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We shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bath water, why traditionalists are friends to Men’s Rights!

This originally started as a reply to a comment made by typhonblue of AVfM fame on a comment I had made on reddit. That comment thread can be viewed Here

It took me a few days to formulate this response because of the dept of background knowledge necessitated by this response to make it coherent.

One of the conversations I find deeply lacking in the mens rights movement as it exists today is the conversation that asks, “What is the end result of a successful men’s rights movement?” I find the absence of this discussion both troubling and somewhat amusing. It’s troubling because without understanding what the end result will look like we fail be as effective as we could be, not that we haven’t been effective. It’s amusing because it leads to somewhat laughable contradictions in

many of our views and opinions.

But first some excess background. Recently there has been a bit of a

ground swell within the men’s rights movement, lead in part by A Voice for Men, to condemn traditionalists, saying and I agree that many of their principles are similar to those of feminism.

While I agree that many traditionalists or trad-cons as they are currently labeled inadvertently push a form of feminism light, in that much like feminists they venerate women and see them as angelic creatures who can do no wrong, and therefore misplace the blame for certain social ails at the feet of men, many of their views are actually still far more in keeping with the mens rights movement. Indeed it seems like a better allocation of resources would not be condemning “trad-cons” but to help them understand the ways in which their assumptions about men and women are counter productive to

their own beliefs.

Certain dominant voices in the mens rights movement, such as A Voice for Men have a noble ideal of being non-political, choosing not to take sides and simply deal with the issues men face in our society today. While I agree this is a noble goal it’s also somewhat flawed and this flaw sourced from the problems I pointed out in my first paragraph. What would the world look like if men’s rights activists had their way? What if we succeeded?

The first change we would see is this, women would loose several the entitlements they currently have. This loss of entitlement such as reform in the sexual harassment laws, divorce laws, and rape prosecution laws would have a side effect (side benefit?) of which a down size in the demand for various job classes would be notable. Many of these job classes, specifically HR, and other fields such as family law advocacy would dwindle in numbers. As many have pointed out, these HR jobs are disproportionately filled by women. The net result of down sizing sexual harassment laws, would be a diminishment of high paying jobs for many women.

There are other forces at play in this dynamic as well. As is noted repeatedly within the MRM women, on average, choose easier, lower stress, less paying jobs. It means that without the government subsidies for single mothers and the institution of both child support and alimony a women would not be able to support herself and children. Sure an older women who has no children would likely be able to support herself on a low salary in a modest apartment, but her quality of life would be greatly diminished. In a way were stuck in a quandary, if we abolish all the special privileges for women then women really will suffer but perhaps only marginally, if we do not abolish these special privileges then we continue to endorse and support the unjust victimization of men via coercive legal force.

Here’s where the disjoint within the MRM seems to happen. I recently read an anecdote which I though summed it up well, (I want to make clear that this is an anecdote and I don’t know if it’s fully accurate in all details, despite those possible inaccuracies I believe that the general summation it

yields is both correct and poignant.) It went something like this. In Mexico the government has instituted many of the same rights as it has in the United States. Women are freely able to divorce, women are protected against domestic violence, and woman have most of the legal protections

American women expect, with one critical difference, the nation is too poor to grant welfare in many cases. So what happens, according to the anecdote is that a women’s husband arrives home late from the bar or pub drunk. She furious that he has been out drinking and not being with her becomes irate. During the course of events the women is hit at some point by the husband. She naturally calls the cops, who promptly arrest the man. At first she is relieved and then she becomes worried. The kids are still hungry, she still has to pay the bills and yet, her husband is in jail. Soon the realization that she needs her husband dawns on her and she goes to the jail and pleads for his release.

While I NEVER sanction domestic violence, I think this little story yields important incite on the topic at hand. Many in the men’s rights movement vehemently attest that all they want are equal rights for men and women, something I fully agree with. But they present a picture of what would happen if those equal rights were to be instated as somewhat similar to the world now, but with fewer injustices. For example in an episode of the A Voice for Men Radio Show entitled “What does the men’s rights movement have to offer women.” The hosts present the view that the men’s rights

movement offers women respect, and true equality. Again I don’t disagree with this view, I sincerely believe that the men’s rights movement does indeed offer women respect. What the hosts fail to communicate is just what the world would look like once women had that respect.

From the rhetoric alone one would naturally assume women would go to work, along side men, the anti-male discrimination known as affirmative action would be gone so the women really would rise up and be all they could be. While this is true of some women it has always been true of some

women. The reality is that once affirmative action is abolished, along with other institutions which minimize the level of competitiveness, and ease the lives of women in the professional world, many women would realize that the race to the top is not their cup of tea. They would instead favor lower paying jobs, or even motherhood more readily. This change would inevitably lead to a rise in marriage, and women needing a man to take care of them and their children. This is a biologically determined fact of life, and no amount of singing around campfires will change it.

The irony of course is that this final result of the mens rights movement would look less like what I think, even most mra’s, expect and much more like what the “trad-cons” hold as the proper order of things. With women once again needing men to support them as their big daddy government was no longer being their surrogate husband the world would look pretty similar to the way it was in generations past. This is the contradiction which leads to what I see is a development of ideology and dogma within at least the authors, editors and publishers of A Voice for Men. If they are to be politically neutral, and if they are more and more to condemn the “trad-cons” they need some sort of footing to stand on other than logic, why?

The “trad-cons” might be mis-guided, they might overly venerate women and place many kinds of blame unjustly at the feet of men. But fundamentally their vision for the world is actually mostly the same as the vision of the world likely held by any men’s rights advocate who honestly evaluate the

net result of his or her beliefs and actions. The question becomes this, how do you condemn “trad-cons” when they are, despite some mis-understandings, not only on your side but also logically consistent wit your own view? The only way is to create a dogma and ideology that says they are wrong for some other reason which is logically inconsistent.

This is where A Voice for Men is headed. Through their recent condemnation of the primarily Christian right as, just another kind of feminism, they have demonstrated their own ideological bias. They clearly believe in some sort of alternative view of reality in which once the feminist inspired husband government is disbanded, or at least significantly downsized men and women will suddenly find what would best be described as a feminist utopia. That is impossible. No matter how you split the deck at the end of the day women still need men to help them raise children, only the few excessively

wealthy women will really be able to afford baby sitting service to continue work while raising a child. Does this mean all women will be stay at home moms? No, women will still be active in the workforce but it won’t be 50%/50%, it can ever be 100% equal. Child bearing, and child raising will necessitate this. To come to any other conclusion is either to be bereft of linear thought and an understanding

of logical progression or to be actively dishonest.

Because of this the goal of the men’s rights movement is not to create a new, different world, rather it is to find a way in which the the rights of men will not be infringed upon while living in what would argue is a more traditionalist society. Essentially any logically consistent analysis of the men’s rights movement must by necessity conclude that the goal of the men’s rights movement is not some alternative view of the future in which women all work along side men. Rather it is to identify and fix those elements of traditionalism which disproportionately affect men in a negative way, including holding women accountable for their choices. This however, is a pretty scary though it would mean admitting that in some ways we are actually just what the feminists accuse us of being, but that’s OK.

Why men are nice guys, or what women don’t understand.

This post is inspired by this debacle about a women getting upset when men rejected her. It made me come to a realization, one that has been obvious in my own life, yet never really seen. Men are attracted to kind supportive women, men want a women who is a friend first and a sexual partner second. This I believe is part of why men get so frustrated at being put in the “friend-zone.”

Although I don’t intend to speak for all men I can say that personally sex is not above friendship and support but actually equal to it. Here’s what I mean, if I meet a women and she is relatively attractive generally sex is never taken off the table. Indeed with rare exception… no in my life no exception I am open to having sex with any of my female friends if I weren’t I would be less inclined to be their friend. Yet contrary to what women seem to suggest that doesn’t mean I’m prioritizing sex quite the contrary. It is my and I would say most men’s ability to be a friend and also see someone as a potential sexual partner that allows men to prioritize a supportive friendship over a sexual relationship. This is why men are so frustrated by the friend-zone for men becoming a friend to a women is part of getting to know if she is a good match.

A few weeks ago I was riding an elevator in my building and a women, about my age, maybe a year, 2 at the most younger than I got on. I was carrying my supper on a plate from where I had bought it back to my room to eat my supper. This women, a women who was pretty attractive proceeded to stand close to me and then tell me that my food looked good. I thanked her for the complement but it didn’t end there. She proceeded to point out how good my food looked to others in the elevator, and complemented me on my shirt (I was wearing a plain yellow T shirt with no writing). This soon became awkward, thankfully the doors opened to my floor soon after. She saw me another time and again complemented me on my shirt, but that was it. The whole situation was awkward yet something I’ve been thinking about.

This is not the first time I’ve been hit on. I’m not really even that attractive, I’m a bit over weight I don’t always wear the nicest of cloths, yet from time to time women are interested in me and I get hit on. I am also in a stable relationship so I guess I’m not completely unattractive to women. But I had a realization, if this women had instead made friends with me, instead of making a weird scene about how good my really plain cafeteria hamburger looked, while complementing my not so special shirt her attempt might have worked. Again I’m in a relationship already so it wouldn’t have, but none the less the principle is the same. If she were to become a friend of mine and our friendship were to blossom my sexual attraction would always be latent in the background and when it was appropriate our friendship would become sexual.

But in my experience women don’t have that same ability. The women I have met seem to put men in two camps upon meeting them, friend material, or sexy man material. If a women sees me as a good friend I will never be a sexual option for her. If a women sees me as a sexual option then there is a possibility of becoming a friend also. But here’s the kicker. Of women I’ve been in romantic relationships with that sexual attraction was contingent on my being somewhat assertive and making a move on her pretty quickly if I don’t then her sexual attraction seems to wane. Now I know that there are women who are exceptions to this rule absolutely but it seems in my humble experience to be more frequent than not the case that a women being a friend with a man means that she is not sexually attracted to him. While a man being friends with a women indicates that he values her as a friend but does not preclude sexual interaction later in the relationship.

Ironically in doing this women are preventing the relationships they say they want. Women often say that they just want a man to be their friend and then if it works out their lover later. But in reality it seems it is the men who want that. We men by being capable of looking at a women both as a potential sex partner and as a friend at once are the ones who are capable of prioritizing a strong friendship and non-sexual bond before a sexual one emerges. And this is why so many men become frustrated. They meet a women and become her friend, for them sex is never ruled out so they assume that as the friendship become deeper, as trust is developed, emotional intimacy is established then physical intimacy will naturally follow. But for women the sex comes first if a man is not sexual interesting it doesn’t matter how much of a friend he is, or how much trust is established.

This is actually kind of annoying for a few other reasons. It compels men to sex more quickly then they would like. One of my most uncomfortable sexual experiences arose out of this kind of situation. I was with a women whom I had dated for a few weeks but I wasn’t quite to the point where I was ready for more intimacy but I felt like I needed to be to keep her interest. Needless to say although it wasn’t a traumatic experience it was none the less something I will call a learning experience. It was also an experience that drove home the idea that for me it’s important that I am comfortable with the person before I become more intimate. Yet even since then I have felt that sex and sex happening quickly is necessary to solidify a relationship. Most of my longest and most successful relationships including my current relationship were initiated by me pushing for sex early, while all of the relationships where I waited and allowed a friendship to blossom usually ended in the “friend-zone.” Quite the conundrum.

Why the MRM should reject terms like cis-gendered!

I recently had an exchange with a few reddit MRA’s about gender terminology. One reddior in response to a post about accepting gay men into the MRA, something I support 100%, mentioned that we also needed to invite trans people as-well as cis-gendered people. My comment is and it’s responses here.

Before I dive in to why I think terms like cis-gendered need to be rejected I will talk about feminism. One of feminism’s core ideas is that gender is a social construct in other words, in a feminist conception of reality gender and gender roles are independent from the biological sex of an individual. This is such a part of feminism that you can’t have one without the other. It is the idea that allows feminists to say that they are not opposing men, just “traditional masculinity.” Naturally if gender is just a social construct then male bodied men could reject masculinity, or reshape it to become more acceptable to feminist sensibilities. It should be noted that feminists have also contradicted themselves on this point multiple times.

So what’s the problem with this view of gender? Simply, most people don’t experience their gender as disembodied. In other words the majority of men and women alike experience their gender as inextricably linked to their physiological gender. Feminists say this is just because they were raised a certain way, but that is false, the suicide of David Reimer and other other boys like him shows that even when someone is raised as the other gender they feel wrong, and often end up with psychological problems.

Back to the point of this post, why is cis-gendered such a horrible term? Cis-gendered is a word that means someones physiological gender is matches their psychological gender. Basically I am a cis man, meaning that I am a male bodied man. As cis women would be a female bodied woman. The problem is that as I have pointed out above, gender and physiology are linked, even in people who are trans-gendered they are trans-gendered because they are physiologically different they did not choose to be trans-gendered, they just are. When someone says that someone is cis-gendered their saying more than their just a male bodied male or a female bodied female, their saying that gender is separate from physiology, that for instance I as a man have chosen to be masculine and that if I wanted to I could choose to be different. That’s as insulting to me as it would be to tell a gay person that being gay is a choice. Or telling a trans-gendered person that they could choose not to be trans-gendered. Because, quite simply, I don’t experience gender as separate from my body, and I am not alone in that experience. Does that mean trans people are wrong? No! It means that they are physiologically different, and those differences are what make them trans.

Finally it was stated in the comments above that “I don’t need to label myself cis-gendered” it’s a term that is only there to help trans people identify people like us (presumably non-trans-gendered). But that is just as bad. I don’t want anyone to define me aside from myself, and I doubt that if you were to ask a bunch of trans people “do you like being defined by others?” that any of them would say yes.

The problem with words like cis-gendered is deeper than just not liking the term. Cis-gendered is part of a system of gender categorization based upon the false assumption that gender is independent from physiological sex and is used to promote the idea that a man could be better if he just choose a different gender role. This is misandry like any other, it’s a way of subjugating men by sex and claiming that because they don’t choose a different gender they are even more evil than the would be had they not known better. Because a man who doesn’t know he can choose his gender can’t be fully accountable for his supposed patriarchal nature, but a self identified cis-gendered man not only knows that he is evil but chooses to stay evil. That I find offensive.

Bros before hoes… No seriously!

I’ve written about this before, not here, but I think it’s worth mentioning again, perhaps even repeating over and over and over. There is a saying, it goes “Bros before Hoes” it’s a good saying but all too often thats all it is. I think one of the most important things men must start to do is take the “Bros before Hoes” motto to heart. Because in my experience women came and went from my life, some were fun, some were annoying, some even stayed for a while and yet they all leave eventually. Sure each women I’ve been with has told me that I was special and she never wanted to loose contact with me. But each of them after, we broke up, drifted away. I don’t think women lie about this, when they meet a man they like I think they genuinely believe that they want to know that man for ever but of course that’s not true. It’s just a thing women seem to do. But many of my male and female, non romantic, friends have been in my life for over a decade. They are people I can talk to, rely on, and more or less know won’t leave at the drop of a hat.

This is why it’s so important to realize that your friends, are and will always be more important than your women. But there’s more.  Yes, there is a zeitgeist of feminine sisterhood. Girl talk, and the like, and although I believe that through out history there have been pockets of brotherhood, and “Guy talk” I think the brotherhood has been far less frequent and much weaker. There are many reasons for this, not the least of which is the frequent urge for a man to see himself as competing with his peers. I have to admit I have fallen into this trap many times myself. But despite these tendencies of men to see each other as competitors there has always been a male drive to congregate with other men in male only spaces. This actually gives me a lot of hope.

One of the most important things that men must do is try and see other men as brothers, allies, not enemies. And to start and take the notion of Bros before Hoes to heart. I think in many ways we’re already doing this, but we need to vocalize this with deliberate intent. Let’s be proud to spend time amongst our peers and let’s not see them as weird or losers.  Empathize with them, understand how you could end up in their shoes and stand with them, so that when you are in need they may stand with you. Male brotherhood is not something that is “Gay” or silly. So stop thinking your better than the men around you, because you have a girlfriend and they don’t.


Why we need men’s rights.

Sometimes I question the need for a men’s rights movement. Sure I know rationally that its needed, I know that according to statistics its needed. But the thing is on a day to day basis I don’t deal with a great deal of discrimination. I have a girlfriend who shows me respect, I go to a university which is refreshing not as political as some others, not that we have no protests just very few. In general if I didn’t choose to be an MRA, active on MRA sites, and generally surround myself with MRA material, I really don’t think I would even think of men’s issues. They would simply cease to exist. And that is sort of a depressing though. But its not true. Today I had an experience which made me remember that the need for a men’s rights movement is real. It took the form of a joke one which was very poignant.

My class needed to enter into an equipment shop, there were two mechanics showing us some things. The one mechanic, a young man introduced his assistant an old man of maybe 50 years. The younger of the two men pointed out that the older man should have retired, but said he couldn’t because if he does now his ex-wife would get 60% of his retirement. The joke fell flat, and there was awkward silence before he began demonstrating something else.

All I could think of was this poor man, he was old, had a speech impediment, had worked hard for many years in a dangerous job of all people he deserved to be treated better than that. These are the moments when I am reminded just how real the need for a men’s rights movement is.