The Depths of Male Disposability

August 18th, 2009 by Pelle Billing

Male disposability is so deeply ingrained into the very fabric of our culture, that we rarely even think about it. And yet, it is one of the defining features of what it means to be a man. Throughout history, men have filled the roles and performed the tasks that demanded that you risk your life. The only risk that couldn’t be removed from women was that of child-bearing, but apart from that women have more or less always been kept out of harms way.

Now let’s not make the mistake that many contemporary feminists do and start talking about women’s evil oppression of men or something along those lines. Men being defined as the disposable sex was not a personal thing nor was it some kind of gender war (there wasn’t any room for a gender war in historical times). Women simply needed to be kept safe to ensure that the next generation was large enough to sustain or increase the influence of the community in question.

Nevertheless, it is important to analyze and raise awareness around male disposability, because it is truly the missing link of the gender discourse. As the early feminists put forward the very just demand that men and women be given equal rights and equal access to the labor market, the whole issue of male disposability was forgotten. Or perhaps it is more accurate to say that it hadn’t even been conceptualized, since it takes a higher intellectual development to deconstruct a gender role than it does to notice that men and women aren’t equal in the eyes of the law.

Early feminism was an honorable struggle, and while it may not have been the perfect way to kick off the whole gender liberation movement, focusing on women’s rights was certainly a pressing concern at the time. However, what was forgotten was that men’s rights in the public sphere, had always been accompanied by pretty harsh responsibilities (go to war, perform the dangerous jobs, work all day so you hardly ever see your family). So in one sense women were handed the rights of men, without being expected to share in the responsibilities. Another example of this way of thinking is that feminists demand that half of all board members be women, without demanding that half the soldiers or half of the garbage collectors be women.

So what are some of the ways that men remain disposable?

  • War. In every country where people can be drafted or be forced to do military service, it is only the men who are forced to fight for their country. And even when people sign up voluntarily, it is mostly men who do it (eg. US forces in Iraq).
  • As a (straight) man you are expected to protect your girlfriend/spouse/wife at all times.
  • Dangerous jobs are predominantly done by men: police officer, fire fighter, construction worker, etc.
  • Outdoor jobs are predominantly done by men: lumberjack, oil platform worker, garbage collector, etc.
  • Men still perform most of the jobs where you are expected to work insane hours, and only see your family at weekends (at best).

What’s interesting to note is that feminism often depicts male disposability as a form of male power. The men who work long hours are the men with power. The military is a sign of male power. Being a heroic fire fighter is a sign of male power, and so on.

However, as Warren Farrell says, true power is about having the freedom to shape your own life, and as long as many men automatically choose dangerous professions in order to be eligible for marriage and a family–then men cannot be said to be free. The argument could be made that women are freer than men nowadays, since every young woman knows that there are many acceptable options for a woman (work fulltime, part-time or be a housewife), and there is no expectation of choosing a “disposable career”.

This is not to say that men need to stop performing the jobs that men currently do. As you may have noticed from reading this blog, I do not believe that men and women are identical on the inside; as far as I’m concerned there is ample proof that innate sex difference exist in the brain and in behavior. This means that men may be more likely to continue choosing the dangerous jobs as well as the outdoor jobs. But the choice needs to be made consciously, rather than automatically. Also, society as a whole needs to become more conscious of  what male disposability means. The people who perform dangerous jobs should be adequately paid, and safety measures should improve continually.

I also believe that a sense of appreciation for what men do for society, and for what each man does when he’s a 24 hr lifeguard to his spouse, needs to be reinstated. At this point, especially in Western societies where feminism is strong, the appreciation for male sacrifice has dwindled, and there is more focus on the negative aspects of masculinity than on the positive ones.

The reason that society has been able to evolve so rapidly the past few hundred years, is that male sacrifice and male disposablity has been far greater than male violence or male brutality, something that we would all do well to remember.

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42 Responses to “The Depths of Male Disposability”

  1. Danny Says:

    What’s interesting to note is that feminism often depicts male disposability as a form of male power. The men who work long hours are the men with power. The military is a sign of male power. Being a heroic fire fighter is a sign of male power, and so on.

    Yes feminists often try to shape the unfair expectations of male to take on these dangerous tasks as some sort of male privilege simply based on the fact that men can take them on but women can’t. What they choose to ignore is that a lot (I’d almost say majority) of those men only “choose” those paths because they are pushed into them by family (as in the family they grew up in), social expectations, etc…

    An intersting thing to look at is how being a stay at home wife/mother is looked at by them. They are able to see the expectation to be a stay at home wife/mother as an unfair burden (and I agree with this assessment) but cannot see the expectation to take on a dangerous job to support the family as an unfair burden on men.

    The reason that society has been able to evolve so rapidly the past few hundred years, is that male sacrifice and male disposablity has been far greater than male violence or male brutality, something that we would all do well to remember.
    Yes.

  2. hampus Says:

    There are some interesting studies done regarding this that stae matriarchal societies to be stagnating, while male societies alwyas are prosperous.

  3. hampus Says:

    However the male succes maybe should be depending on availabble resources to harvest… are we going to space? hehe

  4. Chris Marshall Says:

    Yes feminists often try to shape the unfair expectations of male to take on these dangerous tasks as some sort of male privilege simply based on the fact that men can take them on but women can’t.

    Which is an overstatement of a genuine gripe feminists have: the fact that men risk their lives and women don’t was used to justify viewing women more like children than like adults. Imagine the following conversation:

    W1 to M: how come I can’t vote and you can?
    M to W1: because you don’t risk your life for society and I do. You live a protected, child-like existance of playing house while I interface with the real world. Be thankful and content.
    W2 to W1: you want to trade places with M? I sure don’t. Be thankful and content.

    I think that unspoken consideration still exists, and explains why many men and women both hesitate to vote women into office.

    I think feminists are slow to acknowledge the disposability of men as a serious issue because they are afraid that it would legitimize the view that women are not as worthy of bearing responsibility as men.

  5. Pelle Billing Says:

    Very good point Chris.

    Very often the solution lies in the paradoxical approach. Let me explain what I mean. While feminists may not want to look at men’s issues, for fear of turning away the spotlight from women’s issues, that very approach may indeed be what’s hindering gender progress.

    If feminists were to acknowledge that men are disposable, and that this is an issue, then they would also be acknowledging:
    1. Men can be weak, fearful and not want to do dangerous tasks (i.e. deconstructing the hardass male persona)
    2. Only men doing the dangerous tasks keep women somewhat in the same camp as children (women and children first, are women really suitable to vote – as you said)

    So by resisting men’s issues feminists (or even society as a whole) are resisting true progress.

  6. Danny Says:

    Yes Chris now while that consideration does exist what I’m talking about is more like:

    M: Why is it that only you are applauded for your hard work to get into the military when we both busted our asses to get in?

    W: Because I’m actually doing something women aren’t supposed to do.

    M: You mean risk you life for your country?

    W: Yeah. I’m following in the footsteps of lots of bold and courageous women by wearing this uniform. Its a symbol of breaking away from the female gender role.

    M: And let me guess, I’m just doing what men do right?

    W: Yes. Men are supposed to do dangerous things for their country like work risky jobs and put your life on the line to protect civilians.

    M: So you’re doing something extrordinary while I’m just doing what a “real man” is supposed to do.

    W: Exactly.

    M: ::Lowers his head with a sad look on his face.::

    W: Oh come on man up! You have a country to save!

    What I’m saying is that in their griping feminists are ignoring the other side of the coin (intentionally perhaps?). A man’s decision to do something risky for his country, family, etc… is viewed as not being extrordinary but rather as something he is supposed to do and such bravado is a ruler by which a male’s masculinity is measured and failure measure up is an indication that he is not a “real man”.

    I’m sure that whole male privilege argument looks real nice when such negative things are ignored for the sake of making men look like they live in the lap of luxury while women are put out on the street to live like paupers. I have no problem acknowledging that women have been treated like children under the guise of “protection” but for some reason feminists can’t admit that men have been treated like human shields under the guise of “power and privilege”.

    About the closest they will get to it is that “patriarchy hurts men too” soundbite you hear every so often but it seems to me that even then the suffering of men is brought up as an afterthought (almost like there is an grudging but unspoken nonchalant “oh yeah I forgot” in front of it) more for the sake of shutting up people who bring up men’s issues in a manner that’s not feminist approved (meaning that said people don’t surround the mention of male suffering with caveats in order to mitigate away the suffereing with some sort of privilege to offset it) rather than actual concern for men.

    I think feminists are slow to acknowledge the disposability of men as a serious issue because they are afraid that it would legitimize the view that women are not as worthy of bearing responsibility as men.
    Honestly I think it has more to do with the acknowledging of male disposability would go against the “women come first” credo of feminism. Some of the things that feminists point out as examples of the system working against women (military/law enforcement, number of men vs. number of women in high end positions, number of men vs. number of women in not so glamorous jobs, etc…) feed off of this disposability. Which is why they will only go into those subjects as far as the “women are treated unfairly” angle will take them.

  7. Chris Marshall Says:

    Danny:

    The conversation was wrote was excellent!

    I’m sure that whole male privilege argument looks real nice when such negative things are ignored for the sake of making men look like they live in the lap of luxury while women are put out on the street to live like paupers.

    I have noticed that particular picture being painted by women as well. It really galls.

    almost like there is an grudging but unspoken nonchalant “oh yeah I forgot” in front of it

    That conversational subtext also galls. You are very good at describing these subtexts, BTW, with wit and style.

    I think that uncovering these subtexts, understanding them, and calling people on them is a huge, but necessary, task that men have to undertake if our grievances are going to be addressed.

    I have to wonder, though, how common these attitudes are among women. I find myself deliberately seeking out hostile feminists to argue with.

  8. hampus Says:

    “Men being defined as the disposable sex was not a personal thing nor was it some kind of gender war (there wasn’t any room for a gender war in historical times)”

    Do you think this notion, that men are always expected to deliver solutions regarding survival, could have been born 60 000 years ago?

    At that time, we humans were on the border of extinction, but a single male was born with a mutation in his Y-kromosom that thereafter resulted in all us males inherit that very mutaion?

    Similarily, Djingis Khan had another mutation that can be tracked among someof us males.

    So since we men were and are the heroes of rescuing the human population, we therefore as males have high expectations put on us to salvage mankind at any time?

  9. hampus Says:

    “I’m sure that whole male privilege argument looks real nice …”

    and is it therefore we men are preprogrammed to dream of larger goals to achieve? Misled or not…

  10. elementary_watson Says:

    Very good dialogue, Danny. My personal view is that a man and a woman should get the same praise/criticism when they do the same thing; however, I see the reasoning behind people claiming that when a man and a woman do the same thing, it can still be different because of the different obstacles the man and the woman had to face before they could do X (from now on it’s about praiseworthy things).

    I just don’t see how to make a fair evaluation of the achievement when you want to consider the different obstacles men and women have to face (and remember, while the obstacles could be higher for women in general than for men in general, an individual woman can have lower obstacles than an individual man), and intersectionality makes this issue implode completely, since no two people “circumstances which they had no influence over” are *exactly* the same.

    I don’t think there is a better alternative than treating all people equal, even if one knows that there may be huge differences. To fairly weigh one woman’s advantages and obstacles versus one man’s is a task for gods, not human beings.

  11. Lövet Says:

    One note only: To my knowledge, Israel has or at least has had, female conscription.

  12. Lövet Says:

    Another note, You wrote: “Men still perform most of the jobs where you are expected to work insane hours, and only see your family at weekends (at best). ”

    The exception would be the resident doctor candidates, where I’d guess nowadays there are more women then men busting there asses off at ER, but you should know…

  13. Pelle Billing Says:

    @Lövet

    Yes, Israel demands that men and women alike do military service. There are two important differences though: women are never forced to take up combat roles, while men are, and men serve one year longer than women. So the pattern of only forcing men into combat roles holds for Israel as well.

    Regarding insane work hours, women certainly perform some of these jobs nowadays, but men still do the bulk of them. Female doctors are one category, though women tend to choose the most demanding specialties less often than men do.

  14. hampus Says:

    “especially in Western societies where feminism is strong, the appreciation for male sacrifice has dwindled, and there is more focus on the negative aspects of masculinity than on the positive ones”

    So what is your intention, to verify this as a necesaary view upon the male sex? Or to rally more focus on protection of these males?

  15. Pelle Billing Says:

    hampus,

    My goal is to make male disposability conscious in the minds of both men and women. I don’t have a problem with male (or female) sacrifice, but I think it should be done consciously and not automatically. Also, if we can make dangerous jobs safer then we should. Unnecessary sacrifice is… well, unnecessary.

  16. Emil Möller Says:

    When intellectual males would show courage and look at the evidence of their family in danger + act in accordance with that evidence, they would set the balance right.

    And all would benefit: their families, their communities, their region, their country, their organization, their world.
    Look for inspiring examples at http://www.ted.com/talks/willie_smits_restores_a_rainforest.html & http://vimeo.com/6202666

    The argument could be taken a step further: males are largely responsable for the current -always deeply interrelated- crises (water, food, huge income differences, mediocre leadership in all organizational domains, oil, coal, uranium, species, climate, bio diversity, etc), interestingly indicated in contemporary movies like ‘Zeitgeist’ and ‘The age of stupid’. These lead to sociatal collapse, as described by Jared Daimond in ‘Collapse’.

    Repairing this systemic predicament to me is a challenge, an invitation, a matter of honour.

    The globe has millions of initiatives in the form of NGO’s, aiming at healing our planet. On http://www.bigpicture.tv/ there are many perspectives that could be sufficiently inspiring for many to cross the threshold of action for the common good.

  17. Emil Möller Says:

    Shaw on disposability:

    “This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of Nature instead of a feverish selfish clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. And also the only tragedy in life is the being used by personally minded men for purposes which you recognize to be base. “

  18. Pelle Billing Says:

    Yes, that is a good perspective Emil, and it ties into what I said about being conscious.

    If a man is conscious of his actions, and chooses them freely because the goal is one that is worthy of his sacrifice, then I have no problem with “disposability” – if it can even be called disposability at that point.

    The disposability I’m against is the unconscious expectation that men should always be ready to risk their life, regardless of whether the purpose is aligned to that man’s higher vision.

  19. Jim Says:

    “The argument could be taken a step further: males are largely responsable for the current -always deeply interrelated- crises (water, food, huge income differences, mediocre leadership in all organizational domains, oil, coal, uranium, species, climate, bio diversity, etc), ”

    And that argument would be false.

    Water, food, other resources – these shortages are a function of over-population. women are 50% responsible for that. You cannot on the one hand claim that children are the domain of women when it comes ot parenting, but then on theother hand renounce all claim when it comes to the negative consequences of having children.

    Huge income differences – again, since women benefit just as much from these income differences, as wives and other sorts of hangers-on, and since it is women who specifically choose men that engage in these behaviors and reject those that don’t, these women as much as the men are responsible for this type of inequity, which i really just a form of resource competition, and wjich women ahve as much reason as men to engage in. The fact that women manage to get men to do the dirty work does not absolve the women.

    In fact the idea that women are aloof from all this – all women equally – pure vessels trapped in a patriarchal world that oppresses them rather than benefiting them is a uniquely Western and fundamentally flawed conceit. During the Revolution in China when party activists gathered mobs to conduct people’s courts and sentence and execute landlord families, no one thought to exculpate the female members of the family as somehow separate from the exploitation and oppression that had fed and pampered them. The very suggestion that rich women were economic and political victims in society would have been seen as showing symapthy for them, and would have landed you on the wrong side of a people’s court yourself.

    Mediocre leadership – you cannot passively fail to participate in leadership and then complain of others’ failings. You also cannot passively expect to be invited to the table as if a share of power is your right. That kind of power is by definition not real power. Women have been missing in action for thousands of years when it comes to taking power and using it in open competition in societies all over the world, and there is no valid economic conditioning factor for this. The only explanation for this passivity is that they had men to do it for them, in their own families and clans, who would rule over other men and women for the benefit of the family, including these women.

    Oil, coal, uranium, species, climate, bio diversity – again, these are probelms of population pressure, and women share 50% of the responsibility for that. Humans have quite frankly become a weed species on the planet, or invasive species if you prefer that term, and we as a species, not as this or that gender, have the responsibility of correcting that.

  20. Danny Says:

    In fact the idea that women are aloof from all this – all women equally – pure vessels trapped in a patriarchal world that oppresses them rather than benefiting them is a uniquely Western and fundamentally flawed conceit. During the Revolution in China when party activists gathered mobs to conduct people’s courts and sentence and execute landlord families, no one thought to exculpate the female members of the family as somehow separate from the exploitation and oppression that had fed and pampered them. The very suggestion that rich women were economic and political victims in society would have been seen as showing symapthy for them, and would have landed you on the wrong side of a people’s court yourself.
    Just as it was in the French Revolution. In fact Marie Anttoinette herself was responsible for a large part of the oppression that was suffered by the common people. To try to excuse women from their role in history’s problems is silly.

    Water, food, other resources – these shortages are a function of over-population. women are 50% responsible for that. You cannot on the one hand claim that children are the domain of women when it comes ot parenting, but then on theother hand renounce all claim when it comes to the negative consequences of having children.
    Or on the other hand Jim put it this way. If they want to hold only men responsible for the crises of the world and act as if they only happened because of then level the playing field and hold men solely responsible for the triumphs of the world.

  21. Pelle Billing Says:

    Jim and Danny,

    Yes, either men and women are jointly responsible for the disasters and traumas of humanity, or else men are solely responsible for *both*.

    You cannot have your cookie and eat it too…

  22. Emil Möller Says:

    it’s not ‘men’ as bodies/persons, but the ‘male type’ of being in the world; which happens to be more present in male bodies

    and let’s direct our energy to becoming a part of the solution, wherever we came from; lets do some soul searching after we’ve made sure we’re heading in a more compassionate direction

    for the clueless: do some soul searching first

  23. Danny Says:

    it’s not ‘men’ as bodies/persons, but the ‘male type’ of being in the world; which happens to be more present in male bodies
    While masculinity is under attack (and not just the bad parts but the whole) I have to disagree a bit on that for the male body itself does come under fire and being born with a male body has a small unique set of things to deal with.

    Certainly women who present as men (whether by choice or if their choices just happen to lead to that) do face problems that face men because of how they present however for those of us who are/were born with biologically male bodies there are a few things that target us specifically. Namely circumcision. Time and time again people are trying to find some excuse to justify mutilating newborn boys. Also in the event that we transition into women we face the possibility of not being accepted by other women and be accused of trying to attack them or invade their spaces.

    But whether its men who are born as men, men who don’t follow the script on being a “real man”, women who present as men, women who transition to into men, etc… we should be here, there, or whereever to help each other.

    Question. When talking about men who transition into women and are then treated as if since they were once male they must really be just men in disguise laying in way to attack women because “all men are rapists” and/or trying to invade women’s spaces would that be transmisogyny and misandry at work? Such an accusation implies that said woman is not really a woman (thus attacking her status as a woman) and implies that men are just looking for ways to attack women and/or invade their spaces (thus making a gross generalization about men).

  24. Jim Says:

    “it’s not ‘men’ as bodies/persons, but the ‘male type’ of being in the world; which happens to be more present in male bodies”

    Emil, you are not making yourself quite clear here, but I sense that you are trying to make a distinction between men and maleness. would tyyou dare tell a owmn that she would be all good if she just stopped being so female and tried to eb more of a man? Frankly in that sense this comment is offensive, and it reminds me preachments we gays often hear to the effect that we aren’t the targets of homophobia, only our homosexuality is.

    Or it may simply be that you are having trouble with the terminology when you use the term “male type” instead of the already available word “yang” – sunny side of a hill, heat, edgy, straight-lined. That is a better term because it is non-gendered and in fact doesn’t refer specifically even to humans. Yes, of course a proper balance calls for balance between yin and yang, and it is common to blame the West for being too yang. The problem with that complaint though is that the non-Western civilizations that are progressing are doing it by imitating our yang features, and a lot of what is wrong with the approaches they are dropping is that they were too yin.

  25. monty Says:

    I have no issue qith equality. None. However, I cannot see that it yet exists anywhere. Feminism has been concerned with rights for women, not responsibility for women.

    I find that I could never support a woman for president for this reason. How vulgar and heinous is the image of a female who has no risk in war sending a male army to die?

  26. Paul Says:

    Several months ago I had an argument with two friends (a man an a woman who are partners and both Marxists) that turned quite bitter.

    They were making the argument that history was replete with evidence of systematic, wilful domination of women by men.

    I tried to counter this with several points including:
    (i) that we (men & women) are in this together,
    (ii) that the structures in society result from often poorly understood forces that include evolutionary pressures, cultural history, phisical differences etc.
    (iii) that the evidence shows how men came out of this no better than women, pointing to the disposability of men as above
    (iv) that though men indisputably do far more physical violence to women than the reverse, this is usually a symptom of a wretched social or mental state of men from whatever cause
    (iv) that women uphold as much as men the ‘patriarchal’ practices they mentioned (I think that genetic mutilation was one of their examples)
    (v) that, in terms of the span of history, the last 20 years had seen enormous cultural change in gender roles and expectations, perhaps more than we could reasonably expect while maintaining the stability of society

    I dont normally have such arguments and am not too polished in the presentation. However I was really astounded how they could not begin accept any of these arguments:- I made not the slightest impact on their opinions.

    Paradoxically though, I believe that that this set of beliefs itself – that men are responsible for anything bad that happens to us as a species – is actually a retrograde force – it ascribes to men far more power than we actually possess sometimes to the point of omniscience.

  27. Pat Kibbon Says:

    @Paul

    Is it more effective to challenge idealogues by making statements or by asking questions?

    Which example (“A” or “B”) is a more effective challenge to the following statement?

    …history was replete with evidence of systematic, wilful domination of women by men.

    A) …the structures in society result from often poorly understood forces that include evolutionary pressures, cultural history, phisical differences etc.

    B) Starting from a position of mutual equality, how did men arrive in a position that enabled them to impose their will on women?
    ==

  28. Danny Says:

    Like Pat says questioning their core beliefs is very effective. Either they will at least realize that their ideology is not undeniable truth or they will flee in confusion. Either way works as far as I’m concerned.

  29. hopeless_case Says:

    Paul:

    I think your point here is very well put:

    Paradoxically though, I believe that that this set of beliefs itself – that men are responsible for anything bad that happens to us as a species – is actually a retrograde force – it ascribes to men far more power than we actually possess sometimes to the point of omniscience.

    I have also encountered a lot of “how dare you” reactions to any attempt to challenge the idea that men-as-a-group have always taken advantage of women-as-a-group.

    Even intellectual people who you would think would be the first to entertain foundational questions will have no patience for a carefully laid out argument like yours.

    If you want to get anywhere, you need to hit hard and fast with questions that cry out for answers.

    I like Pat’s question:

    Starting from a position of mutual equality, how did men arrive in a position that enabled them to impose their will on women?

    Here are some more:
    1) why do you suppose that throughout history, 80% of women have managed to have at least one child, but only 40% of men have? What generally happens to the childless men of history

    2) If society advantages men so much, then why do men have 4 times the suicide rate that women do, and life shorter lifes (in the U.S. in 2005, for example, women were expected to live 5 years longer than men on average)

    3) If men in the U.S. had so much more power than women in the early 20th century, then how did women gain so much throughout the 20th? With what weapons did women fight that battle?

  30. Danny Says:

    hopeless_case:

    Even intellectual people who you would think would be the first to entertain foundational questions will have no patience for a carefully laid out argument like yours.

    That’s because those “intellectual people” have already decided that discussing the basics is beneath them due to the fact that they, in their minds, decided that they have already carefully examined all possibilities and have decided that they already know all there is and further discussion is a waste of time.

    I’d another question to Pat’s and hopeless’s list.
    1. If men are so privileged over women then why was the scoring system of the World Economic Forum’s annual Gender Gap Report specifically structured so that the only negatives that were counted were ones that mainly effected women while the metrics that showed to mainly negatively affect men were actively ignored. Surely if men are so privileged over women then the writers of that report could have easily shown it without resorting to such a sexist scoring system right?

  31. Shattered Men Says:

    If I remember right, a third of the US military in Iraq are women but 99% of those coming home in body bags are men. Just how are women doing the same and equal share of the fighting then? Oh, they still want equal credit but if they were actually doing equal work, should not 1/3 of those in body bags be female?

    All but a few of those going into the WTC buildings on 911 were men but when a momument was suggested with a police and fireman, the feminsit wanted equal representation although again well over 99% of those who gave their live were men.

    I think the feminist want all the rights while men have all the responsibity of assuring that women have rights and privileges men do not have.

  32. James Says:

    Good article and it shows how both feminism and conservative masculinism have both hindered worldwide progress. However, I blame men as well for allowing this to happen to them and many times I believe that many men hinder their own progress by not standing up for themselves since they don’t want to be perceived as being a bunch of wussie ‘whiners’.

    For the record I accept that men and women have their obvious differences but is there equal appreciation for each genders hardships? The answer is an obvious no. We have been brainwashed as a society to believe that without women men would not be what they are (you ever heard of the old “there’s a strong woman behind every great man” phrase) and on top of that our society reinforces the idea that women are to be appreciated but not men, or at least on equal grounds.

    Women do tend to be more vocal about their concerns than men and many women blame men for their own masculine egos when it comes to mens’ issues not getting enough attention. An interesting point here is that when men do become vocal about their concerns then they get criticized anyways by many women (and even other men) about being a bunch of whiners who have no clue how to be a ‘real man’. It’s an endless loop of catch 22′s.

    Men do alot for women as well but it is considered politically incorrect to mention this. This mindset extends over to the dating/relationship game as well where because women are considered the prize that will end up doing much more for a man if the relationship starts than vice versa, it is always expected that men take all of the risks in this department as well. Yes indeeed this having your cake and eating it fair weather version of feminism has extended over into every aspect of gender unfairness that continues to wreck havoc on all of us, man or women but especially for men but like I’ve said I blame many men just as much for this. There are so many other issues I havn’t brought up here but I’ll rest my case with this little post.

  33. Pelle Billing Says:

    James,

    You have identified the issues. I wrote about a proposed solution here:
    http://goodmenproject.com/ethics-values/unlocking-the-mens-movement/

  34. Tanya Says:

    Yes women on average do live longer.Apparently this is due to hormones during their child bearing years that protect them to a degree from heart disease.This beneficial effect decreases markedly after menopause.I am obviously not a doctor ….but I think this is the jist.As for suicide I have read in scientific journals that women handle life changes and other stresses better than men on average.This I suspect only is because they verbally share their problems with other people more readily.Women are allowed to be needy more than men are.Men traditionally are more likely to bottle things up.Maybe once there were other ways for men to process stresses that are no longer applicable in the modern world.I suspect women have always expressed there stresses verbally throughout history.This is just me pondering….I had male friend who chose suicide and he didnt mention his problems and stresses to even his closest friends.What a waste.

  35. Pelle Billing Says:

    “Yes women on average do live longer.Apparently this is due to hormones during their child bearing years that protect them to a degree from heart disease.This beneficial effect decreases markedly after menopause.I am obviously not a doctor ….but I think this is the jist”

    Hormones are part of the explanation. But not all.

    See this:
    http://feck-blog.blogspot.com/2009/11/cloisterstudy-or-is-there-biological.html

  36. James Says:

    I finally had the time to read the article in that link since I work alot. I agreed with everything in that blog until the ‘Authetic Men’ section. I agreed with most of the info on there about knowing who you are as a person, being confident with that without putting up a phony facade. First of all I’m already about the most down-to-earth person you can get and I definitely don’t put up a facade to impress anybody. I prefer to get that pesky ‘being my true self’ stuff out of the way for all to see right off the bat though I feel you should always leave some mysteries about yourself saved for a rainy day.

    There was one part I didn’t agree with however and I feel it is the same issue that is causing all of these paradoxes to begin with that is being brought up here: that the ball should always be in the man’s court to approach and make a first move.
    First off the other issues being brought up here will never come to be resolved until this unfair expectation of men starts to go away and the reasons are so obvious. It is very easy to connect the dots from who should make the initial approach/sacrafice and the mindset behind this to all of the other unfair behavior expectations being brought up on here.

    I do agree with being yourself as a guy since the initial facade (even if successful at first) will likely collapse at some course during the relationship. Also, what type of guy could ever be truely happy by being someone he isn’t just to win someone over? However there is no reason why a woman can’t ask a guy out, make a first move or at least make it easier for a guy to ask them out (and I’m not talking about silent signals).

    I think that what alot of these authors who write dating advice articles continue to miss is that while there are some differences in behaviors and thinking between the two genders there is one area that is rarely (it seems) that is brought up: personality traits, our egos and what we would call the real ‘us’. Some guys are more aggressive then others, some are shyer than others, some are more introverted, some more extroverted, etc. Some guys need to get their ‘masculine energy’ by feeling that they earned and won their girl over. However, many guys such as myself are already comfortable enough with our own masculinity where we don’t need to get it from ‘approaching and winning women over’. Some of us already get this satisfaction from our military service, our dangerous and challenging jobs along with our hobbies/recreational activities. I guess to each their own but not all guys, just like all girls do not think the same and enjoy doing the same things. I’ve approached girls both cold and those who I already knew (but nothing was there). I’ve also been approached myself by women through a variety of different means. The ones that worked out the best for me were the ones where the girl already liked me since I never put up a facade to begin with, they let me know that they liked me, backed off and allowed me to respond by making the next move.

    I am more of a deep, emotional and spiritual type of guy with a very creative mind (I’m not an artist though) so obviously what appeals to guys like myself is going to be different than what appeals to other types of guys. Personally some guys such as myself want a girl who really likes us because of something they see in us, along with a deep emotional connection, not because I performed the basic biological mechanics correctly. Regardless of who makes a move or what type of move you are still a guy, and the girl is still a girl. Any mentally healthy person of either gender would never allow such a gender behavior expectation concept such as ‘who made the first move’ to interfere in a relationship where two people share a strong spiritual and emotional bond together. The ‘first move’ is a small fraction of 1% of an overall relationship with another.

  37. Pelle Billing Says:

    James,

    You seem to already know what is authentic for you, and how you enjoy meeting women. If you are happy with that then I see no reason to adapt simply because a teacher tells you to.

    You are correct that men are different. Some of us are more sensitive and emotional (I can be sensitive myself), and this is just fine. Making some generalizations about the sexes is fine, but let’s not cross the line into stereotypical labeling.

    Thank you for you honest comment, and I know there are women out there who are looking for the kind of man you seem to be.

  38. Matt Hoffman Says:

    Male disposability: Classic. And yet: You STILL need our sperm to fertilize eggs,
    and there will be nobody to open the jars and fix the garbage disposal if we are gone.

  39. ShatteredMen Says:

    @ Tanya

    It is more then hormons re: how long someone will live or lets say the life expentancy of men vs women. Health care for one. Feminist groups have long played a word game in their propagda. For example, they will point out truthfuly that lets say “ONLY 20% of all health researh goes for women’s disease but they guide people to think the other 80% goes for men when in fact 5% may go for diseases that effect only men while theother 75% goes for gender neutral disease.

    “Women have been included in NIH-supported research for decades,” according to a January 10, 2001 letter from William Harlan, MD, NIH associate director for disease prevention. “Women have been included with overall equivalency in most observational epidemiological studies when the conditions commonly affect both genders.” Harlan also pointed out that in the areas of cancer, diabetes, and reproduction, women had received more research attention than men.

    The NIH retraction follows the publication of a report in the journal of Controlled Clinical Trials (October 2000) that analyzed 342 clinical trials published in 5 leading medical journals in 1985 and 1990. The trials enrolled 343,675 females, compared to 126,234 males. Johns Hopkins researcher Curtis Meinert, PhD also reported in the article that women had participated in 71% of all heart disease clinical trials from 1966-1985.

    http://www.shatterdmen.com/NIH%20Retracts%20Claim.htm

    American men live an average of 73.8 years, and women live 79.5
    years, a 5.7 year life span gender gap (Table 28).
    • Men have a higher age-adjusted death rate for every one of the top
    10 leading causes of death (Table 30).
    • Males under 65 years of age are more likely to have no health
    insurance, compared to females: 18.5% vs. 16.2% in 1997 (Table 128).
    • 23.2% of males have no usual source of health care, compared to 11.9%
    of females (Table 78).
    Ironically, despite these documented disparities, men composed only
    32% of enrollees in all NIH extramural research studies in 1998, down
    from 45% male participation in 1994 (1). Although it has been alleged
    that the current imbalance in NIH enrollments is justified by the prior
    underrepresentation of women, empirical analyses do not support this
    claim

    http://www.shatterdmen.com/mens%20health%20%20womens%20issue.htm

    Another point, how often have you heard about prostate cancer vs breast cancer? More men WILL get prostate cancer than women will get breast cancer yet I heard more about rasing funds for breast cancer durning prostate cancer awareness week then anything about prostate cancer. Just like domestic violence shelters. we have tons of mnoeny being spent for women vs peanuts for men.

    As to men not going to the doctors for checkups vs women who do, remember that most families have so much money to spend and very often men will make sure their children and wife will go before they do and often he does not go to the doctors because of lack of funds.

  40. John Doe Says:

    I completely agree with this article, I feel I am driven by my libido, I would like very much to have a girlfriend, but I know to be able to compete and get a genuine girlfriend/wife I must do everything in my power to work hard and earn lots of money…

    I have traveled to many states for work, I have worked 13 hour graveyard shifts as a quality engineer tech at a semiconductor facility, I have worked the worst, riskiest, and most unwanted jobs, but now I’m 27 years old work in a plush office environment as a software developer contracting for $57 an hour…

    However I believe I do this all for the sake of sex and pursuing a relationship with a decent and beautiful woman, this is just the way of things, this is our gender role as men, to knuckle under, work hard and do what we gotta do to succeed and impress a woman. It’s depressing but I have come to accept this role as a man.

  41. Ken Says:

    John Doe,

    You have just proven “The Myth of Male Power” In that book, Warren Farrell asked, “If men have all the power, why do women make all the rules” Your message shows that women do make the rules. Another good book that shows this (although it is hard to find it) is “The Manipulated Man by Esther Vilar

    You can read the book in PFD here:

    http://dontmarry.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/the_manipulated_man.pdf

  42. Kev Says:

    Hi, I love this and actually had been considering starting a blog of my own when I stumbled onto this. I commend your efforts and your analysis very highly, all the comments too it really brings me great relief to know other intelligent men are thinking about this.

    I have a larger societal picture for how this works and WHY but it is not so rosy….

    I believe that something essential to the nature of a woman is the desire for fantasy (this includes its varients and all negative forms of escape e.g. drugs,painkiller,anti-anxiety pills, wine, and also sex and the culture of sex women need to live in and i could go on…).
    I think there is a VERY good reason for this to be a core trait of a woman because when a woman is a mother she must create this fantasy world for the child’s developmental period. Since children are emotionally absorbent the woman must remain or at least create an environment of safety for the child. As going through life without experiencing hardship or damage is near impossible but having to face emotionally that hardship or damage full on can be *optional* they opt out.
    Its been mentioned on this page and we all know that women will ALWAYS want to have their cake and eat it too and even after they do that they never want to pay the full price. In fact, you pay for it. Some admit it some don’t. These are generalities of course. which is why i want to say:
    DON’T GET ME WRONG HERE: Some women have real character, really and truly i don’t believe character to be a masculine quality or feminine. I believe it comes from facing hardship, which can happen to those “first women” whose struggle and iconoclastic nature really is inspiring. What an irony that we are cut from that same iconoclastic cloth they were yet the legion that holds them as heroines teds only to spit in our collective faces (i specifically mean post-feminist gender analysts , we are so underground we have no official designation as far as i can see).
    But for a women she doesn’t just have to brave the world she has to come back spotless or her children will suffer, which is why a women who wants a child DOES face a larger task. She would have to kill nazi’s and come home without shell shock or night terrors, which from a “risk management” view is much less feasible.

    This ties directly in with men’s disposability as you can see why the risk is actually lower for the family unit if men go as men go numb and put out NO emotional signal when they are damaged. They are hardwired to protect the child from the violence of the world.
    once again these are generalities possible counters-arguments of abusive men, drunks other people who became completely broken and couldn’t hold it together**. But “strength” of any counter-argument from a feminist would likely be on the falsely constructed strawman premise that I am saying that alchoholism and abuse are feminine characteristics and its too sad this great man was infected with evil woman characteristics” just had to pre-empt. OH and one more point buried in that attack of my point is that in the scenario that “the alchoholic isn’t abusive but just lazy or isn’t being the bread winner” also presumes that the man has to DO IT ALL and take NO CREDIT. feminist counter attacks against post-feminism’s suggestions are usually extremely rhetoric based, easily ripped apart fallacious bullshit. But like a shark they close their eyes before they “go in for the kill” so of course this would be their style of weapon. ESPECIALLY because it works on idiots.

    (**look in that sentence at how i am judging men for not achieving the insanely hard thing even though the man is the victim. i’m leaving it as i first typed it to show how it even slips out the mouth of someone who is aware of all this shit. THAT is how societally engrained it is that men can’t have help emotionally. men’s emotional descent into hell isn’t a tragedy for society its just “men are assholes” or alternatively “what a pussy” for asking for help)

    OKAY so I am particularly clued into the mother needing to be present for the children this as I didn’t have this. I was a child of 2 narcissists and have been through HELL because of it. my mother’s mechanism malfunctioned due to her child abuse and her addiction was a combination of rage and control and she (as any true narcissist is ) was incapable of loving me and in fact GOT OFF and trying to inject fear and mistrust into me. most people do not recover from that, and in fact that side of the family is filled with drug addiction, overdoses suicides and the like. This i mention to show what happens when you don’t have the fantasy and the violence of the world seeps in emotionally from the mother. If the mother fails in this, the chances of those children’s survival is EXTREMELY slim, hopefully a surrogate can be found…

    The point is that a woman’s propensity for fantasy which works well when combined with raising a child does not work so well as society whose corruption thrives while you take a pill to forget the day. It doesn’t work out so well for people, but great for the corporation-government-bank rulers. Commercials tell you: men are stupid don’t respect them. You are the smart women. Take an anti-depressant and 2nd one that works when just 1 isn’t enough. Your depression is probably from your stupid men, or all stupid men. ONLY care about women’s rights. emasculate your boys, tell them they are wrong. tell them their INSTINCTS are wrong, don’t question it take more pills.
    IN ADDITION: women are more EASILY taught to distrust themselves and their man and insist on trusting institions. This is key.

    All of the above are pretty COMMON themes on television. Think even just of the last sentence how many tv shows have plotlines where the dumb man doesn’t trust outside authority and the woman scolds him “LOOK THE BIG AUTHORITY FIGURE IS CORRECT, STUPID MAN. NEVER QUESTION AUTHORITY”
    Why the insistence on television you ask?? Well, television is an inherently feminine medium. Most television and film theorists would accept this without question but in order to avoid the quote being pulled out of context i’ll give my own explanation: television , the majority of it is on during the day, all shows which occur on primetime are (successful ones) made to run in syndication eventually during the DAY where the majority of their run time will be. Most of the commercials are targeted at women in a ‘friendly’ women’s tone of voice.
    hahaha this is a funny way to see it also even though its a bit “anti-intellectual” i’ll say it: look at “television for men” as it’s LABELED (TNT,etc etc.) vs. “television for women” as its LABELED (Lifetime, Oprah, etc etc). Now with those in mind think about which of those 2 more closely resembles ALL of television (think not just shows but the ads in between).
    That should make it pretty easy to see…

    okay so how does this matter what is the final point??? I’m going to cut to the chase:

    IT WANTS TO MAKE WOMEN TEACH THEIR CHILDREN TO DISTRUST THE MAN AND TO TRUST ALL AUTHORITY FIGURES OVER THEMSELVES AND THEIR PARENTS. THE WOMEN WILL DEFER TO AUTHORITY THE MAN HAS BEEN EMASCULATED THE CHILD HAS NO CHANCE.

    okay so if you follow me on that or have even read this far i would like to make the final point that women are HUGE victims in all of this. i hope someone reads this and even more that they like it…

    thanks all you dudes!


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