Do Men Benefit From Being the Norm?

December 29th, 2009 by Pelle Billing

The defining feature of contemporary feminism is that it regards any characteristic associated with the male gender role as beneficial. If men are the ones that go to war, then fighting in a war is a sign of power and male hegemony. Never mind that war means death, terror and destruction for the men who are assigned the task of fighting. Similarly, working outside the home is considered more attractive than working in the home, even when comparing a miner to a middle class housewife-since working outside the home has traditionally been a man’s job.

I could go on and list more gendered tasks that involve both pros and cons, but where feminism disregards half of the picture in order to uphold the illusion that only women are shortchanged by their gender role. However, I’d like to focus on one specific topic.

We often hear that men are the norm, and that this fact is at the epicenter of the oppression of women. Since men are the norm, women are perpetually regarded as the second sex, and so on. Now I’m not saying that this is completely wrong. There are always two sides to the coin, and feminists are generally good at latching onto one of the sides. As usual though, the other side is largely unexplored, and in much need of attention.

The key disadvantage of being the norm is that men are not encouraged to reflect on what it means to be a man, or what the male gender role means for men. In many ways women have an identity as women, and men have an identity as humans. This makes us men weak when trying to formulate why we don’t agree with society’s current analysis of gender roles. It also means that it’s taken several decades of intense feminism for men to start waking up and noticing that we are under attack. Men are simply not raised to articulate men’s issues or to form men’s organizations.

To understand this at an even deeper level we need to ask ourselves why men are the norm in the first place? Why not women, who give birth to the next generation, and whose lives have always been valued more highly than the lives of men? Men are the norm, since every successful society depends on the disposability of men. And one of the best ways to raise men to be disposable is to make the male norm so strong that it is simply “the human norm”.

The challenge that lies before men is thus one of becoming familiar with our own maleness and our own gender role. Are we automatically doing things for women, even if women have stopped doing certain things for us as a result of feminism? Are we OK with dying for our country, when our country silently condones misandry?

One of the best ways for men to break new ground and change the whole dynamic of the gender game is to simply refuse to be disposable, or at the very least: to demand significant compensation for being disposable, whether in your personal or your professional life.

43 Responses to “Do Men Benefit From Being the Norm?”

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  2. Danny Says:

    I would say that it is more specific than men are the norm because men are only the norm is certain aspects of life. To name one example if men were the norm and had so much power over women why are so many dads having such a hard time being in their children’s lives?

    You may be on to something with making men the norm for the sake of disposability. Make men the standard and suddenly when people are killed in a bombing you end up with headlines that only count the number of dead men when there are no dead women or children (in fact think about how often you see “x women killed” vs. how often you see “x men killed”). Once men are disposable their deaths don’t mean much beyond their use in the political arena. This is why when women are killed it is a travesty but when men are killed its just another news story.

    Look at how it works in any game where you have basic troops and specialized troops. You probably can’t recall how many basic troops you lose in a game of Starcraft but you’ll keep track of how many of the specialized ones you lose.

    Are we automatically doing things for women, even if women have stopped doing certain things for us as a result of feminism?

    I think even deeper than that is WHY do automatically do things for women? When the ship is sinking why it is “women and children first”? People will try to hide behind that as “caring for other people” but even that is a thin veil to cover one of the most damaging things to ever cross the male gender, chivalry. When it comes to chivalry the presumption is that to be a man is to be strong and to be a woman is to be weak and attempting to deviate from this is troublesome. This is why in a situation in which a couple is attacked and the woman fights them off her strength and gender will be challenged just as his lack of strength and gender will be challenged because by the code of chivalry a real woman should not be fighting and real men are supposed to fight in order to protect women. This dynamic is very damaging to both genders and while feminism has done a good job of exposing how it harms women I think it is well past time to shine light on how it harms men as well.

    So the next time you see a man helping a woman it might be worth asking why is he doing it. Is he really doing it to because he is a good person (which is very possible) or is he doing it because his gender role tells him he is supposed?

    Now I know some may say that the reason doesn’t matter. In that case it doesn’t matter if a woman becomes a housewife instead of a career woman because she chose it or if she is simply fulfilling the expectations of her gender role.

  3. Chris Marshall Says:

    The defining feature of contemporary feminism is that it regards any characteristic associated with the male gender role as beneficial

    Beautiful opening sentence.

    Men are the norm, since every successful society depends on the disposability of men. And one of the best ways to raise men to be disposable is to make the male norm so strong that it is simply “the human norm”.

    Fascinating connection. I had to read this a few times before I saw what you were saying. When you are the norm, you are less likely to compare yourself to the non-norm individuals and to notice the differences. If you live in your own country, for example, you would not notice the everyday things (like what kind of food you eat) you do that are different from the foreigners living in your country. When you are the foreigner living in another country, however, the only way you get to eat the food you grew up with would be if you cooked it yourself (assuming you could even find the right ingrediants). So you would be much more aware of the differences between your lifestyle and the norm all around you.

    Women are thus in a position to notice more of the differences between what’s expected of them and what’s expected of men, and to question the negative aspects of that comparison.

    Having men as the norm, then, makes it easier to dispose of them since men are less likely to question their increased disposability relative to women.

    If you attempted to put a non-norm group in a position of greater peril they would notice it immediately.

  4. Danny Says:

    Chris:
    Women are thus in a position to notice more of the differences between what’s expected of them and what’s expected of men, and to question the negative aspects of that comparison.
    I’m not so sure about that. Now on what’s expected of women yes I fully agree (I would not dare try to tell a woman what is expected of her) but I really don’t think that women are in that great of a position to fully voice what is expected of men much less the penalties behind those expectations. Take a husband/wife couple. The husband expects the wife to take care of the children and therefore does not fully grasp the expectations on her as the internal provider and how they effect her. The wife on the other hand expects the husband to do the majority of the outside work and therefore does not fully grasp the expectations on him as the external provider and how they effect him. The husband would probably only see the “positives” like she gets to stay inside all day while the wife would probably only see the “positives” like he isn’t cooped up in the house all day.

    If we are going to break down this gender system that is harming men, women, and everyone that doesn’t identify as either/or we are going to need imput from ALL sides when talking about what is wrong with the system and how to fix it. Input from only women will not fix all the problems just as input from only men will not fix all the problems.

    If you attempted to put a non-norm group in a position of greater peril they would notice it immediately.
    And would come to their defense immediately. This is why when Rihanna was attacked by Chris Brown people came out in droves asking why is male against female violence seen as okay but when when it looked like Elin has attacked Tiger Woods there was barely a whisper from (some of those same) people asking why female against male violence is not just okay not just funny but a sign of empowerment in some places. (BTW Pelle did you see this or have you heard anything about it?).

  5. Chris Marshall Says:

    Danny:

    I’m not so sure about that.

    I am not so sure either.

    Good example about the husband and wife not seeing what each other have to put up with.

    Even better example with how Rihanna/Chris was treated differently from Tiger/Elin.

  6. Pelle Billing Says:

    Danny:
    “BTW Pelle did you see this or have you heard anything about it?”

    Yes, the quotes are correct. I wrote quite a bit about our view of female violence on my Swedish blog.

  7. Vortac Says:

    “In many ways women have an identity as women, and men have an identity as humans. ”

    I think it’s exactly the other way around. Women have freedom to be humans, men are strictly confined in the very tight straight jacket of ‘the man’s role’, that he cannot escape without being labeled gay, wuss, lady, etc. and possible getting beat up.

    I mean, women can freely like all kinds of things that interest humans; pretty colors (including pink and bright colors in clothing), all kinds of clothing (BOTH pants AND skirts, for example, in abundant selection), all kinds of sensitive things, art and ‘romantic’ stuff (which is usually created by men anyway, but that’s another point) – women can cry, throw tantrums anywhere and expressing themselves as humans FULLY.

    Women are free to express their masculine side to the maximum without any negative responses from society, men or even other women mostly. Women are also free to express their feminine side also without any negativity. Women are completely free to be -whatever- they want – man, human, woman – it’s all in their reach.

    Man cannot express his feminine side almost at all – he must wear black or mostly colorless clothing (or very dark or bleak colors, and even then only a few of the basic ‘manly’ colors – blue, gray, green and some dark shades of red).. and so on. So, women are free to be humans.

    Men aren’t. Men cannot be sensitive or cry easily, men can’t throw tantrums, men can’t even express their anger without getting in trouble (especially if it’s directed towards woman/women).

    However, what I find very truthful about your point is that women actually DO identify so totally with their gender, that they even start worshipping ‘womanhood’, and treat like it’s something totally divine and magnificently fantastic and wonderful, whereas ‘manhood’ is just a depressing, everyday thing for men, that they MUST obey, or else..

    Both genders identify thus to their roles, but men do it for different reasons than women – they are brainwashed, conditioned and expected to be ‘real men’, especially when it comes to pleasing women – women don’t like the sensitive, ‘crybaby’ type man (which would only be expressing his humanity, but oh well), and they choose the ‘supermasculine’ tattooed ‘exciting’, charismatic and leader-type men (actually ‘high status’ would be more accurate, but I want to make this simple) rather than the sensitive human-type of a man (unless he has some external status).

    So, men are not free to identify being ‘humans’, like women are. But many women don’t want to use this freedom, because it seems so much ‘less’ to them than being a ‘woman’ is (mostly because of all the social-sexual power that comes with ‘womanhood’, and all the manipulation they can do that way)..

    To try to make it short (too late, I know); women are free to be humans, but usually rather choose to be ‘women’ instead (as their identity).

    Men are NOT free to be humans, and thus the only choice for a man is ‘to be a man’ (or else..)

    - Vortac

  8. Vortac Says:

    I’d like to add, that your main point is very valid though, but the word ‘human’ is just a bit wrong.

    I mean, men are not ‘just humans’ (as being a human is much more grand, liberating and larger in scope than being a man OR woman) – but men ARE reduced to ‘numbers’.

    Men are just ‘casualties’ or ‘deaths’, they are not men, let alone human. Women, however, are always women, and children are children (until some of them grow up to be ‘men’, so then they are ‘numbers’ again)..

    It used to be that when six men were killed in a mining accident, it was reported as ‘Six men were killed in a mining accident’. Then it changed, and now it’s just ‘Mining accident caused a few casualties’ ..

    But if there’s one woman that dies among 20 men in some combat situation or whatever, then it’s “A tragic death of a woman shakes the world!”

    And in the main article, it’s mentioned casually, that oh, by the way, a couple of handfuls of some insignifigant deaths also happened but let’s not talk about that..

    - Vortac

  9. Pelle Billing Says:

    Vortac,

    I think you’re making the same point as me, but differently.

    What I mean is that making sure that the male norm is so strong that it becomes invisible, is a way to keep men bound in a very tight gender role. A straitjacket, if you will.

  10. Danny Says:

    Vortac:

    But if there’s one woman that dies among 20 men in some combat situation or whatever, then it’s “A tragic death of a woman shakes the world!”

    At first my reaction was that you are overreacting with that headline but then I thought about what the headline would say (“20 people, including 1 woman, killed in mine collapse”, or “4 women and 16 others killed in bombing”) and realize you really aren’t that far off.

  11. all the while Says:

    Wow, what a whiny post. As if men don’t still hold the vast majority of empowered positions in society. As if so MUCH of the social order doesn’t still encourage them to see themselves as the “natural” occupiers of such positions.

    Seems to me that in this complaint about how bad men have it, and about how occupying the position of the “norm” leaves them unprepared to fight back, all you have to offer as a disadvantage is that they go to war — that they’re considered disposable because men die in war.

    But then, aren’t most men who die in war, particularly in America, doing so as part of volunteer forces? No one’s forcing them anymore to be “disposable” in a war. Also, aren’t a lot of those volunteer forces, including those on the “disposable” frontlines, women? That fact also makes your one solid complaint about how bad men supposedly have it ridiculous.

  12. Chris Marshall Says:

    >As if men don’t still hold the vast majority of empowered positions in society.

    there are a very small number of powerful positions in society, and a much larger number of slots at the bottom. Prison and the ranks of the homeless, for example, which are filled with mostly men.

    Exactly what good does the average male prisoner or homeless person gain from the fact that Dick Cheney is male?

  13. Danny Says:

    Wow, what a whiny post. As if men don’t still hold the vast majority of empowered positions in society. As if so MUCH of the social order doesn’t still encourage them to see themselves as the “natural” occupiers of such positions.
    How many men are CEOs, high end politicians and so on? Now how many men are day laborers, in the military, in prison, homeless, and will never have a fraction of the power those few men at the top hold? Yet it is proper to hold the entire gender responsible for the actions of a small subset. Unless you’re telling me the that as a man I actually have access to Obama’s ear so that I can change any pesky laws that I don’t like you know since I share gender with him and for one man to have power means we all have power and shit.

    Also, aren’t a lot of those volunteer forces, including those on the “disposable” frontlines, women?
    Yeah but the difference is that while those women don’t have it drilled into their heads that they are supposed to be there ready to die because its what a “real woman” does. Women who don’t fight are not called cowards.

  14. Pelle Billing Says:

    @all the while

    “As if men don’t still hold the vast majority of empowered positions in society.”

    There are very few empowered positions. Most are positions of service.

    “But then, aren’t most men who die in war, particularly in America, doing so as part of volunteer forces?”

    Aren’t most women, who do not pursue tough careers and therefore do not reach an empowered position, doing so voluntarily?

    “Also, aren’t a lot of those volunteer forces, including those on the “disposable” frontlines, women? ”

    No.

    “That fact…”

    Asking a rhetorical question about an incorrect assumption does not turn that assumption into a fact.

  15. all the while Says:

    How many men are CEOs, high end politicians and so on? Now how many men are day laborers, in the military, in prison, homeless, and will never have a fraction of the power those few men at the top hold?

    It’s not how many that matters — there simply AREN’T all that many high-end positions in the first place, and there simply are a lot of the others.

    If y’all think it’s so significant that men get encouraged to occupy, and shuttled into, most of the lower-end positions, why do you turn around and think it’s not significant that they also get encouraged to occupy, and shuttled into, most of the higher-end ones?

    I mean come on, this is like talking with kids on Sesame Street: “You can’t have one without the other!”

  16. Danny Says:

    It’s not how many that matters — there simply AREN’T all that many high-end positions in the first place, and there simply are a lot of the others.
    It does when certain activists only talk about the few men at the top as they are a true representation of men as a class. For every one male politician there are 20 male mail carriers, 20 male garbage carriers, and 20 male janitors. Yet that one male politician is the one that is ever brought up when talking about gender and power.

    If y’all think it’s so significant that men get encouraged to occupy, and shuttled into, most of the lower-end positions, why do you turn around and think it’s not significant that they also get encouraged to occupy, and shuttled into, most of the higher-end ones?
    Again we aren’t the ones trying to hide things we are talking about the real numbers here. It is significant that men are shuffled into most of the high end positions HOWEVER that is not the only part that matters as some activists would try to have us believe because those few men do not represent the entire male class.

    I wonder if you’re one of those people that think men are the root of ALL gender relation problems and women are responsible for nothing.

  17. Chris Marshall Says:

    If y’all think it’s so significant that men get encouraged to occupy, and shuttled into, most of the lower-end positions, why do you turn around and think it’s not significant that they also get encouraged to occupy, and shuttled into, most of the higher-end ones?

    It is significant. Just not the way you let on.

    You would have us believe that the powerful men at the top are putting the welfare of men as a class above the welfare of women as a class.

    If that were so, you would expect women to be encouraged to take all the risks in life (over 90% of workplace fatalities are men, only men are required/encouraged to be soldiers, 4 out of 5 suicides are men, the vast majority of prisoners are men, prison rape is a human rights tradegy of the first order yet not only receives no serious attention but is often the subject of jokes while the rape of women is never considered a fit subject for mirth, …, the list goes on).

    The men at the top are not interested in putting the welfare of men above the welfare of women. They are interested is using men and women to increase the power of the society they control, which takes power and resources away from the competing societies. That means keeping women safe so they can bear/raise children, and putting men in harms way, so society can benefit from the risks they take.

    I would love to hear you defend your thesis that men as a class are more powerful/protected than women as a class. I believe I have answered your objections to my thesis that society uses men to take risks and women to raise children, both restrictive roles that need to be opened up so we can all be better off.

    I somehow doubt that I’m going to get anything more than another underlining of the fact that the very few most powerful positions in the world are held by men, perhaps buttressed with references to another children’s show (maybe you can quote Barney this time).

    It’s not how many that matters — there simply AREN’T all that many high-end positions in the first place, and there simply are a lot of the others.

    That point would seem to work against your thesis and towards mine, BTW. I’m confused as to why you thought it was relevant to yours.

    The small number of high end positions means that the average of men’s welfare is not raised much by the fact that those posts are all held by men and the large number of men at the bottom means the average is dragged way down.

    Yet you still want to ignore the bottom and focus on the top.

    Why? How to you defend that?

  18. Betsy Says:

    Pelle,

    This blog, like many of your other blogs, is polarizing…specifically with regards to men going to war means death. Sure it is true, but all TRUE LABOR does mean risk of LIFE. Child bearing also puts a women’s life at risk…should women fear the penis as death?

    For both men and women there are degrees in which they can deny or avoid true labor. All False and delusive labor, has but one object, that of using the labors of others.

    To understand this further read Leo Tolstoy’s TO WOMEN which goes deeper on LABOR and gender roles:

    As stated in the Bible, a law was given to the man and the woman,–to
    the man, the law of labor; to the woman, the law of bearing children.
    Although we, with our science, avons change tout ca, the law for the
    man, as for woman, remains as unalterable as the liver in its place,
    and departure from it is equally punished with inevitable death. The
    only difference lies in this, that departure from the law, in the
    case of the man, is punished so immediately in the future, that it
    may be designated as present punishment; but departure from the law,
    in the case of the woman, receives its chastisement in a more distant
    future.

    The general departure of all men from the law exterminates people
    immediately; the departure from it of all women annihilates it in the
    succeeding generation. But the evasion by some men and some women
    does not exterminate the human race, and only deprives those who
    evade it of the rational nature of man. The departure of men from
    this law began long ago, among those classes who were in a position
    to subject others, and, constantly spreading, it has continued down
    to our own times; and in our own day it has reached folly, the ideal
    consisting in evasion of the law,–the ideal expressed by Prince
    Blokhin, and shared in by Renan and by the whole cultivated world:
    “Machines will work, and people will be bundles of nerves devoted to
    enjoyment.”

    There was hardly any departure from the law in the part of women, it
    was expressed only in prostitution, and in the refusal to bear
    children–in private cases. The women belonging to the wealthy
    classes fulfilled their law, while the men did not comply with
    theirs; and therefore the women became stronger, and continued to
    rule, and must rule, over men who have evaded the law, and who have,
    therefore, lost their senses. It is generally stated that woman (the
    woman of Paris in particular is childless) has become so bewitching,
    through making use of all the means of civilization, that she has
    gained the upper hand over man by this fascination of hers. This is
    not only unjust, but precisely the reverse of the truth. It is not
    the childless woman who has conquered man, but the mother, that woman
    who has fulfilled her law, while the man has not fulfilled his. That
    woman who deliberately remains childless, and who entrances man with
    her shoulders and her locks, is not the woman who rules over men, but
    the one who has been corrupted by man, who has descended to his
    level,–to the level of the vicious man,–who has evaded the law
    equally with himself, and who has lost, in company with him, every
    rational idea of life. …

    Only that mother who looks upon children as a disagreeable accident,
    and upon love, the comforts of life, costume, and society, as the
    object of life, will rear her children in such a manner that they
    shall have as much enjoyment as possible out of life, and that they
    shall make the greatest possible use of it; only she will feed them
    luxuriously, deck them out, amuse them artificially; only she will
    teach them, not that which will fit them for self-sacrificing
    masculine or feminine labor with danger of their lives, and to the
    last limits of endurance, but that which will deliver them from this
    labor. Only such a woman, who has lost the meaning of her life, will
    sympathize with that delusive and false male labor, by means of which
    her husband, having rid himself of the obligations of a man, is
    enabled to enjoy, in her company, the work of others. Only such a
    woman will choose a similar man for the husband of her daughter, and
    will estimate men, not by what they are personally, but by that which
    is connected with them,–position, money, or their ability to take
    advantage of the labor of others.

    But the true mother, who actually knows the will of God, will fit her
    children to fulfil it also. For such a mother, to see her child
    overfed, enervated, decked out, will mean suffering; for all this, as
    she well knows, will render difficult for him the fulfilment of the
    law of God in which she has instructed him. Such a mother will
    teach, not that which will enable her son and her daughter to rid
    themselves of labor, but that which will help them to endure the
    toils of life. She will have no need to inquire what she shall teach
    her children, for what she shall prepare them. Such a woman will not
    only not encourage her husband to false and delusive labor, which has
    but one object, that of using the labors of others; but she will bear
    herself with disgust and horror towards such an employment, which
    serves as a double temptation to her children. Such a woman will not
    choose a husband for her daughter on account of the whiteness of his
    hands and the refinement of manner; but, well aware that labor and
    deceit will exist always and everywhere, she will, beginning with her
    husband, respect and value in men, and will require from them, real
    labor, with expenditure and risk of life, and she will despise that
    deceptive labor which has for its object the ridding one’s self of
    all true toil. … ~Leo Tolstoy – TO WOMEN

    read the full piece here: http://www.online-literature.com/tolstoy/2740/

    LOVE

  19. Betsy Says:

    To further clarify this comment:

    For both men and women there are degrees in which they can deny or avoid true labor. All False and delusive labor, has but one object, that of using the labors of others.

    For me this is the issue…WARS are delusive/false labor in most cases.
    Whether man or women…knowing the difference between false and true labor is key.

    LOVE

  20. Jim Says:

    “For me this is the issue…WARS are delusive/false labor in most cases.”

    By your standard Betsy, war is not delusive labor. War protects the labor of others – one side of war, that is. If defenders don’t fight back and protect the results of others labors, then there is no war.

    “…specifically with regards to men going to war means death. Sure it is true, but all TRUE LABOR does mean risk of LIFE. Child bearing also puts a women’s life at risk”

    False equivalence. Childbirth is not even remotely as dangerous to women as war is to men, due to medical advances made by men in the last 150 years.

    As for the rest of that, Tolstoy worte good stories and that’s about it.

    all the while says:
    “Wow, what a whiny post. ”
    You need to check your gendered Shaming Tactics. It makes you look dishonest.

    “Also, aren’t a lot of those volunteer forces, including those on the “disposable” frontlines, women? ”

    Have you looked at the casualty stats for Iraq and Afghanistan? Do you still think there is any equivalance between male and female injury and loss of life. Have you looked at the casualty stats for Vietnam? 50,000 plus male deaths and SIX whole female deaths.

    “all you have to offer as a disadvantage is that they go to war ”

    You must not be following the conversation very closely. War is ghardly the biggets risk men face. Look at the inquality in workplace injury and death stats. You might also look at other systematic and institutional disadvantages – inequalities in the administration of family law, inequalities in criminal prosecution and sentencing, etc. And traditional culture and feminism’s response is to wail about how and women have it, the poor little dears so in need of protection.

    “As if men don’t still hold the vast majority of empowered positions in society.”

    And if it is (a few) men in those positions, then that menas all women are born with a meal ticket between their legs, doesn’t it? That’s a real ferocious disadvantage right there, that is. Tiger Woods white whore has suffered so horribly.

  21. Betsy Says:

    Jim,

    “By your standard Betsy, war is not delusive labor.”

    Here is the context I’m coming from on this one…
    When I say in most cases war is false labor…I mean that often true freedoms are not defended…wars use the labor of men and women to persue the freedoms of the elite/bankers/politicians. I have researched this more than you know…perhaps check out:
    Joan Veon’s WHEN CENTRAL BANKS RULE THE WOLRD http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=joan+veon+when+central+banks+rule+the+world+part+1&search_type=&aq=0&oq=joan+veon+when+central+banks+rule+the+world

    Bankers agendas are often backing wars, using threats to freedom as their agenda…all the while ultimately maintaing control over other peoples money and labor…and funding both SIDES! Of course men do not want to be a pawn in this!
    Again, for the facts, see WHEN CENTRAL BANKS RULE THE WORLD.

    “False equivalence. Childbirth is not even remotely as dangerous to women as war is to men, due to medical advances made by men in the last 150 years.”

    You are not a woman and have no clue as to the real fears and pains that accompany pregnancy and child birth…no medical advances can ease this!
    Just like wars do not ease the labor of men.

    Often attempts to ease labor can lead to major complications for the mother and baby…including permanent paralysis!…Paralysis is a real RISK with epidurals!
    As far as medical advances…
    read: Medical system is leading cause of death and injury in US
    http://www.communicationagents.com/sepp/2003/10/29/medical_system_is_leading_cause_of_death_and_injury_in_us.htm

    Tolsoy is not telling some ficticious story without truth…the crux of the message is: For both men and women there are degrees in which they can deny or avoid true labor. All False and delusive labor, has but one object, that of using the labors of others.

    LOVE

  22. Chris Marshall Says:

    Often attempts to ease labor can lead to major complications for the mother and baby…including permanent paralysis!…Paralysis is a real RISK with epidurals!

    Do tell. How many women receive epidurals every year and what fraction of those wind up paralyzed?

  23. Betsy Says:

    Chris,

    Firstly, labor pain/contraction IS so encompassing…you do feel like you are going to DIE!…but this pain is natural. I have 4 children BTW.

    I stated a fact. I will let you look up and post those particular statistics if you wish…as I do not see how it is relevant or what point you are trying to make.
    Do Tell. I am refuting that medical advances make labor less dangerous for women. Even if the numbers are miniscule…paralysis from an epidural is an ADDITIONAL risk factor. The epidural procedure itself is risky because it involves the spinal cord and cerebrospinal fluid.

    Here are more epidural risk factors:
    Maternal Risks
    Hypotension (Drop in blood pressure)
    Urinary Retention and Postpartum Bladder Dysfunction
    Uncontrollable Shivering
    Itching of the face, neck and throat
    Nausea and Vomiting
    Postpartum Backache
    Maternal Fever
    Spinal Headache
    Uneven, incomplete or nonexistent pain relief
    Feelings of Emotional detachment
    Postpartum feelings of regret or loss of autonomy
    Inability to move about freely on your own
    Loss of perineal sensation and sexual function
    Very Serious and rare risks
    Convulsions

    Respitory paralysis

    Cardiac arrest

    Allergic shock

    Nerve injury

    Epidural abscess

    Maternal death

    Labor Side Effects
    Prolonged First Stage of Labor
    Increase of malpresentation of baby’s head
    Increased need for Pitocin augmentation
    Prolonged Second Stage of Labor
    Decrease in the ability to push effectively
    Increased liklihood of forceps or vacuum extraction delivery
    Increased likelihood of needing an episiotomy
    Increase in cesarean section

    Baby Side Effects
    Fetal distress; abnormal fetal heart rate
    Drowsiness at birth; poor sucking reflex
    Poor muscle strength and tone in the first hours.

    source and more links:
    http://www.kimjames.net/epidural_risks_and_side_effects.htm

    The pregnancy itself carries added risk on many levels and can result in a miscarriage. When I had a miscarriage, I had to lay in the bathtub for days…bleeding profusely, in crippling pain…the emotional and physical pain of the loss…TOTAL!

    Birthing my son, my vagina ripped all the way up…ripping my clitoris and had to be stitched up(and for quite some time I did not know if the nerve damage was going to heal…or if I could achieve clitoral orgasm). All is well now though.
    My point is…the risk involved in child-bearing is equivalent to any life-risking labor.

    LOVE

  24. Betsy Says:

    I just don’t think men should feel short-changed by risking their life in labor…risk is inherent…mothers do sympathize. I do think WAR makes pawns out of people…and should be avoided by men and women.

    But the point being…to remove the risk of labor you would have to use the labor of others.

    LOVE

  25. Jim Says:

    I really like that last comment Betsy. It’s just really nice.

    “Bankers agendas are often backing wars, using threats to freedom as their agenda…all the while ultimately maintaing control over other peoples money and labor…and funding both SIDES! ”

    You are not the only one to see this. “http://www.the-spearhead.com/2009/12/31/war-is-a-racket/”

    This was writen by a two-time winner of the Medal of Honor (these days it is almost always only awarded after you have givne your life to save others) Marine Corps general.

    Big however – you can’t generalize this to all wars, or to both sides of a war – and there are always at least two sides to a war. History is complex and simplistic analysis and over-genrralizations are not going to help at all.

    This on the other hand is absolute BULLSHIT. You are not every woman and have no more right to comment on their experiences that I or anyone else does. And if a man may not comment on women’s experiences, how can you, a woman, presume to comment on men’s experiences? Hypocrite much?

    “You are not a woman and have no clue as to the real fears and pains that accompany pregnancy and child birth…no medical advances can ease this!”

    Anyone this weak and cowardly is not fit to repoduce. My cat purred through her briths. What’s wrong with you?

    “Firstly, labor pain/contraction IS so encompassing…you do feel like you are going to DIE!…but this pain is natural. ”

    That varies a lot by individual. My ex-wife sure didn’t look like she felt she was going to die, and none of the women in my family in older generatiosn ever said much. In fact the ex-wife wrote out the birth announcements during the rest period afterwards, and joked about it latter. However in the room right next door to us when my wife was givng birth there was a woman who had been in labor for 24 hours and was howling like a werewolf. Talk about an evolutionary dead-end.

  26. Betsy Says:

    Jim,

    I said MOST wars…

    I do not speak for ALL women…I spoke about personal experience…and when generalizing, provided facts!

    “My cat purred through her briths. What’s wrong with you?”
    “weak, cowardly=not fit to reproduce”

    Grandiose Delusions!

    My point is…the risk involved in child-bearing is equivalent to any life-risking labor.
    Do you disagree with my point? I never said a man cannot comment on a women’s experience…YOUR comment was misleading and false!…and you have not shown evidence to back up your claim.

    Bad Medicine: AMA Seeks To Outlaw Home Births
    http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2008/06/16/bad-medicine-ama-seeks-to-outlaw-home-births
    So much for being like a cat!…putting a woman in a hospital, in stirrups, giving them petocin…making sure they can get your babies blood on file with a PKU.

  27. Pelle Billing Says:

    Betsy,

    In modern countries almost all women who give birth do so without dying and without sustaining any chronic injuries.

    However, in modern countries men still die in the workplace and from fighting in wars/peace-keeping.

    We’ve been far better at making sure that women are safe, and that really doesn’t make any sense anymore, even though it did in historical times.

  28. Chris Marshall Says:

    Betsy:

    Even if the numbers are miniscule…paralysis from an epidural is an ADDITIONAL risk factor.

    To meaningfully discuss a risk you need to put two things on the table:
    1) how bad is the thing that might happen
    2) how likely is that bad thing to happen.

    We were discussing the risk to men sent to fight a war, and how bad this is for men.

    You counter that, in effect, men should not feel bad that they have to go to war because women have to give birth, which carries some risks, like paralysis from an epidural, and you refuse to discuss how often that risk is realized.

    If you want men to be OK with being sent off to war because of the risks women face from childbirth, then how often those risks are realized is very relevant.

    You can’t expect men to be OK with that because at least one woman was paralyzed in the entire history of epidurals.

    Unless you consider that the sacrifice of any number of men is OK as long as it saves a single woman.

    That’s a rather extreme prejudice against men, by discounting their lives to that degree, don’t you think?

    BTW, I attempted to find a link on the risk of epidurals. I found this quote:

    Is there a risk of being paralyzed or permanent damage ?

    The risks of paralysis is extremely low. The actual incidence of neurologic dysfunction resulting from bleeding complications is estimated to be 1 in 150,000 for Epidurals and 1 in 220,000 for Spinal anesthetics.

    from this link:
    http://www.reddinganesthesia.com/spinal.htm

    I read that to be saying that the risk of some permanent damage is 1 in 150,000 and the risk of paralysis is even less than that.

  29. Betsy Says:

    “You counter that, in effect, men should not feel bad that they have to go to war because women have to give birth, which carries some risks, like paralysis from an epidural, and you refuse to discuss how often that risk is realized.”

    No, I said this: I just don’t think men should feel short-changed by risking their life in labor…risk is inherent…mothers do sympathize. I do think WAR makes pawns out of people…and should be avoided by men and women.

    Again, WARS make PAWNS out of people. I do not think men should be expected, or choose, to go to war. But in these blogs war is used to demand that men stop being disposable in labor in general.

    “One of the best ways for men to break new ground and change the whole dynamic of the gender game is to simply refuse to be disposable, or at the very least: to demand significant compensation for being disposable, whether in your personal or your professional life.”

    Men should REFUSE TO BE DISPOSABLE…yet real labor involves risk of disposability…or risk to life.

  30. Betsy Says:

    Pelle,

    “However, in modern countries men still die in the workplace and from fighting in wars/peace-keeping.”

    MORE PEACE is such a dirty habit. ~Live – Lakini’s Juice Lyrics
    http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/live/lakinisjuice.html

    Women and children are not immune to war:

    Naming sexual violence in Iraq
    Rape and other sexual violence is frequently a grisly aspect of war, not much talked about, and the war in Iraq is no different. “No one knows exactly how many Iraqi women have been raped since the U.S-led invasion in 2003, but activists in Iraq and abroad put the numbers in the thousands, writes ournalist Anna Badkhen.
    ~Iraq: the Human Cost
    http://web.mit.edu/humancostiraq/

    Watch Jon Stewart on the The Daily Show segment “RAPE-NUTS” to see how our U.S. policies for female service members has a rape clause!
    http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-october-14-2009/rape-nuts

    LOVE

  31. Chris Marshall Says:

    Betsy:

    Again, WARS make PAWNS out of people. I do not think men should be expected, or choose, to go to war. But in these blogs war is used to demand that men stop being disposable in labor in general.

    OK. So you are saying men should not be disposable in war, but men and women should both take on some risk in other areas of life. Women take some risk to life and limb in bearing children, and men should be expected to take on risks in other areas, since they can’t bear children.

    Is that a fair rephrasing of your main point?

    What would be an example of an area where men are expected to take on risks that women are not expected to take on that you think is reasonable, or is a quid-pro-quo for the risks women take in pregnancy and child birth?

  32. Betsy Says:

    Chris,

    “What would be an example of an area where men are expected to take on risks that women are not expected to take on that you think is reasonable, or is a quid-pro-quo for the risks women take in pregnancy and child birth?”

    Great question! Men do have more upper body strength and generally more muscle mass. Men can choose to use this ability to assist with jobs that women could not regularly preform. Men should choose for themselves work that is not just a delusive way of avoiding labor…nor should men choose unnecessary risk.

    Another point on war…if war is peace-keeping, why not enact the draft?…it is EXTREMELY inhumane how many of our service members have served 2, 3, and even 4 CONSECUTIVE tours of duty in Iraq!

    http://74.125.95.132/search?q=cache:6uHx4NnPJFYJ:www.ivaw.org/faq+how+many+of+our+service+members+have+served+2,+3,+and+even+4+CONSECUTIVE+tours+of+duty+in+Iraq&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us
    Quoted from link above:
    6. Service members are facing serious health consequences due to our Government’s negligence.
    Many of our troops have already been deployed to Iraq for two, three, and even four tours of duty averaging eleven months each. Combat stress, exhaustion, and bearing witness to the horrors of war contribute to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a serious set of symptoms that can lead to depression, illness, violent behavior, and even suicide. Additionally, depleted uranium, Lariam, insufficient body armor and infectious diseases are just a few of the health risks which accompany an immorally planned and incompetently executed war. Finally, upon a soldier’s release, the Veterans Administration is far too under-funded to fully deal with the magnitude of veterans in need.
    For further reading:
    http://www.ncptsd.va.gov/
    http://www.vets4vets.us/
    source: IRAQ VETRANS AGAINST THE WAR
    http://www.ivaw.org/

    Since the draft in not in effect…men and women are choosing military compensation for their labor…would more compensation make it less delusive?

  33. Pelle Billing Says:

    Betsy, do you believe the draft should be male-only (as it currently is) or gender neutral?

  34. Betsy Says:

    Pelle,

    I’m not advocating the draft.
    If the draft were enacted…I would hope men and women would politically oppose war…and the coersion to serve…becasue war is not peace-keeping. I would oppose a draft. Wars are not fought for peace…wars are fought for control, power, and money.

    Without the draft people accept that individuals who serve do so voluntarily…and ignore the problems inherent in the military industrial complex…including the possible enacting of the draft.

    Former U.S. president Eisenhower warns us of the military industrial complex
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8y06NSBBRtY

    quote:
    In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. ~Dwight D. Eisenhower

    LOVE

  35. Chris Marshall Says:

    Wars are not fought for peace…wars are fought for control, power, and money.

    When one nation invades another for control, power, and money, don’t you agree that the invaded country is right to resist by deploying it’s forces (thus making war against the aggressor)?

    Or would you say that the defender is not fighting for peace, but for control, power, and money?

    Another point on war…if war is peace-keeping, why not enact the draft?…it is EXTREMELY inhumane how many of our service members have served 2, 3, and even 4 CONSECUTIVE tours of duty in Iraq!

    Because it would make it a lot easier for the government to start wars if the draft were enacted.

    The only reason the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have lasted so long is because our causaulty rate is so low compared to previous wars.

    If we were losing soldiers in Iraq at the rate we lost them in Vietnam, we would have pulled out a long time ago.

    If the government had a draft, though, it would be much harder to stop the war.

  36. Betsy Says:

    Chris,

    “Or would you say that the defender is not fighting for peace, but for control, power, and money?”

    This is a complex issue…and yet SOOOO fundamental. I’ve only recently started to understand the underlying concepts and values behind this type of moral dilemma. It really depends on whether or not the defenders are serving collectivism or individualisim…are they defending a democracy or a republic?

    Individualism vs. Collectivism Part 1 of 5 (all 5 parts on youtube)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0o2GCT0z4Q&feature=related

    If the government wins wars…and people merely serve them…the government can issue or deny rights.

    If people win wars…and the governments serve them in this matter…the people can grant or deny rights to the government.

    The morality of collectivism is based on numbers…the greatest good for the greatest numbers…and some individuals are sacrificed for the group. And the group is more important than the individual with collectivism…this leads to totalitarianism.

    Realistically, groups don’t have right…only individuals have rights.

    Individualism is not based on ego. It is based on principle.

    Also covered in this series Rights and Responsibilities, Equality and Inequality of law, the Proper Role of Government, Confusing Definitions, Myth of Complication, and Illusion of Opposites.

    After watching this series…let me know what you think.

    note: here is a link to part 5
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_txYUjMLbtQ
    (some part 5 uploads were audio disabled…but I found one with audio…and part 5 is key to these concepts)

    LOVE

  37. Chris Marshall Says:

    Betsy:

    This is a complex issue…and yet SOOOO fundamental. I’ve only recently started to understand the underlying concepts and values behind this type of moral dilemma.

    It is not credible that you can’t give a straight forward answer as to what actions are appropriate on the part of one country that’s been invaded by another.

    This is a very basic scenario that all functioning societies have to continually face.

  38. Betsy Says:

    Chris,

    That is your opionion then. Don’t you realize that many contries have brainwashed their people into collective armies? Individualism is not encouraged, even in America. Check out The Six-Lesson School Teacher
    http://www.cantrip.org/gatto.html?seenIEPage=1

    When I say…I’ve only recently started to understand the underlying concepts and values behind this type of moral dilemma…is because I used to feel our army is justified in defending our country. Now I see too many people have become sheeple…and that is the norm in “Functioning Societies”

    America has a HUGE vested interest in war…as the military industrial complex makes up 20% of our total economy!…always follow the money, if you want a credible take on reality.

    When pople are deluded by collectivism…they beleive in greatest good for the greatest numbers. I think even Ken Wilber made the comment…then VIRUSES win.
    The war for control involves a war on the mind.

  39. Betsy Says:

    Geez…sorry for all the spelling mistakes. I wasn’t able to edit.

  40. Chris Marshall Says:

    Betsy:

    >Don’t you realize that many contries have brainwashed their people into collective armies?

    I have opposed both wars in Iraq and the current one in Afghanistan.

    I oppose the draft for anyone.

    Refusing to have any organized defense at all, though, is extreme.

    People have the right to band together to defend themselves and to wage defensive wars.

  41. Pelle Billing Says:

    Let’s stay on topic here, Betsy… It’s an interesting discussion if we can keep it connected to gender issues.

  42. Betsy Says:

    Pelle,

    I do feel the information I provided is relevant…when comments are made on these blogs like “white whore”, “American slobs”, and “Anyone this weak and cowardly is not fit to repoduce”…perhaps a larger view can reveal the other pertinent issues affecting people globally and their gender roles. Knowledge does lead to skillful means. A boy given vaccines from birth, schooled to follow authority, and generally deceived in the real market economy as an adult…does have his work cut out for him…the same is true for women.

    LOVE

  43. Betsy Says:

    Pelle,

    IMO, this topic would be vastly more effective if titled:
    Do men or women benefit from Corporations being the norm?

    Many corporations like Wal-Mart and IBM ARE larger than ENTIRE countries. These corporations have more money, spies, police/security, etc…

    check out:
    Meet Your Boss: Robert Gates
    Who is deciding your fate?
    by Michael Prysner
    January 6th, 2010 9:18 PM
    Michael Prysner is a veteran of the war in Iraq and an anti-war activist.
    http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/mike-friends-blog/meet-your-boss-robert-gates

    quote:
    No corporate CEO should be able to send us to kill and die for their own super-profits. ~Michael Prysner

    LOVE


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