Posts Tagged ‘masculism’

Concerning Single Young Men

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

I have long argued that the strong influence of feminist ideology on Western societies has had profound influence on young men. Growing up with feminism, if you’re a boy, can easily lead to being shamed, having poor self-esteem and being confused about what role you are expected to play in society.

The fact that gender roles evolve is inevitable, so from that perspective the confusion seen in young men of today couldn’t have been avoided. On the other hand, I believe that feminism has unnecessarily put the blame on men for the gender roles of the past, instead of realizing that both sexes co-created the past, and we can co-create new gender roles in the future.

Anyhow, the point is that men have been deeply affected by the change in gender roles and by the influence of feminism on young men and women alike. This is finally starting to be acknowledged in the media, and the other day I came across a very interesting text dealing with this phenomenon. I don’t agree with everything being said in the article, but several of the observations made are interesting, and worthy of discussion.

The article starts out with the following observation about SYMs (single young males):

Their argument, in effect, was that the SYM is putting off traditional markers of adulthood—one wife, two kids, three bathrooms—not because he’s immature but because he’s angry. He’s angry because he thinks that young women are dishonest, self-involved, slutty, manipulative, shallow, controlling, and gold-digging. He’s angry because he thinks that the culture disses all things male. He’s angry because he thinks that marriage these days is a raw deal for men.

The anger of these SYM is palpable:

“Maybe we turn to video games not because we are trying to run away from the responsibilities of a ‘grown-up life’ but because they are a better companion than some disease-ridden bar tramp who is only after money and a free ride.”

“Men are finally waking up to the ever-present fact that traditional marriage, or a committed relationship, with its accompanying socially imposed requirements of being wallets with legs for women, is an empty and meaningless drudgery.”

When young men actually enter the dating scene, they find that the rules have changed, and that double standards abound:

But when they walk to his car, he makes his first mistake: he fails to open the car door for her. Mistake Number Two comes a moment later: “So, what would you like to do?” he asks. “Her idea of a date is that the man plans the evening and takes the woman out,” Straus explains. But how was the hapless social worker supposed to know that? In fact, Doesn’t-Open-the-Car-Door Guy might well have been chewed out by a female colleague for reaching for the office door the previous week.

The cultural muddle is at its greatest when the dinner check arrives. The question of who grabs it is a subject of endless discussion on the hundreds of Internet dating sites. The general consensus among women is that a guy should pay on a first date: they see it as a way for him to demonstrate interest.

It’s understandable that SYM become confused. The current dating scene is a mixture of new ideals (women own their own sexuality and have casual sex, often earn just as much money as young men, and will cry foul if you use chivalry on them) and old ideals (men should pay for the dinner date, be chivalrous, etc). Is it any wonder that young men become bitter if women expect the new ideals when it suits them, and the old ideals when those are more advantageous?

Kevin from Ann Arbor writes. “They want to compete equally, and have the privileges of their mother’s generation. They want the executive position, AND the ability to stay home with children and come back into the workplace at or beyond the position at which they left. They want the bad boy and the metrosexual.”

SYM also feel disillusioned when they discover what kind of men are successful in the dating scene. After having been taught by their mothers and by culture that girls are fragile, kind, moral and non-aggressive (i.e. the opposite qualities that feminism ascribes to traditional old-fashioned men), SYM are in for a brutal awakening when they discover how things really work:

This attraction to bad boys is by far guys’ biggest complaint about contemporary women. Young men grew up hearing from their mothers, their teachers, and Oprah that women wanted sensitive, kind, thoughtful, intelligent men who were in touch with their feminine sides, who shared their feelings, who enjoyed watching Ally McBeal rather than Beavis and Butt-Head. Yeah, right, sneer a lot of veterans of the scene. Women don’t want Ashley Wilkes; they’re hot for Rhett Butler, for macho men with tight abs and an emotional range to match.

On Craigslist, one guy posted a succinct, albeit somewhat bitter, analysis of how nice guys fare in contemporary culture (post-sexual revolution):

According to a “Recovering Nice Guy” writing on Craigslist, the female preference for jerks and “assholes,” as they’re also widely known, lies behind women’s age-old lament, “What happened to all the nice guys?” His answer: “You did. You ignored the nice guy. You used him for emotional intimacy without reciprocating, in kind, with physical intimacy.” Women, he says, are actually not attracted to men who hold doors for them, give them hinted-for Christmas gifts, or listen to their sorrows. Such a man, our Recovering Nice Guy continues, probably “came to realize that, if he wanted a woman like you, he’d have to act more like the boyfriend that you had. He probably cleaned up his look, started making some money, and generally acted like more of an asshole than he ever wanted to be.”


Carrying on, it seems that many men have made similar observations to what I sometimes address on this blog:

Adding to the bitterness of many SYMs is the feeling that the entire culture is a you-go-girl cheering section. When our guy was a boy, the media prattled on about “girl power,” parents took their daughters to work, and a mysterious plague seemed to have killed off boys, at least white ones, from school textbooks. To this day, male-bashing is the lingua franca of situation comedies and advertising: take the dimwitted television dads from Homer Simpson to Ray Romano to Tim Allen, or the guy who starts a cooking fire to be put out by his multitasking wife, who is already ordering takeout. Further, it’s hard to overstate the distrust of young men who witnessed divorce up close and personal as they were growing up. Not only have they become understandably wary of till-death-do-us-part promises; they frequently suspect that women are highway robbers out to relieve men of their earnings, children, and deepest affections.

I’ve never understood the “take your daughter to work” concept. Why discriminate so blatantly against young boys? Wouldn’t the natural impulse be to take you child to work, regardless of gender? Feminism has indeed been successful in the US educational system.

As the article carries on, it becomes obvious that a substantial portion of young men are ready to pull out of the dating game:

As the disenchanted SYM sees it, then, resistance to settling down is a rational response to a dating environment designed and ruled by women with only their own interests in mind. “Men see all of this, and wonder if it’s really worth risking all in the name of ‘romance’ and ‘growing up,’ ” a correspondent who calls himself Wytchfinde explains. “After all, if women can be hedonistic and change the rules in midstream when it suits them, why shouldn’t men? Why should men be responsible when women refuse to look into the mirror at their own lack of accountability?”

Every action has a reaction. The action taken by feminists during the last few decades, is now eliciting a reaction in SYM; a reaction that can easily lead to men becoming hyper-masculine and more irresponsible:

So, men like Wytchfinde conclude: No more Mister Nice Guy! They will dump all those lessons from their over-feminized childhood and adolescence. They will join what the Boston Globe has called the “Menaissance.” And they will buy titles like The Alphabet of Manliness (K is for Knockers, Q is for Quickies), The Retrosexual Manual, Being the Strong Man a Woman Wants, and actor Jim Belushi’s recent Real Men Don’t Apologize.

Is it any wonder that young men become more narcissistic and less interested in being responsible family fathers and citizens, when Western culture has marginalized the voice of young men?


I believe that the feminist revolution has missed its target for a few different reasons:

  1. Men’s needs, wants and perspectives were ignored
  2. Biological differences between the sexes were ignored, which is a terrible oversight when discussing career choices and partner choice
  3. Feminism focused on changing the negative aspects of the female gender role, while being all too happy about keeping the positive aspects

You ignore biological differences between the sexes at your own peril, as the author of the article notes:

Most of the women interviewed by Jillian Straus say that they’re looking for a man who can be the primary breadwinner. A June 2008 New Scientist article reports on two studies that even suggest that women are biologically attracted to “jerks”; researchers speculate that narcissistic, risk-taking men had an evolutionary advantage.

So women want a man who is a risk-taker and a primary breadwinner? Those wishes certainly go against what feminism has taught young men that women want, and also what young women have been told that they are supposed to want.

If they did similar research on young men and what they desire in women, I’m pretty sure that the response would be that they want a woman who will be the primary caretaker of the children, and only focus fulltime on her career once the children are a bit older. And just like women enjoy men who are confident and risk-taking, many men want a woman who can be loving and feminine. This is extremely politically incorrect, but if there is truth to these claims, do we not need to include them in any movement for gender liberation?

Personally I don’t believe that biology can explain the whole male-female sexual dynamic, far from it. We always need to include cultural and psychological factors, in addition to what biology can teach us. But it is clear that due to the three reasons I listed above, feminist reforms have misfired in a number of important ways, and it is up to us to develop a new, more robust version of gender equality. We need a version that defends the equal value of women and men, without claiming that men and women are essentially the same – while also offering a clear path to success for both genders that does not involve a total absence of moral development.

If Masculism Existed…

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

…then the following male rights would already be implemented:

  • DNA testing of all newborns
  • Independent review of jail sentencing, to make sure that sentences are gender neutral (as opposed to the present, where men get longer sentences for identical crimes)
  • Family courts would make sure that men were only expected to give up financial capital in exchange for social capital; i.e. the only way a father (or mother) could lose custody would be by being proven to be unfit as a parent
  • A pregnant woman would be bound by law to inform the putative father of the pregnancy
  • The media would regularly be outraged that women don’t choose dangerous jobs
  • Magazines for men would publish articles about women’s emotional violence called “Top Ten Signs That She’s on Track to Manipulate and Control You”
  • The only way to convict a man of rape would be by actually proving this beyond  reasonable doubt
  • Women would be required to do military service and be drafted in the same way as men
  • Women dressing sexily in the workplace would be considered a form of sexual harassment
  • Women would still have access to free abortion, but would be obligated to have one conversation with a social worker where the man was present, before being able to have the abortion (to give the man a chance to voice his opinion, even though he would still have no legal rights)
  • Schools would be experimenting with new ways of teaching boys effectively, in order to combat the trend of underperforming boys in school

What other points can you think of?

Reverse Feminism

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

Today I’d like to do a thought experiment and have some fun at the same time.

We’re all familiar with feminist rhetoric, it’s hard not to be, since it comes at us from feminists, the media and policy makers. The gender messages reaching us are so streamlined and consistent that it’s easy to simply accept the rhetoric as fact, or at least as mostly fact. Even men and women who are critical of feminism are likely influenced by these messages on a subconscious level.

What if we were to turn the tables on this feminist rhetoric, and use a similar language to describe the male gender role and the suffering of men? In other words, what would it sound like if we were to describe the experience of men and situation of men using a feminist style of language, to show how ludicrous and one-side most of the feminist ideology is?

I’m not saying that we should actually start implementing a reverse rhetoric, far from it! But I believe it could be a good thought experiment in order to demonstrate that the blame game and the claiming of victimhood can be done by men too, meaning that each gender has just as many disadvantages.

So what kind of statements would masculism make, if it was just as strong and just as pathological as mainstream feminism? Here’s a preliminary list:

  1. Women force men to work full-time by only marrying men who are providers, thereby limiting the choices of men.
  2. Women structurally oppress men by claiming the closest connection to the children.
  3. Women expect men to protect them physically, thereby subordinating the men (men’s lives are less worth).
  4. Women do not mind that their husbands have dangerous jobs while they are safe at home, caring for the children. This matriarchal power structure keeps men away from a loving environment, and keeps the ruling class (women) out of harms way.
  5. The power of the sisterhood represses any inquiry into why men live significantly shorter lives than women. The only acceptable explanation is biological differences, which in all other gender scenarios is a prohibited explanation according to the sisterhood.
  6. Breast cancer gets more funding than any other cancer, which removes resources from prostate cancer research.
  7. Men commit suicide far more often than women, which is yet another sign of men facing matriarchal structures that keep men trapped in impossible life conditions, and ultimately the only way out may be to take your own life.
  8. Women demand that men act tough and repress their emotions at all times, which is why men do not dare report domestic violence.
  9. 70 to 80 percent of the homeless are men, since our matriarchal society is reluctant to help a man who doesn’t perform, while women (as the ruling class) always have their intrinsic value intact.
  10. Men are always given the task of defending the country against aggressors, since the ruling class must be kept safe at all times.
  11. Women are not held responsible for the crimes the same way men are and receive shorter jail sentences. The matriarchy knows that men must be punished properly to stay subordinated, while women are always considered to be basically good and therefore less in need of punishment.
  12. Cutting off genital tissue from boys is condoned by society, in order to teach men from the start that they are expendable, and inferior to women. Developing countries who cut off genital tissue from girls are judged harshly.
  13. Boys do worse than girls in school since they feel tremendously unsafe and confused once they realize what the constricted and  dangerous male gender role demands of them in the future.

Could you add anything else to this list?

Do We Need a Men’s Movement?

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

Regardless of what our personal opinion might be about gender issues, women’s rights and men’s rights, the one undeniable truth that remains is that feminism is an established movement, while there is no equivalent established movement advocating men’s rights.

If you believe, like I do, that the male and female gender roles are more or less equally constricted, then it might seem unavoidable to lobby for a masculist movement, in order to award men’s liberation the same political status as women’s liberation. So is this what I’m actually advocating?

Yes and no. It’s evident that we need a much greater focus on the situation of men and the male gender role than we currently have, however, we need to make sure that those issues are approached in the most constructive manner possible – and without turning an ambition for pragmatic reforms into an ideology or religion.

Before digging into the complex question of how to put men’s issues on the political agenda, let’s have a look at the male groups, institutions and support systems that we definitely need to create, or drastically increase in number:

Men’s groups

  • For men to access their true voices, without any women around to impress
  • To discuss fatherhood
  • For men to voice their pain, this includes personal pain as well as collective pain around the male gender role
  • For men to explore what it means to be a man in a postmodern world
  • To discuss how to be able to focus on one’s career while still being a father and husband

Male support groups

  • For victims of domestic violence
  • For sexual abuse survivors
  • For ex-cons. Since society is unable to decrease criminality, the least we can do is to offer support groups for those who are looking for a fresh start.

Men’s shelters

  • For the 70-80% of homeless who are men
  • For male victims of domestic violence who are currently turned away from women’s shelters

Men’s psychology

  • Do we need different therapeutic approaches for men? Is talking about your emotions the best way for men to develop psychologically?
  • Gender specific psychological research would benefit both sexes

Male bonding 

  • Research shows that men have fewer close friends than women
  • It’s important to reintroduce camaraderie between men, and to transcend homophobia. What’s wrong with a man comforting another man who’s lost his wife, child or friend?
  • Evolving male friendship to mean something more than only doing or watching sports together.

As far as I’m concerned, introducing these resources for men have little to do with politics, and far from all of them will depend on government grants for their existence. I’m also hard pressed to find any arguments against the creation or expansion of these resources, since they address real and pressing concerns among men.

Masculism vs Gender Liberation

But what about the actual political dimension of men’s rights? What is the best way forward there?

A masculist movement may be needed as a temporary measure, in order to put men’s issues on the political agenda, and to raise public awareness around men’s issues. At the moment, most people probably believe that there are no real problems with the male gender role, and that men are nothing but the privileged sex.

The very real risk of establishing a masculist movement is that it could fairly easily become polarized and bigoted the same way that feminism has. Creating a war between an increasingly unhealthy feminist movement, and a burgeoning masculist movement that is quickly becoming polarized, will serve no one.

However, we do need to map out how the male gender role is hurting men, and how feminism is adding insult to injury by making men feel guilty for problems that were created by humanity, and not at all by men alone. Trying to bypass this step, and trying to avoid facing these male issues, will lead to a backlash in the long run.

There is sometimes a tendency amongst men and women alike, to advocate a path for men that exclusively stresses that men need to evolve more, perform more, and so on. As important as it is for men to continue evolving and demand more of themselves, this cannot be done at the expense of society facing the male problems that have existed for thousands of years, and those that have been added more recently by feminism. Men cannot be denied this process, even though we need to keep the process clean and avoid villifying women.

The early work of putting men’s issues on the political agenda may therefore involve a masculist movement, but I’m a firm believer that the end goal needs to be a gender liberation movement that describes all gender issues accurately and doesn’t privilege the pain and experiences of either gender. Such a movement will inherently be balanced and able to resist becoming an ideology.