not anti-male, but possibly small-minded
August 18, 2003 03:46 PM
Once more, fellow feminists have proven me wrong. I may never learn.
But then, it's not a failure to learn but a belief that the fight is still a good one, even if not everyone conforms to my ideal of a good and reasoned mind with the soul of a dogged activist. I laugh at it, but this sort of shit makes me want to weep.
Enough of this woe-is-me, though.
What I'm talking about is the first handful of responses to the question I posed this week on WHB about the possibility of anti-maleness. Says I.
But what about the idea that society is anti-man? It seems to me that a lot of righteously angry men see aspects of modern society that oppose them in some way as the result of feminism. While that's a vast oversimplification, I do think there are ways in which we culturally hamper and discourage men (particularly when you consider the contributing factors of race and economics). And it seems that feminists have a tendency to dismiss this idea out of hand.
What do you think of this concept - have we evolved into a society with anti-male government policies or cultural biases? Is feminism responsible?
One woman says essentially that men don't deserve sympathy until women get more. One calls the question itself absurd for feminists to even consider. [I have to give some credit to Meghan, the third respondent, for actually answering the question reasonably - and for bringing up the body image issue, which I surprisingly had not planned to include in the response that was building in my head.]
I would really, really like to shoot holes in the anti-question responses. I'm trying to restrain myself because that would be counter to the reasoned debate quality I try to foster on the site. But.
Another time, perhaps. It's funny how stirred up and pissed off I get about people not being reasonable. I am unreasonable about being reasonable. Anyhow, I'm sure that some of the other people who haven't responded yet are just thinking on it. Not silently agreeing.
So. What I actually think about the question I posed. It became something of a manifesto as I wrote it.
Well. It frustrates me that there is no vehicle I seem to be able to use to convince some of the anti-feminist folk linked on the WHB post that I am not out to get them. That we are, in fact, out for the same things. To a degree.
They tend to assume that there are these inherent differences between men and women, and subsequently to add value judgements to those differences. I think we need to work with the differences we see, while simultaneously analysing the cultural and other bases for difference with a long-range plan to burst open gender into a spectrum of possibilities rather than accepting a boundary of duality or no boundaries. No boundaries never being quite as fun as they sound.
How does society injure men? And how could feminism contribute to that injury, or to healing it?
I think we do our worst to boys and girls together. We educate a range of gendered behaviors and needs into them (and it starts even before they're born), and then we fail to school them appropriately to meet those needs and understand those behaviors. We think of boys as aggressors and men as powerful, increasing the chance that they'll respond as the former when they don't feel the latter. And we blame it on the same violent entertainment that helps many people deal with powerlessness and violence of the world around them. Feminists, some of us, have helped this happen.
We've enculturated the language of feelings into daily life, but assumed it was something men would fail at. We've created heterosexual women who believe themselves to be feelers and heterosexual men who believe themselves penis-ruled. And we blame the rate of divorce not on the cultural pressures to conform to these two alienated gender ideals, but on women working. Feminism didn't cause this, but I don't think it has helped a lot.
We continue to believe that mothers are the best caregivers and educators and fathers are the great providers (while economically making it more difficult for women to be providers - even adjusted to include only childless women, the statistics on earnings still show women making about 83 cents on men's dollar), which injures men and women who'd like to raise their kids differently. And injures divided families by continuing to place the burden of support on men and nurturance on women. Family courts favor moms, period. Feminism has tried on this one, but we're not done.
We have slowly extended the audience for increasingly narrow standards of beauty to men as well as women. A look around your workplace, if it's anything like mine, should confirm that men are just as vulnerable to claims that slimness and dieting are equivalent to health.
We have mocked a men's movement that attempts to look seriously (albeit sentimentally) at spiritual and emotional difference and given entirely too much press to men's organizations that claim oppression without grounding that oppression in fact. We have allowed entirely too many people not to ground themselves in fact, not surprising considering our taste for media and science that entertain and titillate. Feminists, some of us, might have contributed to that.
We have instituted social programs that are ostensibly about balance and then given them press as if they're about retribution. And we wonder why straight white men think they're being discriminated against (because one person can encounter discrimination, even though society favors his group as a whole, and because we don't talk about this in a balanced way).
And feminism is all about these things. Feminism is supposed to be about balance, about widening what counts as valid choices. And that can't just apply to women. It certainly applies more to women and queers and poor people and people of color and people of size and people of difference - but you know, those people are men, too.
I don't like to talk about The Patriarchy, because it doesn't resonate for me and I don't think that resonates for most people. Let's call it the How Things Are. And the How Things Are isn't great. It's not great for everyone, though it might be pretty darn good for quite a few of use. Still. It could use some changes.
That's how feminism, and equality in general, can help.
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your wicked thoughts
I answered the question before reading the responses on the website, and yours. Which is very interesting because of how I opened my response, and how several women DID in fact rush to judgment.
I like what you've done with the question, and will reread it in depth when my brain is more in gear.
I know all about having feathers ruffled.
these are the thoughts of Kerri on August 18, 2003 06:33 PM
This is not a direct answer to your post it is just a few obvious truths about this aberration that is feminism and the subject of whether society is anti male.
1. Yes society insofar as the judicial system, the penal system, the health system and the media are definately pro female and anti male.
these are the thoughts of jio on May 5, 2004 11:54 AM
Women receive lesser jail terms for the same crime, cry victimhood and when the court case is over talk about how strong and independant they are. This option is not open to men. If a man screws up he pays the price and quite right too.
In Britain last year 104 women were killed by their male partners 52 men were killed by their female partners.This in a popultion of 65000000. This is not oppression by any stretch of the imagination but feminists harp on that male violence is an epidemic and use this lie to gain leverage and sympathy for their cause from gullible men who only care about women and want to help them.`
A woman living in most Western societies is now officially allowed, under the law of the land, to murder her male partner (a new term was INVENTED as an EXCUSE to allow this to happen, battered wife syndrome)If a woman is being terrorised at home by an abusive male partner there is not a right thinking man alive who thinks she shouldn't be given help and the male involved shouldn't be strung up to put it bluntly. The law however assumes now that all men are evil and oppressive and that women by their very natures are all potential helpless victims. A women does not have to prove that she was abused only insinuate. It is taken for granted that she is telling the truth and that the man is lying. In case of divorce, regardless of whether there are children involved the women will receive everything and the man nothing. Despite all this and despite the fact that all a woman has to do is say without proof that she was abused and the man will be arrested, she still has the right to commit cold blooded first degree murder if the person she kills is male. This option is not open to a man despite the fact that every single independant and government sponsored report on domestic violent (i.e. a report not sponsored directly by the feminist lobby)shows that women are just as violent in relationships and are just as likely to instigate physical abuse as a man.
I could carry on in this vein and cite the more leniant jail terms women receive (we have children to consider but just lock the single father up, you know what i'm talking about)for committing the same crime. I could go into great detail about how more than 800% more is spent on female health care than on men's healthcare. How comparable numbers of men die of prostate cancer as women do from breast cancer but how 20 times less is spent on prostate cancer research.
I could harp on as feminists have done in the past about how the media portrays my gender in a bad light but i really don't think the media is that important as far as men are concerned. They are less easy to condition and brainwash and have more independant minds than women.
To finish my rant to any who's interested i think that feminism is just the spoilt, childish and pampered mindset of the individual female writ large. Feminism harps on about abuses that women have suffered in the past. The simple fact of the matter is that males suffered far more. How many billions have died to create the nice cushy, 9 to 5, centrally heated, air conditioned consumer friendly society you enjoy today. 100 years ago people had more important things to worry about than gender politics. They had to worry about where the next meal was coming from, survival. This state of affairs is the natural state of affairs .Look at any other animal species and remember that all we are is a race of sentient mammals. Men through their technological ingenuity managed to drag our species through this and create the society that we have today. The people of 100 years ago had a model of how individuals could best cope with the harsh state of nature and that model was the patriarchy and the family in the proper sense of the word.
Now that things have changed and life for Westerners is easier thanks to the advances men have made without the help of women, lesbians
have decided that they want a piece of the pie. They have brainwashed the easily led women into thinking they have been mistreated when in truth it was not men who were harsh it was nature that was harsh and men that were strong. I see that women who have swallowwed the obvious lies that "women's studies" has "taught" them, believe that the past 5000 thousand years was unnatural and that before that women were in charge. Do you honestly think that the society we live in today is in any way natural. In our natural state women need men in order to survive, they are completely useless without us .Technology has rendered the more extreme functions and our responses to our environment obsolete and women have decided that what went before was the fault of men and not the way nature designed us to behave. If it wasn't for men and the technology they created there would be no such thing as feminism. We invented it like we invented everything else you useles sponging female.
Kill 'em all they are completely useless to our needs.
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