Men Aren’t Obsolete…

 man alone statue

…but MaleSurvivor Executive Director Christopher M. Anderson thinks that reflexive and stigmatizing rhetoric that degrades people should be.

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I don’t know if Hanna Rosin hates men. In fact, I know almost nothing about her.

Perhaps Hanna Rosin is a lovely person, and were we to meet in a coffee shop and strike up a conversation at random I might find her witty, charming, and endlessly fascinating. There’s a lot about Hanna Rosin and her opinions that I don’t know, so I’m not going to make any sweeping statements about her, or use her as a measure of the character of all women.

But there is one thing I do know. Her willingness to elevate crack smoking Toronto Mayor Rob Ford to be the paragon of modern masculinity angers me so much that I almost want to pick up the pipe.

Actually that’s not true. It’s not Hanna Rosin that would make me more likely to smoke crack. Nor is it the fact that I’m a man. But there is something that does actually make me far more likely to become addicted to crack, heroin, or other form of serious drug. I am a survivor of significant childhood trauma and abuse. And I’m far from alone.

Over 60% of both men AND women have experienced at least one significant form of trauma and/or abuse. And as adults, while it’s true that more women are victims of domestic and sexual violence, more men are victims of violent crime overall than women (29.1/1000 vs 23.3/1000 according to 2012 DOJ statistics).

Given the sheer scale of the epidemic of violence and abuse that we all endure, it’s mind-boggling to me that people are so stubbornly blind to a rather common sense proposition.

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Men suffer violence and abuse in extremely high numbers at least on par with women. Yet for men, it is infinitely harder to find support than it is for women. Therefore, it is absolutely no surprise whatsoever that men are displaying more and more signs of falling apart.

The ACES study and studies of people who struggle with PTSD (a significant proportion of whom are veterans returning from military service) show clear correlations between traumatic experiences and significantly increased risk for major depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, and a whole host of medical problems including high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease.

No victim of abuse or trauma is more or less deserving of our support. It is never easy for survivors of abuse and trauma to get access to the compassion and support they need to heal. There are many communities in this country where male victims of sex trafficking, domestic violence, and sexual abuse are ignored, turned away, or flat-out disbelieved. On college campuses young men are exhorted to “stop raping” (and not without reason) while few, if any, are told where they can for help if they were the ones who were raped. We need to be teaching all people not to rape, while supporting all victims and survivors.

No, instead it’s far more fashionable to craft cutesy stories about the end of an outdated and obsolete white male patriarchy that is all too easy to ridicule. But where in Hanna Rosin’s world is a man like Mayor Ford going to be allowed to turn to get help? For Ms. Rosin and her allies such a concept is impossible to comprehend. “Men” as she defines them are one-dimensional, obsolete, and we should celebrate their impending extinction.

The more I think about it, the less likely I am to want to share that coffee with Ms. Rosin after all. Granted good old Rob might not be an ideal drinking buddy, but I know that if he were to ask me for help, I’d be willing to listen and give him the support I could in order to help him recover. It’s no guarantee that he’d actually change, but at least it might make it a little bit easier for another person to take that step.

 

Photo: Flickr/zilverbat.

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About Christopher M. Anderson

Christopher M. Anderson is the Executive Director of MaleSurvivor the leading not-for-profit organization committed to preventing, healing, and eliminating all forms of sexual victimization of boys and men through support, treatment, research, education, advocacy, and activism.

You can follow him on twitter via @chander2nyc and email him at canderson (at) malesurvivor (dot) org

You are not alone. It was not your fault. Healing is possible.

Comments

  1. FlyingKal says:

    It’s “funny” how all my life I’ve heard what a trouble and waste of resources on a societal level it is, that girls getting lower education and lower grades in school, because of patriarchy and how the system’s rigged to their disadvantage.

    Nowadays when the boys are falling behind, popular culture and society has nothing but mock and ridicule in store for them.

    • It’s not like Hanna Rosin speaks for all people, or all feminists even. Camille Paglia has been outspoken in her criticisms of the “man bashing” she fears has come out of much of second and thrid wave feminist theory.

      An interesting piece of hers also ran in Time back in December:

      http://ideas.time.com/2013/12/16/its-a-mans-world-and-it-always-will-be/

      • Reasonable, thoughtful, nuanced feminists just don’t generate clicks like the controversial writers do.

        There are plenty of feminists who want to create a more fair, equal world for both men and women (and who manage to avoid aggressive catch phrases like “end of men” and “it’s a mans world”) but those articles aren’t as in demand by publishers.

    • Tom Brechlin says:

      Flyingkal, the difference is that the feminist movement took women and acknowledged their known attributes and expanded on them. In the case of men, society is not acknowledging men’s historical attributes but instead look at men historically and try to show them as being wrong / broken from the get go. IMO, there is more interest in changing men completely from the bottom up and discarding who they are in the first place.

      As I’ve said before, we’re reaching a point that a man doesn’t know if he should wipe his nose or blow is ass. Too much macho, not enough macho, what is masculinity, cry too much, don’t cry enough. The problems are not going away, they are getting worse.

      Back to Rosen for a second … I have a feeling that her view of men isn’t that far from many women’s view of men in general. We sit here in the comfort of GMP but in the big world? Not so nice.

      And still, society continues to cater to the perceived ills of women and continue to ignore men.

      • Great succinct summary of the issue: “we’re reaching a point that a man doesn’t know if he should wipe his nose or blow is ass. Too much macho, not enough macho, what is masculinity, cry too much, don’t cry enough.”

  2. Mike from MA says:

    Chris, Hanna Rosin is on record as being very, very fond of men.
    And her argument is actually that the herd male is obsolete. And he wasn’t done in by feminism. He was done in by history and the elite men who guided it in a direction of ruthless dynamism and ferocious accumulation.
    If you’re a true champion—a person of outstanding intellect and relentless will and drive and ambition and maybe aggression, cunning,and ruthlessness—then your’e sitting pretty. But if you’re a regular working-stiff Joe Schmo who’s been strutting around (even in your head) for years convinced that “nature” made men special and our hegemony is merited, then your bubble has burst. Most men are like this, by the way, in that the herd type is the most common and numerous type of person there is, not just male-bodied person. But all these herd men were basically riding the coattails of a few elite men who really were all those things the rest of us say “men” are by definition. We were mopping up their residual charisma and writing checks on it with zero funds of our own. As soon as the elites decided they could get richer and more powerful by shucking us off, we were done. Kaput. Obsolete. Feminism came along when we were already three-quarters dead. The feminists didn’t need to do anything. I think a lot of us herd types, dispossessed pretenders, are hurt and angry that modern women (all feminists, we assume, no?) are so busy with their own lives and work that they aren’t interested enough to provide us with cover for our embarrassment.

    • Mike: “And her argument is actually that the herd male is obsolete.”

      Then why the inflammatory statement that “Men are obsolete”? Nowhere in that is it qualified that what she meant was “Herd Male”. It’s interesting that the minute somebody critiques such a charge, there’s that defense trotted out “She didn’t mean ALL men”.

      Mike: ” And he wasn’t done in by feminism.”

      While I agree that feminism in of itself didn’t cause the problems your common man is now experiencing, don’t pretend for one second that feminism isn’t entirely blameless either. Or at least, the subset of feminism that was influential in shaping it so that any man who speaks up about his lot in life is branded “Privledged” and “Having it easy” compared to women. Where, for example, a man can’t turn to anyone for help if he were abused by his spouse or a close female for the fact that he will be assumed to have been the cause of it since this subset of feminism was supportive of the Duluth Model of domestic violence (man = aggressor, woman = victim). Where it’s really hard to get any accurate statistics on male survivors (since Christopher is experienced in this, by the way) since Feminist Mary. K Ross excluded male survivors from sexual abuse studies.

      Again, feminism wasn’t the cause but it’s not free of responsibility either in conjunction with societal ignorance.

      Mike: “If you’re a true champion—a person of outstanding intellect and relentless will and drive and ambition and maybe aggression, cunning,and ruthlessness—then your’e sitting pretty. But if you’re a regular working-stiff Joe Schmo who’s been strutting around (even in your head) for years convinced that “nature” made men special and our hegemony is merited, then your bubble has burst.”

      When has Christopher ever done that? Are you implying because he’s a man? I’d be careful with this phrasing because you’re dealing with a survivor of abuse that works tirelessly to bring awareness and support to men like him in need. To imply that, in his head, he’s been strutting around convinced about some male hegemony is pretty offensive.

      • Tom Brechlin says:

        I’m curious, are there any studies that correlate the evolution of men’s issues with the rise of feminism?

    • Mike,

      And many slave owners were on the record about being fond of the slaves they owned. It’s not even close to saying that you feel that all people are worthy of the same basic levels of compassion in the aftermath of trauma, abuse, or victimization.

      THe rest of your comment is really difficult to follow, to be honest. But I think you’re making an argument that basically comes down to “good” men are nice and already get it, “bad” men are assholes. That really has absolutely nothing to do with the point that I’m trying to make here that this kind of rhetoric is hurtful in the long run to all people.

  3. John Anderson says:

    “while it’s true that more women are victims of domestic and sexual violence”

    I’m pretty sure that the DOJ stats are for reported incidents and do not include incarcerated persons. According to the CDC in 2010 almost as many men were forced to penetrate another as women were raped and according to the DOJ stats on prison rape to comply with PREA 80% of people raped in prison were men about 9% of all prisoners reported an incident of sexual misconduct.. It’s not clear whether women are actually the majority of victims of sexual violence.

    I’ve also heard that in many cases of DV, men are often the ones arrested even if they are the only ones to have sustained an injury. I know someone who has worked in the ER of a hospital and she told me that women are routinely asked about DV, but not men. I’ve also heard suggestions that emotional abuse should be considered DV. It is unclear to me if women are actually a majority of DV victims.

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