The Straight Married White American Male Feminist Manifesto

photo by queereaster

David Perry has thought long and hard about the word ‘feminist’. And decided it suits him just fine. 

—-

I am a straight, white, married, American man. I am a feminist.

This is not a trivial label to adopt.  The “f-word” is, and always has been, deeply contested. Feminists’ opponents have long accused them of hating men or wanting to destroy families; on the other side, some of those sympathetic to feminist objectives explicitly reject the term.

Some suggest that “feminism” has become obsolete—who needs it when powerful women like Marissa Meyer reject it?  Others wonder how to handle the appropriation of the term by women, such as Sarah Palin, who work directly against some rights for women on issues like fair pay and access to abortion. As brilliantly deconstructed by Jessica Valenti, “If anyone—even someone who actively fights against women’s rights—can call herself a feminist, the word and the movement lose all meaning.” Has that happened? Has it lost all meaning?

Female celebrities, the most visible women in the world, muddy the waters (if you took Women’s Studies 101, you’ll remember that “visible” evokes the power of the “gaze”).  Lady Gaga can’t be a feminist because she loves male culture, Taylor Swift doesn’t “really think about guys versus girls,” Katy Perry is not a feminist but does, “believe in the power of women,” Madonna is a humanist, and the list goes on . In some cases, one senses a fear of women who market their sexual attractiveness being labeled with the f-word.

The most common dodge away from feminism in my community, among men and women alike, is to agree that they are generally in favor of women’s rights, but to reject the label. Instead, they define themselves as “egalitarian.”  The egalitarian argument focuses on generalized equality, rather than specifically fighting for the rights of women.

Egalitarianism is a noble idea and I am not here to reject it. But to simply embrace egalitarianism requires ignoring the continuing the dominance of men in our society, to embrace abstract principles over the realities of power dynamics, and to deny the existence of patriarchy.

I am a feminist because in America, as in much of the West, patriarchy usually functions in a pervasive and subtle way. As the great historian Judith Bennett argues in History Matters (and elsewhere), patriarchy usually does not consist of a group of men getting together in a room explicitly to discuss how they might better oppress women this week—which is a pity, because otherwise we could just find that room and lock the door (from the outside).

Instead, patriarchy permeates our culture, pushing us to act in ways that reinforce the subordinate status of women and also place limits on male identity.  Patriarchy shapes the gender norms that invade our minds nearly from birth. Unless we deliberately pursue the ways that patriarchy shapes our speech, actions, media, and so much more, we assume that the structural power dynamics are natural.  We assume that boys will just be boys and girls just want to be pretty.  When patriarchy is subtle, we also lack clarity for who we should target when trying to effect social change.  We must move deliberately to work against it, identifying pathways to change. That kind of deliberate action lies at the core of my feminism.

♦◊♦

I am a feminist because when I go to McDonald’s (and yes, I know I shouldn’t go to McDonald’s), and order a Happy Meal, they ask me whether I want a “boy’s toy or a girl’s toy.”  The boys’ toys are active, with moving parts, and often violent:  cars, giants, aliens, catapults, action figures, heroes, and heroic paraphernalia. Girls’ toys come in pink, purple, yellow, and orange. They are passive—at most, they sparkle.  Dolls, plastic versions of clothing, and animals—but not animals that might climb or hunt, but cute little things you can snuggle. Right now, boys get Hot Wheels ™. Girls get Sparkle shoes (little plastic keychain shoes, covered in hearts and flowers) from Sketchers ™.  The people at the counter are supposed to say—do you want the shoe or the car? But they never do. What am I supposed to do if my son wants the shoe and my daughter the car? Of course, having heard the gender norming question, they just go with what’s expected.

I am a feminist because when Marion Bartoli won Wimbledon, the BBC host, John Inverdale, said, “Do you think Bartoli’s dad told her when she was little, ‘You’re never going to be a looker? You’ll never be a [Maria] Sharapova, so you have to be scrappy and fight.’” The comments on twitter, in the same vein, were much more vulgar.  The key here is that a woman was being judged for her appearance, not for her (awesome) accomplishments. We see this constantly, from Wired’s profile of a leading Google engineer that begins with a discussion of wardrobe, to the way my daughter won an award for “best-dressed” when she was four.

I am a feminist because when a British man won the men’s Wimbledon title, the announcers crowed, “Andy Murray ends 77 years of waiting for a British champion,” they either forgot or didn’t care that Virginia Wade, a British Woman, had won a title in 1977.

I am a feminist because sometimes we do see literal bodies of patriarchs, gathered in a room, oppressing women—and we can’t just lock the door.   In Texas, at the end of June, a woman in white stood, for eleven hours, as men in dark suits for eleven hours tried to silence her.  Senator Wendy Davis remained standing in her sneakers and filibustered the cruel anti-abortion bill about to pass the Texas Senate. The men tried to game the system, judging discussions of forced sonograms and Planned Parenthood somehow non-germane, and even placing a fraudulent time stamp on the bill even though they voted after the session had expired.

I am feminist because on the next day, Governor Rick Perry called a special session to reconsider the bill. He invoked Senator Davis’ own history as a single mom as a means of delegitimizing her argument, though later, relying on the excuse used by many harassers of women, he claimed he was just giving her “compliments.”  When the Texas legislature debated the bill, women were forced to dispose of tampons and pads before being allowed to enter gallery (though, as widely noted, guns were fine).  North Carolina, Ohio, and Wisconsin have all passed anti-abortion legislation recently, often using shady legislative tricks. These bills endanger women’s lives, force women to carry unliving fetuses to term, and strip away women’s legal control over their own bodies.

Finally, I am a feminist because it’s good for men too. I am an active, involved, father with serious professional ambitions. Feminism promotes not just the idea that “women are people too,” but that one can organize one’s life in diverse, equally acceptable, ways. I take full advantage of that in my complex life, talking freely about my family obligations in the workplace as I pursue balance in my life.

My examples—Wimbledon, Wendy Davis, McDonald’s—the ways in which sexism and patriarchy attempt to govern our lives – all manifested themselves in the last few weeks. By the end of summer, I will have many other examples, as the fight against patriarchy continues, perhaps endlessly. And that’s why I’m a feminist, because the threats against women’s rights are real, and the consequences matter for all of us.

photo: KLHint / flickr

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About David Perry

David M. Perry is an associate professor of history at Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois. His blog is How Did We Get Into This Mess. Follow him on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Danny says:
    July 26, 2013 at 10:22 am
    I’ve noticed something in this thread.
    There seems to be a thought that if you aren’t a feminist then you are playing the victim

    Your observation is correct. – Men are accused as a part of feminist rhetoric and shaming language to PLAY being victim. A man just cannot be a victim of female wrongdoing – says the feminist.

    • David Perry says:

      Danny and Yohann – I just want to point out that you are, in complaining about being labeled as victims, portraying yourselves as victims.

      I think you truly believe you are victims. I just think your arguments are, to repeat myself 1) false 2) actually a fault of the patriarchal system.

      It’s hard to lose privilege though, and I empathize with you, and wish you both nothing but the best.

      • Mark Neil says:

        “Danny and Yohann – I just want to point out that you are, in complaining about being labeled as victims, portraying yourselves as victims.”

        Does that then not equally apply to any feminist complaints? Is claiming victimization from something not allowed? or only not allowed for men?

        ” I just think your arguments are, to repeat myself 1) false”

        That is debatable, if we were allowed to actually debate, but it seems whenever I spend the time to write a lengthy post, it doesn’t make it through moderation. And when men seek to discuss the issues in person, feminists protest those events as hate speech.

        “actually a fault of the patriarchal system.”

        And does assigning blame mean resolving the issue? I know, I know, feminists claim to oppose the patriarchy, but if that’s the case, please explain to me how National Organization for Women opposing equal shared parenting fights the patriarchy, rather than actually supporting it? Tell me how supporting draconian child support laws does anything but reinforce the “male as provider” role, when combined with that opposition to equal shared custody? How exactly does the feminist intense focus on addressing women’s needs and wants demonstrate anything but the male as protector and provider role? When feminists, by and large, are using patriarchal (by the feminist interpretation of patriarchy) norms to promote their agenda, and aren’t actually pushing to scrap patriarchy as a whole, only women’s obligations to those patriarchal norms, how exactly does identifying something as a consequence of “the patriarchy” do anything to actually address it? Seems more like it’s just trying to gloss it over and make it go away.

        “It’s hard to lose privilege though”

        What privileges have Dany and Yohan lost, precisely? Did they ever have it, or only been told they had it (because some men might have had it before they were ever born)?

        When any opposition to discourse is painted as chaffing against losing privilege, there is no room for real discussion. This attack (and it is an attack. It is presuming the motives/intent/state of mind of a dissenting person (and not their arguments) to be malicious/selfish and portraying that malicious/selfish motives/intent/state of mind as justification to dismiss dissenting ideas.) is intended to end conversation, not promote it, as the goal of GMP is stated as.

        • David Perry says:

          Presumptive joint custody laws are complex and often dangerous to both children and spouses (men and women) of abusers.

          I think your point about draconian child support laws reinforcing gender norms is interesting. So the question is what the path is – you can’t have presumptive custody (that’s my given). You can’t force parents who had no shot at custody to provide child support (that’s your given). Is there a synthesis that can emerge here?

          • Mark Neil says:

            “Presumptive joint custody laws are complex and often dangerous to both children and spouses (men and women) of abusers.”

            Why is it more dangerous than the current system, that, while it may protect children from abusive fathers, completely throws children of abusive mothers under the bus by allowing the person most capable of protecting them (their other parent) to be stripped of/denied access, all the while putting barriers up between the remainder of children with non-abusive parents in the form of a winner takes all, mother biased system (which likewise enforces gender role of mother as caretaker, which only ever seems to be a problem when it’s used to explain the wage gap, but is then deemed essential to the protection of children when custody is discussed). Keeping in mind that we are discussing scenario’s where abuse can’t actually be proven (and so, may not even exist) because every example of presumptive equal custody agreements ALWAYS has a clause for addressing unfit/abusive parents.

            “Is there a synthesis that can emerge here?”

            I don’t know. Enforcement of child custody arrangement with equally draconian punishment, as well as equally draconian perjury (punishments for proven false accusations, given the negative affect they can have). There are three means of establishing equality, bring the low end up, drag the high end down, or meet somewhere in the middle. Seems bring the low end up is always seen as a problem… as “dangerous”, and as such, can not be budged (meaning options 1 and 3 are both taken out as options), leaving only option two. And though it shouldn’t have to be said, I’ll say it anyways, I don’t like this idea, I would rather see a balance above the current standard for how men are currently treated in the family.

            • David Perry says:

              Presumptive joint custody is not gendered as written. Anyway.

              My hope is that you would take my given, I would take your given, and we could see what emerges. If you’re not willing to do that, that’s fine. Have a great day!

            • Mark Neil says:

              “Presumptive joint custody is not gendered as written”

              Assuming you’re talking about how the system currently works, I respond to your assertion with the following…Nether are how wages are set, or how promotions are granted. Will you accept such a response as a valid argument to suggest we need not address pay and promotion inequalities? I’m curious, how exactly does denying the inequality (because the law doesn’t specifically discriminate (anymore)) in family courts help address the issue? If feminism is the appropriate response to these issues, and you are acting as a representative for feminists of you brand, in this discussion, how precisely is this denial doing what you claim feminists are doing? I’m honestly curious how you justify such a statement? Especially given, nothing I actually said “required” the law to be gendered for my claims to be true.

              “My hope is that you would take my given,”

              I can’t do that without an explanation for why a presumptive equal parenting system is to be deemed more dangerous than the current one? because to accept your given, when considered in context with the current outcomes, it necessarily requires me to accept a hostile gendered stereotype of men, IE, that they are more dangerous to children (and their partner) than women, based solely on their sex. This is necessarily required because, to accept your given, that giving more fathers an equal share of custody time (IE, the inevitable outcome of granting equal time) is an increased danger, one must accept that men are more dangerous than women (and we all know, men and women are exactly the same, with the same interests, the same emotions, etc etc etc, and that’s why there should be more women in boardrooms and politics, and because there isn’t, it must be discrimination… ).

              But I did leave open the possibility that I had missed something, and left you with an opening to provide the something I may have been missing. It’s a shame you choose to try shaming me with a “I accepted your given, but you refused to accept mine”. Would you have been so willing to accept my given if it required you to accept the assertion women who can not provide for children on their own, without the aid of child support, can not be deemed responsible enough to be granted custody (which is still far less hateful than accepting men, on the whole, are dangerous to their own children)? Did my “given” require you to accept any negative stereotypes of women (or men) in order to progress?

              And lastly, my last paragraph was, in fact, a progression, accepting your given, despite it’s offensiveness.

            • David Perry says:

              Yes, your given required me accepting quite a lot. But anyway, not to worry. I just thought it might be more interesting.

            • Mark Neil says:

              I’m curious David, do you actually want to have a discussion on the topics? Or just to lecture and smugly dismiss those you disagree with?

            • David Perry says:

              I’m delighted to have a discussion. Phase one – each person has to be willing to give some ground. Are you? I am. I am willing to accept your position on child support to try and find a path forward, providing you are willing to accept my position on presumptive joint custody.

          • Australia’s 2006 Shared Parenting Law had proven to be widely successful, with none of the pitfalls that you generalized, all the information I could find on it were extremely positive. One of the earliest legislative actions when Julia Gillard became PM was to rescind it. That along with several other legislative miss steps cause here party to almost cease to exist in one state election and is setting them up for a major loss in the upcoming national elections.

            If there are examples of where actual shared parenting was put into law where there were significant negative effects I’d be interested to hear of them.

      • Danny and Yohann – I just want to point out that you are, in complaining about being labeled as victims, portraying yourselves as victims.
        Truth be told we are just trying to point out the things that we disagree with however you seem to just want to dismiss them by saying that, in not following the narratives of feminism, we are playing the victim. I may not be able to speak for the others here but I’m just trying bring some clarity to what you write off as being upset over losing privilege.

        I think you truly believe you are victims. I just think your arguments are, to repeat myself 1) false 2) actually a fault of the patriarchal system.
        No as I say above I’m trying to talk things out. I can see that we don’t agree on everything and that in itself isn’t so bad. However if you just going to say we are wrong because we aren’t feminists then that won’t get us too far. Now as for the causes of the things that are in affect and harming us all I think the diagnosis “that’s actually patriarchy” doesn’t look all sides of what’s going on.

        It’s hard to lose privilege though, and I empathize with you, and wish you both nothing but the best.
        If it were as simple as just losing privilege I’d probably agree with you. But there’s more to it than that.

        At the end I wager that we agree on the things that are happening but disagree on what causes them and we agree on what should be done to fix them but disagree on exactly how to do those things.

        Oh well it was worth a try.

        Take it easy.

  2. ogwriter says:

    David Always,always….ALWAYS feminism is presented as if women are only victims and never perparatrators.OR even if there is an admission that woman on woman violence is statistically as prevalent as “common” rape and domestic violence,it is done quietly and never debated in the open by women or feminists.Add to that woman on man violence AND child abuse and it is clear that women are violent.Should I bring up the long history of racism and classicism?But feminism have a consistent narrative that either ignores and or downplays these things. Intersectionality,as a remedy for racism, is nothing more than a distraction,it is not an answer. So,where is feminism’s credibility,which is based on the complete exceptance of women as simple victims?I have friends who were raped by women when they were boy’s,I have experienced much racism from women,I have read,heard and experienced lesbians who complain about male violence and rape against women,but not female to female rape and dv.These reasons are why I am not a feminist.I actually believe in AND practice equality,no exceptions.

    • David Perry says:

      Thanks for commenting. We’ve always been through this in the thread. Have a great day!

  3. Some comments are missing.

    Missing privilege? I really don’t know what privilege this could be. I cannot miss a privilege which I am not aware of that I have it. Maybe you could explain – do you have a list of my possible privileges so I can check it out?

    It is true that I was badly treated by females in the past, but this is long time ago and nobody cares about boys anyway.

    You think, men/boys cannot be victims of malicious females? It’s either a lie or the fault of the ‘patriarchy’, never within the responsibility of women?

    • David Perry says:

      I did not say that men can’t be victims of malicious females. I said that if we want to engage in systemic critiques and fixes, the solution inclines to more feminism, not less. The norms that drive men to feel unable to report victimization from women is a direct result of the patriarchal system of gender norms, in which men cannot reveal that they’ve experienced weakness, especially at the hands of women. That is patriarchy; not feminism.

      At any rate, Yohann, I think we’ve hashed this out enough for today. I’ll be happy to come and comment on your next essay too. Thanks for the discussion.

  4. ogwriter says:

    David I couldn’t find outside of my comments,any other references to the points I bring up.Avoidance is not an answer or response to my comments,which deserve some answers from you.You are doing exactly-ignoring well founded criticism of feminism-as I described in my previous comment. Why?

    • David Perry says:

      Because I know you cannot be convinced to rethink your worldview, especially if the examples in the essay had no effect on you. There are about 4 people like you in this thread responsible for 90% of the comments. I get a lot of emails saying, “Great essay, I’d comment, but don’t want those guys jumping all over me, but keep up the good work.” If you read my essay and your first response is, “But men are victims too!,” then you didn’t get the essay; and why should you, it runs directly counter to your epistemology, and you can’t convince people in that context.

      And hey, that’s ok. Lots of other people got it. So, let’s just move on, ok?

      Here’s a good article on women as the perpetrators of violence. Make sure you read the last paragraph. http://jezebel.com/5509717/domestic-violence-are-women-as-abusive-as-men

      Thanks for commenting!

      • Mr Supertypo says:

        with all due respect David, most of the guys typing here are much more open minded and egalitarian than most feminist I have met, both online and offline. And disagreement is the key for growth, because it shows you different perspectives of the same topic. You cant neither grow or go wiser without disagreement. Labeling the opposing view as hate speak (no you didnt do that, just speaking in general) or rabid MRA not only is wrong, but goes directly against the goal of the topic in question. Debating is better than lecturing and dialogues are better than monologues.

        Finally, not all feminist recognize Jezebel ;)

      • Jezebel? You’re going to source jezebel? Are you sure you want to do that?

        http://jezebel.com/294383/have-you-ever-beat-up-a-boyfriend-cause-uh-we-have?tag=gossipdomesticdisturbances

        Jezebel is about as credible as the National Enquirer

        • David Perry says:

          You can either read the article and argue with the findings on that particular essay, or not. But simply slagging Jezebel is a mistake. It’s packed with garbage, but I thought that essay, judging it on its content rather than its domain name, was worth reading.

  5. ogwriter says:

    David I couldn’t find, outside of my comments,any other references to the points I bring up.Avoidance is not an answer or response to my comments,which deserve some answers from you.You are doing exactly-ignoring well founded criticism of feminism-as I described in my previous comment. Why?Again,how can feminism claim to be a leader for equality when it isn’t free of inequality itself?

  6. Tom Brechlin says:

    Perhaps the reason some do not respond here is that they don’t want to debate and see a point of view that many men have. I have, on countless occasions observed TGMP boast as to how they are interested in hearing what men have to say. It doesn’t appear that you’re actually interested in what we have to say unless you can refute what’s being said.
    Accordingly, I will more then likely stop following this thread … beating a dead horse. Have a nice day

  7. ogwriter says:
    July 26, 2013 at 1:19 pm
    David ….Avoidance is not an answer or response to my comments….You are doing exactly-ignoring well founded criticism of feminism-…Why?

    Exactly my own impression.

    1 -
    I was asking Mr. Perry to take a look at this academic study which is about men/boys as victims, but he refused even to click on the link. But what is really wrong with this study? Can anybody explain?

    http://epubs.utah.edu/index.php/ulr/article/view/484/352

    2 -
    Further, Mr. Perry is telling me I lost my privileges, but he cannot tell me which privileges. I think I never had any privilege in my life. At least I am not aware that I lost anything.

    3 -
    He refers to Ms. Marcotte as his guideline for ‘more feminism’.

    Ms. Marcotte was asking the GMP for an entire ban of all opinions coming in from MRAs – as an equal and as a friend – unfortunately, this is not a joke.
    It is open scorn against men who had a bad time in their life in a relationship with a female – any female, not only a wife or girlfriend, but also mother, sisters, female co-workers etc. etc. – Just cut off men’s voice – problem solved.

    More feminism? Thank you, Mr. Perry – Luckily the GMP stands firm and is refusing such requests. The GMP remains one of the few sources open for any opinion. If you like this or not is irrelevant.

    http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/as-equals-and-as-friends/comment-page-2/#comments
    (Read my last comment in this thread about Marcotte and the reply of the GMP by Lisa Hickey)

    • Mr Supertypo says:

      Yohan we all have privileges in a way or another, even if we are not aware of them, this is true for women, men and minorities.

      • Yes. Male privilege does exist and there is no denying that. However there is a problem where it’s used as a shield to prevent discussion on certain topics. If someone doesn’t like what a guy is saying just accuse him of trying hold onto male privilege. Its a nice way of dismissing what he has to say and putting him on the defensive.

  8. Tom Brechlin says:

    Yohan, thank you for sharing that ling. Amazing information

  9. Tom Brechlin says:

    That should have said “link”

  10. Tom Brechlin says:

    “But until I see some demonstration of empathy, and believe me, I feel lots of empathy for the real parts of the MRA complaint (which has been most of what they bring here, as Tom and Yohann and Danny are very practiced at making GMP threads about them and their needs) – but until I see some empathy, I feel their contributions to discussion are limited and very much fall into the trollish category.

    Did you know that I have received multiple emails from people, mostly women, who want to say things about my essay but are afraid to come into the comment thread, because they don’t want to be stomped all over my Tom, Danny, and Yohann (and some people I’ve had banned based on non-published comments)? Does that seem like a safe environment for discussion to you?”

    To begin with, thank you for the compliment in that I only wish I were in the same league as Yohan and Danny who articulate their views far beyond my own capabilities.

    That being said, I would suggest that you know who you’re talking about before assuming who we are and what we represent. In particular your comment regarding “empathy.” You eluded to our lack of empathy based upon our involvement in MRA’s.

    No, it’s not about me, it’s about men and boys. Perosnally, I have an outstanding life with a wife of 38 years whom I’ve known since I was 11 years of age, two outstanding kids (boy-just graduated from college and girl who gave me two perfect grandsons). I’ve survived a 25 year corporate career, a quintuple bypass at age 41, 5 subsequent heart attacks and was blessed 13+ years ago with the opportunity to work with adolescent males in a residential setting for addicts.

    “My” views have little to nothing to do with me personally but instead my views are based upon what I have observed by working with adolescent teen males. Additionally, I have had the benefit of living through the various so called phases of feminism and have seen firsthand, the affects it’s had on men of all ages and colors. Growing up in one of the most gang ridden neighborhood in Chicago much less the country, I’ve had the benefit of experiencing first hand, the results of societal issues related to teens and adults.

    Monday morning, you’ll take care of your kids and then go to your computer and read the various responses to your article. Monday morning, I will go into the facility, read the staff relate so as to identify any issues that require my immediate attention and then I’ll go into my office, take a look at “red eye” and see if any of our former clients were murdered over the week end, see if any family members of current clients were murdered. Then I’ll start my day with dealing with 38 adolescent boys, their addictions, behavioral issues and family issues where many of them will have been on pass over the weekend and more then likely have something that they “need” to discuss.

    So I would very much appreciate your not twisting what I say as something personal about “me.”

    BTW, I have another side as well.
    Articles I’ve written…
    *What Your Child Wears Is Important — And I’m Not Talking About Pink
    *How Things Have Changed: Even the Pictures We Take to Remember
    *Things I Regret

    Comments of the day that were published
    “I feel a helplessness as a dad, I want to protect my son, shield him from the negative aspects in life, but I can’t.”
    “When a man primarily relies on sex as a marital health barometer and validation, he faces more and more rejection.”
    “I don’t expect perfection from the boys. I want them to be okay with not being perfect.”
    “Take a look at the movies with nudity. Take out the parts where they get hot and heavy, would it make the movie less interesting?”

    I don’t think I’m a “troll”

    • ogwriter says:

      Tom…If you sir are a troll then,most certainly,a middle ground doesn’t exist! You have for months presented balanced,thoughtful,well written responses on a number of issues.You have done this consistently and now you are considered a troll.I too,am done with this thread.in fact,this name calling shouldn’t even be allowed.

  11. Iben says:
    July 26, 2013 at 12:13 pm
    the blog you can read below is hateful
    blog by a famous or infamous MRA in Norway:
    http://eivindberge.blogspot.com/?m=1
    I think Eivind Berge’s views are very different from American MRA?

    http://eivindberge.blogspot.jp/2013/05/lex-berge-is-in-effect.html?m=0
    Thanks for posting this link to that crazy blog, I think I will post this in our MGTOW Forum for discussion.

    As far as I can see, luckily there is not much activity going on with his blog, only 6 threads for 2013 up to date – MRA? More likely an outsider, an idiot who has a computer and internet connection.

    I wonder how such a stupid guy glorifying cop killing and sharia law could ever qualify as a Men’s Rights Advocate. Probably never.

    I myself as moderator for our MGTOW Forum had to ban some of these outsiders signing up occasionally in our forum after several warnings.
    MRAs do not glorify crimes and do not support violence. We try to tell men how to get away from it.

    Generally I found discussions between feminists and MRAs most hateful in USA – in Continental Europe, especially when not using English, this is not the case.

    Norway might be feminist, but it is a very rich country, very good living standard, not many people, there is enough place for everybody.

    I think, men’s rights are much more respected in feminist European countries than in USA, communication is much less hateful than USA and some hot feminist US-topics like abortion, foreign wife, interracial marriage etc. are not really big issues in Europe.

    About myself, I am not from USA, but from Central Europe and now living in Far East Asia.

    • David Perry says:

      Hey guys,

      I think we’ve moved away from the core discussions related to this essay. Thanks.

      • David Perry says:
        July 27, 2013 at 11:25 am
        Hey guys, I think we’ve moved away from the core discussions related to this essay. Thanks.

        The titel of this thread is:
        The Straight Married White American Male Feminist Manifesto

        To compare USA with other countries – for example Norway – is for sure not off-topic.
        About ‘male feminist’ – so far I know only about male feminists in USA.

        I do not know anything about men who call themselves ‘male feminists’ in Continental EU, nor in Asia. Do you have any reference to ‘male feminists’ outside of native English speaking areas (or areas where English is fluent spoken as a second language of daily communication), for example Germany, Japan, Russia etc. etc.?

        Yes, SOME men living in those countries are supportive to SOME issues regarding women, but I never heard them to refer to themselves as ‘male feminists’.

        Personally I find the phrase ‘WHITE male feminist’ as highly questionable . Why to exclude other men because they are not white, but Asian-Americans, African Americans etc. etc. What has ‘male feminism’ to do with race?

        You also claim in a previous comment that there are ‘millions of male feminists’ – where are they living? For sure only a very few are active on the internet.

        • David Perry says:

          Yohann – I just meant the part of the thread where you deviated to Brevik and such. Obviously MRAs should not be judged by Brevik. While one could have a discussion about the ways that extremists use or abuse philosophies, that’s not what this essay or discussion was above.

          I called myself a white male feminist because I am a white male feminist and I am talking about power and privilege. But since you fundamentally deny the existence of anything that I am talking about, clearly you are not persuadable. One of my approaches to the internet is not to argue with people who aren’t persuadable, as it’s a waste of time. So have a great day!

  12. David Perry says:

    Just for the record, I’m deleting feminist bashing. If people want to deal with the contents of my essay, no matter how critically, I’m delighted to engage in discussion. If people want to take specific models of feminism and critique them, I’m delighted to engage in discussion.

    Lots of places on the web to bash feminists. This thread is not one of them.

  13. Kari Palazzari says:

    It’s interesting to see this conversation become a meta-conversation – shifting from talking to each other to talking about how we talk to each other. So far, it seems to me, most comments have been pretty respectful on this thread and not gotten too mired in personal attacks, name-calling and defensiveness, which I’ve seen happen on other threads. It’s a shame that there is still so much tension, and perhaps that can’t be avoided when discussing these topics, but one of the things that makes me proud to participate in GMP (and mention this site to other people) is that so many well-intentioned, thoughtful, informed people can have these debates here – and keep it going for over 200 comments. So, hang tight, folks. This is good stuff, right here.

  14. Ben_1980 says:

    I associate myself as a feminist when it is defined as the “radical notion that women are human beings too”.

    Let me ask you this, though:

    1. Were you also upset that the ‘crowing announcers’ also over looked two male winners: Jonathan Marry and Jamie Murray. Both male winners. If not, why not?

    2. Are you as vocal when males are judged by looks (numerous times in today’s media). If not, why not?

    3.”Finally, I am a feminist because it’s good for men too.”. If you replied no to either of the above, then you are a hypocrite.

    I also suspect that you would readily classify my classify my father as ‘oppressing’ my mother – because it was him – and solely him – who had to work all hours God sent, in order to provide for me, her and my sister, purely based on the societal expectations in his generation levelled towards men.

    • David Perry says:

      Charlie – Thanks for commenting. You crammed a lot of stuff in this comment which makes it difficult to respond.

      1. I reject the mode – “If you don’t do exactly what I say, then [insert insult].” In the future, I will not respond to that kind of hostile, baiting, commentary. I hope we’re clear on that. But for now, I am assuming you genuinely want to engage on these issues.

      2. I didn’t know about Marry and Murray until now. I was drawn into the Wimbledon issue due to the twitterstorm over the Bartoli comments, and then noticed the secondary issue. I have further thoughts about it, see below (#4)

      3. I would only classify your father as oppressing your mother if, you know, he oppressed your mother. Now, here is the interesting part: “purely based on the societal expectations in his generation levelled towards men.” So if a man conformed to society’s demands, then that doesn’t seem like oppression. And yet, if your mother was forced by society’s demands to repress her ambitions, while your father got to chase his ambitions, does that seem entirely just to you? I’m really not in the business of casting blame except when it’s crystal clear , but I am in the business of pointing out consistent gendered inequities, trying to understand their roots, and working to improve them. If your mother’s ambition was to be in the home and raise a family, which is a fine ambition (this is why I belong to third-wave more than second-wave), then great! If she had other plans, but found herself with no options but being a housewife, that’s patriarchy. If it never even occurred to her that she might have ambitions, if she never had the opportunities to find out, that’s patriarchy. That’s not your father’s fault, of course. But it’s worth fighting.

      4. I definitely call out sexism when it’s directed at men. I haven’t personally witnessed commentary on male appearance recently that mandated direct commentary. But the other day I watched as two female friends of mine complained about men in a sexist way. I called it out. We talked about it. They apologized. But let’s think about these sentences (which didn’t happen): Andy Murray has won Wimbledon and he’s single, ladies! Bartoli has won Wimbledon despite not being a looker! Are they equally problematic? Not to me. This is what I mean when I say that I embrace feminism over simple, though majestic, egalitarianism. My argument, just to focus on the appearance issue, is that our society tends to diminish women to no more than their physical appearance with so many kinds of destabilizing effects as a result. Does our society tend to diminish men in the same way? I’m not sure. So the key word in your sentence was “judged.” Yes, when people are judged by appearance, I call it out if I can. I argue it happens much more to women with much more detrimental consequences.

      Edit – My point about Marry and Murray is that we have to ask the question about the meaning of the omission. What lay behind it. Was it gendered? It’s clear that the singles titles always felt different than the doubles titles to me, but I could be wrong.
      Thanks for your comment. Unlike some, it seems clear to me that you read the essay. That always pleases me, even if we don’t ultimately agree.

  15. A simple question: How feminism is good for men too?

    • David Perry says:

      Good question, though one I address in the essay briefly, and to do it justice would require a dozen more essays. Fortunately, if you google, “How is feminism good for men,” you’ll find a dozen essays, some of which I think are well written (I’ll let you guess which).

      Feminism is good for men because patriarchy is bad for men. Now there are men who deny the existence of patriarchy. As you can see in this thread, I have trouble having productive conversations with them. There are also men who like patriarchy, who see it as the natural order things. That’s a side issue. But to me, I see patriarchy as bad for men. It forces us into gender roles that may seem empowering, but are often quite limiting. What happens to the boy who wants a doll? What happens to the man who wants to be home with his children. Feminism is a critique of the patriarchal system of gendered power division, followed by actions to undermine that system.

      I don’t want my life to be controlled by patriarchy. I’m the primary caregiver for my children (plus lots of childcare because I also have a job, it’s just more flexible than my wife’s). Society doesn’t value that. I cook. I was once mocked as, “you’ll make a good wife someday.”

      But I also have a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother. I want them – especially my daughter – to have a life in which they can make whatever choices they want, unhindered by patriarchal culture. What is good for them is good for me.

      These are just opening thoughts. I may have more.

      • John Schtoll says:

        David you speak as though patriarchy is a ‘fact’ but in reality it is a theory and it is a theory not based on science but on faith.

        As an example of that faith , you eluded to earlier in this thread that the reason that women get custody is because patriarchy says that ‘child care is womens work’. Of course you must have faith to believe this when the evidence is clear that before a noted feminist came along and pushed the ‘tender years doctrine’ it was actually men who got custody , most if not all the time upon divorce. What is also very important to note that in most western societies , before the tender years doctrine was adopted, when the man got custody , he also got FULL responsibility , i.e. he got no child support. This of course is not the case anymore.

        • David Perry says:

          I disagree with you John. But I’m tired of arguing against the same talking points from the committed MRAs, as it’s pointless. Have a great day!

          • Is patriarchy proven or still a theory? Is it a patriarchy or a kyriarchy? (Genuinely curious)

            • David Perry says:

              I don’t know what it would mean to “prove” patriarchy. Like egalitarianism I have no problem with the concept of kyriarchy. In my essay, more or less successfully, I tried to explain why I focused specifically on patriarchy. YMMV.

              I think I’ve caught up on all your comments now Archy. Let me know if I missed something. I’m going to bed now. :)

            • I use kyriarchy and focus more on intersectionality vs gender itself and also patriarchy gets way too much drama attached so it’s easier to use kyriarchy and get your message across. Men overall have more power but class heavily boosts that power, the average male n female are far more close in equality from what I can see. The elite men (and even elite women) can enact conscription n send men (and women too in some countries) to their death for instance, so privilege varies a lot during peace and wartime where female privilege rises significantly if they are in the non-occupied country and aren’t conscripted. In peacetime that swings back to male privilege.

              Patriarchy to many seems to imply it’s men doing the oppressing, when really it’s men n women (society itself) that does the oppressing so the label patriarchy will stir up some people as if it’s blaming men solely.

              Sleep well, I have a duchess to varnish!

            • Tom Brechlin says:

              What is “YMMV?”

            • David Perry says:

              Your mileage may vary. It’s a way of saying, in internet shorthand, that this is how I see the issue, but I understand that others may come to different conclusions.

            • Tom Brechlin says:

              Thanks for the clarification

          • Mr Supertypo says:

            David, out of curiosity, who are the MRA’s here?

            • David Perry says:

              I believe Tom, Yohann, and Danny, and some people I forget ,have explicitly embraced the MRA label.

              Others have embraced MRA talking points and positions without the labels.

            • Quite a few of us seem to be a pro-feminist pro-mra anti-extremist mix too who don’t use labels, both males n females. I’d say there are more like that then those who identify as MRA.

      • I do not know what makes you think that I have never read any essay on the Internet in praise of feminism. In fact I have read most of them and would like to say without hesitation that they are just waste of bytes. I wanted to know your opinion on that matter.

        I have read quite a few books on sociology that defines patriarchy as the social system in which father or eldest male is the head of family. Probably, definition of patriarchy in feminist dictionary is something different.

        I did not expect “Feminism is good for men because patriarchy is bad for men” type of answer from a professor being a member of academia myself. You live in free democratic society where nobody has the power to control you. Everyone has right to live in a away within the limits of law as per his/her choice. By the way, yourself and several other feminist writers have described patriarchy as some kind of omnipresent and all powerful monster who´controls or at least tries to control everything.

        If you have any pictures of the monster Patriachy please share it with us. I and probably other readers as well would be glad to see it.

        • David Perry says:

          I was speaking of my essay that spent about 1000 words articulating the various ways that patriarchy could be perceived in operation over the last few weeks. One of the challenges of patriarchy is that it’s hard to perceive. The other challenge is that lots of people, people in this comment thread, are DEEPLY invested in not seeing it. Such is the way of these things.

          I’m glad you’ve read some books. If you are genuinely interested, I highly recommend Bennett’s work, “History Matters.” You won’t like it though.

          I find your characterization of the specifics of my answer to be reductive. In various comments, I have repeatedly detailed the ways that I see patriarchy as dangerous to men, with specifics. You may not agree with them, but your reductive response neither demonstrates comprehension nor advances the conversation. If feminism is dedicated to undermining patriarchy, which it is, and if patriarchy is bad for men, which I argue it is, then feminism is good for men. If that doesn’t make sense to you … I literally don’t know what to say.

          Other than, at this point, have a great evening.

          • Sir, I am thankful to you for being patient with me unlike some other feminist writers and recommending the book ” History Matters,” by Judith Bennett.

            You pointed that patriarchy is hard to perceive and lot of people on the comment thread are deeply invested in not seeing.it. I do not know what kind of microscope you are using to see patriarchy which others do not have. As for the point that they are deeply invested in not seeing it, it can backfire on you, May be you are too invested in the concept óf patriarchy to see it everywhere and all powerful. In my personal opinion, people on this comment thread seem to be quite reasonable and well aware.

            I was born and brought up in a society which was patriarchal in all aspects. We have an extended joint family with lot of cousins. All boys and girls in the family got the opportunity to achieve best in their lives. I saw nobody getting hurt due to the patriachal set up. All my female cousins have college degrees. Therefore, it is impossible for me to agree with the notion that patriarchy is inherently bad.

            Sir, I do however agree that feminism is undermining patriarchy. Feminists are trying as best as they could to undermine the role of fathers in family. Nature abhors vacuum. With what will feminism replace patriachy? Matriachy consisting ladies with out-of-wedlock children or complete anarchy in society.

            I hope that you will consider the points raised by me

            • David Perry says:

              I want to replace patriarchy with equality. I believe the road to that path lies through feminism. Obviously others here do not agree.

              I’m guessing … India? I can’t speak to your family, but there are plenty of gender problems there. I’ll leave it at that, as perhaps you come from somewhere else.

            • You guessed it right. I was born and brought up in India, but I have completed my higher education till doctorate in the U.S. and am presently living in Europe. I have lived more than half my life in Western world. So I have direct knowledge of the situation in the West.

              In strict legal terms, all citizens in a free and democratic country are equal, Men and women are equal in all spheres, Feminists want a perfect symmetry between men and women which is impossible given the biological differences. Such attempts would be a waste of resources and can even be painful for the members of society.

            • David Perry says:

              1. India is a deeply repressive society in some ways for women, many of them tied up in class and caste. To go into detail here would both leave my field of expertise and derail this thread, but the notion that India is a land of gender equity is … not credible.

              2. I am a feminist. I do not want perfect symmetry. I want equality. This is typical of third-wave feminists.

              3. Go back and read my essay again, if you are interested. You will see that we are not operating on strict legal terms.

              But one thing this thread has made clear – if you are determined to disbelieve in patriarchy, you will disbelieve in patriarchy, and I cannot persuade you.

            • I have never claimed that my home country is a land of gender equity. I never held that misconception and do not know how you came to that conclusion. I just wanted to point out that social class of a person is more important than the gender of the concerned person. Women have achieved high political offices in many countries of Asia, simply because they were daughters or widows of some powerful leader. It proves that those patriarchal societies are not inherently bad for women. Women too have benefitted from them.

              As for you second point, that if I am determined to disbelieve in patriarchy, I will disbelieve in patriarchy, and you cannot persuade you. That is absolutely true. However, I am really curious abou your choice of words “disbelieve” and “persuade” which are quite often used by feminists. According to Longman Pearson dictionary ed.6, the verb “believe” means “to have confidence in the truth, the existence, or the reliability of something, although without absolute proof that one is right in doing so”, and disbelief means “not to believe.” Verb “persuade” means “to cause to believe” My point is that why would a intellectual like yourself want to persuade and make others believe. Instead the focus should be convincing and enlightening others on the topic.

              I sincerely apologizefor being a bit harsh, but in my humble opinion, you have picked a wrong topic at a wrong place and are having problem defending your stand. I feel bad about it being a part of academia myself.

              I hope that you would get my point and not take it bad way.

              Have a nice day.

            • David Perry says:

              Um, yeah. I’m really not having any trouble here. I just know that when someone’s worldview depends on not perceiving something, no amount of data can persuade them, so why bang my head against the wall. I thought your claims about India were interesting.

              Come back when you’ve read the Bennett book and we’ll talk again.

  16. John Schtoll says:

    There are many points of view in this thread.

    I have asked this question of feminists many times before who claim that western women are oppressed and have yet to get an answer ,so once again here goes.

    1) Name one right (in western society) than men enjoy , that women do not.

    For the sake of clarity, I will give you one right in western society that women enjoy that men don’t.

    1) Women have the right to control if and when they become a parent

    • David Perry says:

      John, I don’t think you are interested in discussion. I believe my essay clearly outlines the ways that patriarchy functions in both overt and covert ways. If that doesn’t convince you, then I doubt a discussion here will. Given the issue in Texas, though, your example of women having control over their becoming parents is counter-factual to reality. Anyway, just remember to wear a condom, and you’ll be fine. Have a great day.

      • John Schtoll says:

        David: Can you name a single reproductive right that men have in western society (and I am talking legal right here) that allows them to legally control when they become a parent. Because your statement earlier that says “Wear a condom you will be fine” is (as you would put it) counter factual to reality. Wearing a condom does not , and has never given a man the legal right to control if or when he becomes a parent.

        • David Perry says:

          You’re ignoring the persistent and vile attempts to take away female reproductive freedom. I can only assume you are doing it on purpose.

          Do you feel men ought to be able to order women to get abortions? Do you feel men ought to be able to impregnate women without responsibility? Do you feel it is unjust that men cannot do that?

          I do not.

        • Hi John Schtoll

          Do you want control over women’s bodies and their sexually ?
          Should men have total control over women’s bodies is that what you try to say?

          • I obviously can’t answer for John but that doesn’t seem to be what he wants.

            It looks like John is asking about men and their control over becoming a parent. Earlier today I was reading an article in which a man has been court ordered to pay support for a child that DNA testing has proven that he is not the biological father of, even though the biological father is trying to be an active parent in the child’s life.

            If a man can’t even be relieved of financial responsibilities when its proven the responsible man is another party AND that other responsible party is doing the very “stepping up” that is constantly called for from men, then I think John has a point about men not having control over whether or not they become a parent.

            (And here’s another. Here in the States did you know that an under aged boy can be raped by an adult woman and that adult woman can turn around and petition for child support against that boy’s parents? Often successfully I might add.)

            • Hi Danny
              That is weird and unfair I agree. Our laws are not like that,but I am not a lawyer so I can tell you all details.

              I am not sure what happens here if a DNA test show the child has another father than a woman’s husband. In situations like that men are social fathers and love the child anyway.

              But if a single man dream of becoming a parent but has now partner that want to start a family with him ,he can adopt a child.

              Here we have the serious discussion about use of surrogate mothers. Gay couples ( and others) travel to India and pay women to have their child. It looks to me they have 100% control. They break our laws,but are permitted to bring home the children already born that way.( As far as I know.)

            • FlyingKal says:

              Hi Iben,

              I am not sure what happens here if a DNA test show the child has another father than a woman’s husband. In situations like that men are social fathers and love the child anyway.

              Except when they don’t.
              I guess it largely depends on how old the kid is and/or how long the man has been the social father. And maybe if he has had reason to suspect all along that things weren’t ahet they seemed to be.

              One thing is that the legal process for determining the father of a child is heavily skewed in the mother’s favour. At least in Sweden, and I guess it’s pretty simsilar in Norway.
              In a married couple, the husband is automatically assumed to be the father.
              If they are not married, the man has to apply and be accepted in writing by both the mother and the authorities.
              Problem is, once the fatherhood is accepted in writing, the man has no legal rights to challenge his fatherhood, e.g. with a DNA test, should he later on have firm reasons to believe that something isn’t right.
              On the other hand, if a baby is born with “father unknown”, the mother has legal right to draft for DNA testing any man she says she may have slept with during the “crucial” period in time.

              But if a single man dream of becoming a parent but has now partner that want to start a family with him ,he can adopt a child.

              It’s rarely that simple for a single man to adopt.
              Even if the rules should be written as equal for men and women, men often have to fight the authorities prejudice for them as suitable parents.
              And also that countries that traditionally have supplied the largest portions of children for foreign adoption to western countries, have started to question or practicies for approval and in some cases simply stopped adoption to single men as fathers.

          • John Schtoll says:

            Iben: Also, it is rude to answer a question with a question.

            BUT I will not be rude and I will answer yoursl.

            NO, I don’t believe men should be able to control womens bodies , but I do believe they should be able to control their own bodies and the results of those bodies, iow, if a woman gets pregnant , the man should have the ability to ‘opt out’ , iow, he should be able to choose whether to become a legal parent (notice I said legal parent)

        • Kari Palazzari says:

          John Schtoll says:
          July 29, 2013 at 1:40 pm
          David: Can you name a single reproductive right that men have in western society (and I am talking legal right here) that allows them to legally control when they become a parent. Because your statement earlier that says “Wear a condom you will be fine” is (as you would put it) counter factual to reality. Wearing a condom does not , and has never given a man the legal right to control if or when he becomes a parent.

          It seems to me that men’s reproductive rights are somewhat linked to men’s reproductive responsibilities. If we’re talking about pre-conception, men’s legal rights are the same as women’s – you have an absolute legal right to abstinence and contraception (with various forms working for better or worse). If we’re talking post-conception and pre-birth the balance of the responsibility shifts dramatically onto the woman, as do the rights. Post-birth the responsibilities and rights shift back into balance (more or less – and we’ve already had a lot of discussion about the imbalance in custody issues on this thread so I’m not going to repeat all that).
          Outside rape, your legal rights over your own body are protected. If you don’t want to conceive there are all sorts of measures you can legally take to avoid it. If you do want to conceive, then until we find a way to incubate babies without female bodies, you’ll have to go through a female body – either contractually or otherwise.

          • Men have no reproductive rights after conception. If a woman gets pregnant, she (in many places) can abort and some she can even give the child up, no questions asked from what I’ve heard? That act of allowing women to have abortion means 100% of the choice of whether a child is born is hers, he has 0% say in the matter. Her actions 100% directly affect whether he will need to pay child support for 18 years. Men deserve the right to opt out of parenthood, if a woman wants to have a child and doesn’t respect the desires of her partner then she can raise it alone or find another partner.

            Of course men should NEVER be allowed to force her to abort but women should NEVER be allowed to force him to be responsible for a child he does not want if he has no way of disabling sperm after conception. Her body her choice, his body HIS choice, if he doesn’t want to be forced to use his body to work to earn income to pay for a child he did not want then why should he? I’d say the same for her too, neither should be forced. It sickens men that in areas with abortion, he is responsible no matter what her decision is.

            • David Perry says:

              This is interesting. So your attitude is that a man has consensual sex with a woman and she gets pregnant. He then has the right to say – you can abort or not, but if you have the baby, I will not pay a dime of child support. I see a lot of problems with that scenario. I know that pressure for abortion actually happens a lot (like that Tennessee GOP congressman who slept with his patients), of course. But I think your idea leads to a dangerous place.

            • A dangerous place why? That people should be able to choose if they are parents, and that conception shouldn’t be the only deciding factor?

              By opt out I mean he has absolutely ZERO say after he opts out, no control over the child, to him that child is simply another child and he cannot have any say in the upbringing as it’s fully her child. But I would also ensure that couples can adopt out easily because a born-child deserves the best home they can get, and not all people are ready for children or could handle it.

              10 years ago there would be no way I’d be able to handle a child because I was very sick, had no money, and the stress of it probably would have driven me over the edge of suicide as I was already contemplating it. A woman in that situation has the option of abortion, yet I wouldn’t have. I do my best to take precautions and I am eagerly awaiting RISUG but then we also have the issue of contraceptive fraud which the CDC NISVS 2010 I believe has it around 8% for each gender, so condoms could be tampered with. Either way unwanted pregnancy may occur, only she can stop it, I’m fully happy to pay half or even 2/3rds if that is better or whatever to offset the cost of abortion or emergency contraception. But it scares me that after conception, only she has the choice and I am stuck either way with the decision she fully makes.

              It wouldn’t scare me as much if I had a decent income, and my health was stable of course. I could avoid sex all together but then I could say the same for women. Is it not fair on a man to be made responsible for a decision he is unable to make, that is the double edged sword of abortion. In the U.S I believe you can still be jailed for not paying child support, even if you’re broke (may be different now? Not sure).

              I also would like society to reach a point where the bills are very low, I look forward to technologies such as ALGAE reactors to create fuel in our back yards, better solar technology at a cheaper rate + the batteries to be decent so we can lower our power bill (1000 per quarter in Aus for 3 people here), food to reduce in price, etc to help alleviate the cost of living which is already very very high which makes it much harder to raise a child. I’d say a huge amount of abortions are probably influenced by financial issues. The cost to raise a child in Australia was around $200k last I checked, I haven’t even earned 100k in the last 10 years and haven’t been able to fully support myself let alone a child. Even welfare is pitifully low, and my health has been greatly hindered where I just don’t have the physical or emotional stamina to look after a child even in share.

              The perfect society would be one where children have no burden but when we have people like myself unable to be self-sufficient then it’s incredibly difficult to have children, thing is one gender has a way to opt out post conception but the other doesn’t. A woman who disregards her partners choice in the matter is deciding for him, this is not merely her body her choice but also his too with child support laws. Her actions will directly affect him, he will have a financial burden that can be quite heavy especially for people whom are poor and if debtors jail still exists then it’s also a potential deprivation of liberty, not to mention the many hours of work required to earn that income. Women do get more of a burden due to health but that’s still no excuse to force men to be a father against their will.

              It’d be awesome to have super duper contraceptives, RISUG hopefully will fix a lot of these issues.

            • David Perry says:

              I believe that if you have sex, you have to accept that there is a chance you will become a parent. I am sure that there are a lot of ways in which custody laws, child-support laws, and so forth could be improved. But the fundamental equation is – have sex = risk child.

              The situations where a woman is pressured into deciding whether to abort or not based on financial exigencies is abhorrent to me. It is not, perhaps, fair to the man. But it may well be just.

              I freely admit to complexities here that are beyond my ability to articulate at 2 minutes to midnight. Good night for real this time.

            • Mark Neil says:

              “have sex = risk child”

              So you’re pro-life? anti-abortion? If a woman has sex, she risks having a child? Or are you simply attempting to justify a double standard?

              “The situations where a woman is pressured into deciding whether to abort or not based on financial exigencies is abhorrent to me.”

              Are you seriously saying that you feel forcing a woman to decide if she can afford a child on her own, without extorting money from a man, is abhorrent to you? What ever happened to women being independent and strong. With not needing a man? Why is saying “if you want this baby, you do it on your own” an abohorant idea, but saying “if she wants this baby, regardless of what you want, you will become an indentured wage slave for 18-26 years” seems perfectly rational? What ever happened to feminists breaking down the gender roles? Or was I right when I said feminists only seek to break down the roles that are harmful to women, while they maintain the ones that benefit them?

            • Hi Mark Neil
              Why do I sense a lot of paranoia here?

              I am surprised that some men are so scared of women and see them as wanting to harm and exploit them. This means you must be better at picking your partners…….

              And what about the CHILD and the child’s needs?

              The aggression here against David and his views makes me wonder if he also scares many men. A bright,well educated man that also is a stay at home dad.a caretaker of child and at the same times covers topic from feminism,to jihad,to the Viking world,the situation in Turkey today….this must mean he also know a lot about Islam. Of course he scares some men.

            • David Perry says:

              I was going to answer this until your last sentence, which is baiting and hostile. Bye.

            • David Perry says:

              Iben – I’m not actually a stay at home dad. I am the primary parent, but I have a full-time job (about 60 hrs a week most weeks). It’s just a job with some flexibility in terms of hours and we use that, especially given my son’s therapeutic needs.

              I think Mark – Men have no responsibility if they impregnate a woman unless they want to and Tom – womb-to-tomb pro-lifer, should go have a discussion.

            • Mark Neil says:

              “Why do I sense a lot of paranoia here?”

              I suspect it is because attempting to project an unstable emotional state onto someone in the first sentence of a reply makes it easy for any readers who are sympathetic to your point of view to dismiss the person you are painting as paranoid. It’s a form of ad hom attacking, sort of poisoning the well.

              “I am surprised that some men are so scared of women and see them as wanting to harm and exploit them.”

              Why are you so surprised? Feminists have been planting that fear in women for 50 years. Between the duluth model of domestic violence and rape culture theory, distrust between the sexes has been front and center for almost 3 decades.

              Do you realize that, when a man raises men’s reproductive rights as a topic of discussion, the feminist answer to that is “don’t trust women”. They specifically say, and you can see it in this very thread, that if you don’t want a child, don’t trust who you’re with and take reproductive responsibility yourself. And if you do decide to trust her, and she betrays your trust, well, too bad for you, you’re a fool for trusting her, and you don’t deserve any consideration, any kind of legal protections, any kind of redress for that betrayal. And then you wonder why men don’t trust women? It’s because that’s what YOU told them to do. That’s the only option YOU have given them.

              “And what about the CHILD and the child’s needs?”

              Are yo suggesting a woman is incapable of meeting those needs on her own? That she is entitled to make a choice she is not even capable of following through with? Isn’t that kind of misogynistic?

              “The aggression here against David and his views makes me wonder if he also scares many men.”

              The aggression comes as a result of his dismissiveness and his condescension. He uses the standard shaming and deflecting tactic all so common in these discussions. But I suppose projecting fear onto others, after calling them paranoid, only maintains the dismissive narrative.

              “I think Mark – Men have no responsibility if they impregnate a woman unless they want to”

              The irony of that statement, being that this is precisely what you advocate for women, to the point that you won’t even hold them responsible for the responsibility they CHOOSE to undertake, is remarkable. It’s also another example of being dismissive towards ideas you disagree with.

              “and Tom – womb-to-tomb pro-lifer, should go have a discussion.”

              Somehow, I suspect we would have a far more productive conversation, given we both advocate for both sexes having the same options. I advocate for both having the option to opt out and tom advocating that nether does (assuming his position is akin to mot other pro-lifers I’ve discussed with).

            • David Perry says:

              I’ll look forward to you and Tom reaching synthesis. Link to the essay here please when you write it.

              I cannot fathom the abnegation of responsibility among men that you call for. I can see how it seems fair to you. But it is not just. It is not responsible.

              I believe that when you are a man and you choose to have sex, you have to take responsibility for your actions. That’s part of what being a good man is about. Is it fair? I dunno, it seems like the burden of unplanned parenthood lies heavy on both parties. But to give the man to power to simply walk away from his offspring – I cannot call it right. I suspect few others will too.

            • Mark Neil says:

              “But it is not just. It is not responsible.”

              I suspect Tom feels the same way about abortion. I know I certainly feel the same way about granting women full, 100% choice without ever risking 100% responsibility.

              You’ve repeatedly called the idea of legal parental surrender (what we’re talking about here) as dangerous, but I have yet to hear you explain why it’s “dangerous”. Ironically, in one of your other replies, you said you would beg and plead, offer to take 100% legal responsibility (an option not available under current laws, but amusingly, exactly what I am advocating for), if your wife had considered abortion. So you have openly admitted that you would attempt to influence her choice to stop her from having an abortion, but then someone feel it is dangerous to influence a woman’s choice by removing an incentive (and if getting child support isn’t an incentive, then there isn’t a problem, is there?)

              “I believe that when you are a man and you choose to have sex, you have to take responsibility for your actions.”

              But not if you’re a woman? Is this what a feminists’ equality looks like?

              “But to give the man to power to simply walk away from his offspring – I cannot call it right. I suspect few others will too.”

              Yup. The “right” thing to do is vacuum that sucker out and toss it in the trash. /sarcasm

              ” I suspect few others will too.”

              there have been several feminists leaders who have actually suggested men be given such a right. Karen Decrow, President of NOW in the 70′s said as much. It’s a shame their time has so long pasted

              http://www.people.ubr.com/historical-figures/by-first-name/k/karen-decrow/karen-decrow-quotes/if-women-have-the.aspx

            • David Perry says:

              Your comments on women’s experience of becoming pregnant, it seems to me, demeans them. Your sarcasm angers me. I’m done here. You’ve made your case, so I trust you will likewise move on. Thank you.

            • @Iben, ““Why do I sense a lot of paranoia here?””
              “I am surprised that some men are so scared of women and see them as wanting to harm and exploit them. This means you must be better at picking your partners…….”

              “Approximately 10.4% (or an estimated 11.7 million) of men in the United States reported ever having an intimate partner who tried to get pregnant when they did not want to or tried to stop them from using birth control, with 8.7% having had an intimate partner who tried to get pregnant when they did not want to or tried to stop them from using birth control and 3.8% having had an intimate partner who refused to wear a condom.””

              So 1 in 12.5 to 1 in 10ish women (or men) in relationships (or maybe a smaller number who date more?) will try to get pregnant against their partners wishes pretty much but difference is women still have ways to opt out, men do not. A 1 in 12 to 1 in 10 chance of your relationship having a partner try to get pregnant against your wishes IS FUCKING SCARY especially when we men cannot abort, AND our contraceptives are being messed with. Hell as a woman I’d be nervous too but at least in many areas there is access to abortion. That is potentially around 1 in 10 fathers who probably have kids, child support against their wishes. The child support burden, especially when there is a threat of jailtime for being unable to pay, ends up practically/nearly being a form of slavery when you did not choose to have a child and your measures to prevent conception were tampered with.

              Why would men NOT be paranoid about it? I sure as hell am, I don’t want kids and think it’s extremely irresponsible to get someone pregnant at this point in my life, luckily I am single. I don’t know if I would fully trust a partner having access to our condoms, nor do I know if I could trust her taking the pill. I hope my partners are honest but 1 in 10 is pretty high chance of someone harming you that way. I am also paranoid about abuse too but hopefully I can walk away from that. The right to opt out most definitely should exist for people forced into it like that.

              1 in 10 is not some random rare occurance, if there are a million babies, 100,000 or more may be the result of someone purposely bypassing contraceptives and tampering with them. It’s hard enough to deal with a child you cannot afford to look after financially OR emotionally, hard enough to deal with the career hit, the lifestyle hit, if you’re a very busy person it can severely dampen your activities…but it’s also extremely difficult to have a partner that has tricked you, abused you and you are now forced to have some contact since you have a child together.

          • John Schtoll says:

            Kari: I am going to answer this a caveat, I am talking the US and Canada here since I don’t know where you are located.

            Unfortunately you are incorrect when you state that pre-conception that mens and womens rights are the same and remember I am talking legally here. Men don’t actually have the right to “SAY NO”, not when it comes to being a parent, conceiving a child and/or reproduction. There is plenty of case law where a man was raped, duped, drugged, plied with alcohol or plain had his sperm stolen against his will and was still held responsible for the child. This fact alone shows that man doesn’t even have the right to say no.

            Post conception – Pre Birth , Alot (though tecnically not all) of the responsibility shifts to the woman but NONE of the rights are with the man.

            Now, post birth, this where it gets sticky for me. Because some areas women actually still maintain all the rights unless she (and she alone) decides to give some to the father, while other areas do give (at least on paper) some rights to the father but even in those areas those rights are still conditional , which some would say are not really rights if they come with conditions.

            • Kari Palazzari says:

              John – I’m in the US.
              Pre-conception:
              “raped, duped, drugged, plied with alcohol or plain had his sperm stolen”
              Those sound like crimes to me (rape, fraud, theft, assault). So if this went unpunished, that’s a miscarriage of justice, in my mind. Crime brings a difficult twist to the reproductive rights conversation on several levels and changes the rights/responsibilities calculus. I don’t think anyone should ever be forced or tricked into sex/conception.

              Post-conception and pre-birth:
              I’d like us to take a small step back from the assumption that women are in 100% control. John wrote “1) Women have the right to control if and when they become a parent” and Archy wrote “That act of allowing women to have abortion means 100% of the choice of whether a child is born is hers” Let’s start by dialing this back from the edge a little. Infertility, miscarriage and stillbirth happen. Disabilities happen. A woman’s choice to have a child doesn’t always make it so. At most, abortion is a one-way ratchet – meaning woman can opt out of pregnancy but they can’t guarantee a healthy outcome if the woman decides to opt in.
              The problem at this stage is that there is no way to incubate the child outside female bodies. It sounds like most of the comments on the reproduction topic are about men being forced into parenthood or being denied parenthood. So, assuming no crimes, the question at this stage becomes – when in dispute, can a father force a mother to abort or birth? Can his preference trump hers?
              One way to (legally) decide is to ask “who bears the greater risk?” and we put the father’s financial and emotional burdens on one side of the scale and the mother’s financial, emotional, and health burdens on the other side of the scale. It tips toward the mother. The ideal legal situation is that these issues are worked out by the parties ahead of time (like any good contract) and that when disputes arise they are handled in a fair, mediated process (like any good dispute resolution), but life is messy.

              Post-birth:
              I know next to zip about custody and child-support laws beyond the fact that they vary by jurisdiction. And the thread has already covered a lot of this ground.

            • Kari Palazzari says:

              Let me add this after “life is messy”…
              The law can only accomplish so much. Whether we’re talking about broad-brush legislation or case-specific judicial decisions, the law is limited in its ability to heal human conflict. Reproductive disputes, in particular, seem to cut to the very core of our lives and our selves. Concepts of fairness and rights are, in some sense, too shallow to fully address the depth of these conflicts and the consequences of any decision. And in discussing the comparative rights and responsibilities of the parents we haven’t even touched on the interests of the child or the interests of the state/society.

            • Many issues of abortion seem to stem from the financial costs. Currently in Australia our bills are rising fast, in the last year electricity has shot up 20% or more and it’s done similar for a few years. Insurance went from 1000 to 8000 for some due to major flooding in South Qld + a few big cyclones. The cost of food is steadily rising too, far more than CPI I believe. Cost to have a child is roughly 200k a year, which is around 11.1k per year per child. That’s a HUGE amount of money! Infact that is what I earn per year total.

              I don’t believe men should be able to force a woman to abort or carry to term but men should not be forced into being a father. The choice a woman has is to continue or stop a pregnancy, not magically ensure her fetus is born a healthy child since that’s impossible atm. If it’s so tough on the child, the state can pick it up then but either way you look at it, it’s still HER CHOICE ALONE which results in this child being brought into the world post conception. The second she finds out she is pregnant and either chooses to get an abortion, or carry through to term she is deciding the fate for herself AND the father and has no legal obligation to listen to him. I find it quite silly when people try to deny this lil fact and act like women don’t have 100% control over whether the pregnancy continues or doesn’t in an area with safe access to abortion. Yes society, stigma, etc influences her but she still has that choice.

            • Hi Archy

              Why do you think a woman will want to abuse you,break the law ( in Sweden it is a crime) and trick you into making her pregnant against your will Archy?

              I know it happens,but I have never understood how anyone can do a thing like that.

              I hope you are 100% honest about your attitudes and views about this Achy and tell your future girlfriend about it before you make love that you support men’s rights to “opt out”.
              Women can become pregnant even if they use contraceptives as you well know.

              Do you have political parties in Australia that have on their program ,that men can choose if they want to pay child support or not?

              You should read up on the technique for secure periods often used by catholics. it gives you knowledge of some of the signs that women are in their fertile period of the month or not.

    • David Perry says:

      Just so we’re clear, John, I agree that women and men are technically equal before the law in western society. Doesn’t that make it interesting that women are in fact so systematically discriminated against in so many ways?

      The more I think about it though, the more amazed I am at the cognative blindness evinced by your parent statement. I think I’ll go write a blog about it.

      • Tom Brechlin says:

        What ways are they systematically “discriminated against in so many ways?”

      • ogwriter says:

        David
        If what I argue resembles MRA talking points its because they are catching up with me. As I said I was a femnist at a very young age and have spent over 40 years formulating and adjusting my beleifs. My views are a combination of research on feminism and its impact on culture, lived experinces and common sense infused with intelligence.I have six sisters and I grew up in one of the cradles of modern feminism, during the second awakening, At which time I began to experience much of what I complain about. My views are well informed not simply regurgitated talking points.

  17. Hi David Perry
    I am surprised at what happens on this thread.

    It makes me wonder how large percentage of adult American men do not oppose that society changes toward wore equality between the sexes?

    Why is it a problem that women get a good education or learn a trade so they can better support themselves economically and are free to choose who they want to marry?

    • Kashdoller says:

      Iben,

      While reading your male rant, you mentioned education. Thanks for mentioning education. With all this talk about patriarchy and privilege being so pervasive in our culture, I wanted to take the time to point this out to you.

      2010: University enrollment rates ratio:
      1.45: 1 – that’s female to male by the way.

      To put that in perspective that is just 7 males for over 10 females enrolled in college. That number is absolutely staggering.

      2010: college graduation rates-
      Females: 38%
      Males: 26%

      To put that in perspecrive that means for every 13 million boys graduate college, there are 19 million girls who graduated.

      And these numbers are just increasing. They actually are worse than what I write here, and the gap just continues to get larger.

      So tell me how does this culture with all it’s “subtle” patriarchy allow such an obvious blaring gender gap leaving the male gender in downright crisis mode happen???

      • David Perry says:

        The male:female numbers in higher ed are very troubling. The question is what is driving them and what do they mean. Earlier in the comments, we had a long discussion about the ways that calcified gender roles in fact make it harder for boys to succeed in school. The patriarchal system praises male action, physicality, disobedience to authority (especially female authority in the classroom).

        There are two solutions – one, remake the American educational system to reward diverse behavior types. Two, break down those gender roles to enable boys to focus on reading, listening, and participation in educational communities – i.e. more feminism, not less.

        It’s a classic example of the way men say, “Aha! We are the real oppressed ones here,” without digging into the semiotic value of the statistics they cite.

        • But David who said that men are the real oppressed ones? Kashdoller simply pointed out ways in which boys are lagging behind in education and as far as I can tell there was no intent to say that that lag somehow proves that boys are the ones that are really oppressed.

          • David Perry says:

            Ok, good. Very reasonable. I assumed it was part of the larger argument. My mistake.

        • If the “patriarchy” is so pervasive in society then boys should be doing better in school than girls. You say “The patriarchal system praises male action, physicality, disobedience to authority (especially female authority in the classroom).” If that’s the case then boys who are considered troublemakers in school should be the ones doing best. Of course that’s not true but it doesn’t matter when you need to blame the imaginary “patriarchy” for something.
          Then you go on to say that boys need to be made to learn like girls which doesn’t make any sense if “the patriarchy” is rewarding boys for their behavior. In actuality the female-centric public schools need to change their way of thinking to understand that boys learn differently.

          Schools should be adapting their processes to how boys learn. We shouldn’t be adapting boys to learn like girls.

          Not sure how “more” feminism will help. k-12 is predominantly a female dominated “industry”.

          • David Perry says:

            You’re twisting what I said to suit your pre-conceptions. I’ve got to write something else for a bit, so I think I’ll just leave it.

        • John Schtoll says:

          And yet , until very recently, males graduated at higher rates and levels from all levels of education, again, you are ignoring history, OR are you claiming that patriarchy has only existed for the last 25 or so years.

          • David Perry says:

            John – I don’t like your tone. It’s been aggressive since the start. I am going to stop responding to you now. If you would like to continue, change your tone. There is a way through this towards a synthesis that both confirms my thesis and acknowledges your concerns, but only if you want to work in functional discussion. Think about what it is that you want to accomplish here.

        • It’s been proven there is a pro-female bias in quite a few female teachers which ended up with girls getting better grades than boys. There are other issues such as more feminized styles of learning, not taking into account different styles of learning, sexism against boys in school such as being called out MORE than girls for bad behaviour. For example I had plenty of classes where both boys n girls were talking too much, the boys got called out for it far more. There is also issue with reading comprehension in girls maturing faster than boys. There are also FAR MORE female role models and teachers in earlier years than male and that has an effect too.

          After college it flips back over to women being more disadvantaged in the workforce, men more disadvantaged in careers with children or being the parent (pedophilia hysteria for instance has absolutely DECIMATED the number of males in roles looking after kids).

          • David Perry says:

            “It’s been proven” and “quite a few” means you have to cite. Or at least that I’d like you to do so.

            It’s interesting to think about the flip – more women rising, more boys failing, but the gendered hierarchy remaining more or less intact in the adult world. What levers would have to be pulled to achieve equality throughout the process.

            • “It’s interesting to think about the flip – more women rising, more boys failing, but the gendered hierarchy remaining more or less intact in the adult world. What levers would have to be pulled to achieve equality throughout the process.”

              One issue is that to reach the very top, AFAIK it’s usually people 40-50 years olds and I think the flip occured maybe 10-20 years ago, it might still be reaching the very top (as in students who graduated after the flip still are rising the ranks, so check in 10 years:P). There are a lot of other issues also restricting women, such as gender roles of parenthood, taking time out for raising baby, etc. It is still however a worrying trend that boys are slipping back so we need to fix that before the problem elevates further. I think part of the issue was around the 90′s? there was a big push to fix girls grades and it worked very well, so well that they surpassed the boys and if you add on other issues like the bias against boys regarding their attitude to learning then that can compound the effect a lot. We don’t want to have society focus on the boys only and fix them, have the pendulum swing and chase down girls grades in 20 years. We need to tailor policies to ensure that both reach a similar level and neither get left behind.

              ht tp://ideas.time.com/2013/02/06/do-teachers-really-discriminate-against-boys/ – “In other words, boys who match girls on both test scores and behavior get better grades than girls do, but boys who don’t are graded more harshly. Which means that the issue of what to do with underperforming boys just got a lot more complicated.”

              ht tp://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/female-teachers-accused-of-giving-boys-lower-marks-6943928.html – I saw this personally happen, in highschool boys assumed girls were smarter and girls also assumed it too and the guys gave up to some extent. Very much a case of living up to expectations….

              From the article “Ground-breaking research shows that boys lower their sights if they think their work is going to be marked by a woman because they believe their results will be worse.

              It also shows their suspicions are correct – female teachers did, on average, award lower marks to boys than unidentified external examiners. Male teachers, by contrast, awarded them higher marks than external examiners.”

              “It also revealed that girls tried harder if they had a male teacher because they believed they would get better marks. Their suspicions were not borne out, though, as the male teachers tended to give them exactly the same marks as the external examiners.”

      • Hi Kashdoller

        My thesaurus defines rant this way:
        1a loud bombastic declamation expressed with strong emotion
        2pompous or pretentious talk or writing
        Verb

        May I please ask for some good examples of my ” ranting ” on this thread?

        • ogwriter says:

          Iben I do not see this aggression towards feminism or Mr.Perry you speak.What I read from men who disagree with him is the are reasonable criticisms regarding his positions.I think there is frustration because femisnism/ists position themselves as blameless arbiters of truth and justice,for everyone.Time and again legitimate criticisms of feminism are aggressively brushed off as inconsequential.I don’t sense that anyone is paranoid or afraid of Mr.Perry or of feminism.Feminism has a public relations problem it refuses to acknowledge or address.A political organization wishing to encourage membership typically behaves quite differently than does this type of feminism.These critics of Mr.Perry’s brand of feminism have real concerns and slapping a feminist label on a movement shouldn’t shield it from criticism.There is no such thing as a perfect political human endeavor and feminism is no different.I was a SAHD 28 years ago and was treated VERY poorly by women in general.The world that feminists said I was entering,of accetance,empathy,support and caring, wasn’t there.Feminism SAID women were not violent, they were wrong.They said women didn’t rape,they were wrong.They said women don’t pay for sex with minors,they were wrong.The list of failures goes on and on.And I have yet to hear a feminists simply say,”We were wrong.” Oh,they will say,Rape is rape.” That is not an admission of guilt.It seems logical that if an adult says they don’t like and or trust a political movement,simply shutting them down by calling them paranoid and afraid doesn’t solve the problem.That is simply arrogant.I instructed my sons that if a girl says she is pregnant,get a paternity test, and, if they choose to not be a father,I would support them.Of course,they would have to pay to support the child,not the mother.Women all kinds they can use to avoid parenting,why shouldn’t men?

          • David Perry says:

            There are lots of points in these comments where I say – that’s a good point, or, that makes sense, or admit fault in my logic or my rhetoric.

            Now – can you point to a comparable moment from any MRA in this thread? I’ve read every comment and don’t remember one, but I’d be delighted to be wrong.

            “I was a SAHD 28 years ago and was treated VERY poorly by women in general.”

            Sorry about that. The solution to this problem is more feminism. But we’ve already covered that and I know you aren’t going to be convinced, so let’s just move on.

            Also. Feminism doesn’t “say” anything. Individuals make claims, often in the name of one or more movements. I am making claims about the pervasive nature of patriarchy and its consequences in the world, as perceived through the last few weeks (at the time of writing this). It’s interesting to me that not a single MRA can admit that anything I said might be true, but can only talk about their generalized or specific grievances. I acknowledge many of their grievances. Not one (that I recall) has acknowledged the patterns to which I point.

            • ogwriter says:

              Mr. Perry. I am not saying that patriarchy doesn’t exist. I disagree to the the extent that you say it colors the world in its own image.As a historian you must know that the lame founding fathers did not for a moment believe that the common man was their equal in any significant way.This is clearly spelled out in the Constituion.And of course blackmen and Natives were not even considered human beings

            • David Perry says:

              Totally valid. I disagree for reasons I have tried to spell out, but I know it’s contested ground. That’s why I wrote the essay. You can call me David, by the way. I’m 40, but Mr. Perry remains my father.

          • Hi Ogwriter :)

            I live in a society where trust is a core value. It is the glue that keeps us together.
            If I got pregnant with a man I was in a love relationship with,and his first reaction was to ask for a paternity test,then that relationship would be in deep trouble,maybe damaged for ever.
            Not that I would refuse it,but it would be hard to stay in a relationship with a man that suddenly saw me as dishonest ,sleeping around and trying to push an other mans child onto him to support economically and emotionally.

            The climate between men and women are so different where I live.
            I wonder if this feeling of powerlessness some American men express is created by more than disagreements with feminists. You live in a far more brutal society than me,unless you are born unto wealth.

            The differences between life in Scandinavia and the US is larger than I first imagined. David knows more about that than me. [This is off point, but one day I hope I will write a pice about the Vikings and tell me what happened to the 30% of the Viking society that was said to be slaves. Where did they come from? Did they also bring persons from North Africa? Slavey ended around 1200-1300? Did they then become free and settled down?]

            The only thing I know about feminism is how it changed fields of social science like sociology and social anthropology. That change was exciting.
            Since I for some reason abandoned the female role expected of me already as a child, I was never much interested in reading feminist literature when I was a student. But now I am open to learn more.

            • Typo David
              I ment to write that I hope you one day will write a little pice about the Vikings.

            • David Perry says:

              Medieval slavery was not race based. The association of slave with skin color is largely a product of the early modern period.

              http://www.amazon.com/Slavery-Medieval-Scandinavia-Historical-Publications/dp/0300041217 is a good book on it.

            • Hi David
              I was not thinking that is was.
              The thing is my fathers family are so dark complexted that I wonder where they come from originally. That is why I wonder if the Vikinigs also went across the Mediterranian. But I can read all about this some where else. Than you for answering.

            • David Perry says:

              Aha, sorry. My students often get confused about that.

              There was some contact with the Mediterranean, but not in any sustained sort of way, pre-1000 or so. As the Vikings established a presence in the Byzantine empire, though, there was more exchange. I don’t know enough about the genetics to say how skin tone might move through generations.

  18. John Schtoll says:
    July 29, 2013 at 1:40 pm
    David: Can you name a single reproductive right that men have in western society (and I am talking legal right here) that allows them to legally control when they become a parent.

    Good question, and I think, there is also no right to legally control NOT to become a parent either.

    I am not sure however how this is really the problem. I see it more as a legal problem that you might be tricked or even be forced to become a parent even if you are not the biological father.

  19. Iben says:
    July 29, 2013 at 1:54 pm
    Hi John Schtoll
    Do you want control over women’s bodies and their sexually ?
    Should men have total control over women’s bodies is that what you try to say?

    I am not sure what he exactly means. Some more explanation is required from him.
    I think, it’s more about father’s rights, it’s not about to order abortions, but about to stop abortions, just my opinion.

    • David Perry says:

      Good, so now we see the forced birther ideology emerge. I thought it would show up eventually. It’s good to have the enemy exposed. Yohann, you will not be able to post on this thread further.

      • Kari Palazzari says:

        David, I’m not sure that this comment really warrants banning Yohan, although I can see you are frustrated with him. I had the same thought Yohan did regarding John Schtoll’s comments – that John is asking about father’s rights post-conception, most likely in the form of preventing abortion. But that is just my guess, too.
        Since the comment thread is now over 250 comments, maybe just stepping back and letting whoever wants to have the final say make their peace is the best way to go. There are consistent voices on GMP that sometimes get entrenched, myself included, and it can be hard to get any sense of fluidity in people’s ideas. But Yohan’s comment doesn’t seem out-of-bounds here in terms of the GMP policy or culture.
        Anyway, I just wanted to try to cool things off a little.

      • Mark Neil says:

        I think this is a prime example of why TGMP should implement a policy to prohibit authors from also being the moderators of their own works, particularly if they are involved in the comments section.

        • David Perry says:

          Fair enough. But I’m following procedures as I was told and have been trying to have a fair, ad hoc, conversation. There are many many many comments here deeply critical of my essay and of me, and they passed through moderation without hesitation. Others, ad hominem (to me or to others), have been moderated into the trash. Some positions, including forced birtherism, are extremist and vile. I’m comfortable with my decision. If you’re not, well, there are lots of threads on GMP, and I’m genuinely sorry that you feel that way. I have learned a lot from the MRA comments here, but there are limits.

          • I think Yohan was offering an interpretation of John’s comments not endorsing any position.

            Aside- are you referring to pro-life beliefs when you say “forced birtherism?” I’ve never heard the term before.

            • David Perry says:

              Pro-life encompasses many positions. As the father of a boy with Down syndrome, I’m very much involved, for example, in efforts to convince people to choose life instead of eugenic abortion (a huge side-track. Excuse me).

              Forced birthers believe that once a man has impregnated a woman, even through rape, he has the power to force her not to get an abortion.

              If that is not Yohann’s position, then I sincerely apologize and will, of course, be delighted to go back to more or less polite disagreement with him.

            • Thanks for the clarification

            • Tom Brechlin says:

              David, I commend you for your efforts and applaud them in relationship to choosing life. My wife and I were confronted with a situation of the “unknown” when our daughter was born. In our world, there was no option other then to have the baby.

              That being said, I have to ask the question and believe me, there is no ulterior motive other then to better understand your position on the issue of what you call “forced birtherism.”

              What would your position be had your wife not wanted your child and wanted an abortion. As a father, you know we fall in love with that child long before he/she is born. So I’m curious as to how you would have handled the situation.

              I will admit, part of my asking this question is sue to my being a womb to tomb pro-lifer and to better understand the mans position.

            • David Perry says:

              Tom, I have a number of thoughts.

              1. No one actually knows what they would do in these hypothetical situations. Too many people who are sure they would abort suddenly decide to have the baby. Too many people who see themselves as rigorously anti-abortion suddenly decide to abort. Hypotheticals are all we have, so we discuss them, but I always like to start by saying no one actually has a clue until reality strikes.

              2. This matters for my son. We did not have a pre-natal diagnosis. We wanted a baby. We think we would have kept the baby even with a pre-natal diagnosis. But we don’t know, and pretending to moral certainty in an uncertain world is dishonest. People do it all the time. They pontificate about what they would do in someone else’s situation, when they have absolutely no clue.

              3. So to answer your question about the hypothetical. It’s her body. That’s the end of the discussion. I would persuade. I would entreat. I would beg. I would offer to take full legal responsibility – which I think is the key point. I would almost certainly end up angry and even full of hate.

              But any position that gives me control over her body, although better for my rights, leads to such injustices as cannot be borne by a humane society.

              It’s her body. The end.

              P.S. There were lots of comments when I was asleep so I missed pretty much everything else. I’ll try to go back and see, but if I missed something, ping me.

            • As someone that cares about fathers rights, I’d NEVER want forced birth to be an option and it sickens me. Fathers rights should only be stuff like equal custody (if there is no abuse), right to opt out, etc. But I think of them as parental rights too, I want full 100% access to abortion for women/transmen/whoever needs it and top notch sex education + access to great quality contraceptives + hope society changes so we don’t need so much damn money to raise a child and aren’t put in poverty because of that.

  20. sisheng says:

    >thinks equality outside of legal opportunity is important
    >cares about hurt feelings
    >thinks politics is social issues
    >double standards for dominant groups
    >extra pity for oppressed groups
    >thinks pity is a good thing
    >thinks privilege should be evenly spread and not contested for

    Sure is naive white people in here

    Reality check: The world is a competition for dominance, control and order. The freedom to offend is much more important than people who take offense (i.e. hurt feels). If people aren’t being offended it’s usually because you’re not having an honest conversation.

    Reading things like this makes me wonder if the western countries are afflicted by some kind of collective mental illness where moral values are somehow more important than objective self-interest simply because the latter is “mean”

  21. Here something from the today’s The Guardian about debates online :
    http://www.theguardian.com/technology/blog/2013/jul/29/internet-comment-flame-wars-why

  22. John Schtoll says:

    Just posting as a test to see if I am banned.

  23. Just for information, I wrote to the GMP to ask about its moderation policy, and I receive the following reply


    Hi Johann,
    It is absolutely our goal to have an open dialogue and to continue to talk about men’s issues from a wide variety of viewpoints.
    However, commenters who continually try to disprove what an author is saying are considered attacking that author.
    It is an attack on the author’s beliefs, an attack on their intelligence and it is an attack on their thinking.
    We do not have the resources to devote a full time moderator to the posts, so we are letting authors who want moderate their own.
    But we will always stand by the author if we are forced to make a choice.
    Lisa

    It’s a somewhat new moderation policy, I am sure it was not always like that.
    Up to the GMP, it’s their website, they can do whatever they like.

    As far as I understand this email from Lisa, authors can do with their threads whatever they want.
    However it is possible to submit your own articles and become an author yourself – regardless if you are feminist or MRA.

    • David Perry says:

      Let me tell you what it looks like from my perspective.

      I have personally hit approve on probably 200 comments, mostly from the same 5-6 people, that disagree with me, often intensely, often espousing views I find dangerous, misguided, or offensive. I have watched this become an unsafe space for feminists not used to the battles to join in, lest they be bullied.

      I have deleted generalized feminist bashing. I have deleted personal attacks on me.

      I have apologized when called on generalizing rather than focusing on specifics.

      And if that’s not enough for you, if you haven’t dominated this discussion enough to your satisfaction, well, I’m comfortable with where we’ve ended up. I’ve learned a lot about MRA argumentation and will be better prepared for it next time.

  24. well personally I’m done coming to this website after this whole shindig. I’ve had several of my comments deleted which I presume is strictly because I disagree with the author. I don’t believe in censorship and in fact have never deleted any comments or blocked any people from any of my blogs I’ve put on the internet (except bots with spam).

    Even worse reading the comment above from the GMP that anyone can be an author, feminist or MRA – then what is the point to this website? If a bunch of feminists post articles then this website hardly has anything to do with men anymore.

    I know this comment won’t get posted and not that it matters, but this is my last visit here.

    Single daddy out- Godspeed.

    • David Perry says:

      I’m a man. I’m a feminist. I am arguing that embracing feminism is one way to be a good man. What could be more relevant?

      I’m sorry that message frightens you.

  25. The main question I have for you and other Straight Married White American Male Feminists is this: What do you, and straight white American males such as myself, gain from supporting feminism? How does patriarchy hurt me, as a straight white man who has no problem with gender roles. You mentioned that you are a feminist “because sometimes we do see literal bodies of patriarchs,” in various places. What do those of us who aspire to be patriarchs have to gain from feminism?

    • David Perry says:

      When you say – aspire to be patriarchs – what do you mean?

      I’ve addressed your question from my perspective elsewhere in the thread, I’m afraid. I know it’s long, but dig around for it.

  26. Tom Brechlin says:

    I have to say David, you’ve stirred up quite a fire storm. I haven’t seen this level of interest in quite some time. Problem is that when you step away for a moment, I have umpteen responses to filter through. I get mail on my phone but I hate using the key pad.

    Anyway, personally, I think that the issue of responsibility starts long before a person has sex. If a man and a women had the mindset right from the start and realistically looked at the potential problems that may result from sex, be more discerning, maybe we wouldn’t have this problem or debate about responsibility after the baby is conceived.

    Just to clarify, my position favors the unborn and to be honest, I give a rats ass about the two so called adults who made the baby. NOTE!!!! I do not want this to turn in to a pro-life /pro-choice debate and will not respond to any prompting accordingly. Responsibility falls on both sides.

    And David, thank you for your honest answer to my question