Ladies, Let’s Stop Declaring War on Men

No matter what kind of animosity exists between men and women, we must put the guns away, writes Nicole Jonson, and realize we can’t live without one another.

I have lived by this axiom my entire life: good men are everywhere. As a sister, daughter, cousin, co-worker, friend, and wife of 10 years, I become enraged when I hear women say, “there are no good men,” “this is the end of men,” or “we are at war with men.”

Forbes.com is one of my favorite websites. In fact, I made a new friend at the Forbes family: feature writer, Meghan Casserly. I became acquainted with Meghan after I read her recent article, “Why We Need To Stop Bemoaning ‘The End of Men.’” Initially, I found Meghan’s article quite compelling; however, when I reached the final paragraph, I was horrified. It reads:

Let alone the fact that women only hold 3.2% of the top CEO positions and, across the board still earn roughly 79 cents to the dollar. Oh, and we’re still the only ones who can bear children (thanks, science!). The pages of Forbes aren’t yet filled with feminine faces. ForbesWoman still exists. We may be winning some battles of the sexes, but we still haven’t won the war.”

Wait a minute, why is my new Forbes friend bemoaning human anatomy and casting blame on science? Men can’t have babies, and there’s nothing anyone can do about this physiological fact. Newsflash: many women chose to not have children. Meghan, I am one of those women.

And what war? There is not a war between men and women. From my vantage point, there are not battles, bombings, or bloodshed between the sexes. Men and women are not plotting carnage against each other. Furthermore, men are too smart to declare war on women.

Most men understand they can not survive without women. Ladies, can you say the same about men? I hope so. The truth is we would die without each other.

If there is any type of “war” going on it’s the new anti-men movement. To the ladies waging this campaign against men, I’m begging you, please: drop your weapons. You are fighting a losing battle, and ultimately, you are harming yourself and the female gender. Regardless of your sexual orientation, you need men; you can’t live without men. Moreover, I believe a portion of your disdain for men stems from internal strife and discontent.

♦◊♦

After reading Meghan’s article, I immediately alerted my beloved colleagues at The Good Men Project that another stove was stirring the gender pot and serving poached testicles for dinner. Good Men Project founder, Tom Matlack, and columnist, Hugo Schwyzer, have offered their thoughts on Meghan’s Forbes piece. My sentiments lie more with Tom’s position.

Tom states:

I think labels do suck. I think most men in 2011 are decent human beings who are not emasculated by cuddling their kids and doing the dishes (and actually think it’s the best part of their day—read just a sampling of posts here on GMP). The whole idea behind what we are doing here is to be, as men, partners to our wives and husbands. Why the piling on?

Labels are limiting and lugubrious. We label people as a way to contain them, as well as to create a consistent, pre-determined expectation. This is tremendously unfair.

It is common for men and women to be reserved with each other. In general, they are afraid to be vulnerable and reveal their true selves; they have a difficult time discussing emotions and expectations. Given men and women’s propensity to remain guarded and non-communicative, they prejudge.

I believe women have a greater need to prejudge men than men do women. The internal and external inadequacies women feel cause them to attack men. Case in point: Meghan is angry at science (and men) because women are the only ones who can bear children.

To further illustrate my point, here are additional examples: if a woman has become unsuccessful in the dating marketplace, suddenly all men are assholes. If a woman has not received a raise at work, she unequivocally has been suppressed by the paternalistic authority. When a husband doesn’t “pull his weight” at home, he is perceived as lazy and unsupportive.

I would like women to become more self-reflective instead of projecting their personal and professional unhappiness onto men. Perhaps it is something a woman is consciously or unconsciously doing to repel men in the dating marketplace. Maybe women would be paid the same as men if they routinely asked for raises and evaluations. Furthermore, women now have the status, education, and resources to work for themselves or other women. If a woman doesn’t like working for “the man,” start working for women.

When it comes to housekeeping and family life, how many women are expressing their dissatisfaction? How many women are asking their husbands to share the workload? How many women are asking their husbands to attend couples therapy if their needs are not being met? How many women are filing for divorce if they are in a miserable marriage?

I am not giving men a free pass. I agree with Hugo when he states, “Things are getting better, and we should celebrate it. But the work isn’t done yet, either in the home or in the boardroom.” Certain men need to ask themselves these questions: Am I proud of the life I am leading? Am I a good man? Am I worthy of a good woman?

There are groups of men who regularly provide fodder for the writings of Kay Hymowitz and Hanna Rosin. Unfortunately, the man-child and omega male live among us. I’m waiting for all of the good men to become mentors to these men. I know Tom and Hugo are up for the challenge. Who else is ready to join them?

Degrees of inequalities will always exist between the sexes. Ladies, stop fighting this truth. Concentrate on your strengths, and address the internal battle with yourself before declaring men the enemy.

—Photo bitzi ☂ ion-bogdan dumitrescu/Flickr

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About Nicole Johnson

Marketing Maven » Sales Consultant » Brand Builder » Energetic Entrepreneur » Networking Enthusiast » Writer » Wife » Good Men Advocate

Comments

  1. The Bad Man says:

    A refreshing perspective. Hugo Schwyzer, Michael Kimmel, Michael Flood, NOMAS and SPSSM take note…ladies.

  2. Anonymous says:

    “When it comes to housekeeping and family life, how many women are expressing their dissatisfaction? How many women are asking their husbands to share the workload?”
    That’s only half the issue. I want to know how many women are willing to come to terms with the fact that their standards of housework may be unreasonable. (I was going to say “insane” instead of “unreasonable,” but that seemed overly harsh.) I want to know how many are willing to compromise in seeing housework as something that has to be balanced with other parts of life. Instead of asking your husband to help you vacuum every day, how many are willing to accept that the rug getting hoovered once a week?

    Same thing with childrearing. I wonder how many women are willing to admit that some of their preconceived notions could be arbitrary and could be relaxed a little without the world ending. It’s okay to feed a child hashbrowns for breakfast but not French fries? Never pancakes for dinner? Is it the end of the world if the toddler’s socks don’t always match? If you’re mad at particular men for not living up to your ideals, maybe some of your ideals are perfectionistic. At least make room for the possibility.

    • Julie Gillis says:

      Should come down to negotiated and mutually agreed upon expectations. Seems like that’s hard to do.

    • @ Julie & @ Anonymous –

      Anonymous, I agree with you. Spouses, partners, and parents should always make room for the possibilities. People should be willing to make accommodations and adjustment in their relationship and parenting style. Also, housekeeping preferences and parenting preferences should be discussed before either happens.

      Julie, I agree! It should come down to negotiated and mutually agreed upon expectations. If someone does not know what the expectation of them is, how can they possibly deliver on the expectation. Communication is the cornerstone for all relationships – personal and professional.

    • I have been the stay-home dad to our two kids for many years. Most of the time, I am responsible for meals, laundry, dishes, school, etc. As a man, I am constantly assaulted with the notions of ignorant people who think that just because their dad is the primary caregiver, that they are constantly wearing mismatched, unclean clothes, eating junk food for meals, rude, and so on.

      My kids always wear clean clothes and their socks actually match, ladies. What a concept! I cook three meals almost every day; always breakfast and lunch. Half the time my wife makes dinner. 75% of the dishes are done by me, and they are spotless. We constantly receive compliments on my kids’ good manners, always saying “please” and “Thank you”, as if it’s amazing they speak beyond grunts, being raised by a man.

      Occasionally, my wonderful wife lets me take a break: skipping breakfast duties, laundry, even giving me some much-needed time out. When that happens, I know that the kids are having toast or doughnuts for breakfast, that the dishes will be spotty or have soap residue on them, that clothes will be left on the floor, etc. I understand she works hard through the week and hasn’t the time for such trivial details. Unlike the harping masses, I understand that being a stay-home dad doesn’t equal living like cavemen.

      Rant over.

      • Thanks for the counterpoint. I was totally put off by Anonymous’s assumptions that all women are type-A perfectionists and all men are sloppy losers.

        • Absolutely Ok K. I’m a single mom and an absent-minded scientist. My daughter’s socks don’t always match. Our apartment is often a mess, and we frequently have pancakes for dinner.

          Most of the men I’ve dated are neater and are better cooks then I am. There is a continuum of “male” and ‘female” traits that anonymous seems not to be aware of.

  3. I find a lot of male-bashing so silly that I just have to laugh at it.

    Sometimes I get a little offended if I hear something misandrist directed at me. In those cases, I just tell the person I think male-bashing is cute (or sexy, depending on who it is). When I say that, it usually stops immediately and that person never says anything like that to me again. It’s just me making an “I” statement about myself, lending my voice, relating my experience to others in conversation with me….

    • Yes, we have to find some humor in all of this or we’d all go crazy!! However, at times, I believe men and women should step in for themselves (and each other) when the bashing becomes malicious, excessive, or debilitating. I also believe that men and women have the ability to empower each other everyday. Everyone would be stronger (and happier) if they sincerely supported the other.

      • Julie Gillis says:

        I agree in theory, but where it winds up becoming challenging in action is….say I work for a conservative man with a very traditional family values perspective (easy to imagine in Texas). He has a value system which may be in conflict with mine. Perhaps a woman works as a secretary and does a great job, but he often mentions how she should start having babies (I’ve actually witnessed this), or she applies for a job but is gently told that she’s not management material and a man younger than her gets the job (witnessed this too).
        It’s entirely possible that the person wasn’t management material (I didn’t agree with that decision). It’s also possible that this man has a particular narrative about “how things are” built up over years of living in a conservative state, a narrative reinforced by institutions (churches, family, fraternities etc). How does that man and that woman empower each other if they have radically different world views, narratives and experiences which reinforce their own world view?
        That’s what I’m talking about.
        He might be kind and loving. She may not be able to see that. She may be amazingly capable in terms of growing into leadership. He may not be able to see that.
        They have frames they are looking through which while coming out of an individual level, are influenced by institutional histories.

        • Julie Gillis says:

          Sorry, posted too quickly.
          I am able to work with those very different people because I’m able to empathise and realize where they might be, I listen to them and do honor where they are. In the cases above, I wasn’t directly affected by the decision making. But I could see how frustrating it was for the woman involved. It is easy to accuse of sexism, it’s harder to figure out how to shift someone’s thinking to allow for a new story, one in which babies are not the end all be all for a young secretary, or where it isn’t even his business. He felt paternal, which wasn’t really anything she welcomed. He didn’t understand why she didn’t welcome it. It was interpersonal but it was also driven by something larger-generations, education, how they were raised.

          People do have radically different world views. A feminist might work with a traditional values person. The reverse happens too. Only if we can learn to consider those frames and step outside of our own can we start to empower people.

          And we may still choose, on an individual level not to empower someone who is so radically opposed to our world view that we can’t “get there” in either direction.

          So its all well and good to talk about empowering each other everyday, but we do have to be aware that what that looks like for one person may be in conflict with another. Not that you can’t get past it, but we have to be willing to accept that and start from whatever point in common we can.

          Of course, that’s not nearly as fun as trolling and fighting is it ;)

          • It isn’t just frustrating when this kind of thing happens; it’s legally defined discrimination, and we need to root it out. What usually winds up happening is the smart young woman leaves Texas, or at least moves to Austin, and works for someone who values her likely contributions as a worker and manager rather than only being able to value her for her presumed reproductive potential. It’s called “brain drain” and it’s why even conservative businesses like my husband’s (he’s in finance, and his company is based in the rural west) are actively promoting a baseline of acceptable conduct around discrimination on the basis of differences like race, gender, and sexual orientation. They realize that by allowing the old mindsets of racism, cronyism, and white male privilege in any of their associates, instead of calling them out as a liability in the workplace, they’re making the right business decision. You can’t recruit the best and the brightest unless you truly welcome them in all their diversity.

            • Julie Gillis says:

              You are right of course Justin. My post was aiming less about law, but you are absolutely right.

          • @ Julie – Thank you so much for all of your feedback! I would LOVE to have an in-person round table discussion with you, Lisa, Tom, Hugo, and Meghan Casserly on this topic.

  4. “if a woman has become unsuccessful in the dating marketplace, suddenly all men are assholes. ”

    I think this is a great observation. In the turnaround, men have started doing this too, nowadays. If they can’t get a date, have been left by a woman, or have gotten rejected, it’s not because of anything they’ve done or haven’t done. It’s not because of a lack of chemistry, sexual compatibility, or love–it’s because women are alpha-male seeking missiles who step on nice guys just to dig gold…and be slut-bitches…and shop…and stuff. And like you said–if a man isn’t interested in being in a romantic relationship with a woman who wants him–suddenly he’s a pig, doesn’t know what he’s missing, and thinks with his penis…and porn…and stuff. Bitterness and desperation are the number one turn-offs for both men and women. Most people get hung up on one or more of the following: looks, success, confidence, shared hobbies, weight, or brains. Yet, even with a lack of one, two, or all of those, the most important thing is to not come off as desperate or bitter. It’s not a guarantee you’ll get a date, but it at least brings you back into the dating pool as a contender.

    • “if a woman has become unsuccessful in the dating marketplace, suddenly all men are assholes.”

      This funny to me, because the converse is “If a man has become unsuccessful in the dating marketplace, suddenly all women go for assholes and have no time for Mr. Nice Guy.”

      • Yep, that’s the same thing! Saying all women go for assholes is an accusation that they are stupid or self-destructive.

  5. It’s the WMD that get me – those Weapons Of Male Destruction.

    Female Argues all men bad and there she is throwing around her version of WMD.

    Male Argues that he is not as represented and he is accused of throwing WMD back.

    It seems both sides have WMD – and yet each time I go hunting, use intelligence and tip offs as to where these WMD can be found, how they are made, what is in them and even who has been supplying the parts from all over the globe – it turns out the WMD are a fiction.

    “It is common for men and women to be reserved with each other. In general, they are afraid to be vulnerable and reveal their true selves; they have a difficult time discussing emotions and expectations. Given men and women’s propensity to remain guarded and non-communicative, they prejudge.”

    So very true – and far harder to have communication and even “Détente” when both sides are wondering if the other has the WMD lying in wait – it just results in a cold war and M.A.D. – Mutually Assured Destruction.

    Conflict is not all bad – but it does come in a box with one simple instruction – “Handle With Care!”.

    • @ MediaHound – I love your point: Conflict is not all bad – but it does come in a box with one simple instruction – “Handle With Care!”

      Men and women should be kind and empathetic to each other in general, but especially during times of conflict.

      • Nicole – it’s not just at times of conflict. Recently I was asked by a couple to mediate a war zone that I had apparently witnessed – One side insisted that a conversation had taken place – the other side insisted it never took place. Both insisted I could prove one or the other correct.

        I was visiting, speaking to one person – other person sitting in living room. Person one leaves me, goes to living room, asks a question that was rhetorical – and because they got no answer believed that a positive answer had been provided. The person asked was clear that they had never been asked the question.

        I was clear who was using the ipod!

  6. Tom Matlack says:

    Great piece Nicole. Here is an interesting email I got yesterday from a writer friend:

    “It just seems to me that if men want to hear what’s wrong with them, especially from women, there is an entire array of magazines and other venues for just that purpose. Sometimes, I think, men are actually OK just as they are, and the one thing they need to work on is the ability to tell and articulate their own stories about the challenges they face as men in their lives after a lifetime of being sneered at, in one way or another, or called ‘whiners’ for articulating them. From the first time a little boy falls down and is told not to cry, to learning how to endure pain and suppress his feelings as an adolescent, the message is “shut up and take it.” Taking it is one thing–shutting up is quite another.”

    • Thank you, Tom, and thank you for sharing your friend’s email. I don’t think anyone should have to “take it” or shut up about their feelings or their needs. I also think your friend is spot-on. I believe most men are okay with who they are, and they need to get better at articulating their stories and challenges.

  7. Julie Gillis says:

    I appreciate wanting there not to be a war, butI think this phrase is perhaps a bit overused at this point. Iraq? That was a war. I dislike the whole model of seeking equity as a war. I’m not a soldier, I dislike violence, I don’t enact it on my friends, male or female.

    I understand there are people out there who do enjoy the war like approach, but it’s not for me. Make love, not war, I say! I’m not even a true child of the 60’s!

    But I will say it seems simplistic to say that equity happens only on an individual level. Or that if for some reason, I don’t get the raises I ask for it’s my fault per se. I mean, it might be. It might be that I”m not a quality employee. Or it could be less individual and more institutional.

    I realize I’ve been posting comments right and left about looking at the “war” from a multi tiered viewpoint, looking at individuals (intra personal, what’s going on for that person) Interpersonal (what’s going on between people who may or may not have biases), group issues, or larger systemic issues in a culture.

    See this model for an example of this in the workplace http://web.uvic.ca/hr/managertoolkit/buildingtools/waterlinemodel.html

    I realize it’s a lot easier to look at individuals-blame them for not working hard enough, or claim that since “I’m not sexist and work hard” all men must be equal to that. Or most men.

    And frankly I think most men probably aren’t all that sexist at this point in history. though there is probably a huge range based on age, just like with things like Homophobia-you’ll see more of that on an individual and institutional bases from those over 50 years of age. The younger set currently in college and their 20’s seem not to have any problem at all with Gay Rights.

    So where is all the anxiety coming from? It’s not a matter of “ladies don’t declare war.” its a matter of
    “People, how can we be more equal, more loving, more fair? How can gender equity help men? How can men get more out of life WHILE women get more out of life?”

    I’m reposting Soraya’s quote because it is so intelligent and well stated, http://goodmenproject.com/newsroom/its-not-the-end-of-men-and-we-still-have-work-to-do/comment-page-1/#comment-74652

    At this point, I think any article chastising (even gently) one gender or the other is only getting stuck in the same cycle of blame and looking for that easy answer to a very very complex and sticky problem.

    And sticky complex problems aren’t much fun to really dig into, I guess. But I’d rather try to focus on the biggest picture possible instead of blame or fear or binary thinking.

    • @ Julie – Fantastic point: So where is all the anxiety coming from? It’s not a matter of “ladies don’t declare war.” Its a matter of “People, how can we be more equal, more loving, more fair? How can gender equity help men? How can men get more out of life WHILE women get more out of life?”

      Hugo and I had an exchange about this “war” on my Facebook page last night. Here is one on of my responses:

      I will always be eternally grateful for the Feminist revolution; I am a direct by-product of Feminism. I would NEVER be able to do what I do if it were not for Feminism. However, I am troubled by the new Feminist campaign. Certain women have gone from “pro-women” to “anti-men.” This is unproductive and unsustainable.

      Our latest GMP articles (and comments) arose from Meghan Casserly’s article: http://www.forbes.com/sites/meghancasserly/2011/12/07/why-we-need-to-stop-bemoaning-the-end-of-men/

      I realize she was being metaphorical, but I believe she feels a war exists between men and women. I don’t believe there is a war between the sexes. I stated that in my GMP article. Yes, the current system is still biased in favor of men, but women now have status, education, and resources to circumvent this bias.

      Julie, I believe certain women will always feel they are at “war” with men. At this point in history, I find their anti-male campaign tremendously unfortunate.

      • “Yes, the current system is still biased in favor of men, but women now have status, education, and resources to circumvent this bias.”
        Truth be told, American society no longer favors men but favors women. In fact, women live 7 years longer than men, now graduate from college in higher proportions than men, have more money devoted to women’s diseases like breast cancer vs. men’s prostate cancer, declare they want equality yet only when it benefits them as evidenced by their lack of desire to share the burden of paying for dates or initiate dates or even serve in combat, are generally awarded child custody and a court system in their favor for alimony and child support, are promoted into positions of power in science/engineering simply for being women whereas no similar promotion scheme exists for men into nursing or education and an educational and media cartel that tells women they are smart and capable while men are dumb and bumbling. Yes, there is a war going on but it’s actually not against, women, it’s against men. This backlash against men is to be expected as a logical manifestation of decades of a patriarchal society. However, now we are witnessing a “Misandry Bubble” and like all great bubbles, i.e. Internet and Housing bubble, it will pop, just a question of when. This Misandry in American society is a major reason why American men are increasingly shunning American women and dating/marrying foreigners. American feminism was good for women in giving them rights though it created an entire generation of entitled females who accepted these rights without the corresponding sacrifice and responsibilities that go with them.

  8. Men and women are different. That’s not something science needs to fix; it’s something society needs to accommodate. That men can’t have babies is not the fault of society. Somebody has to have some babies, someone needs to take care of them, and we need to support the people who do that work, as a society, or what we get is another generation of emotionally starved latchkey children. It’s not good enough to say that if you’d rather have a high-powered career, then don’t have babies.

    Your anecdotes to the contrary, not everyone thinks that “all x are jerks” when they don’t get any new mail on OKCupid. You say women are more likely to prejudge than men, a statement that in itself labels and limits our expectations of women. You attribute sour grapes to a larger war on men waged by women, which ignores and minimizes the institutional violence that women have historically faced. It also places the blame on the “ladies” when everyone is equally capable of this sort of reductionism.

    Developing an internal locus of control in your life will mean giving up on all of your “wars” and concentrating on what you can change in yourself to be happier and more successful. And that’s a good strategy no matter what your gender.

  9. OK. So…. are we saying that sexism is over?

    See, I am having a hard time with these posts. On one hand, I completely agree. I don’t appreciate labels, or lumping everyone into one box, or using some kind of weird gender line in the sand (which is all wonky anyway) to say who is right and who is wrong. I am against men-bashing as much as I am against women-hating. I am against casting blame and throwing stones – especially along per-conceived lines of gender, sexuality, race, religion, class, etc etc etc. I also wholeheartedly agree that there are Good People everyfreakinwhere.

    More than anything, I agree that we need to be self-aware, to take WAY more time to reflect on who we are, how we behave, etc, and that we need to talk *to each other.*

    But. I will not for a second agree that the patriarchy is dead. That misogyny is done. That women are always at fault for the inequalities they deal with every day. I believe so strongly that the Good Men Project is part of what is changing this, and that we have to be careful not to alienate men, and that we should absolutely celebrate what we’ve accomplished but… it’s still there. To say otherwise, which is what I am hearing, is hugely detrimental. Am I wrong to hear that? I know my comments may seem to add to the problem, to the he-said-she-said blame game but… I keep hearing this. I’m sorry if that’s wrong, and I wish we could actually have a conversation about *why* I am hearing this, if it’s the wrong impression – because that misconception is also interesting and thought-provoking to me.

    Plus, as a side note that’s not-really-that-much-of-a-side-note, what about the state of women in the rest of the world? Beyond white, well-off, America? There is a race and location side to this we’re completely ignoring – but maybe we’re ok with that?

    • I am against men-bashing as much as I am against women-hating

      Sorry, but I read your blog, and if a man doesn’t immediately show you whatever form of attention you feel you deserve, you label him a coward. In fact, just about every blogger in your network does this. The men who reject the blogger all are cowards who are threatened or intimidated by the blogger’s sexual prowess, intellect, education, success, etc. Please. The amount of male bashing and shaming that goes on on all of those blogs is ridiculous. You all chime in and tell the blogger exactly what she wants to hear, never once pointing out her contribution to the conflict or problem. It’s ALWAYS the man’s fault. Not only does this not help the overall problem, but it keeps the blogger stuck repeating the same unhealthy patterns.

      As for the article itself, to me it feels like blatant pandering to a specific audience. There is absolutely a battle going on out there, a movement, and if things continue the way they’ve been going then relationships as we know it will be obsolete. Heard of MGTOW? The Red Pill Movement? Day by day, more and more men are choosing to forgo relationships. The resentment and the misandry and misogyny is growing.

      The true problem is a lack of empathy on both sides. Men and women aren’t listening to each other. All they want to do is blame and bitch and moan. What is sorely needed is for people to stop pandering and start being honest. Stop indulging the male/female bashing in its various forms. As writers and bloggers, we need to be more objective in our thoughts and opinions and less concerned with our Klout score, number of followers or site stats. We, as thought leaders, have the ability to not only set the tone, but open up the channel of communication between men and women. All this pandering and blanket approval seeking needs to stop.

    • Rhett Walker says:

      @NikkiB, you are not wrong in hearing what you’re hearing. I’m hearing it, too. Somehow talking about patriarchy and sexism is being equated to a “War on Men.” It’s not. I’m not sure why talking about working toward equality is an indictment of all men. It’s not. Anyway, thanks for your posts; they are great. Let’s keep the conversation going. You’re asking some great questions.

      • Jun Kafiotties says:

        Because in many cases it removes responsibility from women and blames the men. I’ve read very few feminist blogs which put responsibility on women, and many seem to try blame men for bad female behaviour. Furthermore it denies the possibility of women having any form of privilege, always swings back to how women suffer, eg the current climate of pedophile hysteria men face when trying to enter childcare, women viewed as safer. Females have the privilege and power in areas of childcare, they make the majority of childcare roles, the majority of fulltime carers but this is attributed to women not being allowed to work outside the home. Is it not also true that men with patriarchy, were not allowed to work INSIDE the home as their career?

        Males have privilege of other work, women have privilege of raising the children. The amount we learn from who is with us the most is quite a lot, they have the power to guide us into the future, paid employment is not the only valuable thing in society. Paid employment is basically a way to get resources home to survive, those resources still need to be cooked/assembled/distributed and women do much of this. Male privilege also allows for positions of power in government and this needs to become more equal, but we also need to acknowledge the power of the primary caregiver.

        Women have far more protection from abuse in the LAW and in western society due to the great work feminism has done, but it’s the 1 sided approach which has made a stereotype of men = abuser, women = victim, and it’s this stereotype that makes it VERY hard for male victims of abuse to get help and treatment, especially with female abusers. We hear every stat on women being abused by men, but rarely anything on women ABUSING men even though recent stats show it’s either increasing, and/or is much higher than previously thought. Women have the privilege of support. Both men and women face victim blaming, but there are far more support services for women and far more awareness and support for women as victims. There’s even studies suggesting women face less jailtime/penalities for similar crimes as men in violence, clearly something is strange here. We also hear the privilege some women tell men that they can walk safely at night, something very untrue since the majority of stranger-based violence victims are men. The list of male privileges on many sites paints men are being highly privileged but the reality is that the list has errors, and it fails to mention female privilege or tries to divert attention back to it being caused from sexism against women.
        “10. If I have children but do not provide primary care for them, my masculinity will not be called into question.
        11. If I have children and provide primary care for them, I’ll be praised for extraordinary parenting if I’m even marginally competent. ” Like these 2 examples I found, deadbeat dads disproves the first, and the perception of men being pedophiles when interacting in HEALTHY WAYS with their children, eg allowing them to sleep in the same bed when young, disproves the second.

        I won’t deny men have a lot of privileges in society, but we can’t deny the privileges females receive because when we do it will push men out of the debate. The 1% in power, do not represent the 99%, this needs to be remembered because when you talk to most men, they will probably have far less privilege than you suspect. Remember that men are disproportionally representative in suicide, alochol abuse, victims of ALL violence as a whole (more sex abuse victims are female however), homelessness (singles), soldier deaths and injury, workplace deaths and injury, prisoners, etc. The oppression olympics pissing contest of who get’s it worse starts so many debates instead of realizing BOTH genders have issues, BOTH need help to fix them.

        You won’t get more men into childcare when you have society full of people calling for males in preschool to be fired, assume they aren’t manly enough, assume they have no emotions, that they can’t do the stay at home role decently, pressure men to earn more money and do the risky activities, pressure them into sacrificing themselves for WOMEN and children .You won’t get women into all workplaces when you assume they can’t handle it, pressure them into being the primary carer, treat them like they aren’t capable of doing a job as good as a men, assume strength differences in males mean women can’t do ANY jobs as good, and alll the other bullshit that goes on.

    • “OK. So…. are we saying that sexism is over? ”

      No, it’s alive and well. The female sentencing discount, the unequal incarcerarion rates, the imbalances in child custody awards, the reluctance of law enforcement even to record let alone act on rape accusations from male victims, the lack of DV shelters for men, the legal discrimination written into DV laws,this sociey’s tolerance of Male Genital Mutilation, etc. etc. are proof that sexism is alive and well in this society and that Damsels can rely on White Knights to keep it going.

  10. Kirsten (in MT) says:

    Labels are limiting and lugubrious. We label people as a way to contain them, as well as to create a consistent, pre-determined expectation. This is tremendously unfair.

    I believe women have a greater need to prejudge men than men do women. The internal and external inadequacies women feel cause them to attack men.

    You bemoan the unfairness of labels, and then you immediately proceed to label. Does this not strike you as contradictory, Nicole?

    • @Kirsten – Thank you for your comment, Kirsten! Per your suggestion, I’m not labeling. I am making a social observation. There is a sharp dichotomy between labeling verses observing then opining on that observation.

      • Kirsten (in MT) says:

        Okay, what is the difference?

        • I’m sure we could go back-and-forth about this all day, Kirsten ,-) I appreciate your position; however, I am not stereotyping or pigeonholing all women into the aforementioned category. From a personal and professional standpoint, I am making an educated, informed observation about our society.

          • Kirsten (in MT) says:

            It seems to me that you are making a selective observation based on your personal experiences, but trying to extrapolate that to society in general.

  11. I am with Julie and Nikki on this one. I enjoyed these articles immensely but what I am hearing – and maybe I’m hearing wrong like Nikki – is a re-packaged post-post-modernism i.e. “we live in a post-racist, post-sexist society.” That isn’t true.

    I think there is a “battle” (to return to this war language we all dislike so much) occurring over third-wave feminism right now between a maybe more popular-culture “anti-men” (and its backlash) campaign and a more academic existential feminism campaign. I, personally, much prefer the latter and I think there needs to be a push to understand this side more. There is a way to be individually responsible for our own choices – men AND women – while still acknowledging the inequalities that are inherent in the system. It is – I think – actually impossible to make truly self-aware, generally aware, or responsible choices WITHOUT acknowledging the inequalities inherent in the system.

    This is where I really love Julie’s insistence that we look at the “bigger picture.” It’s imperative to view the situation properly. No, we can’t blame men as a whole or individual men specifically for a system they didn’t create or necessarily CHOOSE to participate in. But just because we can’t/shouldn’t cast blame doesn’t negate the existence of the system.

    • Julie Gillis says:

      Thank you, Simone!

    • Great points – love the discussion!

    • I agree with SImone as well.

      I have a detailed response that I believe is going up today in GMP, but in essence, we need to be very careful of our language, as words do hurt. Attacking feminists and feminism isn’t going to solve problems, just as attacking men and masculinity won’t.

      Each person needs to take responsibility as in individual for their individual role in their own life. However groups also need to take responsibility for the actions and behaviors of their group. I am not a man-bashing feminist, I am a man-loving feminist. But I recognize that feminism is becoming seen (once again) as man-bashing and therefore I am very conscious about how I speak about men and masculinity when speaking as a feminist. I am careful to tease apart “patriarchy” from “men” so as not to lump all men in with patriarchy.

      Is it fair that I have to be careful with my words, to be very sensitive with them? No, it’s not fair, I’m not the one who did the damage. But what’s right isn’t always fair. I *shouldn’t* have to bear the burden of man-hating feminists but I am willing to do so because it is important that the women’s movement keeps moving forward out of the common goals of equality, respect and safety for women.

      In that same vain, let’s be careful what we say “women do”.

      • Yes! Thank you, Joanna. I am looking forward to reading your response.

        “Each person needs to take responsibility as in individual for their individual role in their own life. However groups also need to take responsibility for the actions and behaviors of their group.”

        This is a really fascinating intellectual point that has really far reaching practical implications as well, particularly in the realm of sexist and racist narratives. How does one or does a society go from individual responsibility to group responsibility. Do we legislate it? Do we all “promise to do better” and hope that this leads to group change? Do we hold our mass communication tools responsible for their ability to create or reinforce narratives?

        If we’re talking about a “bigger picture” we need to move beyond dissecting what is or is not man-bashing and how we should or should not handle it to WHY these (re)actions occur in the first place and what we can do – not JUST from an individual perspective – to affect change. I think education – and these types of discussions! – are really key.

      • Joanna, thank you for your feedback. I truly appreciate your professionalism and position. As I mentioned to Julie Gillis, I would love to have an in-person round table discussion with you, Julie, Lisa, Tom, Hugo, and Meghan Casserly on this topic. I sincerely believe that every writer at The Good Men Project is helping everyone (including each other) grow and evolve on a personal and professional level. I feel blessed to be a part of a company that allows us to challenge ourselves and each other on a daily basis. Additionally, I feel extremely blessed to live in a country where we are free to make informed, educated observations about our society and opine on them. Thank you once again for sharing your perspective!

      • “Attacking feminists and feminism isn’t going to solve problems, just as attacking men and masculinity won’t. ”

        They are not analogous. Feminists =/= women. A better analogy would be feminists and male chauvinists or other tradtitonalists.

        • Feminists speak for themselves, not women in general. Likewise with maculists / Men’s Rights Activists (MRA) and men in general.

          The majority of women reject feminism, and the majority of men haven’t even heard of MRA’s.

          Most of us just see a sea of humanity, both male and female, collectively grappling with issues, not the stark gender-battle lines that feminists and MRA’s have drawn.

          • Eric,
            I enjoy your posts and agree with about 98% of what you say.

            However, I don’t think your parallel between feminists and MRA’s is accurate.

            MRA’s arose because of the excesses of feminism that negatively affect or marginalize men’s issues.

            I think a more accurate comparison would be feminists and male chauvinists. Both are groups who A) think themselves superior and B) point to the results of a stacked system to tout their superiority and C) revel in their privilege.

            It’s funny that you say you’re not an MRA. You sound just like one. If you are concerned about the employment gap, death gap, health gap, and education gap that negatively affects men then in essence you ARE an MRA, you’re just not affiliated with any MRA groups.

            If you want to see what MRA’s look like, don’t go to spearhead go to hisside.com, fathersandfamilies.org, and mensactivism.org
            Unlike spearhead and other webpages that mostly b1tch and moan about dating these are the truly egalitarian organizations that fight for the same issues you have mentioned over & over.

  12. Janet Dell says:

    Well, folks I guess I will see you later, I am getting moderated out of existence. None of my posts are making it past moderation.

    • Julie Gillis says:

      I’m not seeing your comments in moderation queue, Janet. A few of mine totally disappeared as well, quite benign ones. I’ll talk to Lisa and look into it.

  13. “I would like women to become more self-reflective instead of projecting their personal and professional unhappiness onto men.”

    We can only hope. They even have a political movement and “academic” discipline based on scapegoating men.

  14. MorgainePendragon says:

    Since I’m not a “lady” (a term used to delineate between women who deserve respect and women who don’t), this piece doesn’t speak to me at all. In fact, I find the headline subtly offensive.

    The whole phenomenon of non-parallelism between “ladies and men” (the appropriate parallel is “ladies and gentlemen”) when the appropriate terminology is women and men is part of the subtle language reinforcement of the idea that only SOME women deserve respect, whereas ALL men do.

    • No, feminists believe that only WOMEN deserve respect while any man that does not act to a feminist’s liking does NOT deserve respect. You are the perfect stereotype of a feminist that can’t see anything but female victimization all over the place, even while your brothers in the world are suffering alongside of you. I have rarely met a feminist that respects men as a whole or extends compassion to them, but I meet men everyday who are loving, compassionate and respecting of women including some men who seem to be ashamed to be alive, trying to cater to feminist’s polarized, contradictory demands of men. The proper need here is compassion, not getting defensive over a term mean to mean “comrade”. It is common for women to say, “ladies” and men to say, “boys” when making a statement of comradery!

      • MorgainePendragon says:

        Wow, LAC, are you a medium?

        You sure did manage to learn a lot about me via a critique of linguistic inaccuracy (that subtly reinforces sexism). Or are they just assumptions? B/c you know what it means to ASS U ME means, right?

        Being a feminist who believes that everyone deserves respect until they do something to lose it, I am at least one example that proves your comments wrong.

        And WHO is getting defensive?

      • “men who seem to be ashamed to be alive, trying to cater to feminist’s polarized, contradictory demands of men.”

        This is a sadly common mistake. Trying to appease feminists involves accepting the premise that men are responsible for women’s problems and have an obligation to make women happy. Neither is true.

  15. Unfortunately, the man-child and omega male live among us. I’m waiting for all of the good men to become mentors to these men. I know Tom and Hugo are up for the challenge. Who else is ready to join them?

    Unfortunate for whom? “men-children”(a peculiar term) seem quite happy with what they are doing. Why are they unfortunate?
    Also, that mentoring should be imposed on omega men is odd. If Omega men want mentoring, they can find it. The beauty of the net allows men to help other men in forums.

    • The notion that men pursuing their own interests and lives outside of societal expectations (and women’s requirements) are somehow “immature and childish” is a common one. It is, of course, entirely false, but that’s typical shaming behavior. The only irony is that when _women_ pursue their own lives and interests, they’re praised and celebrated.

      No, it’s not the MGTOW who are “unfortunate;” it’s those who saw their own expectations and demands not being met and know there’s nothing they can do about it.

  16. I liked and agreed with this article until the final paragraphs where you had to add the dig, “I’m not giving men a free pass”. I don’t get it! Even when women (and men) are trying to champion men, they still seem compelled to placate the feminists who have a need to believe that men are bad and women are good, women are victims and men are perpetrators, men are responsible for the household chores but women don’t have to take care of the lawn chores or the car. And why the hell would ANYONE want to be a CEO, anyway, especially with the Occupy movement demanding that people, not corporations are what matter? This article began in a revolutionary, culture changing manner, then it sunk right back down into the muck of divisiveness and anti-male hatred that it seemed to try to decry. How about just simply stating to women, GROW UP! Take responsibility for YOURSELF and YOUR CHOICES! STOP blaming and start loving and showing compassion to ALL of humanity, not just 50% of it!

    • Appeasing feminists is a no-win strategy. It can’t be done anyway AND it accepts the implication that they somehow deserve it.

      • I agree fully, and I am a progressive woman. I am NOT a feminist, though, I am a humanitarian. I have rarely seen such a show of hatred, chauvinism and gender bias as I’ve seen and witnessed from feminists. While enlightened people of all types are working hard to help humanity by spreading compassion and love, feminists are stuck in the dark ages trying to resurrect a dead corpse to continue their myth of being victims. I always hope that women who are not truly feminists but say they are to be PC will be strong enough to break out of that confining role and grow PAST feminism into humanitarianism. I was at an Occupy Teach-In yesterday and someone said, in order to make real changes, we must treat EVERYONE like we are in love with them and if we believe we can’t, we must deal with OUR stuff that blocks our compassion, not blame the other. Feminists as a group do not do a great deal of introspection or show much insight into their own biases, not do they accept any responsibility for their contribution to hatred in the world or hold female perpetrators of bias, hatred, rape, sexual violence, physical and psychological violence, accountable. Very frustrating and tragic for the children, especially boys, coming into this world.

        • Wow. Writing off an entire movement – which fights, essentially, for human rights – because there are some extremists is exactly the same as saying all Muslims are terrorists and all men are asshole-misogynists. For someone who – I assume – is proclaiming to be part of the “enlightened crowd” you’re doing a lot of non-loving and doling out a lot of non-compassion.

          I am a proud existential feminist and I do a LOT of introspection – along with other feminists I know – on my “OWN stuff” in order to conduct myself in the most humanitarian way possible. That, however, does NOT mean that there isn’t an inequality against women not only in this country, but in this WORLD. YES, OF COURSE, we should treat all human beings with compassion. That is OF COURSE the ideal. Does that mean that we should STOP TALKING about inequality? NO. To use your example of Occupy: WallStreet should treat everyone fairly, corporations should consider ALL the people they’re effecting. But they don’t. So, we need to go out into the streets and say “THIS is happening and it isn’t RIGHT.” That’s what feminists are doing.

          ALL persecuted groups in the world have OF COURSE contributed their own fair share to bias, hatred, rape, sexual violence, and physical and psychological violence in the world. Does this mean we shouldn’t’ve had the Civil Rights Movement? the Gay Rights Movement? If you want to follow it to its really extreme logical conclusions – that genocide is okay?

          No.

          • Simone,

            The problem is that the radicals in the feminist movement are not “just” some bad apples.

            When we talk about feminists who hate men we are not talking about the radical fringe, but rather it’s radical CORE.

            If you don’t think there is a relationship between this radical core of feminists stating man-hating is good:
            ht tp://ballbuster4ever.wordpress.com/2011/11/08/on-hate/#more-973

            and NOW and WEAVE convincing Obama to re-direct his $800billion stimulus for shovel ready jobs to female-friendly industries (despite men having double the unemployment of women) for no better reason than they are “against helping men”

            and
            THIS
            ht tp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Vq6njtmU7g
            Sharon Osbourne on The Talk laughs at man who’s wife cutoff his penis and threw it in the garbage disposal, then you need to start having some serious reflection upon a movement who opposes equality and incites hatred in your name.

            I’ll illustrate my point this way:
            When is the last time you have heard anything from MADD (mothers against drunk driving)? You know why? Because they had a legitimate grievance, it was addressed, and they shut up.

            It stands to reason that the same is going to happen in feminist organizations. As more and more female issues get addressed, more and more mainstream reasonable women who’s issues BECOME ADDRESSED will LEAVE the group being complacent with the results (i.e. complacent people DO NOT become advocates).

            This will leave only those people who are INCONSOLABLE! It stands to simple reason that this is the reason why the remaining feminists in organizations like NOW & AAUW
            ARE EXTEMIST BIGOTS

            What concerns me is not that the percentage of man-hating feminists is low among all women who count themselves feminist (maybe 6% or less).

            What concerns me is that they are the MOST POLITICALLY CONNECTED and ACTIVE FEMINISTS IN THE WORLD.

            They have the ears of presidents and have the ability to re-direct 42% of an $800billion stimulus from construction & manufacturing to education and medicine because they are AGAINST HELP FOR MEN!

            NOW has an action alert in every state where shared parenting is brought up as a possibility for state legislatures to look at. 90 different feminist DV organizations wrote in to the Calif Supreme Court during the Lamusga case in which the Burgess precedent might get overturned (which says custodial mothers can move 1000’s of miles away w/out the destruction of the father-child bond weighing into the decision). In many ways VERY LARGE and tiny these feminists directly oppose equal rights for men, and incite hatred of men.

            And the other 94% of “good” feminists are NOWHERE TO BE FOUND when discussing this.

            Where are all the outraged “good” man-loving feminists at a huge studio audience laughing at a person laughing at a victim of a sex assault?

            Where are all the outraged “good” man-loving feminists who fight for equal parental rights of men (fathers win sole custody 6% to mothers 80%)???

            Where are all these good feminists at? I certainly don’t see them sticking up for men.

            If you don’t like the smear, then oppose the feminists who attack men in your name.

          • “Wow. Writing off an entire movement – which fights, essentially, for human rights –”

            Which one, feminism? Come on….nobody buys that anymore. It ended when feminists have won the right to have some influence on laws and policies. Powerful organisations like NOW are clearly anti male.
            At the moment, it is the MRM what fights for human rights, along the radical thought that men are also humans.

          • John Sctoll says:

            I would love to know where feminists in western society are fighting for HUMAN right and not just womens rights.

            I see plenty of press, blogs and other sources about womens right, even going so far as to create mass discrimination (pay gap) where is at worst , very little and perhaps even statistically none. DV laws, that almost entirely exclude male victims, even though most scientific studies point to a fairly large amount of male victims.

            Where is all the funding to research and come up with solutions to male specific diseases when those illnesses kill as many men as women specific diseases kill women and where is the outrage the men die 7 years sooner.

            Actually that last one if kinda ‘funny’, all the feminist articles on the “life gap” I have seen are how that life gap negatively effects women more becuase they are alive longer and therefore they need more health care. I guess really what can I expect from the feminist establishment when its matriarch thinks that “Women are the primary victims of war” because they lose their husbands, fathers and brothers.

            • The original feminist movement had an admirable goal–to address sexual inequalities in our society that were holding women back and denying them opportunities.

              The current feminist movement is quite different. It’s a political advocacy group that focuses on obtaining benefits and privileges for women in all areas regardless of fairness or justice. It makes no mention of equality.

              There is still a need for egalitarianism in the U.S. There are still repressive gender roles and unjust societal expectations that affect both men AND women. More work needs to be done to liberate all people and achieve freedom and justice.

              But feminism won’t be a part of that work. Its day is done.

  17. John Sctoll says:

    I think perhaps a beginning step on the road to equality is that feminism has to be about “EQUALITY”, not just “EQUALITY FOR WOMEN”. Women and feminism has a fair amount of political capital in western society , they are spending that capital on things like VAWA, Lilly Ledbetter Act (spelling?), Sexual Harassment laws, Rape shield Laws etc etc and those things are all well and good BUT, feminism is supposed to be about equality for all, or at least so I have been told by mainstream feminists and in fact I have seen it on this site multiple times.

    So, where are the feminist articles about the fact that men die 7 years sooner but receive far less health care funding , WAY fewer mens only hospitals ( why not make all hospitals gender neutral). Other things like 90+ % of workplace deaths are men etc etc etc. You rarely see a feminist article about these things, you do see many articles though on the out of date concept that women weren’t a major part of medical research (which btw is a myth),or the gender pay gap (another myth that it is due to discrimination).

    If we want to end this ‘war’ then lets get feminism , who have most of the political capital , to spend it on improving everyone lot in life instead of just women.

  18. “Regardless of your sexual orientation, you need men; you can’t live without men. Moreover, I believe a portion of your disdain for men stems from internal strife and discontent.”

    – couldn’t agree more. As a young man that can see the new Anti-Male movement going on in the media and society, it’s hard sometimes not to look at women as the enemy. I feel modern leaders in the feminist movement are unmarried, career-driven and/or lesbian women who have little to no affinity towards men. They are shaping laws and society to belittle and make men obsolete; all of this done for female supremacy, forgetting that by doing so, you are ruining the relationships of straight women and their men. Feminism itself is a good thing but its leaders are using it a an atom bomb, hitting both sides.

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