Unlocking the Men’s Rights Movement

Men must be strong enough and vulnerable enough to be men’s rights activists in their everyday lives.

In 1792, Mary Wollstonecraft wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, thereby giving birth to the women’s movement. Over time, the women’s movement came to address everything from political and societal reform to relationships and women finding their own voice.

The men’s equivalent, however, was conspicuously absent until the early 1990s, when the mythopoetic movement first caught the public eye. Since then, the awareness about men’s issues has grown slowly but surely. Men are starting to wake up, and in 2011, we have at least three different strands of men’s work:

  1. Learning how to meet women. This is the whole pick-up artist movement. It certainly has a lot of immature elements to it, but it’s leading to mature and grounded initiatives—such as the Authentic Man Program.
  2. What does it mean to be a man? It seems that both exaggerated maschismo and spineless New Age vibes are going out of fashion. Instead, more men are becoming curious about male identity, deep masculinity, and male archetypes. New websites such as Masculinity Movies are on the forefront of exploring what being a man might mean in the future, and right now.
  3. Men’s rights activism (MRA). Is it a fair generalization to say that men are oppressive brutes who beat women and live privileged lives? And what’s up with men always being the ones who sacrifice their lives for society? Men’s rights activists have started asking these questions in a profound way, turning our beliefs about gender issues upside down.

Some men are interested in all of these domains. I know I am. After all, as a man, you have your own depth and identity, your romantic relationships, and your place in culture/society.

The only problem is that sometimes these paths appear to be mutually exclusive or, at the very least, contradict each other. Especially the Men’s Rights Movement and the other two branches. Is it really sexy or masculine to demand that your wife take on half of the physical risks so that you can be more safe? Do you feel manly while complaining that four out of five homeless people are men? It’s easy to make the call that to explore your manhood and be successful with women, you’d better man up and forget about any men’s rights.

To understand this dilemma better, and hopefully get past it, we need to understand why the Men’s Rights Movement is so small compared to feminism.

♦◊♦

Who Understands Whom?

In the early 1990s, a very interesting doctoral dissertation, “His and Her Childlessness,” was published in Sweden. The gist of the research was to investigate how men and women in childless couples communicate, and how well they understand each other. Traditional wisdom tells us that the man is more or less clueless while the woman has a good grasp of how he is feeling.

Men don’t want to open up because men don’t want to burden women—men want to protect women. Men also don’t want to be perceived as weak or unmanly by either women or men.

The results, however, were nothing short of shocking. What they found was that the women talked all the time about how they were feeling, which meant that the men had a pretty good grasp of how their spouses were doing. The men, on the other hand, were silent. They noticed that the woman became emotional and upset from talking about the subject, so they wanted to protect her by avoiding the issue.

The woman, not getting any input from the man, was still confident that she understood him from reading the emotions in his face. But in reality, her guesses were actually wrong most of the time, leading to the surprising conclusion that the men knew how the women were feeling, but the women were clueless about the men!

So what can we learn from this story, this research? Men don’t want to open up because men don’t want to burden women, men want to protect women. Men also don’t want to be perceived as weak or unmanly by either women or men. Throughout history manhood has been about performing, protecting, and providing—and none of those tasks lend themselves to being weak. Women don’t like weak men because historically a weak man would be unable to do those things, and that’s not a good recipe for a mother who’s raising children.

This dynamic is the very reason that the Men’s Rights Movement is so small compared to feminism. Women are used to telling men how they feel, and feel free to complain about everyday life. In this sense, feminism is a natural extension of women voicing their concerns about the limitation of the female gender role.

Men, on the other hand, are trapped in a catch-22. At the very moment you speak up about male expendability and the limitations of the male gender role, you risk coming across as weak and unattractive to women—while feeling exactly the same way yourself.

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Next: A Proposed Solution

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About Pelle Billing

Pelle Billing is an M.D. and a professional teacher of Argentine tango, who writes and lectures about gender and men’s issues. You can read more from him at his eponymous website.

Comments

  1. Masculinity was never constructed by what women want. Masculinity was constructed by men themselves. Masculinity was everything femininity was not.

    • Your last point is definitely true, but the first doesn’t follow from it necessarily.

      After all women have a failry big rle in constructing masculinity all thsoe years they are raising boys. Other women also have a fairly big role later in lfe because they execise a very importnat form of selective pressure in dating and mating. Male bosses certainly play a huige role to in ther expectations around work behaviors.

      • Don’t forget the girls they go to school with Jim. Its amazing that people think that boys somehow exist in a girless/womanless vacuum where they have absolutely no influence of boy behavior.

        • Yup. It’s probably because people assume that women are the ones trying to get men and relationships, and that men are just into themselves and their ambitions.

          Last I checked, women dress up to meet each other’s standards of fashion that guys don’t even care about. Then they expect guys to make the move and pay for most of the relationship. And then he is, of course, expendable if he doesn’t meet her standards. She loses one guy, there is more sitting around and a few more guys waiting.

          Let’s not forget how ignored and overused the word “creep” is. Guys can’t be human when making a move. If we’re nervous, we’re a creep. If we aren’t attractive, we’re a creep. etc. etc. If they’re so freaking picky why don’t THEY make the move?

          I mean, guys can’t be picky. It’s politically-incorrect. The whole nation is swelling up like a balloon, and wanting someone of healthy weight is “wanting unnaturally thin /anorexic men.

          • a few corrections.

            “wanting anorexinc/unnaturally thin women”.

            If she loses one guy, it’s just more sitting around expecting guys to come up and make a move. With even average to unattractive girls getting hit on a few times a week.

    • Just look at high school, the boys are going into sports and doing manly things to impress girls, not to impress other guys.

      • That is completely false, it could somewhat be to impres girls, but it had a lot to do with impressing friends, dads etc.Not so much girls because they didn’t care, the one that were best at football for example automaticly got “popular” between guys.

    • “Masculinity was never constructed by what women want. Masculinity was constructed by men themselves. Masculinity was everything femininity was not.”

      No masculinity is defined by what is of use to women and society. You don’t have to worry about being a woman because you have value for the simple fact that you exist. Men have zero value to the opposite sex for the simple fact that we exist.

    • Peter Houlihan says:

      Gender roles were constructed by necessity, and are highly informed by both the role-bearers desires, societal pressures and pressure from their partner.

  2. SallyStrange says:

    If you protect your wife

    Excuse me, what? Are you arming yourself and standing watch at night while wifey sleeps? Are you accompanying her at all times whenever she ventures out of the house, armed and alert and prepared for hand-to-hand combat with your mad karate skillz? Do you live in Somalia, where death by firearm or mortar is a real threat? If not, then I propose that the value of such protection is zero and you don’t get to negotiate some sort of compensation for labor you perform only in your imagination. This is the Western world after all; most of us are privileged enough that direct threats to our physical survival are vanishingly rare.

    Other than that, this piece is interesting and encouraging. I hope you continue to explore the benefits of being both communicative and vulnerable.

    • Patrick Grady says:

      What makes you think “protect” was meant only in a physical sense ? Overreact much ?

    • Excuse me, what? Are you arming yourself and standing watch at night while wifey sleeps? Are you accompanying her at all times whenever she ventures out of the house, armed and alert and prepared for hand-to-hand combat with your mad karate skillz? Do you live in Somalia, where death by firearm or mortar is a real threat? If not, then I propose that the value of such protection is zero and you don’t get to negotiate some sort of compensation for labor you perform only in your imagination.

      Proof positive that you don’t know about the part of the script of being a man that says we are supposed to protect women. That’s why there are/were so many “save the woman/girl” type video games (hell Mario did it for at least 15 years). We are supposed to be believe that failing to protect a woman is one of the worst things we could do. I can’t find the link right now (I think it was at Salon)but I recall an post a while back talking about how men react to finding out a woman in their life was raped with “I wish I had been there.” or some other type of “I failed you.” reponse. The post was basically saying that such men were making it all about themselves. Thing is they were socialized into believing that that is how they are supposed to act.

      And since you want to bring up Somalia and places (or even something like bank robberies here in The States) why do you think when an attack happens the men are dealt with (killed, beaten, imprisoned, etc….) first? In order to prevent any heroes from rising up.

      One more thing if that proctection is so imaginary then where did the procedure of “women and children first” in a disaster come from?

    • “Excuse me, what?”

      Yeah, natural reaction. The man thinks he is protecting his wife against whatever is causing all that emotional turmoil she voices all the time, so he covers up. She on the other hand doesn’t think all that drama is such a biog deal, doesn’t think she needs any emotional protecting from anything and so on. He ‘s treating her like she’s made of glass. Doesn’t mean protection wasn’t his motive.

      “If not, then I propose that the value of such protection is zero”

      Well the kind of protection I was talking about is of about zero value. But women may value some protections their men give them, like when a wife hears a noise in the night but sends her husband to check it out instead of going herself. But then again it may not be so much about protection as it is about staying in bed where it’s warm. Can’t remember where she kicked her slippers off. Whatever.

    • ghost118 says:

      Thanks, Sally, it’s good to know that, as a man, the value of my protection to the women around me is absolutely zero. I will keep this in mind and make sure not to make any effort help any woman, under any circumstances, especially if it endangers my own personal safety or comfort.

      It is also great to know that there are virtually no hazards to navigate in the Western world that could potentially threaten my survival. I will keep this in mind next time my wife and I are crossing a busy street.

      • Hey don’t forget carrying the groceries, shoveling snow, fixing the roof, landscaping, cleaning the gutters, reaching for shelves to high, fixing the toilet. Changing the oil. These are all things that feminists have relieved men of…HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

        Dear Friends Can’t You FEEL the Liberation

        Good God Almighty….I’m Liberated.

    • @SS
      Men are assumed to be the primary aggressors, but you deny they are the primary protectors. So men only have a down side?

      I spent my whole life being indoctrinated on how much house work women do. If only more women could shut up and listen to their men, they might find out about the housework they do too. Protecting women is part of our job, you don’t even know we are doing it most of the time.

      I don’t tell me wife how I feel because it will be taken down and used in evidence against me in our next argument. Pelle is right, I used to think I knew nothing about women, but women are even more clueless about men. The comments from women on these blogs show me that women, in general, have no idea about the issues facing men. In contrast, men have women’s issues rammed down their throats.

    • SallyStrange You are sick and disgusting woman. A truly vile, wretched harmful and toxic woman. You don’t deserve to be here and you don’t deserve to understand men nor have anything to do with men.

    • “Excuse me, what? Are you arming yourself and standing watch at night while wifey sleeps?”

      Yes, though I am sleeping as well.

      “Are you accompanying her at all times whenever she ventures out of the house, armed and alert and prepared for hand-to-hand combat with your mad karate skillz?”

      Yes, but not with karate skills but tools and implements to solve problems that could make us vulnerable in anyway. I also carry a firearm at times.

    • If male protection is no longer needed in the west, why do I frequently get asked to walk female co workers to their cars? I’m not especially big or intimidating, and yet it still occurs.

      Honestly, if your suppostion is indeed true would you please inform these coworkers that this is a courtesyI no longer need to supply? Thanks.

    • Peter Houlihan says:

      If theres a strange noise downstairs which may or may not be an armed robber, who goes down to investigate?

      If a mugger jumps out of the allyway with the knife, which partner gets the privileged and powerful role of human shield?

      When the ship starts sinking in arctic waters, which partner gets in the lifeboat with the kids?

      I’m delighted to say I don’t live in Somalia and don’t stand much of a chance of death by rifle fire. But there is definitely an unspoken expectation for me to sacrafice my health, and possibly life in extreme circumstances, in order to make women safer and more comfortable. As much as we westerners are privileged, the chances of encountering violence, and even lethal violence, are far from vanishingly rare.

  3. Great article Pelle.

    Jim

    I know my wife like’s the warm bed. Now if only I could train my cats to attack. ;)

  4. Great article, Pelle. Very inspiring. I like the piece about how being vulnerable is akin to being an interior warrior, although I would’ve liked to know more about your definition of what that actually means.

    To me, being vulnerable is mainly about not storing undue tension in my body. When I dare voice how I’m impacted, then it doesn’t hurt and I’m free to be proactive again. So in that sense, vulnerability enables me to stay ever vigilant, loving and free.

  5. Hello, Dr. Billing!

    I will never forget the tears in my 6 year old son’s eyes after seeing a feminist anti-boy dehumanization poster. Just three months ago, that event brought me to the MRM … and to your web site.

    I later found that your vision for the MRM is rather tame and accommodating to feminists, and as a result I have seldom gone back. All the same, thanks for your hard work!

  6. Jay Hammers says:

    “We tend to think of women as more empathetic than men, and that may well be true.”

    Compare the reaction of men to the women’s rights movement with the reaction of women to the men’s rights movement.

    Compare how common it is for men to ask for 50/50 custody and women to ask for 100% custody.

    Compare how, when divorce favored men, divorce was rare, but now that divorce favors women, they initiate the vast majority of divorces.

    One could try to explain this away as the result of men being the protectors and women the protected. But men are naturally protectors of women. And they are naturally the protectors of other men too. They fight wars and save each other’s lives. Surrounded, they’ll fight to the death if necessary.

    I can’t imagine how fast a group of female soldiers would wave the white flag, faced with death.

    I think men are probably more empathetic than women, on average, and though social conditioning may play a part, I think it’s more biological.

    We don’t know how things would be if men were not the protectors and women were not the protected. We can only deal with the reality of today. And that reality clearly shows men are more empathetic and honorable than women, on average, at least in the western world. Western women are mostly narcissists, and will continue to be as long as we keep telling them they should be. Privileges eat away at character, and seeing as western women are the most privileged creatures in the world, it’s not surprised they’ve turned out this way.

    • Jay Hammers says:

      Anyway, glad to see your article here, Pelle! Have you seen this video?

      http://www.avoiceformen.com/2011/01/29/everyone-in-the-mrm-should-watch-this-video/

    • “I can’t imagine how fast a group of female soldiers would wave the white flag, faced with death.”

      Boy, talk about a bunch of anti-women rhetoric. Women are in the military around the world. Not waiving of the flag going on. Might be nice if you educated a bit before foaming up at the mouth with your hatred.

    • “I can’t imagine how fast a group of female soldiers would wave the white flag, faced with death.”

      Just did a very quick search and I came up with these links about women warriors. I can understand not wanting to visit your local library or bookstore (all those books might be so taxing to your brain! And no, that has nothing to do with you being a man. It’s just that your a lazy and you have only yourself to blame for that), but not even doing some research on the internet before you spout your anti-woman rhetoric? But why look at facts that contradict your women-hating lies?

      Oh, and how’s this for a contradiction: “I think men are probably more empathetic than women, on average, and though social conditioning may play a part, I think it’s more biological.”

      Doesn’t that mean women would make better soldiers?

      Personally, I have know both men and women who are very empathetic. How sad for you that you, in your life, have chosen to associate with women who aren’t. Never too late to change. Maybe you should stop spending your time on MRA sites and go make some good changes in your life. You might want to start by going to the library. Baby steps.

      http://www.lothene.org/others/women.html

      http://listverse.com/2008/03/17/top-10-badass-female-warriors/

  7. The first clear, well put together, unbiased, unfeminist article on this site. Good luck staying hired…

  8. What is perhaps the most ironic is the feminist reaction to men expressing their pain. It is rarely supportive, as can be seen in the feminist articles about the men’s movement above. Men who express their discontent with the current situation are typically called whiners or told that women have it much worse. The hostile feminist responses reinforce the social attitudes that keep men from speaking up. It is understandable that society in general would oppose men appearing vulnerable, but it is rather odd that feminists — who claim to want to deconstruct rigid gender roles — oppose men showing any pain or vulnerability.

    • Yes, exactly.
      Some feminists in the blogosphere loudly proclaim that they want men to be sensitive and to have sympathy and empathy and all that (female feedback was ranting on some thread around here that men had to have this kind of mindset before they could be parents and if they didn’t they were actively, willfully and intentionally abusing any child in their care). They insist that they want equality, that they do want men to be able to have their own spaces to ‘bond’ and ‘share’ and ‘experience life as men’. Mostly, I think they might be well intentioned. However, and I don’t think that even they themselves see the dissonance between their words and their behavior, these same feminists will be among the first to freak out if a man shows any raw emotion….

      Because, by and large, MEN SHOW EMOTION DIFFERENTLY THAN WOMEN DO.

      Feminists are still looking for men to express themselves within the same parameters as women. Stereotypically, we cry, we talk to our girlfriends using emotional language, identify feelings, etc etc and we do it openly….no one would really wonder about a woman crying in public… but a man doing the same would be viewed very differently. That man would be met with stares, prompts to put himself together, scorn, suspicion about his sexuality, all manner of unsympathetic reactions…a woman would be comforted.
      If a man expressed pain or anger by way of yelling, maybe throwing something, arguing, etc….he’s seen as “dangerous” and “out-of-control” or any number of other, negative terms.

      You see examples on line all the time. A man upset about losing custody of his children may have a rant, say the ex is a bitch, express rage at the judicial system, defend his position, defend his fitness as a parent…and feminist will come along and say something akin to “No wonder you lost them, look how out of control you are, you cant even control your rage on the internet; the children are probably afraid of you ‘going off’ on them; I bet you were violent toward your wife”. Or call them a whiner and tell them to “man up” or something equally stupid.

      A woman comes along with the same scenario, doing and saying the same thing, and she is supported, comforted, sympathised with about how the ex must have lied or intimidated the judge….it’s ridiculous.

      Our collective expectations toward the genders is whats crippling both sides…in fact, it’s what has created the NEED for sides to begin with.

    • Yes and SallyStrange is a perfectly good example of such vile vitriol.

  9. It is my experience that if a man speaks up for men’s rights, he will be perceived in only one of two ways. If he is polite and reasonable about it, he is perceived as weak and whiny. If he is not, IE, if he is assertive, he is perceived as a misogynist and Neanderthal. There is no room for a happy medium. You are ether whining or hateful.

    This guy is a prime example, IMHO. Not once is his point addressed. He is simply categorized as hateful and dismissed.

    http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=60266912006&topic=14674

  10. I’m not an MRA supporter. Not by a long shot. But if there’s one thing that the past week has shown me, it’s that you guys do not get a fair hearing.

    Let’s take a look at the three articles written by feminsts here. Some of the points they bring up are quite good, in my opinion. But how are they brought up? In two cases out of three by basically mocking MRAs and parodying their positions.

    And is there a need for this? No. Marcotte’s points, for example, are fairly valid IMHO. So why does she feel she has to couch the MRA positions in such absolutely ridiculous terms? Most MRAs I’ve listened to, for example, dislike the presumption that men should pay for women’s socializing. That’s a valid point. Marcotte’s rejoinder – that in many cases such payment is seen by women as legitimate reimbursement for the constant come-ons and pick-ups that women must put up with every time they socialize in mixed company in public – is also valid. But instead of simply stating this, Marcotte has to build a strawman: MRA’s are against Ladies Nights!!! And most of her arguments follow the same general lines.

    Futrelle also belittles MRAs, basically calling them sensitive princesses and the like. Is there need for this? No.

    Messers Marcotte and Futrelle end up proving one of MRA’s most reitierated point: that if men complain their character is attacked and they are belittled. Surely the authors could have made their points without resorting tro vield strawman and ad hominems? I mean, their points are logical enbough, if not absolutely convincing.

    So what’s up, folks? Why the need to constantly belittle MRAS?

    • If you are referring to Marcotte’s article regarding the solution being more feminism, then I would ask you to read my response to that article (and the response to myself then further breaking down here article) (linked bellow). If, after reading my response, you still feel marcotte has some valid points, I would love to here them. I am always looking for a discussion on what feminism has done to help men’s issues that didn’t first and foremost benefit women, and if it happens to help men in the process…”meh, it was bound to happen on occasion.”.

      http://goodmenproject.com/ethics-values/solution-mra-problems-more-feminism/#comment-19514

      “So what’s up, folks? Why the need to constantly belittle MRAS?”

      Politics have set a precedent of utilizing smear campaigns against opponents who can legitimately challenge your position. It demonstrates that, no matter how good or right someone might be, if you can dig up enough and/or the right dirt, you can end that opposition without ever proving yourself worthy. I personally believe these adamant feminists know the MRM is both valid and justified, and are worried that if they gain enough ground, feminists will be called to task for the discriminatory things they have been involved in, or worse, lead. They will be called to task for the lies they have spread and the hate they have perpetrated, all in the name of equality, which they deem only worthy for women.

      • Mr. Kratch, I think it’s fairly evident that feminists have fought for the right for women to enter into dangerous jobs that were previously closed to them: miner, pilot, fireman, police, frontline soldier. The historical record is pretty clear on this point, I believe.

        So if it is indeed one of MRA’s complaints that all dangerous jobs are male (and it is), feminists should be lauded for attempting to democratize and socialize those risks across both genders.

        Ms. Marcotte makes that point and I find it reasonable.

        Also, the whole Ladies Night thing… Friend, I worked as a barman on and off for several years and let me tell you why bars do Ladies Nights: to draw in women so that the bar doesn’t become a complete sausage fest.

        So if some MRAs are bitching about Ladies Nights, Marcotte’s point is correct as far as their arguments go.

        What I find dishonest in Marcotte’s point is that, AFAIK, it’s not a major goal of MRAs to ban Ladies Nights. What MRAs DO seem to be concerned with is the presumption that men are supposed to pick up the tab for women when socializing in mixed company.

        That is an entirely different kettle of fish, you’ll note, which Marcotte belittles and transforms into a strawman with her Ladies Night example.

        • typhonblue says:

          “So if it is indeed one of MRA’s complaints that all dangerous jobs are male (and it is), feminists should be lauded for attempting to democratize and socialize those risks across both genders.”

          That’s all well and good. Now they need to address the greater social pressures on men to achieve that lead them to take a job in the ‘death professions’ over women.

          • Well, to my mind that’s the MRA’s job, not the feminists.

            In any case, it doesn’t negate Ms. Marcotte’s point, which is that you can hardly accuse feminism of trying to keep women OUT of the dangerous jobs. In that sense, at least, feminists have been a boon to men.

            • So you will openly acknowledge that all of feminisms claims of being about equality and breaking down gender barriers was a lie? that it was only ever truly about female empowerment and all those men, such as yourself, who joined up with feminism thinking equality included them can go to hell as far as feminism is concerned?

            • Thaddeus G. Blanchette says:

              Well, if you’re convinced – as feminists are – that your gender is systematically oppressed, then working in favor of it IS INDEED working for equality.

              You might disagree with feminists’ analysis of the situation, but that doesn’t mean that they are lying. A lie presumes that they know the truth and are trying to hide it. The truth, to then, is that fighting for female empowerment is fighting for equality because females are disempowered. Give women power and you’ll create greater equality.

              This is another point where feminists and MRAs converge IMO: many people in both groups will call you a liar if you disagree with their views or cite an oppinion they don’t like.

              I think feminists have been most concerned with breaking down the gender barriers for women, as they should well be. Often, that concern completely blinds them to the fact that there are indeed plenty of gender barriers for men. They don’t see them, so it seems that you guys are privileged whiners when you complain.

              That doesn’t make feminists liars, however. They are truly reporting the universe as they see it.

            • Thaddeus,

              You made some good points there.

              The confusion about lying is quite simple. If one researcher lies about their research that is one liar, but if ten thousand repeat the lie in ‘good faith’, then there is still one liar, but now ten thousand repetitions of the lie.

              Misrepresentation and selective quoting are other ways to avoid lying, while being economical with the truth.

              Accusing your opponent of lying in a debate is risky because lying requires intention and proving intention is very difficult. In my opinion most feminists are not liars, however feminism, nevertheless, is based on lies, selective truths and misrepresentations.

            • Thaddeus G. Blanchette says:

              Have you read Harry Frankfurt’s essay “On Bullshit”? It’s probably pretty easy to find on-line.

              There’s truth, there’s lies and then there’s bullshit.

              “Bullshit” is when we say something with no concern for the truth at all, but with concern for what sort of impact it will make upon its audience. All rhetoric is bullshit, to a certain extent, but true bullshit only occurs when you really don’t care about the facts one way or the other.

              Again, many MRA’s and feminists share a characteristic: they are bullshit artists. Misrepresenting and selective quoting is a problem both groups have and both of these things are ipso facto bullshit. If you’re misrepresenting or selectively quoting, you aren’t lying, but you certainly don’t care about the truth, either. You are bullshitting.

            • typhonblue says:

              I disagree.

              Because I find a lot of MRA arguments to be based on verifiable facts.

        • “Mr. Kratch, I think it’s fairly evident that feminists have fought for the right for women to enter into dangerous jobs that were previously closed to them:”

          Yes, they have established equality of opportunity for all jobs, including the dangerous ones, for those women who “choose” to do them. However, they continue to campaign for the prestigious jobs, demanding more then simply equality of opportunity. If it is unacceptable that woman only represent 33% of the corporate boardrooms (or whatever the number is now), then it is unacceptable that they only make up 7% of the low end jobs. If there is a demand that women represent a 50/50 share of all jobs, that should mean ALL jobs. And as the low end jobs demonstrate an even larger gender gap, there should be a focus on increasing the number of women in those positions… but there isn’t. is there.

          So the argument of MRA’s isn’t that all dangerous jobs are male, it is that feminists demands to see a 50/50 gender ratio in career positions only seem to apply for the prestigious jobs and not for the dangerous ones, were men are allowed to be the dominant disposable workforce. There is a significant difference between her interpretation and the truth. Furthermore, and you seem to have skipped this part…. Her solution in no way even addresses the problem as she defines it, let alone how MRA’s do. She simply took the fact it was discussing gender equality in jobs to co-opt the complaint and make it an opportunity to champion a feminist cause. Which is what she did for pretty much each issue.

          “feminists should be lauded for attempting to democratize and socialize those risks across both genders.”

          But that’s not what feminism has done. It insured the way was open for any women who did want to explore those jobs, but it in no way encouraged women’s participation. The only jobs that truly matter to feminists are the prestigious and high paying ones. That isn’t equality, that’s greed. And it’s far from reasonable.

          “What I find dishonest in Marcotte’s point is that, AFAIK, it’s not a major goal of MRAs to ban Ladies Nights. What MRAs DO seem to be concerned with is the presumption that men are supposed to pick up the tab for women when socializing in mixed company.”

          In addition, the issue is also that it is one of several examples of blatant discrimination in a society that does not allow such behaviour in even the minutest and most benign manner from men. Gentlemen’s clubs (not strip joints, but the true old fashioned gentlemen’s clubs, where men would gather for male comradely, to watch sports or discuss business and without the distractions that come with women) where driven out as sexist/discriminatory and illegal… and yet we have women only fitness and sporting clubs (so that women can do their thing without being “pestered by men”) which are not only perfectly legal, but thriving… and they are “no men allowed”. The truth is, if there was an event that provided men a cheaper fee to participate in, you would hear an outrage from feminists calling discrimination, even if those fee’s were legitimate. So I don’t accept the dismissal

          But the simple fact that not a single one of her solutions even acknowledges, let alone addresses the MR complaint (as she defines it or as it truly exists), makes not a single one of her idea’s reasonable.

          • Thaddeus G. Blanchette says:

            ” If it is unacceptable that woman only represent 33% of the corporate boardrooms (or whatever the number is now), then it is unacceptable that they only make up 7% of the low end jobs.”

            I find it very hard to believe that women are only 7% of the low end jobs. Does that stat include off-the-books domestic labor, prostitution, agricultural work, child-care and etc? Where does it come from? Smells like bullshit to me, man. In fact, I’d wonder how the category “low end jobs” was created, there.

            Here in Brazil, women are massively over-represented in low-paying service labor and agricultural work of all sorts.

            “But that’s not what feminism has done. It insured the way was open for any women who did want to explore those jobs, but it in no way encouraged women’s participation.”

            How would you define “encourages participation”? Certainly, feminism has been very encouraging with regards to women taking some risky and dangerous jobs. Police work, for example, which is dangerous and not high status. Military careers. Women’s participation in almost all public work of this sort has most definitely been encouraged by feminism, unless you have some sort of non-standard definition of that concept.

            Your point that feminists would complain if “Men’s Nights” existed is a good one. You’re right on that score, as far as I can see. But again, my main point is that by reducing the MRA’s complaint to something essentially silly, Marcotte pooh-poohs it and conveniently sets it aside. It’s a classic example of a straw man: she doesn’t want to engage with what the MRAs are actually saying, so she transforms their point into something much less urgent and then attacks that.

            It makes me wonder if Marcotte can indeed actually engage an MRA point, as articulated by a relatively sane and competent MRA. I mean, can she take what the person is actually, really saying and kick the chocks out from under it? So far, it doesn’t seem as if she’s able to do so.

            • typhonblue says:

              The best and worst jobs are based on: environment, income, employment outlook, physical demands and stress.

              http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/st_BESTJOBS2010_20100105.html

              95% of the worse jobs have a majority male work force.

              Considering that women have access to more money then they earn (via alimony, child support and intra-relationship transfers in marriage, dating, etc.) you could also make an argument that the ‘income’ criteria be dropped–in which case almost all the pleasant, low-payed jobs would be utterly dominated by women.

              “I find it very hard to believe that women are only 7% of the low end jobs. Does that stat include off-the-books domestic labor, prostitution, agricultural work, child-care and etc? Where does it come from? Smells like bullshit to me, man. In fact, I’d wonder how the category “low end jobs” was created, there.”

              I live in an agricultural town. Women don’t do ‘off the books’ agricultural labor in the western hemisphere in any great numbers. Including prostitution would just add one profession to the worst. Child-care? What? Off the books child care is *caring for your own child* which men do to, btw. Unpaid domestic labor is also something men have to do as well.

              What criteria would you suggest?

            • thehermit says:

              ” she doesn’t want to engage with what the MRAs are actually saying ”

              Why should she do anything like that? She is not interested in truth to come to light.

    • typhonblue says:

      How is having endured attention from other men a rationale why one, specific man owes you anything at all?

      Does that work in reverse? Are men who’ve endured the visual harassment and spamming of female sexual display owed something from specific women?

      On the one hand we have, to use an analogy, telemarketers and on the other hand ubiquitous commercials and billboards.

      Which is worse? Do telemarketers owe me for interfering in my life; do advertisers owe me for cluttering up my brain space?

      BTW, any woman who believes her mate ‘owes’ her for the actions of other men is welcome to the crap-ass relationship that will result from such entitlement.

      Enjoy. Your resentments will close you off from what’s really important in life. I know, I’ve been there.

      • Typhon, my point is that Ms. Marcotte’s is a reasonable argument. I did not say that I necessarily agreed with it. Arguments can be reasonable and not necessarily correct.

        So given the fact that it’s a reasonable point and presuming that Marcotte is arguing in good faith, why does she apparently feel the need to diminuish and demean the MRA point – which is liewise reasonable?

        I think the only possible explanations a re the following:

        1) She’s not arguing in good faith but using a cynical rhetorical ploy to try to attack MRAs perceived character instead of their arguments.

        2) She’s so emotionally repulsed by the concept that men might actually have some problems in the sex/gender system that she simply can’t engage you guys without bringing in emotions and consequent dirty tricks.

        Either way, she’s got a problem if she indeed believes that she’s a feminist and feminism is the solution to men’s problems.

        • typhonblue says:

          “Arguments can be reasonable and not necessarily correct.”

          I see. Perhaps the word substantive would be a less ambiguous choice then reasonable. Reasonable implies a value judgement. Substantive just says there’s something there to engage with.

          “Either way, she’s got a problem if she indeed believes that she’s a feminist and feminism is the solution to men’s problems.”

          I think the main problem is that feminism, or many feminists if you will, will not ceed an inch of the victim high ground.

          Often they don’t have any substantive(much less reasonable) arguments against some of the more egregious examples of male disenfranchisement. But they still will. not. ceed.

          Ah well. It’s all a fool’s game.

          • Oh, there’s definitely something there to engage with. Again, that doesn’t necessarily mean she’s RIGHT.

            With regards to “victim high ground”, are MRAs any different? Most come across as photo negatives of feminism: what feminists say is good, MRAs say is bad and vice versa. But the two sides seem united in the belief that their gender of choice is the most horribly oppressed, disenfranchised and picked upon.

            Frankly, I’d be more impressed with MRAs if 90% of their arguments didn’t sound like they came straight out of the feminist playbook, only with the genders reversed. I’m most impressed with MRAs when they’re investigating things that are straight off the radar screen of the hegemonic media: male-on-male sexual violence in the Balkans war, for example. It’s when they engage in the oppression olympics that I have a hard time taking them seriously.

            • typhonblue says:

              Wow. Another point of disconnect.

              “Frankly, I’d be more impressed with MRAs if 90% of their arguments didn’t sound like they came straight out of the feminist playbook, only with the genders reversed”

              Really? That hasn’t been my experience at all.

              The more I looked into the MRA–because I didn’t pop out of my mother’s womb agreeing with MRAs–the more I found reasonable counterarguments to many feminist claims and substantial evidence of both discrimination and oppression of men. And I also developed my own arguments. Which, of course, I find reasonable.

              Why don’t you describe one MRA argument that you found unreasonable? Complete with the evidence used to support it, of course.

    • Well, this line was often used against women fighting for equal rights, and turn around is fair play: if you guys and girls don’t like that women now have more equality in this country, how about just heading to a country that doesn’t? Typohblue, please do go. Clearly things are intolerable for you here. Just choose any country where women have less rights than men and be on your way. Bon voyage!

  11. This quote sums it up well:

    Woman, having her own inevitable task, will never demand the right to share the toil of men in the mines and in the fields. She could only demand to share in the fictitious labors of the men of the wealthy classes. ~Leo Tolstoy, TO WOMEN: http://www.online-literature.com/tolstoy/2740/

    The men in the wealthy classes did seek to make money without labor.

    more from Tolstoy’s essay TO WOMEN:
    It is not the childless woman who has conquered man, but the mother, that woman
    who has fulfilled her law, while the man has not fulfilled his. That
    woman who deliberately remains childless, and who entrances man with
    her shoulders and her locks, is not the woman who rules over men, but
    the one who has been corrupted by man, who has descended to his
    level,–to the level of the vicious man,–who has evaded the law
    equally with himself, and who has lost, in company with him, every
    rational idea of life.

    From this error springs that remarkable piece of stupidity which is
    called the rights of women. The formula of these rights of women is
    as follows: “Here! you man,” says the woman, “you have departed from
    your law of real labor, and you want us to bear the burden of our
    real labor. No, if this is to be so, we understand, as well as you
    do, how to perform those semblances of labor which you exercise in
    banks, ministries, universities, and academies; we desire, like
    yourselves, under the pretext of the division of labor, to make use
    of the labor of others, and to live for the gratification of our
    caprices alone.” They say this, and prove by their action that they
    understand no worse, if not better, than men, how to exercise this
    semblance of labor. …
    ~Leo Tolstoy, TO WOMEN: http://www.online-literature.com/tolstoy/2740/

    Matriarchy was practiced by indiginious cultures and is not about feminine or Goddess worship. But it does acknowledge the woman’s labor as mother. Matriarchy is a community way of life based on the observation of natural law. Matriarchal sytems do honor the roles of men and women and naturally resist, if not eliminate, coercion, conflict, and incest.
    See Russell Means(Author, Activist, Philosopher) talk on Matriarchy here:

    Universal Law:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akluoEByGTw&feature=player_embedded

    Matriarchy II:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0W7ocox4XI&feature=player_embedded

    Matriarchy III:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tRFFLlLgWU&feature=player_embedded
    @ 5:42: “We are never without mothering…amazing, amazing…relationships, human relationships, based on pride, based on love…instant conflict resolution.”

    Matriarch IV.avi:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_DGeoRBGyZY&feature=player_embedded
    @8:25 “As long as there is a minority…they are forced to do what the majority wants. That’s not true liberty. Liberty is when you all agree. The ultimate in individual freedom.”

    Also see Russell Means: Welcome To The Reservation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LA-S64QY3o&feature=player_embedded

    Russell Means(Author, Activist, Philosopher) talks about The Constitution, Loss of freedoms, FR/Printing, Consumerism/Debt, Politics/Economics, Culture/Values, Mob Rule, Unanimous Neighborhoods, Children not being allowed to grow up/Fear, Revolution, Education, Unemployment, Local Communities, Eugenics, Matriarchal Tribes, Poison Food, Vaccines, and more…

    The currrent world problems are mostly due to lack of moral judgement. When a CEO needs to make a profit and that is the only moral basis for the work…it will fail over time…or prove harmful. When a grandfather considers the well being of his grandchildren based on true morality and conscious relationships, without the fear or need to rid oneself of work(love made visible), then we can evolve moral humanity for men and women.

    There is plenty of science to back up the need of an infant for his/her mother.
    See Harlow study…the mother provides not only food, but comfort and the mother acts as a base for the infant/young child to explore the enviornment. The child in infancy does prefer and seek its mother…because that is natural law my friends…the honest humility of nature is resolute.
    The Science of Love: Harry Harlow & the Nature of Affection: http://psychology.about.com/od/historyofpsychology/p/harlow_love.htm

    Food or Security? Harlow’s study on monkeys’ attachment: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsA5Sec6dAI

  12. Hello, my name is Daniel Martínez and I would Like to ask for Permission to translate this article into Spanish and to publish it on my blog. I will do nothing without your permission.

  13. I suggest adding a facebook like button for the blog! http://access.leggiweb.com website

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