Men, Masculinity, and Humanity

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by Tiassa, Jul 6, 2014.

  1. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Men's Issues: A Contrast

    "When you push aside the curtain of the internet, you're looking at a handful of frightened outcasts with no control over their lives. This is something I've always suspected about men's rights activists, but it's satisfying to see those suspicions turn out to be true."

    As tempting as it might seem to simply nod, grin, and agree with Mr. Constant, I would beg leave still to differ insofar as there is nothing satisfying about that particular truth.

    He refers to Steve Neavling's coverage of a Men's Rights conference in Detroit:

    The “vast majority” of college women lie about being raped. Men are violent because of their mothers. Feminists are plotting to dominate men.

    One thing was ringingly clear among attendees at the first-annual International Conference on Men's Issues in St. Clair Shores this weekend: Women are becoming an increasing threat and something must be done to stop them.

    The International Conference on Men's Issues was apparently an odd patchwork of bizarre arguments, with Canadian columnist Barbara Kay of the infamous National Post telling the attendees that, "The vast majority of female students allegedly raped on campus are actually voicing buyer's remorse". Internet radio host Stefan Molyneux lamented the injustice of domestic violence: "There's no stress defense for hitting your wife. Billions of women hit children 932 times a year." The organizer of the conference is one who encourages men who consider their wives abusive to "beat the living shit" out of them:

    "I don't mean subdue them, or deliver an open handed pop on the face to get them to settle down. i mean literally to grab them by the hair and smack their face against the wall till the smugness of beating on someone because you know they won't fight back drains from their nose in a few million red corpuscles. And then make them clean up the mess."

    Self-described liberal anti-feminist Janet Bloomfield called for the age of consent to be reduced to thirteen years old, so that fewer men get introuble for making a "mistake of age", because, "it can be incredibly difficult to know, just by looking at someone, how old they are".

    There were, of course, the usual tinfoil bits about women trying to steal political power from men, or how men are the new Negros under Jim Crow. And there really is nothing quite like the equally confused and confusing episode recounted by Lee DeVito about being sexually harassed.

    It is the sort of thing that sounds like a shelved farce; you couldn't shoot this film because it is just too damn silly.

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    And so we come to the heart of the matter.

    This is the great concern about the Men's Rights movement; too often it comes off as a bunch of individuals brought together not by common need, impulse, or compulsion, but by a general and self-centered dissatisfaction.

    The truth is that there are issues to work out, but these people would seem to have no clue or, perhaps worse, care. It sounds more like a "My Rights" pep rally. Perhaps, then, there is superficial comfort to be found in the fact that the event was grossly overbilled, had to be moved from the downtown Hilton DoubleTree to a VFW hall.

    • • •​

    Meanwhile, away from the insanity of the (ahem!) "organized" men's movement, there are important discussions taking place. And we might as well get that note out of the way, since it is unavoidable: These discussions would cause heads to explode at ICMI.

    It would seem that the days of a man exploring "feminine side" are over. So much of that myth depends on denigrating stereotypes of women. Mike Alvear considers an issue among homosexual men:

    When was the last time you heard someone make fun of a top? Never. But bottoms? Wow. How many times have you heard friends say things like, "Oh, he's just a big bottom." Or heard jokes like, "Why did the gay man cross the road? He heard the chicken was a top."

    Can you imagine somebody saying, "There's nothing but tops in this town?" Exactly. You can't. The most exalted thing you can say about a gay man, the biggest compliment you can pay him, is to call him a "top." And the worst thing you can say about him, the best way to put him down, is to call him a "bottom." Why? Because a lot of people buy into the idea that...

    Bottoming Makes You A Woman.

    This is the single biggest emotional stumbling block gay men have about bottoming -- being labeled less than a man. For many of us, bottoming isn't an opportunity to enjoy a pleasurable sexual experience but an act that threatens our sense of masculinity and the respect that goes with it. Many gay men believe that if they bottom they will become "a bottom." They fear that bottoming will create a new unwanted identity for them; that they'll become, ahem, the butt of everyone's jokes.

    And perhaps to others the discussion seems odd, but not only is Alvear functionally correct that—

    By developing identities out of these labels we cut ourselves off of any unlabeled possibilities. In our world, tops can only date or hook up with bottoms and bottoms can only do the same with tops. That's a whole lot of blindness in a sighted community.

    —at the same time we must acknowledge that much of the femininity and pseudo-femininity shown by many gay men—the lisping, histrionic flamer stereotype, among other aspects—mirrors not so much women per se, but women as cast in masculine idyll unto itself. That is, if we act "womanly", it is more often a stereotype of women than ... than ... er ... right. See? Therein lies the problem. What, in this case, is "womanly"? Feminine? Effeminate?

    No, really, the powdered tea cakes of Maycomb memory? A cowgirl who can wrangle a steer? The plump and cheerful matron with a recipe for everything?

    What? What is a woman, in this context?

    For gay men, at least, especially above-ground, reconciling the heartbreaks and traumas of the past in order to find our way through a new future will require reconciliation of these issues.

    Because, really, we're all human. The most important reason for a man to identify as manly is becaue he doesn't want to be a woman. And right there we see the problem; what, really, does it matter?

    “I made these for us to celebrate,” he said, sauntering out of the kitchen with two shot glasses full of a red concoction.

    “Celebrate what?” I asked.

    He cocked his head to one side. “You're here!” he cheered. “You finally made it.”

    I had been on a long, grueling bus ride up from Washington DC to his apartment in New York. It was already 9:45 p.m on a Friday last summer. I felt sore and had just taken a shower to rid the bus experience from my skin. I laughed and, holding the towel around my waist in one hand and the shot glass in the other, I looked at it. “What's in it?”

    “Gin!” I thought he said, more excitedly than he should have. Gin makes me sick. “That's not really my thing,” I said. Then he pouted, comically and even adorably: “But I made it just for us.”

    So I drank it and it was a bit sharp but really delicious, like tart watermelon. “You can hardly taste the gin,” I said.

    “What gin?”

    “You said there was gin.”

    He laughed. “I said G.” He meant GHB, gamma-hydroxybutyric acid, commonly known as the date-rape drug. Later came several more druggings, as he held Gatorade up to my limp lips with who-knows-what mixed in. I spent the weekend — about 60 hours — semi-conscious and didn't leave his apartment until Monday morning. Sometimes I think I never left his apartment, that someone who merely looks and sounds like me walked out.


    Pop quiz! What did she do wrong? How could she have prevented this rape?

    Oh, wait. I'm sorry. Wrong quiz.

    What did Richard do wrong? How could he have prevented this rape?

    Actually, you can put that aside, since we all know it's a stupid question; that's part of the point of asking it. Because the more important thing is to note just how much Richard Morgan's tale of rape sounds like any other. This does not erase him, simply throw his grain onto a beach of toxic sand. Rather, it reminds of the central connection we all have, whether male or female, gay or straight.

    We are all human.

    For many men, it seems the idea of men's issues strictly involve men. Even when lipsticking the piggy chauvinism, concern is still for the poor, oppressed male.

    This doesn't work. Despite their ignorance, the men's rights advocates in Neavling's account seem to hold with "Know thy enemy". But at some point, they also need to give some thought to "Know thyself".

    In order to understand the challenges facing men, we must also look at the history leading to the moment. Otherwise it's not even about "men", but, rather, "self".

    Still, though, there is at least one bloc missing from this contrast, and that would be the heterosexual males who aren't part of the men's rights movement. Far and away too often, we hear only hints emerging in other discussions.

    But at its core, the men's rights movement is also a men's identity movement. And the question apparently remains whether that identity should be invested as a reaction to the fact that women exist, or simply invested in the humanity of men.


    Constant, Paul. "There Are Fewer Men's Rights Activists Than You Fear, but Those Few Activists Are Exactly as Terrible as You Think ". Slog. July 2, 2014. July 5, 2014.

    Neavling, Steve. "8 ugly observations about conference on men's rights in metro Detroit". Motor City Muckraker. June 29, 2014. July 5, 2014.

    Roy, Jessica K. "Doesn't no mean yes?" Twitter. June 28, 2014. July 5, 2014.

    DeVito, Lee. "I was molested at the Men's Rights Conference". Metro Times. June 27, 2014. July 5, 2014.

    Alvear, Mike. "Free Your Mind Your Crotch Will Follow". The Huffington Post. July 2, 2014. July 5, 2014.

    Morgan, Richard. "My own rape shows how much we get wrong about these attacks". The Washington Post. July 1, 2014. July 5, 2014.
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  3. Stoniphi obscurely fossiliferous Valued Senior Member

    Gee, I missed that one. Guess I was otherwise occupied. There are lots of things going on here in Detroit.

    As a temporarily (for the last 1 & 1/2 years continuing to the middle of next year) neutered heterosexual male I am able to comment without any sexuality at all. I do have life experience though. :huh:

    My first wife was an abuser like my mother. Mother beat me constantly, broke my nose twice and left me with scars I carry to this day. It was a wonder that I did not suicide on my parents for all of those years of abuse. The only reason I did not was that would mean they had "won" somehow.

    My first wife was an abuser, hit me constantly, cheated on me constantly, threw a knife at me a few times and tried to kill me with various weapons. She stuck me with all of the household responsibilities (including her damaged daughter by her first husband who divorced her after she broke his arm) and bills while she pissed away all of her money on horses and horse riding paraphernalia. Many thousands of dollars, most all on the sly.

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    I paid dearly to rid myself of her. She is now married to a wealthy gay executive as his "beard" for formal occasions, otherwise he leaves her to her own devices and gives her lots of money. She is "happy", though lonely, reportedly.

    My second wife is a much more together person. She works in an office, is a serious educated professional person. She treats me well, no abuse. We have a son who is now 22 years old. After he was born, the wife went back to the office and our son stayed home with me. I am self employed and work from home so this was very convenient for us.

    So 22 years ago I was the big, bald guy pushing the baby carriage through our local parks, the grocery store, post office etc. I was the only guy doing that here at that time. I caught a lot of flack and snide remarks, but as the years went by I eventually had some other male company at the kiddie playground.

    My wife and I are partners. We share responsibility and experience. We have a good relationship with our son. No spanking, hitting, yelling or punishment of any kind for anybody in our house and we are all the better for that.

    My best friend's wife was the director of a local abused women's shelter. She tore into me one time for something, so I asked her for the contact information for the abused men's shelter, knowing full well there are many abused men - likely about 50% of abused spouses. She said there was none as there were no abused men.

    That is the problem in a nut shell.

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  5. Bells Staff Member

    That's awful Stoniphi. And back then, reporting her or your mother for that matter, for abuse would have been a non-event. Because 'men' simply did not ever admit to such things back then, due to the ridiculous macho stereotypes that existed and continue to exist in a lot of ways.

    I'm really glad you found happiness with your current wife and your son and family. And it's great that the cycle of abuse against you is broken. Because as is often the case, victims of domestic abuse often end up in relationships with other abusers. And it's not because they enjoy it, but because it is all they have ever known.

    I think it is a tragedy that society as a whole does not take domestic violence and sexual violence against men more seriously. I read this article a few years ago now:

    Despite decades of effort to indoctrinate all the players in the justice system about the importance of taking domestic violence seriously, only half the message has fully come across. Husbands who abuse their wives are finally being acknowledged as the dangerous and culpable law-breakers they really are. But wives who abuse their husbands are assumed to be less of a threat — and tend to be treated more like tiresome mischief-makers than criminals, even when they break the exact same laws as men.

    Feminist activism chose to cast domestic violence as a gender power play: aggressive men using their strength and position to physically dominate women, and powerless women needing the protection of police and courts from dangerous men.

    It was a narrative that made for good movies of the week, and it was certainly true in many cases, but it wasn’t the whole story. In reality, the terrible combinations of family violence that occur behind closed doors are greatly varied. Wives torment and abuse their husbands, too. Wives also torment and abuse their wives. Sisters assault brothers. Brothers assault sisters. Gay men assault their common-law male partners. None of these acts of violence is any less damaging or unlawful than the rest.

    Our mistake was to approach domestic violence with the assumption — which soon turned into a demand — that women as a class need to be protected to a greater degree than men.

    The better approach would have been to focus on equality before the law. Part of the trouble in the past was that women who were victims of spousal abuse did not have their violations taken seriously by prosecutors because the women were seen as belonging to their husbands — as having less of claim to the sanctity of their own bodies than other people. That was an injustice. A simple and universal correction would have been to forget gender and insist that the legal consequences for domestic violence be the same regardless of who the victim (or aggressor) may be. Justice is supposed to be blind.

    While Ms Soupcoff places the blame at the feet of feminist activism, I would say the blame rests more at the feet of macho patriarchy, where the man was and is expected to be 'the man', the whole 'what kind of man lets a woman push him around' argument that exists to this day. Men who are victimised and abused are afraid to come forward, because of how society will judge them.. And society does. They are expected to 'man up', and not be the sissy who lets a woman push him around. And people who witness a guy being beaten up by a woman will often chuckle, men included. And it is a major problem that needs to be addressed by society as a whole. It's easy to blame feminism, but the blame is also shared by male society for perpetrating the myth that a guy isn't a real man if he is abused by a woman.

    Services like this are approached by increasing numbers of male victims each year, but a lot of men say they are embarrassed to talk about what has been happening; that they should be able to cope because they are men; and that people will laugh at them if they disclose that their partner hits, slaps, punches, swears, belittles or abuses them in any other way. They say they will not be believed, that the police will not take them seriously, or that they don't want to press charges against their partner.

    The perpetrators, whether female or male, are very successful in convincing victims that no one will take them seriously, or even that they deserve the abuse. In that respect, working with male victims is not very different to working with female victims: making it clear they are not to blame, reminding them that they have the right to a life free of violence and abuse, highlighting the effects of domestic violence on children, encouraging them to report incidents, and providing practical advice and emotional support.

    Many male victims need legal advice; harder to get these days if you can't afford it privately as fewer people qualify for Legal Aid. Other men are unable to find suitable housing that would allow them to leave an abusive relationship because their local authority will not prioritise them.

    Interestingly, despite the fact there are now fewer specialist domestic violence services for female victims as a result of spending cuts, there are actually more services supporting male victims of domestic violence than ever before, including helplines, male independent domestic violence advocates and outreach workers. It may not be enough – for either female or male victims of domestic violence – but some help is available. What's important is to encourage men like David who are experiencing domestic violence to talk to someone about it.

    The stigma needs to end.

    And it is not just women who are the abusers. Homosexual relationships sometimes also harbor a domestic abuser. And I say harbor because the victims in these relationships are also often too afraid or embarrassed to speak up about it.

    Men's rights groups would do more good by addressing the 'man up' image perpetrated by other men, than by attacking feminism and blaming women and feminism..

    A former colleague who was a die hard feminist often complained that the biggest issue was the other men in society, who instead of showing support, would often ignore or laugh at the guy who was being abused. Feminists can certainly play a role in this by not catering the argument to be solely about women and to encourage men to speak out about it. But the biggest issue lies with the attitude of so many men in society who believe that if a guy lets himself get beaten up by a woman, then he's weak. Men who are victims of sexual or domestic violence aren't speaking out because of what women might think of them. They remain silent because they are afraid of being seen as the weak guy, as the so called weak woman.. Once we clear that giant hurdle, we might start making inroads.
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  7. andy1033 Truth Seeker Valued Senior Member

    Glad i never once had anything to do with females, and never regretted it.

    Its amazing they think everyone must be panting for them, and if your not, your some freak. How about the fact that not all males are sex mad for them period.

    Wide brush applying to males, and females totally exploit this rubbish.

    Its amazing just because your male and alive you must be panting for females, and it never ends. Moronic rubbish.
  8. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    In Order to Face the Challenge, We Must First See the Challenge

    I wouldn't disagree; it's a problematic stereotype.

    What feeds that stereotype, though? What builds it up and why won't it go away?

    In 1991, Susan Faludi published Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women. The book focused on the backlash against feminism occurring since the 1970s. The book was, of course, controversial, including calls for her job at Radcliffe, and the usual death threats.

    In 1999, Faludi published Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man, which considered the rapidly transforming societal standards around men and women. Naturally, this one didn't go over well with traditionalist critics, but there were fewer death threats this time.

    The idea, though, is something I can actually witness in my father.

    Born in 1945, the beginning of the Long Decade, he was seventeen as the Sexual Revolution began to burn its way across America. So basically from the time he hit adulthood, all of the ideas and expectations he was taught in youth were denigrated, transformed, or simply yanked out like the rug beneath him. There is a heritage of domestic violence, alcoholism, and child abuse in his family; he got married at twenty, expecting the adult world to be, quite literally, an Ozzie & Harriet episode. And when it wasn't, he did not take it as anything other than his failure as a man, according to how he was indoctrinated as a child.

    That is to say, the world he was prepared for was not the world that greeted him in adulthood. And while this is generally true for everyone, the scale and concentration of these changes were incredible.

    Political liberals and other sympathizers to the LGBTQ community saw Sen. Rob Portman's (R-OH) turnaround on marriage equality and chose to take it, but there has been a persistent and growing murmur about a perceived habit among Sen. Portman and his Party fellows that they only come around once an issue is simply too close to them. They flip on stem-cell research when their spouse or child has a terminal disease; they flip on marriage equality when their son or daughter comes out. And that's certainly something to consider, but what about behind the scenes? Inside Sen. Portman's mind. He, too, is of the generation that says a queer son is a failure of Daddy's manhood. And while we cannot know exactly what that internal process looked like, it would have been a spectacle to witness. And it would be enlightening.

    The world is what it is, but certain challenges that face people in general, and men in particular, exaggerate the outcomes in unnecessary ways that cause all people hurt and anguish. To this day, people still try the "gay panic" defense for murder, but what would happen if a woman cited "rape panic" for shooting a guy point blank? It's one thing to not want to be gay, or simply find the notion of two people of the same sex coming together in such congress aesthetically distasteful, but that was never the whole of what was going on.

    To wit, I occasionally recount a story—a particularly emblematic example among an avalanche of noise and fury—about how men in Oregon, during the gay fray of the nineties, could be seen sitting in a strip club denouncing homosexuality while watching two women bump and grind and undress onstage. And, you know, those twins who do the incest-lesbian act? Yeah, that's still really popular among the homophobes. It was never about homosexuality in general for those men, but their expectations of manhood and what makes a man manly.

    Living as a male in society is not without its challenges; indeed, it can be quite difficult sometimes. But part of this is within our power to change, and part of what we need to do in order to change it is haul the problem out into the sunlight, where we can better see its components and figure out how it works.
  9. Bells Staff Member

    You do realise that men are also victims of domestic violence and rape from their male partners, yes?

    And these men aren't coming forward either.
  10. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member


    Follow-Up: Jessica Roy

    It is only fair to note that Jessica Roy, the reporter who left ICMI in tears, actually managed to do a better job of explaining the men's rights movement than the conference participants ever could:

    Beneath the vitriol and fear these men (and a small number of women) express are some truths about the state of men today. In a growing number of ways, boys and men are at a disadvantage. Men and women were hit unevenly by the recession. Women recovered job losses this spring. Men did not. Women are outpacing men in college enrollment, with 71% of women enrolling in a university immediately after high school, compared with only 61% of men, a 2012 Pew Research Center survey found. The suicide rate among men is four times the rate of women, with males accounting for 79% of all U.S. suicides, according to a 2010 study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control. Frequently boys do not have the same support network as girls their age (the cost of this deficit was detailed by Rosalind Wiseman in TIME last December) ....

    .... [Paul] Elam quit his job and spent time as a truck driver before starting A Voice for Men in 2009. The site launched just as the global recession was peaking, leaving many men out of work and struggling to reconcile their identities outside the role of primary breadwinner. Early on, notes Dr. Julie T. Woods, a professor of communication studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who has written several texts about gender and culture, the 2008 recession was called the "mancession" because many more men than women became unemployed.

    "I think you're hearing real anxiety about not being able to fulfill this basic commandment of manhood as they define it," Wood says.

    This angst was palpable in Farrell's remarks during the press conference. "Women don't marry men in unemployment lines," he said. The audience nodded in agreement.

    Today, Farrell's concerns are not just financial. He speaks in favor of developing a male birth control pill, establishing better programs to care for veterans and helping boys struggling through adolescence. His allies rally against what they see as rampant paternity fraud (when a woman attempts to pin paternity on the nonbiological father of her child with the hopes of getting child support), a biased court system that favors mothers over fathers, soaring male suicide rates and prominence of domestic violence against men.

    Still, though, Roy notes, "Despite a shared feeling of disenfranchisement, most of the attendees I spoke with struggled to recall a time in their lives when they were discriminated against for being men."

    But at the same time, the men's rights movement is also busting a number of myths, such as the weird double standard about studs and sluts, or whether a young boy should be thankful for the older woman seducing him:

    Brendan Rex, a 28-year-old who flew down from Manitoba, Canada, to attend the event, confided that he lost his virginity at the age of 14 when a woman climbed on top of him and had sex with him while he was drunk and unconscious.

    "It kind of took me a few years to come to terms with the concept that I had nowhere to go," Rex said. "Then about six years ago I kind of realized that there were a lot of other people like me; it's not uncommon for men to be sexually abused, it's not uncommon for men to be sexually abused by women. But because there's this lack of knowledge, there's this lack of community — you're completely isolated. You have no one to talk to who understands this."

    And Roy explains her cryptic tweet:

    A palpable distaste for women seeped between the cracks of the conference, in comical asides and throwaway comments. When the conference's M.C., Robert O'Hara, asked a woman in the audience a question and she responded with a no, he quickly shot back "Doesn't no mean yes?" The audience burst into laughter.

    And in between the usual fare of Stefan Molyneaux blaming women for all the problems in the world—ironically because of paternal non-participation—a theory which Dr. Jay Giedd of NIMH's Unit on Brain Imaging in Child Psychiatry described as one he did not think "could be more wrong", or the problem of "women who married assholes"—ironically with no attention toward masculine assholism, since that's all women's fault, anyway—and a lifetime achievement award to a woman who describes her fellow females as an "evil empire", real issues have a way of bleeding through. Despite her note about the tone of the conference—

    Still, being surrounded by men who belly-laughed at rape jokes and pinned evil elements of human nature wholesale on women was emotionally taxing at best and self-destructive at worst. Once, during a particularly upsetting segment of the program, I had to excuse myself from the auditorium to seek refuge on the bug-filled bank of Lake St. Clair. I kept wondering why I had volunteered to fly 600 miles to attend the conference alone, to surround myself not just with crass ideological opponents, but with people with violent Internet histories who believed my very existence oppressed them. But to emerge on the other side of this with both my sanity and a worthwhile story, I would have to actually adopt a grain of their advice. I would have to stop feeling like a victim, and in turn cast aside all of the humiliating and unfair and devastating experiences I had collected as a woman.

    —Roy closes with a reminder that there are, in fact, important issues to discuss:

    When you talk to someone like 68-year-old Steve DeLuca, the legitimate need to remedy some of the issues raised by men's-rights activists becomes more evident. A Vietnam veteran who was injured in combat, DeLuca spoke movingly to me about the two brothers he lost to suicide, and the unfathomable toll the high suicide rate among men can take. There are men out there, like DeLuca and Brendan Rex, who have a real stake in the movement's success. The paranoia and vitriol of its leaders can't possibly do anything for them.

    I have often said that there are legitimate men's rights issues to discuss, but the problem is that those discussions take place in a sea of misogyny.

    It is easy, for instance, to fret about state laws preferring a mother in a custody battle, but this aspect has two components the men's rights advocates don't discuss. First is that before the baby was a baby, it spent forty weeks inside the mother. Second, of course, is history, wherein women where the child-rearing parent, and in divorce circumstances had no economic standing on their own. Between a functionally absent father and an indigent mother, the courts chose the attending parent with financial support.

    Change those circumstances, and you change the shape of the debate.

    Of course, we can't change the fact that it is women who carry our children. But we can continue to work toward correcting the iniquities of history, and it does the men's rights movement no good to ignore this record.

    Furthermore, issues such as those expressed by veteran Steve DeLuca, or rape survivor Brendan Rex, tend to get lost amid the talk of women as devil worshipers and the cause of all evil. "The movement," noted Roy, "is quick to disavow the concept of misogyny". Yet it is organized by a man who advocates beating wives to bloody pulps, and spends far too much time lamenting the poor men who got caught raping a woman.

    And when we add in other issues people sometimes hear about in their own experiences, such as men declaring ownership over a woman because they forgot the interruption in coitus interruptus, or don't like condoms because they're like taking a shower with a raincoat on, baby, the real issues are buried even deeper.

    That is to say, it would probably be helpful if the men's rights movement didn't seem so much about getting laid without a headache.

    But more important, is this really all there is to manhood and masculinity? Or do the worried veteran and the rape survivor have a point?

    And if they do, is it a men's issue, or a human issue?


    Roy, Jessica. "What I Learned as a Woman at a Men's-Rights Conference". Time. July 2, 2014. July 6, 2014.
  11. Michael 歌舞伎 Valued Senior Member

    This is so insane I Googled it.

    Looks like it was a Satire. It'd be like taking a quote from a Quinton Tarantino film or a passage from a Steven King novel, and then pretending this represents the opinion of the author should he speak at a conference.

    Come on.... at least do some small amount of research before posting confirmation bias. Or, at least your post read like confirmation bias. There's obviously two sides to every story.

    As for MRA and Feminists - IMO, they are both damaged people (probably from child abuse one way or another). While, I hope they as individuals do find some help, in the meantime, I'll be having as little to do with either of them as possible. They're mentally unhealthy while carrying around that much hate. Once they deal with that, then, yeah, sure.

    The comment regarding how many time's a child has been hit per year, comes from a recent article in the Journal of Family Psychology. It's one study, in a small town with a small sample number - I personally think it's probably the tip of the iceberg. If anything, I suspect stressed out parents will probably increase the amount of times they use corporal violence to 'discipline' their children. And that's the thing. It really doesn't matter what "I" suspect. If we want the true answer to how often American parents beat their children, then we'll simply need more studies and more data collected. I've seen parents hit/smack children in grocery stores, electronic stores, parks, parking lots - I'm fairly certain it's common.

    That said, the relationship to MRA and Feminists's must be tenuous at best.
  12. Michael 歌舞伎 Valued Senior Member

    I'm not sure what this means?

    IMO men don't 'identify' with being 'manly' because they don't want to be women. Most likely, men fall on a normality behavior curve for "male like behavior" (manly) because they have a male-patterned brain. Many women who have similar structured brains (fMRI shows this clearly) have similarly 'manly' behaviors (which used to be called 'being' a "Tomboy"). But, there's certainly nothing 'manly' about liking to do and act the way many boys naturally and commonly do act (example: wrestling and roughhousing). It's just a commonly observed behavior in boys. So what? Why give it a label 'manly'. How about calling it 'roughhousing' or traipsing or whatever. The behavior is in no "need" of a gender label.

    Also, there's no problem with a boy wanting to act "girly" or behaviors associated with girls. It's fine. Wearing makeup is just that - wearing makeup. Some people like to do it, other don't.
  13. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    "Be Masculine"

    "Be Masculine"

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    James Nichols explains, for Huffington Post:

    A new project is in the works that seeks to explore and push the boundaries of how we understand and experience masculinity within today's 21st century queer culture.

    From photographer Erik Carter comes "Be Masculine," an exploration of how we understand ourselves as physical and virtual beings conducted through portraits and interviews. The project is an attempt to start a larger conversation about what masculinity means today, and why so many gay men expect and verbalize the need for this ideal from one another.

    According to artist Erik Carter, "This project is an attempt to understand the idea of masculinity through individual perspectives, and with these attempts I'm trying to reveal that masculinity is not as simple as its standard definition."

    That almost seems like a no-brainer, given that this involves gay men, a statistical minority to say the least. "The word masculine," he explains, "has a different meaning for every man and it's rooted deep and early through their own experiences".

    Okay, it's hard to argue with that part.

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    Obviously, masculinity is more than a mere appearance, and while Carter undertakes the discussion in terms of gay men, the consideration reaches beyond:

    The individuals engaged in this project are men who live in New York City and identify as gay, which is both specific and broad. The project spawned from the topic surrounding gay men who ask other gay men to be more masculine or, in a sense, more "straight acting," therefore identifying as gay is the only specification for each subject. However, I do feel this project has the capacity to be a concern for all men, regardless of sexual orientation ....

    .... I feel this project is important because I think that by putting limitations on the idea of what is masculine, we are halting our own progression. So much is lost by essentially asking another person that if you want to share my company you need to be less gay, and that loss not only affects those that make such requests but those who receive it as well, because the temptation to give in to that character can be high. It can be unhealthy for some gay men to continue to seek out a kind of straight-normalcy because in doing so they may be pushing themselves back into the closet, and therein lies further complications. I also think that it's just important to show masculinity in it's full range and honor the broad scope of perspectives, because sometimes we only get to see a very narrow view.

    Heh. "Further complications". The ruination of a career, or family. Perhaps it's something of an understatement.

    Still, though, the question arises: Why does one need to be "less gay", as such?

    Which brings us, strangely, to Diriye Osman, who notes:

    In Against Interpretation and Other Essays, Susan Sontag argues that, "What is most beautiful in virile men is something feminine; what is most beautiful in feminine women is something masculine." To me, this is the most elegant breakdown of the Jungian theory of anima and animus -- the feminine principle within men and the masculine principle within women.

    Some of our most influential cultural figures -- David Bowie, Grace Jones and Prince in particular -- have straddled this dichotomy for decades. Miles Davis summed up Prince's visceral sex appeal as such: "He's got that raunchy thing, almost like a pimp and a bitch all wrapped up in one image, that transvestite thing."

    And, you know, he's got a point. Here's a conundrum: Reconcile our cultural notions of masculinity with the glam movement of the 1980s. Mötley Crüe, Skid Row, Poison, Bon Jovi, Cinderella? Anybody? Anybody?

    Or maybe it's simply a matter of aesthetics. If you put Motörhead and Poison onstage in their prime, who is "sexier", Bret Michaels or Lemmy Kilmister? Then again, who is more "masculine"? Well, given that Motörhead can cause people's brains to bleed, the tendency is to give the masculinity award to Lemmy. Then again, Bret Michaels was a sex symbol; I don't recall seeing that on Lemmy's CV.

    And, you know, Prince might be a sexy pimp-bitch, but Tad Doyle rocks. Sexy? Maculine? I think back to my childhood, watching NFL games: You make the call.

    And, honestly? I don't know what a Prince ticket costs, but I'll never forget the time we caught TAD and Screaming Trees up in Bellingham, and on our way out we happened to catch a glimpse in the window of what served as a green room, and there was Tad, all piled into a chair, pretty much passed out.

    You want sexy? Go see Prince. You want masculine? I don't know, try shelling out five bucks to see Man or Astro-Man? and end up getting showered with Li'l Debbie snack cakes while Coco the Electonic Monkey Wizard sets his head on fire.

    And when did setting one's head on fire become masculine? And why? But gawd damn the crowd loves it.

    And there ain't nothin' sexy about the girls getting up onstage to have a Li'l Debbie eating out contest. The whole point is to watch women get smeared with chocolate and creme fluff, and then there comes the point where they just give up and start throwing the things at the crowd along with the band.

    But, yeah. Watching Coco alight gets all the testosterone in the room pumping. Kind of like seeing Monster Magnet live; Dave Wyndorf radiates testosterone onstage, and the effect is contagious.

    For all we feel the masculine bonds, though, what is that masculinity?

    Breathin' hard when you swim in the mirror. Breathin' fire like a rich girl should. Come alive in the back of my trailer; come alive when your carvin' my wood.

    Super cruel, hot shit baby! You've never been treated right. Super cruel, TV's garbage; shut your eyes real tight!

    Cry for your mother! Sing for your brothers in hell! Pray for the daddy who smacks you up; drink from the specimen in my cup.

    I mean, don't get me wrong. We might wonder if catharsis comes in such a case from sympathy or mere opportunity; the band is flat scary at their best, and it would be terrifying to think of such widespread sympathy. But the power of these performances is something else; while the debate rages in my circles about who gives the heaviest, loudest show these days (Metallica, Jane's Addiction, My Bloody Valentine, &c.) Monster Magnet generally orbits in a valence all its own. It's damn near evil if you let it get to you, but holy shit.

    Over the centuries, men have not needed to define their masculinity so precisely as they have, which one might suggest explains some of the especially acute silliness and danger. But empowered classes rarely define themselves the way subordinate classes do; Huxley reminded in 1925 that oppressors are "most healthily unaware of their history". As a result, masculinity often seems more like an ineffable feeling, one of those "I know what it ain't" things, like art or justice.

    But what is masculinity? The Monster Magnet version of the supercruel is a familiar sector, but it is hardly a definition. Who in that crowd sees that character as laudable? Who is repulsed? Watching Floater perform "Kill the Girl"

    I warned you not to go, I warned you not to stay. I warned you not to dig your own little grave.

    —it is pretty easy to judge the crowd as virtually everyone starts to heat up in a rage about domestic violence. Same thing with "The Sad Ballad of Danny Boy", one of the most danceable DV songs ever recorded. And, yes, it is an experience unto itself to hear the crowd explode during the chorus; there is no glory, but pure solidarity in rejection.

    But it's also true that it's not always so easy to tell. Monster Magnet is not quite so easy to identify, since they don't wear their hearts on their sleeves as such. In my circles, "Supercruel" is a commentary on seedier aspects of society, but it is impossible to promise that we are in any majority. It's nice to think so, but still, y'know?

    And that vagary is useful; what is masculinity? What is manhood?

    I don't know of a heterosexual male of my generation who did not at some point in his youth have pressing fantasies that were in essence rape fantasies. The sickness of the supercruel is not so far removed from unspoken standards of my day.

    And it really does seem, in the existential and juristic questions of manhood, that a lack of definition could very well be one of the larger challenges demanding resolution.

    Looking back to Carter, we might wonder what it means to "be masculine".

    Sure, that's his point, but it brings us no closer to an answer unless we are willing to have that discussion.


    Nichols, James. "'Be Masculine,' Erik Carter Project, Explores What Gay Male Masculinity Means Today". The Huffington Post. July 6, 2014. July 7, 2014.

    Osman, Diriye. "Femininity in Men Is a Form of Power". The Huffington Post. July 2, 2014. July 6, 2014.

    Savage, Dan. "Straight Acting". The Stranger. November 8, 2007. July 7, 2014.

    Huxley, Aldous. Jesting Pilate. (1926). New York: Paragon, 1991.

    Image credits: Details of photographs by Erik Carter, 2014.
  14. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

    Trying to define "Masculinity" is... well, I think it's rather pointless. Just like trying to define "Femininity" - each person is different and unique, so why do we need to try and make them conform to some standardized image of what a man/woman should be?

    Personally, I think these kinds of standards are one of the things making young boys and girls have so many issues... they are given these impossible standards to adopt... such as the whole "No crying, stand up straight, chest out, don't show emotion, stop acting like a fag" blah blah blah... I think by their teens most boys have heard those at least once, and for many its become a mantra... how damaging is that? You are trying to tell a kid to NOT be part of who they ARE just because they don't fit YOUR view on what a boy/girl SHOULD act like... how vain and petty is that?
  15. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Given the prominence of such ideas ....

    Consider societal issues. In the rape phenomenon, we hear about men and their primal, sexual nature. In the abortion question, we hear anti-abortion men demanding their right to govern what takes place inside a woman's body on the basis of having contributed sperm. In the gay fray, we hear about how children will become confused about proper roles for men and women.

    The ideas of manhood and masculinity can be linchpin. And yet, they remain largely undefined.

    This is a concept that would seem to require some sort of address, and if we are going about it remotely "my" way, such as it is, perhaps that's because none of the masculinist advocate seem to wish to undertake the discussion without some prodding.

    That I agree speaks nothing to the fact that these attitudes and behaviors persist, and are of such psychological mass that they exert gravitational influence over other issues.

    It is a strange standard frequently invoked but rarely, if ever, defined.
  16. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Agreed. There are so many different interpretations of it, and they change so rapidly, that it's a fairly useless definition.
  17. andy1033 Truth Seeker Valued Senior Member

    Too right.
  18. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Beneath the Surface

    Find us the original copy, then, and not a repost, three years later, full of clarifying edits made in response to criticism.

    Secondly, satire does reveal something about every creator of satirical material, and that is something about how the creator views the subject satirized. To wit, Michael Swift's infamous "Gay Manifesto" tells us much about how he viewed the bizarre homophobic conspiracy theories advanced by prominent members of society. Similarly, Elam's satire tells us much about how he views the domestic violence issue.

    Did you read the Jezebel article? To what is he responding?

    Compare Elam to Swift's satire, which never actually needed re-edit to make its point clear; the article rocketed from obscurity to infamy when a Republican read a deliberately and selectively expurgated version into the Congressional Record. We still hear about this one on occasion today.

    Elam, on the other hand, wrote an over-the-top temper tantrum, apparently got called out, and then re-edited and reposted later.

    In terms of satire? What is he satirizing?

    In terms of expectations? What is the difference between self-defense and assault?

    No, really, what is he satirizing in the Jezebel article he claims to be satirizing?

    Furthermore, given that ICMI organizers felt the need to remind their speakers in advance to lay off the harsh stuff, perhaps they are a bit oversensitive on this point? I mean, sure, that's what people really think and feel, but let's keep it to ourselves in order to deceive people?

    It's not that I don't see your point, Michael. It's just that I don't think it holds once removed from its theoretical vacuum and applied in substantial reality.

    Furthermore, and most importantly, when it comes to discussion of "men's issues", is this really the sort of voice we want leading the discussion?

    Anecdotally: My father rarely spanked my brother or me. Rather, when he felt we needed a spanking, he sent my mother to do it.

    More substantially: When women are charged with the majority share of child rearing, and are expected to do so according to their husbands' outlooks, Molyneaux's point seems rather quite disingenuous. The question of striking children as proper discipline or child abuse is not one that discriminates according to sex.

    And while you might remind that I'm describing an older standard, I'm also part of the generation that is changing those trends. My daughter is eleven. This issue of abusive mothers as Molyneaux has presented it comes back to a cultural heritage that actually puts a large amount of disciplinary execution in a woman's hands, does not in Molyneaux's presentation compare or contrast that to men, discounts absent fathers, and gives no genuine consideration to the fact that we are just beginning a societal transformation that will take multiple generations to complete.

    So part of my response to Molyneaux is that if all these mothers are so horribly abusive, I wonder where the hell the fathers are? Protecting the children or out complaining about women?

    And all of this comes down to notions of societal roles according to sex. There are expectations of women, and there are expectations of men. Regardless of what we think of that fact, it's true. But the expectations for women are a bit better known than the expectations for men.

    And when the expectations for men are cited as a reason for maintaining problematic expectations for women, well, it might behoove us to figure out what those expectations for men actually are. I hear a great deal about manhood and masculinity, but the only consistent aspects of that are sex and violence and supremacism. Certes, there must be more, and as we see in Jessica Roy's report from the ICMI, there is.

    But the men's rights movement is overwhelmingly reactionary, self-centered, and more concerned with complaining about symptoms than addressing the underlying disease. Given the stakes, it really would seem useful to get a handle on what manhood and masculinity are supposed to be. I would expect the diversity of answers to give rise to all manner of useful explorations, especially as a question of human sciences instead of politics.

    To wit, I wouldn't knock Stoniphi's post above, which raises an excellent point. Nor can we discount Bells' response discussing factors contributing to the phenomenon. There are the easily identified statistical realities about men reporting domestic violence, and then there are the difficult questions about what contributes to that outcome. I might suggest that "masculinity" and "manhood" play a role, and the studies would reinforce that suggestion, but what are the mechanics of such attitudes? How does manhood or masculinity relate to reluctance to report domestic or sexual violence against men?

    We have this vague notion of masculinity floating around in the culture, and it has effects on other issues. It would seem somewhat imperative, in questions where masculinity is a component of the answer, to define what that masculinity is.
  19. wellwisher Banned Banned

    There are natural male and female instincts. These can be inferred from the form/function differences between the male and female. I will do a few of the easiest to see.

    The premium placed on human sexuality (drive) makes this the first place to look in terms of natural instinct in men and women. In terms of form and function, the male is able to produce gamete cells daily via the production of sperm. Whereas the female does this on a monthly cycle. One result is male desire is designed by nature to be continuous and female desire more intermittent, in terms of form and function. This underlying drive difference impacts all of life, beginning with sex. The continuous male desire gives the male am inner drive in life that is continuos, while the female inner drive is more intermittent. The female can fake it on the off cycle, by supplementing this with learn social protocol. In sex, guys are more linear because they work via their continuous natural drive to procreate. The female is more complicated and less linear, because she includes learned things due to intermittent inner drive.

    In terms of sexuality, the male is usually the courter and the female is the courted; based on which has the higher drive. The male courter needs the continuous drive, while the female will set up obstacles via being intermittent, using periods of social protocol. That means at times the male drive will not be confronting internal desire, but socially created obstruction. This dynamics helps to train the men to approach life with a masculine drive no matter the unknown obstacle. The female is used to being in demand and having to set up resistance; dual standards.

    This difference is also why males tend to be the majority of innovators and explorers. These goals require an internal drive and refusal to give up to social obstructions, since innovation, is about that inner vision that others don't see right away; they will marry. What is happening in liberal culture are the males are being taught not to trust their inner drive, but to depend on culture to tell them how to behave, so they are more like women. The other way around may not work, since one may not be able to get women to use their inner drive, continuously, since their bodies will not be cooperating. With the male this requires a repression and sublimation into the latest fad.

    Another difference is males tend to be more visual while female are more verbal. Women put a lot of effort in physical preparation to appeal to the visual senses of the male since women know this is what males do. The females are more verbal, with males trying to appeal to this via charm and a good line of bull. This too impacts their interaction within culture, with males trained to the needs of culture hierarchy, which requires communication and politics. Learning to appeal to the visuals of the male teaches the females how to look professional via proper actions, dress and procedures.

    There is also a difference between visual and verbal data processing. Verbal is based on language which is subjective. Whereas visual is based on a visual language that is universal and therefore objective. We can all see the animal called the dog, regardless of culture and language. But the audio label changes from culture to culture. In other words, the French or Chinese both see the same dog, and can pick it out of a line up, but each culture will verbalize it differently because the sounds of language are arbitrary. There is no real audio cause and effect with nature, since it is all manmade and not innate to the brain via visual and photons and wavelengths.

    The result is the male mind will tend to seek universals such as in science and religion. While the female tends to think in terms of relative and subjective, which becomes the basis for feminize philosophy such as liberalism.

    Pregnancy and child bearing is something that is unique to women. The growing embryo and the changing needs of the female body, during pregnancy, create internal cravings and mood swing, that impact the female mind. This inner drive is analogous to the male desire, but lasts 9 months and has more nuance. Men have their own version of pregnancy, when in a close relationship, connected to them being subject to the external feedback and demands from the wife. The wife's inner drive will want ice cream and pickles with this handed off to the male who now deals with this need by driving at 3am to get the supplies. Invention by males take advantage of this training; social needs, no matter how silly, induce the need to produce brain children; invention.

    Men and women complement each other and work best when form and function are in harmony with each other.
  20. Michael 歌舞伎 Valued Senior Member

    I looked it up because it sounded ludicrous and the author states it was clearly written as satire in response to a post about women beating men - which probably was sarcasm. As I stated, IMO the vast majority of MRA and Feminists are damaged people. The best response IMO is to (a) ignore both and, when forced to, (b) deal with either as rationally and calmly as possible, quickly reverting back to response (a).

    I agree. He's probably either (a) biased or (b) selling something. That doesn't take away from the fact that most children in the USA are beaten as a form of learning, which they call "discipline". Or that this form of learning is also associated with decreased IQ, slows cognitive development, increased amygdala activation (possibly by upregulation of VGSC and decreased sodium thresholding) and etc....

    Yes, for the most part mother's are at home raising children and not fathers. OK, then that means they need to be extra mindful about not hitting their children. But, so too do fathers.
  21. Bells Staff Member

    You need to look at where it is coming from:

    While claiming to be a pacifist, Paul Elam has gloried in the idea of a judge who ruled against fathers being “doused with gasoline and set afire.” He opposes abortion (and, it seems, adoption and motherhood too) and wrote a Mother’s Day article saying, “If you have a vagina, the blood of all those children, who are abused far more at the hands of women than men, has stained your skin and caked around the cuticles of your fingers.” He further argued, “Progress for men will not be gained by debate, reason or typical channels of grievance … The progress we need will only be realized by inflicting enough pain on the agents of hate, in public view, that it literally shocks society out of its current coma.” Would the murders Elliot Rodger committed fit that vision of public shock?

    Then there’s Elam’s 2010 post about women who go clubbing, accept drinks, make out, and enter a man’s apartment, who end up “victims” [quotation marks his] of rape. “In the most severe and emphatic terms possible the answer is NO, THEY ARE NOT ASKING TO GET RAPED .. They are freaking begging for it. Damn near demanding it.”

    The next paragraph goes on to claim that women get raped because they are stupid, arrogant, and narcissistic. The post was scrubbed from A Voice for Men’s website as of 2014, and Elam claims it was intended as satire on the impossibility of promoting self-protection without being accused of victim-blaming. The scrubbing of the post smacks of an attempt to clean up his image, as the organization attempts to mainstream itself to the public. Yet even the “satirical” message, if we take it as such, is that empty-headed women need to be informed by a man that they face risks and that the solution is for women to smarten up not address what Katie McDonough calls “toxic male entitlement.”

    Other scheduled conference speakers have blamed women for the state of the world because they choose “fucking monsters” and “assholes” rather than “nice guys” (which we assume the male MRAs consider themselves); asserted that women are “demanding” desired violence with their behavior—what another speaker calls “consensual violence” (consent would be a negotiated BDSM situation, not domestic abuse); equated paying for dinner and not getting sex to “a male version of date rape”; and argued that when a woman’s “nonverbal ‘yeses’ … conflict with those verbal ‘noes,’ that the man not be put in jail for choosing the ‘yes’ over the ‘no.’”
  22. heytogi Registered Member

    Well well well!! I think there's still some educations that "the man" are missing, still in 2014.
    Like i always said; if ou cant keep it in your pants, just stay away? And we are all in the same boat you know. Not because some are more vulnerable, that it makes it right to take advantage of them. Don't you agree?
    We all have some animalistic instinct burried deep down, but since we live in a society that is base on laws, maybe that put a certain restreinght on some of us, and maybe that cause this urge to go to the act, like a thrill of some kind (and it include man and women) but still, we all have a head, and this is where education and manners should count and make a difference. Nobody has to suffer if we just take a moment of reflection, we should see clear (all of us are free in a way)
    My opinion only.
  23. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    Couldn't have anything to do with 2500 years of suppressing women into a subservient role to men and never letting them get educated past how to cook and have babies. Naww..I mean who ever heard of culture and environment imposing roles and stereotypes on people based solely on gender and then enforcing those roles with institutionalized discrimination? I mean it's only been like 60 years since the 1950's.

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