WOW! See What a Civil, Intelligent Feminism/Men’s Rights Dialogue Looks Like

MRFEM2

The partisan voices that seek to maintain the ideological status quo will continue to encourage us to go binary and fight. But here’s what happens when they don’t get their way.

 

Recently, I posted an article titled Why I’m Proud to Be a Men’s Rights Feminist.

As usual, there was some partisan, binary comments and some more generative dialogues. Then, on the evening of March 20th, a most remarkable conversation was sparked when HeatherN posted the following question.

@Mark Greene: I am a feminist (surprising no one here), but I am curious what MRM “ideas and philosophies” you love?

HeatherN posed the question to me, but I was off taking care of my son, oblivious of the conversation which followed until a day or so later.

I don’t mean to imply that this thread is all hearts and flowers. But constructive open-minded dialogues like this one are very much needed. And the Good Men Project is one of the few places where constructive dialogues are happening despite efforts to shout them down by more partisan voices in the Men’s Rights and Feminist camps.

I don’t mean to imply that this thread is all hearts and flowers. But constructive open-minded dialogues like this one are very much needed. And the Good Men Project is one of the few places where constructive dialogues are happening despite efforts to shout down these dialogues by more partisan voices in Men’s Rights and Feminist camps. But these binary voices are losing sway or shifting as a growing number of us seek to explore and determine our own interpretations of feminism and men’s rights issues.

This thread represents a groundbreaking model for what civilized dialogue looks like between feminists and men’s rights advocates. It includes a range of gender voices. It represents an open dialogue in which all sides were able to move into a nuanced and layered discussion about the issues surrounding men’s and women’s rights.

And most importantly? You can see that all parties are making a conscious effort to not be reactive.

Accordingly, I believe this conversation transcends simple debate. I see evidence of genuine curiosity, mutual respect and a willingness to bridge the gulf. The points made in this conversation, on both sides, represent a huge learning experience for me. Budmin, NotBuyingIt, Archy, Schala, Erik, and especially HeatherN and Danny have broken important ground. This is college curriculum level stuff. And its deeply human.

Bottom line? These folks have taken an abstract idea, that feminists and men’s rights advocates can be in dialogue and they have made it manifest. (Please excuse any editing errors or odd turns of phrase. The conversation is pasted in “as is.” I suspect all parties were typing very quickly. LOL)

Welcome to the GoodMenProject. This is why we exist.

 

  1. HeatherN says:

    @Mark Greene: I am a feminist (surprising no one here), but I am curious what MRM “ideas and philosophies” you love? To be clear, I’m not asking which issues they raise that you find important…that could be a fairly obvious list of: father’s rights, attention to male victims of DV and rape, the great proportion of our prison population that is male, over-diagnosis of boys with behaviour disorders, etc. I’m curious which MRM philosophies you find work better than feminist philosophies? (Keeping in mind that when I say “feminist philosophies,” I’m not necessarily referring to mainstream ideas. I mean pretty much anything and everything that falls under that category).

    • budmin says:

      If I may be so bold as to interject, the majority of MRA’s I communicate with don’t believe in collectivized prosperity, are dogmatically stoic & eager to prove their worth to society and them selves by throwing their lives in front of harms way to protect & provide for their loved ones. We’re raised to show courage in the face of danger. Men fight & die for the silent religion that is masculinity & for the life of me I cant say if it’s right or wrong.

    • Not buying it says:

      “Which MRM philosophy” !!!?? , forget about MRM philosophy How about the tried, true & tested human philosophy of father’s in their children’s lives provided that they are not harming them without prejudgment & safe guards against both parents as basis of family law for starters & a full over whole of the gender relations that is based on facts instead of the slowly being debunked ideology which is being rejected even by 70% of women currently.

      • HeatherN says:

        Okay, but, aside from “fathers are good,” what MRM ideas do you agree with? Not, which feminist ideas do you disagree with……but which MRM ideas do you agree with?

        • Archy says:

          For me, the MRM ideals I agree in are: Financial abortion rights, raising awareness of female abusers (along with male), getting rid of selective service, massive overhaul of family court and for non-violent mothers n fathers allowing joint custody should they wish. Although some feminists hold the same position, so the MRM and some parts of feminism appear to be the same but neither has monopoly on equality.

          • HeatherN says:

            But those are goals. That’s like, okay a feminist goal I agree with is maintaining Roe v. Wade and protecting abortion rights. But that’s not a philosophy.

            The feminist philosophy behind my support of abortion is that of bodily autonomy. My support of trans* rights largely stems from my agreement with the feminist philosophy that gender is a social construct.

            The feminist philosophy behind my support of abortion is that of bodily autonomy. And like, okay, my support of trans* rights largely stems from my agreement with the feminist philosophy that gender is a social construct.

            So, I’m curious what MRM philosophies Mark (and anyone else) agree with. That’s what I meant by ideas…

            • Schala says:

              my support of trans* rights largely stems from my agreement with the feminist philosophy that gender is a social construct.

              Mine doesn’t stem from that.

              Discrimination for reasons that do not cause undue harm (and harm to a brand image is not real harm – not a reason to not hire or to fire) is bad, period. Regardless of wether it’s inborn, chosen, a lifestyle, or born-this-way.

              I think trans people are largely biologically their identified sex (in as much as brains are biological), and I don’t think gender even enters the picture for most transsexual people.

              For transgender people, much of it does stem from men being limited in wardrobe choices however. And drag queen/king is exaggerated on purpose shows (and would exist regardless of gender norms).

              For non-binary folks I can’t say, I’d rather let them talk for themselves.

              • HeatherN says:

                Yes, of course, discrimination of anyone is always wrong. So, I suppose, my support of any discriminated against group really has roots in that knowledge. However, what I meant was that specifically, my active support for trans* rights comes from the feminist idea that gender is a social construct. – Like, not just passive “discrimination is bad,” but actively being an ally.

                When I say gender is a social construct, I don’t quite think you get what I mean. I mean the idea that male=man and female=woman is a social construct. I mean the idea that a passive nature, weakness, vanity, and being too emotional, etc. are feminine is a social construct…collecting all of those traits (and a bunch of others) together and labelling them “woman,” is a social construct. (Same thing goes for “man). This is pretty straight forward, as other cultures have different traits they’ve collected together and labelled “woman” and “man” (and sometimes other categories that aren’t “woman” or “man”).

                I agree that trans people are biologically their identified sex (just like cis people are biologically their identified sex)…but sex and gender are not the same thing. So I’m a female and I was raised a girl and I identify as a woman…but I do things that are masculine sometimes. I went through a period where I wore men’s clothing and shaved my head. I was kind of aggressive in many ways (for a variety of reasons) and I generally eschewed a lot of feminine behaviour. I didn’t identify as a man, though…because gender is a social construct. A woman can do masculine things (and a man can do feminine things) without giving up their identity as a woman or a man.

                • Danny says:

                  For me its like this.

                  People shouldn’t be bound to a certain life style that is based on an arbitrary event. The results of the chromosome dice roll shouldn’t be what determines what type of life a person should live.

                  From the moment the Y or the extra X is discovered (whether by checking ahead of time or looking at the genitals at birth) people get are locked into a certain path (well you call them bundles).

                  This expectation that one can only follow one set path that was predetermined by a random even is what breeds the acts of discrimination. In fact it’s also what breeds sexism against cisgendered people as well.

                • Erik says:

                  Which cultures see men as more emotional than women? Which cultures see men as more passive and receptive and women as active?

                  There is vast solid evidence for biological gender differences. Claiming otherwise is like being a member of the flat earth society.

    • Danny says:
      When it comes to raising children men should not have their roles in parenting determined by people other than themselves (unless of course it could be proven that he is unfit). I believe that when it comes to men and parenting there is only one thing that should determine their capacity as parents, their actions.

      father’s rights
      That when it comes to raising children men should not have their roles in parenting determined by people other than themselves (unless of course it could be proven that he is unfit). I believe that when it comes to men and parenting there is only one thing that should determine their capacity as parents, their actions.

      attention to male victims of DV and rape
      A man should not have his gender used against him as a weapon to silence him when he is in an extremely vulnerable position.

      the great proportion of our prison population that is male
      I believe that when men go to prison there are two things:.

      1. That he is there because he actually did something wrong to end up there.

      2. Once there that those men have an actual opportunity to reform (yes I agree some people are beyond redemption, but how can you tell with the way they are treated).

      Belief being that when it comes to men and crime there needs to be a way to make sure they are properly treated (and yes this touches on false accusations) and offered a proper opportunity for redemption.

      over-diagnosis of boys with behaviour disorders, etc.
      1. So that instead of boys being diagnosed as a way to declare them “defective” they are diagnosed as a way to help them.

      2. To correct the policies, structures, etc…. in effect that cause those misdiagnosis.

      The belief that boys need not have their gender held against them when being diagnosed and treated for ailments.

      Circumcision:
      A boy’s bodily autonomy should not be violated for any reason other than medical necessity.

      Now as for how these compare with feminist ideas they may sound similar but I think in all honestly that feminism has one minor shortcoming. The way it diagnoses the ways men are harmed and the prescribed treatments for resolving them.

      • HeatherN says:

        I do not mean to keep asking, and I think I might not be communicating my question wrong…or just not well enough.

        Everything you listed are like, practical, policy issues. So, like, okay…we’ll just take circumcision as an example, in part because I agree with you, and in part because it’s a fairly uncomplicated issue. On the practical side of what you want to see happen, you say you want circumcision to stop (except for medical reasons). On the practical side of what happens now, you recognize that circumcision is quite a common practice, often for aesthetic reasons.

        But, okay…like what are the MRM critical theories that attempt to explain why circumcision happens so commonly? What are the MRM philosophies that examine how male circumcision fits into the larger cultural norms about sex and gender in modern society? What are the MRM’s theories about gender, in general? There are so many myths about male circumcision, what are the MRM’s explanations for why those myths keep being perpetuated?

        See what I’m getting at here? Big picture…I’m interested in how the MRM explains the big things.

        • Archy says:

          From what I’ve seen of the MRM I THINK one is that society grew up for the benefit of both men n women, what is called patriarchy was more of an accepted agreement between man n woman due to the nature of childbirth and lack of breast milk replacements, the father would be the breadwinner and the mother looked after the family n homestead whilst both combined made a family unit what was good back then. Then you have the elites who ruled over the peasants, men had some power, women had some power, but peasants had fuckall power, men n women were both oppressed by the elites. Basically a patriarchy except women had more power than feminism appears to credit them, and men didn’t have as much, but both men n women at the very top had ENORMOUS power. Basically class mattered a huge amount more than gender, and that men had some privileges whilst women had other privileges (like not being drafted).

        • Danny says:

          I do not mean to keep asking, and I think I might not be communicating my question wrong…or just not well enough.
          No no no ask away. Unlike most feminists you are asking what we mean instead of telling us what we mean. Communication!

          But, okay…like what are the MRM critical theories that attempt to explain why circumcision happens so commonly? 

          I myself believe that when it comes to bodily autonomy, the consideration that we often see afforded girls is not extended to boys. I think it may have something to do with a few things. The idea that girls are more precious than boys maybe.

          Why so commonly? I myself believe that when it comes to bodily autonomy the consideration that we often see afforded girls is not extended to boys. I think it may have something to do with a few things. The idea that girls are more precious than boys maybe. That when it comes to genitals the penis is being held to a narrowly acceptable standard of what it should look like. “He should look like his dad.” “So that girls won’t think it’s gross.”

          As for how it fits into the norms of sex and gender as I said above its a matter of where other people’s views on what a guy’s penis should looking are taking precedent over what his own views might be. Surely you see similar thing happen to girls.

          When it comes to theories on gender I’m of the mind that there is a system in place. And this system exists not to hold any one above any one else except for itself. It will mow down anyone regardless of gender, race, financial status, etc…. The system keeps people in the places where they will be the most beneficial not to themselves but to the system. In practice this is quite harmful to damn near everyone. The only way to free everyone up is to undo this twisted system. The main road block is that in keeping people in their places (sorted by gender, race, etc…) we are pitted against each other. (Which is Mark’s point about trying to end the fighting and get to the changing).

          As for the myths behind circumcision there may be a few things:
          1. The data on the supposed health benefits of the practice have been contested for quite some time. For every study that has a pro circ conclusion there’s one that has an anti-circ conclusion. (I wish I could find the link again but did you know that a year or so ago there were clinics in Africa that were actually going to schools and circumcising boys, without their parents knowledge?)

          2. In the fashion of men being cast as success and utility objects I think that part of reason the myths continue is that people simply don’t care that much about the bodily autonomy of boys. I think this may be why despite the violation of bodily autonomy people are willing to accept conditions for why the practice should be done.

          3. I’ve seen more than a few people argue that circumcision should be banned….but with a cultural/religious exception clause. Seriously, we’re gonna in one breath say that cutting a boys genitals when he has no say in it is wrong and but then turn around in the next and say that it’s okay to do it because of the religion of his family?

          4. As for the supposed health benefits being contested I wonder about the depth of sexual education for boys. Circumcision is being pushed as the way to reduce HIV/AIDS transmission in a place where it is believed that having sex with a virgin will cure AIDS?

          Mind you I don’t pretend to have the explanation for all things that go on.

          • HeatherN says:

            So now we’re getting closer to what I was asking. Stuff like the “success object” and the idea that men’s bodily autonomy is less recognized than women’s. The idea that there’s an overarching system that is more important than race, class, gender,etc. and it pits everyone against each other. – These are the sorts of theories I was looking for.

            So okay, now again I’ll ask…what overarching MRM theories/philosophies do you agree with? (Not everything, obviously. If I were to write down every feminist theory I agreed with or disagreed with, it’d take ages. But just in general…the big ones).

            • Danny says:

              So okay, now again I’ll ask…what overarching MRM theories/philosophies do you agree with? 
              This is where it gets fun.

              Men as a class are specifically harmed in ways because of their gender. AKA yes sexism against men exists (and as I said in “This is not how you support men’s issues” its not a matter of one being worse than the other or one being more important that the other, they both exist and they are both bad). These things must be deal with.

              That men as a class are specifically harmed in ways because of their gender. AKA yes sexism against men exists (and as I said in “This is not how you support men’s issues” its not a matter of one being worse than the other or one being more important that the other, they both exist and they are both bad). These things must be deal with.

              That in order for men to have the changes that will help everyone in the long run men have a lot of heavy lifting ahead of them.

              That a man should be free to determine his own path in life (barring the fact that he doesn’t harm other of course).

              Similar to the way feminists believe that women shouldn’t be expected to have their existence define in relation to men men should not be expected to have their existence defined in relation to women.

              Most of what I can think would fall under one of those four but I don’t pretend them to be all inclusive of MRM ideas (and in fact I bet other MRAs might disagree with me on them, just as there is disagreement among feminists).

              As JQ has says Feminism has about a 60 year head start over the MRM (and could be longer than that because I’ve read a few articles here and there that date feminism back to the abolishinists in the 1860s). Like any movement its formed as a response to things in society and culture that its members feel are not being properly addressed.

              • HeatherN says:

                So the middle two you listed still don’t quite fit what I’m saying…cuz they’re more like, general desires for life. But the first, okay…that men are harmed because of their gender. And the last, that men shouldn’t be defined by their relationship to women (and I assume, this means you think that now men are defined by their relationship to women).

                The reason I asked, originally, is because Mark said in the article that there are feminist and men’s rights philosophies that he loves…so I wanted to know which men’s rights philosophies he agreed with.

                • Danny says:

                  As for those middle two I’ll give you the one about the long term work but as for the other:

                  That a man should be free to determine his own path in life (barring the fact that he doesn’t harm other of course).
                  Would you say that for women to have this same freedom is more of a general desire and something not specific to feminist ideas?

                  I’m wondering because under that I was mostly thinking about how men are restricted in what they are “allowed” to do just as women are (the gender construct you mentioned earlier).

                  and I assume, this means you think that now men are defined by their relationship to women
                  Yep.

                  • HeatherN says:

                    Yeah, if you want to frame it in terms of gender roles, then it’d have to be more like, “that gender roles have limited the lives men could lead,” or something.

                    Well, it doesn’t HAVE to be that…but I mean, in order to be a specifically MRM philosophy it kind of has to deal with gender in some way. And simply, “we wanna live our lives,” kind of doesn’t…unless it’s framed in a way that suggests men couldn’t in the past because of gender roles.

                    • Danny says:

                      Well now if you want to get specific I can do that.

                      In the past men’s live were limited by gender roles in the form of the expectation that in the family unit the man was the external provider* (while the woman was to be the internal provider*). These expectations limit what types of providing a man was “allowed**” to do.

                      As a sign of progress look at the increase and rising voice of the stay at home dad. For a long time (and still yet) the stay at home dad was regarded as not fulfilling his expectations to abide by his assigned gender role. How dare he be the internal provider?!? Its a change that men have had to make in order to get away from the past limitations. (Flip that coin over and I’m sure you’ll find the legacy of the expectations and limitations imposed on women.)

                      * – Internal/External provider: My own way of labeling the husband aka “breadwinner” and the wife aka “homemaker”. Let’s be honestly they both provided in their own way. One was expected to provide from the outside and the other was expected to provide from the inside.

                    • HeatherN says:

                      But Danny, that’s feminism.

                      “We’ve begun to raise our daughters more like our sons…but few have the courage to raise our sons like our daughters.” and “Women are not going to be equal outside the home until men are equal in it” – Both are by Gloria Steinem

                      Feminists would just add that being the “internal provider” has long been undervalued when compared to the “external provider.” (To use your terms)

                    • Danny says:

                      You know I was expecting you to say that eventually but after a commenting several times and not saying so I was ready to eat some crow.

                      Are there commonalities between feminism and MRM? Sure (they are both about gender so that would make sense). But as I said below one of the reasons that MRM exists is because the inequalities that men face are not being addressed (or at least not being addressed properly).

                      Here’s the thing Heather. Are there commonalities between feminism and MRM? Sure (they are both about gender so that would make sense). But as I said below one of the reasons that MRM exists is because the inequalities that men face are not being addressed (or at least not being addressed properly).

                      So regardless of having similar ideas there are still problems with the way feminism seeks to correct those inequalities (as I described below).

                      Just saying, “But that’s feminism” doesn’t really get down to why there are feminists that seem to either not be pushing for what you quote there or may even be pushing against what you quote (or even in the worst case actually taking advantage of the inequalities that are mentioned in that quote).

                      Now:
                      “We’ve begun to raise our daughters more like our sons…but few have the courage to raise our sons like our daughters.” 
                      This sounds great. People are willing to break the limitations that are imposed on girls but they are still not willing to break the limitations that are imposed on boys. (Personally I think that’s due partly to the system still wanting men in their own limited little place, nothing gives up power easily.)

                      “Women are not going to be equal outside the home until men are equal in it”
                      Yes this is something I agree with. However as I said below despite there being things that I agree with when it comes to feminism there are still some things that I think it gets wrong. But even then that wouldn’t be so bad on its own. No its the unwillingness of feminism (on the large scale) to even allow those things to be questioned much less changed (such as recognizing that the limitations and harms imposed on men actually do harm men on an institutional scale and the limited depictions of rape culture).

                      Fine well and good I suppose. But at the end of the day feminism isn’t going to fix everything by itself (at least as it is) and if it doesn’t want to hear that then people are bound to look to other places.

                      I hope you aren’t about to tell me that I never gave feminism a chance or that if I don’t embrace feminism then that means I am against equality….

                    • HeatherN says:

                      No no, look, the reason I keep going on about MRM philosophies is because generally when I ask what I get is either something that’s framed as being anti-feminism (this is what we think feminists say and we think the opposite). OR what I see is someone basically agreeing with a feminist idea, but not talking about it as a feminist idea. The only reason I said “that’s feminism,” was because literally everything in that comment you’d made was covered by some brand of feminism…wouldn’t have said so otherwise.

                      But look, screw the labels for a moment…I’m not trying to get anyone to take on any label. I’m interested in ideas.

                      It’s like the MRM is reinventing the wheel rather than taking the current wheel and making modifications, or something. It’s like they saw someone using a wheel badly and instead of just using that wheel themselves, they decided to make their own. (That analogy’s not perfect, and I’ll stop with it before it gets to weird, but you get what I’m saying). And you might say, sometimes you have to start over, or something…but you don’t.

                      Like, feminism (gender studies, whatever the hell) is this collection of a whole bunch of ideas about gender (some of them even primarily concerned about men)…it’s this whole body of knowledge that’s been critiqued and challenged and changed over decades. And so some feminists are using that knowledge in some shit ways (or totally misunderstanding that knowledge and screwing it up).

                      And so the MRM saw the crap feminists doing some crap things and went “right, we’re not only against those crap feminists, we think feminism itself is wrong,” without really looking at and critically examining that whole vast collection of ideas that is feminism.

                      And so the MRM saw the crap feminists doing some crap things and went “right, we’re not only against those crap feminists, we think feminism itself is wrong,” without really looking at and critically examining that whole vast collection of ideas that is feminism. And then they started over, and not only that…they generally construct most of their ideas as specifically anti-feminist. Like, “what do we think feminists say about this issue? We say the opposite!” Kind of reactionary. And because it’s so reactionary it gets a lot of feminism wrong. And it gets a lot of history wrong…like, it just does.

                      But what the MRM could do, and be a lot more constructive if they did so, is take a bunch of feminist ideas (or gender studies ideas, whatever) that focus on men and masculinity..and build from that. Like, build from the body of knowledge that’s already there. And call it whatever you want…as I said, totally not doing the whole label thing…call it men’s rights or the MRM or whatever.

                    • Danny says:

                      The only reason I said “that’s feminism,” was because literally everything in that comment you’d made was covered by some brand of feminism…wouldn’t have said so otherwise.
                      And the reason I was expecting that was because usually when people bring that up they bring that statement up as a way to shut down what I’m trying to say.

                      And so the MRM saw the crap feminists doing some crap things and went “right, we’re not only against those crap feminists, we think feminism itself is wrong,” without really looking at and critically examining that whole vast collection of ideas that is feminism. 
                      Yes there are those that do that but I’m actually not trying to do that. Maybe that’s way despite my claims of MRM I really don’t get much mention among them.

                      But what the MRM could do, and be a lot more constructive if they did so, is take a bunch of feminist ideas (or gender studies ideas, whatever) that focus on men and masculinity..and build from that. 
                      That’s actually what I would like to do and you know what happens when I cross paths with feminists over this? I get told “But that’s feminism!”. And not in your way of just saying “Hey that’s a part of feminism too! Let’s talk!”. No it’s usually “Quit biting off of feminism! If you’re about equality then you must be a feminist and if you aren’t a feminist you’re against equality.” To which I have to bite my tongue else it will slip and a, “Well if you hadn’t of fucked it up in the first place then maybe I wouldn’t be picking up your pieces behind you!”

                      And that’s not a lack of thinking about feminism Heather, that’s actual experience. But in thinking about my own anger I think I know where that reactionary contempt comes from. It comes from repeated experiences of trying to work with feminists but at the first sign of disagreeing with them they attack. And viciously. Regardless of what the words might if they are being endorsed by people who can’t handle being disagreed with on the slightest detail (prime example, most feminists will fight against the ideas of female privilege and sexism against men to the last breath).

                      In short the reason they are saying, “what do we think feminists say about this issue? We say the opposite!” is because of feminists that say, “what we say about the issue is right!”.

                      So there is a lack of critical thought on all sides here.

                      I suppose that after that I splinter off from other MRAs on the matter of still seeing and acknowledging the parts of feminism that I agree with while still expressing where feminism frankly gets things wrong.

            • Erik says:

              HeatherN, Warren Farrell provides a theoretical framework such as the one your are asking for. His framework is very close to the views of many MRAs. Agirlwriteswhat has a lot of blog posts that provide a lot of a similar framework. Her post on the disposable male and her patriarchy posts for example. THe disposability article is on avoiceformen.com at least and the patriarchy articles here:

              http://owningyourshit.blogspot.no/search/label/patriarchy?updated-max=2012-03-25T18:49:00-07:00&max-results=20&start=3&by-date=false

        • JQ says:

          Fair question. It’s difficult to answer because MRM hasn’t crystalised into a stringent set of philosophies of theories at this time, unlike feminism… it’s more a reaction to the issues you listed. But if I had to pick a couple:

          1. MRM doesn’t subscribe to Patriarchy Theory, but rather, the reverse… it is women who have held privileged status, as evidenced by the responsibility and *willingness* for men to sacrifice and die to support his family, and by extension, society. Women are considered precious while men are considered disposable. Hence ultimate power was (and is) held by the feminine. Paul Elam calls it “Gynocentrism”, and I’ve read his thesis on it, unfortunately it’s 50% nuttery but does raise some good points.

          2. if women to truly want to close the gender gap, then they must accept equal responsibility and *accountability* as men. But MRM sees the feminist movement not as closing the gender gap, as it mandates, but widening it, especially to the detriment of men. Again, look at the issues you raised. But more importantly, through its emphasis on such things as rape culture and violence against women, as well as bias in women’s health etc., it accuses feminism of continually casting women as the “victim”. On the flipside feminism continually casts men as the “perpetrator”. Not only does this ignore the significant instances where women are the perpetrators and men are the victims, it ironically forces women into a disempowered childlike state. MRMs contention is by giving women equal accountability, the effect will actually be women’s empowerment.

          I think that’s about it.

          • HeatherN says:

            Okay, but that is largely reactionary. Mostly what you’ve said is stuff you disagree with…and even the things you agree with, they are largely just the opposite of feminism. Or rather, the opposite of what you think feminism is saying.

            And here is where I point out that a lot of what you’re saying feminism is about, isn’t what feminism is about. (Like, I’m not even talking about the fact that there are different kinds of feminism and what-not. I’m literally just talking in broad strokes, feminism isn’t what you’re saying).

            Feminism doesn’t actually cast men as the “perpetrator;” it casts masculinity and patriarchy as the perpetrator…which is entirely different. And there is plenty of great literature about the nuance of power in patriarchy…patriarchy theory isn’t simply “men were in control of everything.”

            Feminism doesn’t actually cast men as the “perpetrator;” it casts masculinity and patriarchy as the perpetrator…which is entirely different. And there is plenty of great literature about the nuance of power in patriarchy…patriarchy theory isn’t simply “men were in control of everything.”

            • Danny says:

              Feminism doesn’t actually cast men as the “perpetrator;” it casts masculinity and patriarchy as the perpetrator…which is entirely different. And there is plenty of great literature about the nuance of power in patriarchy…patriarchy theory isn’t simply “men were in control of everything.”
              Now here is where I see things a bit different.

              Its not that feminism casted men as the perp and women as the victim. No its more like feminists (or at least some of them) had no problem taking advantage of that casting when it suits them, regardless of its origin.

              Also about what patriarchy theory is about. And this is a bit of a point of disagreement for me.

              To me I think patriarchy at best only describes parts of the system that really does benefit men over women in terms of gender. And I think its honestly misnamed on the grounds that it implies that when its all said and done, men are better off over all than women. I’m not sure that is true. That’s why I’m more of a fan of calling the system. Its there. Its exists. Its screws people over in different ways.

              To me I think patriarchy at best only describes parts of the system that really does benefit men over women in terms of gender. And I think its honestly misnamed on the grounds that it implies that when its all said and done, men are better off over all than women. I’m not sure that is true. That’s why I’m more of a fan of calling the system. Its there. Its exists. Its screws people over in different ways.

              However I’m willing to look past that on the condition that when it comes to dealing with the various inequalities that plague us the different inequalities are properly identified and dealt with accordingly for everyone’s sake, not just for the sake of one side with the promise that it will benefit the other.

              (And I think this is where one of my main points of contention with feminism is. When it comes to identifying the inequalities by gender they are not laid out in terms of what is going on but instead in terms of “how does this affect women, and oh yeah how does it affect men”.

              I see this in the form of the idea that homophobia against gay guys is actually misogyny and homophobia against gay woman is actually misogyny.

              I think that’s bull. Or when it comes to parenting the idea that men aren’t stereotyped as inefficient parents because of their gender. No its actually because women are stereotyped as superior parents thus dads get the short end of the stick.

              And here is a personal best I’ve been told. The body image issues that I deal with have nothing to do with my gender. But when it comes to women their body image issues are tied to their gender. Remember that body image series I did last year? In the opening post the first thing I wanted to address was the fact that in most articles you see about men and body image male body image issues are usually presented in relation to female body image issues. I wanted to ask what is so wrong about presenting male body image issues on their? But let’s just say the editors weren’t feeling that. And I also originally wanted to specifically eliminate any mention of female body image issues but I knew that wouldn’t fly so I didn’t bother bringing it up.

              Then there’s also the proposed solutions to these problems. Take the recent rape culture posts going on right now. Despite it being defined as gender neutral most of the time when its brought up in practice rape culture is limited to male against female rape. Now we’ve talked this out already. I like how you are for the idea of using data to tweak the theory. Problem is most proponents would rather ignore the data if it doesn’t fit the theory, which is usually presented when talking about male against female rape.

              By it’s logic that inequalities that harm men are not features of a system that is designed to keep everyone down for its own sake but rather they are bugs in a system that is meant to keep the masculine above the feminine. In other words it treats the harms of men as side effects and collateral damage of the harms of women. Its not sexism against men they are feeling its just some sexism against women that splashed on to them.)

              • HeatherN says:

                Alrighty, I’m not going to go into the ways in which homophobia is and isn’t tied to misogyny, because that’ll just end with me very angry. Not at you, necessarily, but still angry.

                As for patriarchy theory, well here’s an article by bell hooks that explains it well. The concept of toxic masculinity, arguably, examines the ways in which the patriarchy has screwed over men. That’s kind of the point of it.

                Like, okay, I see a lot of what you’re saying. I get where you’re coming from in your reaction to a lot of what you perceive as feminist ideas. But the reality is that there is a heck of a lot more nuance in feminist discussions than what you’re describing. Not necessarily online, I’ll grant you…but in actual, real life feminist circles there is a lot more nuance in feminist ideas, and critique of those ideas.

                • Danny says:

                  Alrighty, I’m not going to go into the ways in which homophobia is and isn’t tied to misogyny, because that’ll just end with me very angry. Not at you, necessarily, but still angry.
                  Fair enough but I’ll just say this. Homophobia is tied to misogyny but its not as all encompassing as “all homophobia is rooted in misogyny”.

                  As for patriarchy theory, well here’s an article by bell hooks that explains it well. The concept of toxic masculinity, arguably, examines the ways in which the patriarchy has screwed over men. That’s kind of the point of it.
                  I’ll read that later when I get the chance but let me ask real quick. Does bell hook believe that the ways that the system screws over men relates to their being male?

                  Like, okay, I see a lot of what you’re saying. I get where you’re coming from in your reaction to a lot of what you perceive as feminist ideas. But the reality is that there is a heck of a lot more nuance in feminist discussions than what you’re describing. 
                  I’m sure there is more nuance. Which is why I haven’t gone full on anti-feminist. But at the same time there is going on in what feminist ideas I’m talking about that warrants a little bit of discussion. Discussion that frankly most of them don’t want to have as far as I can tell.

                  Now I will say this. You are one of the VERY rare feminists I’ve come across that I have actually been able to discuss this with and didn’t just resort to tossing links to some major feminist sites with an air of “And don’t come back until you agree with me.” As in feminism is the one movement in human history to be right on every issue (now that doesn’t mean that there is never any internal critique, by this I mean that as an outsider non-feminist I’m wrong just be disagreeing with anything about feminism).

            • Erik says:

              To me it is not as I am a (flexible) gender essentialist. By that I mean that i think there are large statistical gender differences that are biological and can not be erased but will express themselves somewhat differently in various contexts and depending on how people are raised. I fully recognize that there are people who break the norms and that there are some large variations but I believe this is also primarily biological. Women who behave in a very masculine manner have high testosterone or have been exposed to high levels of testosterone during pregnancy when the part of their brain that is masculine was formed. Women who behave masculine, like men who behave masculine, have highly masculinized faces. They also tend to have the finger ratio that correlates with high testosterone exposure in the womb. It is not an accident that when I read feminist sites on the net and look at the pictures the men tend to have far more feminine faces than average and the women tend to have far more masculine faces than average. Have you ever looked at photos where you can see the same face modified to be either the face of someone with extremely high testosterone to extremely high estrogen and everything in between? I don`t understand how anyone can see that and not understand that there is a huge biological component in behavior and masculinity and femininity is not a social construct at its core.

              Anyway, as I believe gender differences are not socially constructed. You saying that feminists believe masculinity is the problem just underlines to me just how much you hate ME and who I am at the core and will always be. As long as you are saying masculinity is the problem you are saying who I am and always will be is the problem. You are also saying that I need a radical personality change and need to be feminized. And that is precisely what feminism has tried to do, feminize men. Which partially works not he surface but just makes them miserable, dysfunctional and unattractive to women. This comment was meant as a comment to HeatherNs comment that masculinity and not men was the problem.

               

This is a completely arbitrary stopping point. No one gets the last word here. The conversation is still going on, all across the  GMP and the net. Change is happening, but it will only happen in the places where ideological extremism and silencing are not the rule of thumb.

The partisan voices that seek to maintain the status quo will continue to fight for their ideological turf. Over and over, they will attempt to use hot button issues to keep us all in unproductive and binary debates. But, god willing, they will not set the rules of engagement for the rest of us. No matter how hard the try.

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Comments

  1. Dear Mark Greene, HeatherN, Erik, Danny, etc.: OMG! THANK YOU SO MUCH for this discussion!
    I’ve been longing and searching for an intelligent, civil, open-minded gender discourse for quite some time now, and you have delivered. Keep it coming! I’d join in but it’s obvious that I’m not so well-read or articulate as all of you seem to be ;o)
    PS. I love the Good Men Project

  2. Mr Supertypo says:

    Thumbs up, I like it…

  3. The Wet One says:

    What the?

    Beware!

    The Paradox Police are coming and are going to shut this whole thing down hard! I’m running for the exits now. Can’t you guys hear the sirens!!!!

    RUNN!!!

  4. Through this conversation, and some others, I think there are kind of two main ways in which feminism bumps up against the MRM’s ideas.

    The first, is in interpreting the data about things that are happening now. – so MRM concepts like the “success object,” misandry, male disposability, etc. For starters, they tend to be reactionary to feminism, which we kind of talked about in these comments. But more, they’re just wrong…and that sounds judgemental but just give me a second here. After this conversation (and others, but particularly this one), it strikes me that the reason I think a lot of MRM ideas are wrong is because they are too limited in scope…failing to take in the wider contexts of social narratives and mainstream social norms. (There are certainly feminists who do this to…but they generally aren’t the ones creating feminist theory).

    The second is kind of what budmin’s comment mentioned: most MRAs budmin’s come across “don’t believe in collectivized prosperity, are dogmatically stoic & eager to prove their worth to society and them selves by throwing their lives in front of harms way to protect & provide for their loved ones.” So basically men eager to take on the traditionally “masculine” role…and seeing as feminism (whichever brand) is all about upsetting the divide between “masculine” and “feminine,” this generally doesn’t go over very well.

    And then finally, of course, is the reactionary anti-feminism and misogyny I’ve seen in every MRM space I’ve been seen. (Yes, even in some of Warren Farrell’s stuff). So here, I suppose, I’ll ask another question. Are there any MRM spaces that aren’t misogynist and/or anti-feminist? (Not men’s groups or men’s movement groups, or father’s rights groups. There are actually quite a few men’s groups that work within a feminist framework that are great). I mean, specifically, MRM (or MHRM) groups. (And I do not mean this question in a snarky, sarcastic way. I’m serious…if you can point me to an MRM site/organization that’s not anti-feminist or misogynist I’d be happy).

    • Who gets to define an “official” mens rights space? As a proponent of men’s rights, I consider my official space to be the Good Men Project. Perhaps not what a lot of MRMs would consider an official MRM space, but official spaces, be they feminist or MRM, are not typically the places where generative dialogue and communication are going to occur. Because those spaces tend to be more about consolidating and organizing ideology. However, I do believe the Good Men Project is an MRM space (and a feminist space and a space for everybody else, too). Because it is clearly a space that represents issues related to men’s rights.

      Ultimately, it seems to me that men and women in Western culture are a lot like the Catholics and the Protestants in Northern Ireland. That for one reason or another we have been trained to slug it out with each other while the powers that be benefit from a divide and conquer strategy. That’s why I see no benefit in rising to the bait when someone wants to have yet another binary argument.

      I think is crucial for Men’s Rights moving forward is to stop locating itself in opposition to feminism, because to do so places limitations on how it can leverage its collective energies. Its fine to take issue with how society is (in some cases) addressing women’s issues while (in some cases) not addressing men’s. But lets not fall into the trap of positioning ourselves exclusively as anti-anything, including feminism. That gives far too much power to feminism which is already pretty potent all on its own.

      Instead we need to broaden the culture’s view of men dramatically. That is where the real change will take place. We need more open and wide ranging ways of looking at gender, sexuality, politics and society. It’s time to bust things wide open.

      • But GMP doesn’t identify itself as an MRM space. That’s what I mean…spaces which identify themselves as being part of the MRM. (As I said, there are tons of spaces that seek to examine masculinity and are proponents of men that are wicked awesome…not one that identifies as MRM). Here’s the thing, most feminist spaces aren’t anti-male (and even a few aren’t automatically anti-MRM)…not a lot online that aren’t anti-MRM I’ll grant you, but that’s generally because of a lot of what I described above.

        And it might sound like a bit of a challenge, and I guess it is a bit…but mostly it’s just curiosity…and a desire to check out an MRM space that isn’t anti-feminist and misogynistic.

        “Ultimately, it seems to me that men and women in Western culture are a lot like the Catholics and the Protestants in Northern Ireland.”

        That kind of assumes that women are feminists and men are the MRM…and that’s not really true. Plenty of people don’t fall into either camp, and there are plenty of male feminists (and I’m told a growing number of female MRAs). The divide isn’t between the genders.

        • My sense is that like the first feminists, the first MRM’s are the sharp edge of an awakening among men in general. The MRM movement is going to evolve.

          Good point about many men and women not falling in either camp. I guess what I was getting at was that we all fall prey to pressures that are far more about class and economics than specifically gender.

          I call myself a Men’s Rights advocate. I care about a lot of the issues that the MRM movement cares about. I would suggest that we be careful not dismiss the voices of the MRM because of a strident and intolerably hostile bunch. Babies and bath water and all that… Because based on that criteria, we’d have to toss out feminism as well. (Admittedly, we could use a few more non-intolerably hostile MRMs than we currently have.)

          • “My sense is that like the first feminists, the first MRM’s are the sharp edge of an awakening among men in general.”

            I’d be more open to that as a possibility if so much of what I’ve seen among the MRM wasn’t a call for a return to “the good old days” before feminism. With the exception of being pro-stay-at-home-father, I see a lot of the same traditional gender norms being perpetuated in MRM spaces. I mean, not just the outright misogynistic gender norms…just general gender norms. Actually, a lot of times it seems kind of counter to what they say they want. I see complaints of the way in which men’s emotions are denied them…and then a rallying cry that glorifies the way men will sacrifice themselves without regard for their own well being. You see the problem there, right? Or something about how stay-at-home-fathers are just as awesome as stay-at-home-mothers, but then simultaneously arguing that women’s behaviour (particularly sexual) is driven by their desire to have children and be mothers…but men’s isn’t. A lot of complaining about the old way of doing things while simultaneously glorifying the old way of doing things.

            Frankly, I think the non-intolerably hostile MRAs need to stage a coup (lol). This is sounding more and more anti-MRM, and that’s not quite what I’m trying to say. I’m more trying to explain the problems I see with it…not dismiss it out of hand…but, yeah, explain the problems I see.

            • you’re holding MRAs to a standard that feminists don’t even meet. You’re asking for a consistency of philosophy when feminists have “waves” that are con stantly fighting eachother.

              For the record “return to gender roles!” people are actually traditionalists. The usual response from mras is to tell them to screw off.

              Note: just because someone disagrees with feminists doesn’t make them an MRA (And also, just because feminists don’t like them doesn’t make them MRAs either- i.e Pick up artists.)

            • Agreed, Heather, does feminism even have the standard you’re using? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a NON anti-MRA feminist site/place, I have seen some that don’t seem to have misandry but they do feel rare.

              Side-note, I am not an MRA, nor a feminist. Only term I would use is egalitarian. I am critical of both feminism and the MRA, but I am not anti-feminist nor anti-mra. Some parts of both movements I find are good, other parts are not.

            • Sentinel says:

              ” I see complaints of the way in which men’s emotions are denied them…and then a rallying cry that glorifies the way men will sacrifice themselves without regard for their own well being. You see the problem there, right?”

              There’s no problem here. MRA’s want to be allowed to have emotions, and part of that means being allowed to CHOOSE to sacrifice themselves without being EXPECTED to. The phrase “women and children first” riles up a lot of MRAs because it’s an expectation inherent in society that men have the responsibility to place themselves last in life-or-death situations. It tells a man that if he values his own life more than that of a complete stranger, he’s not a man at all. And that is a very very core and incredibly widespread denial of a man’s right to feel two of the most basic emotions there are: desire to live and fear of death.

              “Or something about how stay-at-home-fathers are just as awesome as stay-at-home-mothers, but then simultaneously arguing that women’s behaviour (particularly sexual) is driven by their desire to have children and be mothers…but men’s isn’t.”

              Genetics and biology are far more important than many people give them credit for. “Women are better parents than men” is a social construct, but “females are better parents than males” is not. Biological females can make and feed babies; biological males cannot. That’s a very simple, fundamental, and undeniable biological difference. Though I personally can’t really speak of the desire to be a parent, since I don’t know about the biology involved.

        • Oh, and one other point, Heather. Why does the space you want to see where MRM’s are playing nice have to have MRM emblazoned on the masthead to be legitimate for your purpose? Just asking. Cause that privileges a certain kind of official space as legitimate over other more open spaces (like the GMP). I’m not sure why MRMs making nice here wouldn’t qualify as proof that such creatures exist.

          • Ah see I think you misunderstand. I’m not questioning whether MRAs are out there that can make nice with feminists. I’ve met plenty of individuals who do. I’m also not questioning whether there are spaces out there that deal with men’s issues that can play nice with feminists who come across them…again, I’ve come across those who do.

            But the argument I usually see isn’t that “hey not everyone talking about men’s issues is bad.” The argument I see is usually “Hey the MRM isn’t all bad.” The MRM…so that’s what I asked my question about…the MRM.

            • But the argument I usually see isn’t that “hey not everyone talking about men’s issues is bad.” The argument I see is usually “Hey the MRM isn’t all bad.” The MRM…so that’s what I asked my question about…the MRM.
              But wouldn’t those individuals MRAs that are trying to talk things out with feminists proof that the MRM isn’t all bad? Or are you looking for a single mass gathering of MRMs that are trying to talk things out with feminists?

            • The second one, yeah. Doesn’t even have to be massive. I’m looking for an MRM space where the collective isnt anti-feminist and misogynistic.

              I’ve bren thinking…Mark compared men an women to Catholics an Protestants in Iteland. I think it’s more like the MRM and feminism are like the Republicans and Democrats. Both sides got crazies an both sides got stubborn ideologs who won’t see reason. BUT the difference is that the Republicans keep getting more radical and are anti-Democrat even to their own detriment. (I’m castin the feminists as the Dems, by the way). Republicans aren’t inherently horrible people and there are some absolutely lovely Republicans out there…but good luck getting a group of them together without someone saying something stupid.

              And now I sound like I’m anti-Republican…but really I’m just not happy with the radical tirn in the party.

            • Republicans aren’t inherently horrible people and there are some absolutely lovely Republicans out there…
              I’ll take that for now. As long as you aren’t running around just trashing anything that remotely resembles Republican.

            • Is there any feminist area where they are NOT hardened anti-MRA? The hypocrisy I so often see on some feminist websites is that they complain of MRA’s hating feminism and treating them like a monolith with generalizations, yet in the same breath they do the EXACT same thing back to the MRA’s showing their bigotry of the MRM. I’m not sure either group has a major site that is free from anti-mra or anti-feminist talk.

              But by antifeminist do you mean critical of SOME parts of feminism, or critical of ALL of it? I am anti-someparts but I love<3 other parts of feminism and the MRM.

        • Pellebilling.com

    • The first, is in interpreting the data about things that are happening now. – so MRM concepts like the “success object,” misandry, male disposability, etc. For starters, they tend to be reactionary to feminism, which we kind of talked about in these comments.
      The reason that would happen is because we are talking about concepts that feminim has either not accounted for or have not been included very much since someone brought them up in the past. Its not like the fact that something is reactionary means its wrong.

      But more, they’re just wrong…and that sounds judgemental but just give me a second here. After this conversation (and others, but particularly this one), it strikes me that the reason I think a lot of MRM ideas are wrong is because they are too limited in scope…failing to take in the wider contexts of social narratives and mainstream social norms. (There are certainly feminists who do this to…but they generally aren’t the ones creating feminist theory).
      I would disagree with that. It seems to me that they appear to be in limited scope because they are focusing on things that as I said above feminism either didn’t include or they have not been included much since being initially pointed out.

      And then finally, of course, is the reactionary anti-feminism and misogyny I’ve seen in every MRM space I’ve been seen. (Yes, even in some of Warren Farrell’s stuff). So here, I suppose, I’ll ask another question. Are there any MRM spaces that aren’t misogynist and/or anti-feminist? (Not men’s groups or men’s movement groups, or father’s rights groups. There are actually quite a few men’s groups that work within a feminist framework that are great). I mean, specifically, MRM (or MHRM) groups. (And I do not mean this question in a snarky, sarcastic way. I’m serious…if you can point me to an MRM site/organization that’s not anti-feminist or misogynist I’d be happy).
      This is where the youth of the MRM comes in. Frankly speaking the movement is going to have to resolve that anger and get their stuff in gear. While I don’t have a community of bustling activity I would say that my own little slice of heaven out be such a space.

      • But you can’t focus on a piece of the pie without recognising how it fits into the rest of the pie, or whatever. There’s a reason such a thing as a feminist critique of capitalism exists. Gender is everywhere…it seeps into parts of our culture when we don’t even realise. So if you want to look at men’s issues with any hope of really addressing them, you gotta put them in context.

        • What I’m saying is that there are thing that even feminism has a problem with as far as focusing on a piece of the pie without taking the entire pie into account. Yes gender is everywhere and we can’t just acknowledge it when it suits us. I think MRAs saw that feminism was doing that and responded by doing the same.

          • That’s part of how feminism’s grown. It went from “hey women can’t vote; women should be able to vote,” to documenting and analysing the various ways in which women are screwed over…to then challenging the very notion of gender itself.

            But that doesn’t change the fact that ignoring the larger social construct hinders a movement.

            • Yes and the MRM will have to grow in its own way. I think that some of the points that come up actually are taking larger contructs into account.

        • But you can’t focus on a piece of the pie without recognising how it fits into the rest of the pie, or whatever.

          It depends on what you are looking for. If you want to know what is in the pie or how big it is, a piece of pie gets that job done. If you want to know how to make a pie, then you will need to look for broader answers.

          There’s a reason such a thing as a feminist critique of capitalism exists.

          Yet that is just an examination from a feminist perspective on how it affects a specific group of people. It is not very informative outside of the ideological framework.

          I’ve [been] thinking…Mark compared men [and] women to Catholics an Protestants in [Ireland]. I think it’s more like the MRM and feminism are like the Republicans and [Democrats].

          I disagree with both analogies. I think the better comparison of the men’s rights movement and feminism would be atheism and religion respectively. The men’s rights movement lacks a specific ideological framework beyond its opposition to feminist theories. Feminism has loads of doctrine and rhetoric that make it difficult for its adherents to see other perspectives and makes them blind to their own radicalism.

          Are there any MRM spaces that aren’t misogynist and/or anti-feminist?

          That is a very loaded, subjective question. I could ask if there are any feminist spaces that are not misandrous or anti-male, but it would not be fair because we may have two very different understandings of what is sexist.

          • Joanna Schroeder says:

            I’ve been told by MRAs that the MRM actually DOES have an ideological basis – to draw attention to, and gather support for, men’s issues that often go ignored or unreported.

            The MRM doesn’t have a set of canonical texts, formally, as feminism does, but I think a lot of MRAs would be upset to learn that their only ideological framework is their anti-feminism.

            Jacob, I think she’s genuinely looking for sites that are MRM-based that are pro-woman. Do they exist?

            • The MRM doesn’t have a set of canonical texts, formally, as feminism does, but I think a lot of MRAs would be upset to learn that their only ideological framework is their anti-feminism.
              Well if their basis was anti-feminism in the first place then probably so.

              On the other hand if their basis was on things that both the system and feminism have either not addressed or have addressed in an insufficient manner then I don’t think they’d be too disappointed because a specific anti-feminism angle wasn’t their basis.

            • John Schtoll says:

              Why would a Mens Rights Advocate site need to be PRO WOMAN.

              Wouldn’t that be like asking a civil rights site to be PRO WHITE.

          • Okay, but there are feminist spaces that would fit your definition of not anti-male or misanderous. There are feminist spaces which focus very specifically on men’s issues, after all. Not a lot. There is a need for more. And there are feminists out there who would just as soon ignore them because they don’t think men’s issues are important. Yes. BUT those spaces do exist.

            I’m not asking so that I can look them up, and then jump down your throat because I think they’re anti-woman, or something. I’m looking out of a genuine desire to see them.

            • There are feminist spaces which focus very specifically on men’s issues, after all. Not a lot. There is a need for more.
              By chance where are they?

            • Heather, Pelle Billing’s blog is quite neutral. So are RADAR and Menactivism. However, you may think different because, as I wrote, we may have a different view of what counts as sexist.

              When you ask for a men’s rights group that does not direct its anger towards feminists or women, you set up an unfair standard. People tend to direct their anger at those they critique, and they usually critique those who hurt them the most. Your question is akin to me asking you to show me a feminist group whose anger is not directed at men. You cannot because the men are the focus of feminist criticism, so they will obviously get the anger too.

              As for the radical voices drowning everything out, I would agree with that with feminism, but not with the men’s rights movement for a very specific reason: publicity.

              You only hear about the angry men’s rights activists when feminists bring them up. The men’s rights movement in general receives little media attention otherwise. Conversely, “radical” feminist voices are part of mainstream feminism. Some feminist going on national TV and saying that men must be “taught” and “trained” not to rape and then getting nothing but support from feminists for saying that happens.

            • Two things: first, feminist groups aren’t angry at men…they don’t actually direct their anger at men. Well, I mean of course some do…RadFemHub comes to mind, some of the crap articles at Jezebel come to mind…but, in general, feminism isn’t about being angry at men. It’s about being angry at a system which values “masculinity” over “femininity” and has a pretty screwed up idea about what constitutes “masculinity” and “femininity.” And whether you agree or disagree with feminist ideas about masculinity and femininity, it doesn’t change the fact that feminism isn’t anti-man…it’s anti-status quo.

              Second, people do tend to direct their anger and critique toward those who have hurt them most…in the case of feminists and men’s rights groups, they actually SHARE a common enemy (so to speak). The system that’s hurt men most isn’t feminism…it’s the same status quo that’s hurt women.

            • econd, people do tend to direct their anger and critique toward those who have hurt them most…in the case of feminists and men’s rights groups, they actually SHARE a common enemy (so to speak). The system that’s hurt men most isn’t feminism…it’s the same status quo that’s hurt women.
              I think the reason some MRA types get that mixed up is because they see a system that is harming them and they see a movement of people that simultaneously says they are the ones that are helping men (and that men need them and only them to get things straightened out) and not having any problem taking advantage of the harms the system is doing when it suits them.

              Some of people figure that its one thing for a system to be harming them but its quite another when reaching for a potential ally and have that potential ally spit in their face. That betrayal stings a bit more. Its not that they support the system its not that they hate those potential allies from the get go and are just looking for something to start a fight with. Its that they got burned and havent healed properly.

            • Okay, except that feminism hasn’t been willing to use the system to harm men when it suits them. As I’ve argued before, feminism has certainly sometimes had a blind spot when it comes to identifying and acknowledging when the system harms men. And some branches have got a track record of placing the harm of women as a higher priority than the harm of men…yes. (But let’s be honest, any organization has got to create priorities. An environmental agency is placing their concerns as a higher priority than getting clean water to kids in developing countries…but that doesn’t always mean the individuals in that organization don’t care about kids in developing countries without clean water, or whatever).

              But no feminist organization is actually using our cultural/economic/political system to harm men (except RadFemHub types would if they had power, yes…because they’re nuts). Feminists aren’t “taking advantage” of the harms the system does to men when it suits them. I mean, come on…NOW tried to get rid of selective service, and when that didn’t work they tried to make it gender neutral. They spent the time and energy to bring the case all the way to the Supreme Court…not their fault the Supreme Court was unwilling to change the system.

            • As I’ve argued before, feminism has certainly sometimes had a blind spot when it comes to identifying and acknowledging when the system harms men. And some branches have got a track record of placing the harm of women as a higher priority than the harm of men…yes.

              (But let’s be honest, any organization has got to create priorities. An environmental agency is placing their concerns as a higher priority than getting clean water to kids in developing countries…but that doesn’t always mean the individuals in that organization don’t care about kids in developing countries without clean water, or whatever).
              There’s a difference between. “Oh that’s a perspective I hadn’t really cosidered.” or “I’m not saying what happens to men doesn’t matter its just that my efforts are mostly focused on women” and “Men shouldn’t speak up for themselves outside of feminism because that implies that men have been silenced and they never have been.” or “When men advocate on their own behalf it harms women.”

              It’s one thing for feminists to say that they shouldn’t be expected to do men’s work for them. In fact I agree with that. But once we go off and start doing that work, they don’t get to come in and tell us that we can’t do it outside of the umbrella of feminism.

              They had their chance and they showed they don’t want us around. If they wanted to work with us then they wouldn’t have reacted to us the way they did when the disagreements started (and no I’m not saying that responsibilities for all the disagreements are the shoulders of feminists).

              I mean, come on…NOW tried to get rid of selective service, and when that didn’t work they tried to make it gender neutral. They spent the time and energy to bring the case all the way to the Supreme Court…not their fault the Supreme Court was unwilling to change the system.
              That would be the same NOW that argues against shared parenting laws solely on the presumption that father’s rights groups are only fighting for custody so that they can get their abusive hands on children as a way to get at their children’s moms? Not that father’s rights groups need to make sure to keep an eye out for abusive dads that would try to take advantage of their efforts. No the efforts themselves are attempts to justify abuse.

              You’d think that a group that was so passionate about selective service would at least be able to recognize the difference.

            • They wouldn’t have reacted the way they did when the disagreements started? They wouldn’t have reacted to you the way that they did? They had their chance? – Danny, you’re still very much treating this like an “us” and “them” situation. The reason you get so many feminists arguing that men’s rights needs to be addressed through feminism…and the very reason you had me talking about how problematic I find it that the MRM is reinventing the wheel….is because we DON’T view this as an “us” and “them” situation. (Well, okay, again, yes, RadFemHub…certain idiots on Jezebel…standard exceptions). I don’t think men’s issues need to be placed under the umbrella of feminism. I think they need to be addressed by building off a feminist theoretical framework. And I think a lot of feminists would agree with me…because men and women are in it together.

              So when you have feminists saying, “hey you’re noticing a problem with how men are treated, get together and fix it.” What they were saying is that you all should create organizations that put men’s issues as a priority. What they WEREN’T saying, is that feminism (as a set of theories) doesn’t apply.

              Look, like I’ve been mentioning elsewhere…feminists have a long history of challenging each other, and reacting rather negatively to some of those challenges. And then a decade or so later, absorbing those challenges into their theoretical framework. I mean this goes all the way back to trying to get the vote…there were all sorts of arguments about the best way to go about getting the law changed. “Oh you’re doing it wrong. Oh you’re actually causing more harm than good.” Quite standard, really. I mean even now you’ve got Steinem shooting down academic feminists for having to “make up words,” and what-not. You’ve got Spivak, who (from what I remember) basically had a big hate-on for western feminism because of the way it’s ignored the women in countries which were colonized by Europe. – So the whole “they had their chance to work with us,” thing kind of falls flat. Feminists don’t always even work with each other, for goodness sake.

            • I don’t think men’s issues need to be placed under the umbrella of feminism. I think they need to be addressed by building off a feminist theoretical framework.

              I think the second sentence belies the first. Whether you use an umbrella metaphor or a building (or a tree, or meal, or whatever…), you’re still asserting that the proper framework for men’s rights is feminism. Based not just on this comment, but on the totality of what “feminist theory” means according to abundant articles and comments by you and other feminists, I interpret that to mean that the the theoretical framework you think men’s rights should build off includes such central tenets of feminism as Patriarchy, Privilege, Rape Culture, gender is a performance, etc. Any foundation not rooted in such concepts could not trace it’s lineage to feminism, and would therefore be an improper foundation. That’s what I hear you saying. Am I hearing you right?

            • “Under the umbrella,” implies wanting men’s issues groups to conform to feminist theory and wanting them to take on the label of “feminist.” What I mean by building off a feminist framework…is to engage critically with a feminist framework…not necessarily conform to it or even take on the label. But, the key there is engaging critically…not being reactionary. So right now, as I said in the comments that became this article, what we’ve got are a lot of MRA types saying “This is what I think feminists think, and so I think the opposite.” – But that’s not engaging critically with the issues. And more importantly, as I’ve mentioned and tried to demonstrate, most of the time what the MRM says feminism is, isn’t what feminism is.

              So, like, the MRM’s understanding of patriarchy theory, rape culture theory, performativity of gender, etc., is wrong. I don’t mean to say that they are wrong because they disagree. I mean they don’t understand feminists’ positions with regards to these theories. So they end up positioning themselves as being in disagreement with a theory they haven’t even understood. That’s not critically engaging…that’s reactionary.

            • They wouldn’t have reacted the way they did when the disagreements started? They wouldn’t have reacted to you the way that they did? They had their chance? – Danny, you’re still very much treating this like an “us” and “them” situation.
              I would love for it to not be “us vs them” Heather but after repeated attempts at trying to get along that’s how I was treated. That there is an us and them that are locked in battle and cannot work together. I’m all for making this about “us” on a united front.

              I’ll say it like this. There are people you’ve tried to work with and after your efforts were tossed back into your face because of their ultimately divisive attitudes you decided to move on right?

              The reason you get so many feminists arguing that men’s rights needs to be addressed through feminism…and the very reason you had me talking about how problematic I find it that the MRM is reinventing the wheel….is because we DON’T view this as an “us” and “them” situation. (Well, okay, again, yes, RadFemHub…certain idiots on Jezebel…standard exceptions).
              No. It’s not just the random fringe nutters. This happens in more commonly accepted mainstream places as well. Now I’ll agree that the negativity that encountered shouldn’t be held up at the sole representation of feminism but at the same time its not just coming from the fringes.

              I don’t think men’s issues need to be placed under the umbrella of feminism. I think they need to be addressed by building off a feminist theoretical framework. And I think a lot of feminists would agree with me…because men and women are in it together. So when you have feminists saying, “hey you’re noticing a problem with how men are treated, get together and fix it.” What they were saying is that you all should create organizations that put men’s issues as a priority. What they WEREN’T saying, is that feminism (as a set of theories) doesn’t apply.
              No Heather what they are saying (or what I’ve been told is that) if it isn’t being done under feminism its wrong. Its one thing to encourage working in a feminist framework because you think that’s the way to go (which is what I gather from you). Its quite another to demand that it be done in a feminist framework. I’ve dealt with feminists who think that inside feminism men’s issues can be worked on….but only on the understanding that women come first.

              If you’re going to start off limiting someone’s participation then its no wonder they aren’t too inclined to work with you.

              Look, like I’ve been mentioning elsewhere…feminists have a long history of challenging each other, and reacting rather negatively to some of those challenges. And then a decade or so later, absorbing those challenges into their theoretical framework. I mean this goes all the way back to trying to get the vote…there were all sorts of arguments about the best way to go about getting the law changed. “Oh you’re doing it wrong. Oh you’re actually causing more harm than good.” Quite standard, really. I mean even now you’ve got Steinem shooting down academic feminists for having to “make up words,” and what-not. You’ve got Spivak, who (from what I remember) basically had a big hate-on for western feminism because of the way it’s ignored the women in countries which were colonized by Europe. – So the whole “they had their chance to work with us,” thing kind of falls flat. Feminists don’t always even work with each other, for goodness sake.
              No it doesn’t fall flat because that is what actually happened. Now if you are bringing up those folks as reason to not give up and try again or find other feminists to work with that’s fine (and that’s what Ive done). But if you’re bringing them up to tell me that they always welcomed me with open arms then you’re wrong (so I hope that’s not what you’re saying).

              Of course feminists don’t always work with each other which only speaks to finding other ones to try to get along with, which as I say I’m up for. But that doesn’t somehow mean I’ve got no legitimate reason to have the “they’ve had their chance” attitude.

              I’m sure you don’t intend to but it seems your more interested (with this comment at least) in trying to disprove what I’ve experienced. If you want to work on a brighter future let’s do it, but that doesn’t mean the past didn’t happen.

            • Heather, I would agree that feminists do not think they direct their anger towards men. However, even when feminists think they are railing against “the system” they direct that fury at men. Look at the articles posted here in the last two weeks. All of the discussions about “rape culture” eventually boil down to feminists saying that boys and men, not the system, need to change. It is akin to the Christian “hate the sin, not the sinner” trope. It is a great catchphrase, yet in reality all the hate gets directed at the sinner.

              Obviously feminists would not view ideas they agree with as anti-male. Yet that does not mean those ideas are not biased. The same goes for men’s rights positions. That is one of the blind spots of ideology. Biases always seems reasonable when you agree with them.

            • No, all the conversations about rape culture (that I’ve seen anyway…haven’t read absolutely every comment), boil down to feminists saying the system needs to change the way we socialize boys and men. It’s really not “hate the sin, not the sinner.” It’s more like, “hate the system that created the idea that the sin is normal and excusable.” – And really, the whole “sin,” “sinner” comparison doesn’t work anyway….a “sin” is something that is arbitrarily determined to be bad. In the case of rape culture, we’re talking about an act (rape) that actually harms people.

              Oh also, thanks for giving me a couple of MRM sites to go look at a couple of comments ago. :)

            • Heather, you mentioned that no feminist organization uses their cultural economic, or political system to harm men. Several weeks ago, Indian feminist groups used their political power to remove gender neutrality from the new proposed rape statute. As a result, the proposal now states that only men can be charged with rape and sexual assault and that only women can be victims of rape. Feminist groups did this specifically to prevent men from filing rape charges against women.

              As for feminists agreeing with you about the value of feminist theoretical framework, of course they would agree with you. They value that framework. The problem is that most men reject that framework because it does not address their specific concerns, interests, or needs. More so, it is not feminists’ place to decide for men what framework, if any, they should use. Men should decide that for themselves. I agree with Danny. One cannot tell a group of people to handle things themselves and then demand that they do things your way.

              About those “rape culture” articles, I think this is part of the ideological divide I mentioned before. We will see things differently because you accept the views expressed in those articles as valid whereas I do not.

            • “Heather, you mentioned that no feminist organization uses their cultural economic, or political system to harm men. Several weeks ago, Indian feminist groups used their political power to remove gender neutrality from the new proposed rape statute. As a result, the proposal now states that only men can be charged with rape and sexual assault and that only women can be victims of rape. Feminist groups did this specifically to prevent men from filing rape charges against women. ”

              But feminism would never hurt men…Duluth model in domestic violence support is also pretty fucking terrible towards men too, and the primary aggressor laws with the duluth model style mentality. Not to mention that when you have anti-rape and anti-dv campaigns which nearly every single damn time portray the male = perpetrator, female = victim mentality it actually causes harm to men through reinforcing stereotypes. Without adequate coverage of when women abuse and men are the victim and all other combo’s it simply becomes misandrist since we DO know women abuse in significant numbers yet there’s very few people actually spreading the word to have society actually realize the proportions better instead of the typical rattling off of the “99% of rapists are men” myth that continues to be said. Blatantly ignoring a huge portion of abuse when setting up campaigns whilst being in a movement claiming the title of egalitarianism is either being deceptive n lying about the egalitarianism or the people setting up campaigns have to have their head stuck in the sand.

              It’s 2013, I still can’t find a single fucking poster showing a female rapist. Hell give me 2 willing models, male n female, I’ll go take the damn picture and photoshop up a poster saying something along the lines of her saying she backed off when he wasn’t in the mood because she respected his consent. RAINN? Where is your poster on this? Do you not understand that the lack of awareness n support on this issue simply ADDS TO RAPE CULTURE? When leading anti-rape groups are failing to raise awareness of an EXTREMELY MASSIVE INCREASE in known rape n abuse of men by women after the CDC stats were released, then is that not harming men through inaction? I wouldn’t expect a major medical group to ignore massive increases in breast cancer whilst promoting heart disease heavily, would you?

  5. Heather,
    It seems to me that the message of the militant MRM movement is reaching more and more men who, to follow HeatherN’s analogy, are not militant Republicans. This new wave of men fall across the entire political spectrum. I, for one, am a progressive. But I see and acknowledge the legal and social mechanisms cited by both MRMs and Feminists. But any of these analogies we seek to use are all blunt tools. They attempt to shift the frame of the discussion by deconstructing labels but they simply rely on more labels. (Awkward at best.)

    It is however, central to my position that we not allow militant MRAs and militant Feminists to force us all into one camp or the other. Something that I see the “show me a nice MRM group” thread gently doing here, Heather. (Your question is valid by the way. But not productive if it is your leading question on a repeating basis.) By defining a growing and evolving movement like men’s rights in terms of the militant edge that started it, one can devalue and marginalize the larger and second wave of that group.

    No doubt early feminists were viewed and angry, confrontational and hostile and primarily defined by what they were in opposition to. No doubt, they are still being framed in some circles as hostile and anti-men long after more relational voices have entered the discussion. On all sides of this conversation people point to the angry voices because much of the discourse is about abuse and those voices substantiate the argument that the abuse is continuing.

    This is the limitation of a binary conversational context. Men’s Rights and Feminists. As if those two frames can claim the entire ideological landscapes by virtue of their victimhood or ferocity.

    But if we’re going to stay in that binary space. A space with only two poles, your line of inquiry Heather would raise the following tactical question for me. By pointing the the extremist element in the MRM, does this create an ongoing “upper hand” for feminists in the conversation? Are we who advocate for men’s rights to eliminate those voices before we are allowed equal footing in these ideological spaces?

    I FIRMLY believe that is not the case here, by the way.

    • I keep asking because I want to see what such a space would look like. But okay, I can see how my continued rigid use of “MRM” can be polarizing. You ask if by pointing out the extremist element in the MRM, that creates an “upper hand” for feminism? I suppose my questions could be used that way, but that’s really not my goal. I’m just genuinely interested in finding non-radical MRM spaces.

      And of course I’m not suggesting the MRM needs to eliminate radical voices in order to be on equal footing with feminism. Feminists have clearly not eliminated their radical voices (try as we might). But in the MRM, the radical voices are kind of drowning out everything else. Thus the Republican/Democrat analogy (which, yes, doesn’t work perfectly).

      But, look, okay…I’m not even really asking for a “nice” MRM group. I’m asking for an MRM group whose anger is directed in the right direction. (Yes, okay…the right direction as defined by a feminist…so problems there). So not even the “right” direction, necessarily…show me an MRM group whose anger isn’t directed at feminists and/or women…I guess that’s what I’m asking for.

      “By defining a growing and evolving movement like men’s rights in terms of the militant edge that started it, one can devalue and marginalize the larger and second wave of that group.”

      Very, very true…and again I can totally see how what I’m saying might look like I’m doing the first, but really I’m just looking for the second. :) I’d like to see that second wave and the spaces that second wave is creating for itself. Or, is that second wave no longer using the term “MRM” to describe itself and instead is adopting labels like, “Men’s Rights Feminist,” and so on? Because if that’s the case, then I can see how my original insistence on “where are the not anti-feminist MRMs” kind of fails. That’d be like asking, “where are the pro-intersectionality 2nd wave feminists.”

      • “So not even the “right” direction, necessarily…show me an MRM group whose anger isn’t directed at feminists and/or women…I guess that’s what I’m asking for.”
        Well you seem to be taking the position of feminism has no blame, but you do read the MRM stuff right? They have some fucking goood points about SOME parts of feminism actually doing harm and being bad. I disagree with them when they generalize heavily but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see harmful feminist work at play. Look up “The plan – Australian domestic violence” and the gendered bullshit added to that, lookup the duluth model, primary aggressor laws and the earlier versions of VAWA. Take into account the extremely gynocentric anti-abuse campaigning that has no major support of raising awareness of male victimization EVEN within non-gendered groups against rape n abuse, that continual reluctance to heavily advertise the sharp increase in female perpetrated rape for instance is only going to do harm leaving me to question their intent. I seriously cannot understand how anyone that read those stats and has influence in a major group didn’t setup an anti-rape campaign telling women to stop raping men. The continued heavy raising awareness of male perpetration, female victimization whilst ignoring the female perpetration and male victimization IS harmful, there’s no balance and it fuels rape culture even more. Find me a single feminist article on a MAJOR feminist site (feministe, femininisting, jezebel, whatever) written on that issue alone, I would be surprised if another feminist has even though of this concept that blatantly ignoring male issues whilst pushing female issues so heavily will cause stereotypes to worsen and leave many unhelped.

        So given that some parts of feminism do cause harm to men, why SHOULDN’T they direct their anger towards feminism? I agree that they shouldn’t hate the entire movement but any sane person would be extremely critical of some areas of feminism. And considering how quick people are to assign good to feminism (feminism helped us all, it did this n that for us for the better of humanity, etc) then why not also assign bad to feminism? No movement is perfect, quite frankly if I were a feminist I’d be seriously distancing myself from some of the fellow feminists, radical extremists, the absolutely stupid amount of bigotry toward the MRA and MRM, not to mention bigotry raised when male issues are discussed n sheer utter lack of empathy (this applies to both sides btw), when I see someone say “whataboutdamenzzz” and other bullshit commentary trying to act like men’s issues amount to a spoiled child crying over spilled milk it makes me absolutely sick to my stomach that people exist who think like this…..yet it’s very very common over at jezebel, facebook is rife with it, I’ve literally seen hundreds if not thousands of feminists in the last few years with that mentality and you can see it in major feminist website articles even. Recently an article was written pissing all over the concept of misandry, the author lacked the intelligence to understand this little thing in history called conscription that led to 10’s to 100’s of MILLIONS of MEN and mostly men alone dying in wars they were forced to fight in, you know…misandry, institutional sexism against men, shit that still goes on in some countries and even the U.S still has the relic of (selective service).

        The worst thing is I don’t see this plethora of feminists telling those jezebel-types to STFU and stop fucking up the reputation of feminism. I see you and a few others here showing your dislike for them but I am starting to believe that at the very core of feminism that mentality seems to run rife without much challenge. It’s extremely easy to see why so many in the MRM have bigotry n hatred towards feminism, a SHITLOAD of feminists help to reinforce that every day but the sad thing is the way some of the MRM act reinforces those particular feminists bigotry as well so it’s this back n forth of bigotry. I know there are many feminists and MRAs that care about both genders, problem is I think they’re largely silent and it seems the bigots, the trolls, etc seem to be more vocal. Big difference is feminism has had many years of practice, the MRM is still pretty small n unorganized, feminists have and DO influence laws which sometimes DO harm men yet I haven’t seen a single MRA influenced law or policy that’s ever harmed women. I’m not worried much bout MRA’s, I am worried about anyone with access to power who can influence laws, who can actually harm a lot of people through misguided attempts or worse…actually intending for the side-effects of VAWA for instance to occur. As an Australian I fear “The Plan” for DV here which seems to be the same gynocentric stuff which has the potential to fail at helping men adequately whilst reinforcing the stereotype of the male abuser, female victim because of this fetish in such groups to only cater to the majority victim. Wouldn’t you be pissed if the MRM helped influence a law that helped men but had a side effect of harming women?

        It’s up to the good people on each side to get to know each other better and fight to end the bullshit bigotry that goes on. The terms MRA and feminist should NOT be an insult but they are so commonly used as insults to dismiss and silence someone.

  6. I think part of the problem is that feminism cleverly positioned itself as a catch all banner for all discussions dealing with gender equality. It didn’t matter if you disagreed with feminist theory or commonly held feminist views, if you wanted to discuss gender in egalitarian terms, you were a feminist damn it and would label yourself as such. Failure to do so meant you were either a coward afraid of the label, a closet misogynist, or ungrateful scum not paying proper respect to the first women who fought for equal rights. But while feminist can talk all day about the level of nuance and diversity within their ideology just try going into any feminist circles and disagreeing with the most popular feminist views. Marcus made a great point in the rape culture thread that ties into this point. It doesn’t matter if you believe rape is clearly a problem and genuinely want to work to stop it, unless you begin from the standpoint that there is a nation wide rape culture as described in feminist theory, then you are a rape apologist to many feminists.

    So yes, in many ways the MRM was reactionary, it was a reaction to the attitudes I just described as well as a general feeling that men’s issues were being either ignored or viewed as less important. But in addition to this I agree with Mark that the MRM is also rooted in a general awakening amongst men. Its rooted in the anxiety some men are feeling about the changing cultural landscape and is meant to give them a voice where as in feminism they felt like they weren’t being heard. Even then the reaction some feminists seem to take is that the people unsatisfied with the movement should have worked to change it from within and the very idea that they would dare step outside of it seems to offend some feminists to their very core.

    I am at the very least glad that the people in this comments section seem to acknowledge the canonical texts that are treated like gospel in feminist cirlces. I don’t identitfy as an MRA, but I actually think they should stay away from doing this.

    There is a particular point brought up in the discussion that I wanted to address. Danny brought up the common view that homophobia and an aversion to feminine men is rooted in a hatred of the feminine. I’ve never bought into this and I actually agree with MRM blogger, Karen (Girlwriteswhat) had to say about this, that its actually more about men’s need for a male identity and their struggle with their sense of self worth. I think I remember reading a feminist (Camille Pagila, I think) say something similar, but its a less popular view.

    • About homophobia against gay guys. The reason I disagree with the idea that homophobia against guys is really about devaluting the feminine is the same reason I disagree with the idea that the thing that really makes the Taliban dangerous is their access to AK47s.

      To the Taliban the AK47s are the weapon, nothing more. If we woke up tomorrorw morning and every AK47 had disentigrated to nothing does that mean they are no longer a threat? Of course not.

      In a similar vein while a common (but by no means only) weapon homophobes use against gay guys is the comparisons to the feminine. Even if we woke up tomorrow and there was no more disregard to the feminine its not like homophobia against gay guys would just vanish. No the problem is the homophobic mentality that is based in trying to police men into certain “acceptable” ways to perform masculinity. The key to dealing with homophobia against gay guys is to open up masculinity so that guys are free to practice it as they see fit without it being held against them for not doing it a certain way.

      Now yes doing something about the devaluing of the feminine is A PART of the solution, but is by no means the solution.

      • Mr Supertypo says:

        I agree Danny. I like your AK47 analogy. The weapon (AK47) is a tool, but its not the tool that is the problem. But the one who use it, because as soon that tool is gone, they will look for another weapon.
        We most look at the ‘elephant in the room’ is the concept of masculinity to narrow? do we need to reform masculinity and make it more inclusive? or remove it altogether?

      • Except that because our system is binary, everything that isn’t “acceptable masculinity” is femininity. (And everything that isn’t “acceptable femininity” is masculinity).

        “The key to dealing with homophobia against gay guys is to open up masculinity so that guys are free to practice it as they see fit without it being held against them for not doing it a certain way.”

        Feminists would agree with you…particularly anyone involved in queer theory. So a lot of homophobia is tied up with policing how men perform masculinity. If you speak with a high voice and use hand gestures and like clothes, let’s say…that’s not an acceptable form of masculinity…and so it’s linked with homosexuality (which, men having sex with other men also isn’t an acceptable form of masculinity)…and so homophobia tied to trying to make sure men are performing masculinity in a certain way.

        So far, so good. But liking clothing and speaking in a high voice isn’t just “not masculine,” it’s feminine. So homophobia is tied to men not performing masculinity well enough, because they are performing femininity too much.

        And so you’d think that’d work in reverse for lesbians, yes? Lesbiphobia IS in part about policing women so that they perform femininity properly. However, partly due to feminism, performing “femininity properly” isn’t quite as rigid as it once was. Women can embody certain masculine behaviours without it threatening their identity as a woman. But also, let’s take a look at the lesbiphobic logic that is used to defend it…Freud’s idea of “penis envy” was widely accepted in the mainstream and everyone kind of latched onto it as an explanation. Not only were lesbians not performing femininity correctly….and not only were they performing masculinity too well…but there was a narrative that said that masculinity was more desirable than femininity.

        Lesbians were thought to be frustrated that they couldn’t be men, because men have the “phallus” and of course lesbians want that phallus. Masculinity is something desirable…it’s women trying to develop into men, but being unable to.

        Gay men were thought to be underdeveloped men…men who have had arrested development in their masculinity. They didn’t want to be women; they just hadn’t finished their development into proper men yet. Femininity isn’t something desirable…it’s what happens when you don’t finish developing.

        And while mainstream society today would say that’s all pretty much poppy-cock…it still influences the homophobic aspects of our society.

        • So far, so good. But liking clothing and speaking in a high voice isn’t just “not masculine,” it’s feminine. So homophobia is tied to men not performing masculinity well enough, because they are performing femininity too much.
          But again the policing comes from “you’re aren’t ranking in masculinity high enough” regardless of how much femininity is being performed.

          When approaching a guy that likes clothes and speaks in a high pitch the thought isn’t “he’s acting feminine and therefore not doing masculinity enough” its more like “he’s not doing masculinity right. what’s this? he’s doing feminine stuff.”

      • I hear a lot of talk from you guys about opening up masculinity, but what do you really mean by that? I’ve said on this site before, that I think any attempt to create a “new masculinity” will be just as problematic as the old one was. And if we are going to say that the “new masculinity” is that men can adopt any traits they want and still be men then wouldn’t we be correct in saying that the “new masculinity” is that there isn’t one? I’m really curious as to what you guys have to say about this because there seems to be an idea amongst some posters that we should “open up” masculinity and be more inclusive while still holding on to some sort of cultural masculine ideal.

        • Well, I’ll jump in here and I tend to be about getting rid of the idea of masculinity and femininity entirely. Binary systems of categorizing people’s behaviour kind of suck. Just let people be people and stop trying to force them into neat little categories.

          But that’s kind of radical and if that ever does happen, it won’t be any time soon. So in the meantime let’s at least make masculinity and femininity less rigid.

          • I agree with you here HeatherN in that I’d rather get rid of binaries as well. The only problem I could see is that I think biological differences between the sexes may always lead to general trends in the behavior of both sexes. I know researchers are still debating the role of nature vs nurture, but I can’t help but wonder if regardless of our culture the differences between the sexes will still generally manifest in some way. Because of this men or women who fall outside of the behavior and actions generally seen within their gender will still face ridicule or will be seen as oddities. I think its just within our nature to categorize things.

            • I suggest reading Agustin Fuentes’ book “Race, Monogamy, and Other Lies They Told You,” or check out his article here at GMP: http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/8-myths-about-sex-differences/

              But also, whether or not some behaviours are more likely in men or women, kind of misses the point. The point is about how our culture talks about those differences. Do we even associate those differences with gender, or do we recognize it as a spectrum in which different individuals behave differently? Or do we treat it as we do now; a binary in which everyone must fit into one or the other.

            • I’m familiar with most of the info in that article, but its not the only point of view. I notice that at number 7 for example, he says that men don’t actually want more sex than women and points to the reported amount of sex that both genders have. But I don’t see how that proves anything if the question is whether men or women desire sex more, not how successfully they get it. There was a study done, that showed that men think about sex more and get aroused more easily. Looking at number 4, I think most people are aware that both men and women have testosterone and estrogen, but the article seems to downplay the levels between genders, even if it does point out that sometimes it depends more on the individual. In fact in general a lot of the article seems to be saying “the differences aren’t as big as some think and culture plays a role as well”.

              Also, I realize the point is about how our culture talks about those differences, but as I said I think categorizing is in human nature and categorizing by sex is very easy and convenient for most people. I’ve also noticed that theres a certain fear that some people seem to have in getting rid of the masculine and feminine completely and a lot of it has to do with sexual reasons (i.e women telling me they want men who “act like men” or in other words they wont be attracted to men who “act like women”).

            • “In fact in general a lot of the article seems to be saying “the differences aren’t as big as some think and culture plays a role as well”.”

              Yeah, basically, that’s a good general summary of the article. It’s not all that revolutionary, except that it’s coming from an anthropologist and not a gender studies type. And, yes, categorizing is in human nature and categorizing by sex is easy…but it’s also kind of lazy and really fraught. We seem to be unable to simply categorize without enforcing those categories, and creating a hierarchy for those categories.

          • KC Krupp says:

            I don’t think it’s that radical, although I do disagree with the idea of just letting people be people. I think we do need to have some sort of standard by which we determine if someone’s actions are acceptable for society, and I see these behaviors as being focused on universal qualities rather than something that should be considered a masculine or feminine trait, valuing things like integrity, ambition, compassion, respect, and personal responsibility, all qualities that I expect of both the men and women in my life.

  7. After reading all the comments, I’m as awed as Mark that such an intelligent and civil discussion about Feminism and Men’s Rights could come to pass. And that after 160+ comments (combined over the two articles), the conversation is still civil and intelligent and hasn’t devolved into the personal attacks and repetitive talking-past-each-other I’ve seen on many other threads. This is exactly why I follow GMP.

    It seems to me that out of all the responses, Joanna articulated the most concise and direct answer to Heather’s original question about what “ideas and philosophies” define the MRM – “to draw attention to, and gather support for, men’s issues that often go ignored or unreported.” This is such an elegant answer. Substitute “men” with any other word and you’ve got the essential definition of any movement. Maybe the essence of the MRM isn’t about reacting to feminists or Feminism, it isn’t about proposing new theories of gender or even debating old theories, it’s simply about shining a light on what’s hidden. It’s about naming suffering that’s caused by categorical oversight. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good theoretical debate, but at the end of the day, addressing the problems in people’s lives is way better. Hail to Mark for the call to stop the bickering and start the changing, as someone eloquently put it.

    • In my mind that is exactly what really matters. I don’t care if the stigma against stay-at-home dads or negative views of fathers is due to patriarchy, evolutionary psychology, male disposability, or whatever other social theory you want to believe in; what I care about is the action taken to remove that stigma and the subsequent results that come from that action.

      In general the ideal world views of the MRM and feminism are the same: gender equality (IMO.) I see the primary difference between the two is in what they consider to be a priority and what consequences they are willing to take to reach their goals. A lot of the responses I have heard from several feminists is that we have to address the woman’s issues first, and then once that’s taken care of we can address the men’s side of things. In other words everything women is the priority, everything men is secondary.

      It infuriates me when friends of mine who identify as feminist spend hours talking about petitioning a paint company because they find the names of the paint colors sexist and then insist that including male rape victims in their series leading up to Take Back the Night would be focusing on a secondary issue.

      You can’t say your top priority is stopping rape and then place rape against men somewhere in the priority list after job equality and stopping paint companies from naming paint colors beer garden and man cave.

      From what I have seen the biggest criticism the MRM has of feminism is that most voices of feminism that I and they seem to hear is feminism seems to feel like it owns any and all conversations and issues related to gender equality. The funny thing is I suspect that if feminists had earnestly given relevance and consideration to men’s issues and women’s issues (which IMO can only help feminism’s cause) then the MRM would never have come into existence.

      • From what I have seen the biggest criticism the MRM has of feminism is that most voices of feminism that I and they seem to hear is feminism seems to feel like it owns any and all conversations and issues related to gender equality.
        Damn straight. An attitude of the idea that if feminism isn’t at the center of the gender discourse then the conversation is automatically wrong. We’ve seen that unfold right here at GMP a bit last year when we got a few posts written by people almost demanding that feminism MUST be in the conversation (if not the cernter of the conversation).

        More concerned with having control of the conversation than addressing the flaws that run off all the potential “allies” they go on about.

      • “In my mind that is exactly what really matters. I don’t care if the stigma against stay-at-home dads or negative views of fathers is due to patriarchy, evolutionary psychology, male disposability, or whatever other social theory you want to believe in; what I care about is the action taken to remove that stigma and the subsequent results that come from that action.”

        Except that in order for your actions to have any real effect and in order to have any real change…we need to understand the reasons why these problems exist. We have to understand the underlying social narratives that caused them…otherwise we’re slapping a band-aid on a grisly bear attack and calling it done.

        • KC Krupp says:

          I disagree about always needing to know the underlying cause, especially in the case of dealing with social narratives. The grizzly bear example is way too simplistic and you know it. One guy guy gets bitten on the shoulder by the bear, a second guy gets clawed in in the back, and a third guy gets away without physical injuries but suffers PTSD from watching his friends get attacked. In all three cases the root cause is a bear attack, but you don’t treat each of these injuries the same way (and in all three cases the band-aid is inappropriate.) You don’t need to analyze how they got into the woods, question why the hikers were on that trail in the first place, or ask why the bear was at that exact spot.

          Does knowing the root cause help? Yes it certainly does, but we also better be absolutely sure that we found the proper root cause before we start treatment. If a doctor tells me that I have pancreatic cancer, shouldn’t I get a second opinion?

          Medicine is chock full of “I don’t understand what caused this or why this works but it does so let’s keep doing it until something better comes along.” Have you ever taken ibuprofen or Advil? They’re used to treat pain, it doesn’t matter if the root cause is a stubbed toe or a headache.

          You can’t just say “this is the solution” and be done with it. That is why I said you need to take action and then verify you’ve taken the correct action based on your results.

          In the case of gender equality it doesn’t really matter the root cause because at the end of the day it is about perception, whether we view something as positive or negative or whether we care about something or not, and we as human beings have demonstrated time and time again that we can change the way society perceives things. It doesn’t matter if the reason there is a stigma against stay stay at home dads (SAHD) is because society believes child rearing is feminine and thus doesn’t value child rearing or because society views men as disposable and thus should be more concerned about earning income than rearing their child, in both cases the most effective solution is to promote a positive image of SAHDs. The problem is when you dig too far into the theoretical quagmire; that is when you start to create these twisted one-size-fits-all solutions like: SAHDs are stigmatized because patriarchy tells us to devalue the feminine and thus tells us that child rearing is unimportant and that woman should be kept out of the workplace, so what we need to do is value the feminine and that means valuing women in the workplace. How does that really help society view men as being capable of rearing their children?

          Not that the MRM necessarily does a better job. I’ve seen a lot of stuff come out of the MRM that basically paints feminism as an evil conspiracy that is out for world domination and claims that men are now second-class citizens. (I’m sorry if it sounds like I’m just beating up on feminism, I’m really against the ideological zealotry that comes from both camps.)

          Seriously can we cut with the theoretical crap and say “Rape against both men and women is a problem, how do we fix it? Well people don’t know the actual data about rape, a lot of people don’t know what does and doesn’t constitute rape, and our institutions attempt to hide and cover up rape whether it is a university trying to hide rape incidents or the CDC not classifying rape of men as rape because it will inflate incidents of male rape victims. Let’s educate people on false perceptions about rape, raise awareness about what is and isn’t rape for both men and women, encourage positive consent for both men and women, and emphasis proper punishment for both men and women who perpetrate or attempt to cover up rape.” We know how to fix this and all the talk of patriarchy/toxic masculinity/male disposability/evolutionary biology psychobabble does is just get in the way.

          • Um…right well…basically most of your last paragraph was rape culture theory, in a nutshell. You want to educate people about what is rape, and stop institutions (and individuals) from ignoring it when it happens. Yup, sounds about right.

            But you can’t know the best way to go about educating people…and you can’t know the best way to go about fixing our institutional ignorance about rape, until you understand why those things are there in the first place. Telling people, “This is rape. Don’t do it,” doesn’t work. We tried that, and this is where we are now.

            • KC Krupp says:

              Um…right well…basically most of your last paragraph was rape culture theory, in a nutshell. You want to educate people about what is rape, and stop institutions (and individuals) from ignoring it when it happens. Yup, sounds about right.

              Except for the part of rape theory that insists that the reason we normalize rape is because rape is a tool used by men to keep women in fear and under man’s control.

              Rape culture theory ignores the fact that rape is viewed as an evil act across societies. You know the whole “king has the right to any woman he wants” myth; it’s a myth, never really happened. It was something that one group of people said about another group of people to express how barbaric the other group of people was. My personal opinion is that the reason there are efforts to normalize/cover up rape is because we see rape as an evil act. We want rape to be something that “other people” do; something that our enemies do. I personally believe that Stubenville is a prime example of how we don’t want to believe that our heroes can do something so evil, so people who believe in those heroes make every effort to hide it, to deny it. Why don’t we want to talk about women raping men? It could be because we don’t want to see men as being weak, but it could also be because we don’t won’t to believe that women, sweet nurturing women, are capable of something evil. Anyway, I digress.

              But you can’t know the best way to go about educating people…and you can’t know the best way to go about fixing our institutional ignorance about rape, until you understand why those things are there in the first place. Telling people, “This is rape. Don’t do it,” doesn’t work. We tried that, and this is where we are now.

              1. How do “we” know that it doesn’t work? What measure was used to determine that it didn’t work?

              2. What proof is there that this new “rape culture theory” approach is any improvement? What activities are directly are being taken now that are the direct result of rape culture theory that weren’t taken before. (I’m seriously asking, not trying to tear apart your assertion.) Clearly “men can stop rape” and “tell men not to rape” are somehow new from the “don’t do it” model that previously did not work?

              3. I’m really not that surprised that just saying “don’t do it” didn’t work, since when in history have we just said “don’t do x” and seen that work, you need to provide both the “don’t do x” and the “do y instead.” Following rape culture theory is how we get the new FBI definition of rape that excludes male-on-female rape (which was led by large mainstream feminist organizations.) Again we don’t need some deep embedded root cause to address this because, and this is my guess here, there isn’t just one root cause. Thank goodness we are now finally starting to talk about things like “enthusiastic consent” I think that is a good start for a new approach.

          • Sentinel says:

            But your bear analogy doesn’t quite work. Yes, each of the three injuries must be treated differently. But focusing on treating injuries will not prevent future bear attacks.

    • KC Krupp says:

      In my mind that is exactly what really matters. I don’t care if the stigma against stay-at-home dads or negative views of fathers is due to patriarchy, evolutionary psychology, male disposability, or whatever other social theory you want to believe in; what I care about is the action taken to remove that stigma and the subsequent results that come from that action.

      In general the ideal world views of the MRM and feminism are the same: gender equality (IMO.) I see the primary difference between the two is in what they consider to be a priority and what consequences they are willing to take to reach their goals. A lot of the responses I have heard from several feminists is that we have to address the woman’s issues first, and then once that’s taken care of we can address the men’s side of things. In other words everything women is the priority, everything men is secondary.

      It infuriates me when friends of mine who identify as feminist spend hours talking about petitioning a paint company because they find the names of the paint colors sexist and then insist that including male rape victims in their series leading up to Take Back the Night would be focusing on a secondary issue.

      You can’t say your top priority is stopping rape and then place rape against men somewhere in the priority list after job equality and stopping paint companies from naming paint colors beer garden and man cave.

      From what I have seen the biggest criticism the MRM has of feminism is that most voices of feminism that I and they seem to hear is feminism seems to feel like it owns any and all conversations and issues related to gender equality. The funny thing is I suspect that if feminists had earnestly given relevance and consideration to men’s issues and women’s issues (which IMO can only help feminism’s cause) then the MRM would never have come into existence.

      I can also see how feminists could see the MRM as a bunch of men who are focused on what they consider secondary or trivial issues thus making the MRM at best essentially wasted resources in their eyes and at worst an antagonist to fight against tooth and nail.

  8. Does it really matter whether men describe their issues using feminist frameworks or not? What does it really matter?

    I feel like it’s amazing that men are actually talking about their issues in the first place, why then whale on them because they aren’t doing it in precisely the way you want them to? Maybe your way isn’t the best way, ever consider that?

  9. Cajunmick says:

    Thank you all for such a thoughtful, engaging conversation.
    Mark, Heather, Danny, KC, et. al.-
    Your discussions were rigorous, but also kind. I had begun to give up on the GMP. Ad hominim attacks, drama, bullshit? I was just about done.
    But, if I can look forward to more of this kind of interaction, I’ll certainly be back more often. In fact, these threads have encouraged me to consider trying to write something myself.
    Again, thank you all.

  10. Well if MRM is what I found on A voice for men, I rather be a feminist man than a MRM, while stll fighting for men rights , because what I found on that site is clearly misogyny. And agree with Heather, I still wait for anyone to show MRM site which is not anti-feminist / misogynist. I guess GMP is not MRM site right?

    • There is an uncomfortable ring on truth in that statement. I don’t spend that much time in either feminist or MRM web spaces and when I do I find both uncomfortably alienating. The feminist sites I’ve seen have always felt to me very anti-male (if not overtly at lest in subtext.) Part of this is that I disagree very strongly with Patriarchy theory and large portions of Rape Culture theory (as I touched upon above.) From the little bit I’ve dabbled into the MRM the space feels chillingly anti-feminist and in many places anti-woman. Even GirlWritesWhat, who I feel as though is much more approachable, did a series on why she believes that feminism is based on hate, and while GirlWritesWhat makes some salient points, I personally see painting feminism as a hate movement as going way too far. In my mind feminism is suffering from blind zealotry with a desire to do what they really believe is best for society and with disregard for the negative consequences or impact it has on other groups of people; a good example is the unquestioning adherence to patriarchy theory which is what gives us the FBI definition of rape that excludes victims of female-on-male rape. A lot of the stuff I see come out of MRM circles paints an alarmist 1984-esq picture of society, depciting feminism and even women as evil.

      This is why I avoid identifying myself as either feminist or MRM. I agree with the overall goals of each, but the individual tenants and dogma that each group seems to subscribe to disturbs me (I say “seems to” because as we have already established neither feminism or the MRM are a monolith.) Even while we sit here saying that the MRM is to youngh to have any core “dogmatic truths” as we see in theoretical feminism, I would say that unless the MRM is very careful very soon one of their “dogmatic truths” will be to create some sort of bizarre reverse-patriarchy claiming that feminism is actually “the system” and that feminism is conspiring to subjugate men. My real hope is that feminism will either dissolve some of their theoretical dogma, update it with the recognition that it doesn’t cover all gender issues as cleanly as it seems they like to say it does and that the MRM will neutralize some of the anti-feminism and avoid indoctrination and dogmatic principles as much as possible.

      • Well the internet isn’t the place to find updated social theory. Okay, in some spaces it is…but in general, the internet isn’t where you’re going to find the most forward-thinking debates about gender theory. Your analysis of rape culture theory, for example, is fitting…if we’re talking about the rather rigid version that is a few decades old. But it’s been updated…maybe not everyone’s got the memo about the update…but it has been updated. And patriarchy theory isn’t why the FBI won’t acknowledge female-on-male rape…feminists aren’t the ones ultimately creating the legal definitions of rape. Rather, it’s the inability for the FBI to move out of a bell hooks’ type of patriarchy (one in which men are unable to admit vulnerability because doing so is considered unmanly), that results in this failure to consider female-on-male rape, rape. Right, like…why are male victims of rape ignored? Because we live in a society which places great pressure on men to be strong and stoic…and so when they are vulnerable we ignore it. That’s a patriarchy, right there. It’s just not the 2nd wave, 1970s patriarchy…it’s an updated, 1990s bell hooks patriarchy.

        So perhaps mainstream feminism isn’t adopting the new theories quickly enough, but they are there, and they are being absorbed into the mainstream.

        • What is mainstream is the expression of the dominant theory. It doesn’t matter what is coming out of the academics, until it is accepted and expressed by the mainstream that sentiment is on the fringe. Heck, From Margin to Center was published in the ’80s, if the mainstream hasn’t caught up in 30 years when this stuff is being distributed, taught, and consumed within an actively engaged demographic then that shows that the majority of the mainstream doesn’t really believe it. The mainstream pays lip service to bell hooks when it suits its purpose.

          As for the new FBI definition, the cause was championed by the Rape-is-Rape campaign, The Feminist Majority Foundation, and the Women’s Law Project. There was input from major feminist organizations. The Rape-is-Rape campaign made an effort to clearly define rape as penetration. When the definition was finally released the only audible criticism came from “those crazy MRAs.” There wasn’t even an expression of “this is a fantastic improvement, and we still have a long way to go.” The FMF’s president’s response was “This will ensure the crime of rape is measured in a way that it includes all rape.”

          As far as the FMF is concerned female-on-male rape isn’t rape. Why not?

          Because the ‘decades old’ version of rape culture theory still lives and breaths in the organizations that have major political clout. Two of the most common arguments against including female-to-male rape victims are 1) it is uncommon and makes up a minority of incidents (this coming from the same people who say Rape is Rape: No More Excuses, and is questionable now thanks to the CDC statistics released in 2011 – sorry MRAs one survey doesn’t prove anything; it indicates a need for more research and the possibility of equal occurance,) and 2) comparing female-to-male rape and male-to-female rape is a false equivalence because men don’t live in a society where violence is used to systematically oppress them. Both arguments come directly from the ‘outdated’ version of Rape Culture Theory and both are rape apologia (well I guess only if you consider non-consensual sex rape, if you consider only penetration rape then by definition..meh.)

          The thing is Heather, I know that you don’t see things like that, and I appreciate that about you.

          Anyway, I’m done with this conversation, Eric just came and took our lovely civil discussion and trounced all over it.

          • Well in case you come around again and catch this…right see, I totally get that. I totally get that some of the mainstream feminist positions are actually quite steeped in the patriarchal culture they are trying to overcome. Why the heck would you have such a difficult time understand that male victims of rape exist, unless you’re unable to get over your patriarchal notions that men are strong and stoic? I totally get that.

            But I’ve never seen a self-professed MRA that understood that. Okay, no wait…I have…but just the one. But anyway, my point is that from what I’ve seen, the MRM denounces feminism, full stop. It doesn’t even acknowledge that a lot of the stuff in the mainstream is decades old. I see MRAs saying all the time, “how come feminists don’t allow critique? Feminist core principles haven’t ever changed,” etc.

            Plus, I happen to think that the academic cutting-edge stuff is making its way into the mainstream a bit more quickly than it used to. In part thanks to the internet, actually…go figure.

    • What exactly on avoiceformen is misogyny? I`ve been reading the site for long and completely disagree with you.

    • I guess GMP is not MRM site right?
      It was when Jill Filipovic was demanding that GMP get rid of any MRA presence and called for any outlets that had ties with GMP to cut those ties until GMP did so. In fact I think the phrase was “MRA hell hole”.

  11. HeaterN, you have claimed in this thread that feminists never work against the interests of men so I will provide you with a long lists of examples of feminists doing exactly that.

    Feminists spread the myth that women got harder punishments than men for doing the same crime. Based upon that belief a wide range of special programs and means of support was put in place in England (and probably many other places as well) in order to help women to compensate for this. A wide range of studies from several different countries, and the english justice departments own numbers, show that it is actually the other way around. Men got 50-70% harder punishments for exactly the same crime. That is a several hundred percent larger sentencing addition than you get for being black. everyone seem to (correctly) buy into the claim that you get discriminated against for being black in the justice system but no one knows the discrimination for being a man is much harder. A male british MP finally brought this to the attention of the british parliament and made the minister of justice admit that the governments belief was wrong.

    As this study shows boys falling grades are almost entirely explained by changes in grading policy implemented at the wishes of feminists in order to improve things for girls. Anyone with any sense could have predicted exactly how bad this policy shift would have been for boys:

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/eliminating-feminist-teacher-bias-erases-boys-falling-grades-study-finds

    A repport made by the Norwegian government organization Reform in conjunction with feminist antifeminism experts from the whole of Scandinavia has, on behalf of the Nordic council of ministers, made a report that recommends criminalizing speech that is critical of feminism and critical of feminist views of gender roles. You can read about that here:

    http://forums.avoiceformen.com/showthread.php?tid=2971

    I have read the article in Norwegian, the report itself and a couple of other newspaper accounts. What it says is true. THe group writing the report IS the feminist establishment in the Nordic countries. Reform is a government organization that is supposed to work on behalf of men. The “experts” are the most famous and celebrated feminists in the nordic countries. They where paid to make the report on behalf of the Nordic governments. This is really a new extreme but it is nothing unexpected for those who know swedish feminism and it is not at all unexpected by MRAs. We have been waiting for this to happen as we have seen so many feminists call for similar things and show such authoritarian tendencies.

    Feminist organizations and feminists with clout in the media have consistently worked against fathers rights. I follow fathersandfamilies quite regularly and almost every step of the way feminist organizations fight the rights of men in family law. It is exactly the same in the nordic countries. The latest is the proposal of the Norwegian equality minister to change the law so that if the custodial parent FEELS that the visitation parent (or whatever it is called in english) is abusing the child or is not good for the child, visitation rights are immediately suspended. The visitation parent has to go through a long, long court process to ever see their child again. Now everyone knows that the custodial parent is almost always the mother. So the actual effect of the law is to give mothers this right to remove the rights of the fathers access based on their own FEELINGS. Now the law would not have been that bad had the visiting parent had the right to get the child removed from the custodial parents based on their feelings but that is not what the law says. Despite numerous organizations speaking up and showing evidence for the fact that most abuse is done by custodial parents the minister has not changed her mind and the law will probably pass. The same ministry of equality has also published booklets about domestic violence using only examples of fathers being perpetrators and mothers victims in every instance and made numerous other questionable materials and laws all falling into the same pattern of removing the rights of fathers and demonizing men.

    In Norway women get extra credits for entry to 136 subjects in university and men get them for only 4 or 6. This is despite women dominating higher education. The extra credits have a lot of impact and make a lot of men unable to take any education or the education they wanted and was most qualified for. This is a very serious issue. We are talking about ruining the lives of many, many men in the sense of them not getting an education or spending their lives doing something they did not want to do. Many have spoken up about this and it is years since the issue was raised the first time but feminists do nothing to change the policy they implemented. One man sent a letter to the ministry of equality complaining about this formally and in the reply it said it would do nothing as the Norweigan law of equality and discrimination say you can not discriminate on behalf on gender but you can do so in order to advance the position of women. So basically the law says that you can not discriminate against women but you can do so against men as much as you want as long as it serves women’s advancement in society. Truly Orwellian.

    Then there is domestic violence. Erin Pizzey opened the first crisis center for women in the early seventies or so. She quickly found out that 50% or so of the women that came in where as violent as the men they where fleeing from and so wanted to make a center for men. As she came across further research showing parity in domestic violence she campaigned to get the truth out there. She was vilified by feminists of redoing so, threatened to death and had to flee the country. Ever since feminists have tirelessly presented domestic violence as something only men do to women and children and not the other way around and that the men do it as part of patriarchy. They have done this despite hundreds of studies showing this to be bunk. They have falsely spread the myth of male violence against children knowing fully well far more children are hit by their mothers. They have done this to advance their own cause and get fundings for themselves. They have used demonizing men based on lies as a tactic for support. They have KNOWN for decades that what they where saying was a lie because some much research, their own even, showed this to be the case. There are countless examples of feminist scholars finding symmetry in domestic violence in their own studies and then reporting only the numbers of men hitting women to the press and only the numbers of men hitting children to the press. The consequence has been that male victims have not gotten help and that children abused by their mothers have not gotten help and that men have been demonized. I can personally attest to the destructive effects of this demonization. The constant messaging I was given about mens unique tendency for violence against women impacted me HARD and made forming a positive identity as a man very difficult. THat is important stuff. It is very destructive to men. And feminists are to blame for this. Had normal people like Erin Pizzey and non feminist researchers looking at domestic violence been alone in this field we would have never ended up with the shit we got but had gotten the proper information we are know only slowly getting out there decades ago.

    A lot of similar stuff can be said in terms of sexual abuse but I`ll leave Toysoldier to comment on that.

    Feminists have also worked against mens interests by spreading so much hatred and animosity towards men that the general culture of misandry we have to day has become possible. Men are constantly portrayed as idiots that can be treated as shit by their superior wives in advertisement and media. This is historically unique. It has only happened after the advent of feminism and it has only become possible because of the portrayal of men feminists have given. Here is a site devoted to that kind of misandry:

    http://misandrycommercials.wordpress.com/

    In sweden almost all the main feminists are supporters of the SCUM manifesto and of FORCING schoolchildren to watch it.

    Feminists have worked and work tirelessly to give women extra payment for doing less. The pay gap between women and men is there for the following reasons. In a variety of ways men make choices where they choose a higher salary as a compensation for a higher risk or higher discomfort while women make the opposite choice. Men choose jobs that one can more easily get fired from and so pay less to compensate for that in order for anyone to want the jobs. Men take jobs that have a higher possibility of a high salary but a risk of an unstable salary. Men choose jobs with less flexible hours, with more over time and take jobs they have to travel longer to get to. These and a variety of other choices have been documented by Warrenn Farrell to explain the pay gap and various other researchers, including some Norwegian ones, have found similar results. What feminists do is deny this and demand women get as much pay as men despite women not taking equal risks and having the greater comforts of women’s typical jobs. This is working against the interests of men.

    http://www.warrenfarrell.net/Summary/

    In India feminist organizations have EXPRESSLY asked that the rape laws are made so that rape is only something a man does to a woman not something a woman can do to a man.

    In Sweden the following now lands you in jail as a man. You boy and girl are a couple. When they are together they almost always have sex. They lie in beed sleeping and the boy wakes up. He wants sex and places the tip of his penis on his girlfriends lips waking her up. She waves the penis away and don`t want sex and the boy imideately accepts she does not want sex and they lay down and talk. Later on they have highly consensual sex. A few weeks later the boy breaks up with the girl. THe sad girl talks to some social worker or some such about the breakup and this woman persuades the girl she has been raped in the penis incident. The boy gets taken to court. The facts of the case are agreed upon the only question is what does swedish law say. After changes fought for by feminists this type of case is now classified as rape and the boy goes to jail. According to the definition of rape swedish feminists have gotten implemented I have been raped by several previous female sex partners and so have most other people.

    Feminists have fought for changes to college practices with regards to sexual assaults and rapes so that a man can now be expelled without a proper defense and only according to a very low standard of probability.

    Many, many feminists want to reverse the burden of proof so that men have to prove they did not rape any woman who claim she was raped.

    The women who run Norways primary anti rape initiative claims on their webpage that there are usually only one or two cases of false reports each year and these area easily handled by the police so represent no problem. Yet the Danish government did a study of all their rape reports in a two year period and found 7,3% of cases to be certainly false with a significantly higher number of false reports to be highly possible. International research points to numbers at this level or upwards to 15% or 25%. The feminist in this organization represent the mainstream elite feminists in Norway and many are quite famous. Yet this is how they take care of mens issues. Spreading lies in order to get it so easy to convict they can just throw men in jail whenever a woman points at a man and says he raped. In general feminists constantly try to claim false rape reports are extremely rare and on par with false claims of other crimes when the research shows they are common and far, far above the rate of other crimes which is just 1-2%.

    Then you have the whole Donglegate thing where feminists have driven workplace harassment stuff so far men have to shut their mouths in fear not knowing what they can say without getting fired.

    Then you have stuff like Naomi Wolf claiming 150 000 women die each year of eating disorders in the US while the real number is 525. She is trying to make people believe there is some sort of eating disorder holocost which men are to blame for.

    Then you have the extremely dubious “research” debunked by Chirstina Hoff Summers and many others showing that girls don`t suffer low self esteem more than boys and there is no self esteem crisis. And the myth they spread about how men battering pregnant women was a leading cause of birth disorders. And the myth of men battering women after Super Bowl. I suggest you read summers book whole stole feminism for documentation of many, many other similar myths.

    Then there is the swedish feminist party, with the most famous mainstream feminists in its leadership, singing “fucking man we hate you you fucking man” in their political meetings.

    And there is the case of the leader of ROKS the swedish crisis center organization saying in an interview that she thinks men are not really humans but on the level of animals and later following up on that a few years later claiming men are even worse than animals. She was defended by large segments of the swedish feminist elite. It has also been documented that the government funded organization ROKS actively tries to make the women who come to them isolate themselves, FOREVER, in all women collectives to get away from the evil men that of course are everywhere. I can provide you with a link to a documentary with english subtitles made by swedish broadcasting documenting this.

    Then you have almost the entire feminist cannon and the field of women’s studies full of hate speech about men. Dworkin, Mckinnon, Morgan, Greer, Brownmiller, Ensler, French and a whole range of others have said the most extreme hateful things about men yet they are celebrated by the feminist establishments and their thinking has been critical in feminist thinking and gender studies. The only feminist thinkers I have come across that I, from what i have read so far, can respect though I do not agree with is deBeauvoir, Hoff Summers Paglia and Betty Friedan. Of course Paglia and Hoff summers are seen as antifeminists by most feminists. The influence of these thinkers and of many, many others like them in research and in the culture at large has been very important and it has been extremely destructive towards men. They preach hate and it trickles down and becomes a softer form of hostility and animosity and anger towards men amongst regular feminists and in society at large.

    Then there is the affirmative action quotas on board rooms implemented in Norway that is being attempted implemented elsewhere. The proof used to justify this policy is that there are less than 50% women on the boards. THe problem with this is that the people old enough to have gotten such positions are from the ages of 40-70. WIthin that age groups as a WHOLE, far fewer than 50% women took educations such as business, law and engineering etc. that would qualify for such positions. Furthermore, very, very many women took brakes in their careers to be home with their children or opted out of their careers completely or worked part time. If they did not put in the work they where not discriminated against when they do not reach the top. IF they did not take the relevant education they where not discriminated against when they do not reach the top. Futhermore, far more women than men go to work in the government or non profit sector which sidetracks them from the path leading to boardroom positions. In addition fewer women put in the 12-14 hours a day six to seven days a week required to get to the top. taking that into account it is actually surprising that the numbers of women on boards of large companies are so high as they are IMO. Two studies I have seen show that women’s careers do not progress slower when they put in the same amount of work. One was a Norwegian doctoral thesis made by a woman that found zero difference in career progress when women worked the same amount of hours. The second was another international or swedish study (can`t remember). I can link to the second study if you want but haven`t been able to find the norwegian one in a long time. Eventually as the younger generation gets old enough to qualify for board positions they will get them. But currently women in the age right group have not put in the work and so 50% can not be expected. Yet by law companies now have to have 40% women on boards leading to women unfairly being given jobs they are not qualified for. This is gross discrimination of men by legal means and privelidge given to women. The most extreme case is in finance where only 10% women work at all levels in total and 40% of the board members are women.

    Spanish domestic violence law discriminates against men to an extreme, even absurd degree. It is horrendously repressive. And it has been implemented by feminists and feminists are fighting to maintain it:

    http://www.avoiceformen.com/feminism/government-tyranny/spanish-feminist-establishment-is-shaking/

    I think this is a pretty impressive list of documentation of feminists working against the interest of men. I can provide you with links for everything if you want it as I have given links to all these things before but did not want to spend time on it now. This list encompassing a very wide list of fields, family law and fathers rights, standard of evidence and protection against false accusations, sentencing, grade discrimination in school and discrimination in entry to university, domestic violence, demonizing of men in the wider culture and legitimizing hatred of men, wages, career progress and other areas.The country specific examples I have given have counterparts in other countries. I read about similar cases all over the place all the time.

    • Erik…that’s a longer comment than my Rape Culture article…and that was a long article…so I’m not reading the whole thing. Sorry.

      But, I’ll reply to the first bit. I didn’t claim feminists have never worked against men. I claimed feminism isn’t about hurting men. And, again, without having read your comment…I’ll also say that the usual examples people provide of feminists doing things that hurt men, are times when feminists have been caught up in the patriarchal systems they were originally trying to take down. Fathers rights is great example of this. It’s the patriarchal gender system we’ve got now that says men aren’t as well equipped to be caregivers as women are. If you hear a feminist saying she thinks mothers are better parents than fathers…that’s a feminist who is conforming to the patriarchy. It happens.

      • You said “But no feminist organization is actually using our cultural/economic/political system to harm men”

        I the provided you with a ton of examples of feminist organizations doing EXACTLY that. Here is a quick summary of some of those ways. Claiming that women get harsher punishments for the same crime as men and using that to get lots of support for special programs for women only to compensate for that when it is in fact men who get punished 50-70% harder. In Norway giving women extra credits for entry into 136 different subjects in higher education but only giving the same to men in 4-6. Having a lower standard of physical abilities for female soldiers, forewomen and policewomen. THis actually leads to the death of men as the female soldiers slow the men down a lot and can`t carry them to safety when wounded etc. Also a test of swedish forewomen and firemen showed many of the forewomen could not even break open a door in less than 10 minutes when the men could do so in 30 seconds. Feminists have worked consistently and HARD to spread the myth of women as sole victim and men as sole perpetrator of domestic violence. The first woman to open a shelter for battered women, Erin Pizzey, quickly found out that about half of the women where as violent as the men they where escaping and wanted to create centers for men as well. When she started to find research that showed symmetry in domestic violence she spoke up about that and tried to spread that knowledge to the wider public and at feminist conferences etc. The feminist response to that was to vilify her, threaten to kill her, kill her dog and make her feel so unsafe she fled England. Since that time feminists have been fully aware of the fact that domestic violence was symmetrical because their own studies often actually showed that to be the case and numerous other studies showed the same and those studies on would have to be aware of if one was a feminist scholar working in relation to domestic violence or and activist working with the topic. So feminists have knowingly presented a false picture of domestic violence for decades completely misleading the public and so creating the image of the evil violent man and making sure no male domestic violence victims got help. In terms of divorce law etc. feminists have supported incredibly unfair laws that strip a man of half his money and alimony payments even after short marriages. Jhon Cleeses ex wife got more of his money than he did after 6 years of marriage where she did nothing for him just worked on her own career. When it comes to fathers right it is not about the image of the mother as more competent etc. it is that feminist organizations have consistently themselves fought against fathers right. I`m not talking about what laws parliaments have passed etc. I am talking solely about the positions taken by feminist organizations themselves and those positions have almost exclusively been against fathers rights. You are asking me to trust my interests to a movement that is campaigning against my rights.

        Amongst my other examples is successfully advocating for a change in rape law so that men are now getting convicted for things that clearly are not rape and which women have done to me a bunch of times and which basically most people have done with their partners. Feminists have also, in spite of clear evidence to the contrary denied false rape claims are anything but a marginal problem and have worked against paternity testing. Amongst the graver examples is the change to the way grades are given. Through implementing educational policies as advised by feminists the way grades where set changed and this, NOT the knowledge acquired by boys, changed and led to lower grades for boys. I linked to a study documenting this. Any person with any sense would have understood that the changes would lead to that result. I won`t go into detail describing it but the domestic violence laws that feminists got passed in Spain are incredibly repressive to men. Not just unfair but repressive to an extreme degree. Then there are the feminists in India which have EXPRESSLY asked that rape be defined so that it is only a crime that can be committed by a man against a woman.

        Basically feminism has worked as in interest organization working for the opposite of
        what an interesting organization for my interests as a man would work for. The overall picture I have gotten from observing feminism is that the movement consistently chooses to advocate for things that are against my own interests as a man. You are asking me to trust my interests to the movement that does not only ignore my interests but more than anyone else works actively to harm them. I have provided evidence for that.

        Your argument that it is only when feminism is caught up in patriarchy that such things happen is not at all true. The examples I provide have nothing to do with that. That you did not read almost anything of my post, which is full of concrete examples of feminist organizations successfully implementing policy that harms men and that it is obvious that will harm men, I can only take as evidence that these are facts you can not deal with because they would undermine your position too much.

        • Apologies. It was days ago. I wasn’t quite sure which comment you had been referring to.

          Anyway…what the key to that comment was about intentionality. As I said, when feminists fail to really break away from patriarchal (or kyriarchal) modes of thinking, then they sometimes get stuff wrong…and that can cause harm. To men and women. But they aren’t intentionally using the system to screw over men. That is not the goal. That is my point. No feminist organization is actively trying to screw over men. (And, of course, places such as RadFemHub are the exception to this…but they have no actual influence).

          As I pointed out, I didn’t read your post because it was long. Over 3000 words, Erik. That’s extremely long. But as for your summary: in the case of minimizing male victims of rape…that IS part of the patriarchy. The patriarchy says that men can’t be victims, because men must always be strong. In the case of family court. Again, that IS the patriarchy. The patriarchy says that men aren’t as good at parenting as women are. Having lower standards for women in physically demanding jobs – there again that is TOTALLY the patriarchy…assuming women aren’t as capable of physical labor as men are. So when feminists don’t fight for male victims of rape, or for father’s rights, or to have gender neutral qualifications for certain jobs…then they are failing to recognize that they are actually adhering to patriarchal ideas.

          • You’re turning feminism into a religion, Heather. You claim that, even when feminist organizations are actively screwing over men with their actions (I’m reminded of back in 2007-2008 during the recession when the Obama administration set aside billions of dollars for construction projects and other programs to help male-dominated industries tha were hit the hardest… and then NOWswooped in and demanded a large chunk of the money for female industries that were actuall *growing* Why? because they- and I’m quoting here- didn’t want the money to go to “help burly men”) they aren’t “really feminist.”

            It’s completely circular. Feminism can do no wrong because the second it does it ceases to be feminism, ad therefore no longer feminism. It’s like claiming the Bible is the word of God, because it says so in the Bible- which is the word of God.

          • Wtf HeatherN??
            He gave you examples of FEMINIST GROUPS doing exactly the kind of bad you say they do NOT do. Then you try divert the blame to patriarchy? For one you’re treating feminists like children, an extremely misogynist behaviour I might add by dismissing their agency and you’re assigning the blame to patriarchy as if those feminists don’t actively stop male issues being supported.

            “No feminist organization is actively trying to screw over men. ”
            The Indian feminists WERE trying to screw over men.

            “I’ll also say that the usual examples people provide of feminists doing things that hurt men, are times when feminists have been caught up in the patriarchal systems they were originally trying to take down.”
            “that’s a feminist who is conforming to the patriarchy. It happens.”
            As Jax said, you’re turning feminism into a religion which can do no wrong. You suggest feminist groups acting bad is a case of them being caught up in patriarchy, it seems like you’re more interested in keeping feminism as this monolith of good which never does wrong. If people can positively generalize feminism as bringing equal rights n what not, why can’t they negatively generalize it also on the harm it has caused?

            I see countless people saying feminism has done good for men, done good for women, yet really isn’t it meant to be only SOME parts of feminism has done good? You’re doing a great job of making feminism sound like a religion, it does no wrong, it’s intentions are pure, but but patriarchy is the bad guy. You could easily make an argument to dismiss blame of patriarchy because having men work and women raising the kids was actually a smart idea when we needed high strength for labour and there was no breast milk alternatives available, so the intentions of patriarchy were good right?

            Dear feminists, why is it actually difficult to find a feminist willing to assign responsibility to the movement when it comes to the harm done instead of bullshit deflection to “the patriarchy”? Are catholics going to come out n start saying that they only went to war because of patriarchy too? A feminist organization that actively advocates against male rights, is harming men. FULLSTOP. VAWA had unintended consequences, but the Indian feminists actually advocated against including MEN in the definition of rape. How is that not a feminist group at fault? Would you suggest conservative republicans are not to blame, but patriarchy is to blame for them fighting against abortion rights?

          • Then you just demonstrate that feminism is unreliable in combating men’s issues regarding discrimination because feminists/women are not being held accountable for their responsibility and agency in establishing/reinforcing anti-male practices and activities as convention and norm in our organizations and culture. Hating men may not be a requirement to be a feminist, giving a damn about what happens to them isn’t either, and we wonder why men would make their own movement in response to such apathy, lethargy and self-serving condemnation of their requests for help.

  12. IMO feminism gains poppular support through these core issues and will loose almost all popular support if these issues are no longer seen the way feminism sees them.

    That women are paid less than men, that domestic violence is almost exclusively male on female violence and that the motivation is patriarchal, that almost all violence against children is committed by fathers, that sexual abuse/rape almost solely is a male offender/female victim issue, that women are unfairly held back in their careers by a glass ceiling, that gender is a social construct, that what attracts men and women to each other is socially constructed and can be changed. IMO all of those beliefs are wrong and all them are now being seriously challenged in a way they have not been before and There seems to be only a question of time before the public disagrees with feminism on all of those issues.

    The wage gap I showed in the comment above is wrong and I believe the glass ceiling thing is wrong as well and that research that bears this out will eventually be brought to public attention so that they will change their opinion on it. I am certainly observing a huge change in the way people argue about these issues privately and in online forums where I live. We know that domestic violence is symmetrical and it is not driven by patriarchal motives and I see more and more articles in MSM presenting these facts and privately I meet more and more people who are aware of it. The same goes for the belief that fathers are mostly responsible for violence against children. Sexual abuse of men and female perpetrators is far less known and will take more time but more stories are coming about this as well. Gender as a social construct is becoming very, very unpopular as a belief amongst regular people. Almost everyone I encounter these days have reversed their old beliefs in gender as socially constructed (almost everyone in scandinavia used to believe this) and people are starting to talk a lot about the stuff they see as innate differences. Related to this there is brewing a tendency for men to want their masculinity back and women to want their femininity back and those who talk about this blame feminism for messing up gender roles. related to this there is also a growing awareness that what attracts men and women to each other is very different and very, very politically incorrect and is based on a difference between masculinity and femininity that is quite close to traditional gender roles but not quite the same. The manosphere is an example of this and it is starting to spread and have a wider impact.

    http://www.therulesrevisited.com/2012/08/femininity-authenticity-and_5.html

    http://marriedmansexlife.vanillaforums.com/

    http://www.hookingupsmart.com/

    http://theredpillroom.blogspot.no/

    The key thing is that sites such as these actually give people success in their dating lives and relationships to a degree that mainstream advice do not. And when they experience that they throw out their old belief system around gender. It is very simple, until feminism can offer people the same success that these sites do then beliefs in this form of benevolent sexist gender roles will spread like wildfire. Notice that for everyone who comes to those sites and changes their beliefs several more people also change because people want to spread what benefited them and what they now see as true. And those beliefs spread easily because they resonate so strongly with peoples actual experience.

    So, IMO all these beliefs will fall and when they fall the whole house comes tumbling down. People get really angry that they have been mislead about the discrimination “facts” they have been presented and those who change their view about gender along the lines I suggested get really, really mad because they blame feminism for messing with their personal lives and relationship lives. When people have had miserable relationships trying to make them work within a conventional equalist paradigm and they suddenly experience great relationships through a benevolent sexist paradigm they get angry because the way day see it feminism messed up their relationships by selling them what they see as destructive lies. Wether they are right or not is an empirical question. If there are biological differences along the lines of what the red pill crowd believe there are then they are right to be angry because they where told to try to make their relationships work on theories that where actually counterproductive to attraction and relationship maintenance. If there are no such biological basis they are wrong. Regardless people misidentify with feminism when they make that shift and the amount of people making that shift is increasing rapidly.

    Rebuilding feminisms reputation after that is an extremely difficult task.

    I`d like to add that in addition to the manosphere trend there is the whole alternative eastern spirituality movement working in the same direction. Almost no one spends long time seriously involved with Indian and Chineese spiritual traditions or practices like qigong and yoga and maintances a blank slate view of gender. In general, close to everyone who does so over a long enough amount of time becomes a believer in biological gender differences. People involved with tantra also strongly believe in gender differences and as tantra spreads fast because of the bedroom pleasures it brings so do the beliefs. Related to this there is the David Deida inspired neo masculinity movement that is gaining a lot of ground and is exemplified by things such as the authentic man program. Those types of guys and the whole mythopoetic movement are all strong trends towards beliefs in gender differences and sexual polarity between masculine and feminine. When you combine the trends of the alternative world you get a very, very strong subcultural trend moving towards a form of benevolent sexism. In combination with the manosphere and large segments of the MRA spreading similar beliefs it is pretty clear to me that the next 10-15 years will be about a strong trend towards a belief in biological gender differences, highly different and politically incorrect attraction mechanisms in both genders and a desire to revitalize masculine and feminine polarity. When that happens feminism is in real trouble.

    • There is a time and place for this, and this was not the right thread for this. We are attempting a dialogue, and I fear that while there are likely valid points in what you have written they come across as hostile, the exact opposite of what we need for having a dialogue.

      I feel as though your first post had much to add to the conversation, although as I mentioned before I don’t believe that the majority of the negative impact feminism has had on men is due to intentional hatred so much as over-enthusiastic zeal. This second post, I feel, smacks of some pretty extreme accusations, that I feel are something we need to avoid if we’re going to actively have a conversation.

      I understand and respect that you will likely have a different opinion on this than me.

      • I don`t get it. All those points I mention as core beliefs of feminism historically where the consensus in scandinavian countries up until recently and to a fairly large extent they still are. Men as sole perpetrator of domestic violence and violence against children and sole perpetrator of sexual violence most certainly. THese where core beliefs instilled in me by my teacher, by the media, by everyone around me and most certainly every feminist I heard on TV or read about in newspapers up until 10 years ago or so. The Norwegian minister of justice still ONLY talks about male violence against women and children and nothing else.

        The wage gap and glass ceiling and gender roles and attraction patterns as social constructions are core feminist beliefs still. Just because certain feminists are taking in facts about domestic violence and sexual violence does not remove the fact that they painted a picture of the man as sole perpetrator for decades and many still do or still cling to as much of the image as they can. That is simply fact. I`m just describing how I think people will react when their beliefs in those things change and I think it is very obvious that at that point most people will become very critical.

        As for the gender role and attraction based stuff I personally agree with the people who have changed beliefs in that regard but that is not really the point here. As I say it is en empirical question wether that is true or not and eventually it will be answered well enough by science but in the mean time it appears to be a strong trend that peoples values are changing in this regard and those who do change value does changes highly and this is and will become a huge challenge to feminism. Although I do generally argue for biology making that case was not my point in this post just describing this as the development I see.

        The first post with the examples of how feminism has worked against mens rights and mens interests came about because HeatherN said she could not see that feminism ever did that and so it needed to be pointed out with concrete examples.

        • KC Krupp says:

          Erik,

          I am sorry if I came across as silencing or negating your contribution to the conversation. Looking back at my response to you I realize that it was probably too quick to the draw; the last thing I want is for anyone to feel as though their thoughts do not matter.

          I do agree that your criticism of where feminism has failed is valid and that your examples are strong examples of the problems with the current dialogue around gender equality. In my mind this is exactly what happens when spend too much time “focusing on the root cause.” I personally believe that the negative impact on men from feminism is not due to intentional hatred against me (mind you there are some exceptions and maybe Norway is just crazy,) rather it is due to over-enthusiastic zeal.

          My response to your posts was that from my perspective, and I could be wrong, they came from an alarmist and combative attitude, not from a frame of understanding. A lot of the messages that come out of the MRM are simply “feminism is bad” and I would hope that the MRM is about a lot more than just dismantling feminism.

          As far as avoiceformen being viewed as misogynistic, a lot of the content there maintains the alarmist, combative, raising the hair and baring the teeth attitude that ends the possibility of discourse. When people like girlwriteswhat and John the Other focus their message on how feminism is hatred, you basically just do to feminists what the MRM complains feminists do to the MRM. The other piece is while theoretically you are right being anti-feminist does not equal anti-women, feminists have worked very hard to equate feminism to women. That’s where we get messages like “if you don’t call yourself a feminist you’re anti-women,” which while it’s downright evil marketing and reeks of dogma and an attempt to steal all conversation on gender equality, and the reality is if you’re going to be anti-feminist you’re going to be considered misogynistic. Also, the MRM tends to write in a very sarcastic tone that can come off as “can you believe what those women are doing now?” or attempts to play the “who has it worse” game, which often comes off as minimizing women issues (yes, I know it happens to you, and it doesn’t make it okay to do it back to them.)

          • KC Krupp, I appreciate the reply. I don`t have ime to write anything today but will get back to it tomorrow. I would be perfectly happy to have the post deleted if it derails the conversation. No hard feelings about that if I sidetracked things with a post that lessens the possibility of dialog.

  13. Another important example of feminists working against the interests of men. I`d like to add that feminists have also opposed to opening of mens centers at the universities I am aware of that have tried to open them.

  14. Then there are feminists opposition to paternity testing:

    http://www.avoiceformen.com/mens-rights/france-upholds-the-ban-on-paternity-tests/

    Feminists have successfully lobbied to have the military in many countries let some join the army while not being able to pass the same physical standards as men just a much lower female adjusted standard. This works against men both by taking away military jobs the men earned and the women that did not pass male standards did not and it works against men by leading to the death of men. How? Because a female soldier that can only cary half the weight a male soldier can cary and can`t carry that weight for anywhere near the length and with the speed a male soldier can will lead to the death of male wounded soldiers. Some will not get to help on time and some will be shot because they where not carried away in time. Much larger numbers of male troops will die because several soldiers moving together will be slowed down by women who can`t move at anywhere near the pace or speed the male soldiers can and so they will be caught by the enemy and shot. I`ve had friends in the army who carried parts of the things some of the women in their troops was supposed to carry in their bags as the women were not strong enough. Such an army leads to the death of competent male soldiers and poses a national security risk.

    In Sweden a study has found that while male fireman could break open a door in about 30 seconds, many of the female forewomen could not break open door in 10, i repeat 10, MINUTES. I wonder how many have died or will die because of that policy. And then there is the lesser but still important of the qualified men whose jobs where taken by unqualified women.

  15. But if I did ruin the dialog I am sorry for that and I will anyway attempt to make my posts less hostile in this thread in the future.

  16. HeatherN:

    So right now, as I said in the comments that became this article, what we’ve got are a lot of MRA types saying “This is what I think feminists think, and so I think the opposite.” – But that’s not engaging critically with the issues.

    I think that is an unfair take on their comments. A more accurate take would be “This is what feminists think, and this is why I think the opposite.” I do not think that men’s rights activists or feminists critics get feminism wrong. Ideologues often do not see anything wrong with their views and will look at those views in the most positive light. What may seem reasonable to them may look unreasonable to someone else. As a result, critical responses can look reactionary.

    So, like, the MRM’s understanding of patriarchy theory, rape culture theory, performativity of gender, etc., is wrong. I don’t mean to say that they are wrong because they disagree. I mean they don’t understand feminists’ positions with regards to these theories.

    Again, I disagree. I doubt they do not understand the theories. It is that they view them differently than feminists. Let us use a neutral example. Gay people fundamentally disagree with the Catholic position that homosexuality is a mortal sin that will condemn them to Hell. A Catholic might argue “hate the sin, not the sinner.” Yet a gay person might argue that the position promotes hatred of gay people. The Catholic would disagree and argue that the gay person does not understand the theory, but is that true? Is the gay person mistaken in their critical analysis of the theory?

    No. It is not that the gay person made a Catholic strawman and beat it to death. It is simply that as a gay person they have different view of the ideas Catholics hold. The same thing happens with feminist theories. If feminists argue that “rape culture” is born out of “The Patriarchy”, which all men are complicit in, and that men benefit from all rape, then feminists are arguing that as a male survivor I both caused and benefited from my own abuse. I did not twist the theories; I only played them out to their logical conclusion.

    Critical analysis does not mean one will agree with the theory. Critical analysis means that one will break down how something works, ask if it actually does work, and find out why it does or does not work. I think it is too easy an out to say that someone who disagrees with you does not understand you. It simply allows you avoid examining your own views and point the finger at the other side instead.

    • I agree with Jacob (as I have throughout this discussion). The bit I’ll tack on is that I’m very, very used to people arguing that I (or people like me) only reject their positions because we don’t understand them or haven’t read the right sources yet, but that’s not just a feminist complaint. Atheists get it all the time from theists, who are sincerely convinced that no one could possibly disbelieve their god or sacred text except out of close-mindedness or being deprived (willfully or otherwise) of the learned interpretations that explain “the real thing”. PZ Myers even gave a name to it, The Courtier’s Reply, which as the linked article describes, “amounts to intellectual bullying because it questions a person’s right to rebut an argument on the grounds that the person trying to rebut the argument lacks experience with the subject at issue.” The name comes from imagining some courtiers in the story of The Emperor’s New Clothes, trying to discredit critics who say he’s naked by saying they aren’t experts in fashion, haven’t read various treatises by obscure experts in various garments, etc.

      You may not mean to say that “[critics of feminism] are wrong because they disagree”, but I think that’s what you (feminists) end up saying anyway, because if you think the only possible reaction to understanding feminist theory is to agree with it, then disagreement is literally evidence of being wrong. You could be sitting on a stack of feminist books that if I read them cover to cover, some light might go off that I’d agree with what *those books* said, and it wouldn’t salvage my view of Internet feminism, because I’ve already seen how that theory gets understood and applied on the ‘net. If the academic feminists are singing a different tune, it’s so faint as to be irrelevant. You can’t just wave that away as “the Internet is lousy for that kind of learning”, because I’m not talking about some fringe of the ‘net that you can wag your finger at along with me. I’m talking about feminism as represented by several women I’ve interacted with quite a bit, respect a lot, and in some cases have the pleasure of calling friends. I’m talking about feminists like Joanna, Julie G., Lynn (Beisner), Alyssa, and yes, even you, Heather. I know from such examples that I can find some common ground on issues and even have affection for people whose ideology differs from my own, but I also know enough about Rape Culture, Patriarchy theory, Privilege, and some other core concepts from y’all – and positions you’ve taken on related articles even if you didn’t write them yourselves – that if you’re saying I would agree if only I understood better, then the only way that could be true is if y’all have it bass ackwards. I don’t think you do.

      • No, I most certainly know you are intellectual enough to understand and decide for yourself. I just don’t understand WHY you see it differently. My ideology does indeed differ from yours and I can honestly say I don’t understand you or understand why you believe why you believe. Which is not the same thing as saying I don’t understand the goals, texts, and dynamics of what you believe only that I don’t understand why you believe them.

        Which is a level of cognitive dissonance I find extremely uncomfortable thus, my desire to blame your beliefs on “not understanding” what I believe instead of rejecting what I believe. I find it very hard to communicate with you because of that dynamic.

        Which may be part of the bigger issue on a bigger scale. Not you, the general cognitive dissonance.

        I do think that the idea of privilege is vastly misunderstood though. It most certainly isn’t about individual people having more individual power. And I do think that gender dynamics are real and that things like a culture of violence, a culture that commodifies sex and casts one as a seller (women) and one as a buyer (men) causes all kinds of deep problems in terms of equity and respect.

        Anyway. I hope that clarifies things.

        • My ideology does indeed differ from yours and I can honestly say I don’t understand you or understand why you believe why you believe.
          I think one difference is going to be what you come up with when assessing the current state of things and what you come up with when you think about how to achieve those goals, how to formulate those texts, and how to forumlate those dynamics.

          Which is a level of cognitive dissonance I find extremely uncomfortable thus, my desire to blame your beliefs on “not understanding” what I believe instead of rejecting what I believe. I find it very hard to communicate with you because of that dynamic.
          Correct me if you need to but this plus the paragraph above seems to translate into the following.

          “We have assessed the current stats of things and have come to different conclusions as to how things have come to be as they are. We may agree on the same ultimate goals but, at least partly related to our differing assessments, our ideological approaches to achieving those goals differ. When we disagree on an issues (which can probably be traced back to our original assessments) we are left not understanding where the other side is coming from.”

          I do think that the idea of privilege is vastly misunderstood though. It most certainly isn’t about individual people having more individual power.
          I wonder if this has to do with people having different interpretations of what is individual and what is institutional. One thing I’ve seen when getting into disagreements over this is the idea that the advantages that women have over men have no institutional support (as in support from ruling bodies, laws, cultural customs, etc….). I myself disagree with this very much and from what I can tell the criteria for what is individual or institutional seems to change depending on which side someone wants to be designated as the privileged one.

          • Danny, for me it’s more-I know enough about Marcus personally (from working at GMP with him, to talking to him in chat and on G+) to know that our basic political and cultural leanings are pretty similar. We agree on say 90% of things like race, sexual orientation, liberal type positions. So it is often confusing to me as to why that one other section is not similar between us.

            If we agreed on feminism and sexual orientation and he displayed beliefs about race that were oppositional to mine, I’d also have a hard time. Or sexual orientation, if he was a feminist pro-equality of races but hated the idea of gay marriage… I wouldn’t know how to discuss with him.

            When I meet someone online or off and it’s clear that our politic and world view are diametrically opposed, I don’t feel that cognitive dissonance. I expect that on most things, we’ll have differing world views. I don’t experience that discomfort.

            That’s all I’m gonna say today because I can already feel this one going wrong, at least for me personally. I don’t have the emotional bandwidth today to discuss.

            • We agree on say 90% of things like race, sexual orientation, liberal type positions. So it is often confusing to me as to why that one other section is not similar between us.
              I bet that other 10% comes down to a difference of perspective, experience, and other unique things. Even for as much as you and Marcus agree at the very least you’re a woman and he’s a man. That alone could account for the difference.

              When I meet someone online or off and it’s clear that our politic and world view are diametrically opposed, I don’t feel that cognitive dissonance. I expect that on most things, we’ll have differing world views. I don’t experience that discomfort.
              I wonder if its something like a sense of betrayal. Not quite betrayal but that’s the best word I could think of for, “Wow we are so much alike! We agree on this issue and that issue and are able to talk to each other. But….I can’t believe you would have such a viwe point on this topic when we see eye to eye on so many other similar topics.”

              Maybe it would be better to say instead its a matter of having so much in common (the 90%) you pretty much assumed that they would have the other 10% in common as well but when they don’t you have a bit of a shock. A shock that leaves you wonder how they can see eye to eye with you on so many other things that you just don’t see how they could have split off from you on some other topic.

              I think you can see this play out in the label game. Using someone’s label as an excuse to presume the worst about them or declare them wrong or otherwise premeturely cut off contact. You know at the slightest disagreement you just haul off and say things like, “I should have known they would say that. Just like _____.” or “This is why I don’t talk to _____.” (Sound familiar?)

              As soon as you find that 10% that becomes the only thing that matters regardless of how much of that other 90% you learn you have in common. Nope that 10% means they are not worth talking to. (Thankfully you don’t do that.)

            • That 10 percent is incredibly personal to me. So yeah, it’s hard.

        • Which may be part of the bigger issue on a bigger scale. Not you, the general cognitive dissonance.

          Yes. I probably mean “yes” about cognitive dissonance in a different way than you meant it, but I think it plays a big part here. It so happens that a lot of the explanations I find wrong in Rape Culture are better explained by a combination of cognitive dissonance and group dynamics. (The former is a well-established and studied phenomenon in psychology, but I’m using “group dynamics” more loosely since I don’t have a better term, but I’m mainly talking about how in-group loyalties work, from small ones like families to big ones like athletic programs or even countries.)

          For example, a recurring theme about Rape Culture is that when communities or employers or whoever rally around accused (sometimes even convicted) rapists, that’s Rape Culture. It’s presented as evidence that these people condone and facilitate rape. Sure enough, that’s exactly what it looks like to outsiders who have no connection to the accused, and are fully convinced that what happened was rape. Imagine yourself on the other side, though, if you can. Instead of some athlete punks you don’t care about, imagine your son (or your husband) is accused of rape, completely out of the blue as far as you’re concerned. You know him, right? You raised or married him, right? Surely there must be more this story, you think, because the man you know isn’t capable of that. These are the stirrings of cognitive dissonance, and they’re powerful. You hear him out, and let’s say you either believe in his complete innocence, or there are enough mitigating circumstances that it’s much easier to believe what you powerfully want to believe – that he’s not a rapist – than to just turn on him and take the accuser’s side. Maybe you become persuaded that something improper happened, but what someone is calling “rape” doesn’t fit your definition. What if your son says he punched a pillow in frustration at not getting sex, but with no threats or acts of violence, his girlfriend offered sex, and now she’s saying it was rape because she felt physically intimidated by the pillow punch and thought pretending to want sex was her safest option. So, from his point of view, she consented. Such are the gray areas that Rape Culture has argued at times aren’t gray, so that’s rape, and if rape is rape (“Rape culture is the insistence on trying to distinguish between different kinds of rape via the use of terms like ‘gray rape’ or ‘date rape.’ ” – Rape Culture 101), your son could go to prison for that. Do you think your instinct would be to defend him and still think of him as a good man? I think it would be for most parents, and that’s from the combination of cognitive dissonance and protecting our in-groups, NOT because you would be condoning and facilitating rape. Rape Culture doesn’t give a damn about your definitions or loyalties, though, and once Rape Culture has spoken, you’re part of it. You can deny it, but that will only be further proof of how Rape Culture-y you are.

          Please notice, that my alternative analysis does not condone rape, tacitly or otherwise. What it does say is that how people act and think about rape is affected by cognitive dissonance and possible biases due to relationships. That won’t look or feel the same in every case. That contrasts sharply with Rape Culture, which tends to identify the motives and rationale of rapists – which every Rape Culture theorist gets to define as they please – as though all rapes and rapists are the same, and any time someone argues a definition of rape or defends someone who has been accused, the only possible reason (to ease the dissonant feeling that “Rape Culture” might be flawed) is they don’t find rape a disgusting act of violence. It’s the kind of conclusion that’s compelled by powerful rhetoric, not sound logic, sort of like how the only kind of person who could be against “The Patriot Act” is a terrorist sympathizer who doesn’t love their country, right?

          I do think that the idea of privilege is vastly misunderstood though.

          Perhaps, but I submit that if it’s vastly misunderstood by it’s critics, it’s because those throwing it around (online) vastly misunderstand it, too. Anytime I see phrases like, “Check your privilege,” “unpack your privilege”, “steeped in privilege”, “blinded by privilege”, I regard these as thought-stoppers, largely detached from any formal meaning they might have in academia. It’s also a pretty impressive appropriation of the word, because outside of feminism, “privilege” is usually considered positive and fortunate, not an impediment to treating fellow human beings with dignity and empathy. In fact, feminism sort of reverses the common meaning of “privilege” which typically describes things you can earn as opposed to being entitled to, like a teenager earning “privilege” of borrowing the car to go out by keeping up with schoolwork and staying out of trouble, or a doctor having “privileges” at to work at a hospital. In everyday parlance, privileges are distinguished from rights in that one is expected to earn them, and they can be revoked. Words often accrue specialized meanings in the context of a theory, but given what “privilege” means in feminism, the meaning is instantly confusing and contradictory to anyone who isn’t already…steeped in feminism.

          Anticipating one kind of response to that (because I’ve seen it before), I’ll preemptively disagree with anyone who tries to tell me that feminism doesn’t see privilege as a bad thing, just a thing that people should try to be aware of and realize they don’t deserve, etc. Bull. It’s defined as coming with benefits to those who have it, but almost every instance of talking about privilege is talking about it as a bad thing, or more to the point, how the people who have it are oppressors. “Privilege” may have a neutral theoretical meaning, but as bandied about in gender discussions, it’s a pejorative. It’s the body odor of feminism – you’re supposed to be ashamed or sheepish about any you happen to have, and apologetic for the nuisance it causes others.

          • In your example about my son above, if it played out that way? I’d be really ashamed that my husband and I didn’t teach him differently about delaying gratification and getting clearer communication with his partners. I’d feel horror at the idea of prison of course, but if you’ve read any of my work it’s because I don’t believe prisons rehabilitate and instead are basically torture chambers for profit.

            Also, I never ever have stated that I’d broad brush all criminals as total monsters. I think you are selling me quite short on the topic of cognitive dissonance. Of course people feel it about their families and communities. It’s an intensely painful process to accept that someone you love has done something horrible. Denial is a powerful force.

            I’m more angry at how the media portrays that dissonance anyway.

            “It’s the body odor of feminism – you’re supposed to be ashamed or sheepish about any you happen to have, and apologetic for the nuisance it causes others.”

            It should be claimed then that it’s the body oder of all social justice. Except you are incorrect. I’m not ashamed of being white. Or of being able bodied. Or of appearing straight. I don’t hair-shirt myself nor do I apologize for who I am, or act sheepish. I’m just aware that my luck has granted me things others don’t get and so I do my part to work towards a more equitable and kind world.

            That’s really all it is or that it should be. The reason it gets more dramatic is because people are people, Marcus.

            • Julie, my pillow-punching hypothetical was based on a GMP comment thread where that very example came up and it was suggested that it rose to the level of coercion and therefore rape, despite consent being given to a man who showed no sign of forcing a sexual act if he didn’t think he had consent. I picked that example because I find it such an absurd extreme to where “Rape Culture” theory can lead, treating behavior as rape that isn’t anything close to rape. So, if you would feel ashamed if your son was such a pillow-punching rapist, wishing only that prison could rehabilitate him instead of punish him, then I conclude you either agree that example constitutes rape — which would make it hard to make me take you seriously about rape since it sets the bar so low for what qualifies — or you don’t think it does, and for some reason answered as if I posed a hypothetical where your son was more unambiguously guilty of rape. Personally, I don’t see how someone who whacks a pillow out of frustration, then has consensual sex with a partner who changed her mind, should cause any parental shame over not having learned to delay gratification or respect a “No”. I agree 100% that it’s an intensely painful process to accept that someone you love has done something horrible, but I disagree that merely punching a pillow in frustration and then having sex with consent that you would have abstained at the slightest hint of non-consent, qualifies as “something horrible”.

      • You may not mean to say that “[critics of feminism] are wrong because they disagree”, but I think that’s what you (feminists) end up saying anyway, because if you think the only possible reaction to understanding feminist theory is to agree with it, then disagreement is literally evidence of being wrong.
        I can agree with this. Even if they don’t mean to it seems that “you don’t agree because you don’t understand therefore you are wrong because you don’t understand” has become a reactionary catch all to disagreement.

        …and it wouldn’t salvage my view of Internet feminism….
        While I know it can make some difference I’m not so inclinded to believe that there is some dividing line between offline feminists and online feminists where if there is miscommunication or disagreement or hard line ideology it can always be chalked up to the difference between online/offline. The way they act online and the way they act offline are related in some way. (Let’s take Heather’s radfem nutters for example. I’m sure we can agree that they don’t act that way online but then act differently off line do they?)

        You can’t just wave that away as “the Internet is lousy for that kind of learning”, because I’m not talking about some fringe of the ‘net that you can wag your finger at along with me. I’m talking about feminism as represented by several women I’ve interacted with quite a bit, respect a lot, and in some cases have the pleasure of calling friends.
        Agreed.

        • While I know it can make some difference I’m not so inclinded to believe that there is some dividing line between offline feminists and online feminists where if there is miscommunication or disagreement or hard line ideology it can always be chalked up to the difference between online/offline.

          I’m not really convinced there’s a divide, so much as allowing for the possibility. There’s some irony to me saying that the more I’ve learned about feminist theory online, the less I’ve believed it, because prior to maybe a couple years ago, I considered myself either a feminist, or supportive of the cause, since to me, it was just a word that described equal rights and the kind of activism that led to women’s suffrage, abortion rights, and so on. I hadn’t been an activist or women’s studies major or anything, but my liberal upbringing and education made me supportive of such things. I was never (and still am not) a “women’s place is in the home” kinda guy. I still support my “old version” of feminism, loosely defined though it was.

          My introduction to the online variant started with “Elevator-gate” and just grew from there, leading not only to extensive discussions that revealed the current state of feminism, but also links to Feminism 101 resources and such. (I barely said a word at first – just read and pondered a lot.) What I came to realize was that whatever I thought feminism was, the people calling themselves feminists online meant something else by it, and this new version was loaded with dogma I didn’t accept and a whole lot of contempt for anyone who expressed that out loud. By “contempt”, I don’t just mean, “I think you’re very wrong,” I mean stuff like, “You’re a rape apologist, a misogynist, an oppressor, blinded by privilege, objectifier, and creep. An all around bad man.” That’s paraphrasing and grouping some accusations together for convenience, but I’ve seen every one of them, including here at GMP, thought not as often as some other online feminist venues.

          I’ve alluded before to my belief that online feminism (which I again qualify to distinguish it from the vestiges of my old understanding of feminism that I still embrace) is more faith-based rhetoric than rigorous academic theory. I hope to elaborate that in a long article that’s already outlined in my head, but it’s going to be a big one and I don’t think it’ll be a natural fit for GMP, so between that and being a busy dad, it’s one that’s easy to procrastinate on. One of the points in that mental outline, however, is how departure from feminist theory isn’t treated with an academic air like I’d expect of an academic theory being debated and developed. Both criticism of core concepts (e.g., Rape Culture, Patriarchy) or taking an unorthodox view of them are treated as heresy. There’s no literal burning at the stake, but if you don’t agree that the accepted vocabulary is the only valid one to use, you’re not welcome in the conversation, and if you speak the same language but say something like maybe guys can rape without meaning to, or because they misread signals, you get a figurative burning in the form of a take-down. That, to me, is zealotry, not a rational and adaptable approach to identifying and solving either women’s issues, or gender issues in general.

          • Thank you, Marcus, Danny and Julie.

          • I hope to elaborate that in a long article that’s already outlined in my head, but it’s going to be a big one and I don’t think it’ll be a natural fit for GMP, so between that and being a busy dad, it’s one that’s easy to procrastinate on.

            I really hope you follow through on writing that article as I’ve really liked what you’ve had to say on this subject thus far. The point you make comparing the belief in certain types of feminist theory with that of religious faith is a good one, especially considering the very vocal feminist movement thats been coming out of the atheist circles like “free thought blogs”. It amazes me that they dont see the similarities between the 2.

          • To Everyone:

            I am not saying you all would agree with feminism if you understood it better. I’m not saying that critical analysis requires you to agree. I’m not saying that academic feminism is the “right” feminism and you should just ignore internet feminism.

            What I AM saying, is that I have seen MRM articles on MRM sites, and MRA comments on feminist sites which simply do not understand feminists perspectives. I mean, MRA comments on feminist articles probably highlight this most…because a feminist (on the internet) will be saying one thing, and the MRA will completely misunderstand what the feminist is saying. Like, completely.

            And I have had so many conversations with people trying to explain feminist ideas only to have them misunderstood. Just to emphasize, I’m not saying that if they were understood they’d be agreed with. But, okay like…we’ll take toxic masculinity. When a feminist is talking about “toxic masculinity,” she’s not talking about some inherent, inborn male traits…and just about every time I’ve seen a conversation between a feminist and and an MRA, the MRA just does not understand that. Or, the whole idea that feminism is about having men tend to a woman’s every need. Again…I’ve had to explain to so many MRAs that feminism is actually about the opposite…forcing society to recognize women as fully capable, autonomous beings.

            One of the biggest hurdles I’ve had is in explaining how feminism is often all about cultural narratives…and then examining the effects those cultural narratives have on people. So when feminists talk about gender, they are often critiquing the cultural narratives around gender, or how a particularly prominent individual (like a celebrity or whatever) has contributed to those narratives. But the MRAs I’ve interacted with will often mistake that for critiquing individuals’ actions and lives.

            Not every MRA, obviously. But my point, again, isn’t that if they understood what feminists were doing they’d agree. Rather, it’s that if they understood what feminists were doing, their critique would be better. It’s like a feminist says “The sky is green.” And an MRA replies with “Stop hating clouds.” And the feminist is sitting there going…”Wha? I didn’t even mention clouds.” Or something.

            • I´ve read your replies in the other thread and will answer there. From where I stand what you are describing is precisely how I have understood feminism and IMO what you are advocating is a view of masculinity that that sees universal masculine traits that are inherent to most men because they are a product of testosterone as evil/toxic. You are describing competitiveness, stoicism, dominance, strength and aggressiveness as toxic traits. I`m not sure how you define aggressiveness but depending on definition I might view that as negative or I might not. All the others are positive masculine traits that are the product of high testosterone. Those traits describe ME very well. What you are describing is at the core of my personality and has always been. I am competitive, I am stoic, I am stoic, I am quite dominant and I have fair amount of masculine strength. If you ask me to remove those traits that would be like a form of self castration. It would utterly destroy me. And that is also exactly how I felt about how society because of feminist beliefs tried to change me as a man. I felt precisely that those traits where seen as negative and lesser than the feminine traits and that I should replace those traits with feminine style cooperation, understanding, empathy and the female way of relating to emotions etc. I try to do that for years. All it did was make me feel miserable. It made me weak, passive in a negative way, unconfident, too much of a nice guy, and just generally not happy. Removing the shame over those traits and regaining them has been essential for my happiness. Incidentally, women are more attracted to me the more I display them. That also goes for feminist women.

              First testosterone. There are many, many studies that show that testosterone makes you competitive and dominant. That is just a fact. It does. Look at the pictures of the male faces in this link:

              http://www.hookingupsmart.com/2012/10/11/hookinguprealities/for-some-women-promiscuity-is-hard-wired/

              It shows how a face looks different depending on a mans testosterone level. It shows faces from the face of a highly feminine and estrogen dominant man and gradual changes towards the face of a man with an extremely high testosterone level. It should be apparent to everyone that the personality of the men with the most masculine faces will be very different from the personalities of the men with the least masculine faces. How would you expect the two guys at the extremes to act? Anyone, thats besides the point as the correlation between testosterone and a wide range of masculine traits have been proven. The point is that men vary in their degree of masculine behavior and personality traits and that depends primarily on testosterone levels not on what they have been told to aspire to. Societies signals plays a part, diet plays a part, physical activity plays a part, status plays a part but men come with extremely different biological baseline levels.

              I´ve had a lot of personal experience with varying testosterone levels. Biologically I`m probably somewhere around 7/8 on a scale of 1-10. I experienced the face of my life where I was trying to diminish my masculinity as reducing my testosterone. Removing the guilt over masculinity raised it again. Then I started lifting weights and doing martial arts, I cut sugar and ate better and started meditating. All those things raise testosterone a lot. Meditation does so because stress reduces testosterone. My testosterone levels soared. I could see very clearly just what it does to you. It made me much more competitive, it made me way, way more dominant and assertive, it made me stronger mentally in a way that felt very solid and iron or rock like. It made me way more stoic. It made me much more independent. It made me care so much less about what other people thought. It made me feel very little impact if someone was hostile to me. It made me tolerate risk a lot more. It did not make me angry but less angry. However, it did make me more “aggressive” in a non angry dominant way. Basically it made me more toxic according the HeatherNs explanation of the way feminism views masculinity. So the way I see it feminism according to HeatherNs definition, and her views confirm my beliefs of the way feminism sees masculinity, sees me as an evil oppressor for what I see as my nature. All the traits that where amplified by increasing testosterone was already strongly present before I increased it. All those traits are far more present in men with high T and less in men with low T. They are more present in women with him T and less in women with low T. Studies have shown have even short term increases and decreases increase and decrease such traits in both men and women. Men one average have about 15 times higher T than women. That does lead to behavioral differences on a group level. And even if men and women where biologically equal with regard to T at birth feminism still sees the effects of the hormone T as toxic.

            • Okey pokey dokey. The thing is, most feminists would say that the traits you say are inherent in men due to hormones, aren’t actually inherent in men. Dominance, competitiveness, etc…those aren’t innate in men, not as a group. Of course, individuals might be innately violent…some people are more competitive than others…of course. Sometimes that’s innate. But it’s individuals, not genders-specific. We just do not recognize it when women are competitive or dominating. The movie Mean Girls, for example, is a perfect example of the way society has created spaces for women to be competitive, violent, and dominating, without actually recognizing it as such.

              Which is part of the problem with a lot of studies about testosterone. We know males have high testosterone, and then we have a culture which assumes men are more violent/aggressive…and then we happen to find that testosterone makes men violent & aggressive! Go figure! It’s almost as if we set ourselves up to confirm our previously held beliefs! The thing is, in those studies, the definition of violence and aggression is already gendered…it’s already started out by defining “violent” and “aggression” in masculine terms. And this is something scientists are starting to recognize. An evolutionary anthropologist friend of mine is studying this very problem.

              Also, men’s and women’s hormone levels are closer than you might think. Again, the key is individual variation, as opposed to variation between genders. Women have a range and men have a range, and there’s actually a bit of overlap. So, frankly, even if testosterone can account for toxic behaviour…that’d be true of toxic behaviour in women as well as in men. Testosterone is not the “male hormone.” And estrogen and progesterone are not the “female hormones.” We’ve all got them all. Generally at different levels, yes…but again, there’s more overlap than you might think.

            • “those aren’t innate in men, not as a group”

              But I that is not what I am saying and the link with the testosterone varied faces was about that point precisely. And my argument does not rely on that at all. Feminists seem to always run back to the argument that since something can not be said to be true of all men or all women it says nothing about men or women but that is a completely non sensorial argument. As long as there are statistical differences between men and women of a certain size that says a lot about the groups IN GENERAL and FOR THE MOST PART. Furthermore, the key topic here was MASCULINITY and testosterone is solidly proven to be what determines the degree of the masculine qualities We are discussing on both men and women. I made that point already. The form of dominant and competitive behavior we are talking about IS caused by testosterone and that is what is masculine. That is why one talks about masculine women. They display masculine qualities and, not surprisingly, they have high testosterone levels. As I said, even when you raise someones testosterone slightly for a short period of time without them knowing these behaviors go up. If you increase it a lot more over time it goes up a lot more. Those who loose both testicles display exactly the traits of having extremely low testosterone. And we know a lot about them because they have been studied in labs and we have descriptions of eunuchs from history in many places. Indiivduals who have high levels display masculine traits much more than those with less. This is FACT. It is inarguable.

              All fetuses is female to begin with and will be born female if they are not exposed to high doses of testosterone during pregnancy. Testosterone is what creates all able characteristics. It is what causes the increased male strength, beard growth, deep voices AND a variety of personality traits such as competitiveness and dominance. The degree of testosterone determines the levels of all these things. It is basic science. It is elementary. As you have explained the feminist position feminism is hostile to a wide range of those traits that come from testosterone. Men have, ON AVERAGE, much higher testosterone than women. Somewhere around 15 times more. That is a huge difference. That some men have much less and some women have much more does not change the fact that this is the masculine hormone and its effect are what is masculine. Nobody says there are no feminine men or masculine women. Its beside the point. These are masculine traits and they will be found in men to a significantly larger degree than in women. Hence feminism, by your definition is hostile to the effects of the male hormone (there would`t even be penises in existence without it) and to the majority of men as they will display a lot of the traits it is responsible for producing and to some women who will do so ass well.

              That women also compete in other ways is besides the point. I could have made sure to define it as outward open direct competition or something like that but did not think it necessary. Women compete intensely with each other indirectly while they are cooperating at the surface. But it is a different form of competition and I have read some studies that found connections between various forms of feminine competitive strategies to estrogens.

              Regardless of these things the fact remains that I am competitive, stoic, dominant and display a variety of other masculine qualities that are related. These qualities feminism according to you define as toxic and need to be eradicated. How do you expect that makes me feel? How do you expect that makes other men who also have such personalities feel when they hear that? What do you expect me to do? I would have to do and extreme personality change that I feel is totally in opposition to my nature and would destroy me as a person. I actually tried for some years to move in that direction and it was very negative for me.That was actually what led to suppression of emotion for me not being my masculine self.

              Currently, the rest of society sort of lets feminists just keep on going with their thing and implements the policies they ask for. But the MRA debate and the masculinity/femininity debate will become a wide public debate in MSM in some years. IMO it is certain that most people will not take well to the feminist argument as you present it. Most people neither, fundamentally, share your negativity towards the masculine qualities nor are willing to buy the blank slate argument in light of the science that is there. I think gender feminism is basically doomed to loose a reopening of a wide public debate on these issues. The way I see it feminism, if it is to survive in some form, must take in a fair view of biological gender differences and has to stop vilifying masculine traits that will never go away. Otherwise you will just be marginalized. Then other aspects of feminism that I have more sympathy for will get marginalized with it. There are very few women that actually define themselves as feminists. And if they where confronted with a debate such as this it would be far less. So the way I see it some changes just has to made.

            • Mr Supertypo says:

              Just a short fast reply: why is competitiveness seen as a negative trait? bein comptitive should be a positive trait since it “force” you to perform better, to adapt, to improvise etc. I dont understand why it is seen as a “bad” trait. Look at sport, they are all competitive, look at chess look at various games. IMO being competitive is one of the best traits. Granted not only for males, but for everyone, regardless of race, gender, age etc. Its over all positive (IMO).

            • One of the biggest hurdles I’ve had is in explaining how feminism is often all about cultural narratives…and then examining the effects those cultural narratives have on people.

              This is the part that belies the other part about not saying that “y’all” (MRA’s, non-feminists, whoever) would agree if they understood better, because the explanations on which you rely pre-suppose that common belief. For comparison, consider a Christian who says, “I’m not saying you would agree with Christianity if you just understood it better,” and subsequently says of the biggest hurdles in explaining their faith to non-believers is explaining how grace and salvation work. You have to have the belief for those explanations to make sense.

              It’s like a feminist says “The sky is green.”

              I think it’s more like a non-feminist says, “They sky is blue.”

              Then, a feminist says, “Sure, it can look blue, but color is a cultural construct. The sky performs blue, but also many other colors. Is the rainbow palette of a sunrise or sunset not also a valid color?”

              Non-feminist: “Yes, all those colors are fine, too. But most of the time, under normal daylight conditions in fair weather, the sky is blue. It looks blue even without an explanation, but the explanations are fascinating, ranging from atmospheric science, to physics and optics, and sensory and perception, all adding up to the sky being mostly blue during daylight hours.”

              Feminist: “That’s a blue-normative way of seeing it. Culture says because the sky is mostly blue, it should be blue, but those other colors are just as pretty and no less sky-ful. Even if you only see a particular color, the sky is innately any and all colors at any given time, so what you choose to see is a product of your cultural conditioning.”

              Non-feminist: “Hmm. I suppose the assignment of different color words to different visible wavelengths on the electromagnetic spectrum is arbitrary, so the word ‘blue’ doesn’t inherently mean or look like anything, but given the real-ness of what we normally perceive as ‘blue’, it’s not like it’s something we imagine because of how we were raised. There’s this electromagnetic spectrum, our eyes have evolved to see parts of it differently, and that part we see and refer to as ‘blue’ corresponds to a consistent, identifiable thing in nature, including the most common color we see in the sky. It doesn’t mean the sky should be blue or has to be blue, but if you want to bet on what color the sky will be on any random day in the future when the sun is at it’s highest point, blue is your safest bet.”

              Feminist: “You don’t have to agree with me, but what I’m trying to explain is that blue is just a cultural narrative telling you how to see things. Do you know that some animals only have rods and no cones so they see in shades of grey? The fact that you can even talk about blue and how natural it is shows that you’re soaking in retinal privilege.”

              And so on.

            • Hm do you honestly think that feminists don’t believe in science? I don’t think this example works. It’s nice and snarky though.

            • That was, indeed, incredibly snarky…and no, Marcus, what you’re saying doesn’t work. (I mean, what the hell is this nonsense about “the sky performs blue?” The whole point of performativity is that it requires a freaking conscious and subconscious to do so.) Look, feminists don’t deny biology…we do, however, challenge the implicit faith most people have in biology. We challenge the idea that science is completely objective…because science is created by people, and people aren’t ever completely 100% objective.

              And as for presupposing a “common belief” in cultural narratives…well, okay, yes…you got me there. But that’s not feminism; it’s not even a social justice thing. That’s history, archaeology, psychology, sociology, anthropology, philosophy, everything in the humanities…and even biology. The level of influence cultural narratives have on people is debated, sure…but it’s pretty damn widely accepted that they play a role and influence people.

              Plus, whether you agree that most gender norms are actually the result of cultural narratives or if you think they are inherently biological, isn’t the point. Most of the time when talking to MRAs and other non-feminists, I’m not discussing the validity of feminist ideas…I’m just flat out explaining it. When I say, “feminists are talking about cultural narratives, and feminists aren’t equating masculinity with men,” I’m not saying you have to agree. But in order to understand what feminists are saying, you have to understand that, and read what feminists say with that in mind…and then form a counter-argument from there.

              Right, like, you need understand the feminist paradigm before forming an argument against it. And then that argument can either remain within the paradigm, or challenge the paradigm itself. But you can’t just say “feminism are against men, because even though it doesn’t equate masculinity with men, I do.” That doesn’t work. It’s like trying to argue against Freudian psychoanalysis with a Taoist concept of the self.

            • That was, indeed, incredibly snarky

              It was also directly inspired by your imaginary dialogue about “The sky is green” being absurdly responded to with, “Stop hating clouds”, then “Wha? I wasn’t even talking about clouds.” So, if making up funny dialogues about the sky is snark when I do it, what is it when you do it?

              (I mean, what the hell is this nonsense about “the sky performs blue?”

              I know, it sounds totally silly, right?

              The whole point of performativity is that it requires a freaking conscious and subconscious to do so.)

              That hasn’t sounded like the point of “gender is performed” to me, even when explained by you. The position I’ve seen taken isn’t that gender is part biological and part cultural, but that it’s all cultural, and when anyone argues for a biological component, that’s just Patriarchy. Possible biological components like hormones are either dismissed or minimized to the point of irrelevance.

              And as for presupposing a “common belief” in cultural narratives…well, okay, yes…you got me there. But that’s not feminism; it’s not even a social justice thing. That’s history, archaeology, psychology, sociology, anthropology, philosophy, everything in the humanities…and even biology.

              Really? You’re saying that contemporary, non-feminist academics and researchers in all those disciplines describe gender as a performance, having little or nothing to do with biology? I confess I’m not current on academic literature, but I would be surprised to discover the performativity of gender has been so widely adopted.

              Right, like, you need understand the feminist paradigm before forming an argument against it. And then that argument can either remain within the paradigm, or challenge the paradigm itself.

              Is that kind of like you have to be a Christian to argue whether it’s possible to walk on water or rise from the dead? And then if you do, the choices are to either come to believe it (remain within the paradigm) or get Christianity to change (challenge the paradigm). That’s the thing about faith-based arguments — insisting that understanding can only be demonstrated by conforming to the paradigm is to declare that paradigm correct before any debate has even begun. I’m guessing you don’t believe in astrology or the power of mystic crystals. (If I’m wrong, just pick some belief that you consider woo.) Do you have to have academic expertise in such things, on a par with their most ardent believers and practitioners, to form arguments against them? Can you use horoscopes to argue against horoscopes, in hopes that astrology might evolve into a more enlightened, reality-based kind of astrology?

              It’s like trying to argue against Freudian psychoanalysis with a Taoist concept of the self.

              I think Freudian psychoanalysis is non-scientific. So is Taoism, but assuming one wants to make the argument that concepts like the id, ego, superego, Oedipal Complex, and penis envy are not based in science, I think the sensible place to make that argument is *outside* the Freudian paradigm. You can’t very well decide to challenge the paradigm from within by saying you’re a Freudian but you think all that other stuff is bunk. That much disbelief positions you outside the paradigm, so it’s back to that point about saying you don’t mean that to understand is to agree, while coincidentally saying that all the counterarguments you’ve seen appear to be rooted in not understanding.

            • That’s too broad a question to answer with a simple “yes” or “no”. I do think that some feminists think that a long list of rhetorical observations confirming what they believe to be evidence of “Rape Culture” demonstrates something scientific, when I don’t think it does. For example, calling a pizza ad campaign Rape Culture with no evidence whatsoever of a link between that campaign and beliefs or behavior — not science.

            • Kari Palazzari says:

              Ok Marcus, that made me laugh out loud, several times. :-)

              And, so much for civil discourse. It’s sorta sad we couldn’t get through one GMP thread about feminism without it going awry. We almost had it…

            • I’m glad it made you laugh :D, but sorry you saw it as the end of civil discourse. :( I’m not sure what was un-civil about it, since Heather used humor in a little made-up dialogue to make a point, and then I did the same thing. I didn’t think either example sank to a level of personal insults or rudeness.

            • Mr Supertypo says:

              Heather, I was thinking, isnt it possible that the feminist bad behavior expressed by Eric and others, are due to the nature of politics? The politicization of feminism has slowly pushed it into other dynamics, like taking sides regardless of the results, similar to democrats vs republicans. Generally speaking the common person believe that feminism represent women. Rather than gender equality. And this misconception (If I can use this term) has also infected the echelons of political feminism (feminists in the government, congress etc) and it explains the why of their “abnormal” behavior, like making laws for supporting women, refusing to allow founds to men’s shelter etc…

            • Mr Supertypo says:

              I have a message in moderation….

            • Mr. Supertypo: Messages get put into moderation automatically for a wide variety of reasons. It doesn’t mean anyone thinks your comment is a problem. It might just have a word in it that automatically puts it in moderation. There are very few moderators, so sometimes it takes awhile for something to get put out of moderation. A little patience goes a long way.

            • Mr Supertypo says:

              Hi Heather thank you for the reply. I didnt complain about the moderation, I just pointed out that I have a message in mod. Thats all :-)

            • Not every MRA, obviously. But my point, again, isn’t that if they understood what feminists were doing they’d agree. Rather, it’s that if they understood what feminists were doing, their critique would be better. It’s like a feminist says “The sky is green.” And an MRA replies with “Stop hating clouds.” And the feminist is sitting there going…”Wha? I didn’t even mention clouds.” Or something.
              From my own perspective its something like this.

              Feminist: The sky is blue because….
              MRA: Yes the sky is blue and most of you say does apply but there are some parts….
              Feminist: You skysogynist!!!
              MRA:???

              And this isn’t (always) a matter of feminists being misunderstood but a matter of going with what feminists themselves are saying.

              Now if you want to say those feminists themselves are misunderstanding their ideology then sure.

            • Also with the snark, Danny. Come on.

              And your example there is of “callout culture,” which many internet feminists have written on. http://ozyfrantz.com/2012/12/31/some-propositions-concerning-callout-culture-part-three/

              And for pete’s sake, of course some feminists misunderstand feminist ideas. Not everyone who is part of an ideology necessarily understands every bit of it. But, again, most of the time what I see is a feminist writing in such a way that s/he assumes the reader will understand what s/he means when s/he uses certain terms, or even when s/he talks about “men” as a group. And so someone comes in and is unfamiliar with those terms and ideas and then assumes that the feminist is saying something s/he isn’t.

            • So we are supposed to seriously consider your experiences with MRAs but our experiences with feminists are just snark?

              That experience bit there was how even when starting off agreeing and trying to find some common ground the moment we come across something we disagree with we are presumed in worst faith.

              And for pete’s sake, of course some feminists misunderstand feminist ideas. Not everyone who is part of an ideology necessarily understands every bit of it. But, again, most of the time what I see is a feminist writing in such a way that s/he assumes the reader will understand what s/he means when s/he uses certain terms, or even when s/he talks about “men” as a group. And so someone comes in and is unfamiliar with those terms and ideas and then assumes that the feminist is saying something s/he isn’t.
              Yes that does happen sometimes. But what I’m talking about is that in regards to when feminists are telling us their ideology instead of it being a case of them not understanding what their ideology its nearly always put on us by telling us we don’t understand where said feminists are coming from.

              I know you dont mean to Heather but it seems like when it comes miscommunication between MRA and feminist the answer is always going to be that the MRA isn’t understanding the feminist and even if the feminist doesn’t understand what they are talking about then the MRA should know and account for it.

  17. Thank you, Erik and Jacob.

  18. It has become very apparent that feminists do not understand how masculine men process emotion or what their emotional lives are like. They share this with current western society and I believe feminism is the cause of that lacking understanding. People from the third world that I speak to seem to understand this far better.

    Masculine stoicism has two parts. One is where you feel so secure and strong and solid that you actually don`t have any negative feeling towards something that many others feel wounded by such as an insult. It is like you have an armor that just makes it peel of. The second part is where you actually do feel something more emotional like hurt, sad, happy, afraid, jealous etc. and you process that in a “stoic” way.

    In order to explain the masculine stoicism in terms of processing emotion I`m going to use meditation, which I have a fair amount of experience with, as an example. There is considered to be two broad styles of meditation, masculine and feminine. Both can be used by men and women successfully and to their benefit. In the masculine style you try to feel whatever it is you are feeling and be 100% OPEN to it and just let it be in that sense that all you are doing is being present with it. When you sit down and do this what happens is that emotions get felt far stronger and fuller than normal. They are allowed to play themselves out freely. When you do this you find that there is a part of you that experiences all this that is not touched by it. There is a sort of observer that experiences everything but is not moved because everything just flows THROUGH it. It is so open nothing can hurt it. This is EQUANIMITY in Buddhism and it is the internal deep form of masculine stoicism. The feminine form of meditation is to let oneself by moved 100% by what one feels and letting go into that. Sufi swirling and other dance meditations and spontaneous movement meditation styles are examples of this. When you let yourself go and surrender enough to be moved completely by energy/feeling what happens is within this storm the same passive immovable observer quality that arises in the masculine style of meditation arises. You get equanimity by going in the completely opposite direction. So in the masculine style you get full capacity for feeling by opening to feeling with equanimity without surrendering to the flow of emotion while the feminine style you get full capacity for emotion and equanimity by letting it flow over you and embodying the emotion/energy fully. So in the masculine style you have free flow of emotion internally but no outward expression as you don`t go into the flow of emotion but let it flow through you. In the feminine style you get outward expression because you in fact express so much that you express fully. The feminine style gives you a still eye within the storm by becoming the storm fully while the masculine style gives you a still eye within the storm by becoming the eye first and letting the storm flow without catching you.

    I`ve done several versions of both these styles. What is key is that the masculine style DOES NOT surpress emotion even though it has no external expression of emotion. The emotions flow freely WITHIN.

    What people think men do is shut emotion down by blocking it so it does not flow. This creates what is called body armoring which means emotions gets stuck like a sort of trauma and lies there making you slightly more neurotic until it is felt through. This is what happens when therapies that take you back in time to traumas are successful. It is also what happens when you meditate because the relaxation and openness allows what you have locked down before to be felt through.

    Both men and women use this form of shutting down of emotions. However, and this is key. It is not the masculine default way of dealing with emotion. What men do most of the time is that they feel FREELY internally but without much external expression. Masculine people naturally have more of the passive, internally open observer which allows them to feel fully internally without it flowing over so much that they become “caught” or overcome by the emotion. There is ZERO suppression in the default masculine processing even when there is little outward expression.

    When a man fears what he is feeling too much he will shut down in the negative way but this is mostly now what happens. What happens most of the time is that we feel negative things but just keep doing stuff anyway. We let it be there but keep going. This is healthy for a masculine person.

    This is exactly what happens to me when I spar in Thai boxing. I feel scared, I can feel humiliation and loads of negative emotions and I feel intense physical pain but all of that just flows. I don`t have to close myself down to harden myself to handle it. I challenge myself to ENDURE the negative feelings and then they FLOW. This is the normal when men do things motivated by challenge in a non neurotic way. THe challenge provides a boost that gives power to endure but as I said the endurance is about feeling and doing it anyway. It is only when we try that which overwhelms us and which we can not handle that we have to cramp up and suppress in order to handle it. This is a short term survival mechanism and can be ok for a short time but is very bad as a life strategy.

    A feminine person has much less ability to feel without external expression. Emotions sort of run over them and they sort of become their emotions. They naturally embody their emotions, they are compelled to do so. When a feminine person feels something strongly they usually HAVE to embody their emotions in order not to suppress because they can`t feel internally without being overwhelmed and so when they see someone who they think should feel something or they know feel something that is not expressing and embodying they think that that person must be surprising because that is what they themselves do whenever they feel strongly and don`t express and embody. They are projecting and they are wrong.

    So what feminine people do is they try to encourage masculine people to embody and express in the same way they have to because they think it will make masculine people process their emotions properly. But the masculine people are fine without it. It is only sometimes that a masculine persons capacity for internal processing becomes so overwhelmed that they NEED embodiment and external expression in order not to suppress. When they are overwhelmed like this they do need to express and embody but this is the exception not the norm.

    So, the effect of feminine people not understanding the masculine processing is that they try to feminize them by making them process emotions in a feminine way all the time. I `m a masculine person that tried to do that FOR YERS. Because of what I was repeatedly told by society, some men and most girls it seems like talking about my feelings and doing it in the same way more or less as women did was important for emotional health. So I tried and tried and tried. It almost never gave me anything. I felt very little relief from it and rarely growth. Mostly it just made me feel sort of passive and foggy. Sometimes, on rare occasions when I was really overwhelmed by emotions it did help a lot and was clearly the right thing to do. But mostly it was just counterproductive so I cut it down by about 95%. The type of frequent venting that women tend to do give me absolutely nothing. I talk about what I feel as well quite a lot actually but more in terms of it being interesting not in terms of venting. Women I know on the other hand seem to have an endless need to vent that is just not there for me. I`d rather do Muay Thai or meditate or figure out a plan and implement it. The key for men in order to allow emotions to flow is STILNESS. That is what they get in meditation, what they get when they are alone, what they get when they go out in nature, what they get when they hunt and what they get when they are silent with a friend that understands. It is the calmness that is the base of letting things flow for a masculine person.

    I can`t say if this is true or not but I have read that the masculine need for stillness comes from the fact that stress reduces testosterone a lot and it is testosterone that puts a back into balance and also reduces is stress and anxiousness. For a feminine person it is oxytocin that does this. So a feminine person needs other people in order to get an oxytocin boost or they need to cry and feel strongly which is supposed to also do this.

    It is important to note that a lot of the time a person with high T does not feel where others feel because the confidence and roughness that comes with the high T provides a sort of armor that makes you really not care if some idiot thinks badly of you. It just peels of. That is not suppression either. It is only when a man does not have this armor or it did not peel the negative thing of AND it is not felt freely internally that suppression happens.

    So, there you have it. Stoicism is NOT toxic masculinity. It is THE CORE masculine quality. It is the ESSENCE of masculinity. The fact that feminism defines masculine stoicism as toxic and clearly have no idea how masculine men function confirms for me even more that it is neither correct in how it views things in general and certainly is unable to be a custodian of the interests of men.

  19. Kari Palazzari says:

    Sorry, Marcus, I should have put the second part down here in a separate comment because I didn’t mean your comment was the end of civil discourse, I meant the whole thread has gone a bit awry. Maybe it hasn’t quite reached the level of personal attacks and rudeness (yet) but the tone has definitely shifted. I really respect all of the folks who are carrying on this conversation and usually find all of you to post well thought out, on point, respectful and interesting comments. But my sense here is that you are starting to talk past each other and repeat yourselves and it just doesn’t feel like the conversation is moving forward anymore. Maybe I’m just being too sensitive, but I think the original tenor of the thread dropped off about 100 comments ago.

    • I think its a lot to ask of a thread as potentially combustive as this one to hold the high ground for too much longer. Thanks to all for participating. We might want to take a time out… Go have a cocktail. Park this one for a while, yes? Just a suggestion.

  20. Doug Spoonwood says:

    HeatherN,

    You asked:

    ” I am a feminist (surprising no one here), but I am curious what MRM “ideas and philosophies” you love? To be clear, I’m not asking which issues they raise that you find important…that could be a fairly obvious list of: father’s rights, attention to male victims of DV and rape, the great proportion of our prison population that is male, over-diagnosis of boys with behaviour disorders, etc. I’m curious which MRM philosophies you find work better than feminist philosophies?”

    From what I can tell, most people in the MHRM would agree that the primary MHRM philosophy that works well comes as to have no ideological commitments or to have as few ideological commitments as possible. Most forms of feminism, exceptions may include equity feminism or suffragette feminism, have some sort of ideological commitment… especially that of patriarchy theory. People in the MHRM do NOT want such ideological commitments and from what I can tell generally would have a serious concern were such ever to come to pass. That’s why you more often see them referring to themselves as “Men’s Human Rights Advocates” or some such phrase instead of “masculists”, because -isms and -ists tend to get dogmatic.

    Now that doesn’t mean that you can’t find common philosophies between MHRAs in general. However, none of them of them come as binding or necessary in any way. The only necessity comes as a commitment to a focus on men’s issues (hence CAFE is not an MHRA group, because they’ve made their agenda temporary instead of a commitment).

    The closest thing that MHRAs have to a grounding critical theory, as I understand that term, like that of patriarchy theory comes as that of male disposability (as someone else pointed out before). However, male disposability is not by any means a binding or primitive theory at all. Male disposability gets justified by basically sociobiological arguments such as “For almost all men, a single man can generate many, many more offspring in a single year than a single woman can. Consequently, in terms of a society’s survival and reproductive value, men come as better suited to performing tasks potentially risky to their health and life. Therefore, men have historically come as more disposable than women… save for childbirth, which fortunately isn’t so much of a problem in modern societies.” In other words, you can basically deduce the basic hypothesis of male disposability from evolutionary considerations. Evolution is not an ideological commitment. Male disposability starts in nature, but ends up influencing culture and the structuring of societies.

    Now if I’ve gotten that analysis of the MHRM correct, since I’ve put evolution at the theoretical forefront of the MHRM, that puts the MHRM in a vulnerable theoretical position. People who have tried to apply evolutionary ideas to societies often have ended up with major problems such as racism, or they make stupid mistakes and try to apply evolutionary ideas to individuals like pick-up artists do (the particular girl you’re interested in will date the alpha male because her psychology is built such that in the evolutionary past… but the reasoning there fails, since evolution applies to populations not individuals). But, I’ve only made one evolutionary argument above, and doesn’t it seem really hard to deny?

    If you want particular philosophies for goals like abolishing involuntary neonatal male genital mutilation, then I think you will find that MHRAs often enough do NOT really care what sort of philosophy you have as to why one of their issues needs corrected, other than that if something harms men or boys and is not necessary, then it comes as wrong. You don’t need a concept of bodily autonomy necessarily to stand against neonatal male genital mutilation (MGM). It harms men and boys and is not necessary for society, and as long you don’t dispute that, then it comes as wrong. Someone else can have the position that MGM violates boys bodily autonomy (and isn’t necessarily painful), and thus MGM comes as wrong. Someone else can have the position that their Deity dislikes MGM, and thus it comes as wrong. Someone else can have the position that Jews practice MGM and such a person comes as Anti-Semitic, and consequently MGM is wrong. As I understand things, MHRAs have no interest in leading people into ideological commitments as to why something comes as wrong. They offer opinions there, and try not to turn such moral positions into facts or knowledge of any sort.

    Hence, they can’t really build upon what you called a “collection of a whole bunch of ideas about gender (some of them even primarily concerned about men)…it’s this whole body of knowledge that’s been critiqued and challenged and changed over decades.” because feminist ideas come as at best sociological hypotheses, and much more often consists of opinion… NOT knowledge. The same goes for many MHRA opinions.

    • Kari Palazzari says:

      Doug,
      Thanks so much for this thoughtful comment. It really helps illuminate a bit of the underlying force of the MRM. The simplicity of an inquiry such as “if something harms men or boys and is not necessary, then it comes as wrong” is really appealing. I bet I would agree with 90% of the practical application of this approach. But the other part about “MHRAs often enough do NOT really care what sort of philosophy you have as to *why* one of their issues needs corrected” makes me really curious. In comments on other threads I’ve drawn a distinction between theory, advocacy, and individuals. It sounds to me like MRM is mostly concerned about the individuals and advocating on their behalf and not concerned about theory. So I wonder – why isn’t theory needed? Is it because the harms that need to be corrected are somewhat isolated problems, by that I mean they are issue-specific as opposed to systemic? Or is it because men (stereotypically) tend to focus more on practical and solution-oriented matters? Or is it because the movement is too young? Or is it a backlash to theory-driven feminism? Or is it something else?

      • Doug Spoonwood says:

        Hi Kari,

        I think you have some interesting questions there. I don’t really know how to answer them at present though. I will say that the issues that need corrected I do not think of as isolated problems, and do seem systemic, at least in some sense. Male-only draft registration comes as a governmental problem. Neonatal, involuntary male circumcision (MGM) can get maintained as violating the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment (and as I understand some law in Canada), since neonatal, involuntary female circumcision (FGM) is illegal (this is NOT a comparison of the pain of such practices when inflicted on babies… I have no need to go there). Even were it the case that FGM were legal, and I’m not advocating that, I’m just making a hypothesis here… MGM almost surely would still come as massive social issue.

  21. cosmopolite says:

    @HeatherN:
    If there is an MRM founding intellectual (just as Betty Friedan and Simone de Beauvoir were the founders of Second Wave Feminism), it is Warren Farrell PhD in the USA. He has written 10-20 books, and loves to give public lectures, which radical feminists have tried to shout down and otherwise interfere with.

    As for masculinity being in trouble, here are 3 canaries in the coal mine of social statistics:
    * 80% of suicides are male;
    * >95% of incarcerated persons are male;
    * the student body in the typical OECD public university is or will soon be 60% women.

    The toughest MRM figures I know are three Canadian women on YouTube: Girl Writes What, Scented Nectar, and Typhon Blue. Erin Pizzey, a 75 year old British woman in a wheelchair, is the Grande Dame of the MRM. In 1971, Pizzey founded the world’s first battered women’s shelter, and then gradually came to have second thoughts about the whole nature of domestic violence. She radically rejects the Duluth Model. MRMs don’t often mention the Duluth Model (look it up in Wikipedia) which, in my view, is a pristine example how self-seeking feminists have distorted public policy with regard to gender issues.

    I will now comment on the mystery that is routine infant circumcision in the USA and Canada. This practice began because our late Victorian and Edwardian ancestors had very patronising and misandrist beliefs about male hygiene and sexual behaviour. 100 years ago, male horniness was seen as the root cause of many social and moral evils, and circumcision was believed to make men less horny. The germ theory of disease made it obvious that men should wash under the foreskin every time they bathe or shower. But 100 years ago, no woman caregiver wanted to direct a son’s attention to that part of his anatomy. That could lead hm to discover masturbation, then deemed very immoral. Thus circumcision was embraced with a sigh of relief. We are now less prudish, but the circumcision persists, because parents fear that an intact son will be humiliated in the bedroom and the locker roomn.

    1. In 1980, Edward Wallerstein published a short book demolishing the credibility of American routine circumcision. He carefully explained how routine circumcision is largely unknown in western societies. If circumcision is healthier, than a cursory examination of STD and urology data across western nations should prove revealing. In fact, the USA has among the very highest STD rates in the OECD. I have been waiting for 30 years for a study to show continental European men suffer from more urological problems than American men. Such a study would suggest that infant circumcision has benefits. As best as I can determine, no such study has ever been carried out. French Canada does not circumcise. Hence it would be useful comparing urology statistics between Quebec and New England. Again, this has never been done. I stopped holding my breath over this decades ago.

    2. The bodily autonomy of women commands a lot of respect, because women have angrily demanded that respect. The bodily autonomy of men gets much less respect, because most men don’t see it as an issue. It is strangely true that in social media, there are more women angry about American RIC than American men. Contemporary women are much quicker to see circumcision as sexual violence.

    3. As for banning ritual circumcision, in life one must pick one’s battles. Movement against Jewish and Islamic ritual circumcision will have to come from within those faith traditions. I would support outlawing circumcision done without anesthesia, and further support requiring that it be done by a urologist. The world Jewish community should push very hard to stop MBP. But otherwise, I do not support banning circumcision. The way forward here is for our culture to evolve so as to perceive of circumcision as being very uncool because sexually damaging. Angry young women are taking us to that destination, I think. All it takes is for more and more women to say in social media “I find men with foreskins more enjoyable in bed.” 5 years of that and RIC will become very unfashionable, and most liberal and secular Jews will follow suit.

    4. It is indeed true that circumcision is grounded in a prudish silence about the male genitalia, one that is ending mainly because more and more women no longer blush when talking about the penis.
    Proper sex education would drive home that casual sex must always be done with a condom. I fear, BTW, that circumcised men are more resistant to condoms, because of their reduced capacity for sensation. Proper sex education would also tell the truth about the sexual virtues of the intact penis (many Jews would ferociously resist this, sadly), and the sexual harm that can result from circumcision. (There is no large sample research bearing this out, only ample anecdotes, because of fear of antagonising the mass of adult American men.)

    5. Circumcision is a feminist issue because behind every baby boy screaming in agony is an anguished mother. It is a feminist issue because RIC is perpetrated by male obgyns, a group of professionals with whom many progressive women have had issues for decades. The foreskin-free penis is part of the social construction of human sexuality, the sort of social construction that second and third wave feminism despise. Feminists rightly denounce breast implants and labiaplasty. Common sense dictates that they should view male circumcision in the same light.

  22. Doug Spoonwood says:

    “But Danny, that’s feminism.

    “We’ve begun to raise our daughters more like our sons…but few have the courage to raise our sons like our daughters.” and “Women are not going to be equal outside the home until men are equal in it” – Both are by Gloria Steinem

    Feminists would just add that being the “internal provider” has long been undervalued when compared to the “external provider.” ”

    Danny didn’t endorse feminism. I won’t speak for him, but I didn’t see him imply it at all also.

    Steinem’s first quote just makes an observation. I won’t address the second quote, because I have no idea what she means by “equal” in that sense, since she seems to imply an unrealistic goal of trying for equality of outcome.

    A feminist will interpret people raising their daughters more like their sons, but not their sons more like their daughters, as evidence of societal misogyny with respect to the female role. But, individual girls do NOT have less potential from such a situation, they have more potential and more liberty. The interpretation that such a situation qualifies as misogyny thus comes as forced and only applies, at best, to the abstract female role.

    An MHRA will interpret people raising their daughters more like their sons as *potentially* _liberating_ for their daughters (though if the daughters get forced to wear pants when they want to wear a dress, that’s another story). The lack of courage with respect to raising sons more like their daughters comes as confining for those sons. Consequently, an MHRA will say that since the individuals involved here who qualify as confined come as male, that such a situation reflects misandry. The interpretation of misandry here is NOT forced, since a greater amount of confinement of someone generally reflects a devaluing of their person-hood. And it is males who end up confined in this respect, so it is males who end up getting devalued.

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