A Response to “A Manifesto for Conscious Men”

Sometimes it hurts being a man in modern western society.

The following is written as an addition and in response to, “A Manifesto for Conscious Men” by Gay Hendricks and Arjuna Ardagh; I urge you to read their manifesto first for context.

I believe their document is vital, and I stand behind it, but by itself it represents one half of the story. The manifesto exists because its authors have listened, carefully and well, to the things we do that hurt women; they’ve gained an understanding of what needs to change. I believe we also need an understanding of the things that are done that hurt men and for that understanding to contribute to the process of change.

 ♦◊♦

Sometimes it hurts being a man in modern western society.

It hurts to be treated as if violence is a normal part of what it is to be a man–that violence against men is often regarded as normal and even humorous, and that if I speak up against it, I am likely to be attacked, ridiculed, or rejected. It hurts that when I have made the mistake of playing out this behaviour on those around me, I am treated as if it was my error alone, with no connection to the ways I have been socialised.

It hurts that I need to be conversant in the ways of violence and able to detach from my humanity so that I can participate in wars I did not start, do not understand, or want to be a part of; it hurts that I have been forced, through acts of law or cultural norm, to carry out these soul-destroying acts, and it has confused me when I have been told I should be proud of these horrible actions. It hurts when my true nature is seen as my ability to kill, rather than my loving spirit and belief in peace.

 ♦◊♦

It hurts me that so many things are done to activate my sexuality, but so little has been offered in the way of the skills I need to manage it; how to deepen it, allow it to be sacred, and use it well. It has not helped that I have been encouraged to measure my sexuality by quantity rather than quality, and that the sexual revolution has not yet included me. It is a great loss that the real nature of my sexuality–a divine, related, loving, generous and wild energy–is rarely acknowledged, but my times of sexual selfishness or lack of skill are spoken about as if that is all I am.

I have experienced great pain as a result of having been taught that as a man I should be available for sex at any time with anyone who offers, to the point that this sometimes overrules my own discretion around what’s right for me and others. It is bewildering to me that my sexual enculturation has been so misguided that I have sometimes confused an act of love with an act of abuse, a horrible crime against myself and others.

It hurts when my sex drive is used as a way of coercing me to do things I did not want to do, stay in relationships that were not good for me, and spend my money on things I did not need.

It is tiring that in heterosexual relationships I am almost always expected to be the initiator of relationships and romance, and that I am also charged with the responsibility of being the active partner in sex. It is sad for both men and women that I haven’t often been able to have the experience of being pursued, and of being the receiver.

It is a great loss that there is such a strong taboo on love between men, sexual or otherwise.

 ♦◊♦

It hurts me that as a man, I have not been encouraged to develop my communication skills or emotional fluidity to the same extent that women have, taking from me the joys of being closer and more communicative with my friends, partners, and families. It hurts that in times of argument my lack of privilege in these areas has been used against me.

It hurts that the price I pay for my societal privileges–such as the way my easier access to employment means that I am often taken away from my family–is not often acknowledged. The work I do is often stressful, compromising, or unfulfilling, despite the privileges it brings me; it hurts that when these circumstances have contributed to my depression or mid-life crisis, I have been treated as if the fault was mine alone.

 ♦◊♦

It hurts that my conditioning has requires me to be a ‘doer’, even at the expense of my own health. It hurts to be encouraged when I work my body like a machine, until it is no longer serviceable, and it hurts to then be criticised for not taking better care of myself.

It hurts when I am expected to take up positions of management for which I have not been trained, and positions of leadership amongst people that are nearly impossible to lead. It hurts that when I have not been completely successful in these roles, I have been spoken about as if the failing was only my own, and that it has been acceptable to make my humiliation a public shaming. I am stunned that it is okay to treat me like that, when I am often just doing the best I can with problems that don’t have solutions.

 ♦◊♦

It hurts me that in developing a response to the very real problems of paedophilia and child sexual abuse, the best we are able to do is assume that all men are a threat and should be treated as if guilty; it is a tragic act of sexism that I am often assumed to be as untrustworthy as the worst of men. It hurts me that I am not free to develop relationships with children that would be of great benefit to me, to them, and to women; in particular, it hurts me to see that my absence contributes to a lack of role models for boys, which in turn sets them up for more challenges in their future (such as increased exposure to the justice system).

In acknowledging that women deserve authority over their bodies, it is awful that we have created a situation where I don’t have the right to decide whether or not I become a father; it hurts that I do not have automatic access to my child during its birth or early years, and that if a choice needs to be made over its custody, it will generally not be in my favour. It hurts that in so many ways I am discouraged from having a close involvement with my children (through lesser paternity leave, or that my support often takes the form of work away from home, or that I have been conditioned to have less focus on family and relationships) and then later I have been criticised for being an absent father.

It hurts that when I have made serious mistakes resulting from my inability to cope with my circumstances, the only solution has been to put me in jail. In this inhumane environment I am exposed to consistent acts of violence and rape, and conditioned further into a life of crime. It hurts that I am seen as being deserving of this treatment, and that when I have emerged from my incarceration and offended again, it has been seen that it is I that have failed the system.

♦◊♦

It is very painful that in recognising that our culture is often unfair in its treatment of women, we have mostly overlooked the ways that it is unfair in its treatment of men. It is a consistent drain on my sense of worth that we can only generally see men as perpetrators, and not victims.

It is a consistent drain on my sense of worth that we can only generally see men as perpetrators, and not victims.

It confuses me that I am expected to perform selfless acts of chivalry and benevolence (such as having women and children leave a sinking ship before me, or compromising my safety to save the lives of others) but that I am commonly regarded as only being selfish or self-serving.

It hurts me that our understanding of gender politics has often been created by women, for women, in spaces where I have been unable to have input. It hurts that the result has been one-sided and lacking in compassion for my circumstances, and critical of me almost regardless of what I do. Although the search for equality for women is a long way from finished, it has hardly started for me.

It hurts that I have had trained out of me the tendency to ask for support and, as a consequence, made it hard for me to join together with other men and collectively ask for help or change. It hurts that on the occasions I have spoken up, rather than admit that they have been unable to listen to my pain, people have often disregarded my perspective as being the complaints of the privileged. It hurts that my resultant lack of voice has been interpreted as meaning that there is no problem that needs to be addressed.

I’m sorry for all the horrible, unjust, sexist things that are done against women, and I’m also sorry for all the horrible, unjust, sexist things that are done against men.

I am delighted that things are changing.

 ♦◊♦

Epilogue:

Speaking from just one perspective is not ultimately sustainable. The above is meaningful for me because I believe the original manifesto needs to be balanced; even better, would be to address the individual problems as they effect all of us, rather than being only interested in how the issues effect men and women separately. The real challenge is to work together, not apart.

Relationship issues are almost never one-sided (and what happens between men and women, collectively, is like a any other relationship, but played out on a global scale). Both parties have something to learn, something to take responsibility for. If only one party is allowed to speak, the conflict is worsened, not resolved.

This is not a manifesto for conscious people, because to be in agreement with it is not the only way to be conscious. My perspective will be in many ways unconscious, and your different opinion may be highly enlightened. I do, however, hope we can have an enlightened dialogue if we differ in perspective.

The perspective I’ve shared above–which is partly based on my experiences, and partly on the experiences of other men–does not free me from my personal responsibility for my life, my actions, and the way I interact with those around me. If I have been brought up in unhelpful ways, it is now my own personal challenge to not repeat those patterns, but to find new and better ways. The above helps me to contextualise and understand my experiences, but it does not free me from my own path of self-betterment. All people, men and women, have the power to rise above their mistreatment and grow from the experience; I hope my acknowledgement of the pain that some men experience aids that journey, rather than undermine it.

Originally posted on Equality for Men and Women’s Facebook page.

Photo by Perfecto Insecto/Flickr.

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About Roger Barnett

Roger Barnett is a community development facilitator with an interest in psychology. He is as passionate about men's rights as he is about women's rights, and believes that ultimately we need to focus on what we have in common, rather than what we have in difference.
His Facebook page, Equality for Women and Men, can be found at http://www.facebook.com/EqualityForWomenAndMen.

Comments

  1. Oh my brother testify.

    Most of us are hurting in at least one of the ways you mention here. Healing is long overdue.

  2. You should email the authors!

  3. This post should be printed out in the millions and given to all baby boys after they’re born, before they leave the hospital.

    • Roger Barnett says:

      Hi Danny, Kaleb, and Bob-O.
      Thank you for your feedback. I am touched that it was a meaningful read for you.
      All the best, Roger.

  4. This message resonates more then the manifesto.
    I do not agree with the manifest as it comes across and whining and emasculating. This is my opinion on it and how I felt reading it.

  5. PH I agree. I found the manifesto and the video they produced to be whining and cloying.

    • Julie, Thank you I was afraid I would be lynched for my opinion.

      I have been a longtime “lurker” but think I will be findding my voice soon.

      • Roger Barnett says:

        Hi Julie and PH,
        Yes, some have pointed out that there is a certain tone about the original manifesto. However, I’m aware they’re being pretty adventurous, and blazing new territory in some ways, which is always hard work to do, and won’t be perfect the first time around. I think their intention is golden, and obviously, based on what I’ve written, I thought there was more to be said to fill it out.
        PH, I very much relate to your fear of being lynched. That is the way the debate so often plays out; it is an incredibly charged, polarized field. If you wave a flag for men’s issues, it is common to get attacked. Aside from the fact that that’s an awful way to be treated, it saddens me that it tends to stop the conversation, which means nothing gets fixed.
        But hey, in small steps, we’re getting somewhere, for women and men…
        Roger.

  6. Richard Aubrey says:

    Men have had it rough for a long time. When you get right down to it, it’s because the real world needs to be dealt with. The real world hurts. You know. Like sabertooth tigers. Like famine. Like raiders. Like coal to be mined so that others may be warm.
    Work too hard. Yes, it hurts. Next question. People don’t treat you right? Next question. You didn’t learn to communicate. That’s somebody else’s fault for not teaching you. Women, of course, all know all there is to know about communication. Sheesh.
    Okay. You’re hurting. Fix it. Is it anybody else’s responsibility?

    To quote the Master:

    “eeny meeny miney mo.
    hear the wolves across the snow
    someone has to kill’em so
    you are it.”

    “but grass or glacier,
    cold or hot
    the men went out
    who would rather not.
    And fought with the tiger
    the pig and the ape.
    To hammer the world
    into decent shape.”

    That hurt, too.

    Next question.

    • Richard “Men have had it rough for a long time. When you get right down to it, it’s because the real world needs to be dealt with.”

      So you’re basically telling them to “Man Up” right?

  7. You forgot to include that men and boys aren’t listened to when hurt by women or girls whether it via violence, bullying or sexual assault.

  8. Richard Aubrey says:

    Eagle. He doesn’t have to man up if he doesn’t want to. Not my problem. But he would get more sympathy, of the helpful kind, if he could be seen to be trying.
    But, again, not my problem.
    If he wants to do anything useful, manning up is always, always going to be necessary. He says, for example, he failed in a leadership position. It may be apocryphal, it may be an analogy. It may be literally true. If the memory of it puts him into a passive funk…what does that accomplish? Again, not my problem.
    So, yeah. Man up.

    BTW. When did “man up” get awarded semantic cooties?
    “Ooh! Look! He said ‘man up’. He said it! Boy, I got him now. He said ‘man up””

    • Roger Barnett says:

      Hi Richard,
      Thanks for dropping by with your comments.
      I’m curious about your perspective that men should ‘man up’… I’m wondering if that’s how you see all groups that complain – women, in particular – or if it’s just a response to men?
      I’m trying to ascertain if men are the only group that you think should just toughen up and deal with their problems – in which case we can have a fun conversation about the sexism embedded in that – or whether it’s an across-the-board policy. If it’s the latter, I’d suggest that you’re right – we all need to take ultimate responsibility for everything that happens to us, for everything we are. But at the same time, there is a usefulness in identifying collective patterns and working on them together (for instance, as the women’s movement has demonstrated admirably on many occasions). If we don’t do that, things can’t completely changed, because it is not _only_ up to the individual.
      Again, thanks for your comments – your diversity of perspective is welcome.
      Cheers, Roger.

  9. Richard Aubrey says:

    Roger. Everybody should have the capacity to “man up”. However, currently and for the last million years, when the real SHTF, it’s the men who’ve been in the front. Failing in that case to man up is going to cost them and the folks behind them.
    For all the complaining, women have not given up the expectation that men will step in front, metaphorically speaking, nor that they will be protected.
    Discussions of chivalry start and end with doors. Because you can’t get where feminists and new men want to go when it’s a matter of violent assault and you want to give men a break if they leave the women in the deep and stinky, running for the hills. Nope. Vague references to the patriarchy.
    So it’s not symmetrical, and women have certain advantages with the asymmetry.
    Now,since men are better equipped for various of the harsher aspects of the world outside the glow of the monitor, it makes more sense for it to be this way. But, as I say, if you don’t want to man up, don’t expect those who do man up, over hellacious life experiences that would make this article look like a Pollyanna bio, to want to have much to do with you. When the SHTF, you’ll be useless, or worse.

    • “For all the complaining, women have not given up the expectation that men will step in front, metaphorically speaking, nor that they will be protected.”

      Quite true, and this is where we can help them in the next steop of thier growth. they can expect in one hand and shit in the other. Women are not stupid or weak. Let half the job fall to the ground and let them pick it up.

      “Because you can’t get where feminists and new men want to go when it’s a matter of violent assault and you want to give men a break if they leave the women in the deep and stinky, running for the hills. Nope.”

      Those are weak women – some do exist. we are all better off if the wolves get them.

  10. Richard Aubrey says:

    Another offering from The Master
    ;http://www.mindspring.com/~blackhart/The_Sons_of_Martha.html
    It would be a good idea if the Sons of Mary had the grace or the sense to keep their woes to themselves when a Son of Martha might be around.

  11. Richard Aubrey says:

    Last summer, my niece and two of her friends were visiting. A neighbor had stopped by and we were all talking. I asked my niece what she thought of her flip-flops in case of an emergency. The girls looked at each other and more or less agreed that they’d kick them off and run like hell.
    Afterward, my neighbor, a guy, and I agreed that we’d been surprised. We were thinking of what use a flip-flop might be when helping at an accident, fighting off an assault, going through very bad ground, possibly with debris on it, sloshing through gasoline on the road.
    Point is, women still expect to run like hell. Leaves it up to the men to man up. Sloshing around in gasoline when I’d stopped to help at an accident, somebody put a fire extinguisher in my hands. I was going around looking like Smoky the Bear. No fire better even think of starting amongst those helping. Gauge said there was zero pressure. Don’t know if the guy who gave it to me knew it. But the folks in the cars needed help.
    So, to answer your question, it’s mandatory for men to man up, or be thought less of, and less so for women. Wasn’t my idea. I don’t make this stuff up, I just report.

  12. I don’t see this a being about “manning up.” What I’m getting from the article is not so much a whine fest, as a desire to have one’s sacrifices, hardships, and the social straight jacket one is often, as a man, forced to don, acknowledged and appreciated. The pain comes not from the doing of the deed, but from being at best taken for granted, and at worst held in contempt for being who and what one is. In a sane, reasonable society, those who sacrifice for the greater common good are respected and esteemed.

    I’ve never backed down when it comes to betting my hands dirty, literally or figuratively, and I’ve got the scars to show for it. But I’m damned if I’ll be treated like the hired help, or worse, by a world that would come to a grinding halt right quickly without men like (and better than) me. So it’s OK to grouse and complain if you aren’t treated fairly. It’s OK to say that it hurts. It’s OK to seek comfort, support, and even help. Otherwise, they’ll forget who it is that keeps the whole system functioning. They’ll take you for granted, and your sacrifices and efforts become their privileges.

    Stoically “manning up” and doing the hard things certainly is admirable in times of need or crisis. But it is the ordinary, day-to-day, routine grind that takes the soul out of us (at least those of us who allow ourselves to feel). Sure, when the bullets are flying, when the SHTF, i’s easy to tell who’s the hero and who’s the zero. The sharpest sword is tempered in the hottest fire, and all that. But, what happens to a man’s spirit when there isn’t any significant work to be done? Or worse, when one’s work is marginalized and held in low esteem? What does one do with the inevitable measures of pain, humiliation, and resentment that come with being given no respect? Some may possess that indomitable, Nietzschean willpower to drag themselves up on their own, but for most of us, having an outlet, someone to unload to, friends who have been there in the trenches, is or paramount importance.

    It’s OK to hurt. It’s even OK to cry. It’s OK to acknowledge our weaknesses and our failures. Whining, however, is out. It’s entirely fair to expect a modicum of respect in return for one’s efforts. Just keep going back out and fighting the good fight.

    Now excuse me while I go listen to John Lennon’s “Working Class Hero.”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njG7p6CSbCU

  13. Richard Aubrey says:

    I suppose, when your work is marginalized, you could stop doing it until the beneficiaries notice. Called going on strike.
    Thing is, you always maintain the option of taking care of yourself and your family. Just not the nose-in-the-air types. They will notice. Then you can ostentatiously not-quite laugh. Courtesy, you know.
    There is always worthy work.
    Yeah, getting no respect is a bummer. Dr. Laura, who suggests women will have a happier marriage if they show respect for their husbands, is slammed as a barefoot-pregnant oppressive type. So getting respect is an uphill struggle.
    OTOH, expecting respect from the non-involved is a chump’s game. You get respect from those who do the same thing.
    And when you’re really bummed by the whole thing, there’s cheap port. Next day, you go on. You respect yourself. Nobody else counts. Or you get a “God Bless You, Brother” from one of the brotherhood–whichever one it is–and it beats a million of fake gratitude from the Others.

    I really do suggest following the link to “Sons of Martha”. But “Welcome back, Duke” http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122451174798650085.html
    has a different take. One from the view of the folks who can’t do it and just figured it out.

    At a fraternity reunion, classes of, roughly 63-70, some years ago, a guy–KC135 nav in SEA–observed that, at a party, it takes “about fourteen seconds” to figure out who the vets are (implying not bothering with the others).
    So, as a friend of mine used to say, SCROOM. Goes better with an umlaut, but I can’t figure out how to do that.

    • “I suppose, when your work is marginalized, you could stop doing it until the beneficiaries notice. Called going on strike.”

      Except when you live in a “right to work” state, or if your rights to collectively bargain have been stripped away by a foolish state legislature, or there is a waiting list of 12 qualified candidates wanting to fill your position.

      “There is always worthy work.”

      True. But there isn’t always someone willing to pay you to do it. Hell, major parts of our infrastructure are falling into sad states of disrepair, and if that isn’t a worthy task, what is? But it still isn’t being attended to.

      “And when you’re really bummed by the whole thing, there’s cheap port. Next day, you go on.”

      Ummmm, no. Too many otherwise good men have been led down too many long dark roads by that temptress, and too many have never found their way back. It doesn’t solve the problems, at best it makes the pain subside for a short while. Better to bitch, moan, and whine than to try and drown the pain in alcohol.

      “Welcome Back, Duke” was interesting, but it’s a shame it didn’t stick. Look at the whole political ruckus over the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which wasn’t passed until December of 2010. These self same heroes mentioned in “Welcome Back, Duke” were left to twist in the wind, dying of catastrophic diseases, their families struggling to hold on, while the congress played political games. Not a proud time to be an American.

      The world has changed around us, and, unfortunately, just being a decent, forthright, hard working, self respecting Joe doesn’t seem to be enough anymore. The rules are different now than when I was born, and it doesn’t take a stretch of the imagination to conclude that the game is rigged, and it sure isn’t in my favor. How long do you keep playing at a rigged game? And what if it’s the only game there is? You change the game, right? But you can’t do that without first complaining about what’s unfair, what’s broken and in need of fixing.

  14. Richard Aubrey says:

    Steve. As to right to work, you get to quit, but you don’t get to make other guys quit. So a bunch of guys think the work’s okay, considering the alternatives. If they do, maybe rethinking it would be useful. The infrastructure repair is lagging because voters give more money and votes to politicians who announce new projects than to those who fix existing infrastructure. Talk to your dimbulb neighbors about who they vote for. Among other things, the permitting and regulation requirements may be quicker than for new construction. “Shovel ready” actually means, send in the preliminary paperwork. We’ll get back to you after Sierra Club has had three or four years to find an endangered species.
    The 9-11 diseases ought to have been covered by existing structures such as work comp, health insurance, life insurance. I was not aware that the claims guys in these groups were denying legitimate claims. Except for work comp whose state-to-state reputation varies greatly, but I hadn’t heard NY was particularly bad.
    But, yeah, the game’s rigged, and it’s rigged for and by the guys we elect. We need a better class of voter.
    Or, perhaps, we’ve passed the tipping point. “Democracy will last until the voters discover they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury.” Or, “until congress discovers it can bribe voters with tax money.”

  15. Roger Barnett says:

    Steve and Richard, great conversation, thanks.
    You’re right Richard, we all need the ability to man up. Although I don’t think of it in a gendered way, because that makes it harder for women to do it, and harder for men to do anything but ‘man up’. So, I’m going with the ability to ‘power up’ – basically, to pull yourself out of a situation, to take control (if only of your own role in something) and get on with stuff. Yes, powering up is essential.
    However, if we never identify with pain, and if we never come together and identify patterns, then nothing can change. And all we have is a mass of wounded people wandering around pretending that they’re stronger than the experiences they’ve had. Since that’s rarely the case, what happens instead is that we repeat those same behaviors on those around us, if the experience is never worked on. The statistics around the relationship between experiencing violence, for instance, and then being a violent person later on, are compelling. (It’s interesting you use the vets example; if ever there was a group of people who got shafted because the horrific nature of their experiences wasn’t recognized and worked on, it’s them. And it’s not working; mental health and other lifestyle indicators for vets is just appalling. My heart goes out to them).
    I grew up male in western society. I believe I know a thing or two about sticking my head in the sand and pretending nothing was going wrong. I also know a thing or two about powering up – grabbing my situation by the balls / overies and changing it, on my terms. However, both of those strategies are actually pretty easy in comparison to admitting that around a lot of things, I’m hurting. Go ahead and try it for yourself – I think you’ll find that what you call ‘manning up’ is actually the easier path.
    Men need to learn from feminism the ability to analyze a situation and say “That’s awful. We’re getting shafted and hurt here, and something needs to change.” We need to learn to look at ourselves with the same interest and compassion that women have started to use on themselves.
    Ultimately, we need to look at each other with the same compassion; we need to speak our hurts, and listen in turn. Trying to ride over the top guarantees that nothing will change, and I totally have an agenda: I want change.

  16. Birdie-El says:

    Great points in this article. Of course, I’m not a man, and I don’t know what it’s like to be in a man’s shoes, but the 60s revoution has allowed me to take on some of the roles and concerns you discuss. I can especially relate to the issues with work, stress, disposability, emotional stoicism/denial of depression, and alimony payments.

    I’ve said so elsewhere on the GMP, but one major reason I abandoned feminism was because the issues affecting me and my family are never addressed anymore. In my case, fighting for men’s rights, and equal rights doesn’t just help all of you guys who feel you don’t have a voice or a say…it helps me too, helps my dad (who struggled to get custody of me in the early 90s), helps my husband, who’s destroyed his body in a blue-collar trade, etc. In particular, I found myself nodding vigorously in agreement with these statements, since they describe my experiences in the workforce all too well:

    The work I do is often stressful, compromising, or unfulfilling, despite the privileges it brings me; it hurts that when these circumstances have contributed to my depression or mid-life crisis, I have been treated as if the fault was mine alone.

    (I work in a stressful, competitive male-dominated field and have given up my friends, hobbies, social life, and sex life – at times, even risked my marriage – for my management jobs. When seeking help, I’ve been told I created my own problems and was exaggerating the demands of the modern workplace!)

    It hurts to be encouraged when I work my body like a machine, until it is no longer serviceable, and it hurts to then be criticised for not taking better care of myself.

    (Yes, yes, yes. I’ve been told that I caused my own nervous breakdown by bringing it on myself and not saying “no” enough. Except in this post-recession work climate, saying “no” gets you fired.)

    It hurts when I am expected to take up positions of management for which I have not been trained, and positions of leadership amongst people that are nearly impossible to lead. It hurts that when I have not been completely successful in these roles, I have been spoken about as if the failing was only my own, and that it has been acceptable to make my humiliation a public shaming. I am stunned that it is okay to treat me like that, when I am often just doing the best I can with problems that don’t have solutions.

    (Story of the last five years of my career. And the story of how I got fired, shortly after being hired to lead impossible teams and solve impossible problems, with no room for error, and no learning curve. I’m supposed to blame myself and beat myself up for that, too – the guy who fired me pretty much told me so.)

    • Roger Barnett says:

      Hi Birdie!
      I love that you bring in that, in some ways, none of these issues are gendered. Or at least, they might have a bias that effects one gender more than the other, but to even make that call is a generalization. All issues effects us all, one way or another.
      I can justify my one-sided perspective (ie. writing on behalf of men’s issues) in response to perspectives which are one-sided in the other direction, as a way of seeking balance… but ultimately we have to be moving towards seeing what we have in common, not in difference.
      I’m sorry you got screwed around in the workplace, like so many other people. Workplaces and careers are an incredibly mixed privilege!
      Roger.

      • Birdie-El says:

        Yes, I agree! I’m on board with most of what’s discussed here, and besides being passionate about the workplace, drug-law, and mental health reforms suggested, I’m very pro-choice for everyone. As I see it, no one should be forced into parenthood or any other reproductive scenario, whether their reasons for avoiding it are financial, emotional, health-related or what. So rather than ending abortion and contraceptives for women, I say we give men more access to free condoms and spermicide and let them walk away from child support if they wish (even if the woman objects). My husband and I live in a state rated “F” on reproductive rights, according to NARAL. It’s nearly impossible for women to get abortions here, and men are forced into child support payments whether they like it or not. I surprised myself when reading up on it in that I was as outraged about the mandatory child support payments as I was about the barriers to abortion and contraceptives. My state has taken the tack of being fair to no one, and that’s just not freedom.

  17. Roger, no offense, but did you look at my cricitism?

    You forgot to include how men and boys aren’t listened to when either bullied or hurt by girls and women. Where society doesn’t even want to acknowledge it thanks to a lack of resources on the subject. I was the only one to write an article here on it, which makes me wonder where the hell everyone else is.

    • Roger Barnett says:

      Hi Eagle,
      Yes, I did read your post; please accept my apologies for not being able to get back to as much as I’d like to. Similarly, if I’d included everything I’d have like to in my article, well, it would have been a book!
      I thought your point, then and now, is valid and important. I imagine you haven’t seen much about it, because it’s a very unknown topic. For me it brings up questions around the complexities of rank and power, and how we’re relatively good at recognizing and reacting to the misuse of male power, but not so familiar or comfortable talking about the misuse of female power. (In this context, I’m not saying men and women are fundamentally different to each other, but we are brought up in very different ways, which gives us access to different powers and privileges. Nor am I in a position to claim that the bullying of boys and men by girls and women is any worse than the other way around – that would be an almost impossible comparison for me to make).
      The dominant paradigm says that men abuse women, not the other way around, so yes, one tends to get a blank stare when one brings up the topics you bring up.
      Regards, Roger.

      • Roger: “I thought your point, then and now, is valid and important. I imagine you haven’t seen much about it, because it’s a very unknown topic.”

        Well that certainly makes me even more angry with society than ever before.

        A very unknown topic?

        For christ sake, this didn’t happen out of nowhere. It’s been going on for years!

        I mean, look at the comments section in both “Bullied By Girls and Women: One Man’s Account” and “Survivors Tales”. There are men and women who have been bullied and hurt in the past my other girls and women before. I’m not the only one who had endured such hatred and ostricisation.

        Staring right in society’s face and yet it’s still an “Unknown Topic”?

        I don’t think it’s an “Unknown Topic” because its pretty blatant. I think society is an ignorant mindless mass who’d rather look at the dominant narrative of boys bullying boys, boys bullying girls and girls bullying girls instead of OPEN THEIR EYES! Also get their jollies up laughing and satiating a masochistic desire to see boys and men hurt, justifying it with “Well, they’re still at the top. They hurt women, so it’s a taste of their own medicine”.

        Screw society, screw the masses! Screw them all!

        Sorry. It’s just I find it unbeliveable that it’s an “Unknown Topic” when, based on the commentary underneath my articles, evidence to the contrary is clearly there.

        • Roger Barnett says:

          Hi Eagle,
          Yes, there’s a lot of truth in what you say there.
          I hope your anger can be the fuel you need for getting your message out to more people.
          I am reminded that when we – as in our whole culture, not you and me personally – when we collectively ignore the extent to which boys are bullied, we send them a message that says it’s normal to relate to those around you in that bullying way, and then we get surprised when they repeat the behavior when older! If we had more focus on the issues you raise around the bullying of boys and men, we would be more able to intervene, and we would have a world that was safer and better for men and women.
          Warmly, Roger.

          • Unfortunatley, Roger, I don’t know what the hell to do now.

            Yeah, I wrote one measely article on it. But it’s not enough.

  18. Great article. As a man who fears being near children because of society’s view towards men and children I am heartened to see this mentioned. Quite a lot of the other stuff also resonated with me.

  19. Tom Brechlin says:

    Roger,

    Thank you for saying that which many men would like to say but don’t. Feelings that men would like to expose but aren’t.

  20. Richard Aubrey says:

    Roger.

    Holy toot, as my brother in law would say. I think the fundamental problem with the article is this:
    “Men need to learn from feminism the ability to analyze a situation and say “That’s awful. We’re getting shafted and hurt here, and something needs to change.”
    You really think men don’t do this. Wow. Where on earth do you think change comes from? You know. Magna Carta and all that.

    • And I think the fundamental problem with the article is this:
      “It is a consistent drain on my sense of worth that we can only generally see men as perpetrators, and not victims.”

      I don’t want to see men as perpetrators or victims. I think there have always been a few paths open to men in responding to this society and one of them has been to join the feminists and become victims ourselves. This it seems is where many good men’s project articles are heading. So we get more and more articles on depression, PTSD, men who are sexually abused etc. Men follow the feminists and become another class of victims. I am not even sure this is better than being the perpetrator. We have become a nation of victims. But victimhood is never the best way to deal with problems. Victimology is bad for a simple reason…it doesn’t work! Its the path of losers and failures.

      Its like inverse stoicism. Stoicism was created by the stoics as a happiness philosophy. A way of being happy by training your mind to depend less on favorable external circumstances. Victimology is inverse stocism. It trains you to be unhappy by noticing more and more ways in which you are a victim of your external circumstances. This is stupid.

      Why do we want to be unhappy?

      • It’s to allow people who have experienced abuse, mental illness etc the chance to open up, speak out and seek some form of help. It’s to stop men staying stoic so much that they put a gun to their head and pull the trigger because it’s not manly to talk about your issues.

        If you didn’t notice, this site also shows a lot of the beauty of men, from fathers to those telling their experience in friendship, love, etc. Your fear might be true if it were ONLY victim stories but this site is a vast wealth of human experience, some of that is good and some of that is bad. Victims exist and it’s highly offensive to me when people assume speaking out about it is victimology, the path of losers and failures….because quite frankly true strength is admitting your weakness, seeking help if you need it, sharing your knowledge with others and fighting for your life back. I spoke up about my victimhood, and quite a few thanked me for it and asked for help which I gave the best I could. Is that the path of a loser?

        No one wants to be unhappy, hence why we all talk about all of these experiences. It’s to overcome that pain, it’s to prove male victims exist and they need our love n support, it’s to prove female perpetrators exist and they need the appropriate justice AND support to overcome their issues too. Training yourself to be positive is good, but you need to also make aware the problems of the world so they may be fixed to prevent further unhappiness.

        • “It’s to stop men staying stoic so much that they put a gun to their head and pull the trigger because it’s not manly to talk about your issues. ”

          You don’t understand what I am talking about when I mention stoicism. Its kind of funny to me because your ACT therapy incorporates ideas that are exactly Stoic methods such as negative visualization. Read this if you want to understand: http://books.google.ca/books/about/A_guide_to_the_good_life.html?id=yQ59JV_9AfIC&redir_esc=y

          I enjoyed your story and thanked you for it before I read this comment. You story though is not the same as this one! There is an enormous difference between victimology and admitting your weakness and figuring out a solution which is something I admire and think is great. By victimology I mean that we are emphasizing victims, drawing attention to them, encouraging ourselves to think of ourselves as victims. We are dwelling on how bad we have it, how abused we have been, how ill-treated we are, how much assistance we need and how the world is unfair to us. I see many men trying to win the victim olympics and see themselves as even worse off then women. Once you start to think of yourself as having a disease, being a victim etc you start to reinforce that belief. I don’t think of you as having a disease or being a victim. I think of you as having a problem. A setback. Which you figured out a way to solve. It may have been difficult but you did it. The whole victim/disease mindset is dangerous because you become just a victim of circumstance. Its out of your control. You give up the ability to change your own life and you start to focus on the worst aspects of life instead of the best ones.

          A weakness is something you can correct. Something you can overcome. Whereas a victim is a passive recepient. They experience things, they are pitied, they are pathetic. That is the whole point of them.

          I don’t want men to start thinking of themselves this way.

          • I might have jumped the gun or misunderstood, are you saying basically don’t wallow in the misery but take charge to change it? When I’ve heard stoic males before it’s been to the point where man brings up issue, gets told to eat cement n harden up instead of a compassionate reply with helpful tips.

            I see myself as being a victim, but that doesn’t define me. I was a victim of abuse, but I am also still ME, I am overcoming the troubles of my life, I do my best to fight against the fear that screwed up my life. I guess the term victim is read in 2 different ways, helpless victim vs just victim, someone who experienced something terrible but isn’t defined as that one event?

            I’m no sure if you have met them or not, but do you know of people who tell boys don’t cry, no matter what happens? Break a leg, walk it off, get raped, don’t cry, don’t whinge, it views men in such a hardened role that it forgets they still have emotion. I call it macho culture, I see it as a huge problem silencing victims and it harmed me. There are some positive aspects like dusting yourself off and fighting to overcome but it goes to extremes when it’s keeping men like men silent for so long. When I see that people say I am brave simply for retelling my experience, I wonder why is that bravery? I know so many men are silent on what bothers them because they don’t want to lose that public image and be seen as weak.

            Is the macho culture I speak of very different from being Stoic? Can a stoic person still feel pain, express emotion, if he is heartbroken still be able to cry and let it out? If he is raped, can he still be seen as a victim but also a human? It’s the first time I’ve heard of stoicism itself, I’ve only heard of it along with macho man stuff before which sounds like it’s very different.

            Maybe the GMP needs an article on it if you care to write it, or find someone who can. It’d be good to get a cliff notes version at least for folks like me so I don’t misunderstand it again. Apologies of course for jumping the gun, one of my triggers I guess is anything that appears to be macho as it was used a lot against me to deny my pain and act like it was meaningless, whereas acceptance and compassion towards me did wonders for me to heal.

            I’ve had friends (who I had to drop) that were highly negative, kept acting as if I was totally healthy and fine, nothing was holding me back and that I could just get a job easy whilst calling me lazy. Nothing I said could show them just how much of a battle it was inside my own mind, last night I was 1m/3ft away from the third most poisonous snake, a 2m/6-7f long coastal taipan that could kill me with a bite but I wasn’t as afraid as I am when even thinking about getting a job and facing new people. They’re the real “eat cement n harden up” kind of macho idiots who make it so difficult for men with mental illness to seek help, they act as if no pain is ever fine for men and it bugs the hell out of me.

            It’s a trigger that I am trying to get rid of though in order to understand others! Do you have anything that better explains victimology? I’m still unclear if your method allows for victims to talk and seek help. I fight for acceptance of both men and women to be victim, perpetrator in the individual times of their life but not to make a gender be seen as JUST a victim, eg a man or woman can be raped but there is still the rest of their life so they aren’t defined by one event yet still an event that CAN major implications for their life. I also realize not everyone may overcome their battle, I empathize with them but hope they keep fighting. For a while I was emotionally drained and gave up, I want others to understand this can happen and that by showing compassion, not judging them as weak or pitying but extending warmth n support to them we can help refuel their emotional batteries and aid in their recovery. Most of my recovery happened when I got rid of the negative people in my life and surrounded myself with compassionate n loving people, my defensiveness dropped and it allowed me to feel stronger instead of seen as a weak loser. These articles also helped by letting us know there are others that struggle like we do, my article had a few who felt like they were the only ones who had that kind of experience as I did.

            Hope that illustrates a bit where I took offense.

  21. It hurts me to see men, or women, being victims.

    This world is not a world I recognise, not because I ‘man up’ but because I honour myself as a man and as a person.

    I find this as whiney as the original manifesto. It’s possible to be centred and grounded as a man and not be forced by society or partners to be something you don’t want to be. It’s time to take responsibility for what you do and stop blaming others.

    • Well said Graham. This sounds very victim-like; as if the author was just feeling sorry for himself. I acknowledge that there are challenges in life that tend to be gender specific, but I use them as opportunities for growth. I seem them as a means through which the Universe is making me into a greater version of myself. As Jim Rohn said, “Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better.

  22. Transhuman says:

    Equality is not gained by venerating women alone. The manifesto is little more than a white flag to the feminists.

  23. This sounds very victim-like; as if the author was just feeling sorry for himself. I acknowledge that there are challenges in life that tend to be gender specific, but I use them as opportunities for growth. I seem them as a means through which the Universe is making me into a greater version of myself. As Jim Rohn said, “Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better.

  24. Roger Barnett says:

    Hi Graham and Michael,
    Thanks for your comments. Of course, you’re right – this piece is speaking for just one part of the story, and is very focused around how men are collectively treated, rather than the process of, as Michael puts it, picking one’s self up and going for growth.
    However, your perspectives can be interpreted as a variation on the “shut up, man up, and get on with it” response. Do you think there’s ever any use in collectively identifying problems against a given group – men, in this case? If so, what do you think is the best way of going about educating others about those problems, and getting them changed?
    We have been programmed so strongly as men to believe we should be able to cope with everything; to not do so is to go against what we’ve been taught. Consequently we don’t tend to collectively identify the challenges we face, or seek to have them changed. And the price we pay for that is a lot of damaged men, that then go on to cause further damage. I’m wondering how you propose we intervene in that cycle?
    Thanks, Roger.

  25. I have felt this way in the past, but a lot of these attitudes are changing or have changed. Or possibly I’m just associating with a better quality of person. Something worth thinking about is that social pressure comes mainly from one’s social group, and a person does have a fair bit of influence over who is in their social group.

  26. Far from being a victim, I think the author does an admirable job making his statements equitably and without placing blame. It’s refreshing to see it recognized that the challenges faced by one gender don’t diminish those of the other. I really appreciated this article.

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