Ken Solin wants men to stop pitying themselves and find a way to move forward.
The sexual paradigm is morphing rapidly. Evidence of the progress women are making in every venue is abundant. As the number of women enrolled in the graduate schools of business, medicine, and science, has increased to half or more, the ranks of men have decreased proportionately. More women are serving in government, and some are fighting our wars. While their progress in every arena is laudable, it has led some in the media to the wrong conclusion.
The “demise of men” is a hot topic. While some men are lost and angry and feel as if men are on the decline compared to women, many understand that the ascent of women didn’t depend on the descent of men. Most men understand the shift in the balance of sexual power and aren’t threatened by it. But there are a fair amount of men who apparently do resent empowered women, and their attitudes, while antediluvian, are made publicly and frequently.
Nowhere is the empowerment of women more evident than in relationships. Women aren’t so keen to marry, have children, and stay home. Many view marriage as a one-way ticket to single motherhood, and the divorce statistics support that. Women are far more circumspect about their partnering selections, and some men complain women are unceremoniously dumping them. The comments left by jilted men on HuffPost50 regarding articles about relationships reflect the anger some men are feeling. But the genie is out of the bottle, in terms of empowered women. Where does this leave men? That depends on whether men view themselves as victims or partners in the new dynamic.
I urge men struggling with the changing sexual dynamic, to stop whining about how women are treating them. First, it’s unmanly to whine. Second, no one is listening except other whiny men. Women have long suffered second-class citizenship, especially in relationships, so it falls on deaf ears when men complain women aren’t treating them well. There’s often a temporary swing to the other extreme during a cultural shift.
Every time I write about men behaving inappropriately with women, there’s a contingent that reminds me that women sometimes behave badly in relationships, too. Of course there are women who aren’t particularly interested in being the best relationship partners possible, but that’s a flimsy excuse for men who insist their dysfunctional behavior is a quid pro quo. It’s a circular argument with no winner.
Taking the high road is most effective. Men who treat women with respect and dignity will find few who will mistreat them in return. Men need to stop excusing their behavior and cynicism about women because a woman once mistreated them. If men behave in a manner that will inspire women to appreciate them and treat them with the respect they deserve, they will be rewarded most of the time.
If you’re in a relationship with a woman who treats you badly, walk away. If a woman unfairly dumped you, let the pain in, allow yourself to feel the sting, and then move on. Men suffer greatly after failed relationships when they refuse to feel their pain and work it. There’s nothing new about men sucking it up instead of putting their painful experience to rest.
I appreciate all the comments from readers, and I’m not averse to opposing attitudes. But, pointing your finger at women who have mistreated you as your rationale for doing the same to them only increases the emotional distance in relationships, and it won’t win any hearts.
The first principle to honor is that women are equal to men, and until men fully accept that premise, the angry finger pointing will continue, and relationships will remain contentious. Make the first move. Be open and honest and state your needs clearly. Most women will respond in kind and treat you with the same respect. Whether or not the demise of men becomes a reality has nothing to do with women, and everything to do with men’s attitudes.
My men’s group doesn’t allow whining because everyone knows from experience that it keeps the pain alive instead of addressing it and letting it go. Evolved men don’t hamstring themselves with self-pity. If you’re feeling hurt about the way a woman treated you, talking it out with other men will help you move beyond the pain and disappointment. Other men can also help put you on a better path with women. My new book, Act Like a Man, clearly demonstrates how men can successfully improve their relationships with women, and make lifelong men friends in the process.
Originally appeared Huffington Post.
Excellent article. I think personal responsibility and introspection about change has gone the way of the dodo bird. It amazes me how people can be so obtuse and myopic when reading something so inspirational. I know that I see a great deal of strength in us as men and know whining promotes no changes in legislation or unfair practices in how men are viewed ….it simply does nothing. One of the problems I have with most online MRMs is that complaints and attacks are more often to occur than real change in changing laws, seeking interrelations between men and women… Read more »
this article is very stupid, and belongs on a feminist website.
The title “Guys, Stop Whining” implies the author thinks all men (or all men here?) are whining when they voice concerns, and also, the term whining is always aggressive when adults accuse each other of it. The article made some good points (e.g., women achieving higher status doesn’t mean men are relegated to lower status), but the title and theme re:whining pretty much guarantees a comment section war zone. I agree with the author that it’s time to cooperate and grow up and stop being so damned scared of those who don’t share your gender. I just find that using… Read more »
Learn your share of history before making such ignorant comments again. Get your mind around patriarchy and male privilege – and come back then.
You’re the one who needs to learn history. Getting your mind around patriarchy and male privilige is a process of seeing that these terms are manipulative and depict men in a sexist and stereotypical light to facilitate a political agenda.
It’s called critical thinking.
Ken, you are being too vague. You have not, in my opinion, clearly articulated the difference between what you term as “whining” and “Encouraging him to open up and own his part of his issue. . .” Are you saying there’s little benefit to complaining about one’s mate ad infinitum, and not facing one’s own? If so, you are correct in that. You can’t change her but you can change yourself, and thereby influence (but not change) her behaviour for the good. You also make another incorrect statement, because it is far too broad, and simply not accurate: “Men who… Read more »
Well said, women are just as capable of sexism and assholery as men.
Yes, we are! (Sorry ’bout that—we’ll try to be better if you guys do. Pinkie swear?)
I’m in 🙂
Men are avoiding the financial/legal deathtrap of marriage and starting to think for themselves. They are embracing women without losing themselves to the State’s Kafkaesque nightmare of “partnership” that comes with the signing of a marriage license. It is a liberating journey of sexual and spiritual self-discovery. “If a young man gets married, starts a family, and spends the rest of his life working at a soul-destroying job, he is held up as an example of virtue and responsibility. The other type of man, living only for himself, working only for himself, doing first one thing and then another simply… Read more »
Whining is just complaining.
Whining is just complaining, and has never resolved anyone’s pain. A frank, open and honest dialogue in which men dig deep into their male psyches to discover their part of their problem isn’t whining. A man can’t change a woman’s behavior, and whining only serves to continue a man’s pain. An abusive relationship is intolerable, but a man would do better to leave that relationship than complain endlessly about something he can’t change. Men’s groups can encourage emotional growth through the confidential sharing of emotional experiences. Men’s groups are the best path for men to work through the issues that… Read more »
I joined, and was kicked out of three men’s groups after my divorce. The men were with either very self-effacing, weak-willed and whiny or just bitching and saying nasty things about the women in their lives. None of the divorced men seemed to care about trying to voice their concerns about their children. Many of them seemed to have embraced the bigoted “rape-culture” meme cited in Hugo Schwyzer’s article earlier. They hated themselves for being men, and the feminist shaming they encountered in family court made them hate themselves. The people that helped me during my custody battle were men… Read more »
It seems like the large majority of people that have commented on this post are focusing on the definition of whining rather than what the rest of the article is saying. Everyone knows the difference between constructive conversation about emotional pain and whining, whether they can define it or not. I personally read the “whining is unmanly” comment as being rather facetious- especially in light of the discussion on gender. Would it have made everyone happier had he ended this article with “Ladies, the same goes for you.”? Basically- the vast majority of people, men, women, intersex, children, spend more… Read more »
There’s a crucial difference, though.
When men spend all their time complaining about the wrongs women have done to them, it’s called “whining.”
When women do it, it’s called “feminism.”
This this this! Thank you!
“Everyone knows the difference between constructive conversation about emotional pain and whining, whether they can define it or not.” That’s not true. While suggesting that men should discuss their hardships with other men and their partners, Solin muddies the waters of emotional expression and stagnation; this leads some of the audience to rightfully ask, “Am I whining?” “First, it’s unmanly to whine. Second, no one is listening except other whiny men.” “There’s nothing new about men sucking it up instead of putting their painful experience to rest.” “My men’s group doesn’t allow whining because everyone knows from experience that it… Read more »
Spot on once again, Cameron. I’ve really appreciated the clarity of thought and expression you’ve brought to this discussion.
Thank you, Rick. I appreciate your posts and acknowledgement.
“Everyone knows the difference between constructive conversation about emotional pain and whining, ”
Well I’m sure if thats the case, it should be fairly easy for you to articulate the difference for me right?
Please, humor me.
I think you need a whiny voice to be a true whiner. I can’t see someone with a heavy British accent being a whiner. It’s perfectly possible that whining can be ridden with a good ear/nose and throat specialist.
There seems to be a great deal of whining about whining and not being able to define whining, and even whining about readers not getting with the program! We’re All Doomed! P^) … and for the record I do take exception to the idea that men expressing emotional pain is linked in any way to the term whining. It is also an interesting point that child abuse can lead to behaviors learned in childhood being continues into adulthood. This can manifest as behavior perceived as whining in it’s dictionary definition, but it is far from what seems to be implied… Read more »
Are you whining about whining about wining? You whiner …. so unmanly.
I believe in doing, never giving up or giving in. Ever. Due to hard work and some good fortune, I’m doing just fine. Happily married for 20+ years now, two beautiful, happy daughters, large home in one of the best school districts in the country, with a career in cyber security – one of the few truly growing fields. I say that to say: that’s not good enough. I’m not at all satisfied. It would be wrong for me to go on about my business and not care about others. I am also a black male, and am keenly aware… Read more »
“Men who treat women with respect and dignity will find few who will mistreat them in return. ”
Ah, blaming the victim. Some things never go out of style.
It seems that Ken isn’t able to define “whining,” but he knows it when he sees it. Any sort of awareness-raising, discussing, book-writing, or activism is okay–but “whining” is not. And only Ken, it seems, can tell the difference.
Do we have to buy the book to learn the secret, Ken?
^this. This is where the article fails.
Agreed, I’m sure Ken has some point to make, but I can’t for the life of me figure out what it is.
The headline says: “Guys, Stop Whining” Ken said: “It’s unmanly to whine.” Really? Who defines what constitutes whining? As Dan Griffin says in another recent (and very excellent) article on this site (“When Trauma Triggers Are Everywhere: The Hidden Impact of the Jerry Sandusky Trial”): “We have this pervasive disparaging opinion about boys and men who suffer abuse and honestly express how it has affected them as weak and whining. That keeps a lot of men — especially those men regarded as ‘macho’ — silent and stuck in their suffering.” The blanket characterization of men who are attempting to express… Read more »
I advocate for men to join men’s groups where they can talk about their issues with women in a constructive manner. I never said men don’t have valid issues, but that whining about how women are treating them is pointless. I think men have a valid issue to address together and in the courts of law, and that’s what happens to men with children after divorce. That’s one of the most damaging issues men face, but whining about it accomplishes nothing. I’m an activist who believes whining is a form of self-pity that doesn’t lead anywhere except more self-pity. It’s… Read more »
I’m having a very hard time finding a correspondence between my comment and your reply. At no point did I mention Martin Luther King. My comment was about who defines what constitutes “whining” and how the use that language shames men, discourages them from attempting to express pain, and shuts them down. I stand by my remarks. I also advocate for men to participate in men’s groups and have participated in many groups myself, but I would never accuse another man in a group of “whining” and I wouldn’t want to be a part any group that encouraged or tolerated… Read more »
Maybe it’s that a large a segment of “male feminists” use shaming language to push, cajole and in extreme to bully other men to come around to their point of view.
When as a society we put down the victorian era Idea of “Women are inherently good / pure ” unless they’ve been defiled in some way and accept all humans in general are just as capable of both good and ill, it will be better for all of us.
You mean they make arguments and try to convince people? I’m sorry to be the one to tell you, but Martin Luther King was well known for this kind of “whining” “bullying” behaviour. In fact he was so good at whining that he managed to introduce legislation which helped end an entire era of aparthide and discrimination. How is this any different from what MRAs are doing? If your issue is with the few hysterics and lunatics that come with any movement, then why was your article not also directed at women and feminists? They have them in spades (just… Read more »
Not to mention that many MRAs are women and many feminists are men.
Were you commenting to me Peter?
Sorry, no, that was to Ken. I wrote that while on a dinosaur of a PC that only showed the page in plain HTML.
Belden’s post is the best analysis “Men, Stop Whining.” The ambiguity of the statement causes more harm than good. While the article has potential to challenge men to be hard working human beings, — who are undoubtedly capable of competing with successful and empowered women if they put their minds to it – the article fails to explain what certain men are doing wrong and why: “whining.” There is a huge difference between repetitive self-pitying and constructively expressing emotion. Solin, I think, would hopefully encourage men to discuss their feelings in a healthy way with their partners, family, employers, employees,… Read more »
Very well said. Nice job. And thanks for the acknowledgment.
A men’s group that tolerates of encourages whining isn’t doing its members a service. The dictionary definition of whining is, “complaining, often in a high pitched tone”. I don’t believe men’s groups should promote or allow that because it gives the whiner a pass. A man in pain needs to be prompted to look at his pain, figure out how much of it is his responsibility, heal, and move on. Whining doesn’t promote any healing or evolving. It simply keeps the whiner, whining. Men’s groups aren’t a soft and fuzzy place for men to point fingers, blame others, and complain.… Read more »
You said: “The dictionary definition of whining is, ‘complaining, often in a high pitched tone’.” I honestly can’t remember the last time I heard a man do this. And how on earth do you determine that someone is doing it in writing? “A men’s group that tolerates of encourages whining isn’t doing its members a service.” At what point did I suggest that a men’s group that “encourages whining” would be helpful to men? “Sorry, Rick, but men are bigger and better than whining. To suggest otherwise is to keep men down.” I never suggested or made that assertion in… Read more »
Great post Rick. Also if it is unmanly to whine and selfpity, does that mean whining and selfpitying is something only women and children can do?
Thanks, jameseq. It’s good to know that my remarks have connected with some other folks.
I totally agree with Rick.
Ken, this article is very inarticulate. “Whining” to me, is the corresponding “slut shaming” issue for men. You don’t get men to be empowered, balanced and responsible emotionally by shaming them into something… WTF. Whining is unmanly? Act like a man? You seem very sexist, judgmental and shaming yet also talk about respect and dialog. I hear people trot out “whining” when men’s feelings are inconvenient. It’s a “just get over it”, STFU kind of compassion, lol. I almost didn’t read your article from the title.
Every time I suggest men stop whining, someone suggests I’m in favor of women who whine.
Whining is complaining, and its value in the human dynamic is nil.
Just because I tell men to stop whining doesn’t mean I support women who whine. That’s just foolish.
Ken, I enjoyed your article. You addressed the fallacy of the zero sum game and did it well. I’m sorry the comment thread is going in the usual direction, but I’m sure you expected that and are not whining. But if you want to whine, that would be ok too. 🙂
I appreciated what you wrote.
The usual direction of people disagreeing with him? Seriously, switch guys for girls and women for men in the above article. I suspect it won’t read as favourably (seriously, try it 🙂 I use it as a standard test when for alot of gender related stuff), If he’d expanded on what he meant by whining as opposed to campaigning it might be a genuine critique of MRA working techniques. As it stands it looks more like he wants people to stop disagreeing with him and to take feminist theory as gospel, which I’m sure you’ll agree isn’t exactly enlightened.
Hear hear, Lori Day.
Thank you, Ken.
“Ken, I enjoyed your article. You addressed the fallacy of the zero sum game and did it well. I’m sorry the comment thread is going in the usual direction, but I’m sure you expected that and are not whining. But if you want to whine, that would be ok too. 🙂
I appreciated what you wrote.”
Feminism truly fighting for equality. By showing that women are indeed no better at empathy than men.
Whooooosh, and the subsequent comments miss the point. Ken Solin is half truthful and superior to many others on this website. Guys – and by guys I mean those with penises – your pity party is not coming. It could be unfair, immoral, incorrect or inadequate but it’s not coming. It’s like reinforcements to the Alamo. The battle for equality is over and men lost. Where I disagree with Ken Solin (and this is likely due to the age differential between us) is that feminism “doesn’t hurt” men or that women are histories victims and this all justified payback. Women… Read more »
“The battle for equality is over and men lost.” 100 years ago most democracies didn’t allow women to vote. Nothing is set in stone and nothing is unchangeable. I’m not asking for sympathy and if someone threw me a pity party I’d turn up for the cake and leave. 😉 I want equal rights and responsibilities, end of. I don’t think your charactarisation of feminism is fair. While I agree it can be one sided I don’t think their motivation was to grab power, feminism has addressed many genuine issues of gender equality and won victories for men and women.… Read more »
Thanks bobdole, you said it perfectly.
“The battle for equality is over and men lost.”
You really think equality happens when one side can be said to have “lost”? O.O
Were civil rights activists whining when they were addressing racism? Do feminists whine when they attack gender biased social dynamics? The only difference I can make out between “whining” and “campaigning” is that people campaigning are working on issues you agree with, whereas the whiners are people you disagree with.
Civil Rights activists weren’t whiners. I was there. I never heard one leader whine. Women didn’t gain their equal rights by whining either. Their issues were too important to relegate to whining.
Positive change comes from activism, writing, demonstrating, leading, and legislation. Whining never accomplished anything for anyone.
Again, all those activities are being performed by MRAs, and most of them can be seen on this site alone. Where are you seeing the whining?
Go peddle your snake oil elsewhere guy. I won’t stand to be told to “man up!” by you or anyone else, male or female.
I hope you don’t classify men raising awareness about men’s rights as whining. It certainly wasn’t called whining when women were raising awareness for their equal rights. Because if you do then I have bad news for you – it is only just beginning. Men have a long road ahead of them to achieve equal rights and raising awareness plays a big part in that. Men won’t achieve equal rights in this society until discriminatory laws against men are changed to treat both men and women equally. It is through raising awareness of men’s issues and gaining broad support with… Read more »
Women didn’t succeed in getting their equal rights by whining. They wrote books, demonstrated, and got legislation passed. Probably the most abused men in our culture are divorced fathers, whose rights get trampled and their wallets emptied every day.
They won’t change their status by whining, but by forcing changes in legislation by writing, demonstrating, and meeting with local lawmakers.
Whining just doesn’t come into it.
What I see is many men who speak up on MRA issues, instead of writing books though they use the internet as it can gain them a very wide audience, very quickly without needing the whole drama of publishers, distribution etc. So what exactly is whining, voicing an opinion of a problem in the hopes of finding other like minded people so that one day you gain enough followers that the letters you write actually have weight?
Many MRAs do publish books, just look at Warren Farrell.
Ken- in regards to MRAs you said: “They won’t change their status by whining, but by forcing changes in legislation by writing, demonstrating, and meeting with local lawmakers”. For fifteen years I’ve been writing, demonstrating, donating and meeting with lawmakers – all absolutely to no avail. We can’t even get the slightest nod towards shared parenting or additional time spent with our kids after a divorce, despite hundreds of studies which show active fathers help anchor a child’s development. Why? Because women have so much power in society now, between their majority of votes, millions and millions of public dollars… Read more »
I couldn’t agree with you more. But whining is mental masturbation because it won’t accomplish any of the rights men need protected. Divorced dads are perhaps the most ill-treated members of our society. Organizing, demonstrating, pressuring legislators to change laws, writing articles and books, are all legitimate tools for change. The dictionary definition of whining is, “complaining, often in a high pitched tone”. What good could ever come from that? Men are going to have to stop crying on each other’s shoulders about the way the family courts treat them, and insinuating that women made this happen, and begin creating… Read more »
The third option in relationships is to opt out. Neither women or men need to choose to be in relationships if it doesn’t work for them. People don’t have to partner if they don’t wish to. Another cultural mythology that should be dispensed with.
Sure, if a person doesn’t want to be in a relationship then maybe it makes more sense for them not to be. But if they’re consistantly forced out of relationships due to unfair expectations based on their gender it might not be unreasonable to challenge those expectations.
I agree that men should challenge any part of the status quo that they feel is unfair. How they challenge the status quo is my point. Whining just doesn’t come into play when serious men want to accomplish serious change. Whining is self-pity, and that goes nowhere.
I really don’t see any difference between the way MRAs are operating and feminists, but you seem to think one is whining and the other is working. What exactly are you referring to?
I don’t typically peruse sights like spearhead. I typically read angryharry dot com, mensactivism dot org, hisside dot com and fathers and families dot org. These are the organizations that are truly egalitarian (like feminist groups like NOW declare themselves to be) and are taking action. However, I did read 1 good article on the spearhead. The author linked to an article from a feminists web-page in which they belittle MRA’s for fighting for equal parental rights for men. Then the next article was detailing the incredible wrong done to women when in a department store the rulers (as in… Read more »
The truth is, a lot of people whine about a lot of stuff. We seem to live in the age of whining. No one is immune.
I agree, Jill. We’re fortunate enough to live in a society in a time when we rarely worry about food, shelter, etc. and we have the luxury of looking deeper into life to dig up problems to solve.
I dislike all whining and all passive aggressive behavior. I don’t always like aggressive behavior, but at least it’s direct and straightforward.
“Relationships require both people to be emotionally conscious and in control. That’s what the book cover implies.”
You mean the book cover where she, with fists clenched, is screaming at him to “Act like a man”? That one?
“Yes, that one.”
Okay this guy is hilarious. There is no way anyone would take him seriously i feel so silly.
I agree and don’t…. Read the comments at Amazon for this book. The cover, and title, seem so shaming and disrespectful versus what people are commenting about…
This is a troll right?
If its unmanly to whine then what gender is it appropriate to whine?
If feminists actually agree with this book then there you go feminists hate men.