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. 

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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

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. David,

    I like this piece very much. What do you think are the origins of patriarchy? Religion?

    The only criticism of the “feminist movement” in America is that it has been hijacked by elitist white females, who care very little about the lives of poor minority women. I am a Black man and I can tell your most Black women do not care for feminist women.

    • David Perry says:

      I know the womanist/feminist issue as it divides along race. I wouldn’t say that’s the “only” criticism of the feminist movement in America, but it is one criticism. The Crunk Feminist Collective in fact just had some things to say about that re: Tayvon Martin.

      I’m really not sure about origins of patriarchy. Religion definitely becomes a carrier for patriarchy across history, but it would be hard to call it a source of origin.

      • The origins of patriarchy are biology which was already extensively argued in The Inevitability of Patriarchy by Steven Goldberg. There has never been a non-patriarchal society EVER. Not one single one that can be confirmed to be non-patriarchal. These means societies as diverse as feudal, hunter-gatherer, nomadic, urban, Indian, Chinese, European, assorted tribal societies, etc etc etc are all patriarchal. An intelligent person who studied gender and patriarchy would at some point consider this question in great detail. No feminist has. Which to me means feminists don’t really understand gender or how it should be studied. This goes double for anthropologists who should know way way way better! Why or why can’t we have better anthropologists.

        What does it mean that every single society ever is patriarchal. Why are they patriarchal?! Societies are different in all sorts of dimensions. Sexual freedom for instance is highly variable. But some things don’t vary. They are found the same in all societies. WHY! It must be something that isn’t cultural but is inherent to being human…in other words biological. Patriarchy is a societal invariant which makes it highly likely that patriarchy is inherent to human societies.

        • David Perry says:

          This is factually untrue, as MANY scholars in many disciplines have written lots of books about the origins of patriarchy. This post sounds to me like you’re upset that scholars have not confirmed your biases. In fact, in the essay, I liked to the work of Bennett, who talks about the concept of the patriarchal equilibrium and how it works (I’m not as cynical as Bennett, but she is pretty persuasive).

          When you write:

          “An intelligent person who studied gender and patriarchy would at some point consider this question in great detail.”

          I wonder how you define intelligent person, and am concerned you mean – someone who agrees with you. I wonder how much work you’ve done studying the (literally) thousands of anthropologists of gender in western academia alone.

          • I suggest the commenter look into the scholarship of Marija Gimbutas for early-European matrilineal societies and extensive scholarship on the goddess cultures. This is pre-Indo-European society. Other indigenous cultures around the globe were matri-focal as well. Also refer to the prodigious work of Riane Eisler and her reframe of this patriarchy idea as what she calls the “dominator” paradigm [ and that “domination” goes beyond women to Mother earth/Mother Nature herself] vs. what she terms a “partnership” paradigm — clearly what is called for now. Eisler’s book, The Chalice and the Blade explains this in detail.

            • Big gap of agreement here Bobbye – if you believe that The Chalice and the Blade is a prodigious and scholarly work, then that bridge to common understanding has just become much less accessible.

              The notion that Indo-Europeans started the dominance trend and that Goddess culture flourished in an idyllic existence just prior is not backed up by any prominent archeologists / anthropologists.

              And though some of the work of Marija Gimbutas is indeed interesting, most in the field agree that she overreached excessively in her conclusions.

            • David Perry says:

              Elissa is, sadly, correct. It’s myth, not good scholarship.

            • Agreed, the idea of the Goddess cultures of ancient times is nothing but a pleasant thought experiment for women’s studies 1A students, I suspect. Yes the ancient Europeans worshipped symbols of female fertility. So have a lot of cultures that were not particularly great for women. That said, women in hunter gatherer societies tend to have more status than they do in agricultural societies where they become chattel property along with the cows. But we know virtually nothing about the culture of pre Indo Europeans. Concluding they were matriarchal paradises is 100% speculation.

        • Mike from MA says:

          Until 1969, no society had ever sent someone to the moon (who wanted to go, that is).
          Things change.

  2. Thank you for this piece. I would also add that yes, in its loudest tenor feminism is about actively learning to be allies to women-identified peoples. But also, feminism gives us male-identified folks a lens from where to critique and challenge masculinity not just as heterosexual men – to make visible a manhood beyond the patriarchal limitations of fatherhood and rigid gender norms.

    • David Perry says:

      Thank you for reading and for your thoughts. The notion of the lens seems exactly right to me.

  3. Well done. And from one feminist to another, thanks.

  4. This is great, David. Really enjoyed it.
    I wonder – are there points in your own experience where you have felt conflict between being male and being a feminist? GMP is loaded with examples from other ‘egalitarian’ men who have particular complaints (sometimes voracious ones) about Feminism. So, I’m curious if there are certain circumstances that have touched you where being male and being feminist aren’t so compatible?

    • David Perry says:

      That is a great question. Thank you. I wrote this in part because I was tired of seeing egalitarian men complain about feminism. I’ve had to think about my answer and have a few opening reactions, but nothing deeply thought out.

      1. When women are talking about patriarchy, especially if I feel I understand the situation better than they do (because I’ve done more reading, for example), I try to resist jumping in. I don’t want to mansplain feminism to women. It’s more important to have women’s voices doing certain kinds of arguments (about women’s bodies, for example), and then support those voices, than to take the lead. This has even happened in classes, especially when faced with rooms filled with women (I teach gender history sometimes), and I wonder how aggressive to be pushing female students to reconsider their views about gender roles.

      2. We don’t have a paternity leave policy at my university (yet. We are working on it). I didn’t complain this for years, even when we had our second child (or first was born before I took the job), because of my feminism. Maternity, I thought, was much more important to defend, than to risk seeing it weakened in order to match the policy with paternity leave. This response of mine was nuts, for the record. It’s not an either/or system and the best policies have “primary parent” leaves, rather than gender specific ones. Advocating for “primary parent leaves” is, in fact, a feminist issue, because it frees mothers from the expectation that they will be the ones in charge of child-rearing.

      3. I am, like many men, freaked out by the idea of my daughter dating. She’s 4. As a society, we start thinking about protecting our daughters from before they are born (I have another essay to write about that sometime), buying into purity myths that are deeply damaging. I know this. I understand this. But I still have this pit of MUST PROTECT GIRL CHILD in my heart. So my feminist self and my stereotyped dad self get into arguments.

      I’m going to keep thinking about this. Thanks.

      • Kari Palazzari says:

        Thanks for these, David. I’m particularly curious about #3, especially knowing that you have both a son and a daughter. Are you saying that your protective-dad feelings for your daughter are different than the protective-dad feelings you have about your son? How so?

        • David Perry says:

          Well, see, that’s complicated. My son turned out to have Down syndrome, so the questions about his sexuality are extremely complex. And my protective feelings about him are extremely complex.

          • Kari Palazzari says:

            Yes, I can see how it would be difficult to parse out the gendered aspects of your concerns about him.
            So, I guess my question then is what you mean about “purity” and protecting your daughter? As a mother of two boys (no girls), I can say that I am not so much concerned about “purity” but I am worried about my sons becoming victims of and perpetrators of and bystanders of sexual violence – all three of which are possible. I feel protective about their future dating life in terms of STDs and pregnancy and heartbreak and mistreatment, as well. And all of this seems like a similar list of concerns I would have about a daughter.

            • David Perry says:

              Right, that all makes sense, and I agree.

              But what I’m talking about is less rational. Valenti wrote a great book on it – http://jessicavalenti.com/books/the-purity-myth/

              My rational brain, my feminist brain, tells me that what’s important is that my daughter eventually has a healthy and safe sex life, in all the exact ways that you say. My non-rational brain totally buys into the purity myth, which is antithetical to a healthy sex life.

              Does that make sense? I’m aware of the sexism inherent in the purity myth, but that doesn’t mean I don’t feel it somehow.

            • Kari Palazzari says:

              Yep – I get what you’re saying. Not having read Valenti’s book, it sounds like the purity myth is that a woman’s value is based on her sexuality (even if she’s an all-star athlete or CEO). And so you want to protect and enhance your daughter’s self-worth and social-worth, which means protecting her sexuality (even though part of you knows this is all bunk.)
              Andrew Smiler’s piece (http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/andrew-smiler-male-sexuality-is-threatening-because-we-dont-understand-it/) seems to suggest the Casanova myth might be just as big of a problem for boys, though.
              But I do get the sense that as a mom-of-boys it may be easier for me to overcome my stereotypical views of male sexuality than it would be for a dad-of-girls to erase the stereotypical views of female sexuality. Certainly the recent round of anti-abortion, anti-contraception, anti-sex-education activity puts a bit more weight on the scale against healthy female sexuality, and gives more fuel to your non-rational Dad brain. And there don’t seem to be a whole lot of readily available examples of healthy female sexuality out there to pin our rational feminist hopes on.

            • David Perry says:

              There is /plenty/ of work to do on male sexuality.

              Actually, the latest round in the war on women just makes me want to work harder to empower my daughter to make her own choices. And there are much better models. Scarleteen, for example, is a fantastic resource.

              I wrote this on girls and judging by appearance last May, by the way. It’s related (not to my stupid male brain, but to my rational one): http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/28/opinion/perry-gender-children

            • Stupid male brain? Honestly? I would really except a lot better from someone who calls himself a feminist.

              I really enjoyed the article and the views you expressed and hope to hear more excellent writing from you, but you have to describe your bad sides don’t pull the male part down with your self deprecation.

            • David Perry says:

              That’s totally fair, sorry about that. I was writing loosely for the comments and I should know better.

              What I mean is that although I try to be a feminist, I am still a product of our culture and am periodically driven by its gendered norms, even as I work against them, and I find it frustrating. I love being a man and think that my feminism makes me a better, stronger, smarter, man. So when I find myself working against my own beliefs, I get frustrated with myself.

            • Kari Palazzari says:

              Thanks, David. Loved the CNN article and your daughter’s reframing of her award! Bookmarked Scarleteen, too.
              Cheers.

  5. Professor Perry,
    Feminism has become such a loaded term because feminists have dropped all pretensions of gender equality and are acting like special interest groups lobbying with government to benefit their clients. The term “Patriarchy” as defined by feminism does not exist. Patriarchy simply refers to the social system where father is the head of family. He has the responsibility to take care of the welfare of the family and right to demand obedience from other family members. Patriarchy and women’s rights need not be antagonist to each other. A man can be a patriarch (father and head of family) and still work for women’s rights. Your examples of Wimbledon and McDonald’s have nothing to do with oppression by patriarchy, but are simple old prejudices which would fade away.

    • David Perry says:

      I strongly disagree with this comment, I’m afraid. Rather than go point by point, just start with this – Notice how the old prejudices do not, in fact, just fade away. Think about why not. You’ll end up at the answer that patriarchy is real and powerful.

      • Tom Brechlin says:

        Patriarchy implies the institutions of male rule and privilege. So privilege that men commit suicide at almost epidemic level and is rising? . So privileged that men are least to be diagnosed with depression and other mental issues? So privileged that majority of addicts are men? So privileged that most father don’t have custody of their kids? So privileged are the men that they continue to build prisons to house them? So privileged that the enrollment of men in higher education is dropping? So privileged that most of the murders in this country of men? …. Wow, hell of a lot of men sure missed that boat.

        • David Perry says:

          The world is full of many problems and many of them attack men directly. But to deny the existence of patriarchy is to mis-understand many of the circumstances that lead to male oppression as well.

          Let’s just pick one, the clearest in your example: custody. The reason men lack custody of their children, at the core, is the assumption that women will be responsible for child-rearing. This is an aspect of patriarchy. Undermine patriarchy by promoting gender equality in parental responsibilities, and rights will follow.

          I understand your frustration, though, and it can be hard to see.

          Thank you for reading and commenting.

          • Professor Perry,
            This time I will disagree with you. Child custody after divorce being given to mother has nothing to do with so called patriarchy but is due to feminism. To support my statement, I would like to point to several countries in Middle East and other countries of Asia and Africa, which can be definitely called much more patriarchal in feminist terms, where on dissolution of marriage child custody by default goes to father and mother is simply pushed out of family. Child custody for mother is frequent in only Western countries which have strong feminist influence.

            • David Perry says:

              I think if you spend time looking at divorce case data, you’ll find your assumptions here are mistaken.

              The notion that women are innately responsible for child-rearing is critical in western patriarchy, which does indeed function differently than patriarchy in other locations. In the 70s and 80s, after the rise of the no-fault divorce, it was assumed by judges that “during tender years,” kids would have to be with their mothers. Now, if you can look that and think of it as part of feminism – a 2nd wave feminism often predicated on not having children or at least getting out of the home – then you need to look again.

              This is part of western patriarchy – women are assumed to be caregivers, it’s assumed that they will quit their jobs or take time off when they have kids, it’s assumed that they want to do this, and often they are discriminated against as a result. I know so many women who were told, in school, not to have kids or they’d lost funding. I know women who remove their wedding bands when they apply for jobs, so that their prospective bosses won’t worry about kids. The assumption run deep.

              What’s interesting here is how it proves my final point – patriarchy hurts men. I’m a very active father. I didn’t get a minute of paternity leave when my daughter was born. I’m working to change that system, but not by undermining women’s rights.
              Enjoy the research!

            • Professor Perry,
              While I agree with you that women are innately responsible for child-rearing is a definite notion in patriarchal societies, it has nothing to do with child custodý for mothers by default on dissolution of marriage. Historically English family law gave custody of the children to father on divorce. The tender years doctrine which gave custody of children to mother on divorce was propounded by feminist and has nothing to do with so called patriarchy. It was British feminist Caroline Elizabeth Sarah Norton who lobbied for passing “Custody of Infants Act 1839”. Therefore, feminists are certainly to be blamed for introducing tender years doctrine which gives mothers child custody by default.

              As fór your not getting any paternity leave when your child was born, I would like to point out that there are lot of things that only mother can do for neonate e.g., lactation. Paternity leave in my opinion is luxury and not neccessity.

            • In western patriarchy custody went to the father until a feminist called Caroline Norton successfully lobbied the presumption of maternal custody in the 1800s. That was replaced by the best interests of the child doctrine, where sole custody automatically goes to the main caregiver, the feminist lobby continues to oppose reform to a situation where both the main caregiver and the breadwinner have parental and visitation rights in the event of separation.

            • David Perry says:

              So I reject the notion of a “feminist lobby,” because I’m a feminist and not part of any lobby. But let’s assume you’re right – this is what I mean by working against the grain. It’s not fun to be on the other side, but I’m willing to accept it in pursuit of a broader justice.

            • You reject the existence of feminist lobbying for/against legislative change because you personally are not involved in it?

              How is obstructing the progression of legal reform to grant both parents automatic rights as a starting point in the event of divorce working in pursuit of broader justice?

            • David Perry says:

              Your comments are becoming increasingly inflammatory. Please work on adding constructively to the conversation. Thank you. This is more in response to your other comment than this one.

              I reject the idea that feminism = the groups you happen to not like.

              Thanks.

          • Let’s just pick one, the clearest in your example: custody. The reason men lack custody of their children, at the core, is the assumption that women will be responsible for child-rearing. This is an aspect of patriarchy. Undermine patriarchy by promoting gender equality in parental responsibilities, and rights will follow.
            Now here is an example of where my own lens disagrees with the commonly used feminist lens.

            The explanation you give here seems to imply that the primary force at work is to heap the presumption of child care on women and that any affects that befall men are collateral damage of that primary force. I think this explanation seems to say that the reason men are expected to be the ones to work outside the home is because after heping the presumption of child care on to women there was nothing left. Or at least that is how it is often presented.

            On the other hand I think there are two forces at work simutaneously. One that heaps being the external provider onto men and one that heaps being the internal provider onto women. In order for these forces to work there are narratives in place for the purpose of keeping men and women from simply performing the role they want. The system has a places designated for women and places designated for men. They are connected and I think it may be a bit dishonest to act as if the places designated for men are just the result of designated women first.

            • David Perry says:

              That’s interesting, Danny. Thanks for the response.

              That’s not what I meant. I meant that patriarchy drives men away from child-rearing and women towards child-rearing. It assumes this is the natural order of things, then we see laws and practices follow to reify that order. As a very active father and primary parent in my relationship, it doesn’t serve me well. The pathway out of this is more feminism – it’s to take the gender out of our discourse of parenting. On the other hand, there’s clearly a power disparity when men are expected to go into the workforce and women are expected to stay in the home, and it’s an ancient power disparity. Most of my direct reading has been on “femme seule” in medieval urban environments, but it tracks over time.

            • That’s not what I meant. I meant that patriarchy drives men away from child-rearing and women towards child-rearing.
              Okay now we are getting somewhere (although I wouldn’t be so sure about calling it patriarchy simply because the vast majority of men get screwed over by this system, yet it still gets labeled as something male).

              The pathway out of this is more feminism – it’s to take the gender out of our discourse of parenting.
              I see you repeat this like its a campaign slogan. Best of luck to you with it but feminists have turned me off from that movement. I’ll work on it in other ways.

  6. Nowadays its better to look at every issue on a case by case basis and then determine your political stance accordingly, instead of adopting a broad label like “feminist”

    There are certain areas where women are disadvantaged, certain issues and prejudices that specifically affect women.

    But at the same time there are areas where men have it worse…there are are many emerging double standards against men.

    It is becoming increasingly evident how ‘patriarchy’ or the ‘current state of things’ hurt men in numerous ways. Why then only women are portrayed as victims of patriarchy?

    People who call themselves feminist tend to be blinded by women’s perspective.

    For instance feminists argue how not having a universal social healthcare is a way to oppress women when in fact if its equally a men’s issue. Why do they think women are more deserving of universal healthcare? Its not a women’s issue. If you want to rally for universal healthcare by all means do so, but why do it under the banner of feminism portraying it as a women’s issue?

    There are many issues which are open to different interpretations. Some feminists, especially the 2nd wave types considered objectification to be harmful to women while it has been happily embraced by many current era feminists and men are beginning to see the disadvantages they face by not having the status of being sexual objects to women.

    This so called male culture and male gaze concepts are also becoming obsolete because there are 2 sides to the coin. There are contradicting interpretations by different people. If can be equally argued that the mainstream media and pop culture caters to women’s interests and perspectives.

    • David Perry says:

      Tim – thanks for writing.

      I think there’s a lot of confusion in this comment, though. First, the “nowadadys” reveals a sense of linear progress that my essay directly attempts to refute. You imply that somehow we’re past feminism – we’re not. I also think if you read to the end of my essay, you’ll see that I agree with you that patriarchy hurts men, and that’s part of why I’m a feminist. You’re right, there are lots of ways in which the current gendered distribution of power hurts men as well as women. But because it is a patriarchal system, I find the total, without reservation, adoption of feminism to be the most effective way to counter the pernicius and endemic consequences of patriarchy on myself – and on others who are willing to listen.

      Let’s just take one issue, then we can move forward from there:

      Go look at the Iowa dentist case, then come back to me, and we can discuss the power of the male gaze and its ongoing consequences for women. Tell me you are ready to be fired because your boss finds you too attractive and wants to save her marriage.

      • Yes David – let’s take that Patriarchal Dentist example: and using the Iowa court transcript and facts presented by both sides as truthful. If you have not already read the ruling, I would suggest you do that first.

        What exactly about the facts of that case allows you to conclude that the Patriarchal “male gaze” was responsible for the firing of the woman?

        To consider: if the dentist was a Patriarchal gay male and lived in a state that allows same sex marriage, would the Iowa court ruling differ in outcome, given the exact same circumstances but for the “hottie” and partner both being male?

        Also – consider that labeling anything bad as patriarchal and anything good as non-patriarchal does not constitute an argument for or against anything. If the Patriarchy is just another term for the devil, then this will be a fairly short conversation.

        Also consider that the most notable enabler and freedom fighter for feminism has been innovation, morality and philosophy, science, the industrial and technological revolutions, agriculture, full bellies, mobility and freedom, followed closely by thin crust pizza. Most if not all of the following were heavily subsidized by the Patriarchy.

        I reject feminism because it is anti-science and irrational – just so you know where I am coming from.

        • David Perry says:

          Well, it’s good of you to expose yourself that way. The notion that feminism is anti-science and irrational is, I suppose, playing into the long history of sexist discourse of women as irrational. So now the rest of us can see what it looks like here.

          Patriarchy encompasses meshes systems, overt and subtle, that perpetuate gender norms that generally disadvantage women. When your hypothetical reverse dentist case happens, as opposed to the real one that actually happened, please write about it. Until then, I’m going to stay a feminist.

          • That’s a trope David. When I say it is irrational I mean “it” is irrational as a theoretical system of ideas – not that women are irrational – that your response attempts to frame my position as meaning women are irrational is pretty much my point.

            Mesh indeed – like that devilish ether we live in I suppose.

            • David Perry says:

              I define feminism as a critique of the gender distribution of power in culture and society. How is that irrational?

            • Mostly_123 says:

              Well, one could argue, that it’s presuming, of course, that gender is the primary divisor for power?

      • I actually think this case demonstrates kind of the heart of how patriarchy develops and works. A man and his wife are having a conversation about the vows that they made to each other and how to uphold them. The man recognizes that he has desires and emotions that he considers to be inappropriate and may threaten things that he cares about. Rather than being allowed to express the mixture of feelings that he has and being encouraged to be accountable for the way that he responds to those feelings, he changes his environment, including taking actions that cost a hard-working and fully innocent person her livelihood. Moreover, this process of exerting control over women as if they were passive parts of the environment is state-sanctioned. None of this would happen if he could just express a variety of emotions and be accountable to his own behavior without needing to change everything in the situation except himself. So he reinforces the idea that the “responsible” thing for men to do in response to troubling emotions is to stuff them and take actions to change the environment (i.e. control women).

        In this dynamic, men lose because they are not allowed to be honest or encouraged to be accountable for their own behavior, desires and fears. Men end up only being allowed to ask for what they want on the basis of their capacity to exert control over others (so they have difficulty asking for or receiving work-life balance in low-power positions even if they want it). Women lose because they are systematically relegated to a passive role as someone else’s environment to be controlled, not persons at all, really.

        • David Perry says:

          Thoughtful comment, thank you.

        • If I’m reading you correctly then Joanna – deception, lies, moral restrictions, human failings…. are evidence of patriarchy. Seems rather broad as a theoretical framework, no?

          • Well, not every incidence of those things – that would be too much. I am talking about the way that (1) discomfort with and fear of men’s emotions paired with (2) a societal dictate that men only ask for what they want in situations where they have the capacity to compel it to happen. Women also enforce this on men, by requiring that men seek to change their environments rather than live with or express their emotions.

            For instance, in the article that I read on the Iowa dentist case, many commenters presumed that the dentist had fired his assistant at the request (demand?) of his wife possibly because neither of them were comfortable with the idea that he would go into a situation that required self-restraint and integrity in the face of “inappropriate” feelings.

            Why was his attraction so inappropriate as to require such drastic action? Was there no way that he could have changed the way that he structured his day, how he thought about the situation, or how they structure their relationship? Did he get to voice his dissatisfaction with their relationship? sex life? Was the only way for the wife to feel safe was to have the assurance that her husband would face no distractions? Why are men presumed to need a world without distractions? Why do we think so little as ask so little from them in this way? When people of both genders have inappropriate desires, there is discomfort. Women are allowed to express them, so long as they don’t act on them; men are allowed to act on them, so long as they don’t express them. Both result in the control of women.

            By the two of them agreeing that the best choice of action is to remove the distraction from his environment, they relegate the assistant to little more than an object whose importance is mostly in how she impacts his desires, over which he is presumed to have no other type of control. Of course, other types of control require more honesty than they are willing to admit…

            So not every type of dishonesty, or moral restriction. A very specific one.

      • Go look at the Iowa dentist case, then come back to me, and we can discuss the power of the male gaze and its ongoing consequences for women. Tell me you are ready to be fired because your boss finds you too attractive and wants to save her marriage.
        I don’t know. I get the feeling in that situaion people would actually notice the jealous husband that pressured her to fire him in the first place. In fact I almost bet that that would end up taking just as much if not more spotlight that the firing.

        • David Perry says:

          You’re arguing hypothetical against actual. I can’t engage in that debate, I’m afraid, as our preconceptions confirm our understanding of how things would come out.

          • No just bringing up something that did happen but was not mentioned in a lot of the discussion of the real case.

  7. Where do you stand on feminism’s deliberate misrepresentation of abuse as patriarchal?

    • David Perry says:

      What do you mean?

      • The covering up and omission of data on abusers and victims in order to misrepresent abuse as being male lead, and largely male to female to support patriarchy theory.

        • David Perry says:

          Please show me evidence that doesn’t come from men’s rights or conspiracy theory sites. Because if you think there are groups of feminists with the power to create a massive cover up, you are living in a world divorced from reality. Data, please.

          • Do not ask for citations if you will only delete them.

            • David Perry says:

              I’m sorry, did I miss something? I didn’t intentionally delete any substantive contribution to the conversation, I assure you.

            • David Perry says:

              Diz – I’m not posting that link, as previously noted.

            • David Perry says:

              I can find plenty of feminists arguing that rape is rape and gender is irrelevant. It seriously took me 30 seconds, though I had to scroll past the MR sites to get to them. If you want to perpetuate conspiracy theories, you’ll have to do it somewhere else.

  8. The major flaw of this piece is the lack of definitive terms. Words like feminism, patriarchy, and rape culture have hundreds of meanings. Specifically for this piece, what is your definition of Patriarchy?

    • David Perry says:

      I’m sorry you see this as a major flaw. I wanted to write a 1200-word essay and not a 3000-word essay, but I know that can limit things.

      I’m a little pressed for time (I have to make dinner), so here’s a working start, and we can return and work on this later.

      I define feminism as a critique of the gender distribution of power in culture and society.
      I define patriarchy as the emeshed overt and covert systems that reinforce that gender distribution of power.

      Both are, as you say, short-hands for complex concepts (hence my citing of Bennett, who is a good person to go to for a historical perspective).

  9. Mark Sherman says:

    You do make some good points, David, but I’m sure it’s much easier to be excited about feminism when you have a daughter (as you do), since all the signs right now are for women moving on up. But if you have only sons (and I have three), and grandsons (I have three, with a fourth on the way), the world of the future doesn’t look quite so promising. True, my sons and grandsons, as white males, are privileged, as compared to black males (who on virtually any scale you look at, are suffering mightily); but the fact is that since the first “Take Our Daughters to Work” day in 1993, it has been girls (including black girls) who have been given the attention, not boys (including black boys). And there was a lot of attention to helping girls in school as well (even when they were already doing better than boys). The result of all this focus on helping girls (and ignoring boys) is that on virtually every measure of academic success boys, white as well as minority, are trailing girls – from kindergarten right through college.

    I won’t even talk about the horrors of youth suicide, where “successful” suicides by males far outnumber those of females.

    What should I say to my young grandsons? What should I say when schools all over the country seem far more interested in making classes far more girl-friendly than boy-friendly, and when the boys who do act like traditional boys are often told to sit still, and many of them are ultimately drugged when they don’t? When the expression “boys will be boys” is spoken about as if there is something fundamentally wrong with boys, unless they learn to behave more like girls?

    I wish your daughter all the best in her life, including as much achievement as she wants. And you must know that she has a whole movement – feminism — pushing for her to succeed. My grandsons – who are children, NOT men – have no one rooting for them. I posted a piece on Psychology Today in February of this year – titled “We Owe to Our Sons What We’ve Given Our Daughters” http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/real-men-dont-write-blogs/201302/we-owe-our-sons-what-weve-given-our-daughters
    and it was one of the most widely read pieces that month. Obviously, there is a growing awareness that boys are in trouble. Will feminists, like yourself, come to their aid?

    • David Perry says:

      I have a son and a daughter.

      You should say to your grandsons that what you perceive as unfair is, in fact, a slow shift towards greater fairness, and that it’s lousy for them that they’re going to have compete against women in a fairer fight. But make no mistake, being a white western middle-class male is still laden with intense privilege. The thing about privilege is that it becomes so normal, you think it’s as natural as the air we breathe, and then when you lose it, you start to choke. But it’s there none-the-less.

      But as soon as we see Texas start passing laws limited men’s reproductive freedom, you come right back here and we’ll chat, ok? When the people with wealth and power are equally likely to be female as male. When women, across the board, are paid equally. When girls toys come in shades that aren’t pink or purple and are passive. When women can win a championship without being dissected for their sexual attractiveness. Then maybe I’ll be persuaded to worry about boys rights.

      What I worry about for boys is not the erosion of the rights, but the freedom to act without the pressure of false masculine gender norms. So you should tell your grandsons to ignore the pressure of “boys to be boys,” but to find their own path.

      • Mark Sherman says:

        You haven’t at all addressed the issue of how boys are doing poorly in school, and having many other problems as well. Don’t you want to see all our children, boys and girls, reach their full potential? There is book after book — written by intelligent educators, with daughters as well as sons — talking about the trouble boys are in. For example there is Boys Adrift by Leonard Sax (2007) (Sax has one daughter) Why Boys Fail by Richard Whitmire (2010) (he has two daughters), and Writing the Playbook: A Practioner’s Guide to Creating a Boy Friendly School by Kelley King (2013) (she has a daughter and a son).

        My sons all turned out to be truly good men. And I hope my grandsons do as well. But re your comment, “So you should tell your grandsons to ignore the pressure of “boys to be boys,” but to find their own path,” I don’t see my grandsons being “boyish” as responding to pressure. It just seems to be how they are. Lots of boys are not typically boyish, and they should get all the love and support they need — from parents and schools, etc. But some boys are more “traditional.” Should they get pressure from parents and schools to be different? Should my grandsons feel there is something wrong with them if they like to do “traditional” boy things?
        There is a not so subtle non-welcoming of boys in schools, etc. Perhaps your son has not seen this, and if so, he is very lucky.

        • He has addressed it Mark, and to paraphrase: “what they perceive as unfair is for the greater good, and their immediate loss is but a struggle in a fairer fight”.

          I think David was pretty clear and borderline immoral.

          • David Perry says:

            Perhaps I wasn’t clear – I feel that many men perceive their rights as under attack because of two causes:

            1. They are working against patriarchy, and thus find themselves running against gendered power.

            2. They are losing privilege, so perceive it as an attack.

            I meant number 2, there.

            • Thank you. You clearly know how Patriarchy works and how people respond to it. Thank you for putting your words, your experience, and yourself out here in this way.

            • Anon Commentator says:

              So when boys are falling behind in school at the youngest ages its due to the loss of privilege? As the father of both boys and girls this just seems odd.

              I keep thinking of little boys in osh kosh overalls and Elmo shirts being labeled Pre-K Patriarch, Mini-Moses, or ABC Abraham… Perhaps they should “check their privilege” after they put their backpacks in their cubbies?

            • David Perry says:

              So I’ve been reading what men’s right’s folks, anti-feminist folks, tend to say about this. Here’s one who has shifted away from anti-feminism to thinking more critically about the ways that policies make it harder for young boys to learn – http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/02/the-boys-at-the-back/

              I have not, as a disclaimer, read the study behind the piece.

              As so often is the case, I turn to gender expectations. Girls to be quiet, listen, dutiful, do their work. Boys to be brash, strong, loud, physical, dominate their space. In the schoolroom, it is the girl who will excel. The solution to this problem is more, not less, feminism. It’s to break down these gendered expectations of child behavior, while also finding ways to create rich learning spaces for all different types of intellects.

              This is a feminist agenda: Girls don’t have to be quiet. Boys don’t have to be loud. Girls don’t have to be diligent. Boys don’t have to be clowns.

            • Anon Commentator says:

              This hypothesis doesnt fit reality. Hypothesis: Boys performing their prescribed gender role has lead to widening disparity between their performance and girl’s performance.

              Here are the facts-
              1. Gender roles have become less rigid over time (a blessing for my middle son who is a talented singer and loves choir)
              2. Boys are falling behind girls in school over time

              If gender role performance were negatively correllated with boy’s school performance we would be seeing a narrowing of the gap versus a widening of one.

              Too many of these disparities require jumping through hoops to make them fit the patriarchy model. Why bother to retain it? Feminists advocate for women in pretty much all cases. Trusting Feminism to ensure my sons get a fair shake in school is like trusting in trickle down economics.

            • David Perry says:

              Well, I think you’re fundamentally wrong. But good luck to your son and to mine.

            • Can you provide a better answer than this?

            • David Perry says:

              I believe I did in a previous answer upthread. I’m running out of time this afternoon, unfortunately.

              It’s hard to argue with matters of faith (and I know that can run both ways).

            • wellokaythen says:

              “This is a feminist agenda: Girls don’t have to be quiet. Boys don’t have to be loud. Girls don’t have to be diligent. Boys don’t have to be clowns.”

              From the point of view of a teacher, this argument scares me a little bit. If feminism is about encouraging girls to be more rambunctious and less able to follow instructions, then that is not necessarily going to help girls get a better education. That may even out the gender numbers of who gets sent to the principal’s office, and maybe over the long-term make the gender distribution of the prison population more even, but those are hardly good goals in and of themselves.

              I suggest we try to make all equally diligent as best we can. Let’s race to the top instead of racing to the bottom. I suggest fewer clowns and more diligence all around.

            • Greg Allan says:

              I ran funding systems for Australian schools during the eighties and nineties. During this time much was made of our schools not being “girl friendly” even though girls were already achieving better educational outcomes than boys. By the mid nineties there were programs for girls in every school but not a single thing for boys anywhere.

              The very poor outcomes now being experienced by boys were predicted by many but written off in terms that resolved only to demands that eons of oppression of women demanded it. The seeds were sowed in the early nineties and we are now reaping the harvest.

            • I think we need to stop looking at them as boys n girls and even age groups. Kids that do well go up a grade, kids that don’t stay back and get extra help to push foward. Girls are slightly ahead of boys in reading comprehension afaik so there will probably be more girls going forward in English, the reverse might be true for other areas.

              I had bad ADHD in school and in classes that I excelled in I did an hours work in 5-10 minutes, that’s 50+ minutes wasted for me and I was disruptive cuz I was bored n talked. It made me wanna disengage. You get some people that are falling behind who just can’t catch up, especially those whom missed a lot of school from bullying or who didn’t learn key elements and no one picked up on it. I’d guess boys are more likely to have that issue and less likely to speak up on it and seek help but that’s just a guess. Gender roles of expecting men to be self-sufficient and stoic are harming them there, so feminism can help.

              But quite frankly I think modern schooling is the biggest epic fuckup, at least the one I went through. This fetish for keeping kids in the same grade, mixing high achievers with low achievers leaving the low achievers struggling to catch up, high achievers bored senseless in class n wasting their time is a recipe for disaster. There are classes I sucked at for instance cuz I couldn’t write fast enough (gimme a keyboard though and I am very fast) so I slipped behind because my notes were half written by the time the bell hit, but other classes where I shot so far ahead that I was bored for 90% of them. Then there is the issue of book learners, hands on learners, making us all sit still for hours n hours, biases against various groups such as what is hurting boys currently.

              Feminism can definitely help, even the MRA too to some extent. But I think we need a major change and stop putting kids in the same class because they’re all 8 years old or whatever. The genders may have differences in how they learn (or it could be socialization making the differences), so we should try to cater learning to individuals more or at least split into groups. Some love textbooks, some learn far better seeing it in action. I learn far more from youtube than I do textbooks, show me the machinery/experiment/etc in question and talk about it and I’ll learn far more than a vague diagram with 1000’s of words in a book. Put it in my hands and I learn far more.

        • Kari Palazzari says:

          I’m a Feminist with two sons (no daughters) and I don’t fear for my boys’ future because every day conversations like the ones on GMP are fostering more understanding and less judgement about what it means to be male. The gender binary is coming apart at the seams, which means my boys will have more freedom to define who they are as individuals than generations of men before them did. And while there are certainly areas of our society where boys needs are not being met (like in the classroom), the conversation about sex differences is much easier now and will continue to get easier thanks to both Feminists and MRAs who combine passion with data to advocate respectfully on behalf of boys and girls everywhere.
          As a Feminist, I feel one of my most important contributions to equality is raising children who are comfortable and competent in both feminine and masculine pursuits. In short, raising my sons to be whole human beings. This will ensure they have every resource at their disposal to make it through life intact – regardless of the gendered obstacles society tries to put in their path.

      • OirishM says:

        But as soon as we see Texas start passing laws limited men’s reproductive freedom, you come right back here and we’ll chat, ok? When the people with wealth and power are equally likely to be female as male. When women, across the board, are paid equally. When girls toys come in shades that aren’t pink or purple and are passive. When women can win a championship without being dissected for their sexual attractiveness. Then maybe I’ll be persuaded to worry about boys rights

        Really? This little bit of Oppression Olympics is seriously being put forward here?

        Maybe I’ll care about how toys are marketed when Darfur is sorted out, David.

        This “hey, there are worse things, you know!” line can EASILY be applied to a lot of feminist betes noires, but they tend to complain when you do so – so I see no reason to accept the same coming from you here.

        I really hope one day you don’t end up eating your words.

        • David Perry says:

          In my essay, I delineate specific spaces where I see patriarchy operating in American culture. I argue that there is no comparable feminist force operating in our culture, oppressing men. It’s about the realities of power. When those realities of power shift, I’ll shift too. In the meantime, I’m proudly a feminist. If that doesn’t work for you, so be it. But the realities are the realities.

          • OirishM says:

            You are arguing that people put dealing with one injustice on hold because another injustice exists.

            So how would you describe someone who did that to one of your pet issues, David? Would you be ok with it, or would you, like so many feminists before you, object?

            • David Perry says:

              You are arguing for dichotomies where none exist. At any rate, have the last word, I’ll approve your comment, then move on with my evening. I feel you are deeply misguided but also not persuadable, so, good night!

      • You should say to your grandsons that what you perceive as unfair is, in fact, a slow shift towards greater fairness, and that it’s lousy for them that they’re going to have compete against women in a fairer fight.
        So a fair fight is one where there are efforts designed specifically to help girls while boys are left hanging?

        But make no mistake, being a white western middle-class male is still laden with intense privilege. The thing about privilege is that it becomes so normal, you think it’s as natural as the air we breathe, and then when you lose it, you start to choke. But it’s there none-the-less.
        That depends on what you call privilege and how you frame it to be. What privileges justify not acting on the suicide rate of boys (for one example)?

        But as soon as we see Texas start passing laws limited men’s reproductive freedom, you come right back here and we’ll chat, ok?
        That’s another critique I think people have with feminism. On one hand its not about who has it worse but on the other there is an attitude of, “When men have it as bad as women then we’ll talk about men’s issues, k?”. Which is it?

        • David Perry says:

          Well, I continue to see the deep power of male privilege as a problem. But it’s hard to convince people who are losing privilege that they are not being discriminated against.

          I don’t know enough about suicide rates to weigh in intelligently on this complex subject. The CDC tells me that boys are more likely to commit suicide, while teenage girls are more likely to report trying to commit suicide. Are we seeing her another example of the way that rigid gender norms hurt boys? Perhaps. If so, the solution is more feminism, not less feminism. It’s to use the feminist critique of gender norms to break down these walls and allow boys to ask for help, to seek alternate pathways through life.

          I am fascinated in this thread how much attention is being paid to boys, though. I’m happy to talk about boys. But 90% of the comments to an essay about girls, with specific examples, has been, “Yeah, but what about me and my son!” It’s disturbing, but perhaps a result of the nature of GMP as a community.

          • Well, I continue to see the deep power of male privilege as a problem. But it’s hard to convince people who are losing privilege that they are not being discriminated against.
            What makes you so sure its not discrimination and not losing privilege? I say that because again the “you’re just afraid of losing privilege” has become a cookie cutter answer to those that question feminism. Sometimes its properly applied sometimes its not.

            Perhaps. If so, the solution is more feminism, not less feminism. It’s to use the feminist critique of gender norms to break down these walls and allow boys to ask for help, to seek alternate pathways through life.
            That can be achieved through means other than feminism. I’m glad to see that there are parts of feminism that work on this but there is no need to act as if less feminism is not the way to go.

            I am fascinated in this thread how much attention is being paid to boys, though. I’m happy to talk about boys. But 90% of the comments to an essay about girls, with specific examples, has been, “Yeah, but what about me and my son!” It’s disturbing, but perhaps a result of the nature of GMP as a community.
            What you are seeing is a space that has been carved out for men to talk about their issues being visited by a focus on women. Mind you I’m not saying that there should be no focus on women. But I do have to admit it seems odd to have this article here.

            I’m sure there was some sort of, “Men need to help women” sort of logic going on when it was decided to publish this here. Problem is that sort of logic has directly contributed to the need for a place where men can just discuss themselves for a bit.

          • Mr. Perry: … fascinated in this thread how much attention is being paid to boys… 90% of the comments to an essay about girls… but what about me and my son!” It’s disturbing, but perhaps a result of the nature of GMP as a community.

            Let me ask you something please,

            Why is this DISTURBING? And why are you obviously so surprised about that? There are not many websites like the GMP which are trying to be a neutral ground for all opinions.

            Feminist websites do not offer any free speech. Where else can you openly challenge a feminist opinion which is biased to girls and is ignoring boys?

            Is it really disturbing you so much that readers of the GMP are asking you ‘what about me, and what about my son’? What is wrong with this? If you feel disturbed about MRAs and others who disagree with you, you better publish your articles in a feminist website.

            I feel somehow you expected ‘something else’ when submitting your article to the GMP. However this brave GMP is a publication for men, for any kind of men. It is open to any kind of opinion.

            • David Perry says:

              I expected less epistemic closure. Then again, it’s just four or five of you repeating the same things over and over again, deeply steeped in the culture of male victimhood. It’s a pretty classic dodge. Anyway, I’ve learned a lot talking to you. Have a nice day!

          • ““Yeah, but what about me and my son!” It’s disturbing, but perhaps a result of the nature of GMP as a community.”
            You’ll find that is due to a society-wide large level of ignorance to boys issues, a lot of hollow talk from many feminists (not all, or the majority, just quite a few) saying how feminism is for them but often online men especially who talk of males will get silenced n pushed out of feminist spaces even in articles written for males.

            Men often have women’s and girl’s issues rammed in their face so much, these issues are put forth as far more important than men’s and boy’s so it becomes quite annoying to see this lack of respect to male issues. It doesn’t mean we need 50:50 sharing of articles, or more articles for men but just more than the current level which feels like 98% female, 2% male. When you feel utterly ignored on your issues, being told of the other person’s issues get’s frustrating. It’s not right but it’s just what I’ve noticed.

            I’ve been told so often that feminism helps men, yet trying to find a feminist space which actually addresses male issues without constantly reminding men of how much worse women have it (which actually dismisses male issues as non-important) is very very hard. When you’re told over n over that feminism helps men, yet see so often men being pushed away because they were in the wrong area of feminism because feminist spaces lack labelling to tell the men that it’s a women only space then you have a massive problem. I’ve been to one area where 5 commenters would support men speaking up saying feminism is for both genders, then the next 5 would cut them down to shreds and basically tell them go away, feminism is for women.

            Take a look at society’s anti-abuse campaigns, I see sooooo much done on violence against women yet very little for violence against men. Anti-rape campaigns are near universally about women as victims, men as perpetrators yet recent stats showed huge numbers of men being raped by women, infact the majority of rape against adult men is perpetrated by women. When you have a need to be taken care of and yet you are ignored, then get asked to care so much about how the other gender is harmed then it becomes very annoying. Men are feeling smothered by women’s issues, and pissed off that many feminists and women are not stepping up to the plate and caring about men’s issues whilst men are expected to care about theirs. That is why the resentment is growing.

            I hope this comment isn’t deleted but I am just trying to explain why the resentment exists. This hyperfocus on women’s issues ends up being very annoying and dismissive of men’s issues, this is a men’s site so that annoyance may be pronounced. Most men here DO care about women’s issues but they are probably annoyed that we’re expected to do so much for women whilst there is no major effort in reverse. When we see comments from people, especially self-labelled feminists that literally laugh at male issues it just stirs the pot even more. There is so much drama between the genders on their activism when really we should be empathic to both genders and care for each other, we should focus on both genders issues in a proportionate amount.

            Thank-you for the article.

            • David Perry says:

              I understand why the resentment exists, although I think that issues of privilege come into play as well. I just think it’s wrong.

              No woman has ever told me I can’t be a feminist, but being a male feminist does involve holding back sometimes. I’m comfortable with that.

            • I can understand the privilege issue, proper usage of whataboutthemenz is fine but I have seen it often used on male articles and even times where it’s not needed but used as a way to shut the other person up. I’ve been told plenty of times feminism is not for men, and plenty of times feminism is for men. Some say men can be feminists, others say they can’t. Some call men feminists, others refer them simply as allies. It’s very confusing and since the different groups of feminists don’t really have a qualifier (eg gynocentric feminist, egalitarian feminist) it becomes very difficult to know who you’re talking to until they either welcome you or treat you like garbage. I’ve been in areas that were later told to be to be a female only space, yet others said it was for everyone and so I had some feminists supporting my comments whilst others were hating it being there because I was a man. I bet a large portion of anti-feminists end up born from that kind of confusion, because on the surface it looks like someone is lying big-time and trolling even. Looks like an all inclusive space then magically changes to be female only according to some of the people there, then others chime in and say it is all inclusive.

              Lucky I learned that it’s only some internet spaces that do this, so I didn’t end up anti-feminist but I do remain somewhat critical as it’s just so difficult to figure out wtf is going on. I’ve seen some MRA’s and some feminists with pretty much the exact same egalitarian views, but the label ends up having them hate each other, or they disagree with certain terms like patriarchy n privilege. The word sexism to one is prejudice by gender, the other it means prejudice + power so they’re both talking of the same damn thing but using different words (benevolent sexism vs female privilege, institutional sexism/racism vs dictionary definition sexism/racism). Like recently I had someone say conscription wasn’t discrimination against men because other men were the ones forcing them to fight….

              My current view is that both the MRM and feminism simply want equality for both genders, both have plenty of members that fear each other, both argue way too damn much and don’t trust enough. Feminism gets judged too harshly for the extremists and stuff like duluth model/early VAWA fuckup, MRM gets judged too harshly for the extremists and stuff like how some can’t see value in western women, but both have heaps of members that really just want sexism to end.

    • Tom Brechlin says:

      Mark, I look forward to reading your article.

      I too have a daughter but feminism worked very much against her as it did against her mother (my wife of 38 years). As a women, she could aspire to do and be anything she wanted except one thing. Like her mother, she simply wanted to get married, have kids and live the life her mother lived relishing in family life. Not subservient in anyway, but simply being who she was and is most comfortable being. She received a scholarship in veterinary medicine, but in her case, she saw it as the minor to what she wanted to major in and that was being a mom and a wife.

      My wife and I married in the throws of feminism. She was in fact shunned by other women because she didn’t aspire to some career. We were left out of some social circles because our household was based on my income, which by the way wasn’t shabby, but nothing compared to combined professional incomes our so called peers had. But then again, if it weren’t for my wife and the type of household she provided, many of the children of our so called peers would have been left at home with a nanny or later by themselves.

      Getting back to my daughter, she lucked out. She came across a young man who viewed family life similar to hers. They have blessed me with two wonderful grandsons, whom I fear for their future. As with my son, feminism will tell them that working hard, providing for a family, wanting a mom who stays home is “patriarchal” and is bad. There is no room in feminism for what was once known as a family. Feminism has virtually ruined the potential for my son, who by the way just finished college, to build a family that remotely resembles that which he grew up in.

      But maybe I’m wrong. I talk to the many women I work with and it appears that many of them would be okay with being at home with their kids. Unfortunately, for many of them, economics have negatively played into their lives. Husbands have lost jobs or are grossly underemployed. We speak as though feminism has brought women great joy and prosperity. I guess those women who work at the check out counters, the waitresses, the cleaning women, they missed the boat somewhere? All this so called prosperity sounds great for the elite, the ones that make a good show but the reality is, women are not sitting pretty because of feminism. With 1/3 of Americans on food stamps, I can assure you that most of them are women and children.

      Heart disease used to be number one killer of men but as studies are showing, women are falling prey in droves. Hypertension, insomnia, ulcers, all which men endured in their patriarchal lives for years are now showing up in women.

      As a man who has had my share of heart attacks, a quintuple bypass at age 41, I was somewhat disheartened when the American Heart association had “Wear Red Day – Fight Heart Disease in Women – Go Red For Women.” The disease that killed my dad, the disease that is killing me and put three of my brothers in their graves, the disease that for generations killed MEN, now gets recognition because it’s affecting women?

      Feminism has done NOTHING for me and my family.

      • David Perry says:

        Second wave feminism included many voices that argued a woman could not opt to be in the home except as a gender traitor. That moment, thankfully, has passed.

      • The Straight Married White American Male Feminist

        Openly said, I prefer to be a straight married white non-American MRA with children.
        I fully agree with Tom Brechlin, comment July 18, 2013 at 6:23 pm, that feminism has done NOTHING for me and my family.

        Might be, Mr. Perry, that you are happy with feminism, but for sure it’s not a movement which is good for all men as you claim.

        I really would like to hear your opinion aobut the men’s rights movement.

        • David Perry says:

          They vary too widely to paint with a broad brush. Some are trying to help. Many are trying to undermine the battle against patriarchy. If you read the essay, you’ll see I’m focused on patriarchy.

      • Kari Palazzari says:

        So Tom Brechlin, I may have posted this response to a similar comment made by you a few months ago, or maybe that was a different Tom B, but I’m a stay-at-home mom with a law degree and I see lots of ways the Feminist movement has helped me. I would bet these all apply to your daughter as well…
        First, and foremost, Feminism ensured that I had real choices – to work or not, to have babies or not, to get married or not, or all points in-between. It wasn’t so long ago that women couldn’t make these choices for themselves.
        Second, it changed how I approach my identity as a mother. I’m not just so-and-so’s wife or so-and-so’s mother. I’m a person with my own needs and desires and goals and those don’t have to be set aside now that I have children.
        Third, it guaranteed that I can be financially autonomous. I can have a credit card and bank account and investment savings in my name. When I was born, married women still weren’t allowed to do that.
        Fourth, it gave me the tools to build a more equal partnership with my husband so that we make decisions together, share responsibilities for our family, and approach the division of employed and domestic labor as a fluid agreement. Women didn’t always have that kind of voice or equality in their marriages.
        Fifth, it helped create space for all sorts of examples I can show my kids where sex and gender aren’t linked – boys can like dolls and girls can like trucks, boys can hold hands and girls can climb trees – so that I can help foster even more tolerance for difference in my kid’s generation. And one of the most important examples of this is my husband, who does traditionally “feminine” things like take care of his children and wash dishes and iron clothes. My grandfather did none of those things.
        Finally, feminism helped make the world a safer place for me so that I don’t have to live in fear just because I’m a woman. If my husband abuses me, I can get help and I can leave. If I’m raped, I can report it and (hopefully) prosecute the perpetrator. If I cheat on my husband, I won’t automatically lose my children (and I don’t have to walk around with a big “A” on my chest). In short, I have freedom of movement and action as an autonomous person that generations of women never experienced. Even if none of these things ever happens to me, I still feel better knowing I will be treated far better than my great-grandmother would have.
        I could list more examples but my point is that Feminism has done a lot for “traditional” women or women in “traditional” roles.

        • David Perry says:

          This is a bloody great post, Kari. It will not convince the Men’s Right’s Advocates who are trolling this post – I should have just moderated them out, I guess, but then they’d go around whining about how their rights are being violated. Oh well.

          • Hi David Perry

            Just by not moderating out trolls you teach us how to deal with them. That is great read!

            I look forward to read more essays from you in the future.

            • David Perry says:

              Thanks, that’s very kind. Maybe this is a good moment to point out that I have (in the author bio) links to my blog and my twitter feed, as I try to create a social media presence.

            • Kari Palazzari says:

              I second that, David – your ability to respond to everybody here has been impressive and has kept the conversation from getting mired in bickering (as so many do). I’ve learned a lot from MRAs on GMP who post thoughtful and respectful comments highlighting issues that don’t get much attention elsewhere. And you seem to handle the trolls just fine. :-)

        • Great post, Kari…!

          Feminism has helped me,too…it helped me throw off the mind control of a domineering, narcissistic partner and see that I was listening and obeying an autocratic personality, not unlike those found in traditional patriarchal Asian culture (from which I descend)….

          Feminism allowed me to realize that I had rights, too, and that it took me years to realize that it wasn’t my fault that someone abused me emotionally, mentally, and physically and that the dean of my school was 100% right to help me defend those rights after I left my partner in a torrent of abuse….

          Feminism allowed me to finally speak up and contact the police after I was stalked by the same guy many years later and that I had the right to protect my family and myself from him no matter what our past shared history….his past mental torture of me was not my future and that he had no further hold on me….

          It’s patriarchy that allows my ex-abuser to think that he has any right over me today (or in the past)….

          • Kari Palazzari says:

            Leia – I’m so glad to hear that you are in a healthier and safer place now. Abuse can totally obscure the light, making it extremely difficult to see that the darkness can be overcome. I hope you continue to find the support you and your family need as you move forward. Always remember you are brave and strong and worthy of love and respect!

          • Is VAWA a feminist action? There are comments on this site that say under VAWA with primary aggressor laws that male victims of DV have been ARRESTED. The duluth model implies men are the abuser, so how does that help men?

            Gendered actions can have a detrimental effect on men, it’s a case of the heart is in the right place but the implementation is bad.

            I’d say feminism is mostly good for us all but you have cases like in Australia we have a gendered policy for DV trying to be pushed through that is pretty shit towards men. Some feminist groups/people in India rallied to try stop male victims being included in the definition of rape! (I only saw MRA’s talk of this, never saw feminists call out these actions).

            Feminism may be good for the most part but that silence on when it’s bad is very dismissive and insulting to many people. We should always be critical to keep all movements in check and make sure they are doing good, and not harming someone through ignorance, wilfull intent or side-effects. For the DV issue for example we had some feminism helping men, other parts harming men.

            I am glad feminism was around but I am very concerned over gynocentric feminist inspired policies which put way too much emphasis on gender and end up leaving millions of victims of DV for instance having their support diminished, and leaving many perpetrators without support to change because they happen to be female.

            • David Perry says:

              There’s good feminist commentary on the research on Domestic violence against men. Here’s a good one, in that short internet way, but the rabbit hole goes deeper – http://jezebel.com/5509717/domestic-violence-are-women-as-abusive-as-men

              “Really, this is yet another area where men and feminists can forge common ground — by recognizing that damaging gender roles may convince men both that it’s okay to be violent and that it’s shameful to be a victim of violence. If it’s true that women abuse their partners as often as men do, there’s no reason for feminists to feel threatened by this information, just as there’s no reason for men’s rights groups to feel victorious. Domestic violence is a crime, not a political football, and we should be working together to stamp it out, not allowing it to divide us.”

              I see it being used as a political football to argue against feminism in this discussion thread.

        • Tom Brechlin says:

          Keri, I had a reply and by the time I posted it, this was shut down. Not sure if I saved it to word or not. If I find it, I’ll post it…. just didn’t want you to think that I was ignoring you.

          • Tom Brechlin says:

            Keri … found it!!!!

            Kerri Yes, feminism has served YOU as a women well. In the late 60’s three of my older brothers worked for financial institutions in the Chicago area. All three of them were owned by women. But then you had affirmative action that moved men aside to promote women to positions. Working in a business where I needed to submit proposals for government contracts, I was required to have a substantial percentage of women in management positions. I was required to have a percentage of contracted vendors who were owned and operated by women. Yes, feminism did you, as a women well.
            “Real choices” is nice for you. But the choices for men diminished. Qualified men were not hired simply because they were men.

            The original VAWA started in 1994, almost 20 years ago. Since then, what’s been done for men, namely your husband? If you were a perpetrator of violence toward him, where does he go, what shelter does he have available to him? And for that matter, if you had a 16 year old son, many shelters will deny him access.

            Feminism has changed how you approach your identity as a women. That’s great., more power to you but it’s not done the same for many other women. Shortly after our kids were grown and out of the house, my wife went back into the business world (maybe 5 or 6 years ago). She had an executive position. One day she went into the office and her director met with her. The female director said that my wife had to change the name plate on her office door in that it said “Mrs” and that it wasn’t appropriate. It need to be changed to “Ms.” As my wife explained to her female boss, she’d been married more then 30 years and “Mrs.” is who she is. I would also like to note that the female boss referred to my wife as a “Latina” women which my wife took offense to … yet another label. The director removed the name plate, two weeks later my wife quit.

            It’s great that you have financial autonomy, I presume your husband does as well?

            You said “my husband, who does traditionally “feminine” things like take care of his children and wash dishes and iron clothes. My grandfather did none of those things.” Funny that you mention this. My dad didn’t do those things either because he worked long hours to support his family while mom took care of the home. Keep in mind that I was born in the late 50’s and being an unexpected surprise, you can imagine the age differences. None the less, my mom was great in that she taught all us boys to do all those things PLUS my dad taught us home maintenance, car maintenance making us pretty well rounded men. My dad died at the age of 62 within his first year of retirement, he and my mom were planning a cross country road trip which included Alasks. Mom lived another 15 years after dad died. At the age of 62 she learned to drive, bought and sold three houses. This poor subservient women did pretty well for herself. So what you claim to have that women didn’t have, in many cases is not true.

            • Tom Brechlin says:

              I left this part out …

              You said “have freedom of movement and action as an autonomous person that generations of women never experienced….. yes, an “autonomy is what women have and from where I sit, and from what I’ve heard, they aren’t too happy about it.

            • Kari Palazzari says:

              Tom Brechlin – I noticed that you shifted from talking about your daughter to talking about your wife and mother. I can see you are convinced that Feminism has done *nothing* for your family, and I can see that you’ve got anecdotes from several decades to support your belief, but I would be a little surprised if three generations of women in your family all shared your exact perspective.
              My mother, for example, quips that the women’s movement got it all wrong because it demonized chivalry, and she liked having men open car doors for her. But she also unequivocally agrees that she has benefited from the women’s movement – from monumental victories like the right to vote to mundane recognition like listing the woman’s first name in the church cookbook instead of “submitted by Mrs. Edward Jones.” (I always wondered – how were we supposed to know whether it was Edward’s first wife or second?)
              The impact of each wave of Feminism has been felt by various generations of women in different ways. And like everything, one’s individual politics and experiences are going to color one’s own viewpoint. And if conversations on GMP have taught me anything it’s that everything is up for debate – including history – so, regardless of decades of legislative and judicial and cultural victories, what I might hope for is that you and I can agree on one thing – that we both want our daughters and granddaughters (actually all our children and grandchildren) to be equal citizens, with sufficient resources and power to create the life they most desire, and to always feel that they are worthy and whole human beings. That’s what Feminism means to me.

  10. Thank you for such well thought out comments. All I can say is “This this this x 1000.”

  11. OirishM says:

    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.

    Erm….no, it doesn’t necessarily. Often it is little more than a conscious rejection of gender issues groups that focus primarily on one gender and not others such as feminism or MRA.

  12. I doubt any of the 22 women in a class I took as a senior in college on gender equity in the developing world would allow me to call myself a feminist. Truthfully, I took the class because I needed 2 credits to graduate and it fit my schedule and I think they knew I was not there due to burning interest in the topic. My history, and the the history of a lot of men (and women) with the word feminist is one that points to extremes. As many of the posts have illustrated, the term can be polarizing. As I recently read Lean In, I found myself agreeing with almost everything Sheryl Sandberg had to say, and yet, like her, still found myself reluctant to say “I am a feminist.” I even wondered if any renewed campaigns for feminism might not be better off by starting with coining a new term (I would argue that to some extent, Sandberg is trying to rebrand the movement). However, by the conclusion of her book, I realized feminist is not only acceptable, but it must remain THE word for the continued advancement of the movement. I also believe that if we are going to make progress for women, men not only need to become active supporters, but also vocal supporters, and I think your piece is a good illustration of what many more men should do. Every man is the son of a mother, husband of a wife, father to a daughter (or daughter-in-law) and it is in all of our best interest to support equality in all the contexts of your piece, and many more. Even if 22 women fifteen years ago would be reluctant to accept me then, I hope they will embrace me now, because I too, am a feminist.

  13. Than you David Perry,especially for taking time to respond to comments.

    • David Perry says:

      You’re welcome. Trolls are egging me on and I’m trying to step back from that now and engage only in dialogue that will be productive. I welcome thoughtful disagreement. I don’t welcome ax-grinding or using this post as a place to trash feminism.

      • Mr Supertypo says:

        excuse me, I find it offensive that you call people who disagree with you and feminism as trolls. Actually its a unique opportunity to learn more and expand, rather than en-bunker in a particular world view/ideology/doctrine. You cant be smarter without opposing views, you can only get the illusion of getting wiser. People disagreeing with you is actually a good thing, you should be happy. Because in a debate we have the unique opportunity to learn to LEARN. Rather than being limited and fossilized on a disputable academic perspective. So in the end, what you call trolls in reality they are your friends because they make you think, and the wrong reaction is enclosure, dismissal and closeness.

        • David Perry says:

          One definition of troll involves derailment of comment threads, but I have come to understand that in the MRA worldview, every thread about feminism MUST be derailed to how men have it so hard. It’s also important that anyone who expresses positive things about feminism be attacked. To me, that’s trolling. To them, it’s “debate.”

          It’s fine, I get it, and I’ve learned a lot watching it.

          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?

          Anyway, busy day today. Enjoy the thread.

          • Mr Supertypo says:

            “One definition of troll involves derailment of comment threads, but I have come to understand that in the MRA worldview, every thread about feminism MUST be derailed to how men have it so hard. It’s also important that anyone who expresses positive things about feminism be attacked. To me, that’s trolling. To them, it’s “debate.”

            It’s fine, I get it, and I’ve learned a lot watching it.”

            Well at least partially true, this happens only when the topic is to imperative or unidirectional. Witch inevitable contains to many holes and to many contradictions (and this is not true only for feminist articles). Frankly feminism on men sites are unpopular, just like MRA’s articles are unpopular on feminist spaces. Mostly because the rhetoric and the limited theoretical scope. But also the most common reason from both sites there are some people who learned that MRA’s are trolls and feminist are man hating lesbians. And with this kind of people there is no dialogue. BTW they are easy to spot. In reality lot of feminist have lot of good points and so MRA, than its up to the person to read and understand it.

            “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.”

            True, Danny and company are excellent in advocate for men, I wish I was that good. But beside them, its also true in reverse, I have seen plenty of feminist articles in the past years and dialogued with lots of feminist with zero empathy with men. So it goes both way. The best method would be to always keep the door open for exceptions and acknowledge lot of issues goes both way ie: teach men not to rape, to teach people not to rape etc. So you dont fall into the trap into making something that happens or can happen to everybody unique and exclusive to somebody. When this happens you will see lot and lot less derailing. And finally, never dismiss (even if you disagree) and dont call people troll. Never ever!

            “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?”

            Good for you, but im not surprised that (mostly) women wrote to you. But I dont understand why you put Danny in that category? I dont even understand why you are making names? beside angering people (rightly so) they have their unique experiences and they have lots of good points, and I didnt see Danny attacking anybody. their only “sin” is to disagree with you, and that’s it. So its all good. They are your friends. Finally, yes not only its a fine place, its actually the ideal place. How can you grow if everybody agree with you? how can you get wiser if there is no challenge? how it is even possible to learn something in a yes-club? (beside nodding) no contradictions? no frictions?

            I cannot stress enough over how vital disagreement is, we are not hive minded, we are not ants. We are human beings, sometimes we agree, sometimes we disagree, sometimes we follow but nerveless we are people (men and women) and we all have something constructive to contribute (beside insult makers) because we all have unique formation and experience to bring on the table, from here its in the hand of the maturity of the blogger (and readers) to process it and understand it (learn). Sometimes people feel offended by you (men and women) other times you are offended. But usually the offense/offended part is more a sign of lack of maturity.

            “Anyway, busy day today. Enjoy the thread.”

            Thank you, have a nice day.

            • David Perry says:

              Thanks for the long and thoughtful comment. If I am unfairly lumping Danny in with Tom and Yohann, I apologize. There are a lot of comments and I see all of them.

            • wellokaythen says:

              Fortunately, no one can actually “derail” or “hijack” a moderated comment thread. That idea has become totally overblown. One person writing a comment does not prevent someone else from writing a comment. If derailing means that a reader has to click a mouse three times to scroll down instead of just once, that is hardly a derailing. Those who use terms like derailing and hijacking seem to assume that there is only one direction that any discussion is allowed to go, and any possible deviation is inconvenient, an unfair imposition, and even a danger to all oppressed people everywhere. That sounds awfully “precious” to me.

              But, let’s say for the sake of argument that “thread hijacking” is possible. In that case, the fair thing to do would be for every comment section to say explicitly what reactions are acceptable in the comment section. In that case, every author on the site should file a flight plan for the comment section, so we all know if the plane is deviating from its assigned course — you can only disagree in the areas of x, y, and z.

            • David Perry says:

              Moderation is always hard on the people being moderated, who then start to complain. Those complaints that have been polite have, ironically, made it through moderation. I merely repeat that over 50% of the comments, at a glance, are critical statements from MRAs, as expected. There are many open fora on the internet and it’s a big place. YMMV.

            • I don’t think the author understands that GMP especially, “Derailment” is the norm and often it’s not actually attempts to derail a conversation but to have a side convo. I’ve learned an immense amount by comments that had little to do with the original article. The beauty of the nested comments is that we can have multiple convos! They’re not a bad thing. If it was a single stream of comments then I could understand this reluctance to discuss off topic issues, but the comment sections here are kinda like a forum with multiple topics going on.

            • David Perry says:

              I understand. My moderation has been for offensive and personal attacks and generalized feminist bashing. I did suggest when the thread about Brevik played out, after a number of posts, that perhaps it was veering off-topic. I can see the argument for allowing it to veer.

            • It’d be great if the GMP forum ever gets developed, the issue that even I am guilty of is that if the topic is say reproductive rights then it becomes one of the ONLY places online to talk about these issues for males, even if it’s an article on female rights, in a place that generally mixes feminists + mras + egalitarians + non-labelers. I’ve never found a place like this anywhere else. You’ll also find some conversations cross articles, say an article in june is on a certain issue, an article in july might be similar, the july article will have comments continued on from june. The forum should alleviate that since anyone can just start up a convo.

              Would be far better if the comment system only emailed us when our comment was directly answered too! And a plus/minus symbol like reddit has to shrink and expand comments would be awesome.

            • David Perry says:

              I know that various folks are frustrated with my moderation, but be careful what you wish for. Reddit has its charms and its disasters. Unmoderated has its disasters and its spam. Best to find a forum with a highly active moderator that you trust has the same framework for what makes a good forum as you do.

            • ““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?””

              I gave up discussing issues, male or female on feminist sites because of this issue. I would be labelled an MRA on a topic about males as an insult, get told “whataboutthemenz” to silence me EVEN THOUGH the topic was about males! I saw so often men getting stomped on, called misogynist, MRA, troll when their arguments were coherent and GOOD. Feminist spaces are not very safe for men, and MRA safes are not very safe for women. The gender-focused nature of them leave the majority being one gender, so the other gender will have plenty of people who may disagree with them. It also means the default is one gender, so talk of the other gender can cause major issues since both sides feel ignored and silenced.

              I have zero issues with women or men commenting here, but if they are wrong I will call them out for it as everyone should. That is how debates happen, opinions differ, I respect that, I do however avoid trying to bully n label people unfairly which is respect I was rarely given on some feminist sites (I usually don’t talk on MRA sites but I’d probably face the same since I disagree with some of what they say).

            • David Perry says:

              All I can tell you is what my email box looks like. The big MRA posters here like to bully their way through threads. I don’t expect them to see it that way. Bullies never do.

            • I don’t doubt there are many but you cannot just broad brush them. Say SOME MRA’s instead of just MRA’s. I’d get cut to shreds if I left out the SOME qualifier in many of my comments because I’d appear to be ONLY anti-feminist instead of pro-some feminism and anti-other feminism (eg anti-extremist). I afford the same respect to the MRM, I am pro-some MRM and anti-other MRM.

          • 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.
            I’ve seen this one a few times. When things get ugly call for empathy, while showing none in return. I’ve been trying to talk to you with the utmost respect (for your views even if they different) and frankly in return you’ve mostly been repeating that I’m wrong because I’m not feminist.

            I’ve tried the empathy path before with feminists and I learned the hard way that it doesn’t pay.

            This is now just a stand off and we are getting nowhere.

          • “One definition of troll involves derailment of comment threads, but I have come to understand that in the MRA worldview, every thread about feminism MUST be derailed to how men have it so hard.”
            Nice generalizations….Seriously, why do you expect them to not generalize against feminism when you do the same to the MRA? It’s hypocrisy and I’m sure you’re better than that.

            • David Perry says:

              That’s probably true. I was getting angry (it was some time ago). I realize now it was a reaction to specific individuals. On the other hand, I stand by my argument that it is important to the MRA posters who have been dominating this thread that feminism cannot, ever, be allowed to be praised without the counter-attack. Or at least that’s how it’s played out here.

            • I can give an idea why, I suffer it myself sometimes. There are times when feminism is treated like a religion that never does evil, it’s actually pretty hard to find critics to the bad feminists. For example there was an issue with a certain someone female feminist who replied to an article where a male was raped by a female in his sleep. She reframed it and acted like he lied about the sleeping as a way to control her. Reverse the genders and I guarantee there would be a lot of outrage by some feminists, but in this case I am yet to see any major feminist article (or any really) written on it.

              Feminism is often treated like it’s only ever done good, there doesn’t seem to be much discussion on how VAWA had harmful implementations for instance. Primary aggressor laws and the Duluth model have some very negative consequences for instance where male victims get caught up and arrested under assumptions that males are the aggressor. When you see a very common attack on the MRM and quite often generalizations against the MRM even by very public articles such as Jezebel.com, online newspapers, etc where the feminist author is annoyed at the MRM generalizing negatively against feminism, yet the author does the very same thing to the MRM it becomes a petty hypocrisy.

              I would guess the way forward is to have high profile feminists often call out the bad ones (as they occur, not just once off and forget it). The MRM definitely needs to do the same too. It does appear there can be positive generalizations of feminism but not negative ones, which is strange. (some of) Radfemhub feminists are still feminists afterall and they definitely are not good for men, even Jezebel has some authors that are dubious and this overall sense of feminism has ONLY ever been good for men becomes tiring for some to read. Christianity for instance has done some great work, but it’s also done some bad (not going to compare the rate of good to bad here) so we couldn’t just flat out say or imply christianity is ONLY good.

              It’s sad because the reputation feminism gets overall is influenced by all it’s members but there are some very vocal extremists who tarnish it, whilst the “good” ones tend to be pretty damn quiet. I’m sure the media also plays a big role in what is publicized and what isn’t which doesn’t help. The counter-attack I believe is due to a lack of calling out the bad whilst acting like it’s all hunky dory ok. I think some authors get around this by stating “My version of feminism”. I know that the version of feminism that many feminists on this site follow is far far better than the one who did the rape apology of the male victim. Too many different ideologies sharing the same name of “feminism”, hence why many people including myself do not use labels because we do not want to have some big drama over which version we are. Kinda reminds me of “good” christians vs baptist church vs the white surpremacist group of christians (forgot their name), all seem to call themselves christians.

  14. Mostly_123 says:

    “…to embrace abstract principles over the realities of power dynamics, and to deny the existence of patriarchy.”

    You realize, of course, that this is predicated on the idea that ‘patriarchy’ itself, as feminism envisions it, is NOT another abstract principle, but a static, objective fact; defined by its own (subjective) parameters. As if, to deny the faith you’ve placed in the feminist interpretation of its relative merits & evils, (let alone its very existence) is, well- immoral. That’s problematic. You’ve dismissed the possibility offhand that equality and justice can exist outside the ideological framework of feminism: not feminist principles, or coinciding goals or conditions; but feminist ideology itself, and its notion of ‘patriarchy.’ That’s a problem.

    • David Perry says:

      I believe my essay makes specific claims about two ways that patriarchy functions. If, having read the essay carefully, you dismiss them, then I must conclude you are here simply to promote your own agenda. I’m not especially interested in that.

      • Mostly_123 says:

        If you’re inclined to make it, then I would debate that conclusion.
        The whole point of the GMP is to allow for different ideas, perspectives and responses, based on the articles provided; frankly, I’m uneasy that you’re trying to denigrate my response to yours as an ‘agenda.’

        Other than that, you’ve not really posted an answer (or comment related to) the comment that was actually made, so it’s difficult to proceed, but I would say this: Whether I agree or disagree with the structure of any given ideology, and the inherent presumptions (about society, psychology, social dynamics, the primacy of gender in shifting power relations, ect) upon which an ideology is based, as well as the ways and the means for change; all this does not necessarily mean I disapprove of the overall goal and effects.

        One does not necessarily have to be presently disadvantaged by (or in the immediate threat of being disadvantaged) by a system to recognized that if rights, freedoms & opportunities are impeded or imperiled because of gender (or religion, or race, or class, or culture, or other arbitrary characteristics), then that inequity is a detriment, and ultimately, a threat to one’s own rights & freedoms as well; because, it accepts the principle that rights and freedoms can thus be arbitrarily curtailed with inequity, based on arbitrary characteristics. That, I would argue, transcends beyond feminist ideology, and that feminism’s concise ideological structuralism is the only way to perceive, analyze, & address gender bias.

        • David Perry says:

          I feel like my essay addressed these points of why, although there are (I agree with you) many ways to think about gender bias and other inequities, I am specifically embracing the term feminist.

          Thanks for commenting.

  15. Anon Commentator says:

    I’m a married father of multiple children. My wife is a highly educated woman who chose to be a full time mom when our oldest was born. She has decided to return to the workforce when our youngest reaches kindergarten. Although we operate as equal entities in our family neither my wife nor I would dream of describing ourselves as feminists.
    When you look at most of feminist commentary I shouldn’t exist:
    1. I was a serious athlete when I was younger- a swimmer. When I was a junior in highschool I finished my event, climbed out of the pool and looked up at the board to see my time & place. Before I had touched a towel or even caught my breath 5 girls ran up to me, grabbed my body in various places and smiled as a sixth snapped pictures. We didn’t have the full body suits that people have these days; speedos don’t leave much to the imagination. They did this to multiple guys at the meet. No one ever told them to stop. No coach, meet official or parent even batted an eye.
    2. When I was in college I blacked out from drinking. The next morning I woke up naked in my bed with a terrible hangover. A woman who lived upstairs from me came into my room and started talking to me. I knew her somewhat but didn’t count her as a friend. I politely told her that I felt like crap and didn’t feel like talking at the moment. She became annoyed and walked out. Later that day a group of her friends told me what an asshole I was for asking her to leave after we had hooked up the night before (I didn’t remember ANY hook up). I apologized to her and even took her to a formal with me in order to make up my terrible offense. I was convinced that I was the jerk. Some small thought did tell me not to drink too much or hook up with her that night. 10 years later I figured out that she was the asshole and had taken advantage of me.
    3. Later in college. I was walking home from a party. A young woman I knew struck up a conversation with me on the street outside the fraternity house. She asked me “wouldn’t you rather come home with me instead of going home alone?” We ended up going to her house and hooking up for the remainder of the weekend. Over the course of the weekend we talked about many things including her virginity. She (cold sober) came out and told me that she was tired of being a virgin and just wanted to know what all the fuss was about. At first I was reluctant to be her first. I wasn’t interested in a relationship. I told her ALL these things. She convinced me it was ok and that she wanted me to be her first. We had sex. We ended up having sex 3 times that Sunday. Later that week I was approached by a group of guys and was told I was a total rapist asshole. This girl had run into my ex-girlfriend who had heard through the grapevine that we had hooked up. I guess she wanted to prevent any upset so she told my ex-gf that I had gotten her drunk (we weren’t drinking on Sunday) and pressured her into having sex against her will. Thank goodness her housemates were home while I was there and knew the truth. I am forever grateful to them for publically standing up for me and telling people the truth.
    4. During my marriage. At one point in our marriage my wife and I were in a dark place and were considering divorce. We argued verbally, never physically. There was no infidelity on either one of our parts. My wife tried to insist I move out of the home. I refused. She looked me in the eye and said “All I have to do is call the police and tell them I am afraid of you. That’s what Jill did, think about what happened to Patrick.” (names are changed). She was not and has never been afraid of me. I didn’t leave. She didn’t call, but she knew what would happen if she did. We recovered our marriage after a lot of hard work on both our parts and have been happy for the past 5 yrs.
    5. In my career. The entire sales team is at a team offsite at a local hotel. My SVP (a married woman of about 40) tells me (26 at the time and newly married) that it would be good if I stayed at the hotel that night. I told her I lived less than 5 miles away so I didn’t book a room. She paused for a second and said “maybe you didn’t understand me. I think you need to stay here tonight, with me.” I nervously said “thanks but no.” spun around and walked quickly away. I was afraid I would be fired and was incredibly uncomfortable at that job for the 3 months it took for me to find something new.
    I’m a tall, fit, good-looking, upper middle class (income >$150K) white guy who works for a large corporation. According to the popular feminist worldview I should be so super privileged that none of these things could ever happen to me; I pretty much embody everything wrong with the world in many feminist eyes. I’m 100% supportive of people being able to pursue their version of happiness regardless of gender, race or any other factor. (As I type this my daughter is at engineering camp.) BUT, I just cannot call myself a feminist and I find patriarchy to be far too simple of a model to explain a complex world.

    • David Perry says:

      I’m sorry for the troubles that you’ve encountered. No feminist that I know of would argue that you shouldn’t exist.

      But when I talk about the ways that structural gender inequities shape culture, and you counter with – well, what about me and my problems – that makes it hard to have a conversation.

      So let me just focus on point 4 – the data on domestic abuse is pretty clear that both men and women can be abusers, and that we do a lousy job of protecting abused spouses of either gender from their abusers. There’s data. Lots of it. Not anecdotes. Similarly, there’s lots of data on male rape and the ways it does and does not track with female rape. These are difficult topics.

      But again, I would encourage you to think about your response – I argue for systemic inequities, you respond with a long post (well written, and I thank you for it), about how hard things are for you. But no number of anecdotes can refute the vast array of data about systemic gender inequities and the ways they harm BOTH men and women. I’d encourage you to re-think things.

      • Anon Commentator says:

        If you want to talk data I am more than willing to. If systemic inequalities flow in both directions and statistical data prove them how can one argue for the existence of a largely one way (aka patriarchal) model? With minimal difficulty one can point out many places where women are advantaged over men. If a patriarchal (male advantaged) model is true, systemic phenomena that directly contradict the premise cannot exist. Outliers would exist but, the data tell the story… Women and men both have disadvantages and advantages; all of which deserve to be addressed. I’d argue that the utility of patriarchy as an explanatory model is pretty low- high p value, low r squared etc… I doubt you’d need to go that deep though- just “graph the data and tell me what you see” just like I tell my analysts.

        Look at other structural inequalities- race is a clearly delineating factor across the board. Any useful metric measuring social inequality is entirely consistent when race is used as the X variable. An individual person of color is, at times, an outlier, but central tendancy ruthlessly proves the existence of systemic racism. I’d be shocked if anyone can find a single quality of life metric where African Americans exceed Whites.

        As far as my anedotes go- why the heck would I ever support or join a movement where “Men can stop rape!” is a common theme? I’m more careful who I associate with.

        • David Perry says:

          The inequities occur in ways that men and women are both pushed into rigid gender norms and suffer penalties for trying to transgress them. The patriarchal aspect is that men are pushed into dominant ones. The answer to your complaints is more feminism, not less.

          My friends who are communists would argue that race is relevant when normed against class. I’m not so sure, but the counter-argument exists.

  16. 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 have to disagree with this a bit. Its almost saying that without feminism a person doesn’t really understand the forces at work therefore feminism must be a part of the discourse.

    On a larger point I think this is part of of why feminists seem to not pay attention to why people are critical of the movement and its people. Has there been any real examination of why people reject the label feminist other than to just say its wrong to reject it?

    • David Perry says:

      There has been lots and lots and lots of examination about the discourse of feminism in the last 50 years. And the reasons are complicated, because it depends which voice is rejecting it and why.

      As for egalitarianism – I like it when people in my circle claim to be egalitarians. I’m an egalitarian. But then once you start, or I start anyway (the MRA folks in the thread disagree, because they think they are the real victims) looking at the realities of gender and power, I end up focusing on women’s rights. Hence; feminism precedes egalitarianism for me.

      • Mark Neil says:

        ” I end up focusing on women’s rights. Hence; feminism precedes egalitarianism for me.”

        But, when you claim egalitarianism “requires ignoring … (insert feminist theory here)”, you are no longer limiting where the focus should be “to you”. You are stating that egalitarianism is failing to address something that feminism does better. This takes it away from your choice, which is perfectly fine) and into the realm of “we’re doing it right, they are doing it wrong”.

        • David Perry says:

          That’s a fair critique. The “requires” may not be the optimal word. I do see egalitarians explicitly denying the gendered nature of power in our culture, but perhaps it isn’t required. I do think once an egalitarian explicitly starts to focus on gender and power, they end up acting and speaking as feminists. That’s where I used to be. Now I simply call myself a feminist.

          • I think there’s a bit more nuance to it than that.

            It seems that depending on exactly how that egalitarian (or any person) focuses on gender and power they could go in different directions ranging from MRA to feminist (each with varying degrees) and other labels.

            • David Perry says:

              Fair enough. My essay argues that those focusing on men’s rights are mis-reading American culture, mostly in a way that benefits them. And that’s where I will let this thread rest as I have a meeting shortly.

            • I would contend that they are reading a part of American culture that has been misread previously (now what they do with that reading from there is a different story, just as it would vary between different feminists).

              Take it easy.

          • Mark Neil says:

            I don’t deny the gendered nature of “power” in our culture. But I do feel that “power” has been defined, by gender ideologues, to only include forms of power which those ideologues seek to gain, and ignore, minimize or redefine (as a negative) the impact of their own power. I likewise feel those ideologues will almost always play down the responsibilities, obligations and consequences of the specifically defined “power”, while playing up the responsibilities, obligations and consequences of the power they choose to ignore/deny. When a woman can slap a man for saying something she doesn’t like, and nobody bats an eye, but should the man return that slap, he gets piled on by 20+ guys and beaten, plus has the law to contend with, which doesn’t seem to care he got slapped first… who has the real power there? Sure, one can play down ether power by redefining what power is (is power the fact a man is stronger than a women and can do a lot more damage, all on his own? or is power the ability to have many people act on your behalf, without even needing to say a word, and even when you got yourself into the situation?), but it’s the tendency to downplay one type of power while up-playing another, that drives me AWAY from feminism (where I started), towards egalitarianism

            • David Perry says:

              I’m just not sure your example is /true/. Let’s just go to the news in Florida: http://foxnewsinsider.com/2013/07/16/florida-woman-sentenced-20-years-firing-warning-shot-near-domestically-abusive-husband.

            • You can see the difference Mark speaks of in mock scenarios (although not to the degree he uses). A few years ago Tyra Banks did an episode where she ran some test scenarios of a coupe out in public and one began to get abusive. She had man agressive with woman, woman agressive with woman, and man aggressive with man.

              in the two same gender tests people would stop and look but that was it. However in the man agressive with woman scenarios there people called for help or intervened. In one run of the scenario the cops arrived on the scene and Trya had to come forward and tell them it was a test to save the male actor from getting arrested. Also during one of the runs the police were called the dispatcher was told that the man had a knife, although Tyra had no weapons in any of her scenrios.

              So I do think there is merit to what Mark is saying. Sure you may say that the scenarios aren’t real cases but bear in mind that the passersby, who chose whether or not to respons, were real.

              But for a real case I’m sure you heard about what happened between Emma Roberts and her boyfriend right? I can’t find a link now (I’m at work) but one source actually somehow reported on the incident without even mentioning that Emma bloodied his nose and was arrested.

            • Mark Neil says:

              My example was specific to an existing example. If you want me to bring up more examples of a guy getting a beatdown, while the crowd watches on saying “he better not hit her back”, I’ll be more than happy to. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7lfVyyEI70

              But I appreciate you demonstrating the very effort to deny and/or minimize female power I was discussing

              As to the case you point to, do note that when she fired on the “allegedly” abusive man, there were young children next to him. Not to mention the violence she enacted after the fact, at HIS safe house, in view of the children, while she herself had a protection order against her.

              How about we examine the Campione case, where after a woman killed two children, recorded it on camera, had her own mother testify against her, that SHE was abusive, the mother made accusations of abuse, and the judge openly stated, had the father not been abusive, the children would still be alive. http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2010/11/17/barbara-kay-when-a-mother-is-on-trial-the-father-is-the-accused/

              Or perhaps we can examine the recent Ryan case, where the ex-wife tried to hire a hitman (that turned out to be an RCMP officer), she then claimed she was abused physically (for the first time. previous police interactions had her praising him as a good father) and afraid for her life, at which point she was acquitted twice and the supreme court finally agreed her defense wasn’t legal, but decided to give her a stay of prosecution, because she’d been through enough, PLUS ordered an investigation of the RCMP for failing to protect HER, the attempted murderer through proxy.

            • David Perry says:

              Once again, Mark, the answer is more feminism. This is related to the purity/protection part of patriarchy. Feminists want to undermine that as much as you do. That’s the pathway.

              I do not expect you or your four friends here to see it that way.

      • “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 disagree. Calling yourself an egalitarian only demonstrates how you personally feel about people and how they should be treated, it says nothing about what the current state of society is. Regardless of what kind of society I find myself in, my feelings on how people should be treated will remain the same, which is why if I must be labeled egalitarian is the only thing I’d really be comfortable with. I remember reading a discussion between a group of women on the word and whether or not it was still relevant to today (I don’t remember which site it was). They all seemed to agree that it was, but there was less agreement on what would would have to happen for them to stop using the label. Indeed I got the feeling that some women would always call themselves feminists because what the movement gave them in terms of identity and a lens to look at the world. Whatever the state of society is, was irrelevant to their usage of the word.
        I don’t think we’ll ever find a perfect system that is free of inequality at all levels nor do I think that we’ll be able to stamp out all forms of bigotry. For someone like you abortion rights are key to women’s liberation, but a pro life feminist might feel differently. You may feel comfortable no longer referring to yourself as a feminist in 30 years, but someone else may draw the line further down the rode. I’m fine with people calling themselves feminists, but I’d rather use a word that is timeless, and not specific to the current state of society.

      • There has been lots and lots and lots of examination about the discourse of feminism in the last 50 years. And the reasons are complicated, because it depends which voice is rejecting it and why.
        I ask this because far too often I see feminists who just chalk the rejection of feminism up to hating women.

        As for egalitarianism – I like it when people in my circle claim to be egalitarians. I’m an egalitarian. But then once you start, or I start anyway (the MRA folks in the thread disagree, because they think they are the real victims) looking at the realities of gender and power, I end up focusing on women’s rights. Hence; feminism precedes egalitarianism for me.
        And I think this may be a point of criticism of feminism. When looking at the realities of gender and power feminists seem to think that the only valid conclusion is that women need help. While that is certainly valid I do believe it is also valid to look at gender and power and see the inequalities that men face and focus that way.

        If you choose to focus on women there’s nothing wrong with that. The problem comes when the thought goes from choosing to focus on women because that’s where you want to focus to holding up focusing on women as a requirement that if not met, is a sign of being against equality and supporting hatred.

        Now as for your part in paranthesis. Have you ever considered the idea that there exists MRAs that don’t buy into the whole “men are the real victims” bit (just like there are feminists who do guy into “women are the real victims” and feminists who don’t)?

        • David Perry says:

          I am sure it’s possible to talk about men’s rights in a productive and useful way. I get too flippant about MRA because some annoy me so deeply, and for that I apologize.

          I think it’s telling, though, that in an essay about women, the male commentators on this thread only want to talk about men.

          In my analysis, there is no accurate critique of the gendered division of power in our culture that does not result in a feminist perspective. That does not mean ignoring pressures or injustices specifically towards men, but the solution to most of those problems is more feminism, not less feminism.

          I don’t think we’re going to agree here, Danny, but I really appreciate your comments (I have a meeting in 20 minutes so have to go). They have been informed and productive.

          • I am sure it’s possible to talk about men’s rights in a productive and useful way. I get too flippant about MRA because some annoy me so deeply, and for that I apologize.
            Fair enough. I’ve gotten that way about feminists and I just that if I can be expected to give them a fair shake then the least feminists can do is offer it in return. Thanks.

            I think it’s telling, though, that in an essay about women, the male commentators on this thread only want to talk about men.
            But please bear in mind your essay about women is being published in a men’s space.

            In my analysis, there is no accurate critique of the gendered division of power in our culture that does not result in a feminist perspective.
            I guess that depends on what you call “accurate”. And I have no problem with you coming to that conclusion for yourself. But the “feminism is the only way to gender equality” bit (which I really hope you aren’t pushing) can get pretty dismissive and offensive after a while.

            That does not mean ignoring pressures or injustices specifically towards men, but the solution to most of those problems is more feminism, not less feminism.
            I see this a lot. The acknowledgement that there are injustices and pressures that harm men, followed by an immediate endorsement of feminism. Does the solution have to be feminism? Is there really no room for people who are not feminists to speak up about the thigns that harm men?

            Also about saying the feminism is the solution. The thing is when looking at feminism you can see where the things that harm men are minimzed to just be collateral damage of the the things that harm women. So in effect when someone says that the solution to the things that harm men is to embrace feminism, they are saying that the solution to the things that harm is to focus on women.

            I don’t think we’re going to agree here, Danny, but I really appreciate your comments (I have a meeting in 20 minutes so have to go). They have been informed and productive.
            Probably not due to the fact that I disagree with the way feminism frames the issues that harm us all today. As a result I think that we agree on the issues at hand but would disagree on the history behind them and agree on what must be done about them but disagree on how it should be done.

            Take it easy.

      • Mr. Perry: the MRA folks in the thread disagree, because they think they are the real victims

        I really wonder your definition what feminism might be for you. Maybe you can explain. For me personally I consider feminism as nothing less (or more) but an interest group. It is a movement looking for advantages and privileges for some certain groups of women. Not even for all women. Feminism has nothing to do with egalitarianism.

        In a feminist-friendly society males of any age are often treated as 2nd class citizen. Not MRAs are the victims as you are falsely try to suggest, the victims are large groups of males whose miserable status as victim is belittled and ignored.

        MRAs can offer you plenty of references for that. For one of the references please click on the link below. Thank you.

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

        • David Perry says:

          With all due respect, I think if you read both the article and the comments, you will find me articulating my definitions in various ways. MRA groups argue against straw (wo)men by in large, so I will not be clicking on your link. Your definition of feminism is based on false premises.

          I live in a feminist friendly society. I am not a 2nd class citizen. Maybe you hang out in the wrong places. Or maybe you just believe the propaganda.

          Once again, I marvel at how in response to an essay about women’s right, all most men in this comment pool can do is complain about themselves and their gender.

          • Mark Neil says:

            “Once again, I marvel at how in response to an essay about women’s right, all most men in this comment pool can do is complain about themselves and their gender.”

            But your essay isn’t about women’s rights, it is about feminism. And one criticism is in how feminism treats men, how it examines (or more specifically, fails to examine) the male side of the equation as anything but a focus for blame… you know, just as you claim egalitarianism fails to properly examine things from the women’s perspective. But if egalitarianism is, in fact, examining both perspectives and not coming to the same conclusion you are, doesn’t that make feminism the one ignoring stuff (hence why what they are ignoring keeps coming up in discussions about how feminism is the best/ideal/right choice)?

            I find it telling that you seem to think not objecting to what feminism does for women, leaving you to it, but rather, objecting to claims regarding power dynamics and asserting that nether side has it worst if you examine both sides equally, as some kind of marginalization or something. Basically, you object because people refuse to allow you to continue to marginalize men while claiming women are the ones being marginalized.

            An analogy… If I bake a cake, and talk about how good my cake is, and say why it is a good cake and the ideal cake to be eaten, would someone who disagrees talk about the good things about my cake? Would they speak of the ingrediants they know did go into it? Or would they try to demonstrate what I missed, what I could do better if I seriously want to live up to my claim.What you’re doing with the above statement is objecting because I’m not supporting your cake, talking it up.

            • David Perry says:

              If you read my essay and think it’s not about women’s rights, you should re-read my essay. Anyway, there are about 4 of you repeating the same thing over and over and over again, deeply steeped in the culture of male victimhood. I disagree. Let’s move on. Anything new to discuss?


          • Mr. Perry: MRA groups argue against straw (wo)men by in large, so I will not be clicking on your link. Your definition of feminism is based on false premises.

            It is indeed beyond my understanding what is wrong with a link to a study related to the Utah Law Review – why must any study be about women only?

            You fail to explain why my definition of feminism is based on false premises. I was asking what is your definition of feminism and so far I do not see any explanation.

            To claim in a feminist friendly society, men are never treated as a 2nd class citizen is plainly wrong.

            As I said already, you were lucky in your life with your relationship with females and I really hope you will be lucky in your future too – but you should not presume that any other person who is a male is as lucky as you are.

            • wellokaythen says:

              I’m just glad to see someone finally suggest the phrase “strawwoman argument.’ It’s about bloody time, I say. Gender equality of language, indeed.

  17. David Perry says:
    July 19, 2013 at 8:13 am
    …..Trolls are egging me on and I’m trying to step back from that now and engage only in dialogue that will be productive. I welcome thoughtful disagreement. I don’t welcome ax-grinding or using this post as a place to trash feminism.
    —–
    David Perry says:
    July 19, 2013 at 8:01 am
    It will not convince the Men’s Right’s Advocates who are trolling this post – I should have just moderated them out, I guess, but then they’d go around whining about how their rights are being violated.
    —–

    Mr. Perry,

    Does this mean you consider everybody who is concerned about men’s rights as a troll?

    About moderating I am astonished to read that it is you who is moderating this thread?
    Please explain who is a troll by your opinion? Everybody who strongly disagrees with your views and with feminism?

    You identify yourself as a male feminist. This is OK as long as you are able to accept criticism against feminism because of that. If you cannot do that, it will be better you publish your comments in a feminist-only forum, where anybody who disagree with you will be banned and where not feminist-friendly comments will be quickly deleted.

    The GMP had EXACTLY this problem about moderation in its past but stood firm against feminists demanding to exclude the Men’s Rights Movement entirely from any discussion on its websites.

    I will ask the administration of the GMP directly for clarification, as the GMP is not supposed to be a pro-feminist publication only allowing biased feminist-friendly moderation but to give space for opposing opinions, this includes the Men’s Rights Movement.

    • David Perry says:

      I think if you read the comments you will see plenty of voice given to Men’s Rights Advocates. I do not consider MRA trolls. I consider people who are using this as an opportunity to attack me personally for not agreeing with them trolls. But I apologize for being unclear.

      Thanks. David.

      • Are you aware of who among the commentors here are MRAs?

      • Mr. Perry: But I apologize for being unclear.

        I would not call it unclear, but as a feminist your opinion is clearly biased and single-sided.

        As you said, you are talking about patriarchy. You see only the glass-ceiling, but you ignore totally the existence of the glass-floor. – While it is true that the majority of people in leading high position are men, it is also true that the majority of people in lowest position are men too.

        The majority of people in jail are men, the majority of people with problems in school are boys, the majority of people doing the most dangerous and dirtiest work are men, most suicide victims are men, most homeless people are men and so on and so on.

        You have to learn to see both sides of a story. It seems that you are a happy man without any bad experience with women so far. You should however accept it as a fact, that many men are not in such a happy position and are not as lucky as you are.

        MRAs are not born as MRAs, they are made to MRAs because of their bad experience with females (and also feminist-friendly men) as a child, as a student, as a divorced man, as a father etc.

        It should be noticed that MRAs are facing a lot of scorn by feminists and their requests for consideration of their agendas are totally ridiculed, ignored, brushed under the carpet.

        My question is what kind of comments do you expect from MRAs in the GMP? Comments to cheer feminists?

        • David Perry says:

          I expected, I suppose, more people interested in becoming good men. It’s what I try to be. I find the angry minority who blame all their problems on feminists and feminism to be interested in their own sense of victim-hood and how it’s so hard on them.

          But it’s been an education.

  18. David Perry says:

    Hello all,

    I’ll be stepping out of the comments now. Thanks for reading.

    I have to say that the culture of men as victims, particularly as victims of feminism, has been distressing to read and to try and argue with. It relies on fundamentally flawed epistemology, to my mind, but I can see why it would be so attractive.

    I wish you all well in trying to figure out what it takes to be a better man.

  19. The GMP is a place for open discussion. Good to see this thread is open again.
    Some comments are missing. I received them as email, but they are not in this thread.

  20. wellokaythen says:

    On some level, just about everyone is a feminist, if you count the ideas from “first wave” feminism like the women’s suffrage movement. If you ask most American fathers today what sort of life they want for their daughters, the answers you get today are actually pretty solid feminist ones. Maybe not third or fourth wave feminists, though there would be some of those, too. It’s extremely difficult to find anyone who has entirely no agreement with any sort of feminism.

    Whatever female celebs shy away from the label, they are no doubt happy with the ability to dispense with their paychecks as they see fit, their right to file lawsuits, and their right to initiate divorce. The more politically active ones no doubt like their right to vote. I bet none of the men who decry feminism will be demanding that universities restrict the majors available to their daughters or prevent their daughters from applying to graduate school. Those men won’t be calling for the government to keep their mothers from being able to vote. Female anti-feminists are hardly going to demand that they not be allowed to vote anymore.

    If people say that feminism has taken society in the wrong direction, or gone off the rails at some point, then I’m wondering where exactly that turning point happened. Was it a bad idea for women to be able to vote? Was the bad idea that women could have their own bank accounts? Was it women serving on juries that messed up the country? If there really is some sort of historical argument about how feminism was good and now it’s bad, then the question is where exactly the turning point was.

    • (This is going off topic but I have to admit I can’t resist.)
      Honestly I don’t think you can just point to one point in the history of feminism and say, “That’s where it went wrong.” (I bet you can’t do that for Christianity or just about any other organized body that’s been around for a long time.)

      As a result it can be difficult to separate the good from the bad. But honestly I think there are people who abuse that cloudiness.

      On one side you have those that upon hearing the slightest bit of criticism towards feminism will launch into how people “have no problem denouncing the movement that gave them many of the freedoms they enjoy today”. Make feminism the synonym of equality itself and suddenly it’s bulletproof. Its a pretty effective defense against criticism I must say.

      On the other you those that will take the slightest criticism and use it to attack the entire movement and go on into how “it’s never helped anyone”. Make feminism the antonym of equality and suddenly its a terrible idea.

      On some level, just about everyone is a feminist, if you count the ideas from “first wave” feminism like the women’s suffrage movement.
      I think that’s a thread that feminists hang onto for the sake of trying to make their movement sound all the more a “default”. If you want to get down to it the concepts of equality existed before feminism. They might have taken it and made great leaps and bounds here but let’s not act like all of creation was mired in uncivilized and brutal chaos and no one believed in equality before they came along. Or if you want to take that the other way anyone that thinks a man should be free to decide if wants to work outside the home or inside the home is an MRA. Sure they believe it but its not like they invented that concept.

      • wellokaythen says:

        I think you’re right. People on all sides of feminism like to pick and choose. The things that I agree with are simply good common sense and human decency, and the ones I disagree with are from extremists and narrow interest groups.

        People on all sides are lumpers and splitters. The appeal to first wave ideas is something of a fallback position among some feminists. That’s lumping some very different generations together, which is what I was doing earlier, I suppose. Meanwhile, people who decry feminism tend to split out the earlier incarnations as just normal ideas.

        You’re right about there being no single turning point for a complex historical development. Perhaps a better thought experiment would be to make a pro and con list. Here’s what feminism has done right over the past hundred years. Here’s what it has done wrong. You’re right that there are people on both sides who are incapable of considering such a thing – feminism is either an angel or a demon for them.

        • This is a very interesting thought experiment. I think such a list would be useful for both sides. It reminds one that feminism isn’t evil, and that feminism isn’t beyond reproach.

        • I think you’re right. People on all sides of feminism like to pick and choose. The things that I agree with are simply good common sense and human decency, and the ones I disagree with are from extremists and narrow interest groups.
          Agreed (even though I think the disagreeable parts are not limited to narrow interest groups and extremists).

          People on all sides are lumpers and splitters. The appeal to first wave ideas is something of a fallback position among some feminists.
          Pretty much. I forgot where I got the link but today I saw a list of something like, “Top five reasons men should be feminists”. One of the first items on the list was something to the effect of “There is no moral argument against feminism…at all.”. And sure enough it feel back to that position. Feminism is synonymous with equality so if you are not in line with feminism that means you are against equality. I have to hand it to them doing that is much more elegant than directly saying, “Either you’re a feminist or a bigot.”

          You’re right that there are people on both sides who are incapable of considering such a thing – feminism is either an angel or a demon for them.
          As a non-feminist seeing this in action is pretty fun sometimes. The ones that think feminism is an angle attack me and accuse me of making generalizations and being unfair to them (oddly enough they seem to never hear where I go over the parts that I agree with….). The ones that think its a demon attack me for me and accuse me of not getting the entire picture (and they also seem to never hear where I go over parts that I disagree with).

          • wellokaythen says:

            There are plenty of outspoken people who will say you are too feminist and plenty of others who will say you are not feminist enough. And by “you,” I mean just about everyone.

            • wellokaythen says:

              Danny,
              One more thing I was curious about. In your experience, do you think people see “non-feminist” and assume that you are “anti-feminist”? I see a real difference, but I’m not sure others do.

            • With out a doubt yes in my experience a lot of people see non-feminist and read anti-femininst. Generally the ones that do this are either anti-feminists and feminists. What’s intersting are the two possible ways people can go after making that assumption.

              Anti-feminists will fully unload on their reasons for hating feminism and wishing it had never existed. In general they treat feminism like a curse that must be dispelled. This is usually tempered with rage.

              Feminists on the other hand will fully unload on their reasons for why anti-feminism is wrong and/or defending feminism. In general they treat it like a person that made huge changes and sacrifices in the past and now everyone owes something in return. I’ve seen this tempered with rage and even snobbish consecension.

        • Kari Palazzari says:

          wellokaythen says:
          July 24, 2013 at 1:32 pm
          Perhaps a better thought experiment would be to make a pro and con list. Here’s what feminism has done right over the past hundred years. Here’s what it has done wrong.

          I love this idea! And I bet most of the folks on GMP would find that they agree with a lot of the items on each list.

          I’d also like to propose an additional thought experiment – how has feminism helped *and* hindered masculinity? or to put it a different way – how does feminism facilitate or inhibit the development of “good men”?

  21. Katherine says:

    This comment may have already been made by someone else, but the women, and men, I. Your life are lucky to have you. Thank you.

  22. Katherine says:

    Should have read “and men in your life”

  23. Robb Black says:

    Sorry. Men can’t be feminist. Men can support feminism. They can believe in feminism. They can be anti-patriarchy. They can do everything in their power to work alongside feminists to advance the cause. But by their very nature and definition, men cannot be feminists. Men will never ever know what it is like to be a woman in this modern world. So how can they ever be so bold as to think they can actually be a feminist?

    And yes, you should never go to McDonald’s.

    • David Perry says:

      Well, I fundamentally disagree with your definition of feminism. My definition, and the definitions of those experts in feminism with whom I work, study, and those who I read, define it as 1) a critique of the gendered division of power in our society (and beyond) and 2) Actions that stem from that critique. So I can make the critique, and do in the essay above. And then I can articulate various kinds of actions.

      There are definitions of feminism that require a specific gender identity, such as the second-wave lesbian feminism of the early 70s, but that is a relatively fringey definition, and not decades out of date. I’d be interested in reading other feminist thinkers articulating a woman-only definition.

      As for McDonald’s. Well, they have slides. My son, who has Down syndrome, doesn’t eat anything that pretty much any restaurant sells. But he likes slides. Parental choices are often, though not always, more complex than they can appear.

    • Katikam says:

      Of course a man can know what it’s like to be a woman, well almost. We have poetry and art to convey our feelings, and research, and face to face communication, and imagination and above all, empathy.

      A man who advocates for women’s equality in the work place and in the home is a feminist. That’s what the word meant in the past and it still means that, particularly at a time of onslaught on women’s body autonomy.

  24. Robb Black says:
    July 24, 2013 at 5:11 pm
    Sorry. Men can’t be feminist. Men can support feminism

    There are male feminists, however there are only very few of them, it is difficult to agree with feminists under any circumstances – no free speech allowed – regardless if their demands are justified or not.

    I met only less than 10 male feminists during all my many years as MRA, and all of them were from USA. Females do not trust them, MRAs dislike them. It must be depressing to be a male feminist.

    The best known former male feminist is maybe Dr. Warren Farrell, there are video clips which show what feminists are now thinking about him regarding his speech in the University of Toronto.

    Katikam says:
    July 25, 2013 at 3:29 pm
    …A man who advocates for women’s equality in the work place and in the home is a feminist

    To be supportive to women AND men who are unfairly treated in the workplace and in the home does not make you a male feminist. I would call such a person a humanist, and not a feminist.

    If you are supportive to women ONLY who are unfairly treated and disregard unfairly treated men still does not yet make you a male feminist.

    You are a male feminist if you dismiss consistently and persistently any concern regarding men and their rights claiming they are ALL invalid despite you know at least some of their demands are justified.

  25. David Perry says:
    July 24, 2013 at 9:44 pm
    Well, I fundamentally disagree with your definition of feminism. My definition, and the definitions of those experts in feminism with whom I work, study, and those who I read, define it as 1) a critique of the gendered division of power in our society (and beyond) and 2) Actions that stem from that critique

    This is a very unclear definition and you might use the same sentences when replacing the word Feminism with Men’s Rights Movement.

    I could claim that the Men’s Rights Movement is
    1) a critique of the gendered division of power in our society (and beyond)
    and
    2) Actions that stem from that critique

    At least this sentence does not sound wrong to me, but is NOT a clear definition what the Men’s Rights movement presents.

    • David Perry says:

      Yes, but the Feminist critiques are based on well-tested reality.

      The MRA critique are based off of two things.

      1. Problems that are in fact related to patriarchy, but which they have mis-diagnosed. This is a good essay – http://goodmenproject.com/ethics-values/solution-mra-problems-more-feminism/

      2. Loss of privilege which they – you – interpret as being a sign of being the true victim. This happens whenever a privileged group finds themselves slipping towards equality and I’d be happy to offer analogies if you’re interested. It’s the textbook definition of privilege.

      I do not expect you to agree to this, because being a victim is, I expect, a matter of faith for you, and faith cannot be challenged. But other readers need to see it.

  26. Hi David Perry
    Is it a MRA strategy not marry ?
    I have seen many comment that points in that direction.
    If they never marry and have children then all MRS will eventually die out,……in a few generations they will all be gone.

    • David Perry says:

      It turns out people can have children without being married, and MRAs are definitely pro-sex. Also, there are plenty of anti-feminist women out there.

    • This is maybe the most ridiculous argument against MRAs I heard since long time.
      MRAs are often married. MRAs are against feminism, they are not against women in general.

      I am married since 37 years, never divorced, 2 daughters university educated and already adults and 1 fosterdaughter, also started university this year.

      What about you?

      • Hi Yohan
        Then I am obviously confuse about the matter!
        Many times I have read statements like this :” I am rejected by girls now as young man in my teen and twenties but know these women will find me good enough as a husband when the women get in their thirties. But since they reject me now,I will reject them in the future if they want me then”.

        I interpret this a MRA talking,but maybe I this was only a young bitter man talking.
        The truth is Yohan I have never visited a MRA website and read what they fight for. In my country ,men fight for better divorce deals,rights to their children.

        If they fight more rights they are so “low voiced” that never see or hear any other issues than this in the newspapers or in the radio.. And now they have gotten the right to stay at home with the child for 12-15 weeks after birth. Paid leave.

        But we have laws against hate speech.

        • I interpret this a MRA talking,but maybe I this was only a young bitter man talking.
          The truth is Yohan I have never visited a MRA website and read what they fight for. In my country ,men fight for better divorce deals,rights to their children.

          It could be a bitter young man, it could be an example of MenGoingTheOtherWay (or MGTOW).

          If they fight more rights they are so “low voiced” that never see or hear any other issues than this in the newspapers or in the radio.. And now they have gotten the right to stay at home with the child for 12-15 weeks after birth. Paid leave.

          But we have laws against hate speech.
          I really hope I am reading this wrong but do you mean this to say that since MRAs don’t fight for equality in the same ways as other men they must be using hate speech?

          • Hi Danny
            You ask me : ✺”I really hope I am reading this wrong but do you mean this to say that since MRAs don’t fight for equality in the same ways as other men they must be using hate speech?”✺
            My answer is NO,absolutely not if they are smart. But the blog you can read below is hateful.

            The problem is Danny,that I know nothing about MRA. Here is blog by a famous or infamous MRA in Norway:
            http://eivindberge.blogspot.com/?m=1
            Anders Behring Breivik is another MRA.
            Why are racist often also MRA here? I do not know,but they are.

            I think Eivind Berge’s views are very different from American MRA?

            He was arrested for hate speech when he wrote on his blog that police women( female officers ) should be killed,”as the feminist pigs they all are”

            Later he was released after 4 weeks because he had written this on a blog on the Internet and not in a newspaper article. The judges said he had not broken any laws since our laws does not cover blogging on the net.

            Now our politicians work on new hate speech laws. But that process takes many years and depend on who is in power.

            • I’ll offer my own blog as as a counter example to the racist mra material you link to (http://dannyscorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/). I don’t use any racism or support sexism. But one thing I do notice is that plain and simple most feminists do not want to hear from MRAs that are into those tactics because we go against the belief. If they acknowledge our existence and we aren’t so bad then maybe, just maybe, feminists don’t have a corner on the market of the concept of equality.

              Also I’d really like to know where you got it from that Anders Breivik was MRA. (Seriously because when he commited those crimes a while back I asked feminists, the only people that I saw making this claim, for evidence of this and got none.)

              Now as I said I’m not trying to pretend there are no problematic elements among MRAs but I am saying that they don’t represent all of us no more than it would be fair for me to say that ill spirited feminists represent all feminists.

            • Hi Danny
              You can read all about Behring Breivik’s ideas about women,feminism in his own book published online a few hours before he starts his terrorist attack. Around 1500 pages .
              He has chapters in this book about women,feminism and more.

              If you are interested in understanding how a terrorist, and militant anti jihadist in Europe( and Russia) think then read Anders Behring Breivik’ e book online:

              ” 2083 – A European Declaration of Independence”
              I downloaded it from Pirate Bay,but do not know if it is still easy to find. It is not dangerous to read it as many think. I did so because I wanted to understand him.
              There are more anti Jihadist than we like to think.
              If you can not find it then here is the literature he bases his book and world views on. A man called Fjordman,a prominent ideology writer for militant anti jihad movement. His real name is Peder Jensen( Peder Are Nøstvold Jensen).

              http://chromatism.net/fjordman/fjordmanfiles.htm
              And since you are black if I remember correctly,here is Fjordman on earlier colonization of Europe and slavery . White slaves so to speak.
              http://gatesofvienna.net/2009/05/europeans-as-victims-of-colonialism/

              I hope it does not scare you.
              Now I look forward to read your blog Danny.

            • You can read all about Behring Breivik’s ideas about women,feminism in his own book published online a few hours before he starts his terrorist attack. Around 1500 pages .
              He has chapters in this book about women,feminism and more.

              I’ve read some of his material and and I still have not seen anything where he actually IDs as MRA. Oh I’ve seen anti-woman and anti-feminist sentiments in his material but I’ve seen no claim to be MRA. No they are not the same thing, at least to me they aren’t.

            • Hi Danny
              Behring Breivik used the word anti feminist. But the main thing is not what he calls himself but the content of his ideas,his hypotheses. (I will not call them theories.)

              I can not discuss MRA in Norway with you Danny,because I know nothing about it. Norwegian men do not use the concept MRA it seems. A quick search gives me nothing except this hateful Eivind Berge’s blog. He is so filled with lies that I will not give him a second of my time!

              So I need to read up to understand more about this movement in Europe.
              Maybe one day I will come back and we can discuss it. I start with this link:

              http://www.gwi-boell.de/web/men-politics-anti-feminist-mens-rights-movement-networks-online-4621.html

            • Mr Supertypo says:

              look for pelle bing (or something like that, im going at memory) im not at my comp right now, otherwise I could have send you a link….

            • Mr Supertypo says:

              ah forgot to say, AFA (anti feminist activists) and MRA are not necessary the same. Look at Danny if you want a example. Or at me. Even if I dont label my self like a MRA right now, but im tempted to since all the dis-info.

            • Behring Breivik used the word anti feminist. But the main thing is not what he calls himself but the content of his ideas,his hypotheses. (I will not call them theories.)
              I can agree with that however I a little put off when anti-feminist is conflated with MRA for the purpose of attacking MRAs (which may explain why I’ve only ever seen feminists make the claim that Brevik was MRA). My apologies for coming on so strong.

            • This does not make any sense. Such discussion is going to nowhere.

              If feminists are claiming, masskiller Breivik is an MRA, and therefore all MRAs are masskillers, then it is easy to claim in return all feminists support gendercide of all men, because convicted prostitute and killer Valerie Solanas was a feminist – recognized as a feminist by NOW! – and was calling for the painless killing of all males.

              It is also wrong to claim all feminists are prostitutes, because leading feminist Andrea Dworkin was working as a prostitute while living in the Netherlands.

      • Tom Brechlin says:

        Yohan … just chiming in here. I’ve been directly and indirectly involved in MRA’s for well over 25 years. I’ve been married (same women) for 38 years and have raised a son and a daughter. It was my having a family which prompted me to initially investigate MRA’s (which back then there was no official name for it.)

    • There are those among them that do abide by the sentiment to never get married. But the “never marry and have nothing to do with women” is more of a MGTOW thought.

      As Yohan points out, despite feminism’s attempts to blur the lines, being the existence of woman hating MRAs doesn’t necessarily mean being MRAs are against women (no more than the existence of man hating feminists means that being a feminist means you hate men).

  27. 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.

    This is one of many barriers of communication that’s going to make things harder for everyone. It’s hard to have a conversation with someone that literally starts off deciding that they are right and if you don’t agree with them then that means you are against equality and are playing the victim.

    All I can say is that pointing out the ways in which men are oppressed is no more playing the victim then pointing out the ways in which women are oppressed. Holding up feminism as some unquestionable dogmatic faith is not the way to get through to others.

    I’m sure there are feminsits who will read this and get angry and disagree but it needs to be said.

  28. Iben says:
    July 26, 2013 at 10:18 am

    Hi Yohan
    Then I am obviously confuse about the matter!
    Many times I have read statements like this :” I am rejected by girls now as young man in my teen and twenties but know these women will find me good enough as a husband when the women get in their thirties. But since they reject me now,I will reject them in the future if they want me then”.

    I interpret this a MRA talking,but maybe I this was only a young bitter man talking.
    The truth is Yohan I have never visited a MRA website

  29. This refresh mode does not work properly, it does not refresh, but was posting my comment while still editing and writing.


    I have only one question:
    You said, you NEVER visited any MRA website – but did you visit feminist websites?

    • Hi Yohan
      No,
      I once looked it up when HeatherN told us about a feministt website that commented on an article here on GMP about ” what men want” by dr.Sheck.
      It is more fun to read the articles here on GMP! :)
      My motivation is to understand men better.

    • Tom Brechlin says:

      IBen, the refresh used to make me crazy but what I learned to do is do my response in a “word” document and then cut and paste it when I’m done.


  30. Danny says:
    July 26, 2013 at 10:18 am
    ….. “never marry and have nothing to do with women” is more of a MGTOW thought.
    As Yohan points out, despite feminism’s attempts to blur the lines, being the existence of woman hating MRAs doesn’t necessarily mean being MRAs are against women

    Men’s Rights Advocates are not against WOMEN, but are against FEMINISM. It is feminist rhetoric to claim who is against feminism is against women in general.

    About hate-speech it is up to feminists to remove hate-speech from their own way how they talk to men. – The best known example recently is the protest against Dr. Warren Farrell in the University of Toronto.

    The key-question is maybe why not ask MRAs why they are MRAs? There should be a reason for that.
    MRAs are not born, they were made.

    MRA-related forums are open to any kind of opinion, while feminist forums are closed for comments of opposing views.

    It is true that men contacting us the first time are very angry, and some are indeed full of hate because they were badly treated by women in their past.

    However hate is a way to nowhere leading into self destruction – most men are contacting us to find a group where they can talk openly, protected against scornful remarks from females. Those men do not have any other place where to go – there is no social networking existing for men who have problems with females except MRAs. We try to encourage those men to work hard to separate from their sad past and to start a new life with entire new people somewhere else.

    I don’t know why such MRA-advice might be wrong for those men in trouble. I think it is still much better for those men to contact us than to listen to such scornful drivel about ‘more feminism’.

  31. 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.

  32. 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!

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. 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?

  36. 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

  37. 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.

  38. Tom Brechlin says:

    Yohan, thank you for sharing that ling. Amazing information

  39. Tom Brechlin says:

    That should have said “link”

  40. 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.

  41. 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!

  42. 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.

  43. 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.

  44. 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.

  45. 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.

  46. 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.

  47. 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.

  48. 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.

  49. 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.

  50. 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”

  51. 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

  52. John Schtoll says:

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

  53. 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.

  54. 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.

  55. 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.

  56. 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