earn less money, so that’s like a 2 point oppression for you…”
I’m not sure I understand how this is relevant; are you implying that women are somehow at an ‘advantage’ because men are paying a price for their control of women’s lives? Most of your earlier arguments seem to indicate a sort of zero-sum scenario – if men suffer a disadvantage, then women are advantaged – and if that holds true for the above claim, then it would seem that you’re claiming what I thought you were claiming. Am I wrong? If so, how?
I’m an economist and this is something I’ve written about before.
For two or three decades after World War II, most American, Canadian and European nuclear families could live with reasonable comfort on one adult’s wages. Starting around 1970, to keep the same level of income, women, the second adult in the nuclear family, started working full time. For the past about 20 years, more and more families are going into debt: getting second mortgages, buying cars with 60 month loans, and getting massive credit card debt.
The reasons for these happenings are various but the chief one is the concentration of wealth at the top of the economic pyramid.
Okay, OT economics lecture over. You can all wake up now.
should be read
Awesome post, really great post, I might suggest one thing – please dont jump on me for it – in your last sentence stating that white men are not oppressed, I might suggest changing it to white men are not oppressed for being white men….they can and are oppressed world wide for other issues, ie. white men can also be gay men, they can also be part of a religion that is being oppressed or even an atheist that is being opressed, individual white men can suffer just as much as black men or white women albeit for different reasons but yes, white men are not an opressed group, I agree 100%, however white men do make up other groups that are oppressed and just beign a white man doesnt give you a free pass from prejudice or oppression.
its probably redundent to add this comment because I would hope we are all on the same page or at least the same book, but thats my 2 cents, great post, I hope you follow it up
First post is absolutely horrible. I love it.
Some of us have known this intuitively and/or consciously observed it over our lifetimes. I’m glad that someone has produced a whole theory of it. I suspect that a whole world of reading material from insightful and analytical thinkers has opened itself up to me. Thank you.
But I really hate paywalls. Haz a sad.
The papers citing Hegemonic Masculinity all look quite interesting, too. Coal grabs me at first glance.
This is one of the greatest of the MRA absurdities. Women are privileged because they don’t have to deal with the stress or hardship of government and managing a business. That burden falls on men.
So stupid it makes your brain hurt.
Computers are not “masculine”? But they are because the field is mostly men?
I’ve heard the line about how women aren’t fighting to be drafted, or aren’t fighting to do hard dangerous labor jobs before. But why would women want to fight for those things? Those things are terrible! Men, instead of saying “women should suffer like men!”, should try to stop their own suffering — and ask women to help them stop it. I’m sure feminists would agree to help with that.
Re: child custody and support payments
I’m a feminist and I hate the whole stupid system. It shouldn’t even be that when the parents separate the kids have to “live with” one parent and “visit” the other. It should be that the kids live HALF the time with one parent and HALF the time with the other, unless the family in question comes to a different agreement themselves, or one of the parents is a psycho, or some other special circumstance. The way it works now, one parent (usually the father) gets their kids stolen away from them, and then they have to PAY THE KIDNAPPER or else get locked in a cage. Child support payments are basically money you are forced to pay for a kid that isn’t even yours, legally. Oh sure you may get to visit with the kid once in a while. But if the “custodial” parent doesn’t feel like following the visitation agreement? Try taking her/him to court. All that happens is the judge says, “Hey, stop doing that. OK, court adjourned.” The whole thing is based on the sexist idea that women can’t have jobs anyway, so men have to support them and the kids, even if they aren’t married or anything. Basically, “You had sex? Welp, now you gotta pay. But you don’t get to actually be a parent because it’s assumed that you would suck at it.” But when a woman has sex, she can get an abortion or give the kid up for adoption. That is good and I’m favor of that. I just want to extend that same choice of parenthood to men also. And child support payments should not be the default when parents separate. Support payments should only be required in special circumstances (which, whatever, I’m not going to detail that) and the money should *actually go to the kid*.
Ehm, eh, no.
Bad idea, seriously bad idea in most circumstances.
Kids need stability, the younger, the more stability. Imagine yourself how stressfull it would be if you had to live one life, in one flat, with one set of rules or even friends for one week, and another life in another flat with another set of rules the other week. That’s shit for the kid.
Honestly, I think you have a fucked-up idea about children and parenting. Children aren’t property or trophies. Child support is money you pay for your own child’s basic needs*. Custody is determined in the best interest of the child. Yes, that’s true, your needs are totally absolutely and completely ignored in that case. Because you had a choice to become a parent**, your child didn’t have a choice to be born. Visitation rights are the right of the child, not yours. That’s because they’re not your fucking property.
*Just for the record, I’d personally abandon that concept alltogether and have tax-financed child support. Not the fault of the children that their parents are poor or assholes
**Yes, you had, whether you’re a guy or a woman.
You’re allowed to give a kid up for adoption. Do you still have to pay child support after that?
I don’t believe that it would be bad to have two homes. I have known a few people who had that arrangement. But if your family (the parents and the kids) decide to have the kids stay with one parent more, then the other parent should not have to pay child support. If you want to have your kids live with you 70% of the time, then you should support them 70% of the time. The other parent will support them the other 30% of the time during the “visitation”. And if you are too poor to support a kid 70% of the time, then why the hell are you trying to get custody? Of course people can choose to pay child support, and if the kid needs stuff and one of their parents could pay it but refuses too, that’s a terrible parent. But still I’m against it being compulsory, especially given that I’ve never met a “custodial” parent who actually uses the money to buy stuff for the kid. My best friend’s mom got $1000 a month in mandatory child support, and she spent it on remodeling a house that did not need to be remodeled and on jewelry. While my friend had a job and was buying *all of her own food*. Her mother was doing nothing to support her (short of kicking her out of the house) and also used to beat her when she was younger. And she got custody.
And then there’s the times when the “custodial” parent actually makes more money than the other parent, plenty of money to support a kid, yet the other parent, who is in fact *poor*, has to pay a minimum amount (not percentage of income even) to the “custodial” parent every month, even during the months (like in the summer) when the kid is actually living at the other parent’s house. Also you have to pay taxes on the child support that you pay, but you don’t have to pay taxes on the child support that you get. Also in some states “child” support is required until the “kid” is 25.
Rarg. I know that kids are not property. If a kid doesn’t *want* to live with one of the parents (or either of them!) they shouldn’t have to. But the current system does treat kids as property, doesn’t consider their desires at all, and also is stupidly unfair to one of the parents.
The story about my friend is not meant to imply that most or all “custodial” parents do shit as egregious as that. But it IS a problem with the system, when her dad was forced to pay that much money, and also had to find and pay for a new place to live, and had to forfeit all of his belongings that were in the house (except for the stuff that my friend snuck out to him), and the mom takes all that “support” money and spends it on frivolous garbage. And faces no consequences whatsoever. Oh her kid is starving and eating bug-infested oreos to survive? She doesn’t give a fuck.
Oh my god this is just too stupid.
I’ll type slowly, just for you:
You don’t pay for the time you have with your child.
Children are not property.
They are not prostitutes.
You pay to fullfill the basic needs a being you created has.
Oh Dog, you’re really one of those people who think that whenever something is not primarily about them and their needs that they are oppressed and enslaved.
Also, you’re wrong.
See sociology and psychology.
You’re fractually wrong.
But you can give kids up for adoption.
I guess you are against adoption.
Non sequitur (that means that what I wrote has zero to do with adoption, unless you actually believe that adoption means selling that, in that case URWRONG)
Adoption means you are no longer responsible for the kid, and you also have no rights regarding them. Those two should *always* go together. But “non-custodial” parents have no rights, but still have responsibilities. Even during the “visitation”, they don’t have the same rights as the “custodial” parent has when the kid is with them. And they still pay child support during the “visitation”.
People have kids because they want to enjoy the experience of having and raising the kids. They should only have kids if they have the money to take care of them. They should not just have kids willy-nilly and then demand that other people pay for their kids needs.
If you chose to have a kid, it’s because you wanted to have a kid. You were willing to pay for their stuff in exchange for the potential joy of playing with them, etc. If someone comes and takes your kid away, it is absolutely not justifiable for the kidnapper to demand money from you. That is what happens to “non-custodial” parents. The kid they chose to have is taken away from them and then they still have to pay for stuff for the kid, even though they functionally don’t have a kid anymore. At that point, they’re just like a random person being forced to pay for someone else’s kid. If the mom wants to have “her” kids all to herself, if she really wants that, then she should taken on the *entire* financial burden too. And if she can’t, then she should let the kids live with the dad more.
Also, there can be one house that the kid lives in and the parents take turns living there with the kid. Or they can keep living together even if they are divorced. They *should* put their kids first. But only as long as they are actually *their* kids.
Adoption is not a non-sequitur. You said that it’s not about the parents, that the parents always no matter what have to pay for the kid that they chose to create. So I guess then you’d have to at least say that if you give a kid up for adoption, you still have to pay child support to the adoptive parents. Do the birth parents have to pay child support to the adoptive parents? I’ve always been given the impression that they don’t.
OK, last try.
Not only will I go on a trip tomorrow morning, it is also hard to deal with that much stupid.
Children are not property. When two people make a baby, whether by “let’s make a baby” or “oops how did that happen?”, they create a new, independent, full human being.
This is not an item of property, a pet or a hobby. It’s a person. They might give you immense joy and satisfaction, but that’s not their purpose. They have no purpose. They are their own beings.
Said beings come with a shitload of needs, some of them being emotional in nature, some of them being material in nature.
Let’s talk about the material ones:
There are three ways to deal with that:
1) The parents, being equally responsible for that child, deal with it.
2) Society deals with it, giving all children a good start in life.
3) Let them starve.
As long as the societal consense is option #1, parents, whether they are custodial or not, have to provide for the child. The custodial parent has further to provide for the emotional needs and clean knickers, aka housework.
Parents are not supposed to get anything back for that. Love, gratitude and trips to the park are optional bonuses
It is plain bullshit that a non-custodial parent has no more rights to said child. Usually big decissions are only possible in agreement between the parents (this depends, of course, on jurisdiction and case). Also, the legal parent-child relationship remains intact and unchallenged.
Adoption is an exceptional scenario where both parents give up their paretal rights and duties usually in favour of a third party. Only in this case the legal bonds between birth-parents and children are cut.
All your points solely focus on the wants of the parents, treating the child as an object that can be rented, enjoyed, shared or abandoned. Therefore you are a creepy person and I hope you don’t have children until you seriously change your attitudes.
I truly hope you don’t have children, because the thought that, just because your children are with someone else, you are “some random person,” no matter what time and energy you have put into them before, makes my blood fucking run cold. I say this having just won a custody dispute over my son, who has not lived with me in five years. I seriously fucking hope you don’t have children because that is a horrific fucking viewpoint of relationships. Parenting is not a transaction.
I’m not talking about what I would personally do. I’m talking about what should be required. If I had a kid with another person and then they took the kid away from me, assuming I wasn’t abusive or anything, that person would be evil. But *I*, unlike many “non-custodial” parents I’ve witnessed, would try to maintain a relationship with my kid. Unfortunately, I’d probably fail, because the other parent would probably poison the kid against me (as I’ve seen happen time and time again with other families). I’m gonna avoid all that shit and just be a single parent. And if my kid got taken away by the “government”, I would not just give up, I would keep trying to maintain a relationship with them still.
I really don’t know what you mean when you say “parenting is not a transaction”.
I know a couple of people who had their kids taken away because they were on drugs. They never see the kids. AND they don’t have to pay child support. To steal someone’s kids away from them (whatever the reason, even if it’s justified) and THEN require them to give you money? Is /evil/.
When I said you just become some random person, I mean that’s how the LAW treats you. So therefore it makes no sense for the LAW to require you to pay money to the person who took your kid from you. What you personally choose to do is a totally different story. But I can imagine it would be pretty painful to have to write a check every month and send it off to the mother of the kid you never get to see and who hates you because the mother talks bad about you.
Oh Jennifer, I’m so glad you won
Hugs to all of your family
Ooh, I finally get to disagree with you, Giliell!
This issue is fantastically complicated by legality issues and access issues around contraception and abortion. I have to disagree with your statement as asserted: in fact, legally and, in the case of most pro-choice/pro-reproductive-justice worldviews, ethically, you do NOT create a new human being, at least not right away. You create an embryo, sometimes, that grows to a fetus that eventually might survive to become a new person. I don’t think men should be forced* to reproduce any more than women should, even without the same bodily integrity concerns that face women (i.e. growing a fetus inside of oneself). In my ideal world, women would, due to those same bodily integrity concerns, have the ultimate decision-making power with respect to reproduction. Along with that, they would have the ultimate responsibility for the child. This would be in the context of a society in which it would be possible to support a child on one income (though public funding to support children is a complex issue – we have too many people, and probably shouldn’t be supporting the production of ANY more, but the ability to reproduce also shouldn’t be tied to economic class; the real problem is the wide income disparity that exists, and I’m not sure there are any solutions that even approach ‘good’ as long as that continues to be the case, especially when other policies necessitate even greater state control over reproduction).
Again, if, based on the concerns over bodily autonomy, we’re going to make women the arbiters of reproduction (as I think we should), we have to also do away with legal responsibility for men who wish to not procreate but who accidentally impregnate a woman. Because women can still make the decision about whether to create a new person after the fact of insemination, while men no longer can (nor should they be allowed to force or otherwise coerce a woman’s decision), the decision ultimately lies with the woman, and therefore the responsibility for the decision does as well. Unfortunately, whether to procreate is very rarely an actually-barrier-and-coercion-free choice for a woman, so what to do with present public policy is not at all clear to me.
Part of this is certainly vested personal interest – I do not presently want to procreate, and I do not want to be put into a position where that is out of my control because a condom breaks, my partner’s hormonal birth control failed, and my partner suddenly decides she wants a child RIGHT NOW or becomes anti-abortion. This may not be particularly likely, but it’s enough of a risk (most especially to the potential child, who has no say in the matter but who the decision affects the most, and who does not deserve to be created accidentally, on the part of at least one of the parties, and therefore wind up with a progenitor that never wanted to procreate and will therefore likely have a strained relationship with the child) that I will never, ever have casual sex with anyone, and still causes me some degree of anxiety around sex with partners I know well. Because part of my desire to not procreate at this point in time stems from my financial insecurity, the potential for child support has a chilling effect on my romantic life, even with like-minded partners. Sex should no more include the risk of unwanted procreation for men than it should for women, but because functional concerns require that we place the ultimate power over procreation with women, we need to concomitantly divest men of mandatory responsibility for children, a responsibility a woman never legally faces because she can always (again, barring barriers to access) opt to not procreate and abort her pregnancy. Again, this is my ideological position based in a perfect world; how it applies to the present conditions is much less clear to me. Requiring a man to offer to overcome all financial and physical barriers to abortion services, placing the decision as much in the hands of the woman in question as possible in an extant culture, in order to abdicate parental responsibility seems like a reasonable compromise from my position.
As it stands, abstinence from potentially-pregnancy-causing sexual activity is the only 100% effective (actually, it’ only mostly effective, as the extremely rare but real threat of female-on-male rape means even a man abstaining from sexual activity could cause a pregnancy) male-controlled form of birth control, while women have abortion available as a 100% effective fallback (it fails in extremely rare cases, but in a context without access barriers, abortive procedures could conceivably be carried out a second or third time if necessary to actually terminate a pregnancy). So, unless we’re going back to the anti-sex position that one should only have sex if one intends to procreate (or is at least willing to procreate), or adopting the position that women be allowed to have sex only for pleasure but men must always be willing to procreate, it seems inconsistent to assert that “you had a choice to become a parent … Yes, you had, whether you’re a guy or a woman.” At the very least, you don’t have the same choice, though this is of course complicated by social factors that frequently position the woman as having less of a choice. I feel like I’m typing around in circles; this seems like such an impasse to me in the present context, and I really just think that, ideally, only people who really want children (for good reasons, not to have someone to control or as a labor source or because they’re counting on material support in old age) would have children, and people who didn’t wouldn’t be put in the position of having to worry about having children they don’t want. Effective, reversible male birth control will address my concerns around child support in their entirety, which is why I’m so excised about the final stage clinical trials of the gel injection in India and the possibility of male hormonal contraceptives.
Having experienced one, then the other, I can say that in at least some cases, unhappy stability (like an unhappy marriage) is way, way worse than two separate households. I’m not even sure where this idea that children somehow need ‘stability’ or a single household (or a nuclear family in some constructions) comes from. They don’t: children are extremely adaptable, and their extant situation becomes their new norm (the ‘problems’ frequently result from differential social/cultural treatment or construction of their status with respect to the way their ‘normal’ deviates from cultural expectations and norms). I know there are correlations between ‘stability’ or two-parent single households and positive outcomes, and they are almost certainly due to a third factor or combination of factors (abuse, neglect, intense poverty, lack of social support systems, etc.) causing higher rates of both ‘unstable’ households AND poor outcomes. It’s not necessarily shit for the kid; if that’s one’s life, it’s simply normal. It’s really not (again, necessarily) a big deal.
*Yes, one likely had the option to not engage in potentially-pregnancy-causing activity, but in the event that, say, both a condom and hormonal birth control fail, a woman can still opt to end the resultant pregnancy, while the man who impregnated her cannot choose to force her to have an abortion (nor should he be able to) – he can be ‘forced’ to be party to creating a new person he never intended to create in the same way that a woman can be forced into it by an abusive partner who sabotages contraception and financial or social barriers to abortion.
Because they have to be done. And, yes, that includes military service, unless you actually think that we’re going to have world peace by disbanding all the world’s military.
And I agree with Giliell and Jennifer about your fucked-up ideas about children and parenting.
If I actually believed the shit bobsutan claims about men, I would modestly propose that we discontinue them: Sex-crazed, testosterone-controlled monsters that ruin people’s lives.
Funny how feminists actually have the better opinion of men as resonable beings capable of love, empathy and self-control.
Yeah, bobsutan’s comments were a weird plot twist. Biology is responsible for the disadvantages faced by men, therefore feminism is bad. wtf?
Curious attitude, the “biological hardwiring” defence of male misbehaviour/explanation for success e.g. corporate dominance (nothing to do with entrenched attitudes stemming back beyond the industrial revolution, nooo).
It kind of smacks of the way Islamic fundamentalism implies that men are incapable of controlling themselves around women, putting all the onus of avoiding attention from uncontrolled men onto the women themselves (and, possibly to a greater extent, onto their male relatives) – and of course placing all the responsibility and blame for rapes and assaults onto the victims. Got attacked/assaulted? Should’ve worn your full-body covering. Shouldn’t have gone out by yourself/with just women/with a male non-relative. Shouldn’t have driven a car in public. Shouldn’t have tried to go to school. Penalty: more violence.
Of course, the naked desire to control others must also play a part there – actually, going by many things MRAs, MRA-enablers and open misogynists do and say, control (usually of others’ emotions via belittlement/minimisation, because in Modern Western Society you can’t legally beat a woman to shut her up…anymore) appears pretty important to them too. “Don’t complain about pick-up lines, it’s nature.” “Get over it, it’s not that big a problem.” “You shouldn’t feel that way about that email.” “Show me evidence you were harassed/threatened.” “Guys do that shit. Deal.”
Lots of bossy bullshit, lots of “That isn’t anything to worry your pretty head about, so be quiet.” No, dudebro, the person in question gets to decide whether to worry. They get to decide whether you’re a creep or a potential attacker. Then they get to tell -you- to shut up after you’ve dismissed their experience.
I’ve always found it strange that MRA dogma seems to have such a low opinion of us men, depicting us perpetual victims of societal progress – a put-upon minority in every conceivable category and demanding that society pull us the fuck out of it already and give us our due. What happened to our bootstraps? Our steely resolve? Our mighty strength? Are these myths? Things that have been taken away from us by Femicommunazi stormtroopers intent on letting girls play football and gays join the Boy Scouts? Humbug.
Then again, I was raised by people who prefer to identify the cause of a problem and address it, as opposed to immediately blaming whoever’s at the top of the List they have at the forefront of their consciousness.
As a parent who has not had her child with her on a regular basis for the past seven years can I just say that is absolutely the most despicable thing I’ve read in a very long time?
I would never, ever, EVER not pay for my child to be happy and have the things ze needs. If I had to give blood and plasma and work three jobs and get 10 hours of sleep a week, I would do whatever it took in order to give my child what ze needs.
Children need things from their parents because those children cannot get them on their own. They’re too young, too inexperienced and too vulnerable.
Ensuring that your child has what they need should be a priority whether you have that child or not.
I’m so mad at this line of thinking I could just scream.
Seriously, fuck this line of thinking.
I don’t stop loving and caring for my child just because I don’t have hir.
I didn’t say you do! And I didn’t say you just let them be poor and starve. Geez.
Right, you just said the parent who doesn’t get full custody or full visitation shouldn’t have to pay for the kid. Which pretty much amounts you to saying, fuck the kid, I don’t see them, so I’m not paying for them to be fed and clothed.
I said they shouldn’t *have* to. And if you are ok with people giving kids up for adoption, then you have to be ok with that.
If you, as a parent, give your child up for adoption, you have not obligation to care for them financially or emotionally. That is not the same as being a parent that does not see their child but still must support that child. Don’t want to support the kid? Sign away your rights as a parent and guardian. Done deal. Of course that means you don’t see the kid hardly at all, but that’s the same as giving up a kid for adoption anyway, so what’s it matter? Either you own up to being a parent and do the right thing or get the fuck out of that kid’s life.
Is it terrible not to see your kid? Fucking right it is. Does that mean you shouldn’t take care of the kid? Hell no. There is no fucking excuse for not taking care of your kid just because the courts have decided you don’t get to see them as often. None. That kid doesn’t deserve to be treated like property. And fuck any parent that does that to their kids.
Even if you sign away parental rights, you still have to pay child support.
But. “Non-custodial” parents don’t really have any parental rights. So why are they expected to give hundreds of dollars a month to the person who actually does get to have the kid? Especially when the “custodial” parent has enough money on their own to pay for everything, and especially when the “non-custodial” parent is poor already. They should just use that 200$ a month to pay for stuff for the kid when the kid is “visiting” them. Rather than it going to the “custodial” parent to do god knows what with.
People should only have kids if they can actually afford it. And while you have custody of the kid, you have it, so you pay for it. And while the other parent has custody (“visitation”), they have it, so they pay for it. That’s fair. Now if anyone wants to do more than that, they are free to. But to require more? You might as well just have socialism. So, you know, if you’re a socialist, then, whatever.
Because it would be so much better for the non-custodial parent to buy the kid an expensive toy once in a while than to have him or her give the custodial parent the money to pay for the kid’s food, clothes, shelter, school supplies, etc.
If you give up your parental rights, you’re not responsible for child support. It’s an extreme step, though.
Re: the “I Can’t Control HER Body, Therefore I’m OPPRESSED!” lie. This is my old-school republican father’s ideas for dealing with that issue:
If Whiny Ass Deadbeat Dude helps create a kid then decides that he doesn’t want it, here’s what should happen:
Step 1: Signing away of all parental rights.
Step 2: Restraining order, mandating that Whiny Ass Deadbeat Dude be prevented from contacting Woman and Child for the rest of his Whiny Ass Deadbeat Life. (this is to prevent the Whiny Ass Deadbeat from crawling back to get a kidney or something, once he looks around and realizes there’s no one in his life that would piss on him if he were on fire).
Step 3: Vasectomy for Whiny Ass Deadbeat to prevent him from flaking out and abandoning another child.
If that were the case, no one ould have a problem with Whiny Ass Deadbeats driving themselves to extinction. They would have total control over their wallets, which is all they actually care about. The Woman and Child are protected from ever having to even see the Whiny Ass Deadbeat again.
Add in stronger social support programs for the children abandoned by Whiny Ass Deadbeats and we got a win!
So if anyone ever gives a child up for adoption, you want them to be sterilized?
LOL whut? Learn to read, pseudo-feminist troll.
Pay for it.
Children are humans, not objects.
And you’re right, if you give up custodial rights you still have to pay for the child unless someone else adopts them.
Also? The idea that you have to pay for your -own- child, is not socialism. Not even in the least little bit. You aren’t paying to help someone else’s child. You’re paying to raise your child.
I give up. I’m done. I absolutely refuse to argue this point any further. It’s repugnant.
My apologies for the derail, Crommunist.
Rilian doesn’t seem to understand adoption, severing parental rights, custody rights, or how the court system sees those things.
Much worse than that, though, they don’t seem to understand that the child’s rights come before the parents. Or even that the child has any rights.
Rilian, a child has the right to be supported. A parent can sever their parental rights and responsibilities, and give that child up for adoption. The state can sever those ties if a parent is found to be unable or unwilling to meet those responsibilities.
Saying the courts are ineffective, prejudiced, and kafkaesque is accurate. Saying that children don’t have the right to be supported is inhuman and immoral.
Re child support and how it’s not FAAIIRR!!!! that men have to pay it. Ok, first off, as far as I know, no state or country requires men to pay child support to a pregnant woman. Men are not required to pay for the support of a fetus. They have no stake in the pregnancy, physically or financially.
After the birth, both parents have a responsibility to pay child support if they are the non-custodial parent. If a woman gives birth and immediately gives the child to its father then heads off to parts unknown, she can be sued for child support, just as much as if a man did the same 9 months earlier. Either parent can be the custodial parent. The non-custodial parent can sue for visiting rights either way. If the mother gives the child up for adoption without the father’s consent, he can sue for custody of the child, even if it has already been adopted, even if he deserted the woman after she became pregnant, even if he’s ignored the child’s existence for many years. See, for example, the baby Richard case.
So where’s the unfairness, except maybe to pregnant women who not only take the financial and emotional risk of pregnancy but also the risk of having their worlds turned upside down by a psychotic ex after they’ve made the difficult decision to let the baby be adopted?
Going back to my MRA days(not a pleasant experience, trust me):
The unfairness is that the mother has a choice in the matter, but the father can’t demand an abortion. (Need I mention I had a change of hearth since growing the fuck up?)
This of course meshes neatly with PUA culture. If you demand that fucking should lead to commitment, you’re a misandrist monster denying them the right to live out their
natural desiresevo-psych-fuelled fantasies.
Hey, I made a proposal, above, on how the father might fairly have a say in the pregnancy-by taking on all the dangers and inconveniences of a pregnancy. That is, if the father wants to have a say, he has to take chemotherapy to simulate the nausea and immunosuppression of pregnancy, wear a corset to simulate the lung compression of 2nd/3rd trimester, get phlebotomized to simulate the anemia, be killed or mutilated if the woman dies or is permanently harmed, experience a pain equivalent to labor pain for as long and with as little pain relief, etc. The MRAs didn’t seem enthusiastic about the proposal.
“…share the same rights and privileges that men have always possessed.”
I must admit that statements like these do rub me the wrong way. I read it as erasing the work of people behind things like The Representation of the People Act 1918 in the United Kingdom. Indeed, two centuries ago, less than 1 in 7 men had suffrage in the United Kingdom and the property requirement in the United States was only just been abolished. A lot of work went into suffrage for men, and that helped pave the way for (and often went in conjunction with) universal suffrage anyway. Getting to the stage of complete male suffrage was the result of centuries of work. In contrast, universal suffrage for all people took less than a century in most Western countries, and race was often the more difficult barrier. To wave that away as ‘rights and privileges that men have always possessed’ feels wrong. Wealth and power has always been a bigger divider of people then gender.
I know that isn’t your main point and probably not what you’re intending to imply. Is there a better way to write it?
“Don’t we have more important issues to think about?”
Thank you for your concern.
This has been an interesting comment thread. The thing I’d like more info on is how men are supposed to “reject the Patriarchy”? Rhetoric is great and all, but men I know (self included) are action oriented. It isn’t enough for me that I “feel” a certain way, I need to DO.
So here is my proposal for patriarchal rejection:
1. Since the wage gap is based on median earnings and not job-job, we need men to avoid high paying jobs to bring the level down. It’s too late for me, I’m married with kids, but I’ve recommended to my sons to only work hard enough to live comfortably by themselves. This way they will not be part of the wage gap problem, but rather part of the solution.
2. To avoid supporting rape culture, I’ve recommended to my boys to not go to bars to meet women, since the ladies will most likely not be alcohol free, and therefore incapapable of granting consent. If they must meet women this way, never “hook up”, but rather get a phone number and arrange a sober date later. Don’t be a rapist. If alcohol has crossed her lips, yes does not mean yes. Treat yourself the same way. If you have had any alcohol, do not engage in any sexual activity. Be considerate and cross the street rather than approach a single woman on the same side of the street. This will lessen her anxiety. If you notice a girl wearing revealing clothing, immediately look away and avoid any eye contact. Your gaze may be interpreted as lookism. revealing herself is not an invitation nor a request for attention. In work situations, keep all conversations work related. Do not avoid women, but do not engage in any behavior that might signal romantic interest. Keep it professional. Treat men the same way. Do not engage in any banter that you would not do with a female co-worker. That would be discriminatory. Keep the work place gender free.
3. Other ways men can reject the old masculinity is to never assume a dominant position in relationships (of any type, het or gay). In spite of the success of the 50 Shades series, this does not mean I should ever treat a woman as any thing less than my equal. Remember that any sexual initiation by you, the male, could be perceived as threatening. You are inherently stronger and bigger. She may feel uncomfortable expressing a no. Let her do all the intiating, that way you will not be threatening. After she intiates, make sure to stop at each level of escalation and get a postive yes before continuing. If at any time she says stop, stop immediately and back off. If she asks for aggression, politely decline.
4. Being male, I should reject my privilege by assuming that I am wrong in any disagreement with a woman. Millenia of patriarchal privilege have clouded my judgement, preventing me from seeing the truth of my wrongness. If a woman does something that I would consider wrong for a male to do, assume I am seeing through gendered glasses and assume it is okay from her life experience.
This should be a good start. Please add anything I’ve missed in my effort to avoid being part of the patriarchal problem.
You should also 5) never comment on any blog ever, because part of the patriarchy is rank and unrelenting stupidity. In fact, if you JUST want to do #5, that’d be great.
Ok. If you support and recommend #5, why did you even approve my post? Aren’t you the moderator of your own site?
Look on the bright side. Any male following my advice is unlikely to ever get selected by a woman. So at least they will be removing themselves from the gene pool.
I approve all pots that aren’t spam. You went to all the trouble of making your idiocy public – who am I to deny you your time in the spotlight?
And considering the number of people who do get “selected” by women (what a bizarre way of putting it – as though men sit on a shelf at the supermarket, waiting to be picked for procreative purposes), the fact that anyone stupid enough to grant your facetious “advice” won’t be having any kids isn’t exactly a great comfort.
Okay, if respecting women isn’t the way to reject the patriarchy, please enlighten me. I’m here to learn. For example, the phrase “Patriarchy hurts everyone” is a very broad brush with nothing to back it up. So I checked out Jadehawk’s Toxic Masculintiy post to learn more. There he describes the patriarchy as “the part where men are better than women”. Nothing in my post elevates men over women.
I claim no victimhood for men. Men don’t need help. I have been indoctrinated again and again about how all of the world’s problems are because of the presence of the Y chromosome, and more specifically, the Y chromosome as presented by non-hispanic white men. So reducing the impact of this demographic makes sense.
My rape culture indoctrination comes straight from my 20 year old daughter and browsing feminist blogs. So it seems to me, that all of this derision of maleness tells me what not to do, but not what to do instead. When I do sometimes come upon a description of the “new masculinity” it is usually about increasing men’s utility to women. Nothing about what is good for men as men, just how men can be better for women.
I see the best recourse for men is to either lay low and minimize interaction with women, or at least become as non-male as possible. White men in particular should learn to back off from success and ambition and make more room for women and people of color to move up. As far as my sons go, I’ve suggested they become self sufficient, but not too successful. Don’t become the “evil rich”.
My suggestions may seem comical, but they are fact based. The wage gap will go away on its own once the Boomers leave the workforce. The X’ers are close to parity and the Millenials have women out-earning men. So in a generation or less, parity will be achieved, followed by a wage gap in favor of women, at which point it will no longer be an issue.
The canard about men being the CEOs is also going to be moot as the old guys retire and the succesful women of today move in to take their place. Women have been earning more degrees than men for 3 decades, math alone suggests they will take over the reins of business.
I also don’t have any sympathy for complaints about men in elected office. Women are the majority voters and could completely take over the government in 4 years if they would just run and elect women. They could completely own the HoR in 2 years, 2/3 of the Senate and the Presidency in 4. Until women stop electing men, I am not going to care about gender related complaints in this area.
The rape culture comment is a natural response to what is being taught in college, especially now that the standard of proof has been lessened. If a couple at a party both drink, have sex, and both regret it the next day, only the male will be considered a rapist. We hear again and again about positive consent. Lack of no does not mean yes. Only yes means yes, and even then only if no mind altering drugs have been ingested.
I will grant that point #4 is a bit over the top. My tongue was firmly in my cheek for that one.
Define “male.” Go.
Well now you’ve got me. If I say male is simply having a Y chromosome, then I can’t be non-male.
Maybe a better way to have said it is this: don’t behave in those ways that cause women to feel anxiety in the presence of men. Since women have been trained (as I’m told by my daughter) to assume all men are predators and potential rapists, try not to be that guy. Display no sexual interest, make no compliments, keep conversations as gender neutral as possible. In fact, don’t even make the assumption that she is cisgendered or hetero. Don’t enter an elevator with a lone female in it, for example.
In short, try to imagine the anxiety a woman feels in the presence of an unknown male, and why, then avoid doing anything that would justify that anxiety.
I wouldn’t say that one has to have a Y chromosome to be male at all. Trans* women aren’t the only trans* folk, you know.
You are misunderstanding Schrodinger’s Rapist. It does not mean that women assume that all men are predators. It means that women live with the nonzero chance that any given man is a predator. There is a huge difference.
You seem to make the facetious point that you have to stop performing masculinity the way that you think that masculinity is performed in order to make women feel safe. You are probably correct in some circumstances, but you seem incapable of distinguishing between when it is appropriate to behave in a sexual manner and when it isn’t. This is indicated strongly in your comments about how this would mean that you would have to “become as non-male as possible” by behaving like this, which demonstrates that you believe that to “be male” (whatever that means) is to do the things that you earlier said you shouldn’t do. You also said that men who behave like this would remove themselves from the gene pool, indicating that men who “respect women” (albeit in the bizarre, obviously facetious manner you have indicated) would never receive the same trust and respect back.
My husband is doing fine for himself, not despite my castrating and man-hating, but because we are both feminists. It is largely because he manages somehow to both think that I am a person and not to be an idiot at the same time. Perhaps you should try that.
Thanks for the link. It was helpful, but confusing. Since most rapists are known by their attackers, shouldn’t a woman feel safer in the presence of a stranger, and more wary in the presence of a friend?
I also notice that Starling’s article clung to the tired gender stereotype of men being the intitiators. Since men have a non-zero chance of offending a woman, why the double standard of allowing women the right to need re-assurance, but require men to ignore their own risks and approach anyway? Why do you lower women in this way, removing their agency, instead of elevating them to the same behavioral standard?
Why the shaming tactics? I have not accused you or any woman of man-hating and castrating. Nor have I denied your personhood. I’ve simply highlighted the behaviors that women describe as bad, as performed by men, (women’s description of masculinity) and pointed out ways to not be that guy. It’s actually quite liberating for men to know they don’t have to perform to the old standard of being competitive and domineering. As Jensen says in his article on toxic masculinity:
There is plenty of information telling men what not to do, who not to be. How men choose not to do or be is always left to them to figure out. Jensen’s article is a perfect example. So is Edwin’s here. It is all about how men are behaving badly, but nothing about how they should behave instead. Hence we are left with the simple implication to not be what is described. So in the absence of instruction, I offered my own. If it is idiocy, please offer your own solutions that don’t involve name calling and shaming tactics.
Oops, I meant to say “most rapists are known by their victims“, not attackers.
Oops, I just figured out Jadehawk is a she, not a he. Sorry about that Jadehawk, my bad.
It’s not a matter of not being male. It’s a matter of treating women as if they are human beings and not second class citizens.
Don’t tell men not to get certain types of jobs. That’s like saying a woman can’t do as well on her own merits so we have to simply remove men from the situation entirely. Instead of doing that, make sure that women have the same opportunity for schooling, instruction and encouragement that men have for the same kinds of jobs. Don’t hire women over men just because they’re women. Hire them because they’re good at what they do.
Don’t tell men not to talk to women. Tell men to think about the kind of situation they are in. Are they at a party where it’s probably assumed that at least some people are there to hoop up? Then it’s probably okay to talk to the ladies there and eventually find a potential partner, but make sure you back off if the woman doesn’t seem interested or tells you out right she’s not interested in anything sexual or romantic.
The reason that men are told to approach women is because women are told never to approach men because they’ll be labeled sluts or be told they were asking for it if they were raped. The society that forces men into those roles is the same society that is pigeonholing women. And it needs to end because it hurts everyone.
Women are more often raped by people they know. That doesn’t mean they aren’t safe with everyone they know. Just like men can be beaten by someone they know, that doesn’t mean they can’t trust their friends and family not to beat them up.
My statement is based on the 77 cents meme. It is a median. It is based on the totality of men’s earnings relative to the totality of women’s earnings. Women didn’t start entering the workforce in large numbers until the 70’s, and haven’t been taking the high paying jobs until the 90’s. So the writing is on the wall, we just need to wait for the Boomers to retire to raise the median for women. This is common knowledge, but the 77 cents still gets trotted out as if we need to do something now. The fastest way to achieve wage equality nirvana is to convince as many currently high paid men to retire as possible. There are only so many of these positions and they skew the numbers for everyone. Freeing up these slots so women can compete for them, isn’t pandering, it’s creating the opportunity.
For example, we haven’t been successful at convincing women to go for STEM degrees in any great percentage. So to do as Obama wants, and implement Title IX for STEM, we need to convince (or regulate) men out.
As has been pointed out in the OP, men succeed due to privilege and their perpetuation of it. Continuing in the same pattern of competition and ambition unfairly advantages men due to their privilege, and perpetuates the privilege. I’m calling for rejection of the privilege by not engaging in the behaviors that create and perpetuate it.
We seem to be in agreement. The old ways of interacting are outdated social constructs. Let’s abandon them. I suggest men treat women as people instead of sex targets.
As a woman who is in a STEM job I can tell you for a fact this isn’t true. It’s not about convincing women to go for STEM degrees, because believe me, many women want to go for them. It’s about not discouraging them from doing so. Stop telling women they don’t have the brains to handle such degrees and jobs. And, of course, ensure better pay and equal promotion for those that are already in the industry. Which is another thing that discourages women from getting jobs in those fields. Who wants to work at a job they love that doesn’t allow them to pay off their student loans? No one, regardless of gender!
That doesn’t mean get rid of men. That means get rid of the old practices and mind sets that put men before women.
I realize that you are trying to be helpful, but you’re actually going to an extreme that harms everyone in the end. We can all co-exist. And honestly, I think most women would prefer it that way to having men removed entirely from the picture.
I’m also in STEM, and have a woman for a boss and women co-workers. All of them are foreign imports. My boss is from Belarus and my female coworkers are Indian. Companies are bending over backwards to get more women. Who is telling them they aren’t smart enough? Is it an American phenomenon? Is it men? We have an American female intern this year, so there are some out there. My daughter is also extremely interested in UI Design and hopes to get a degree.
As I stated, the wage gap will be self-correcting. The Millenials have already taken care of it, we just need time. It is my generation (boomers) that need to get out of the way.
My point about men backing off is all about rejecting and not perpetuing privilege. By seeking and working for high status jobs, they are both taking advantage of, and perpetuing, male privilege. By men dropping out of the rat race in sufficient numbers, women will finally achieve equity and the culture can change. As is often pointed out, males still dominate in high status and high power positions. The culture won’t change until women take over, or at least that is the implication. I seek only to hasten that day so women can feel empowered and in control of their destiny, instead of being oppressed by men.
Although the subject is always spoken of in terms of “the patriarchy” or “male privilege”, these are ephemerous non-entitites. Only individuals can effect change.
I seriously believe we are only a decade or so away from some serious pendulum swinging.
Also, I’m not advocating that all men drop out. Most won’t anyway. But the call seems to be that things aren’t happening fast enough, so trying to advance women sooner rather than later requires the elimination of some of the men. I’m just suggesting that some of them self-select out so the Government doesn’t have to step in amd mandate equal outcomes.
Exactly. But who is doing the telling? You imply that men are creating the problem. I’m trying to get men to stop being the problem.
I didn’t say don’t talk to women, I said don’t initiate. This perputates that societal forcing function. If a woman appears to provacatively dressed don’t reinforce the societal stereotype by providing attention. Don’t sexualize women. Look a woman in the eye, not the cleavage. Make no comments about beauty, because that just perpetuates the beauty industry and continues to destroy self esteem in girls.
Everybody has a choice. We can reject being “forced” into these roles. I make no demands on women, I am not one. I only speak to my own gender, and more specifically, to me and my sons. If I was not already married and supporting a family, I would take my own advice and reduce my economic footprint. But my old-school masculinty led me to start a family and support them. I was improperly indoctrinated in my youth. I choose not to perpetuate old-school masculinity with my sons.