A Civil Exchange With a Men’s Rights Activist

In response to Factory, whose original post you can read in the comments section of our site or on his. Here is my response:

Well, let me open by thanking you for adopting a civil tone and actually addressing Christina’s original assertions, instead of hijacking the debate and taking it onto some other topic or a laundry list of accusations that we as feminists must account for. At least that’s what you did with your first comment, though the second betrayed the disdain and contempt you hold just under the surface for us. Still, it’s a welcome alternative to Paul “The Happy Misogynist” Elam (yeah, fuck you, Paul).

But I wanted to respond to you, so I took the time to address everything in your post. Let’s see if we can’t find a little common ground.

What most MRAs object to here is not that there are centuries-old sex-roles, but that they are “patriarchal”. This mainly sprouts from a general tendency to regard Patriarchy Theory as rather thinly veiled man-hate “justified” by a made-up history, twisted via the exclusion of the male viewpoint almost entirely. An opinion I happen to share.

OK, so MRAs reject the term “patriarchal” because it’s “thinly veiled man-hate ‘justified’ by a made-up history.” I’ll try to explain the history of the term—at the very least how I perceive it.

The word itself is derived from Greek, but the concept was taken from the ancient Hebrews. They believed that Yahweh bestowed onto man (and only man) all authority in this world—what with making Adam first and all—and their society reflected that. This idea, along with laws restricting the economic, political, and social rights of women, ensured that almost always it was the elite class of men (that is, the richest and the eldest) who wielded authoritarian control over their families and society. From the ancient Jews, it went to the ancient Greeks. Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, they all believed that people were born women as divine punishment, which I think we can all agree is sexist as fuck.

However, it was not a view shared by all contemporary societies. The Egyptians and the Celts, for instance, had much more egalitarian ideas about the roles of men and women in society. Now, I’ll be careful to point out that I don’t believe that these societies were matriarchal, in any kind of corresponding sense; they just weren’t “sexist as fuck.” But Jewish philosophers picked up what Aristotle was throwing down and they couldn’t have been happier, and by the Middle Ages, the two philosophies had fused together. Muslim philosophers also endorsed the idea, though it all had an ambivalent relationship with Christianity until Thomas Aquinas (another sexist fuck: “Woman is a misbegotten male,” Summa Theologica) made it the official teachings of Roman Catholicism.

Over the following centuries, as Christianity and Islam spread across the world, this sexist attitude and the authoritarian exercise of power spread with them, becoming synonymous with the word “patriarchy.” These centuries during which it was taken for granted that women were inferior to men are what Christina was referring to when she mentioned centuries of “bashing and disinformation” (I think everyone mentioned above qualifies), a reference that you and the others trivialized or ignored. But how trivial would it be if men were the ones who had endured it? It wasn’t until the first wave of feminism, with writers such as Mary Wollstonecraft and Sarah Grimké, that this idea was publicly and effectively questioned. The radical feminists of the second wave took it ever further, but I’ll get to them in a second.

So, when a contemporary feminist uses the term “patriarchal,” they are invoking a history of sexism and authoritarian control—not all instances of male power. The villains of patriarchy are patriarchs. If we wanted to vilify all men, we would say “all men.” I for one am a man and I am no patriarch.

Would it make you feel any better if we used a different term? For instance, kyriarchy, which I mentioned in an earlier comment that everyone ignored. Would that help? If feminists talked about kyriarchy and kyriarchs, or is that still just man-hate? Do you honestly reject the historical fact that the people in power, the people controlling the wealth and the land and the laws, were (not all, but almost exclusively) men?

The people I hear using the phrase “real man” are nearly universally both women, and feminists.

So you claim men don’t use the phrase “real man” to belittle other men. I suppose they don’t need to since they have plenty of other phrases like “little girl,” “pussy,” or “mangina”—phrases that somehow link said men to females, the implication being that any man who behaves remotely like a female is not a real man. “Faggot” is another popular one. Fidelbogen suggests the term “collaborationist” for men like me, which equates me not with women but with Nazis, an equally inane and idiotic enterprise.

But this belays the fact that Christina was not using it in any derogatory sense from herself, personally. She was merely illustrating that patriarchal social and political systems (in the aforementioned definition of “patriarchal”) use sexist gender roles to belittle and harass any person (man or woman) who does not conform to them. She used quotes around the phrase not to indicate that this is the literal phrase used in every instance of sexism towards men, but to capture the essence behind the phrase as well as illustrating that it is a phrase of dubious value at best (think: air-quotes). You seem to have brought it up so you could hold us responsible for every hateful thing any woman has ever said to you or anyone you know, in response to which I can only very tiredly sigh. . . .

“When the patriarchal system says that women are the tender caregivers and not men, is it really any wonder why the courts are biased in favor of giving women child custody?”

Actually, back a few years ago, when women were “owned” (you know, The Patriarchy), child custody was nearly universally granted to men, not women (this was because the children were legally considered his property, I know). That alone makes your contention that it’s head-patting condescension leading to this imbalance tenuous at the very best.

First off, what do you mean by “back a few years ago?” Women have not been owned by men (at least in Western countries) for quite some time. Perhaps at that time child custody was nearly universally granted to men, but Christina was talking about contemporary courts. Let me rephrase it so you can perhaps see more clearly what she was saying:

“When a [sexist system of gender roles that permeates a culture] declares that women are [and should be] the tender caregivers and not men [who are oafish brutes whose domain is violence], is it really any wonder why the [contemporary] courts [have a cultural (social, philosophical, and legal) foundation for prejudices] in favor of giving women child custody?”

You also conveniently ignore such Feminist inspired (and implemented) gems as “no fault Divorce”, the Duluth Model (only men abuse, only women are victims) – and the sorry state of the DV industry as a result – which consistently bombards the public with messages that men are dangerous, paedophiles, and incompetent parents at best. We also talk about “father figures” in children’s lives as if they’re somehow equal with “father”…when do we say “mother figure”?

No she didn’t. She was simply talking about something else, the reasons behind the reasons, if you will. The cultural foundation. No-fault divorce, the Duluth Model, and the Domestic Violence industry are concrete consequences that naturally follow from that cultural foundation (among other things). Only your last point about “father figures” and “mother figures” (which I’d never noticed before but, now that you mention it, is pretty bogus) gets at what she was talking about, since the terms seem illustrative of the assumptions our society already makes. Perhaps if you’d given her a shred of credit, perhaps if you’d come here without already assuming we were enemies, you would have seen what she meant instead of focusing on what she said. Let’s let Fidelbogen stew on that one for a while. . . .

What seems to rub you guys the wrong way is our motivations differ strongly on which changes should take place.

Wrong. What rubs me the wrong way is the assumption that we are already enemies; what rubs me the wrong way is the rhetoric of war; what rubs me the wrong way is the willful ignorance of how shitty many women (in addition to men) have had it and still have it in life; what rubs me the wrong way is the full embracement of extremism and misogyny; what rubs me the wrong way is the arrogance that allows you to tell me what I believe; what rubs me the wrong way is the denial of who I am in lieu of what you want me to be. That’s what rubs me the wrong way, Factory. Paul has already decided that feminism is irrelevant because women were never oppressed. Gogo is so quick to label himself a martyr he can’t give us twelve hours to respond. Fidelbogen wants to redefine who I am and what I say. Tell me what I have to gain from listening to any of them?

We can’t be enemies because you don’t know me. Read what I say. Talk to me. Fuck the feminist movement, fuck the Men’s Rights Movement, if that’s what it takes. But if you come to my blog, remember you’re talking to me.

You seem to want men to be either exactly where they are now, or even more feminised.

What the fuck do you mean by “feminised?” Because that reeks of—no, that is sexist language based on the assumption that one’s gender determines what men and women should and should not be. I want people to have the freedom to determine their own identities. If that means they choose qualities that are traditionally seen as masculine or feminine to you, then so-fucking-be-it—so long as it doesn’t interfere with anyone else’s rights. I want people to stop using power—in the form of social prestige, law, and money—to dominate others. If that makes them feminine to you, then so-fucking-be-it. I want people to agree that this world sucks in a lot of ways for a lot of complex reasons and that we can work to make it better. If that sounds the least bit feminine to you, then so-fucking-be-it.

If you want to get a better idea of what the MRM is, look at Feminism in the very early 60s.

OK, so this is the big one. This is by far the most frustrating thing that we have had to deal with so far, so I’ll be real clear. You say I should look at the feminism of the sixties to get a better idea of what the MRM is? Well guess what:

If you want to get a better idea of what feminism is, look at what feminism is now!

I am not, nor will I ever be, a radical feminist from the sixties. I was born in 1982. I do not, nor will I ever, agree with what some radical lesbian said forty years ago. And I do not have to answer for it. Those people were nuts. They probably did hate men. I don’t! When did I ever say I did?

Furthermore, your categorization implies an authoritarian center to that movement that did not exist. The feminists back then came from all walks of life, and that is even more true today. The feminists that you hold up as the models for all most likely belong to one of the wealthiest and most academic minorities. They were also one of the loudest, and because controversy followed them everywhere, the media focused most on them. They are also the feminists who would (with frustrating frequency) sell-out the lower classes of the movement for their own personal gain (they were usually white, usually well-educated, and usually wealthy). There is still mistrust between different branches of the feminist movement that falls along racial lines. There has been from the very first wave, when Sojourner Truth wrote Ain’t I a Woman. Paul talked about how women were idiots to ever question gender roles because they were all treated like royalty. But that rests on the mistaken idea that all women everywhere were subject only to the positive attributes of those gender roles and that those gender roles were actually accurate. Meanwhile, it was the common opinion all the way from antiquity up through the Victorian Era that women were literally inferior to men. That went doubly true for minorities.

The contemporary feminist movement is closer to a confederation of ideologies than one single unified voice. And it should be approached as such. I am not this “Feminist” you have constructed, just as not every liberal is Joseph Stalin, just as not every Christian is Pat Buchanan, just as not every Muslim is Osama bin Laden. You unfairly critique Christina for the “‘only following orders’ approach in reverse” by misinterpreting the metaphor. Blaming god for a fire is what the MRM is doing when they define the root cause of all men’s woes as “Feminism.” Everyone from the past (men and women) built this house we live in (society) and they did it with flammable parts (sexist gender roles). The fire—the blame, the hate—that’s an accident of history.

. . . socialization (read: feminisation) . . .

I’m biting back my anger because I want to reach an understanding with you, but you betray an insidious sexism here.

You laugh at feminists because fifteen years ago they were too busy focusing on their own problems, which were (and are) plentiful, to help men with every single one of theirs? You were told to get off your ass and do something because there weren’t enough people and there wasn’t enough money. I’m glad you went off and started doing stuff yourself, but that’s not why you get vilified. You get vilified because you twist feminism into an ideology of hate and you respond with hate in kind.

…and once again, the MRAs try to engage in serious conversation, while the Feminists dissemble, insult, display contempt, and totally avoid saying anything of substance…. (ellipses in original)

If your “serious conversation” is turning us into straw men and brow-beating us with your talking points, then, yes, you can expect us to end that conversation. You call us cowards when we don’t want to talk to you. Wonderful, more hate.

I read your Catalog of Anti-Male Shaming Tactics. They were very familiar, because they’re exactly what I’ve had to deal with as a feminist, and if you flip the gender on nearly every single one then you get what other feminists have to deal with every day. I think this speaks more to the nature of sexism than anything about feminists or MRAs. We feminists could even write a dictionary of our own, though the comments section of your Catalog and another post, “What Would Life Be Like Without Feminism?” serves that purpose pretty well already. You and others label feminists and women (but mostly just women) as “brainwashed” and irrevocably insane, as though they didn’t have good reasons to believe as they do, almost as though they aren’t human (or at least fully functioning ones). “Twits,” “femifascists,” “hoary rugmunchers,” the gems just keep coming. Then there’s my favorite comment, courtesy of Khankrumthebulgar:

[Feminism] is the most evil Movement in modern history. In terms of the innocent lives taken. It eclipes [sic] Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge, Mao TseTung, Joseph Stalin, Hitler, Atilla the Hun, etc. It is akin to a Religious Cult. Denying Human biology, Reason, Empirical Evidence, Logic and Science. It is a form of Mental Illness. And it is plunging birth rates everywhere it is being embraced.

But then, not be outdone, there’s Reverend Porkchops:

When a woman marries a man, she is essentially consenting to sexual intercourse with said man, thus it’s impossible from a legal perspective to charge a husband with raping his wife.

Because he asserts that a marriage license means women lose autonomous control over their bodies, as though their bodies were property.

Was there ever a time during the posting of that or the reading of any of the subsequent comments when it occurred to you that you were creating an environment that perpetuates the sexism that you claim to abhor? Or do you genuinely believe that sexism only applies when it’s perpetrated by women against men? The ad in the upper-right-hand corner of the site, which objectifies both men and women, is merely the icing on the sexist cake. I’m sure you justify it all to yourself in a way that somehow exonerates you from any sexist guilt but, for whatever reason, does not apply to the “over 90%” of feminist responses you receive.

The Men’s Rights Movement, at least the movement I’ve been in contact with for the past few days, has not positioned itself against sexism. It’s positioned itself against feminism (or rather “Feminism”), which it insists are the same thing. As you said yourself, “many of us define ourselves as ‘counter-feminists’ instead.” But you’re clutching onto this definition of feminism that just does not apply to the greater contemporary movement. We have so much in common. I’ve been reading about many of the goals of the MRM and I don’t think I outright disagree with any of them. Marriage, divorce, and sexual harassment laws should be amended, just as education, employment benefits, and health care need desperately to be improved. Genuinely false rape accusations should be punished severely, and punishments for crimes should be equal and proportionate for all criminals. It was even the National Organization for Women that passed a resolution in 1980 opposing a male-only draft as discriminatory, and the American Civil Liberties Union’s Women’s Rights Project that provided aid to the plaintiff in the Supreme Court case Rostker v. Goldberg. We can work together. We can.

But, if any of you ever actually cared to listen, you might be a little shocked at what men are deciding for themselves.

And, if you’d bother to open your eyes, you’d see that I am a man, and I’m a feminist.

15 thoughts on “A Civil Exchange With a Men’s Rights Activist

  1. Pingback: My Feminist Right of Passage « a little coffee

  2. All right, I’ll dig in one more time, since you seem sincere…

    “Do you honestly reject the historical fact that the people in power, the people controlling the wealth and the land and the laws, were (not all, but almost exclusively) men?”

    No, I do not “reject” that fact. What I reject, is some silly idea that ALL men benefitted from this, or that ALL women did not. Women have historically MARRIED the ones in “power”, and thus established their own power base. This still goes on today, although I will admit SOME men have been able to “marry up” like women have been doing for generations.

    I also contend, that your ideology does not help the downtrodden, it looks enviously at those in power and demands some for itself. Not very many Feminists even notice men below them in status, let alone assign them importance…I COULD actually say “women” here, but it’s not germaine to the argument.

    ““Faggot” is another popular one. Fidelbogen suggests the term “collaborationist” for men like me, which equates me not with women but with Nazis, an equally inane and idiotic enterprise.”

    Much as you may not like it, Fidelbogen, myself, and many others look at Feminism in EXACTLY the same light as NAZIism. You may believe it’s farfetched, or asinine, or a mischaracterization in the extreme, but I don’t. I fully, 100%, totally view Feminism as an evil ideology, bent on the destruction of men.

    And this is an opinion formed over the last 35 years, virtually the entire “lifetime” of second-wave Feminism. The thing you guys continually miss, is that you don’t get to define yourselves as what you see yourselves as any more. WE are defining you now, by what you do, and the results of your actions. We hold you accountable (as a feminist) for the wrongs done by “misguided” Feminists (Glenn can be way TOO nice as far as I’m concerned), and we note with increasing anger your refusal to address or acknowledge men’s issues as valid, and pressing. We also note Feminist refusal to allow men equality in areas they themselves view as sacred cows, and the hypocritical nature of the arguments used to “justify” current sexist practices.

    “Perhaps if you’d given her a shred of credit, perhaps if you’d come here without already assuming we were enemies, you would have seen what she meant instead of focusing on what she said”

    I came here to give a civil response, and a response as to why MRAs find Feminists so repugnant. If you wanted to bash us without response, then I suggest you simply say so in the post somewhere, and I will refrain from interacting. I get enough bullshit argument and crybaby “What about Raaaayyype” type crap every day, I don’t go looking for more. I simply thought you had a sincere desire to understand why we hate your kind so much. It seemed like a genuine article, but then, one can never be sure.

    “We can’t be enemies because you don’t know me. Read what I say. Talk to me. Fuck the feminist movement, fuck the Men’s Rights Movement, if that’s what it takes. But if you come to my blog, remember you’re talking to me.”

    Of course I am talking to you. But your self-identification as a Feminist indicates agreement with certain principles…

    Here’s the rub, if you really want to get right down to it:

    Feminists believe women are systematically disadvantaged, and demand special consideration as reparations for “past wrongs”.

    MRAs not only think “past wrongs” should have no bearing on Today, but that Feminist History is a gross distortion of reality, at the very least completely lacking in the male “side” of the story. And that’s a valid criticism. Feminists have “analyzed” women’s past living conditions without making reference to the average man’s life…THAT is the source of many of Feminism’s misconceptions. How exactly can one be sure they are “downtrodden” without once looking at a similar man’s position?

    Answer: that wasn’t the point. Patriarchy Theory is 100%, completely about justifying shitty behaviour towards men, and morally justifying their subjugation. That’s it…nothing more. A tool to whip up hate and indignation….not a “Theory” at all.

    “What the fuck do you mean by “feminised?” Because that reeks of—no, that is sexist language based on the assumption that one’s gender determines what men and women should and should not be.”

    Sexist language my ass…it’s reality. There is a common perception among the “intelligentsia” that holds the Feminine in a superior light. Men as superfluous articles have been flooding the media for years now, and Education at every single level fails boys BECAUSE they are not Feminine enough. Masculinity, and male behaviour, is marginalized and demonized, and in many instances CRIMINALIZED, as a DIRECT result of Feminist thought, and teachings, and -inspired laws.

    Feminists are the ones determining outcome and advantages based on sex, not men, or MRAs. Feminists are the sexist assholes, not us.

    “I’m glad you went off and started doing stuff yourself, but that’s not why you get vilified. You get vilified because you twist feminism into an ideology of hate and you respond with hate in kind.”

    We “twist” nothing. We simply talk about the effects Feminist ideology has had on our lives, and find it to be a detrimental ideology (to put it mildly). What you CONTINUALLY seem to miss, is that very little in life gets to “define” itself. A member of the Aryan Nations, for example, would not describe his ideology as “white supremacy”….no, he/she would more likely describe that ideology as something quite a bit more palatable to the general public. Yet, somehow, we all know the true nature of this movement… How is that exactly??
    OH YEAH, it’s because we define them by what they say and do, not by what THEY say they are…

    Apply that same principle to yourselves, and you will see why you are viewed in that light.

    “Was there ever a time during the posting of that or the reading of any of the subsequent comments when it occurred to you that you were creating an environment that perpetuates the sexism that you claim to abhor?”

    I am out to further the rights of MEN, not “eliminate sexism”. My concerns do NOT overlap much with those of women, and I could give a rat’s ass if women lost the right to do a damn thing. In short, I will show women the EXACT SAME regard they have shown men. I have the exact same moral imperative to “safeguard” women as they have shown in “safeguarding” men.

    Which is to say, none. And that’s assuming I don’t enthusiastically throw them under the bus for a little personal gain…which is what has happened to men for decades, and women (most DEFINITELY feminists) do not deserve more consideration than that. And the conduct of those confronted with clear evidence that men are being unfairly hamstrung only reinforces my ambivalence towards the welfare of women. I doubt VERY much I am alone in this….

    “And, if you’d bother to open your eyes, you’d see that I am a man, and I’m a feminist.”

    I’m aware of that. I’m also aware of the many men who have written laws that reduce or remove Constitutional rights from men, and the Judges and Police who act as thugs for the Feminist state. Your genetalia does not earn my distrust (a common problem feminists seem to have, conflating “feminist” with “woman”), your beliefs do.

    Feminists have done nothing to help men, a LOT to hurt men (openly declaring awareness of this fact often enough), and have done NOTHING to “reach out” to men. I said it a while ago to a few feminists, and they (predictably) laughed at the idea, but your kind is about to “enjoy” a seriously bad reputation….and it’s not US that made you deserve that reputation.

    The truest possible condemnation of your movement is that, when shown institutionalized sexism, massive disadvantage and diminished opportunity based SOLELY on sex…ALL of you denied, then minimized the importance of, then dismissed any personal responsibility for, every single instance. You are all OBVIOUSLY far more concerned with protecting the reputation of your precious ideology than actually addressing these issues in a meaningful manner. If you had genuine concern for men, you would be fighting for change there, instead of whining to us MRA’s that we simply “don’t understand Feminism”.

    I say, PROVE you care about men, or STFU.

    It really is that simple.

    • Well it’s reached the point in our “conversation” where I can only smile and nod. Yes, we were “bashing” you when Christina wrote a meditation on the antagonism between feminists and MRAs; yes, it’s all a conspiracy; yes, feminists are Nazis. Which, by the by, I call bullshit on. If you honestly thought feminists were as evil as the Nazis, you would murder them wherever you found them. And if the link between feminists and evil were so easily made, no cop in the world would arrest you and no judge would convict you. But, oh right, the conspiracy. Big Feminist is watching.

      Regardless of how you feel about us, comparing us to Nazis is not going to help your cause. Nazi comparisons in general don’t do much more than turn people off wanting to talk to you. I know it sure as hell pisses off Jews. Either you’ve discovered the greatest social, political, and military cover-up in the history of the world or you really don’t know what a death camp is. For the sake of your movement, I hope you figure it out.

      But I’m glad we’re finally clear with each other. You want to lift men to the top of the gender hierarchy, possibly tearing down as many women as you can along the way. I want to eliminate sexism in all its forms; I want to create a free and open society; I want men and women to be able to determine for themselves who they are and what they want their lives to be.

      Or do I?! You seem to know better than me what I believe and what I mean, especially when you get past all those pesky words I use. In fact, you probably know so well that you can have this conversation by yourself. So why don’t you do that. I’ll be over here, awaiting the feminist reckoning you insist is so nigh. . . .

  3. Chris –

    I believe that it is a waste of time arguing with any feminist woman or man, and the reason why the balance of power has shifted so much to women is not examined. But I think I may have the answer. Please read on.

    The male contraceptive pill; and freedom for men –

    The male pill is on it’s way, and will be with us in less than 5 years, if not from the US or Britain, then from China and India.

    The pill for men will be the biggest step for freedom that men have ever had – freedom from the serfdom imposed by fatherhood. So if the present tyrannical feminist British women want their babies, they will have to offer a far better deal to men than at present.

    For example –

    The present marriage laws, and the infamous and secret ‘family courts’ will have to go, and quickly, and the dictatorial marriage and ‘common law’ marriage expectations drastically changed.

    The constant demeaning of masculinity, particularly on TV in programs such as ‘One Foot in the Grave’, ‘Men Behaving Badly’ and the present ‘soaps’ in general, where men habitually behave in an infantile manner, and are presented in an appalling way, will have to be recognised as highly offensive to men, and dispensed with.

    The most powerful of the British feminist weapons – the wild and malicious accusations of ‘rape’ and ‘child sex’ – will have to be brought back under civilized law where the accuser will be required to have hard evidence and be held responsible for their actions, both in the making of the accusation, and their part in the incident. The male sex drive is an extremely powerful force, and a woman who provokes it to the point where a man loses his self-control has only herself to blame. The accused will have to be considered innocent until – and if – proven guilty.

    The female contraceptive pill in 1960s Britain gave British women direct power over sex availability for the first time in human history; and she has used this power – unwisely – to assert a position of dominance over men in which she has reduce them to a level of disadvantaged cowed subservience – and infantile behaviour in an attempt to present themselves as children entitled to the protection of their maternal instinct – and to disadvantage them in every way possible.

    The ‘Mad Maternal Instinct’ – the all powerful evolutionary force in women that regards masculine Men as simple mating objects when in lust, and when not, as dangerous predators to be avoided or driven off and away from the precious family group.

    Once the power of the 1960s female pill is counterbalanced by the male pill this yoke of female dominance will be flung off with surprising speed, and retribution and revenge on the British feminist female – and feminist male – will be wreaked, as some wiser and more sensible women have been aware of for some time.


    • Is it really that hard to put on a condom?

      I’m skeptical that so much freedom will logically follow from the availability of a male contraceptive pill. If these baby-crazed British feminists want children so much, couldn’t they just adopt? Or get a sperm donor? But I guess that won’t help them legally subjugate the men, right? These British feminists are really just crazy about making men their serfs. The babies are rather a means to an end.

      Would the laws really change? I mean, I grant that those courts must be something if they’re both infamous and secret, but I don’t get where all the pressure for change will come from.

      I hear you, though, on the media’s head-thumpingly stupid portrayal of men. I cringe every time a Judd Apatow movie comes out. Again though, I’m not sure this is the solution. Many men seem content to act in the men-as-adolescents role in real life. At least I knew plenty in college.

      Also, I don’t think it’ll help with false rape and child sex accusations. I mean, you can still rape a woman or child without making babies. And I think the word you’re looking for is “misandrist.” The most powerful of the British misandrist weapons . . . Was that perhaps what you meant to say?

      Quick side note: I don’t care how strong the male sex drive is. I don’t care if a woman is naked and dancing in front of you. If she doesn’t want your dick inside her and you force it (or anything else) in anyway, it’s rape.

      The female contraceptive pill gave women direct power over reproductive availability, not “sex” availability. But if that’s all it took to cow men into subservience, then the Paternal Instinct must be pretty damn Mad itself. Are you sure men would use the pill if it was offered?

      Well, when it is, let’s just hope that it’s healthier for men than those first pills were for women.

  4. I personally have no problem with feminists or feminism, except to the extent that that organizations identifying themselves as feminist actively and effectively oppose policy initiatives I very much wish to see enacted. For instance, shared parenting. As a father relegated to a role more like that of a grandfather through the mechanism of divorce, I consider the current policy of almost always naming mothers primary custodians and fathers visitors in their children’s lives a serious problem that deserves correction. When I investigate the forces opposing the legislative and policy changes necessary to correct this situation, they reveal themselves as special-interest lobbying and campaign funding organizations with unmistakable feminist ties. Why do these groups oppose me? That’s what I’d like to know. They say, of course, that shared parenting initiatives are merely covers for male abusers who wish to be able to continue to abuse their children following divorce. This position makes little sense from a variety of perspectives. If divorced fathers wish to abuse their children, for instance, they can do so every other weekend as things stand now. Why are so many people so dead set on changing custody practices just so they can get a few more days a month to practice abuse? It would seem, furthermore, that equal custody empowers divorced mothers by reducing their childcare costs and allowing them far more time to better themselves by pursuing work or education objectives. So why does the sole organized political resistance to enacting laws requiring a rebuttable presumption of equal custody in divorce cases involving children seem to emanate from feminist-aligned groups? I don’t get it.

    • Thanks for commenting.

      Yeah, I don’t get it either. I only know some general info regarding custody laws and court cases like this, but there does seem to be a strong bias in favor of women. Which I fully agree is unfair because a women is not necessarily a better caregiver than a man. I wonder that the bias exists, at least in part, because women (well, middle and upper class women) traditionally stayed at home and raised the kids. Why it’s more common to hear “stay-at home mom” than “stay-at-home dad.” Anyway, I don’t know any specifics about the special-interest lobbying and other orgs with feminist ties you mentioned, and can only imagine their motivations.

      I am genuinely sympathetic to this cause because it’s unfair to hold a whole group of people accountable for what one or only a few did in the past; it’s unfair to ignore the needs and rights of an individual because of some lingering prejudices.

    • Yeah, that doesn’t make much sense to me either. Shared parenting sounds like it would be best for everyone involved. Except maybe the lawyers, who’d have more to gain from a long, drawn-out battle. I don’t know. I gather that Family Law courts are not the healthiest of environments for any settlement, let alone determining the future for children. Something about the adversarial win-lose, all-or-nothing mentality it seems to be framed in. Seems to me little good can come out of a situation before which people gear up for battle (MRM, anyone?).

      What country do you live in, if you don’t mind me asking? And do you happen to know the names of any of these feminist organizations that oppose the reform? Have you tried contacting them, or do they just feed you the crap about preventing abuse? I’m also curious to know if you identify as an MRA, or if you’re just a cheesed-off dad. It’d be nice to know that someone as level-headed as you sound is also part of the Men’s Rights Movement.

      I wonder if welfare has anything to do with it. For instance, if sole custody of a child is required to qualify for certain forms of government-funded child support. It’s been my unfortunate experience that more often than not, when laws don’t make sense, money’s to blame.

      • Chris: You have hit on a major portion of the problem by pointing to money. The essential obstacle to enacting state (I live in the US) laws requiring a rebuttable presumption of shared custody is financial. Specifically, the federal government provides financial incentives to states in exchange for collecting child support payments. If states collect fewer child support dollars from noncustodial parents, they receive fewer dollars from the federal government. As a result, when shared custody supporters lobby state lawmakers, the response is always: We can’t enact these laws, because it would cost us too much money. In effect, the states have a financial vested interest in making sure that one parent is the prime custodian and the other parent is the visitor, so that the visitor can be required to pay child support. In equal custody situations, child support payments are less common and, indeed, less justifiable. Where the feminist lobbying groups come in is at the federal level. When shared parenting advocates suggest that federal lawmakers enact laws ensuring that states that enact share parenting laws won’t lose federal money, those efforts are blocked. My understanding is that organizations such as Emily’s List and Legal Momentum (formerly the NOW Legal Defense Fund) represent the main, if not the only, effective opposition at the federal level to these initiatives. As far as me, I suppose I could be identified as a men’s rights activist, since I share many of the same concerns and objectives. I don’t wish to be identified as a wingnut misogynist, as many members of that group could fairly be characterized as, however.

  5. I personally don’t go the way of just hating feminists/feminism/Feminism as a whole because truthfully some good things have come as a result. But frankly some feminists act as if all the world’s problems can only be solved with Feminism and those that don’t join up are defined as the enemy. That kind of attitude can only breed hatred and resentment.

    One thing I see alot in discussion of feminism is that it is meant to put women first. I have no problem with that. There are lots of things in this world that harm women that need to be fixed. However when it comes to addressing other issues in which women are not first how can I be expected to join a movement when by virtue of not being a woman the vast majority of things that harm me will be put at the back burner until bringing them up may benefit women (or even worse when someone takes something that clearly involves my gender and does their best to strip the gender out of it)?

    Feminism has done good things and there is more good to be done but frankly its going to take more than feminism to fix this world and it will certainly take more than always putting women first to fix this world.

    • I agree. Anyone with the “all or nothing” attitude probably isn’t making a whole lot of friends.

      I’m glad you brought up the point that feminism isn’t the only movement fighting for progress today and it’s certainly not the end-all, be-all of movements. Sure there is quite a bit of overlap ( or “intersectionality,” the idea that racism, sexism, classism are interconnected) with other issues. Gay rights, for example, is certainly tied to feminism. What’s important is recognizing how these issues are linked and how we can support each other to achieve our goals.

      Trying to fix the world’s problems is a huge chore and many people need to be involved and I think certain groups training their focus on this issue rather than that issue isn’t necessarily a bad thing. That’s not to say any issue is inherently any less important it’s just one person can only do so much. So I say go where your passion is. But I think it’s important that if we’re all talking about progress and fixing the world, then at the very least we all should refrain from the kind of resenting (and blaming and hating) that would only hinder progress.

    • I agree too, Danny. This world is way too big and complex for one movement to fix. And I freely admit that some feminists can really bone a situation up. I think that has more to do with the nature of reform and law-making, though, as opposed to say . . . conscious conspiracy. Laws tend to be utilitarian in nature, trying to benefit as many people as possible. Oftentimes, that can come at the expense of another group (for instance, men in the case of child-custody laws). The trick is to keep at it until we get it right.

      The Constitution of the United States only guaranteed the rights of land-owning, white men, until we amended it to include everyone else. We didn’t throw the entire document out because it wasn’t perfect, and we certainly didn’t demonize the Founding Fathers for getting it wrong. They did a lot of things right, especially for their socio-political time. They just need a little help from us to make it better. The world is getting better; I believe that. It takes blood, sweat, and a whole bunch of tears, but it is getting better. It is.

  6. I shot down Paul Elam on his liar article apologizing for half truths & incompetent claims and exaggerations regarding American History. His statements tend to sound global but it seems clear that he is unwilling to attack theocracy, let alone patriarchy. On the Atheist Nexus I posted that there should be a sci-fi remake of A HandMaids Tale where men are impregnated at the vas defeerens with invitro embryo and placenta transplants and are forced to give birth by pushing 20-30 pounds of amniotic fluid, placenta and fetal mass out the end of their circumcized penile flesh…. may be then, some of these males against women who shame my feminist sex and advocate more oppression of my daughters will confess and begin to master the evidence against oppression world wide. I’m with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, not the masturbating Paul Elam & his fake male ezine

    • Ha ha ha, I would watch that movie! I have a similar idea, involving a surgically implantable bionic womb, called URWomb (and the “UR” would stand for some . . . I dunno, futuristic techno-babble). It would have been ostensibly developed for infertile women, but would also grant men the chance(?) to get pregnant. I’m still letting the idea (heh) gestate.

      Thanks for the support. I’ll look for you on Atheist Nexus.

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