Take Two Red Pills, Call Me In the Morning: The Sudden and Surprising Rise of the Men’s Rights Movement


Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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551 Responses

  1. Avatar Kazzy says:

    Great piece, Tod.

    What did you find to be the breakdown on members of the MRM among racial, age, religion, SES, and broader political/ideological lines? I’d be really curious to learn more about the people on the ground who make up the “masses”.Report

  2. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    It might just be me but I have a very hard time taking movements that borrow their imagery and slogans from Hollywood movies seriously. The MRM is basically a misaimed backlash movement. A lot of the people attracted to it are genuinely suffering and struggling in various ways but they select the wrong target for their outrage, in this case feminism.Report

    • Avatar Fnord says:

      It’s not even that feminism, or at least self-proclaimed feminists, are always and everywhere the wrong target of their outrage. But there seems to be a monomaniacal focus on feminism as an overarching unified cause of all their problems.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Fnord, exactly right. On your other comment, I’d read that men outnumber women among rape victims and assumed that outrageously high incidents in prisons was the reason why. If the CDC says it’s about the same, though, that strikes me as a more reliable resource.Report

      • Avatar Fnord says:

        Well, the CDC study is specifically on non-institutionalized persons, so prisoners are excluded. However, I’m not sure you can take one study that says “the rate in the general population is approximately the same among men and women” and another that says “a higher number (not rate, a higher number because more prisoners are male) of male prisoners” to jump to the conclusion that the total number of men is higher. Not that prison rape isn’t important, but the difference in population sizes simply means that as a matter of raw numbers the prison population doesn’t make a significant difference. Best as I can tell, taking all that data together still adds up to “about the same”.Report

      • Avatar LWA says:

        As with others, an excellent article.
        I can’t argue with the CDC statistics, having no independent way of fact-checking.
        But it just sounds odd to me-
        How many men here have been raped by a woman?
        Known someone personally who has been raped by a woman?
        Been threatened with rape or unwanted sexual advances by a woman?
        How many men here are afraid of being raped by women?

        I personally know a woman who has been violently raped, and personally know several others who have told me of close calls with being threatened with unwanted sexual advances. Most of the men I know , themselves personally know a woman who can report the same.

        Tod makes a very good point that while injustice against men is a true phenomenon, a statistic like this ends up casting more doubt on their larger claims.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        Statistics on violent crime are inherently unreliable. The shame taboo is still entrenched within our culture. Rape is the great unreported crime. Consider: if women still feel reticent to report a rape, how much less would a man want to report a rape?Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:


        I think it is a bad assumption to think that we are comparing men-raping-women to women-raping-men. My guess would be that the vast majority of male rape victims are assaulted by other men, especially if we are looking at prison statistics.

        That doesn’t mean that we should consider the victimization of men as a real thing and the lack-of-attention to it a real concern. But it certainly does mean that feminists/women are the wrong target. The only way they impact the issue is if they work to prevent attention from being paid, which (to me) is less an issue than the actual issue of men being sexually assaulted.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        @kazzy Check this out. It isn’t the US, but nonetheless it’s horrifying (what’s happening) and infuriating (the active resistance to talking about it).Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:


        I only had time to skim that, but it seems that most of the male victims were assaulted by other men. And, yes, what that article reports is horrifying. And the unwillingness and/or active resistance to discussing it is appalling.

        However, I’m skeptical that it is issues such as that that the MRM is talking about. They might use those numbers in their statistics, but citing the victimization of men in war zones or in prisons doesn’t and shouldn’t inform how we set policy regarding intimate partner assault, date rape, and the like. All of them are issues and all of them deserve attention and addressing, but saying that feminism is the enemy because men are being raped in war zones in Africa seems manipulative, to say the least.Report

      • Avatar Fnord says:

        My guess would be that the vast majority of male rape victims are assaulted by other men, especially if we are looking at prison statistics.

        While inmate-on-inmate sexual violence is obviously same gender, the 2004 BJS report on sexual violence reported by correctional facilities found that females were the perpetrators of 67% of staff sexual misconduct in state prisons, 35% in local jails, and 47% in juvenile facilities (despite the fact that females are the minority of correctional staff).

        In the general population, 98% of female rape victims reported male perpetrators. Male victims of forcible penetration reported 93% male perpetrators, but male victims forced to penetrate their attackers (the vast majority) report 80% female perpetrators.

        How many men here have been raped by a woman?
        Known someone personally who has been raped by a woman?

        As I said below, rates of sexual victimization appear to be changing; historically rates of female victimization appear to have been higher. This has an effect on lifetime versus current rates of victimization.

        And, in tandem with that, keep in mind the demographics of victimization. While the CDC report doesn’t break out the numbers as well as I’d like, in general, it seems that all genders are most likely to be victimized when they’re young, and males even more so than females.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        “Male victims of forcible penetration reported 93% male perpetrators, but male victims forced to penetrate their attackers (the vast majority) report 80% female perpetrators.”

        What is the breakdown of male victims who are penetrated versus those who are forced to penetrate?Report

      • Avatar Fnord says:

        It looks like the rate of “forced to penetrate” victimization is about 5 times that of “forced penetration”.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        @kazzy I mostly mentioned it because of the male-on-male aspect, though I thought this part might be pertinent:

        Stemple’s findings on the failure of aid agencies is no surprise to Dolan. “The organisations working on sexual and gender-based violence don’t talk about it,” he says. “It’s systematically silenced. If you’re very, very lucky they’ll give it a tangential mention at the end of a report. You might get five seconds of: ‘Oh and men can also be the victims of sexual violence.’ But there’s no data, no discussion.” […]

        […]”There’s a fear among them that this is a zero-sum game; that there’s a pre-defined cake and if you start talking about men, you’re going to somehow eat a chunk of this cake that’s taken them a long time to bake.” Dolan points to a November 2006 UN report that followed an international conference on sexual violence in this area of East Africa.

        “I know for a fact that the people behind the report insisted the definition of rape be restricted to women,” he says, adding that one of the RLP’s donors, Dutch Oxfam, refused to provide any more funding unless he’d promise that 70% of his client base was female. He also recalls a man whose case was “particularly bad” and was referred to the UN’s refugee agency, the UNHCR. “They told him: ‘We have a programme for vulnerable women, but not men.'”

        That doesn’t strike me as solely an African problem. Not something to blame feminists for, though, except to the extent that they are behind the 70% demand and the like. (Even there, they aren’t the decision-makers and so don’t harbor The Blame, but would be a part of the problem.)

        Over here stateside, I find it interesting the extent to which when we talk about the FLDS, we talk about the abused girls 99% of the time and make only a passing mention of the Lost Boys. The latter may not deserve half of the conversation, but they do deserve more of it than they are getting. But it’s out of the feminist wheelhouse and the MRAs are more concerned with other issues. It’s something where I really wish the LDS would take the lead. I’d think they’d be in a unique position to help. But however you cut it, it’s a problem, even if one not blamed on feminism.Report

      • Avatar Fnord says:

        Whoops, actually 4x.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        Thanks @fnord and @will-truman

        It seems we are all in agreement that male victims of sexual violence exist, that their plight does not get the attention it deserves, and that there are forces at work to actively keep that the case.

        Yet none of us are even close to signing up for the MRM, which says something about their utter failures.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        I used to actually blog in some circles that overlapped with the MRM. That’s how I am familiar with some of their more valuable points, and also critical of them more broadly. Their over-arching agenda is problematic, even while bullet-points on the road to meeting that agenda are actually kind of worthy of inspection.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        When Tod first broached the topic, I remember asking him if it is possible to support, say, greater equality in child custody issues without being an MRA. Thankfully, the answer is: Yes.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        It should be said that in addition to Men’s Rights Movement, there is also Father’s Rights Movement. There is some overlap, and the latter has some concerns that a lot of people (including myself) are going to dismiss, but they have a much better hit-to-miss ratio on sympathetic issues.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        In a nutshell, the MRM seems to be about making men into victims. Which is exactly what they are complaining about. Which is strange.

        Do they propose any solutions? Or just complain about their ill treatment, real or imagined?Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        @kazzy, when the Catholic Church’s abuse scandal was unfolding, I found it fascinating that the stories of boys being abused were on the front page of the NYT. In the back of the A section, there were also stories of unfolding abuse of girls. But this was not sensational news, and definitely not part of the main-stream media reports.

        Wikipedia tells me that female victims of priests tend to be younger; really little girls, not teenagers.

        I am grateful that the scandal has a bit of silver lining — opening up our dialogue about how boys can be victims of sexual abuse.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        I wonder how much of that had to do with the intersection of the Church and behavior that many might consider to be homosexual. Or just the issue of homosexuality in general.Report

      • Avatar Dean Esmay says:

        The focus isn’t as monomaniacal as it seems to you. While there is a certain segment that talks this way, ask most of us and they’ll tell you the problems come from all sorts of vectors, and traditional conservatism is one of them. Although, it must be said, I’m always amused when someone says people think feminism is a “conspiracy” when they won’t just look and see just how many billions of dollars in government and international and corporate funding various feminist enterprises have. Just because Sheila your next door neighbor the feminist doesn’t get any money is like saying Sheila your next door neighbor who’s in the Tea Party doesn’t get any money; the money is there, and it’s substantial, and it affects public policy at multiple levels.

        That said, no, it’s not just feminism, and there are feminists who are blissfully unaware of what is often done and advocated in their name.

        I had some issues with Tod’s Daily Beast article and a few I’d take with him here (I’m sorry to break it to Tod, but you really can get fired from your job just for making a sexual joke in the workplace, it doesn’t matter if the law is written that way or not–a lot of what we talk about goes into the fact that laws may be written in gender-neutral fashion but are frequently not interpreted in gender neutral fashion), and some of what you said about Hembling you just got wrong or, I think, was outrageously out of context (John is fast to issue corrections if you identify an error, for example, but it doesn’t appear you even attempted to ask him about any potential errors he may have made, such as on the gossypol thing–then again I understand John ignored requests for followups from you so maybe he gets what he deserves there, the mistrust for mainstream media runs VERY high in this movement.).

        But hey, I’m not here to bang on you, it was a much better article than we’re used to seeing and it at least helps get going the dialogue many of us have wanted to see happen for decades.

        I think that last part may be the most important: you compare the civil rights movement for blacks as a choice between Stokeley Carmichael (a name very few people remember) and Martin Luther King. A better comparison would have been Martin Luther King vs. Malcolm X. And I will point out to you that Malcolm scared people, but he also got things done. He wasn’t right about everything, in fact, some of what he believed was just plain wrong, and other things he advocated I’d never endorse, but he’s still a hero to me, and a lot of us… and a ton of people who were around back then will tell you they publicly supported King while their hearts were with Malcolm. There is a strong argument to be made that WITHOUT Malcolm X, Martin Luther King could never have gotten done what he did (even if the two men didn’t much like each other, publicly anyway).

        And the greater point is this: these nice fellows you want to represent the movement? They’ve been there for decades. I could rattle off a list. Warren Farrell likely the only one you’ve heard of but there have been countless others. Names you never heard, at it for decades with soft voices and polite manners and receiving in response one of two things: people politely nodding and agreeing that they had a good point but doing nothing, or, still calling them loser misogynist weirdos who can’t get laid whiners etc.–basically everything said about us now, regardless of the fact that they were unfailingly polite about things.

        Pick almost any issue we talk about and with rare exception, unless it’s something very topical (some latest false rape allegation in the news, some specific wrongly convicted man recently vindicated) and you will find there have been thoughtful, well-spoken, reasonable people speaking to these issues for decades. I know one group that’s been at it since the 1990s spekaing to Congress and state legislatures of the travesties of our domestic violence laws–they get head pats and polite nods of agreement, and/or savagely attacked. Either way, nothing gets done.

        So what I would say to you is this: I would save your fears about who leads the movement–I think you are wrong to think John is going to ever be a big movement leader because he’s far more of a lone agent and not prone to liking heading up organizations anyway. That’s not his thing. He likes being himself, not a group leader. More to the point, leaders will emerge over time and people will follow those who seem most effective at getting things done. More to the point, the movement will picks its own leaders; what you really ought to worry more about is how the mainstream people like yourself react. You show open-mindedness, which means a Warren Farrell might get through to you–although somehow he really didn’t even though he’s been at this decades. But he’s that unfailingly polite nice man who never speaks in hyperbolic terms or even raises his voice in anger. And he’s ignored.

        So the greater concern should be to society: how long will society continue to ignore these issues, and insult those who bring them up? The more they insult, deride, ignore, marginalize, dismiss, gloss over, roll their eyes, and shrug, the more likely the leadership of the men’s movement will the the Malcolm X types, because if scaring people is the only thing that works then that’s what’s going to happen.

        I honestly believe that if these issues aren’t addressed soon, we will see actual violence and actual bloodshed. I am bemused at how often when we say that we’re accused of encouraging that to happen, when what we’re saying is no, but if this stays the way it is a violent reaciton is almost certain to occur.

        I’m just itching now to respond to some of the people asking questions about rape–I just did a whole show on this issue and public perceptions of female-on-male sexual assault are badly out of synch with reality, as even some of the comments here show. Although I note with some irony that I have written regularly about things like that with civil tones and rational bringing forth of data only to be either ignored or head-patted or called names anyway. I run a bi-weekly radio show with the founder of the world’s first internationally recognized battered women’s shelter, and we interview some of the world’s top experts on these things. And we get mostly ignored. John the Other offends people, and this winds up getting you to write an article for The Daily Beast. It don’t take a weatherman to know which way the wind blows: apparently, the provocative people are the only ones anyone will pay attention to.

        I don’t know if or how often I can get back here but I’d like to reprint your article here on A Voice for Men, if you’d let us.


        Dean Esmay, Managing Editor
        ]A Voice for MenReport

      • Avatar Burt Likko says:

        @dean-esmay wrote:

        I’m sorry to break it to Tod, but you really can get fired from your job just for making a sexual joke in the workplace, it doesn’t matter if the law is written that way or not–a lot of what we talk about goes into the fact that laws may be written in gender-neutral fashion but are frequently not interpreted in gender neutral fashion.

        While technically true, this statement exaggerates a truth past the point of distortion. FTR, I do not read @dean-esmay as suggesting that there should be no laws or policies against sexual harassment. I perceive him as silent as to the manner in which those laws are drafted, and suggesting that those laws and policies are unfairly enforced in practice. I disagree.

        First, as to the firing itself. Most employment is at will. Your employer can fire you for making a joke at the expense of your favored political candidate. This is not thought by most to be a violation of the First Amendment right to express oneself politically; rather, it is thought by most to be an extension of the employer’s right to express himself politically. As much as it would suck to be fired for telling a political joke.

        Employers adopt strict policies against sexual harassment in large measure because juries tend to award large verdicts for offensive conduct. Consequently, risk-averse employers implement policies that attempt to steer well clear of the risk of such liabilities. An employer cannot reasonably be said to have acted wrongfully when it prudentially does something to distance itself from a situation that might otherwise create violations of law or create tort liability.

        The law might, in theory, be altered to relax situations in which an employer faces such liabilities. Right now, it is difficult to offer hand-and-fast rules about when “a joke” is sufficiently awful as to give rise to a viable claim for violation of anti-discrimination law. Whether workplace environments present a sufficient level of harassment as to incur legal liability on the part of the employer by effecting a material change in the workplace environment is largely context-driven. A fine restatement of the factors thus considered may be found at Vance v. Southernbell T&T Co. (11th Cir. 1989) 863 F.2d 1503: 1) the level of offensiveness of the unwelcome acts or words; 2) the frequency or pervasiveness of the offensive encounters; 3) the total length of time over which the encounters occurred; and 4) the context in which the harassing conduct occurred.

        All of these factors seem perfectly reasonable, but it’s impossible in such a regime for an attorney or a risk manager to advise a client when precisely the line has been crossed. Thus, employers would prefer to adopt a set of rules that avoid such risks.

        I’ve done both plaintiff and defendant sexual harassment work for fifteen years of my legal career. Not once in that time have I seen a male plaintiff sue one of my business clients for a hostile workplace environment. Not once in that time have I had a male plaintiff come in to my office complaining of being sexually harassed by a woman. With appropriate facts, I’d be perfectly willing take a male plaintiff case and I can concoct a set of facts from my imagination that I’d be pleased to present to a jury. But it would take an exercise in imagination because in real life, no such case has ever happened. (EDIT TO ADD “…in my own real-life practice.”)

        My own experience, and that of my clients, is that when employees claim that they were terminated for “one little joke” the employers say that the “one little joke” was one little straw upon a mountain of hay which the camel was no longer willing to carry upon its back. My own experience has also been that while indeed women often do indulge in sexualized humor and sometimes crude discussion of sexual activity at the workplace, it is almost always men who do so in an aggressive fashion that establishes a social or economic superiority over women.

        Which is to lead up to the punchline — if you, @dean-esmay or some other critic of laws and policies against sexual harassment in the workplace, perceive that employers have adopted policies which have erred too far in the direction of preventing harassing conduct, and have evidence that innocent-to-socially-tolerable workplace humor have led to terminations in quantities greater than a few isolated incidents, then the burden is on you to proffer a proposed modification to the law which will create a different set of incentives for employers to respond to.Report

    • Avatar j r says:

      I would say that outrage is a bit much, but that feminism is absolutely the right target. Of course, a term like feminism has any number of meanings. If you’re talking about feminism in the most basic sense, the idea that women should have full legal and social equality, all but the most reactionary of folks are going to agree.

      There is, however, another form of feminism that goes well beyond equality and is essentially concerned with institutionalizing female mating preferences. I am tempted to use the phrase radical feminism, but really there’s not much particularly radical about it. It is better to think of it as bureaucratic feminism. And there are lots of ways that a man can end up on the wrong end of a paternity or child support case or a dubious claim of sexual assault or sexual harassment. It only makes sense that people are going to react to that.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        J R, I realize that feminism as a school of thought like all other schools of thought contains lost of different theories and a few of those a theories are kind of out there. Those theories like all other out there theories tend to be limited towards academia and have little impact on the world outside the Ivory Tower or their little discussion groups.

        I have no idea what you mean by female mating preferences though. As far as I can tell from casual observation, different heterosexual women have different tastes in men. If heterosexual women really had a universal preference for mates than the human population would be a lot smaller and I say this as somebody who should technically be on the losing end of the stick for mating preferences.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        another form of feminism that goes well beyond equality and is essentially concerned with institutionalizing female mating preferences.

        I’d really like to see some hard evidence of a claim like this. From my perspective, male mating preferences have been institutionalized for thousands of years. Now, thanks to the advent of contraception, women have equal opportunity, though they still carry undue burden of slut shaming. So you’ll have to provide some actual evidence of what you mean; because to my obviously female ears, it sounds like bemoaning loss of privilege.Report

      • Avatar j r says:

        When I talk about female mating preferences, I don’t mean any sort of universally applicable taste in a certain type of man. I mean that the rules of the game are being set up to maximize female choice at the expense of male choice.

        As Zic points out, traditional patriarchy, entails a preference for male mating preferences. By restricting women’s ability to be independent and placing moral censure on the free exercise of female sexuality, it creates a world in which a woman basically has one choice: find the best man she can to take care of her and raise his family and keep his house.

        What animates the MRAs (and yes, lots of them are reactionaries, but as the saying goes, “a broken clock…”) is the sense that feminism is moving beyond leveling the playing field to actively rigging the game. So now a woman can get an education and she can compete in the job market, but she can also marry a man, or just have his kid, and then be legally entitled to support from that man even if she one day decides that she no longer wants to be with him. This leads to a situation where a man has all the financial responsibilities of being husband and father, but none of the satisfaction that comes with being at the head of a household. This is the animus the underlies much of the MRA movement.

        On the whole, I find the MRA movement to be absurd. There are simple steps that any man can take to prevent most of these situations. And the true injustices that occasionally befall men (like guys getting locked up because they can’t pay child support) are rare enough founding a movement based on them is absolute overkill. That being said, there is something real at the heart of all of this.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        Millions of copies of Cosmopolitan magazine or any of the hundreds of publications marketed to women might be indicative of something gone terribly wrong. In response, the Second Wave gave us Ms. magazine. Those of us who read Ms. thought it was great, providing women with an excellent forum for considering the issues facing women. For those men who cared about such things, Ms. was almost a secret weapon. Here was genuine insight into how women were thinking.

        Ms. didn’t last and eventually went bankrupt. The Second Wave of Feminism was largely a victim of its own success. The Third Wave of Feminism took over, considering larger issues of injustice. It was louder and uglier than the Second Wave. Perhaps it needed to be, all things considered. The Second Wave feminists, Gloria Steinem and the like, could only portray the problems faced by women like themselves. The problems facing the transgender community, minority women, the glaring inequalities the Second Wave hadn’t considered — were still out there.

        But Cosmo is still selling like hotcakes, still objectifying women, the antithesis of what the feminists had envisioned. Feminism failed and is still failing. It never gave a thought to what they really wanted from men or from each other.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        JR, the flipside to all of that is the increasing ability of men to insist to be a part of their children’s lives, whether they are married to the mother or not. That’s a pretty big deal.

        I remember when my cousin’s wife was going to take their kid and move across the country. Our view was “That sucks!” He complained to his lawyer about it, and his lawyer immediately took steps that prevented it from happening. (She could still move wherever she wanted, but she would be putting her “primary custody” status in jeopardy by doing so – they didn’t move.) Such a thing was virtually unheard of at the time. It didn’t even occur to us. But it was becoming established precedent.

        A while back my coblogger Sheila wrote a link to a female diarist complaining that she had to honor her baby’s father’s wishes to be involved even though he was not really her kind of people and she didn’t think he would be a great influence. (The father didn’t do anything wrong, wasn’t abusive, etc. He was just kind of a religious prole if I recall.)

        The implementation of these rights has been imperfect – just as the implementation of child support collection remains imperfect – but for people like me, who are much more likely to care about being a part of my child’s life than having to pay child support, these things are a pretty big deal.Report

      • Avatar Rose Woodhouse says:

        Blaise, it’s not as if women have nothing to read but Cosmo or the now defunct Ms. Women have plenty of ways of communicating one another. And to say feminism failed suffers from the same problem as saying it never knew what it wanted. There is no one feminist movement. We are not all agreed on what is most important. Yet some feminist movements have made enormous strides: women in workplaces, women as university students, far more parity in child care. These are by no means “won” (except maybe university students). But to say feminism failed is to deny the drastic difference between, say, my father who never changed a diaper in his life and requested my mother give up a day job, and my husband.Report

      • Avatar zic says:


        So now a woman can get an education and she can compete in the job market, but she can also marry a man, or just have his kid, and then be legally entitled to support from that man even if she one day decides that she no longer wants to be with him. This leads to a situation where a man has all the financial responsibilities of being husband and father, but none of the satisfaction that comes with being at the head of a household. This is the animus the underlies much of the MRA movement.

        He can leave her, too. And the kids. Before modern family law, my understanding is that her infidelity was grounds for divorce; his, not. Were the marriage unhappy, he could wander without repercussion; she risked being divorced and often, losing not only custody, but access to their children.

        What’s interesting here is that across the world, as women gain the right to leave marriage, they choose to do so in great number, opting to free themselves of difficult husbands. Those men might view themselves as victims of women’s new-found freedom; the privilege of having a wife and children without the responsibility to treat them kindly and lovingly is quite a privilege to loose. But my heart does not bleed for them; not if they’re being dumped for failing to treat their family members humanely. And if they’ve got children and they cannot figure out how to be a man in their lives, they at least should contribute to those children’s economic stability.

        What I don’t hear is a call to that responsibility of kindness and caring amongst men’s rights activists, who often brand men who do engage with their family’s emotional well beings as spineless worm-boys.

        Real men are loving and kind. That is their strength. The man ready to lay down his life and be a hero on the drop of a dime, frankly, only exists in the pages of comic books. Aspiring to comic-book super-hero hood does not excuse one from being obligation to treat your family members like fully-equal humans.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        Did I say women didn’t have alternate modes of communication? No. But numbers don’t lie: Cosmo and Mademoiselle and the rest of ’em survived the Second Wave of Feminism.

        I say feminism has manifestly failed. If not, where has it succeeded? Are you arguing with my little list? If so, at what point do you disagree with any of my assertions?

        Feminism failed because it strove for mere parity, not true equality. I changed my kids’ diapers. I worked at home for six years so my wife could get her degrees. I raised my daughters to respect themselves. Feminism failed and continues to fail because it never had a place for men in its vision, as surely as this idiotic MRM has no place for women it its little treehouse.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        @j-r, I understand what your saying now. To an extent your right, a lot of women like a lot of men like to have their cake and eat it to. In modern relationship terms this means getting all the parts of traditional relationships that are good from a women’s perspective like men pay and none of the bard parts, having to tolerate adultery or worse. Its not exactly fair but what can you do.Report

      • Avatar Reggie says:

        If you don’t want to be charged with sexual harassment, follow this one simple rule:
        1) Don’t be unattractive.

      • Avatar zic says:

        If you don’t want to be charged with sexual harassment, don’t sexually harass. Looking at every woman you see as a potential sex partner instead of a person is extremely unattractive.Report

  3. Avatar Fnord says:

    I believe I’ve said before that this country could benefit from a political movement that focuses on issues that disproportionately affect men, to, as you say, make meaningful changes in public policy. But the so-called Men’s Rights Movement is not that movement.

    In the United States, more men are victims of rape each year than women.

    Do you have a source for this? There are a few sources that put the rate at approximately the same level (when rape is defined in a equitable way, which it usually isn’t), most notably the CDC’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey. And there are certainly populations where more men than women are raped (you cite the military in the daily beast, I know it’s also true among prisoners).Report

    • Avatar zic says:

      Finding reliable statistics seems to be difficult.

      RAINN says that in the US, in 2003, 9 out of every 10 rape victims were female.Report

      • Avatar Fnord says:

        Several issues:
        First, and more benignly, it looks like rape victimization rates among men have not fallen as as much rates among women have in the past generation. You can see this is lifetime versus past 12 month stats; the CDC report finds that life victimization rates are still higher for women. It also means that 2003 data (the 2003 National Crime Victimization Survey, that RAINN cites) may well indicate a higher victimization rate for women compared to men than 2010 data (the NISVS data).

        Secondly, many studies define rape in such a way that excludes many male victims. The NCVS definition of rape is:

        Unlawful penetration of a person against the will of the victim, with use or threatened use of force, or attempting such an act. Includes psychological coercion and physical force. Forced sexual intercourse means vaginal, anal, or oral penetration by the offender. Also includes incidents where penetration is from a foreign object, such as a bottle.

        It’s not impossible for a man to be raped under that definition, but it does exclude actions (including intercourse) that would clearly be rape if the victim was female.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        @fnord, I agree.

        But I also suspect opening up the discussion to a broader understanding of what constitutes rape to include things currently defined as ‘sexual assault’ would not only reveal larger numbers of men who are victims, but substantially increase the numbers of women who are victim.Report

      • Avatar Fnord says:

        No doubt. In particular, I suspect that many measures (including the CDC data) undercount female-on-female sexual violence, which is something that shows up in studies on prisoners but isn’t much studied in the general population.

        However, I think it’s pretty clear that a definition that requires a victim to be penetrated to call it “rape” disproportionately excludes male victims. If more inclusive studies found that the rate of victimization among women was somewhat higher than men, even 2:1, I wouldn’t be too surprised. But I find the 10:1 figure, with a definition that includes forced heterosexual intercourse with female victims but not male victims, to be highly dubious.

        Of course, it could be worse. The FBI Uniform Crime report used the “carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will” definition until 2012.Report

      • Avatar Reggie says:

        Rape is defined as forced penetration. Forced to penetrate is in the “Other” category. Take a look at the “Other” category and you’ll see a not insignificant percent of “Rape” (including forced to penetrate) victims are Men and their perpetrators are Women.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:


        Are you referring to how data is collected and reported? Or how acts are criminalized and prosecuted?Report

      • Avatar Reggie says:

        That refers specifically to the FBI statistics. So far as the treatment of the crime, I have hear superficially that women receive lesser sentencing than men across all crimes and would assume this to be no different. Especially given that men are shamed relentlessly when reporting female on male rape.

        Imagine this not getting banned in the comments section of the mainstream media re: a schoolgirl getting “taken advantage of” by a much older male teacher “She must be gay!” or “I wish my teacher had sex with me when I was in school!” How strong does a young boy have to be to stand up to that. We removed this stigmatization from the girls, but it remains for the boys in our society.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        ” So far as the treatment of the crime, I have hear superficially that women receive lesser sentencing than men across all crimes and would assume this to be no different.”

        This is DEMONSTRABLY false. In the case of murder, many battered women get sentenced to murder in the FIRST degree, where an equivalent man would get sentenced to murder in the SECOND degree, because it often takes women a while to gin up the courage to grab the gun. Or they do it while the guy is sleeping.

        “Well,you weren’t in danger At That Time” is the phrase that gets used.

        [Note: not touching the rape issue.]Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:


        Thanks for clarifying. As a general rule, I don’t like to play the speculation game about what the MSM would do if roles were reversed. However, I have seen enough real world conversations play out completely differently when the victim is male than when she is female to know that you are right about our different responses.

        I disagree with the distinction you outlined vis a vis penetration. I wonder if part of this is a function of penetration tending to be more physically damaging. Rape/sexual assault is as much, if not more so, an emotional and mental violation as it is a physical violation.

        Oddly, I wonder if the emphasis on the physical violence of penetration, rather than the physical/emotional/mental violence of more broadly defined sexual assault, is itself a byproduct of patriarchy. Most men would say that being penetrated is far worse than being forced to penetrate because of how they are conditioned/socialized to view these two acts.Report

  4. Avatar Just Me says:

    Great article Tod!

    Elam’s view that it is necessary to have vitriol first in order to gain attention seems to be true. I wonder if without the emails telling you to take the red pill if you would have ever even thought of writing this article. Controversy is what draws the attention. Otherwise we would continue to go about our daily lives, never questioning our assumptions. We have had comments on this site before about male injustice. The response has seemed to follow along the lines of let’s not talk about the men, it is the women who experience the real injustice. It is true, women do experience injustice, rape, oppression. But one groups experience do not make another groups experiences any less worthy or in need of discussion.

    The old saying is where there is smoke there is fire. Here I think it should really be where there is fire there is smoke. The women haters are the flames, Flaring up, brightly burning that grab our attention and make us look. The smoke is the man who say this is my experience, something is wrong, this is not right. The fire smolders, these men are not out there trying to draw attention to a movement. They are asking if the wrong done against them is less important than a wrong done to someone else. As with any group it is those who yell the loudest and say the most controversial things (the fire) that get the attention. They say such outrageous things that we turn away in disgust, not thinking or caring of all of the men we are not hearing from or whose concerns we are dismissing.Report

  5. Avatar Will Truman says:

    Awesome, Tod! I’m so glad (though not surprised) you seem to have given this unsympathetic (or unsympathetically led) group a fair hearing. They raise some issues on some things that nobody else wants to touch, however poorly.

    What I find really interesting is that when their issues intersect with issues that other people do care about. For example, we had a spate of articles on the resurgence of “debtor prisons” and a lot of people familiar with the child support situation didn’t realize until the third or fourth article that (of course) they weren’t talking about fathers (because “Deadbeat dads, ick!”) and instead on how it was happening elsewhere.

    Or here on the League. I wrote, then spiked a post on that Montana judge who garnered much outrage by arguing that the underage girl did kinda-sorta consent (to the extent that she could) to the sex for which the man was convicted. If you read the decision against “Nathan J.” where he (a minor) was directed to pay child support… it says basically the exact same thing. That he wasn’t a passive victim and should be held accountable for his actions, basically.Report

    • Avatar NewDealer says:

      There are a lot of guys who would argue that a man (minor or not) can’t be the victim of a sexual crime from a woman (usually based on a very bad and wrong idea of how erections work.) So the MRM has enemies and ideological opponents who are also men. I’ve known men who argue this when news stories come up about a female teacher (it is usually a teacher) gets arrested for having sex with a male student.

      The argument (usually very boorish) seems to be that this is “every teenage guy’s fantasy” and then they will point to the stories where the woman went to jail but got back together with the young guy after her sentence was over.

      There also seems to be a somewhat sympathetic way of treating female teachers that sleep with male students. Usually the articles note that they might have been the victims of sexual abuse in their youth and this does not excuse her but makes it more acceptable.

      I think people are starting to take claims of men being the victims of rape (from both men and women) more seriously though. I’ve seen sprouts of this on the internet via blogs and tumblers, etc.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer says:

        Not acceptable. Bad and wrong word choice. But it is seen as a mitigating factor in sentencing I think.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        That’s one of the issues at hand. The (male) kids have no “champions” because feminists are more concerned about female victims and their opponents are disinclined to see a problem.

        I actually take the (controversial, around here at least) view that fifteen year-olds are more or less responsible for their own sexual choices and thus are not victims of rape in the same sense that someone who is physically held down or knocked out are victims of rape. As such, Nathan should be made to pay child support.

        Which isn’t to say that the older party didn’t act immorally. It doesn’t even mean that we cannot declare what they did illegal. But I think putting it into the same category as rapes that are physically forced or the product on gross intoxication is problematic.

        A while back I saw a web page dedicated to “Hot Teacher” cases and was taken aback by how light the sentencing was. But then I looked for cases with male teachers and coaches, and I found that those were rather light as well. Prosecutorial or judicial discretion, I guess. I tracked down my high school coach who was caught and who wouldn’t have rang high on the sympathy-meter and found out that he hadn’t actually gone to jail for it.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:


        My high school principal was involved in multiple cases alleging sexual misconduct with minors (all after I graduated). The first involved his teenager foster son, who accused him of fondling him in their home. He was found not guilty and returned to work. A relatively short time later he was re-arrested after some female students audio taped him making inappropriate comments to them in his office. I believe he is now serving time for that.

        While the cases were different on a number of levels, I do wonder if they would have played out differently had the victims’ genders been reversed. The foster son was also a somewhat troubled black boy; the principal was also black. I don’t know the race of the girls who recorded him (given the demographics of the high school, the odds are they were also black). So, there are a lot of layers.

        There were other cases from my school district of teachers involved in sexual relationships with students. All to my knowledge involved male teachers and female students. I remember being similarly surprised at the lightness of the punishments I became aware of.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        Humans suck.
        Biological instincts really suck.
        You have older women instinctively attracted to young boys (and vice versa).
        You have older men instinctively attracted to young girls (and vice versa).
        (not prepubescent in either case).

        It’s a good thing most people don’t follow their instincts.
        Civilization would never have occurred if we did.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        nb.: the above is not to excuse rape. It is also not to excuse someone
        willingly getting a kid in over their head (you tell me what a teacher is doing,
        if the kid doesn’t even know the birds and the bees yet…?)Report

    • Avatar Kazzy says:


      I would ideally like to see a “sliding scale” of sorts applied to cases of statutory rape, factoring in both the age of the “victim” and the age of the “aggressor”. Two 16-year-olds having consensual sex? Probably not ideal, but should not be a crime. An 18-year-old and his 16-year-old girlfriend having sex? I’d certainly hold him responsible for any natural consequences of that sex, but would not make it criminal. A 34-year-old and a 17-year-old? I start to get concerned there, because the likely high variance in life experiences and emotional maturity can create some really screwed up dynamics.

      As to who should be financial responsible when young men/boys get women pregnant, it initially seems cruel to hold them to a lifetime of financial obligations because of a stupid teenage mistake, but that is exactly what we do to the women so, gooses and gander and whatnot. There is a natural connection here to the quality of sex ed these young people receive. There are some young people who genuinely believe that certain positions have 100% efficacy in preventing pregnancy because they haven’t been taught better. So I am also okay with saying some of the burden of caring for the children of teenage parents falls to the state unless and until we get our heads out of our asses with sex ed.

      Basically, “You want to teach abstinence only? Be prepared for your taxes to go up as we help provide for the children of 16-year-olds.”Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        My view is that sex is a grown-up activity and unless you’re really just a kid, you own the consequences of it. You can consent. That’s why I have such difficulty with the notion that they can consent with this person, but are incapable of it with that one. Generally speaking, they can or they can’t.

        However, even if they can consent, and do, doesn’t mean that the other person is guilty of no wrong. So the first question to me is to identify what exactly is wrong with it. I don’t know if the term I am looking for her is “exploitation” or “parental obstruction” or somesuch. The latter basically being that they are interfering with the development of a minor.

        That provides at least some insight to me on how to approach it. And from there, as opposed to the basic issue of consent, age differential does matter. Which is to say that a 40 year old having his way with a 15 year old is interfering with his or her development in a way that a 20 year old isn’t or isn’t as much because the 20 year old isn’t interfering with development so much as still developing themselves.

        I hung out with some real freewheelers when I was in high school. Partnerships of 19 and 14 were not uncommon. And in some cases they were actually kind of well-matched, all things considered. Stupid kids doing stupid things, mostly, but it wasn’t entirely clear who was using whom. Between Mary Kay Letourneau and Vili Fualaau, though, one of them was definitely abusing their position and role and interfering with the healthy development of the other.

        So my views on this tend towards being very liberal (in the non-political sense). Ask me again when Lain is 14 or 15.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        Heh… I think I am by and large in agreement with you. This is an area where I’d actually like to see some data from professionals in the fields of development and the like. Tell us just how “adult” a 15-year-old is when it comes to sex. There are real hindrances to 15-year-olds fully appreciating the consequences of their actions. It is why we limit their ability to engage in a number of practices. And while we can’t and probably shouldn’t limit their ability to engage in sex, we should do everything possible to help them make the best possible decisions when engaging in it.

        As for whether or not they can consent in one situations and not another, I see it less an issue of IF they can consent and more an issue of if they firmly understand what they are consenting to. As we discussed on the OWS thread, information asymmetry is an issue, and is more likely to occur as the age gap increases.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        To be clear, I think that most 15 year olds are going to make crappy decisions when it comes to sex. Most of their decisions will be such.

        The question being “When do we allow the crappy decision-making to begin?” Okay, that’s a little too glib. But at what age does it no longer become a transparently crappy decision? At what age can we say “It’s probably a mistake, but it’s one they have a right to make?”

        Clancy and I are of the mind that Lain will have access to birth control way before she’s ready. But we also hope that she will not avail herself of it until she is older than fifteen. And we’re not going to assist her in doing so, except insofar as providing birth control qualifies as it. (No sleepovers at the boyfriend’s, for example.)Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:


        “The question being “When do we allow the crappy decision-making to begin?””

        And I think the answer to that is partly predicated on how we help them to make good decisions. Hence my earlier comments about sex ed. If a 15-year-old has had no quality sex ed, I’m much less likely to say he/she is fully accountable for his crappy decision-making than if he/she had a robust and comprehensive education on the matter.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        @will-truman, the same age that we give them the rest of their rights as citizens. If they can’t vote than kids should be given a lot of shielding from crappy-decision making.

        People think exposing kids to the down sides of crapy decisions will help them grow up but I think the evidence is pretty conclusive that it generally makes a bad situation worse.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        We shouldn’t allow unlimited room for crappy decisions, but I think it’s quite clear that fifteen year olds can consent to sex because they do so in pretty high numbers. And while we may not like it, we don’t generally consider participants victims of rape and do generally hold the boys legally accountable for any offspring they produce in the course of doing so.

        The most pertinent message, to me, is “Sex is a grown-up activity, and you’re not ready to handle it, but if you behave irresponsibly you had better be prepared for grown-up responsibilities because biology doesn’t care if you are old enough to vote.”Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        “The most pertinent message, to me, is “Sex is a grown-up activity, and you’re not ready to handle it, but if you behave irresponsibly you had better be prepared for grown-up responsibilities because biology doesn’t care if you are old enough to vote.””
        But we have to make sure kids get that message. Not all of them do.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Kazzy, I agree. The only skepticism I have towards comprehensive sex-ed is the same skepticism I have towards abstinence ed and (my preferred approach) abstinence-plus: the kids won’t listen. But I think you have to try anyway (which means comprehensive or ab+).Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        @will-truman, this might be my own socio-economic roots showing but I fail to see any benefit in fostering adult responsibilities upon kids before they are ready. Ideally people won’t make crap choices but they do and the attempts to make them feel the consequences of crap choices did to produce crap outcomes rather than good outcomes. It perpetuates poverty and the making of crap choices in future generations.

        @kazzy, I’m not really sure that comprehensive sex ed works any better than abstinence ed when it comes to preventing kids from making really bad choices when it comes to sex. What seems to stop people in general from bad choices when it comes to sex are the expectations they have for themselves or their parents have for them. I forgot where I read this but apparently students at elite colleges and universities like Harvard or Cal Tech are more likely to be virgins upon entry and graduation than students at less esteemed colleges. The kids who make the wisest choices are the ones that really want to do something with their lives. People without plans make dumb choices.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        I think it’s quite clear that fifteen year olds can consent to sex because they do so in pretty high numbers.

        Yes they do.

        And while we may not like it,

        We, meaning us adults? Well, you’re right about that. Adults certainly mayn’t.

        When our kids became sexually active, we were aware of it and had discussions with them about it. We did NOT try to dissuade them from their natural desires, tho. Instead, we talked to them extensively about protection and birth control and personal responsibility. But we also knew our kids were pretty hip about protection and birth control and personal responsibility in advance of that. So it was a pretty painless (not *entirely* painless) transition.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Stillwater, we plan to try to dissuade. Within limits, though. There will probably be none of “If you give a boy your rose, you will be tainted goods and morally reprobate!” and hopefully more of “Sex is risky, both emotionally and physically, and we’re more likely to make mistakes if you engage before you are emotionally mature. There’s plenty of time.”

        I don’t know that it will go exactly like that. We may have to use handpuppets or something.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Lee, I don’t support manufacturing consequences to teach people a lesson. It’s mostly because the consequences are there because of the actions, and I don’t think being fifteen means that others carry the burden of those consequences instead of you.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        I suspect your sources are full of little overachievers who are quite busy lying to the survey.
        (the studies I’ve seen actively contradict yours — maybe moreso for Caltech than Harvard–different samples).Report

      • Avatar Chicago-JSO says:

        As to who should be financial responsible when young men/boys get women pregnant, it initially seems cruel to hold them to a lifetime of financial obligations because of a stupid teenage mistake, but that is exactly what we do to the women so, gooses and gander and whatnot.

        But this is not really true, is it. Women have a large number of options to opt out of responsiblity including access to abortion without the need to consult ther parents. Frankly I support women’s access to abortions. My problem is then, if we given women access to abortion then we must given men access to its equivalent. Infact now with things like the morning after pill and even a later “abortion pill” women have no obligation to a pregnancy except by choice. It is the unilateral nature of that choice which is unjust.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        Not from where I’m sitting. From where I’m sitting men are uniquely advantaged
        in the ability to take advantage of a girl (rape her, if you want to put a point on it),
        and to have it be fucking legal (or, at the very least, not sustainable in court.).Report

      • Avatar Rog says:

        I disagree with you here

        ” it initially seems cruel to hold them to a lifetime of financial obligations because of a stupid teenage mistake, but that is exactly what we do to the women so, gooses and gander and whatnot”

        women are in no way held accountable for getting pregnant while they have many options available to them
        morning after pill
        adoption(after they give birth)(legally relinquishing responsibility for the child,,and something not available to men)
        and safe drop sites(also after they give birth)(legally relinquishing responsibility for the child,,and something not available to men)

        what you state here is an outright lie used to endorse your thinking that men should be held accountable for womens decisions,, decisions that they alone make,,

        even if their morality, their religion doesnt allow them to use any of these choices they still have these options.. making your comment false
        did you not know women can choose to get an abortion?put the child up for adoption?do you get out much?

        there is absolutely no way you can say women are held responsible for a lifetime of obligations for stupid teenage mistakes while they have these options available to them.

        ““Justice therefore dictates that if a woman makes a unilateral decision to bring pregnancy to term, and the biological father does not, and cannot, share in this decision, he should not be liable for 21 years of support. Or, put another way, autonomous women making independent decisions about their lives should not expect men to finance their choice.” —
        Karen DeCrow, former NOW President ( National Organization for Women, U.S.A.)”Report

  6. Avatar roger says:

    Fantastic job as usual ,Tod.Report

  7. Avatar BlaiseP says:

    Feminism as a movement is all played out. Like every movement of this sort, it began well enough, fighting for equality in a world which had systematically denied them such rights since the spread of Roman culture into Europe. As women (and the men who supported them) made gains, something important was lost in that struggle, the notion that men would also be empowered by the equality of women, that a pairing of independent equals would be infinitely superior to pairing a greater with a suppressed lesser.

    Feminism lost its way. The MRM hasn’t even begun to find its way. Todd’s article fills me with despair: these chumps are every bit as ridiculous and bigoted as the worst of the feminists. So these are the male-ists. Thanks, Todd, for showing us these disgraceful clowns for what they are.

    If not these, then who? The American culture is awfully hard on little boys. It’s even harder on adolescent boys. No guidance for them, no assembly of wise men to lead the American boy through the forest. The groups which do attempt to lead boys — who’s going to write an article about the things the Boy Scouts are doing right? Nobody, that’s who. If the Boy Scouts get any press, it’s about troop leaders molesting children and their stupid attitudes about homosexuality. We can toss out the Boy Scouts, they’re as disgraced in their antique thinking as the MRM is in its vehement misogyny.

    It there’s no Red Pill, there is a Blue Pill. Nobody gives a shit about the American boy. Quite the opposite, he’s told he is the most privileged child in the history of the world. If he is let loose upon the world with no guidance from his elders, both men and women, if he is never taught respect for women it is because he was never taught any respect for himself.

    Forget the Men’s Rights Movement. It’s too goddamn late to talk about Men. How about a Boy’s Rights movement, a Girls’ Rights movement, where they might learn the Responsibilities which come with those Rights?Report

    • Avatar Kazzy says:


      How much of the responsibility of this (which I will agree with you exists and is an issue) lies with women and how much with men? The MRM would seem to suggest it is wholly on the heads of women and perhaps traitorous men who accept/support feminism. Oft-ignored is the role of men in the evolution of this trend. My experience tells me one feeds the other.

      Look at the dearth of men working in early childhood and elementary education, numbers that have been dropping despite supposed progress on the acceptance of men in traditionally female roles/professions. Part of this is the result of the “feminization” of the field of teaching. Yes, teaching has always been “women’s work”, but as women moved more and more into admin, their have been some cultural shifts that have made it more difficult for men in those fields (some of which is just tough nuts for the men and some of which is a real issue of being unwelcoming/unsupportive of men). But some has been the ongoing stigma of men amongst men who are in this work. Many men are interested in the work and even start out in the field only to pull out/move on because they don’t want to deal with the flak they get from their male peers. That is on men.

      So, it is complicated. I would love to see more men working with young boys… and more women working with young girls… and the inverse of each of those. I’d love to see us doing better by our youngsters. To this end, I think men ought to first focus on their own house and look in the mirror. What is the MRM doing to help our boys? I don’t see much in that regard.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        It’s not a question of how to apportion blame/responsibility for the current stupidity of the debate. We must be the change we want to see in the world. I’ve never accepted the principle of gender roles in the workplace. It’s idiotic in extremis.

        Women have shown themselves masters of software: Grace Hopper wrote the first compiler, a program to translate human-readable text files, producing executable code. If software were still the province of men, we’d still be writing assemblies.

        The women I’ve worked with have better team instincts than most of the men — that’s a summary of a lifetime of working in the field. I believe women are wired up differently than men in ways we’re just now coming to appreciate. Doesn’t mean they’re any more or less capable. It means women are different, with their own ways of doing things. Where did feminism ever point out these useful and profound differences? Are they artifacts of our cultural norms? I contend they go far deeper. And where, among the feminists, has anyone accepted men’s differences? Men are the butt of jokes nobody would dare tell about women these days.

        I sure wish more men were teachers. K-12 education hasn’t evolved much in the last century. If anything, it’s regressed. Small wonder women still dominate the profession, as the schoolmarm dominated the profession then.

        Proof of my assertion is contained in the success stories of our current educational system: the kids who succeeded in schools a century ago, kids who came out of an authoritarian background, where parents pushed children to succeed. Children of recent immigrants.

        K-12 needs a kick in the ass, not that anyone will ever have the temerity to propose meaningful reforms. Taking little children at the point where they’re most curious, most amenable to learning — cramming their little asses into those horrible little desks, telling them to sit down and shut up — it’s idiotic. We loudly decry their lack of socialisation skills but won’t actually teach these children to play with any degree of complexity, especially not boys. Girls aren’t exactly thriving in our schools, either.

        MRM can be dismissed as a hideous parody. There’s nothing even worth discussing. They don’t respect themselves. Look at them, snivelling, whiny gits. Not a man among them. They don’t respect themselves and therefore they cannot respect women. Locked in their anger and despair, they have no vision of a generation of boys, girls too, who are free to be themselves.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        You want to know what the research says about women?
        It says they can do most jobs better than men, particularly
        the dangerous sort.

        It says that men tend to be over-represented in the pack of
        “geniuses” (this isn’t cultural. men have a higher std dev.
        of IQ and talent).Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        Personal anecdote:

        I grew up living in a day care center (mom ran one out of the house). I was learning how to care for infants & small children from the age of 10. I have a natural affinity for relating to small children & I know how to make them feel comfortable with me. I often volunteer at local elementary schools as “The Science Guy” and demonstrate cool science principles to elementary aged kids (my wife came with me once & observed to me how impressed she was that I could handle a room full of rambunctious 5 year olds).

        However, I have gotten more than my fair share of dirty looks and bad names from people (usually women) who have it in their heads that a man who wants to interact with small children who are not his must be a pedophile (or the like). It’s an ugly & horrible stereotype, and I can not be alone in having experienced it.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        You are not, @mad-rocket-scientist . It is a very real issue.

        Part of the problem is the feedback loop is presents. Men who want to work with young children are looked at as suspicious. As such, few men pursue such work. This leads to man who do pursue the work being an anomaly and, thus, looking suspicious. Rinse and repeat.

        I have faced increased scrutiny of one kind or another throughout my career. However, on the flip side, I am also a rare commodity, and thus can be a hot commodity. I have received an offer for every classroom teaching job I have ever applied for. While I would like to think that this is simply a measure of my talent, I can’t help but think that people see the potential (or marketability) of a male preschool teacher as a positive.

        Of course, when I actually show up and challenge many of the existing paradigms what with all my maleness, suddenly I am an issue.

        Oh well.Report

      • Avatar zic says:


        However, I have gotten more than my fair share of dirty looks and bad names from people (usually women) who have it in their heads that a man who wants to interact with small children who are not his must be a pedophile (or the like). It’s an ugly & horrible stereotype, and I can not be alone in having experienced it.

        This bothers me, too. And this kind of thinking has all sorts of unintended consequences that harm children. For instance. In my town, we vote at the local elementary school, which is about .2 miles from my house. Election goes on all day while school’s in session, and part of the fun is going to see what’s going on inside the school. For many property-tax payers, the only time they’ll go in the school and see it in action is on election day; where they’ll cast votes that help decide the future of what happens in that school. To my mind, this is a really good way of connect what we’re voting about with the act of voting.

        With the sex offender registries publicly available, there’s a growing concern about elections; that these offenders in our community will be going to the school to vote. And people want to protect their children from predators. There’s a small group agitating to have elections moved to the town hall in the name of protecting children.

        But I’d argue that there is no need for concern; the harm of severing that fragile community connection to the school far outweighs the potential a registered offender will cause problems from going to the school to vote. Yet, there are very real threats to those children; way to many of them will be the victim of a pedophile, as I was.

        As the victim of a pedophile, I have really serious concerns about its closet. I don’t think offender registries serve the purpose of identifying known pedophiles, too many who aren’t threats are listed, and there seems to be nothing but jail time for treatment.

        Let’s not even get into the problems of a father with little girls and babies who need restroom access.

        It’s a total fail all the way around. We’re not really protecting children; we’re building walls between children and men and between communities and schools. Unintended consequences abound.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:


        Are you familiar with Lenore Skenazy and her Free Range Kids movement? She can be a bit out there, as any zealot/agitator/provocateur might be, but I think the broader theory is one that might appeal to you.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        I’ve gotten my own share of strange looks on the same front. Kazzy speaks a great truth when he says Men who want to work with young children are looked at as suspicious. As such, few men pursue such work. This leads to man who do pursue the work being an anomaly and, thus, looking suspicious. Rinse and repeat.

        Why don’t more men work with children? They’re interesting, kids are. And why don’t we take children any more seriously than we do? Show me a child Acting Out in some context, I’ll show you a child who isn’t getting enough attention the right way.Report

      • Avatar Rufus F. says:

        “Are you familiar with Lenore Skenazy and her Free Range Kids movement?”

        I am, but I don’t think they taste any better than regular kids.Report

  8. Avatar Rose Woodhouse says:

    Really fascinating.

    I remember reading a book called “Why We Lost the ERA.” The ERA had very moderate language, but both opponents and proponents exaggerated what it would do. The book’s thesis (IIRC) was that if moderation had been stressed, it would have been far more effective. As is almost always the case.

    It’s sad how many people feel so lost and lonely and alienated by society at large that they grasp at any lifeline, no matter how confirmation-bias-begging. I think people think of this as a uniquely modern first-world phenomenon, but I wonder if that’s true.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      Just because a law or Constitutional Amendment has moderate or mild language doesn’t mean that the implications of the law aren’t radical. It depends on how the law or amendment is interpreted by judges, government officials, etc.

      The First Amendment has moderate language and for the first half of American history carried a moderate interpretation. In 20th century, the First Amendment was used to decimate the torts of libel and slander, gut nearly all censorship, allow pornography, and get religion out of public schools, which has been a long battle in American educational history. Most 19th and early 20th century Americans would have been surprised by this.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        @leeesq – not sure I follow. To me the First has absolutist, not moderate language. I know at home if I were to say “Wife shall make no rules regarding X, Y, or Z”, with no further nuance or qualification, I’d get what-for.Report

      • Avatar Rose Woodhouse says:

        True enough. But I’m guessing the implications of the ERA would not have been radical. Or need not have been.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        Even its defenders acknowledge ERA would have pulled down all the pro-female legislation passed to that point in time.Report

      • Avatar Dand says:

        True enough. But I’m guessing the implications of the ERA would not have been radical. Or need not have been.

        Depends on what you mean by radical, had it passed I’m sure there would have been claims made by large organizations that it mandated paid maternity leave and taxpayer subsidized daycare as well as a large number of positive rights.Report

      • Avatar Rose Woodhouse says:

        I know nothing about the ERA and its implications. The last time I read about it at any length was this book in college. What was striking to me was its message that moderation is a far more effective tool in making social progress than extremism.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        @glyph, you’re right. What I should have said is that the First Amendment has absolutist language but during the first part of American history, it was given a moderate interpretation. Only in the mid-20th century did the absolutist language govern the interpretation.

        The language of the law matters but in a legal system governed at least partly by precedent, judicial interpretation also matters. Opponents of the ERA feared it provide a justification for same-sex marriage.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

      Really, there’s no way of knowing what it would have done. The interpretation of the constitution by the Supreme Court bears little relation to its actual text. Look, for example, at how the power “to regulate commerce among the several states” has been twisted to mean anything that might conceivably have some effect on interstate commerce.Report

  9. Avatar Jaybird says:

    I am friends with one guy who is in the MRM and, yep, he was really messed over in a bad divorce. His wife got custody and, now, he’s not allowed to see his daughters (she moved out of the country with them).

    He got a raw deal and the system is not really set up to advocate on his behalf. The general assumption is always that he must have done something really wrong to be in the situation he’s in. “What did you do to make her do that?”

    I’m guessing that the MRM is the only place he has that he can go and the automatic assumption is that he was wronged rather than that the automatic assumption is that she must have been or else she wouldn’t have done that.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        Yes, this.

        But this is a complicated thing, too. And there many ways of dissecting that complexity. One of the most basic is that there is so much physical abuse of women (and of men/boys) by men that physical abuse becomes the weight of the discussion and we never get to move on to the mental abuses, which I suspect men suffer in great proportion. I suspect there’s an odd social balance that’s developed over a great span of time; we weight things when it comes to child custody to women due to the overwhelming evidence of physical abuse, so men who suffer mental abuse get the short end of things.

        I often wonder if men taking more responsibility for the physical violence of men would open up room for men to find more justice when it comes to mental violence.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        How complicated? Nothing complicated about dissecting the child custody fight: women overwhelmingly win such fights.

        When the Equal Rights Amendment was still a viable proposition, Phyllis Schlafly’s anti-ERA group would hang little placards around girls’ necks, “Don’t Draft Me!”

        Boys have to register for Selective Service. Girls don’t. No complexity there.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        BlaiseP, I agree on both counts (child custody and selective service).

        What I’m suggesting is that the benefit of the doubt often slides toward women (particularly in instances like yours) due to the burden of physical abuse women shoulder; where there less physical abuse, mental and emotional abuse would not be so easily overlooked. You were deemed potentially guilty of horrid accusations because, statistically, those accusations stand up. And because of that level of physical violence is so real, we never get beyond it to the layers of emotional violence.

        I’m not condoning anything; but suggesting that men who face serious emotional abuse would be better served in this world if men took more responsibility for ending physical violence; creating room for a more nuanced discussion about what abuse means. Right now, we seem to be limited to the realm of black eyes and rape.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        Zic, any sentence containing a But might as well start with an outright No. One injustice does not justify another. Doubt is not a burden. Doubt is the grease on the rails of injustice.

        I wrote a longish comment upstream on the subject of how American society has failed to lead impressionable boys into manhood, how boys ought to first learn to respect themselves that they would learn respect for others. Feminism has failed, in no small measure because it never addressed that fundamental problem. I grow ever more disgusted with the proposition wherein mere parity is a valid substitute for genuine equality.

        Thomas Pynchon once said in his Proverbs for Paranoids: If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers. And that’s where we are, Zic. MRM is a ridiculous parody of the Angry Feminists. But hey, feminism was stupid enough to be led along to ask the wrong questions. Now look at the state of women in this country. Happier? No. More equal? Hardly. Still doing the housework? Yep. Still caring for the kids? Yep. Still earning less than men? Yeppers. Any more represented in the executive suite? Not really. Are men better as a result of feminism? Decidedly not. Misogyny still sells. Girls and boys are still crammed full of the same sexist shit they always were. And there’s a price to be paid for all this and it will come a cropper in our children.Report

      • Avatar j r says:

        where there less physical abuse, mental and emotional abuse would not be so easily overlooked. You were deemed potentially guilty of horrid accusations because, statistically, those accusations stand up. And because of that level of physical violence is so real, we never get beyond it to the layers of emotional violence.

        I’m not condoning anything; but suggesting that men who face serious emotional abuse would be better served in this world if men took more responsibility for ending physical violence…

        This is the exact mentality that creates fertile ground for the excesses of the MRM. There is a popular conception of domestic violence that is at odds with what the actual research says. Most instances of domestic violence fall under what is categorized as common couple violence, where violence is a result of a mutual relationship dynamic. In other words, it’s where a couple fights a lot and those fights often turn physical. That can be juxtaposed with intimate terrorism, or the sort of wife battering that most people think of when they think of domestic violence. Unfortunately, there is a cottage industry of activists and NGOs who benefit from one specific conception of domestic violence that portrays women as passive victims that need to be saved from the evils of the patriarchy. There is a similar game at play when it comes to rape and sexual assault.

        Also, the idea that men, as a group, are or ought to be responsible for the acts of individual batterers or rapists is deeply troubling. I can’t think of many other instances where that sort of collective guilt is acceptable. Imagine someone saying that people would be more amenable to the complaints of black Americans if blacks took more responsibility for crimes committed by blacks. Of course, you don’t have to imagine that, because it is not difficult to find people making those exact types of arguments. The difference is that most non-reactionary types don’t buy into that sort of logic in instance of race.

        This is the exact logic behind stop and frisk and it’s why I refer to third-wave feminism as bureaucratic feminism. Ostensibly, it’s about lessening instances of discrimination and violence against women, but often it’s really about giving those in power (school administrators, human resources, law enforcement, etc.) a set of enhanced tools to enforce feminist orthodoxy. and in things like hate speech codes or zero tolerance policies regarding sexual violence or harassment, you often see the contravening of norms that we have come to find as essential for a liberal democracy (freedom of speech and thought, assumption of innocence, and due process for example).Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        @j-r, when I say men are accountable, I mean that men are accountable to creating a culture of men where it’s considered unmanly to be violent. Too often, men live in a culture that says they’re unmanly if they’re feminine; that violence is manly.


      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        “…I mean that men are accountable to creating a culture of men where it’s considered unmanly to be violent.”

        At a prior school, we contracted with this amazing tae-kwon-do instructor, who came in and gave lessons for students aged 4-10. I can’t speak to his TKD skills or prowess, but I would often watch his lessons because his approach was jaw-dropping. There was at least a 2-to-1 ratio between any mention of the words kick/hit/punch/etc. and use of terms/phrases related to self-control, discipline, using their brain, avoiding conflict, etc. in favor of the latter group.

        We also offered an after-school yoga program for similarly aged kids. One of my students, an energetic 5-year-old boy, was signed up by his mother for yoga. It did not go well. The sustained calmness that yoga called for simply wasn’t doing it for this kid. I recommended TKD. “I don’t want him to become more physical,” responded his mom. “Trust me. With this guy, he won’t.” Now, this wasn’t a kid prone to violence… he was just active… a bouncy boy. But the TKD guy, as I anticipated, did wonders for him. And I never once saw this boy or any of his other students even strike a TKD pose, be it real or in play.

        That’s the sort of guy, who no one in their right mind would call anything but a pretty manly dude, we should be looking to as we shape our boys and young men. Whether he thought about it in such terms or not, he was challenging a lot of traditional tropes of masculinity, shifting the paradigm, without shedding the more beneficial traits we tend to associate with manliness.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        If men are to be less violent, perhaps we might demand some accountability from women for the dreadful culture of girl-on-girl bullying. After raising two daughters, I’ve long since concluded girls are every bit as cruel as boys and far more inventive in their ways of exercising it.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:


        The two are unrelated. Demanding less violence in male culture is not and need not be predicated on less violence (physical, emotional, or otherwise) in female culture.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        The two are intrinsically related. Raise a couple of daughters and get back to me with how violence manifests in young American girls.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        I am not arguing about the issue of violence among girls and women.

        But when someone says, “Men would be well served to work to reduce violence amongst themselves,” a response of, “What about violence amongst women?” is… well… strange.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        “Muslims would be well served to work to reduce violence amongst themselves.”

        “What about violence among Christians???”

        Seems to work okay here.Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        Kazzy- There isn’t really any “male culture” within which to work. Men are a heterogeneous group. Men are part of all sorts of different cultures, without specifying in much more detail, “male culture” is just impossibly vague. That doesn’t mean men shouldn’t work against violence in their groups to which they belong, they should.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        Do you think it’s okay there? Or do you think I think it’s okay there?Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        The one is not predicated on the other. Everyone’s full of good ideas for men to implement. Considerably less is said about women’s roles in the raising of girls. It’s a complete double standard. Of course, it isn’t “strange” to notice the dead silence on this particular frequency, despite the epidemic of bullied girls committing suicide.
        Where are the women’s voices in all this, stating the obvious, that as surely as men are ought to be accountable to create a culture of men where it’s considered unmanly to be violent — too often, women live in a culture that is completely silent on the distinctly unladylike tendency to bully. It’s a hideous epidemic all the way up the food chain, well into the corporate world. I’ve seen it. The worst enemies a woman will ever have on her way to the top — are other women.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        “Considerably less is said about women’s roles in the raising of girls.”

        If you really think this, you simply aren’t paying attention.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        @jaybird : Heh. This. The hideous majority of religious violence is intramural.

        Longest civil war in history, the Irish religious wars, Christians fighting Christians. Six and a half fishing centuries of that mess. Sunnis and Shiites have been fighting since Hussain was murdered in the Battle of Karbala, 680 AD.

        The curious part of sexism is how it’s enforced within gender. The massacre of the Muslims at Srebrenica: the Serbs only went for the boys, not the girls. Gender-cide. I’ve seldom heard any discussion of how gender roles are viciously enforced, not by one gender upon the other, but within gender.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        Not paying attention? Where’s it being discussed? Not around here it isn’t. Your pique is duly noted and duly discarded as such. Instead, it’s nostrums and suggestions about how men should fix this problem.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        I’ve seldom heard any discussion of how gender roles are viciously enforced, not by one gender upon the other, but within gender.

        I think that’s exactly zic’s point, actually.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        @zic, unrelated but this is something that I wonder about. Lots of religions like to preach about how gentle their founder was but lots of cultures that adhere to said religions disparage gentleness in men. Its a weird situation.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        @leeesq (and in case this is threaded in the wrong place,) most of our religions seem to rest on gentle founders, but I agree, we don’t celebrate gentle men. Pop-culture cartoon would be that they’re spineless wormboys and all sorts of other feminine stuff.

        Sometimes, I wonder if it’s a fear of being penetrated, triggered by powerful lust and urges to penetrate. Do not want to be the victim of what I dream of doing.

        This line of pondering spurred by my trans friend whose begun HRT, and what she said in response to realigning her hormone levels to a more female balance.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        @kazzy, I’ve also seen ‘active’ boys (and girls) benefit from martial arts programs; my cousin (one of the highest-ranked weapons-masters in the US) started when he was having trouble settling in in school; about 4th grade. Went on to graduate with honors, become an officer in the Navy, and left to run a dojo and care for his kids; his wife’s career Navy and spends good chunks of time at sea.

        He’s a good man, strong and gentle, both. Caring.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        Lots of religions like to preach about how gentle their founder was but lots of cultures that adhere to said religions disparage gentleness in men. Its a weird situation.

        Got any statistics to support that? Beat your wife in an Evangelical Protestant context, you’ll be expelled from the church. We’re kinda serious about Ephesians 5, where husbands are instructed to love their wives and cherish them.

        Do you know the Ku Klux Klan would ride out and flog wife-beaters? That’s a deeply Protestant thing. We’re very down on the abuse of women. True, many churches are a bit old-fashioned about women in the pulpit, but we’ve always had this thing about abusive men.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        @blaisep, disapproval of domestic violence is not the same thing as gentleness. Real gentleness requires a general non-violent and kind demeanor towards everybody, not just your wife and kids.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        Yes, yes, gentleness and wisdom and listening for the still, small voice of reason among the shrieking winds all around us….

        Om mane padme hum… etc.

        Lee, In this vale of tears, ere we shuffle off this mortal coil, people will contend for dominance, as do all living things. Even in the forest floor, the trees will fight for sunlight. Pelican chicks will persecute the weakest chick in the nest, driving it out to starve.

        Gentleness arises from Latin, gentilis, related by blood. Clans, families, that sort of thing. We don’t attack our own. The word began to gather all this wool and rubbish around itself when the high-born stopped swinging swords and started wearing lace and sent forth others to do their dirty work for them. Hence gentleman.

        Men live in the perpetual shadow of Testosterone, the Molecule of Rage. An individual can learn impulse control, learn to master his emotions, learn kindness, channel his urges and desires. But there’s no suppressing the influence of testosterone. Give it to women, they’ll get aggressive, too. Remove a man’s testicles, as the Chinese and Ottomans did with their eunuchs, they’ll get as catty and vicious as women.

        Lee, it is not a very nice world out there. People will go on contending for dominance. We might hope they would fight by improved rules, that they would refrain from violence, that they would learn respect for each other. But there will be winners and losers, for those struggles will continue.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        “Not paying attention? Where’s it being discussed? Not around here it isn’t.” @blaisep
        Well, how many women do we have ’round these parts? That might answer your question. If this is the sole place you dialogue with folks, you are getting a rather narrow slice of the world.

        At my work, where my closest colleagues are overwhelmingly women, we regularly discuss emotional violence, particularly among the young girls. We are all well aware that the type of violence more often seen among boys (the physical variety) is easier to see but no less harmful than the type of violence more often seen among girls (the emotional variety), and therefor requires a more concerted effort to identify and root out. I am working on bringing in a professional to work with our middle and upper school girls on developing healthy relationships with themselves and each other and avoiding the cycle of self-hatred and hatred of the other that our society so often foists on young women. My area just hosted a conference for young girls designed in part to celebrate those among them who effected positive change in their communities.

        So, yea, it is being talked about and worked on. We’re far from the mountaintop, but please take a moment to consider that your experiences might not mirror those of the entire world.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        What is your point, Kazzy? I read all the comments, yet curiously, not even you have brought up the point that women have essential roles in the raising of girls.

        Now unless you, Kazzy, enlightened male, wants to go into the girls’ bathroom to sort out what goes on in that snake pit, and it absolutely is a snake pit, ask any girl who ever lived — there is nothing meaner on God’s grey earth than a fifth grade girl, to other fifth grade girls.

        Do you propose to go in that bathroom? Some very nasty bullying goes on in there. I’ve had to deal with the fallout of what goes on in there in the lives of my own daughters. Just a word of advice — make sure that specialist can go in those girls’ bathrooms. Healthy relationships start when bullying is detected and punished. Celebrate that, if and when your professional comes to the conclusions understood by every bullied girl who’s ever gone in those bathrooms — and the parents of the girls who’ve come out of them in tears.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        My point, @blaisep , is that you are wrong. You said no one wants to talk about female violence and the role of women in preventing it. And when I tell you flat out that I sit amongst women everyday engaged in just that talk and just that work, you want to change subjects, make it about me. No dice. I don’t see the need to discuss here what women ought to do because the women I know in the real world are already doing what they ought to do. Furthermore, I try to focus my energies on what I can control. Hence my focus on the role of men in the development of boys.

        Huff and puff all you want, but you are wrong. Make this about you or me or whatever other tricks you like to pull- fact remains is you are wrong.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        “Beat your wife in an Evangelical Protestant context, you’ll be expelled from the church. We’re kinda serious about Ephesians 5, where husbands are instructed to love their wives and cherish them.”
        … I’m kinda thinking that’s culture specific, not religion specific. And I’m certain I can cite a few cultures that create havens for wife-beating.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

        Beat your wife in an Evangelical Protestant context, you’ll be expelled from the church.

        Because church is no place for sinners.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        @blaisep, the world is a tough and ungentle place. Your right about that. Thats why we must do hard work and make the world gentle.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        The great Zen gardens of Kyoto were built at the height of a great civil war. We look at them today, astonished at their beauty and serenity. They were models of the Buddhist paradises, refuges from the seemingly endless wars beyond their walls.

        I can’t buy into Gentleness as the answer to conflict. Too often it’s merely passivity in the face of great evils. Albert Camus once said “We’re always deluding ourselves about those we love. At first, such delusion is to their advantage, later, to their disadvantage.” Really, the best we can hope for are better rules for conflict. There’s no refuge in the building of karensansui gardens in our minds. The trouble does not lie beyond the wall, but within ourselves.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      The preference for giving women custody of children is very recent in legal terms, it dates from the same time of modern divorce laws. Before the mid-20th century, it was the father’s that got custody. In general, it seems that this system usually works better than the older system even if more than a few men get screwed by it.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        Before the 20th century, there wasn’t much question about custody. Family law didn’t exist. Men did not get custody as readily as all that: divorce was exclusively governed by hugely different state laws. I don’t think SCOTUS has much to say about it until TroxelReport

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        Maybe, maybe not. I dunno. What does strike me as interesting is not the judicial assumptions being made but the societal ones that automatically assume that he was in the wrong and otherwise he wouldn’t be in the position he’s in… and the MRM gives him a “safe” place where he can go and say “I have been wronged” without being told about what has, historically, been the case for people in his position and without someone wondering aloud if there wouldn’t be a better situation all around if people with his gender had done more in other areas.

        He can go there and say “I have been wronged” and hear “That sucks.”Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        practically every Jewish woman in NYC who got abandoned by her husband (circa early 1900’s) had “custody” of the kids. Granted, she was penniless…Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

      The general assumption is always that he must have done something really wrong to be in the situation he’s in. “What did you do to make her do that?”

      Had he perhaps been unattractive, or failed either to be handsome or to be attractive?Report

  10. Avatar Glyph says:

    Tod – both this and the linked Beast piece are excellent. You may want to add a note to this one explaining what “dox” means, and there is a typo (I think) in the Beast piece, re: Hembling’s story of intervening in a rape (I think it is supposed to read “criminal assault”, but instead reads “Crimean assault”).Report

  11. Avatar Rose Woodhouse says:

    Just read your Daily Beast article. Really great work, Tod.

    Obviously, I was interested in the claim that women are unable to have a moral compass, since in fact I teach moral theory and am a woman. He acknowledges there are female exceptions; perhaps I am one of them. Yet I have noticed no particular advantage among the males in the class. The article in which he argues that women are amoral seems to have the following evidence:

    1) A female reporter willfully misrepresented his views.

    2) People don’t pass false belief tests until they are four. Thus, women are four years old, morally speaking.

    As it happens, early childhood development of theory of mind, empathy, and creativity is my area of expertise in cog sci. (a) What he says is false. Many tests now show that children likely understand false beliefs in others as young as eight months, but are unable to verbalize it. (b) I am unaware of any sex differences on these tests. (c) Even if it were true that theory of mind (i.e., awareness that mental states of others are different than one’s own) emerged at 3 or 4, what does that have to do with anything? He seems to be claiming something along the lines that there’s a developmental window for morality. If you don’t educate them by 4 they are stuck at a 4 year old level. But the fact that a false belief detection ability emerges about the same time in most people does not imply there’s a developmental window for it. (d) Because there’s a developmental window for a sensory modality, such as hearing, says nothing about developmental windows for other cognitive processes, especially such complex ones as moral reasoning. (e) Theory of mind (which these false belief tests detect) may be necessary for morality; they are certainly not sufficient. (f) There are tests of moral development directly, not theory of mind indirectly. No great male/female differences. Some tests show men tend to emphasize rules/justice, women tend to emphasize care for loved ones. But mostly moral reasoning mostly overlaps. (g) He doesn’t say how women fail to be educated properly within that developmental window.

    3) Since men are stronger than women, women would have an evolutionary advantage only by being cunning. This is, shall we say, a wee bit speculative. First of all, this assumes that women are competing against males for the same resources. That may be. Yet cross-culturally women and men usually work in partnerships (of varying responsibilities and expectations). If they are directly competitive with males, this assumes there is no other tack a woman can take. For example, generosity is admired in all cultures. So women could be hard-wired to be generous. Etc. It is worth noting that manipulation, which what he accuses women of being evolutionarily programmed for, requires a well-developed theory of mind.

    4) A six-year-old boy fell and broke his leg and hit his head. A female teacher refused to carry him. The boy’s mother took him to the hospital (which is an odd behavior for an amoral psychopath).

    5) More men die in workplace accidents, yet feminist charities cater to the needs of women. Well, animal rights charities cater to the needs of animals, Alzheimer’s charities cater to the needs of Alzheimer’s victims, etc. Are they all psychopathic?

    6) Hannah Rosin’s son was informed by her daughter that men are inferior.

    And that is the sum total of the evidence. One clearly immoral female (the teacher), one female who misunderstood him, feminists charities, Hannah Rosin’s daughter (a bit of a problem of induction here) and some uninformed speculative stuff about evolutionary and developmental psych.

    It’s phrased as if it is an argument. I mean, it is an argument. But not even a remotely valid one, much less a sound one. Yet I am struck that people believe this.Report

    • Avatar NewDealer says:

      re: #6

      Are you referring to a Slate video where Hannah Rosin had her son and daughter debate and the daughter talked about how the girls were better at sitting quietly in class and following instructions and doing work? I seem to recall that.

      How much of this is a combination of pre-teen boys and girls generally not knowing how to get along yet and elementary school taunts combined with sibling rivalry and argumentation?

      Though there are many women (most notably Christina Hoff Summers) who argue that schools are failing boys because they teach in a way that is more geared towards girls. Though Hoff Summers gets dismissed a lot because she is a conservative and arguing something that seems like gender essentialism or difference feminism as far as I can tell.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        A few months ago, the New York Times had an article about this. One notable thing in the article was that it note disciplinary problems among boys in school were common even when only boys went to school like in Elizabethan England. Its not so much as schools are geared to girls as girls are geared towards how we decided to educated kids.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer says:


        Now that is interesting. Perhaps education is just controlled by the bookish and those who can study and sit still and pay attention for long periods of time.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Its not so much as schools are geared to girls as girls are geared towards how we decided to educated kids.

        This is quite true. It’s the benefit (in a way) to the extent that young girls are trained to “go along” much more than young boys are. That doesn’t mean that there’s not something going on, but the “War Against Boys” narrative relies on the belief of inherent differences. Which I think there are, but there is nonetheless a lot of cultural direction.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        ND, pretty much yes. Nearly all examples of education are based on students paying attention and listening to people talk. At least academic education. We might have kids do experiments or engage in discussion or debate on certain subjects but everything requires the ability to sit still and listen for long periods of time. This seems to have been true since human cultures discovered writing and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was true in oral-based cultures as well.

        Most cultures do not raise girls to act wildly. Girls are supposed to act in polite and well-behaved manner. Wild behavior from boys is much more encouraged. Naturally, girls end up easier to educate.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        I would say it is both/and. There is real research about sex differences among young children. Sight and hearing development is wildly different; fine and gross motor development. These things then become self-reinforcing. Boys typically develop gross motor skills earlier. So they are drawn to more gross motor tasks. The gross motor skills then get ever strong. Likewise with girls and fine motor tasks. Much of this has to do with eye and brain development. And schools at earlier and earlier ages show a preference for fine motor tasks over gross motor tasks.Report

    • Avatar NewDealer says:

      Oh I see you were arguing against the guy in the article. Never mind.Report

    • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

      I was interested in the claim that women are unable to have a moral compass, since in fact I teach moral theory and am a woman

      Those who can, do…Report

    • Avatar Chris says:

      I’d love to see that dude and Simon Baron-Cohen debate gender differences in empathy.Report

  12. Avatar Rose Woodhouse says:

    Tod, I really love how you emphasize that there is a real issue they are fighting for that is getting lost in their horrible tactics. Is there any other movement anyone can think of that is so self-sabotaged?Report

    • Avatar NewDealer says:

      Somewhat related but the anti-circumcision movement. I’m in San Francisco and the anti-circumcision movement is not really associated with MRM in my mind. Here it is associated with a subset of gay men and also hippie-types (both men and women)

      A few summers ago the movement tried to get a ballot initiative that would ban circumcision in San Francisco (and just cause people to go South, East, or North Bay to get it done). I don’t know if they were ever going to be successful but they pretty much damned themselves by publishing an extremely anti-Semitic comic book called foreskin man.


      Notice the Blond and Buff hero and the enemy is called Mohel Man.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        On lots of sites aimed at men, whether run by MRA or not, you get a lot of griping about circumcision. Its piece of useless dangling skin people, get over it.

        In retrospect, mass circumcision might have been a mistake regardless of the health benefits since it seemed to have led to a movement that could potentially threaten Jewishness. The assault on circumcision in Europe and to a lesser extent in the rest of the developed world is deeply problematic.Report

      • Avatar Nathaniel Costo says:

        “Its piece of useless dangling skin people, get over it. ”

        No, it is not.Report

      • Avatar James K says:

        Its piece of useless dangling skin people, get over it.

        So’s your earlobe, that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to run around cutting them off children.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer says:


        I notice no one is addressing the anti-Semitism of the tactic tried in San FranciscoReport

      • Avatar James K says:


        I notice no one is addressing the anti-Semitism of the tactic tried in San Francisco

        Yeah, that was definitely bad. I didn’t mention it because I felt it’s badness spoke for itself.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        @james-k, circumcision is an absolute necessity for the current existence of the Jewish people. It is so essential that when Reform movement in Judaism was getting rid off all other Jewish traditions like kashrut and niddah entirely during the 19th century, they decided to still require circumcision. They knew that would be a bridge to far. I’m sorry but circumcision on the 8th day must be allowed. To disallow it would be an act of genocide and I am being very earnest with that belief. No circumcision on the 8th day means that the Jewish people disappear.Report

      • Avatar Cascadian says:

        Talk about embodying the post. Sorry Lee, I’m not huge on religious freedom. It seems reserved for a few select clubs and not really applied consistently enough to mean anything. I don’t really care about circumcision. I don’t think it’s that damaging being cut myself.

        However, when you start talking about genocide on religious grounds you immediately go into the same category as Jennifer Rubens. In a way I can no longer hear you. I imagine this is a problem for the men’s movement as well. They have a hard time being heard once categorized, perhaps undeservedly.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        @cascadian, we have been circumcising ourselves for thousands of years and made a mark of our identity quite literally. Nearly every group that attempted to eliminate Jewishness since the Selucid dynasty has tried to do so by first targeting circumcision. This isn’t a religious freedom argument, its about our right to exist. ND and I aren’t the world’s most religious Jews by a long shot but we recognize circumcision as key.

        I’m sorry but the Jewish people have been through too much to allow for another group to take a swing at us. Leave us alone, we do not seek to impose ourselves on the world. Stop trying to impose your values on us.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        The assault on circumcision in Europe and to a lesser extent in the rest of the developed world is deeply problematic.

        This is strange framing. I think what you view as an “assault” is for the most part merely the expression of wonderment and challenge regarding the practice of cutting off body parts for no justifiable reason. And the parts of infants, no less. If adults were to choose circumcision, that would be a whole other thing.

        And the suggestion that criticism of circumcision is primarily on attack religious identity doesn’t really cut any ice with the types of arguments people make opposing the practice. I mean, it entails mutilating the body of a few-day-old for arbitrary reasons.

        I really don’t understand the defensiveness, to be honest.Report

      • Avatar Cascadian says:

        Sorry Lee, any attempt to combine religion with genealogy is going to misfire with me. I’m up with supporting ethnic Jews, I’m going to have a problem supporting any religious practices or definitions. Problems with women praying at The Wall, or gays marching in Jerusalem is more than just a problem of optics.

        I’m on the outside of this argument. I don’t particularly care. However, when outlandish claims are made on one side or the other, I tend to discount their positions. Sometimes, you end up with a pox on all their houses.

        I don’t see how this is anything other than a religious freedom argument. Unless Jewish kids die disproportionately from not being circumcised, a possibility I suppose.Report

      • Avatar James K says:

        If your culture can’t survive without mutilating innocent children then it doesn’t deserve to. If adults want to get circumcised, then they should feel free (I’ll define “adult” here at about the age a person is considered competent to make their own medical decisions, say 16), but you don’t get to make permanent cosmetic alterations to children. If circumcision is inherent to Judaism then find a way to move it to later in life.

        Freedom of religion doesn’t mean you get to do whatever you want just because you have some ancient book that tells you to, otherwise shall we permit Female Genital Mutilation too? It differs from circumcision in degree, not kind. For that matter, I recall an incident in your holy book involving human sacrifice too, shall we also permit that?Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        @james-k It’s not that i disagree with you about religion but parents are free to not get their children vaccinated or feed them McD’s and Poptarts everyday ( i’ve actually known parents who pretty much did this) or get loudly drunk in front of them as long as they don’t physically abuse them.Report

      • Avatar James K says:


        There’s a difference between sub-optimal parenting and mutilating your child.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer says:


        It is simple attempt at the Aryanization of the Jewish people, pure and simple. Another attempt at de-judizing in a long line of thousands of years of attempts. It says that the Jewish or Muslim body is inferior to the Aryan body.


        Circumcision does not nothing to lessen male sexual pleasure like female circumcision does.


        This is probably a fool’s errand what religions do you think get freedom of religion and which do not? Can you cite examples?


        The case above seems to be the Supreme Court protecting a minority religion and one that is out of the mainstream.

        How does being opposed to freedom of religion do anything but establish Christian dominance?Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

        I can’t help but notice that the presumably necessary method for keeping together the existence of your people involves forcing the identity on them begire they are old enough to make their own choices about whether to identify or not.

        Jews are not alone in this. Catholics baptize their infants, and Muslims claim everyone is Muslim at birth and the rest of us are just apostates.

        For me the very idea conflicts with my upbringing. My protestant church allowed, but did not require, infant baptism, and my mom came from a Mennonite tradition which explicitly rejects it, believing that joining the community must be a conscious intentional choice.

        But of course Mennonites aren’t linking faith and ethnicity as Jews are. Still, even though we non-Jews are fully aware of the ugly history of irrational Jewish persecution, it’s hard for us to fathom how the Jews could disappear without that practice. The Mennonites have not disappeared. The Amish, who are adult baptizers like the Mennonites, have not disappeared.

        I’m really not trying to Aryanize you, but the claim as presented is not made comprehensible to us.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        @james-k – granted that I think Lee and ND are overstating things a bit with talk of genocide etc., and that there should be very real concern with performing a non-medically-necessary surgical procedure on infants, and that there are very real questions of where we draw the line of “religious freedom” vs. “possible cruelty/crimes”.

        But we do the other side of these questions no favors with talk that is nearly as overblown.

        shall we permit Female Genital Mutilation too? It differs from circumcision in degree, not kind.

        Eh, not really. Unless you also think Phineas Gage basically just got a “facial piercing”.

        For that matter, I recall an incident in your holy book involving human sacrifice too, shall we also permit that?

        If you mean “Isaac”, that one was commuted by a last minute call from The Governor. Any other instances of human sacrifice in the Hebrew Bible are on Moloch and Friends AFAIK.

        Full disclosure: I’m cut, and we cut my son after some debate, for reasons of cultural tradition, absence of evidence of great risk of any serious harm (my son is the first of three children, which attests to my satisfactory attainment of both the pleasurable and reproductive aspects of circumcised sex), and the (at that time) growing evidence that circumcision might be helpful as a prophylactic measure against STD’s (though this last remains in contention).Report

      • Avatar James K says:


        Eh, not really. Unless you also think Phineas Gage basically just got a “facial piercing”.

        It’s a big degree, but it’s a violation of bodily autonomy either way.

        If you mean “Isaac”, that one was commuted by a last minute call from The Governor.

        That was an overblown point for rhetorical effect I’ll admit. But there are any number of infractions that the Bible / Pentateuch calls upon you to kill your children for. Why anyone would consider such works as an acceptable guide to child welfare utterly baffles me.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        Glyph, I do not necessarily think that genocide needs to take the form of a planned war of extermination. You can commit cultural genocide by placing barriers on or making it illegal to do acts that a particular group considers important with the hopes that the group would give up and assimilate out of existence. Its much more gentle than hard genocide but soft genocide is still an attempt at it. Brit millah has been considered an absolute necessity for Jewish boys and men since before the time we were called Jews. Even at their most radical, the liberal forms of Judaism dare not get rid of the brit millah when they got rid of everything else. Thats a pretty clear indiciatino that even the most radical of Jewish thinkers saw that circumcision was existenital necessary for Jewish existence and that Jewishness requires it.

        James, under Jewish thought while personal or as we call them I-Thou relationships with God exist, the main relationship is between God and the entire Jewish community. This relationship is basically seen as contractional, brit means covenant, and the Hebrew for circumcision is a brit millah. Circumcision on the eighth day is a sign that you entered into the contract and its basically seen as non-optional. Like I said repeatedly, even the most radical of Jewish reformers during the 19th century, ones that sought to get rid of practically every other ritual, kept circumcision. Its really considered that important.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        @leeesq – I wouldn’t support a circumcision ban. But you have to realize where people are coming from on this (what it might look like to you, if it weren’t your religion and your heritage), and talk of 8-day-old babies somehow making “contracts” doesn’t help. It just makes me want to give babies contracts that sign all their candy over to me for life.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        It seems like the first two questions we have to answer are, (1) Are there benefits to circumcision, and (2) Do the benefits justify what is by definition bodily manipulation, manipulation that does have real, life-long consequences (though comparing it to female circumcision is absurd).

        The answer to (1) is almost certainly yes, as the evidence is mounting. The answer to (2) is something we have to decide as a society first, and then as individual parents.

        After that we can start talking about cultures that practice circumcision for cultural reasons. I’m wary of allowing bodily mutilation for religious reasons only, but there are really difficult issues to talk through here. Talk of genocide doesn’t help, but neither does out of hand dismissal of religious concerns.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        @chris – in the name of religious freedom, I’m probably willing to lower the bar from “are there benefits” to “is there a lack of evidence of great risk of serious harm”*. Otherwise I also have to ban piercing little girls’ ears. While I’d shed no tears if this were the case, it’s possible there are religious or cultural groups that feel strongly that little girls’ ears should be pierced, and in the absence of evidence of serious risk of harm, I’d be inclined to let them.

        *And to be clear, the relative reproductive success of Jewish, Muslim, and Christian cultures that practice male circumcision makes me think circumcision’s not putting too much of a ding in their ding-a-lings.Report

      • Avatar Cascadian says:

        @newdealer “what religions do you think get freedom of religion and which do not? Can you cite examples?” This isn’t hard. The Utah war against mormons would easily qualify. Polygamy is an aspect of a couple of religions that aren’t given accommodation. It wasn’t that long ago that Catholics were discriminated against. I would love to open a chain of temples to Aphrodite, Bacchus, and Dionysus. I would very quickly be the leader of the largest organized religion in the world….. mwhahhahh.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        Glyph, I realize that the anti-circumcision faction are coming from philosophical schools of thought that see the individual as supreme over the community and place premium desires on an individual choosing whats good for an individual. Although the Mohel Man comic reveals that certain members of the group do not have the most innocent thoughts about Jews and probably blame us for the entire mess.

        What I’m attempting to do, and probably failing at, is trying to explain why circumcision is considered an extraordinrily important rite in Jewish thought.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer says:

        I should add that I was circumcised by a doctor and if I ever had a son or sons would probably go for the same medically sound way of doing so with the a symbolic bris to follow.


        There was an essay a few years ago in the NY Times about a pediatrician who transplanted from the Northeast to Miami. She said she was wary of piercing the ears of babies at first but decided to do it because the parents would do so anyway and she wanted it to be safe over sorry.

        My language might be hypberbolic but it is in response to the hyperbolic charge of mutilation. Circumcision is an alternation but to call it mutilation is absurd for the reasons mentioned and there are documented medical benefits to the practice of male circumcision. The claim made my James K that a dysfunctional and borderline abusive parent is better than a Jewish parent simply because of non-circumcision is really absurd. On its face absurd.


        I said Aryanization because it seems to me that there is often an implicit if not explicit thing in this debate about the looks of circumcisized penis being sub-optimal or absurd. To be fair, I have seen the debate go the other way as well. One woman wrote an essay on slate about how her female pediatrician urged circumcision by telling the author “Don’t you want your son to ever receive a blowjob?”* However, Jews have a long history of how the perceived differences and sub-optimal nature of our bodies have been used as justifications for othering and prejudice and proof of inferiority to Nordic-Aryan European stock. There is a bit of militancy in being proud of my Jewish looks and body because of this.

        For further detail see: The Jewish Body by Melvin Konner, a physician and anthropologist out of Emory.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer says:


        I know people who at least said they worshiped the Ancient Greek gods. Okay one person and I have no idea what she did to practice her religion. She did get angry when I described Ares as a drama queen though.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:


        I’m circumcised, so to me Aryanization as non-circumcision doesn’t really compute. Maybe I was Jewicized? 😉

        The cultural argument bears precious little weight for me. Footbinding and female circumcision were/are cultural practices, too, and I don’t think that remotely excuses them. The only reason I don’t get worked up about circumcision is that the level of harm seems not to rise to the level of harm caused by those practices. Doesn’t mean it’s really OK, just not a particularly pressing issue.Report

    • Avatar Patrick says:

      Is there any other movement anyone can think of that is so self-sabotaged?

      The Tea Party?Report

  13. I haven’t read the comments yet and maybe then I’ll have more to say, but I just wanted to say first, great post, and second, for some reason, I hadn’t read your “pick-up artist” post at the time you published it. I’m gonna try to read it now.Report

  14. Now that I’ve read the comments (and the Daily Beast article), I can say that I agree with most of the commenters who state that the mrm is taking on the wrong target. In fact, as Noah Berlatzky pointed out last May at the Atlantic, much of the sexism men experience is more usefully seen as a consequence of anti-female discrimination. In other words, men, too, have much to gain from feminism.

    Still, this is a difficult issue for me. Intellectually, I understand and agree with Berlatzky’s argument (and he’s not the first to make the argument), but at an emotional level, some of what the mrm claims to advocate for strongly appeals to me. I certainly don’t endorse the outlandish claims and the apologetics for violence against women, and I’m even inclined to look skeptically at some of the factually true claims that Tod cites.* But I have a tendency to think of myself sometimes as an aggrieved individual by virtue of being male, and my aggrievedness extends beyond the arguably justifiable concerns that Tod mentions.

    *I’m not questioning Tod’s statement that the claims he mentions are true. But I am skeptical about what to do with at least some of them. For example, if shelters serve men poorly, is that in part because men in general might have more resources to escape an abusive situation? I suspect the answer is at least partially yes, although I’m unsure of exactly where my answer, if it’s true, leaves us in terms of what should be done. I imagine at least some males have less means of escape and could be well served by shelters.Report

    • Avatar NewDealer says:

      I think where men have and can still benefit from feminism is having a wider range of activities that they can do and still be considered masculine. Just like women fight for a wider-range of activities and to be still considered feminine.

      There is still a lot of lowest common denominator aspects to discussions of masculinity and the idea that real men (TM) are outdoorsy, more about action than thought, prefer sports to art and literature, etc.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        While expanding the set of behaviors viewed as appropriate for both genders is a praise-worthy goal, I do not know if this is exactly happening. There is still a lot of pressure on men to adhere to traditional gender roles in many groups. Outside liberal, upper-middle class I’d argue that men are still stuck in the same pre-feminist gender roles, especially in working class or lower-middle class environments.Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        I think there is some change in gender roles even in working class men. Not as much as in middle/upper class men, but i see lots of men more willing to do more direct child rearing. Just the fact that far more men fight for more time with their children is evidence that men are now expected to be more involved with their children. Even if some of those men fighting for time are doing it to avoid paying child support ( which is certainly true) or more out of societal expectation it is still a change.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        I also agree, @leeesq and @pierre-corneille. And @greginak, I agree that the roles are changing, too. This is a good thing, and we should celebrate it.Report

      • @leeesq

        Outside liberal, upper-middle class I’d argue that men are still stuck in the same pre-feminist gender roles, especially in working class or lower-middle class environments.

        I see where you’re coming from, and you might very well be right on the whole. Still, you might also be surprised to what degree working-class families might endorse going beyond traditional gender roles, or at least in practice go beyond gender roles. For many working heterosexual families, it’s not unusual for the woman and the man to each have a job/career to make ends meet. Perhaps in many of those cases, the woman still ends up having to do the lion’s share of the childcare and housework, but I imagine in at least a certain number of cases, the men also take up some of the slack. How big that “certain number of cases” is, I’m not sure.

        Also, one working-class (but affluent) family I know is very progressive on matters of accepting gay people, and they were before acceptance was less popular. They accept their gay family member and her partner pretty much unconditionally.

        Finally, I’m not convinced that “liberal, upper-middle class” families necessarily adopt feminist or feminist friendly practices. My anecdata are fewer than they are for working-class families (at least when it comes to supporting my argument), but I’ve known at least a few couples that qualify as both “liberal” and “upper-middle class” who seem to adopt something approaching the so-called traditional gender roles.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        but I’ve known at least a few couples that qualify as both “liberal” and “upper-middle class” who seem to adopt something approaching the so-called traditional gender roles.

        I’ve known a few couples that reverse the traditional gender roles. This may be a function of economics (I think it is, from what I know about those couples) but it also shows an openness to changing traditional gender-role assignments that – as zic said upthread somewhere – ought to be celebrated. Money affords people many different types of luxuries, no?Report

    • Avatar LKA says:

      This implies that when a form of sexism against women is no long in effect then the male analog is also taken out of play. But we have seen that this is not the case. Correlation =/= causation
      Prejudice and discrimination against men can exist even without the same for women. A example would be when hold on to this belief that of equal employment and only looking a occupations that the majority of men will not achieve either while a number of less glamorous jobs that male dominated if only because men are the only ones willing to do them. Arguments that women are as capable in fields of soldier, police officer, firefighter; but coal miner, oil rig worker, lumber jack, plumber, sewer inspector, landfill miner, or waste collector still remain unpersuaded. How about the notion that female on male violence is not as server then the other way around due to size; which is an argument that falls in on itself as size between men in male on male violence isn’t much concern except in extreme cases.Report

  15. Avatar NewDealer says:

    I think I would have a hard time taking a political idea or any idea seriously if someone made their talking points on pop or geek culture references. To be fair, I was equally dismissive of someone who argued against intervention in Syria and tried to use the Prime Directive as a talking point. The Prime Directive example is probably worse because it treats Syrians as non-human. The red pill at least has a kind of “allegory of the cave” aspect of it. But it is still horrible and shows a tilt towards conspiracy theory which I loathe.

    My previous exposure to MRM did seem to be from guy’s who got the raw end in a divorce deal. I never knew these guys personally but in media reports they were the ones who got covered. Sometimes they did wacky stunts. I seem to recall a bunch of British guys dressed up as Batman to show the one-sided nature of custody agreements in the UK.

    Didn’t one the MRM leaders commit suicide in the past few months or year? I seem to recall hearing about that as well. He ran a shelter for battered men out of his garage I think.

    I find it interesting that that MRM is deeply concerned with circumcision (do they associate it with castration?) In SF, the big proponents of anti-circumcision are gay men and hippie-types not really people I associate with MRM.

    You are right that they have some valid points but probably have already lost by handing leadership to their most comical of spokespeople.Report

    • The matrix slogan doesn’t appeal to me, either. For one thing, I wasn’t all that thrilled with the movie (not a Keanu Reeves fan, and although the plot struck me as interesting, it just wasn’t my cup of tea).

      I hadn’t heard the prime directive argument against Syrian intervention, but I don’t think it’s necessarily dehumanizing. My understanding of the PD is that it entailed respect for other cultures and others’ sovereignty, and the other cultures’ being non-human had more to do with the fact we’re talking about space travel. I would object to the PD argument on two other grounds, however. First, Kirk, Picard, et al., seem to disregard the PD almost every chance they get. Second, I don’t have a lot of respect for Syrian sovereignty if “sovereignty” is taken to mean whatever Assad wants to do. I oppose the intervention, but not out of any sympathy for Assad.

      Back to your main point, however, I suspect that if we scratch the surface of a lot of causes, not just backlash-reactionary ones like the mrm’s advocate often end up portraying mrm as, but also progressive ones, you might find they use slogans that originated in popular culture and evince elements of conspiracy mindedness. So while such slogans are a cause for suspicion, we need to look more closely into what they are actually arguing. (This is hard for me to do when it comes to arguments I’m poorly disposed to agree with.)Report

  16. Avatar NewDealer says:

    Are there any reliable statistics on child-custody arrangements after divorce or separation?

    As in: What percentage result in the wife getting sole custody? What percentage result in the husband getting sole custody? What percentage result in some kind of split arrangement or something other than sole custody to one spouse?

    My friends who were the children of divorce and my friends who are divorced all seem to be part of the split arrangement crowd. One week with dad, one week with mom. Or a few nights a week with dad, a few nights a week with mom. The parents seem to try and get along for the sake of the children. Are there socio-economic-cultural factors to split arrangements being more common in some areas over not?

    Here is something that might be interesting to note. I have some female friends who are in their mid to late 30s and single but they want children. They are holding out for mates because the ideal is still to find a husband and have a two-parent household but a few of them had said that they would consider solo adoption or being a single mom via artificial insemination in order to have kids?

    What would happen to a guy who said he wanted kids but had trouble finding a mate and wanted to do solo adoption? I think culturally we would look at him askance.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      I’d expect that women gaining custody far outnumbers the opposite, but not in a bad way necessarily: women are more likely to want custody, men are more likely not to. Even in cases where custody is contested, I’d expect it to favor women because men are less likely to want it as much and are more likely to want to use it as a bargaining chip in other negotiations.

      So I’m not sure how you can suss this out, statistically.Report

  17. Avatar Brandon Berg says:

    This is a surprisingly (for the topic, not for you) fair take on a movement that, while certainly deserving some criticism, is almost universally treated far more dismissively than it deserves.

    I see the MRM as basically a male version of feminism—and I don’t mean that in a good way—in that they both have legitimate grievances, but go way beyond what is justified by the actual facts in positing a society built around misogyny/misandry. However, feminism is given a far more sympathetic hearing in the mainstream, partly because people naturally find women more sympathetic, and partly because of feminism’s history of having been much better than it is today.Report

    • Avatar NewDealer says:

      The original feminists fought for things like the right to work in professions like law and medicine, the right to vote, the right to stand for political office, equal wages and opportunities for advancement, the right to be taken seriously as thinkers. These are and were legitimate concerns and in some or many areas still need a lot of struggle to get equality.

      MRM might have some legitimate claims but they seem to fixate on the absurd and absolutely untrue stuff like Todd pointed out and seem reduced to a lot of internet trolling over inconsequential things.

      As far as I can tell, the comment section at Slate.com especially the Double XX blog section
      is filled with MRM trolls. They like to accuse Hanna Rosin of only having a journalist career because she married the editor of Slate.com. This ignores the fact that she had a career at the New Republic and Washington Post long before marrying David Plotz. It also ignores the fact that before Hanna Rosin covered “the end of men”*, she was writing about the Christian Fundamentalist movement at places like Patrick Henry College.

      This is true for all the women who post on Slate. They seem to get a lot of troll attacks from the MRM crowd but I think Hanna Rosin, Amanda Marcotte, and Emily Bazelon get the Lion’s share of attacks.

      If the best thing your movement can do is still around the Internet and troll all day, you have a problem. A very big problem.

      *I admit that this is a bit of a hyperbolic title and a better argument would be The End of Some Men but that doesn’t generate TED talks or headlines. Hanna Rosin and her husband are highly educated individuals. I doubt she is worried about her two sons not going to college.Report

      • Avatar Morat20 says:

        So, I guess a shorter version of that would be: “It’s hard to address their real points, since they’re drowned out by slime, misogyny , and horribleness”.

        Which is true enough. I suspect there’s also a certain…difficulty…in getting the legitimate grievances of a privileged class heard in general, even without the fact that the MRM has a serious infestation problem. Sympathetic people with legitimate problems are often drowned out with the far less..legitimate and sympathetic claims of others.

        Just because you’re a privileged class (and men are, by and large, still so versus women) doesn’t meant there can’t be cases or instances where you aren’t and are unfairly discriminated against. But I suppose it’s like the millionaire grieving about how his favorite — and very expensive — painting was destroyed by a leak in the upstairs hot tub to the guys mowing his yard.

        Having a favorite possession destroyed is something we can all sympathize with. But I suspect it’s harder for the guy mowing the yard for minimum wage to sympathize as effectively with the man crying into 1000 dollar a bottle champagne over it than it would be to, say, sympathize with his coworker over a similar issue.Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        There are some things where MRA’s are screwed over more because of class than gender. A working class guy is going to have a much harder time in this economy, especially if worked in construction or other traditionally male labor fields. Women have moved into the medical fields or admin which are doing far better. That isn’t gender per se, its that the changes in the economy have hit certain fields and helped certain fields that just happened to be traditionally bound to men or women.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer says:


        That sounds about right.


        I think you are right that a lot of this might have more to do with class than gender. It would be interesting to do a socio-economic study of the MRM/MRA movement and see how many were blue-collar laborers and destroyed by the Great Recession, Globalization, and the New Economy.Report

    • Avatar Rufus F. says:

      Probably another reason feminism gets a fairer hearing just because there are so many feminists and it’s been around a lot longer. I can’t honestly say I’ve met any men’s rights advocates.Report

  18. Avatar greginak says:

    I work for the court here in custody disputes. They are always nasty and painful for both parties and the children. There is no easy way out for either party and both sides, certainly in the worst cases, end up with having to put up with a lot of crap they don’t like even when they are far more the victim. Tying those facts to women’s or men’s rights’s seems pretty thin in many cases.

    First its important to remember that family law is state law; each state has different laws and rules. Women fare better in some states, men in others. I was told by an attorney that in one southern state, okay NC, that women were told never to disclose being battered by their husbands because it would look like they were doign it soley for an advanatage in teh divorce case.

    I’ll second some of the things i saw up thread. Just as a man may have to pay child support for his children if the mother leaves him, a woman will have to allow the children to see a man who may have hit her, cheated on her, left her or abused the children. It should also be sort of obvious, but if it isn’t, some men treat their wives terribly then get indigently pissed when their spouse leaves them. Having to pay child support is infuriating of course, but the bad marriage is often on both parties.

    Third what everybody needs to remember is how super difficulty it is to figure out what happened in a marriage and divorce. Many of the messiest divorces start with people who had little love for each other in the first place and/or often are generally vengeful people who are prone to bitterness and to hold grudges. I’ve seen plenty of cases where people DID NOT know why they got the crappy result they did in their custody case. They said it was because of xyz and when i read the docs/report it was clearly because of abc. I’ve also seen plenty of cases where people didn’t want to admit that it was that darn DUI that was huge deal in losing their custody battle but preferred to claim it was because the judge was against men/women.

    Finally custody law in general has been getting much better for men in the past couple decades. Far more men get far more time then before. Many states even have it in law that custody should be equally shared unless their is a good reason. I see plenty of men get primary custody of their children. The MRA’s don’t really want to seem to admit any of that.Report

    • Avatar NewDealer says:

      The divorce is a really good point in general. A lot of true and loving relationships can end in divorce but the parents can find ways to work together for the betterment of the kids. Some of my friends really dislike their exes but still manage to do joint custody well and be civil when talking about the kids.

      However, a lot of the other cases might just be about dysfunctional relationships between bitter and vengeful people in general.Report

  19. Avatar Stillwater says:

    Unfortunately for that at-risk male, the MRM might just have the single worst political instincts of any civil rights groups I have ever encountered. … the movement’s insistence on pushing aside its more moderate leaders in favor of its most comically vitriolic makes it untenable for a mainstream politician or policy maker to align themselves with MRM causes.

    Good post Tod. I have two questions: Why do you think this is the case? And do you see this tendency (to push aside moderates) as unique to the MRM or as an instance of a larger pattern within current political movements?Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      I’m not Tod Kelly but I’m guessing that the MRM puts aside a lot of its more moderate leaders for several reasons. The MRM saw itself and has been seen as a reaction to or backlash against feminism since it started. Since it gets defined as anti-feminist by within and without, this creates an environment that encourages setting aside the moderates in favor of the extremists because of the perceived nature of what they are struggling against.

      Another reason is that the more vitriolic members of the MRM might be more involved or even have founded the movement. This gives them leverage in presenting themselves as the true face of the movement.Report

      • Avatar GT66 says:

        No. There have been moderate MRAs and MRA organizations for a hundred years. Any names come to mind? Exactly. The time for polite engagement came and went in the last century of futile attempts.


      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        A hundred years? What were the MRA’s complaints in 1913? That women were diluting the male vote in 15 states?Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        @will-truman Little-known fact: the MRM was founded jointly by T. Herman Zweibel and Montgomery Burns.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Will, since the days when all women had to do was sit around and pick berries while men hunted killer mastadons, the male of the species has been the victim of a cruel societal imbalance.


      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        A hundred years? What were the MRA’s complaints in 1913?

        Largely the same as the National Association for the Advancement of White People’s in 1852.Report

      • Avatar LKA says:

        You implying that civil is often met with open ears. All movement have their moment or collection of reoccurring injustices that lead to its conception. Say so a man is being screwed in some fashion and when seeking recourse or help from others in a civil manner; he is denied assistance and his problem is left to fester and get worse naturally or his problem is exacerbated by the same people to whom he went for help.
        All on the basis of traditional expectations even though the expectations in question are causing undue harm or the other party that created the man’s problem already violated traditional expectations yet remains free of conviction due to the same principles that they broke.
        Which boils down to the point is that you cannot be civil with bullies, you cannot with them. And when all there is apathy and condemnation, your going to have to yell a lot louder just so people even bother. As awful as it sound, it turns out a little force is the only thing people as there appears to be a number of articles lamenting how men seen to be disengaging from society and all of the ramification.Report

      • Avatar Cascadian says:

        “Which boils down to the point is that you cannot be civil with bullies” +1Report

  20. Avatar zic says:

    Between 1998 and 2002, nearly four out of five violent offenders were male (table 2.6). Males accounted for 75.6% offenders of family violence offenders and 80.4% of non-family violence offenders. Among violent crimes against a spouse, 86.1% were male, against a non-family boyfriend or girlfriend, 82.4%; and against a stranger, 86% of the offenders were male.

    Source: DOJ report, Family Violence Statistics

    When you look at the data we have on family violence, it’s crystal clear that men have a problem controlling themselves. That does not mean women are innocent, nearly a quarter of the perps are female. That does not mean it’s simple. But for the most part, men are landing the punches and taking the sexual liberties.

    Now if you have trouble with how these things are counted; that’s a fair debate. I’m getting the sense that some men feel left out in this accounting. I’m happy to examine other methods of counting violence that someone may feel currently goes unaccounted for in studies like the one I linked. But be forewarned: women will also experience these other counts, both as perps and victims. my guess is that it will not do much to change the overall percentages with one exception: identifying a greater percentage of the population victim to family violence.

    Which all goes to suggest that comments sometimes feel a bit like the he-man woman hater’s club the original post bemoans.Report

    • Avatar BlaiseP says:

      Pynchon had another Proverb for Paranoids: Paranoids are not paranoids because they’re paranoid, but because they keep putting themselves, f**king idiots, deliberately into paranoid situations.

      The odds of being the victim of domestic violence vary mostly with income level. Most relationships aren’t violent, even among the poor. The statistics get very weird because each incident stacks up: the usual pattern shows a woman who remains in a violent relationship will be beaten multiple times. If she stays long enough, she’ll be murdered.

      Men are landing the punches and taking the sexual liberties. And it’s women who stick around for it and return to that situation. A surprisingly small percentage of domestic violence arrests result in convictions. Some rudimentary research says it might be as low as thirteen percent. If there’s one thing I’d change about the current system, it would be increasing this percentage.

      Nobody’s debating the fact that women are predominantly the victims of domestic violence or that men are the primary aggressors. But it comes down to each incident, taken individually. When women are repeatedly re-entering these increasingly lethal situations, something more serious is wrong. These women end up murdered.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        And it’s women who stick around for it and return to that situation.

        Took some changes in family law for women to be able to leave. Financially, they’re still tied together even when they leave if there are children and visitation rights involved.

        I’ve spent a good deal of time helping people leave violent relationships; mostly women, but a few men. I’ve listened as these people talk about triggering a violent outburst to protect their children. Often, it’s the children’s reaction to the abuser abusing that finally pushes them over into walking away.

        I do not deny there’s not a role for women to teach their children, both boys and girls, to avoid. But a person being harmed physically or emotionally in what should be the safety of their home is having their most basic human right to safety violated. And the lion’s share of that hurting, physically, is coming from men. Again, this is something men need to deal with.

        You can go on all you want about the changes women need to make. How girls bully. I was bullies by girls, I know all about it. Honestly, I would trade every minute of being beaten by my older brother for five minutes on the receiving end of girl-on-girl bullying.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        Zic, it took the establishment of family law, period to make any substantive changes.

        I don’t buy the financial angle. Firemen can legally restrain people from running back into burning buildings — and we seem to allow these women to return to these abusers. As you note, with exquisite irony, you’d rather be bullied than to endure a beating.

        There is no possible excuse for violence in any context and I’m sick of the excuses and all the crazy talk. Once the Cycle of Violence has started, nobody in that situation is rational.

        I want a tougher order of protection system. Some woman gets beaten and returns to her abuser, we might as well start planning her funeral. Because that’s where it’s heading, sure as tomorrow’s sunrise.

        And yes, while I’m at it, I will talk about bullying. It’s producing a startlingly high casualty count among girls. It’s a contributing factor, if not the main reason women don’t advance any farther up the corporate ladder. Dominance in men often takes the form of violence. In women, it takes other forms. But it’s the same condition and don’t you say it isn’t.Report

      • Avatar j r says:

        Nobody’s debating the fact that women are predominantly the victims of domestic violence or that men are the primary aggressors.

        I actually do question that fact. As I stated above, most domestic violence falls under the common couple violence mode. That means that you have a couple that mutually eggs each other on to the point of violence. As men are generally physically larger than their female partners, women definitely get hurt more from these confrontations. However, that doesn’t mean that men are the primary aggressors or that masculinity is to blame. Some people just have sh*tty coping skills and don’t know how to de-escalate tension and are quick to confrontation.

        By the way, my guess is that there are more male physical victimizers of women than there are female victimizers of men. It makes sense since men have the comparative advantage at the use of violence, so sh*tty men are more likely to use violence while sh*tty women probably utilize emotional abuse more. However, the whole idea that men, as a group, commit lots of violence as women, as a group, is both conceptually and empirically flawed.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        I have previously said our statistics are deeply flawed, insofar as shame continues to obscure much of the reality of violence in this culture. Yet I will stand by my assertion: the dead speak volumes to this problem. Domestic violence is a primary cause in homelessness. Where it appears, it repeats in the children.

        The ongoing catastrophe of domestic violence in this culture will not be helped along by some Tu Quoque argument about joint culpability. This whole culture is so fugged up — it’s just staggering to me, personally, that anyone would debate who ends up in the emergency room and the morgue — it’s predominantly women.

        This post was about the Men’s Rights Movement. I contend the movement is a nasty farce, a villainous little mob of whiners and excuse-makers. There’s no place for women among them, as there was no place for men among the feminist movements. I contend every thoughtful man is a feminist. There is no other wise position to take. But I’ll be damned if I will avoid the obvious conclusion here: men who strike women and the women who allow it to continue are not rational. They must be separated or someone’s going to be killed. It’s disgraceful, that such an abominable percentage of American women are beaten, raped and abused — for whatever reason. It’s more disgraceful that we’ve only so recently begun to address this issue.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        As men are generally physically larger than their female partners, women definitely get hurt more from these confrontations. However, that doesn’t mean that men are the primary aggressors or that masculinity is to blame.

        Uh, I think it does, actually.Report

      • Avatar j r says:

        I contend every thoughtful man is a feminist. There is no other wise position to take.

        Sure, but this almost completely depends on what your particular definition of feminism is. Otherwise, this is just status signaling.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        Feminism, by my lights, is simple equality for women and girls. I don’t go in for this pilpul wherein we are led into the swamp of means and ends: the ends are clear enough. Women are men’s equal.

        A modern feminist, guided by science and the spirit of inquiry, would only ask one question: what do women truly want and need, not only from men, but from the larger world? That question is only now being asked by men, hesitantly and in guarded tones. Truth is, most women haven’t been asked and we don’t have sufficient answers, not yet. Far too many obstacles stand in our way.

        The feminists have tried to tell us about the obstacles and many of those have been overcome in some places. But they cannot be removed without the participation of both genders. Nobody’s quite sure what might come of such profound changes in the landscape. I contend women are different than men. There is something to the Essentialist debate: we know this is true from endocrinology. But these are only chemicals. The problem of transgender people is only now coming to light. There are a thousand unanswered questions and ten thousand more which can only be asked once the obvious obstacles have been removed.

        That’s feminism, by my lights.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        I might add in passing, I’m coming to believe gender might not be a binary proposition. But this much is clear, gender cannot be allowed to become a barrier to equality.Report

      • Avatar j r says:


        I agree with most of what you wrote. However, I’m more likely to simply consider myself as someone who values empathy rather than a feminist. And I don’t say that simply to play at semantics.

        As a practical issue there are a few different feminisms. The feminism of the suffragettes was largely about enfranchising women in the set of individual rights posited by the Enlightenment. However, there is also feminism as a school of post-structuralist thought, which has built into a set of progressive political ends. That seems to be the dominant mode of feminism as it exists today. And since I’m not particularly progressive, I’m not particularly feminist. Whether that makes me unwise, who is to say?Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        JR: you have done nothing but dispute the statistics and question my motives — there is nothing of a practical matter to consider in anything you’ve had to say on this subject, here.

        You asked. I answered. All these various feminisms have failed, as my first comment here said. Such -isms are each more useless than the one which preceded it. Not one of them ever bothered to ask what might be done for little boys and girls to guide them through the shoals and reefs of childhood and adolescence into meaningful, fulfilled lives as men and women. They are all played out. MRM is a pathetic botch, just another such -ism, as wilfully ignorant of the realities and possibilities of these children’s lives as the man in the moon. New and horrible strategies of bullying and repression appear like cancers as fast as the technology evolves to support them.

        Post-structuralism. Hee hee. Words still mean things and so do the statistics you dispute so readily. Tactics are not strategies. We have only begun to ask the needful questions. We haven’t even started to comprehend what the answers to those questions might imply.

        On the subject of feminism, I am guided by a wonderfully pithy statement made by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, on whom I wrote a paper in high school: It is impossible for one class to appreciate the wrongs of another. The only viable strategy is to begin to listen, first to the enumeration of those wrongs, then to what might be done to right them. Everything else is bullshit.Report

      • Avatar j r says:

        JR: you have done nothing but dispute the statistics and question my motives — there is nothing of a practical matter to consider in anything you’ve had to say on this subject, here.

        I have to admit that I don’t really know what this means. I just said that I agreed with the ideas that you laid out and only added that feminism comes in many forms. I don’t question your motives, but I do note that you seem to have the desire to authoritatively state what feminism should and should not be. I do question the utility of that. As a man, I tend to refrain from the attempt to construct feminist doctrine, so I can only react to the various schools of feminist thought and point out that with which I do and do not agree.

        Also, if you read my comments, you’ll find that I’ve never disputed the statistics, but I do dispute the interpretation of the statistics. I contend that violence is something that individual perpetrators commit against individual victims , not that “men” commit against “women.” As I said, accuracy without precision is meaningless. As I also said, if someone has an argument to make in favor of collective guilt, I would love to hear it.Report

      • JR:

        I didn’t see you as questioning anyone’s motives, either, especially in this part of the sub-thread.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        Here’s questioning my motives: Sure, but this almost completely depends on what your particular definition of feminism is. Otherwise, this is just status signaling.

        Whereupon I come up with a definition, only to get some plummy haw-haw sophos-moros about the different sorts of feminism as a Practical Matter, That’s questioning my motives. There’s nothing practical in any of that.Report

    • Avatar j r says:

      I could show you statistics that show that black people commit crimes at a higher rate than whites; yet, I’m guessing that you, and most people who read and comment here, would never say, “When you look at the data we have on the rates at which different ethnicities commit crimes, it’s crystal clear that blacks have a problem controlling themselves.”

      Why is asserting collective responsibility wrong in one instance, but OK in another?Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        Why is asserting collective responsibility wrong in one instance, but OK in another?

        Well, it isn’t. But I don’t think anyone on this thread is making that distinction.

        Look at it this way: to what extent are inner-city black crime rates and man on woman violence both a cultural problem? Is the analysis of the two identical? Are there reasons other than culture which could account for the two types of activities? To the extent they’re the same, do the same types of judgments and prescriptions apply?

        Seems to me that after sorting out some of the relevant factors, the two situations are relevantly dissimilar in important respects. It’s not a perfect analogy.Report

      • Avatar j r says:


        There really is no such thing as a perfect analogy, since an analogy compares two different things. It those two different things were exactly the same, it would no longer be an analogy, just two identical situations. For a discussion of why collective guilt is a flawed moral conception, however, this is a pretty good analogy.

        The same way that racialists and reactionaries attempt to argue that there is something inherent to dysfunctional black culture or the culture of poverty that contributes to higher crime rates is the way that feminists try to argue that there is something inherent to masculinity or to male privilege that contributes to violence against women. And when you really study the data and interrogate the ideas, you find that much of this is smoke and mirrors.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        And when you really study the data and interrogate the ideas, you find that much of this is smoke and mirrors.

        What’s smoke and mirrors? That the majority of domestic violence is perpertrated by men on women? In this very thread, you’ve admitted that women will likely be the losers in a violent altercation with men since they’re physically smaller, independently of who instigated the violence. So you admit that there’s a more than smoke and mirrors to the basic assertion we’re disputing.

        As to the analogy thing, yes, you’re right about there being no perfect analogy. I had that thought same thought when I hit submit – the word “perfect” was incorrect. A better term would be “relevantly similar” analogy. And I was suggesting that the two situations aren’t relevantly similar for any comparison to be meaningful in this context. That’s a debatable point, I admit, but one worth actually debating rather than simply asserting that they in fact are relevantly similar.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        is the way that feminists try to argue that there is something inherent to masculinity or to male privilege that contributes to violence against women.

        Well, this might be a place where I’ll have to agree to disagree, since I don’t know the mechanics and evolution of feminist thought on all these issues. But…

        I don’t think feminists univocally pin the outcomes they were fighting against on anything inherent in masculinity perse. The argument was, and is, that men have created certain important institutional structures that tend to favor and entrench men’s predominance in the social order. So the argument is more institutional than biological.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        The governing variable for crimes, including domestic violence, is income level. It’s not that black people commit crimes, wealthier black people commit the same crimes as their income peers. And poor white people commit the same crimes as their poor black peers. Just happens that more black people are poor than white people.

        Race is the stupidest of all potential discriminators in statistics. With the exception of a few genetic problems, it’s always discarded as irrelevant. It’s not used in health insurance statistics. Income always tracks better.

        Criminology does sort on gender. It’s not even close: men commit the vast majority of crimes. It is heartening to see “Offenses against the family and children” dropping as much as it has over the last few years for both men and women. Take a few clicks around the FBI’s site, it’s quite impressive how much they’ve put together there.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:


        The argument was, and is, that men have created certain important institutional structures that tend to favor and entrench men’s predominance in the social order. So the argument is more institutional than biological.

        This is an important thing to note. The vast majority of feminism that I’ve encountered argues against gender essentialism, rather than for it. “Masculinity,” for them, is not an inherent trait — a product of phylogeny rather than ontogeny — but a cultural one. Why else would they feel that they could combat it culturally? In fact, I think one of the big reasons that anti-feminists, which is a much larger category than just MRMs (they’re a pretty small corner of it, in fact), are so hostile to feminism is that they see these things in essentialist terms, and therefore belief that an attempt to change culture is not an attempt to change our conceptions of gender, but an attempt to change which gender is dominant in our culture, because that, to them, is the only way to change the way our culture approaches gender.

        The MRM folks appear, from the links Tod’s provided at least, to be caught somewhere in the middle. For example, the one dude that Rose discusses indicates that women have evolved in such a way that they are innately “cunning” and lacking in empathy, while in the very same post he argues that the reason they are lacking in empathy is a failure in socialization at a certain critical period in development. I’m not sure how that model works, but it’s clear that at least that guy harbors both gender essentialist beliefs and beliefs that culture is part of the problem. And feminism appears to be a big cause of the cultural part, to him.Report

      • Avatar j r says:

        My contention is simple: collective guilt, or the idea that culpability can be the function of some demographic characteristic as opposed to individual actions, is almost always philosophically and ethically indefensible.*

        If you want to argue that there are instances where collective guilt is permissible, and that domestic violence is one of those instances, then I’m all ears. Pointing out that “men” have done X or presently do Y is certainly an accurate statement, but accuracy isn’t everything. You need accuracy as well as precision to say meaningful things. And blaming domestic violence, or any other acts of misogyny or sexism, on “men” lacks precision.

        * I say almost because I do believe that those people who have inherited some form of privilege by virtue of their forebearers ill-gotten gains do have some responsibility towards interrogating that privilege and doing right by it. I made mention of this conception of privilege on the thread on white privilege. And I also pointed out that, all too often, this is not the dominant conception of privilege getting pushed. The dominant conception of privilege is something akin to original sin and it is stupid and wrong.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        The dominant conception of privilege is something akin to original sin and it is stupid and wrong.

        This is a good point. White guilt is counterproductive. It doesn’t promote examining privilege; it promotes avoiding situations that make us feel guilty.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        Privilege is a legal exception to a public law, an exception carved out for one person or class of persons. Insofar as White Privilege did exist for hundreds of years, we haven’t abolished all race-based criteria, either in law or in society at large. In the words of Dr. King, , “A society that has done something special against the Negro for hundreds of years must now do something special for the Negro.”

        We could substitute a vast enumeration of distinctly dis-privileged minorities for the Negro variable. Won’t really change the nature of the problem. Such special treatment must eventually give way to true equality or it becomes a mere perpetuation of these boneheaded categories.

        Gender is different, though. Story told about Tiresias the Prophet. He appears in several different Greek stories, notably Oedipus Rex. But the story goes in Ovid, he unwisely separated two mating snakes and was turned into a woman for it. Tiresias seemed to have adjusted well enough: Lady Tiresias became a famous priestess of Hera and had several children, notably a daughter named Manto. Some years later, she came upon another pair of mating snakes. The account varies somewhat, there are several versions of the story. At any rate, she was turned back into a man.

        Some while later, Zeus was arguing with Hera about which sex derived more pleasure from sex. The gods, knowing Tiresias had been both, dragged him into the quarrel. Tiresias said, “A woman has ten where a man has only one.” Enraged, Hera struck him blind, Zeus responded by giving Tiresias the gift of prophecy — and Manto his daughter as well. Lots of variants on this story.

        There are differences between men and women. What we make of these differences is up to us as individuals. But let’s not conflate these fundamental differences with the cultural ones. Probably take us as long to undo all the crappy cultural fallacies as it took us to get into them in the first place. Do us all a world of good to move on from Blame, ever the argument of the weak and whiny, and get to the task of removing these ridiculous obstacles which only serve to obscure the debate.Report

    • Zic,

      I just wanted to say I pretty much support most of everything you’ve been saying in this thread.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      better surveys show roughly equal levels of spousal violence between men and women, with men slightly more likely to cause injuries, and women slightly more likely to hit the guy.

      DoJ is studying only the stuff that gets called into the police.Report

  21. Avatar KatherineMW says:

    I wrote a report on HIV/AIDS prevention methods in Africa, and when you look at studies that include a control group, male circumcision is the only – only! – method that has been consistently effective in decreasing transmission. (The theorized reason for this is that it’s the only method – in contrast to abstinence, fidelity, condom use, ARV use – that requires a single action rather than consistent adherence to a pattern of action.) Given this, and given the dire effects of HIV/AIDS in Africa and the fact that no cure is yet in sight, it’s understandable for organizations to advocate voluntary male circumcision as a method for prevention, and a surprising number of men are willing to do it.

    But advocating mandatory male circumcision is something else. I’d like to see a link backing up the claim that the UN is doing so.Report

    • Avatar Nathaniel Costo says:

      “But advocating mandatory male circumcision is something else. I’d like to see a link backing up the claim that the UN is doing so.”

      I researched male circumcision practices last year for a legal paper, and I don’t recall any legitimate push for mandatory circumcision either. There are various tribes and sub-national groups in Africa, particularly in the DRC, that treat being intact as a strong cultural signifier, and there would be extreme resistance to any sort of imposition. And that is to say nothing of the gross violation of human rights that mandatory circumcision would represent.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        FWIW, Tod said that the UN was “encouraging” circumcision, not that they were pushing to make it mandatory.Report

      • Avatar KatherineMW says:

        No, he said mandatory. Quote:

        As I noted above, the U.N. is pushing for mandatory circumcision in third world countries.

        Which I why I want a link backing up the claim, because if it’s true it’s very serious.Report

      • Avatar KatherineMW says:

        He said mandatory, which I why I would really like to see a source, because it’s a very serious claim. Quote:

        As I noted above, the U.N. is pushing for mandatory circumcision in third world countries – and this push has been publically applauded and encouraged by Democratic Presidential hopeful Hilary Clinton.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        Katherine, yes, you’re right about that. He used “mandatory” in the bullet points. Sorry about the incorrect “correction”. Now I’m curious about the claim too.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer says:


        I read that as a belief that Tod thinks is wrong but the MRM believe is true. I.e. it is conspiracy minded but with a small-grain of truth.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        New, that one is one point on the list preceded by this:

        Notable examples of things I was sure would turn out to be false but ended up being true include:Report

    • Avatar LKA says:

      Voluntary circumcision is by a means okay but there is just one issue.
      The issue is the mechanics of how male circumcision is preventing HIV. Male circumcision is removing the foreskin that protects the glans. HIV is a lentivirus that is transfer via blood, semen, vaginal fluids amongst others. How does a removal of foreskin effectively block the transfer both free virus particles and virus within infected immune cells? What is the causal relationship here.Report

  22. Avatar Chris says:

    How does the Germaine Greer quote from The Whole Woman go? Something like, “A few men hate all women all of the time, some men hate some women all of the time, and all men hate some women some of the time.” Regardless of how they feel about their mothers, the way they talk about women in many of the links Tod provides makes it clear that each of these guys fall somewhere on Greer’s spectrum, with the most vocal of them falling closer to the “a few men” than to the “all men” side. Men are often victims of rape? Let’s attack the seriousness of women being raped. Men are at severe disadvantages in family court? Let’s call the majority of women sociopaths. And I don’t think statements like this:

    In practical application, this doesn’t indicate an impetus to indulge in hatred or dislike towards an entire sexual demographic. Rather, it indicates the survival imperative to recognize and mitigate risk in dealing with a predatory animal.

    Actually serve to argue the point they want it to argue, namely, that it’s not hate they’re experiencing, but gnosis.

    If these men were actually interested in helping other men, particularly those who’ve suffered in ways that are generally under-discussed, if discussed at all, in our society, then it seems to me that they’d talk about those issues a lot more, and women a lot less.

    Good on Tod for giving them a fair shake. Now that someone’s done so, can we shake them loose?Report

    • Avatar Patrick says:

      If these men were actually interested in helping other men, particularly those who’ve suffered in ways that are generally under-discussed, if discussed at all, in our society, then it seems to me that they’d talk about those issues a lot more, and women a lot less.


      • Avatar zic says:


        Now I’ll sleep better. Thank you, Chris.

        And thank you, Tod. Niki, too. I don’t imagine you walked through this valley of darkness alone.Report

    • Avatar Fnord says:

      Men are often victims of rape? Let’s attack the seriousness of women being raped.

      If these men were actually interested in helping other men, particularly those who’ve suffered in ways that are generally under-discussed, if discussed at all, in our society, then it seems to me that they’d talk about those issues a lot more, and women a lot less.

      Exactly. You know who gets hit the hardest by the “some rape victims are actually just lucky to get sex” meme? Male victims. But the so-called MRAs are happy to keep that narrative alive and well if they can use it against women. They’re so determined to attack women that they don’t care if they actually harm vulnerable men.Report

  23. Avatar Jim Heffman says:

    “Imagine if you will the effectiveness of the 1970s feminist movement if it had publically rallied around its Andrea Dworkins and marginalized its Gloria Steinems. Or if the Civil Rights Movement had bet all of its chips on Stokley Carmichael and left Martin Luther King, Jr. as an unknown without a flock.”

    But here’s the thing: This is what the MRM movement actually believes is true. That is, they do think that the feminist movements of the past and present exalted their worst examples, their most strident voices, their most outrageous and outspoken and radical members. They believe that feminists are as awful as possible and on purpose. They think that’s how you play the game.Report

  24. Avatar Jim Heffman says:

    I am surprised that you didn’t mention the Noir movement in film and written media from the 1940s. It would seem to be a situation with a lot of parallels.Report

  25. Avatar Paul Elam says:

    A very good piece, Tod, as was (most) of your piece in The Beast. I am especially appreciative of your kind words about Victor Zen, a young man I admire greatly. Your description of him is both kind and completely accurate.

    I want to offer some respectful advice to you in these comments, since it is your personal blog. I can’t help but conclude that despite your genuine effort to “get it right,” and the exhaustive research you did to back your conclusions, you remain with some fundamental misunderstandings of the MHRM common to people who don’t understand the movement. And it stems from a fundamental misunderstanding of society in general where it concerns men.

    There have been efforts to shed light and seek amelioration to the issues faced by men and boys for over 100 years that we know of for sure. It has probably gone on longer. It is only in the last 10 years or so, since the advent of the internet as a powerful and accessible communications source for anyone with an idea and the ability to express it, that we have begun to affect the public discussion on gender.

    A thorough and honest examination of those ten years reveals a social reaction to the idea of compassion for men’s and boy’s issues that is shockingly insensitive and callous. And I am not talking about the reactions to people like me who intentionally disseminate provocative and incendiary rhetoric as a strategic activism tool. I am talking about father’s rights groups , loving, suffering fathers, who have put forth their case more like Victor Zen than Paul Elam, being characterized by influential groups of feminists as an “abusers lobby” who only want more time with their children so they can bring harm to them.

    Can you begin to imagine the pain this causes?

    I am talking about human rights activists like Erin Pizzey, who almost single-handed founded the women’s shelter movement, but who were later threatened with death by feminist ideologues when she concluded — after thorough study — that many of the women she sheltered were as violent as the men they were allegedly seeking shelter from. They even killed her dog in order to intimidate and silence her.

    I am talking about non activist academicians who have been met with death threats, character assassination and professional derailment for releasing research conclusions that don’t fall in line with the feminist narrative. This was the case with leading researchers like Murray Strauss, Suzanne Steinmetz and Richard Gelles. These are not MRAs, Tod, they are academicians in honest scholarly pursuits. And they are not by any stretch the only ones.

    I am talking about a culture that reacts to all of this and much, much more with not only abject indifference, but with overt hostility and harsh, punitive measures toward anyone who tries to do anything about it.

    The protection of women and every other class of human being from harm is a noble effort. However, the fact remains, whether or not anyone wants to accept it, that our propensity to reflexively protect women has blinded us to grave and overarching problems that affect men and boys. We are a culture that erroneously and irrationally fears that addressing the issues faced by men will somehow rob women of needed help.

    This is not just a feminist problem. Though radical feminists exploit our instinctive protection of women, it is the instinct itself, unchecked, that is part of the problem. People have a very hard time with that. Not because it is not true, but because it challenges our own beliefs and programming to the core.

    You are a bright man, Tod, but I don’t think you fully grasp the level of resistance endemic in our society to giving men’s issues a fair hearing. I don’t think you see the hatred it inspires. Because of that, you reach for moderation and negotiation when they simply have proven for the last decade to be ineffectual.

    I truly wish things were different. I fight this battle in the most difficult and stressful of ways, and it has taken a rather serious personal toll on my life. I don’t expect any special consideration for that, but I do think I have earned the right to say that if anyone wants a less frictional way to attend to these issues it is me.

    I hope you can contribute to that in some way. In fact, you may already have. But I want you to understand that if you would like to see the MHRM move toward moderation, the only way to get there is to move a society away from its tirelessly hostile reaction to the idea that men and boys suffer problems for which they need help as a class of human beings. At the very least, if that is going to happen more people, including those like you, will have to see that hostility for what it is.

    I don’t think that can happen yet with moderation. If you can point me to any way that proves me wrong. I would be most grateful.Report

    • Avatar Chris says:

      If I remember correctly, once Gelles came out and said that MRM’s were misusing his research, and that it does not show that men are victims of violence as often as women, the MRM’s were pretty harsh as well.Report

      • Avatar Paul Elam says:


        See sections on Research and Violence Prevention Programs, Criminal Justice System Involvement,

        From an article by Gelles:

        “The response to our finding that the rate of female-to-male family violence was equal to the rate of male-to-female violence not only produced heated scholarly criticism, but intense and long-lasting personal attacks. All three of us received death threats. Bomb threats were phoned in to conference centers and buildings where we were scheduled to present. Suzanne received the brunt of the attacks – individuals wrote and called her university urging that she be denied tenure; calls were made and letters were written to government agencies urging that her grant funding be rescinded. All three of us became “non persons” among domestic violence advocates. Invitations to conferences dwindled and dried up. Advocacy literature and feminist writing would cite our research, but not attribute it to us. Librarians publicly stated they would not order or shelve our books.”


        I would appreciate a source for the contention that Gelles says that the MHRM has misused his research. It certainly could have happened, but I am not aware of it it. If it has happened I would like to know, as his research, honestly presented, is highly supportive of the contentions that I and other activists make.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        The cite I remember is in this:


        You’ll notice some stuff from Strauss as well.Report

      • Avatar Paul Elam says:

        Thank you for getting back with that. Unfortunately, the quote I think you are referring to in that piece –“it is misogynistic to paint the entire issue of domestic violence with a broad brush and make it appear as though men are victimized by their partners as much as women.” — does not point to any incident of MHRAs misusing his research and is not cited. I am not saying he did not say that, but it does not help me much to find and document MHRAs misusing his research.

        It certainly seems to express a particular concern, but as it is partial it also leaves me wondering why he seems to contradict himself compared to the quote from him I posted earlier, and indeed the body of much of his research.

        I will attempt to track this down myself with Gelles for a better understanding of it.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Paul, (is it OK if I call you Paul), that quote alone does not, but I was pointing to the cite from which that quote comes.Report

      • Avatar Paul Elam says:

        @ Chris

        Absolutely fine to call me Paul.

        I am still a bit confused. What I am trying to do here is grasp specifically which MHRAs misrepresented Gelles work, and where in the link provided this is stated or cited. I could not find any source in that opinion piece for Gelles even having made the quoted statement.

        As I said, I have an investment in addressing this if it is happening. Gelles research is valuable information that would help us find more evidence based ways to address domestic violence if more people in the right places paid attention to it. Nothing in the MHRM is served by anyone misrepresenting his work.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        Suggest you e-mail Gelles. The worst thing he can do is not get back to you.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Paul, the Gelles cite is the one titled “Domestic Violence: Not an Even Playing Field,” from 2000.

        It has been a long time since I last talked about this stuff, but I believe that was an interview or opinion piece. The quote I was thinking of was this one:

        self-described battered husbands, men’s rights group members and some scholars maintain that there are significant numbers of battered men, that battered men are indeed a social problem worthy of attention and that there are as many male victims of violence as female. The last claim is a significant distortion of well-grounded research data.

        Again, it’s been a long time since I’ve had this conversation, and the links I had from the last time appear to be largely defunct now, so I could be citing old information.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy says:


      Do you consider yourself to me a member of the MRM/MHRM? If so, I have two questions for you which I would appreciate you answering.

      1.) What is your desired end goal for participation in the movement?
      2.) What is your understanding of the desired end goal of the movement as a whole?

      Thank you.Report

      • Avatar Paul Elam says:

        Hi Kazzie.

        Yes, I do consider myself a member of the MHRM. My end goal for my personal participation is simply to feel like I did what I could to push a more substantive and widespread public discussion on issues that affect men and boys.

        The second question is much more complicated. There are many goals that many disparate groups and individuals feel passionate about. From corrupt family courts, to false rape allegations, to male genital mutilation (aka circumcision), to educating the public on the concept of male disposability, to the problem of young men falling out of education and the work force, male suicide, homelessness, reproductive rights for men, male only selective service and many other issues.

        I would say the end goal for this movement is to push for amelioration of those issues.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        Corruption in the courts? Do you have any proof of this? Are judges taking bribes?Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko says:

        Surely there are judges who take bribes. And surely there are judges not on the take who nevertheless are not as unbiased as they claim to be and some may be biased in favor of women (in some situations). This is appropriately addressed on a case-by-case basis, with the individual judicial officer being disciplined, transferred to a different assignment, re-trained by his or her peers, or in worst-case situations, removed from a position of judicial authority.

        Such is a different claim than suggesting that the court system is hard-wired against men. Or against women, as is sometimes argued elsewhere, particularly in the context of rape or sexual abuse cases.

        Let us be clear, then, what is meant by corruption.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        Thank you, @paul-elam . I appreciate your thoughtful response. Are the issues that affect men and boys to which you refer in your first answer those that you list in your second answer?

        And a follow up question: How effective do you think the MRM/MHRM is as it is currently constructed/practiced, particularly with regards to the ends that are of personal importance to you?Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        And I suppose we must also stipulate to false rape allegations. As this place already knows, I survived a lengthy go-round in jail, falsely accused of child molestation. By a woman, too, as fate would have it.

        Now some might conclude I have a valid beef with this anti-male system, which clearly took the allegations of a madwoman over mine and those of my own children. Yet somehow, justice did prevail and I was not only cleared of all charges, the court system obliged the madwoman to get psychiatric help. Much good came of it all, in the end.

        That madwoman was my wife.

        The courts do suppose a man innocent until convicted. Locks him up nonetheless, with some sinister ministers, actual rapists who are glad enough to regale the other prisoners with the details of their crimes. If many of those allegations are false, others are indeed true and those who committed those crimes have no reticence in confessing them, at least to their fellow prisoners.

        Now, we wouldn’t want to protest against a working justice system which did free me and return me to my life, if a bit singed around the edges. Or would we? With DNA evidence, many such falsely convicted men are being freed, not that the MRM has much to say about actual men being thus accused, thus convicted and thus freed.

        No, bad as things are for men in the world, it’s not quite as bad as having to bury a daughter who was battered to death by a man she said she loved. That happens often enough. Even I, who survived the system, am willing to admit, with Stalin that one death is a tragedy, if more is just an Arguable Statistic.Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        I’m not sure from Paul’s posts what the issue is regarding false rape allegations. I’ve never seen anybody deny that there are false allegations however they just seem to be a small percentage of all allegations. Rape is a notoriously difficult crime to get good stats about. But of course there are false allegations, there are also allegations where there is no proof but where something may have happened so nothing is done. Just because an allegation is made that doesn’t result in a conviction or even a charge doesn’t mean it was a lie. I’ve seen just about every one of the possibilities including false charges and charges that very well might have been true but there is no evidence. They are all bad situations.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        yeah, and let’s not forget the “it’s probably legal” rapes…Report

      • Avatar Paul Elam says:


        It is another complex question, but I will do my best. Part of the answer depends greatly on what you mean by two different terms. I will try to address them one at a time. The first term I will take, in reverse of the order you used them, is “as it is currently constructed/practiced.”

        The men’s movement, or more accurately, organizations that run under the banner of addressing issues affecting men and boys are varied and quite different from each other in many cases. There are some organizations, CAFE would be an example, that do not recognize men’s prevailing issues as having anything to do with “rights.” I disagree with that completely, but they are nonetheless an organization that in my opinion is a part of the MHRM, even if they would reject that notion, and although I know they have many members that feel differently than their spokespersons.

        There are organizations like the National Coalition for Men, established in 1977, that take a relatively low public profile, but nonetheless do quite a bit of activism, mostly in the legal realm.

        There’s Fathers4Justice, and a rather long list of less prominent father’s rights groups.

        I could name others, but the point is that most or all of these differing entities work independently of each other and with vastly different strategies and objectives. There is no unifying method of activism on which to base the efficacy of the entire movement.

        I realize that to a degree this is a non answer to your fundamental question. But I think I can answer you more directly by addressing your use of the term “effective.”

        And it indeed does need qualification for a number of reasons. For instance, the goal of my organization is to push a change in the public discourse about gender issues to include the issues faced by men and boys. To that end, given the resources we have and the time we have been at it, we have been what I would call successful. More people are talking about the MHRM than ever before. The fact that much of it is demonization and ridicule does not alter my opinion. The same thing happened to feminists in early days.

        The fact that media is increasingly focused on those making counter-arguments, even if it is to attack, means that the mission has visibly taken shape on the cultural landscape. Keeping that up now, until the vitriol and misinformation dies down just enough for the actual issues to emerge is the challenge. But we are already seeing that in small ways, Kelly’s article being one of them.

        If we are to measure efficacy in terms of successfully resolving issues, then the movement has no success whatsoever. But at this point in time that is not a very reliable measure, in my opinion.

        If I recall correctly, the Seneca Falls Convention was in the early 1850s. It was seventy years after that before the US passed the 19th Amendment. And it was still another 50 years after that before feminism emerged with actual political power in matters of governance, and before it had a significant impact on social consciousness. That is 150 years, and even if you start marking time with Seneca Falls, which was not by any means the first discussion of the treatment of women in society.

        The men’s movement has existed for approximately 100 years that we know of, and the first 60 could probably not be called am organized movement with any accuracy. Most of what happened was periodically organized efforts to legally address issues like alimony, etc.

        For a more complete and quite fascinating reading on this I would suggest this. It is long but very informative:


        It has only been in the last forty years that multiple upstarts of men’s rights organizations, most of those being father’s rights groups, have been happening. And it has only been in the last five or six years that a noticeable movement addressing the issues of men and boys, generally speaking, has begun to pick up steam.

        We can see part of the results of that in the title to the article on which we are commenting, though it is only fair to point out that this movement is still in the very early stages.

        I don’t think whether it has been “effective” can be measured at this point. But if I were forced to a conclusion I would say we are doing well for where we are, with a long, long way to go.

        I hope this answers your question.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        Thank you, @paul-elam . I realize you might be in “enemy territory” here, so I appreciate your willingness to engage thoughtfully.

        Can you point me towards the group with which you work? I am a teacher, one of few males working with younger students, and often have to champion the unique needs of boys. However, I tend to see the issue as one of different needs of boys and girls, some of which we are good about and some of which we are bad about — for both groups. That is to say there are some girls’ needs we do well with and some we do poorly with, some boys’s needs we do well with and some we do poorly with. Ideally, we’d be best served to do right by both/all genders in all areas.

        It is helpful to know that the movement is not as monolithic (or as troubling) as popular perception would indicate.

        But, again, thank you and I’m curious to see more on your efforts, especially with youth.Report

    • Avatar BlaiseP says:

      The Men’s Rights Movement embarrasses those of us who do care about how this society is failing the American boy. If you have encountered Shocking Insensitivity and Callousness, you might have made your case with more sensitivity. As you did not and do not, seeming to revel in your provocative and incendiary rhetoric, you really must stop snivelling. Those who say nasty things must expect no better.

      That which annoys us in others, they find annoying in us. While you might not be killing anyone’s dog, you’re doing much harm and no good to the problems facing boys in the USA. You have become as bad, rhetorically, as the feminists you despise. You positively revel in it. By tolerating all sorts of hate speech on your own site, you’ve attracted the attention of the Southern Poverty Law Center. There’s a distinction worth noting. The case of Anita Sarkeesian comes to mind. Having noted Erin Pizzey and her detractors, would you care to comment on the shit you tolerate on your own site?

      In short, the only difference between you and an Angry Feminist is a dick. Don’t come round here to praise Todd. You and your crew had other things to say about him. Ally Fogg had you summed up.Report

      • Avatar Paul Elam says:

        I did not come here to debate, or to defend myself from personal insults.

        I will post polite replies if queried, but won’t accept instructions from you or anyone else on what I have to say.

        If those that operate this venue want me out, that is their prerogative.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        I note, with very considerable amusement, you’re not exactly denying what I’ve written. If you wanted to effect any change in the world, you would be that change. As you are not, taking umbrage at the obvious, it is patently demonstrable you are in fact no better than the Angry Feminists. Perhaps you might show us how you are any better.Report

      • Avatar Jim Heffman says:

        “you’re not exactly denying what I’ve written.”

        It’s actually really funny that you keep citing that story about “let’s make the bastard deny it”, apparently disapprovingly, and yet here you are saying “oh, you’re not denying all the awful things I said? GUESS THEY’RE TRUE THEN. CONVERSATION. OVER.”Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        Heffman, these days, all you seem to do is open your mouth to exchange feet.

        Paul Elam, and here more sensitive folks must be told to avert their eyes, once famously said “the idea of fucking your shit up gives me an erection.”

        I will most certainly worm this screechy hog Paul Elam should he turn up around here again. And you’ll stand aside while I do it. His great weakness is his vanity, expressing itself in this florid outrage. And for it, I shall apply the sovereign cure for vanity, mockery.Report

      • Avatar Jim Heffman says:

        It’s like you honestly believe this is the White Hart and you’re Harry Purvis.Report

  26. Avatar Cotton says:

    Not making accusations, but in the three plus years I have been reading MRA sites, I have NEVER heard some of the outlandish claims you claim men make.

    Not once ever.

    As the mother of both sexes, I can’t name a single “right” my sons have that my daughter does not.

    I can name about a half dozen MAJOR rights my daughter enjoys that my sons do not, the biggest one being my daughter can live without fear her husband can cheat on her with another woman, divorce her and keep the house, take her children far away, and get rewarded with child support payments that if she falters on she will be sent to prison.

    My sons have every reason to expect that with the laws that are now in place. It will only be a matter of “luck” if it doesn’t happen to them.

    And Tod – those are YOUR realities, as well. Blue pills won’t save you.

    My daughter has choice.

    My sons have NO choice.

    If my daughter becomes pregnant from a mutually agreed upon decision to have sex, SHE has choices – abortion or have the child. Tell the father, or not to tell the father. Tell the correct father or fool an unsuspecting man into believing he is the father. Collect child support or collect welfare – or not.

    She can give the child up for adoption (without the father’s permission in Utah). She can drop the baby off at a fire station or police headquarters.

    My son’s “choice”? 18 year wage enslavement or prison. His wanting to be a parent if she doesn’t want to is not even entertained.

    Blue pill guys like you have no feelings of fatherhood or love of your children, anyway, do you Tod? Women’s Choice Must Come First – last and only.

    Signed up for Selective Service are you, blue boy? You’d better be. It’s prison or a hefty fine, brother, if you don’t. You cannot get a student loan, a driver’s license or even vote in some states (please verify – you know how MRAs make stuff up).

    Women? No. Not so much. Not at ALL in fact. Suckka.

    Let’s see. You and I both get pulled over for DUI. Guess who’s gonna get a 60% stiffer sentence? Guess who most likely will go to prison for the same crime and who won’t?

    Here. Have another blue pill. Enjoy. I’m feeling generous.

    Falsely accused? Who are they gonna believe? YOU? Or that pooooor beeeeuuuuuttttiiiiiful girl? Over 300 men have been exonerated by DNA technology, and guess what, Tod? There’s really no DNA when it really didn’t happen. Good luck proving your innocence, bud.

    Shame on you, and don’t rape, by the way. That’s right, Tod. Let me remind you once again not to rape, since apparently men need to be reminded constantly not to rape. Don’t give me any of the false accusation crap either. Never happens. NEVER. Well, rarely ever.

    There’s that little penis premium, too, Tod. It takes FIVE men to do the work of one woman, yet men are paid more! Yes! Men ARE paid more. Aren’t you ashamed, Tod? Just because you have a penis.

    I could go on, and on, and tomorrow I probably will. Digest those blue pills for now, Tod, and congratulations for seeing things the RIGHT way.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      ” fool an unsuspecting man into believing he is the father”
      … there’s something called a paternity test.
      Sources say they’re getting pretty accurate these days.Report

    • Avatar Chris says:

      I will stipulate that some of these things are very real issues. I’ve had my own custody battle experience, so I know how much of an uphill battle it can be for men, for example. What do you think the best way to go about discussing and, as Mr. Elam puts it above, ameliorating these issues? Do you think Men’s Rights groups are doing things this way?Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Let me add that I really would like to see a clear and well supported theory about why some of these issues exist for men. For example, if I were to speculate on changes in the treatment of men in family court, I would suggest that it may be a result of traditional views of gender and gender roles interacting dynamically with newly established laws and norms (e.g., no fault divorce), in such a way that, in some cases, men get the short end of the stick. If this were the case, there would be two ways to fix this particular set of problems: revert or alter the laws/norms, or change the traditional views of gender and gender roles. Changing the laws is simpler, but seems like a short term solution, particularly since what it would primarily serve to do is re-stack the deck against women. If the goal is fair, long-term solutions, then changing views of gender seems to be the route to take. And I suspect that something similar can be said of the treatment, to the extent that they are treated at all, of male victims of rape and domestic violence.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        Years ago, I tried to write up with such a statement. I ended up abandoning it: the problem shatters in 50 pieces: each state’s family law varies widely. There’s no uniform set of standards.

        Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        It’s also important to note that things are getting better for men in family courts. Men have a much better chance of getting far more custody now then 30 years ago. Many states now have equally shared physical custody as the starting point. Some of the old sexist notions that favored moms, like the Tender Years, doctrine are now considered obsolete and wrong. The other issue is that custody cases by their nature are always hard and painful with , often, both parties feeling like they got a raw deal. What is in the best interests of the children is often not what is best for the parents or what the parents want.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        Custody fights and contested wills — both become beauty contests. Too many variables to say men are doing all that much better. They’re getting better family law attorneys.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Good points, Greg.Report

    • Avatar Patrick says:

      In the three plus years I have been reading MRA sites, I have NEVER heard some of the outlandish claims you claim men make.

      Not once ever.

      Can you provide some links to all these MRA sites you say you read?Report

  27. Avatar NewDealer says:

    All in all, I am surprised that it took this long for MRAs to find this thread and not many seem to have found it yet.Report

  28. Avatar North says:

    Stellar post Tod.
    All I can think is that this is the predictable gyrating of the pendulum swinging down towards parity then over swinging and going too far in the other direction then reversing and swinging back.
    Sorting the light out from all the heat and smoke from the friction of that swinging is a huge task but it’ll have to be done if we’re to decrease the intensity of the amplitude and hopefully one day reach an equilibrium position. Your piece strikes me as that kind of work.Report

  29. Avatar Ahunt says:

    Okay Tod, I went and checked out the DB piece, and began to wade through the comments. After reading the two following comments, my brain staged a revolt…as in…this far and no further.

    If the men throughout history had not been concerned about their women, they would have bred them like cattle, (Who could have stopped them?)

    But every single ancestor – stretching back to time immemorial – of every feminist on this forum was protected from death by, mostly, men.

    Every single one of them.

    We are lucky to exist at all.

    Worth thinking about.

    Followed by:

    Absolutely correct. Male care and compassion for women is why women don’t live in barns ans pens with the cows, pigs and chickens.

    No external entity prevented men from forcing us to live like farm animals and from socializing us to be relatively comfortable with it.

    And the point is? Frankly, I have no clue.

    And therein lies the biggest problem in these MRM online discussions…legitimate issues are utterly overwhelmed by the vitriol and the nonsense.

    Until there is a coherent presentation of the issues, along with ideas for resolving them, the MRM will not be taken seriously by those of us out here in Podunk.Report

    • Avatar zic says:

      Ha. There’s another side to the women in cages like pigs (I presume we’re talking industrial pork here): males sent of to slaughter at puberty (not many males live beyond puberty on a farm are mostly gelded and sent off to slaughter). Only the those men with most desirable qualities allowed to breed; and that done artificially.

      Modern animal husbandry.

      Thankfully, my alternate view of the human farmyard is every bit as silly as suggesting that if men didn’t care women about women, women would be living in cages like pigs.Report

    • Avatar Shazbot11 says:

      But every single ancestor – stretching back to time immemorial – of every feminist on this forum was protected from death by, mostly, men.”

      Yeah, luckily I don’t have any ancestors who are women.Report

  30. I’m coming late to this, but I’m thrilled to see this article finally hit the web – it’s everything I’d hoped it would be. Stellar work, Tod, both in this piece and the main article at the Beast. Bravo for committing journalism!Report

  31. Avatar Joel says:

    I’m somebody who reads and follows a lot of the MRM blogs and youtube channles and I agree that your piece was about as evenhanded as could possibly be expected from the mainstream. You also managed to cover a lot of ground in one article on an enormous topic. So I’m not trying to be a hasrh critic when I say I wish you’d spent more time on the theoretical framework that guides a lot of the “manosphere.” When they mean “take the red pill” just like in the matrix it means a very different outlook on society and gender. In the same way feminism is guided by an overarching patriarchy theory, the MRM has certain core ideas. It’s about providing the “why”. You acknowledged a number of ways that men can be disadvantaged in society, feminists will say “patriarchy hurts men too” but the manosphere has its own, very different ideas on why.

    That’s why John spoke about his interest in the ideas in the manosphere. It is truly a revolutionary approach to how gender and gender relationships are examined. I’m not saying you have to agree with them but it will definitely put some of the more shocking and seemingly absurd statements of the MRM in context if you understand the ideas underpining them. Any article on the manosphere should mention concepts like male utility and disposability, and touch on evolutionary theories of gender behaviour.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy says:

      The manosphere… is this where enlightened men (menlightened?) go after emerging from their mancaves?


    • Avatar BlaiseP says:

      The Theory of the Manosphere is already available. Quite an enumeration. Not very good editing, though. I was taught the plural of Nazi was Nazis.Report

      • Avatar Joel says:

        Hmmm, a couple things. A website mission statement isn’t a theory. Secondly, for someone so concerned about tone you sure don’t seem to care about your own. Or is it that only the TRULY righteous can be rude and insulting? That’s why this tone argument really isn’t that strong. If people feel a sense of genuine grievance they will be angry. They will express their anger. Mainstream feminists say the most insulting things about men to resounding applause all the time, nobody is wringing their hands about it. Obviously if someone threatens someone with violence or makes deeply personal insults it is wrong and unacceptable. But to invalidate a movement with concerns that you acknowledge are valid because they say “mean” things about women?Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        “This meeting of the Get Rid Of Slimy Girls club will now come to order. First Tiger Hobbes will read the minutes of our last meeting.”

        “Thank you. (9:30) Meeting called to order. Dictator For Life Calvin proposed resoultion condemning the existence of girls. (9:35) First Tiger Hobbes abstains from vote. Motion fails. (9:36) Patriotism of First Tiger called into question. (9:37) Philosophical discussion. (10:15) Bandages administered. Dictator For Life rebuked for biting.”

        “Is this a great club or what?”

        “(10:16) Forgot what debate was about. Medals of bravery awarded to all parties.”Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        Joel, run ‘long now. I’m BlaiseP the Great and Terrible. Great because he’s great and terrible because he’s a king-sized asshole. You lot over there need to grow up and quit your piteous whining.

        A Voice for Men. Don’t be absurd. Be hereby instructed: seen from where I sit, the MRM is neither about Men nor their Rights. It is just a litany of grievance, varying only along the axis of ridiculosity.

        You have no grievances beyond what I’ve enumerated here, myself. I contend, unlike you tiresome lot and the feminists whose positions you parody, that if we’re to make any progress as a species, we will only do so together, men and women.

        Where is this theory best set forth? I am awfully hard on people who are ready enough to say what things aren’t but have no answers for what things are. It is true, as I’ve said here, feminism has descended into an empty, gibbering parody of itself. Yet women are still the niggers of the world, not that you have any meaningful proposal to integrate them into your vision of a just world. MRM is, in point of fact, even more vacuous and contemptuous of honest men than feminism at its worst and most inane. They at least offer solutions.Report

      • Avatar j r says:

        Yet women are still the niggers of the world…

        A phrase from that intellectual giant Yoko Ono. It was stupid when she said it and it remains stupid 40 years later.

        Again, words have meanings. And words strung together primarily for shock value tend to have very little meaning.Report

      • Avatar Dave says:

        Secondly, for someone so concerned about tone you sure don’t seem to care about your own…

        Nah, that’s just BlaiseP. He likes to also throw haymakers at people, but after a few shots, they start to tickle. Buy him a shot of whiskey and he’ll come around.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        Ol’ Blaise is more likely to be persuaded by dint of facts than whiskey. Whining only excites his sadistic tendencies.Report

  32. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    Since when did the Daily Beast get so many good articles on its front page? Usually when I see links there it’s for “Top Ten Sexy Tops The Kardashians Wore Last Week To Outdo Miley Cyrus” or some vapid b.s. like that. Tod’s article is first-rate (which is no surprise) and so is James Poulous’ reflection on Liebeck v. McDonald’s. Now I wish I had more time to read them all, but my time in court has been short this morning and now I have to actually work.Report

  33. Avatar Kazzy says:

    I’m reminded of the “Married with Children” plot line surrounding NO MA’AM: National Organization of Men Against Amazonian Masterhood.Report

  34. Avatar Joel says:


    Terribly oblivious to irony maybe.

    “Gibbering whiners! Get lost! Don’t you fools know how important tone is?”Report

  35. Avatar KatherineMW says:

    Joel – Don’t take it personally, Blaise insults everyone.Report

    • Avatar Joel says:

      I’m not taking him personally, I’m just trying to show the contradiction in obsessing over “tone” when he’s far from careful with his own tone. That’s why this tone argument is weak. It would be nice if we could all rein in our passions and discuss topic issues with a high level of civility. But to suggest that because people are uncivil it somehow negates their issues or their voice is really just a silencing tactic. It’s also a double standard. I don’t think you know just how aggressive feminists have been in attempting to disrupt the MRM. Believe me, they aren’t playing nice, and its unassuming little groups like students trying to form men’s organisations on campuses or “moderate” spokespeople like Warren Farrell getting called “rape apologists and incest supporters”.


  36. Avatar Pyre says:

    I think the fact that you had to reassure your audience that you “took the blue pill” is all the proof needed on the need for a MRM. I imagine that, 60 years ago, if I were to write a similar article on equal rights, I would have also needed to say something along the lines of “taking the blue pill” as well as anecdotes on how many claims of the civil rights movement could be debunked.

    But societal pressure as well as the need to avoid being discounted by the audience isn’t really new or unknown. James Carville recently wrote about this himself.


    While he (predictably) only focused on conservatives, this happens on both sides of the spectrum to the point of needing to reassure your audience that you’re still on their side before presenting any differing ideas.

    What I suppose really is interesting about this article is that Will recently wrote an article concerning “Reproduction in the Face of Modernity”.


    If I could, I would just take this article along with all the replies, particularly the ones discounting any need for an MRM, back in time and say “pretty much this”. In U.S. society, there are an increasing amount of arguments against marriage and children for men and a good number of them center around the whole MRM issue. On this issue, people can take the blue pill as much as they want but, eventually, it might turn out that what they’ve really been taking is Dart Frog extract.Report

  37. Avatar Shazbot11 says:

    Can we get a confirmation on that statistic about the male rape rate?

    In prison? Does it count for boys being molested or only rapes of adults? What are the numbers of male on male rape vs. male on female? In the military or out?

    This seems to have some good links, mostly suggesting females are more likely to be raped, while male on male rape occurs somewhat, and female on male rape is pretty rare.


    I am open to evidence, but it seems like rape is mostly something men do to others, including to other men, is mostly true for primates, so that is sort of what we should expect in humans, if we don’t have better evidence in the social sciences.Report

  38. Avatar Chicago-JSO says:

    Whether I am not logged in properly of it’s a setting of the admin I cannot leave comments
    on various posts so I will simply make one big comment pointing to various ideas I find
    in the comments section.


    I have personally met several men, not involved in the men’s rights movement who were as late as
    the mid to early 2000’s not given even those options. What troubles me, and what makes me a men’s
    advocate (despite not doing much advocacy work at this point in my life) is the callous nature of
    what happens to these men. Most of the ones I know were never abusive, or oppressive. What’s worse
    is that often they were not wealthy career men, although many of those are treated poorly too. Many
    of these men are hard working low income men who after years of effort managed to up their station
    and the station of their family only to have it all taken from them when they least expect it.
    These are really the injustices that drive me and many MRAs.

    @zic https://ordinary-times.com/blog/2013/10/20/take-two-red-pills-call-me-in-the-morning-the-sudden-and-surprising-rise-of-the-mens-rights-movement#comment-638314

    “What’s interesting here is that across the world, as women gain the right to leave marriage, they choose to do so in great number, opting to free themselves of difficult husbands.”

    While I cannot speak statistically I can draw from my own life. My parents had a rough marriage that ended when I was 13 years old.
    Both my parents have actually re-married. My mother is one who based on what she said would fall into someone who was freeing herself
    from a “difficult husband.” Yet this doesn’t play with reality. My father was very involved in my life from a very early age, so maybe
    I’m biased but a decade later I can see them both for who they really are. My father is a very supportive borderline house husband
    to my step mother who works. I say borderline because my father also works but at his age is mostly retired. He gets up every morning
    at 4 am to clean dishes, and does all sort of stuff before later in the day helping my step mother with her business. Far from oppressive
    he is and truthfully through my entire life has been rather meek.

    My mother on the other hand is still to this day very difficult to deal with. She adopts an attitude of, it’s always someone else’s fault.
    Due to some financial issues my girlfriend of two years and I live with my mother
    and step father. My mother can be difficult (thankfully our situation is improving and we’ll be moving out soon) so difficult
    in fact that my girlfriend often gets frustrated and annoyed at the behavior of my mother. This leads me to really question your narrative.

    This is why from my perspective the women leaving abusive men narrative is tired and weak. Are we really to conclude that
    50% of men are abusive? I as a man can accept that some men are abusive, but 50%? That’s crazy!

    “But my heart does not bleed for them; not if they’re being dumped for failing to treat their family members humanely.”
    Again this is usually not the case, at least not in my life.

    “What I don’t hear is a call to that responsibility of kindness and caring amongst men’s rights activists, who often brand men who do engage with their family’s emotional well beings as spineless worm-boys.”

    Many MRA’s are indeed very family oriented most of them care deeply
    about their families and their children. If they didn’t they simply wouldn’t be MRA’s. I’m an MRA because I am concerned about the children
    I plan to have. I’m concerned that if they are boys they will be unjustly discriminated against. I’m also concerned that if I marry the
    wrong women I will be kicked out of my children’s lives just because she got bored.


    One last observation.

    I have read much of this comment thread indeed I’ve spent the last few hours reading it. One thing strikes me.
    Many of the people here, on principle are MRA’s. But strangely they turn around after in essence making a claim
    or supporting an argument which is fundamentally an MRA argument and then denounce MRAs. This is somewhat odd
    to me. But it reeks of the notion that men can have their discussion so long as it takes place with in this
    (feminist) sandbox. In the end it’s a from of patronizing almost. Oh, you boys, you have troubles so you can talk
    about them here but be nice and don’t upset mommy.

    I think some of the vitriol and frustration within the MRM comes from this notion. We in general don’t want to have
    to play in your sandbox. We want to have a conversation that addresses our concerns and from that I think many different
    positive and negative things arise. This comment thread is itself dripping with the notion that men can discuss their issues
    but only if they follow the rules and don’t rattle too many cages. I think what the modern MRM is succeeding at is basically
    saying no. We will have a voice and you (society/feminism) will have to address it.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      You’re in our sandbox whether you like it or not pal.
      You can either let us help you build your castle,
      or you can storm off.
      Because if you’ve read any scholarship about
      radical feminism, you’d know that what you’re advocating for
      is precisely, no ifs ands or buts about it, feminist.

      About 20% of American men are assholes and abusers. This is
      a psych profile, and NOT saying that they’re always
      abusive or violent towards women.

      As to your parents case: opposites attract.
      It rarely works out well, but they do manage
      to fuck and have kids before it breaks apart.

      (note: a good deal of abuse is mutual,
      or comes from the “trying to find a way out”
      of the relationship, and not being willing to
      put yer brass on the line.)Report

  39. Avatar Joel says:


    “You can dish it out.”

    I don’t have any affiliation to AVFM. I frequent their sit as I do many other MRM sites but I don’t write for them or determine their content. The only interaction you have had with me has been on this blog and I have been civil throughout – while you toss about the vitriol in response. I might be one of those magical moderates that Tod thinks will make the MRM more easily embraced. Doesn’t seem to be working with you though.

    “Not so good at taking it.”

    Well apart from the fact that I haven’t actually “dished it out” I’m good at taking it. In the MRM you get accustomed to it quite quickly. That’s why it’s so funny that Tod would characterise John as a hatemonger when John routinely endures withering verbal abuse at MRM-related events from enraged feminists and responds calmly and reasonably. You are the one breaking out the smelling salts over tone. You want to see hate? THIS is hate.


    • Avatar BlaiseP says:

      You quote them with enough facility. Run along now. Show’s over. Find somewhere else to go a-missionarying to poor stupid men who keep on taking the Blue Pill. No, when it comes to Rights for Men, I shall happily maintain my own positions, that the rights of women and their children, the stranger, the insane, the prisoner, the poor — these are the measures of a good and wise society. I will never endorse rights for anyone to the exclusion of anyone else. What is good for women ought to be also good for men.Report

      • Avatar Joel says:

        I’m no missionary. I came to compliment the writer on his piece and point him in the direction of the more theoretical aspects of the movement that were absent from the piece. I read your rants and just shake my head, a year and a half ago I was just like you, just as strident and certain, confusing perception with reality. Just as incurious. It’s always sad to see people acting like slaves their ego.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        Joel, if someone came in here citing A Voice for Men, I’m going to put them in the Stormfront category. It’s that notorious a site.Report

      • Avatar Gilles says:

        As an insane man (no, really; four ICD-10 codes, or three DSM-IV if you’re an american supremacist), I’d like to know more about how you split the rights of “men” and of the “insane”.

        This applies to the MRM too. How do you factor a gay man’s problems between “gay problems” (to be dealt with in the LGBTqx sphere) and “man problems”?

        It wasn’t Montesquieu — it was someone who read Montesquieu and commented approvingly that he knew no “men” (here in the older meaning of “humans”), just Frenchmen, Spaniards, Turks, Persians, etc — particular types and subtypes — and could not speak of the Rights of Man as brought by the French Revolution. And to misquote what someone said above, to the extent you change the frame according to which we’re allowed to ask questions, you change the solution space. “Human rights” is already a crock of a frame; let alone “women’s rights” and “men’s rights”. The antidote to blue poison ain’t red poison.

        Do some laws need to be changed? Yes. Build a set of case law problems around it. Abortion rights were not acquired through hysterical shrieking, they were acquired (in the USA anyway) in Roe v. Wade. Lawyer up, for Mingus’ sake.

        Are there male epidemics that need to be addressed? Yes. Prostate cancer is diagnosed more often than breast cancer, despite the lower awareness and test rate. And suicides are many-fold times more prevalent in males in every single culture; I never get why suicide is never a theme in MRM literature. But hey, this isn’t because women are too empowered — play discourse wars all you want, women have no prostates. And about suicide, there’s first an issue of mental health to be addressed, and within that question issues of baseline prevalence of specific conditions, lifestyle pressures, etc. etc.

        Maybe we don’t need shelters for battered men, but yes for men who are schizophrenic, suicidal and lost in life. The problems are the problems, we shouldn’t need to find them in symmetrical forms to the problems that happen to have more specificity to female populations. Schizophrenia is a predominantly male problem, but there are female schizophrenics as well. Mingus Christ. Focus on something that’s important for you. (Mental illness is an important issue to me, as you can see.)Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        @gilles +1.

        And space awesome on using Mingus for blasphemy.

        My favorite composer, perhaps a god.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        “As an insane man (no, really; four ICD-10 codes, or three DSM-IV if you’re an american supremacist), I’d like to know more about how you split the rights of “men” and of the “insane”.

        This applies to the MRM too. How do you factor a gay man’s problems between “gay problems” (to be dealt with in the LGBTqx sphere) and “man problems”? ”

        … this is exactly the point that radical feminism makes. Equality for one and all, or it’s not equal.Report

  40. Avatar Jay says:

    “I have held both the red and the blue pills in my hand, but I have swallowed the blue.”

    Tod, this was a terrific blog post, and I wish more journalism pieces would be accompanied by the story of the making of the piece. I think it adds a great deal to understanding the piece itself.

    Having read this post, I am left wondering:

    1) I don’t understand from this post, why you swallowed the blue.

    2) Do you intend to continue writing pieces on the men’s rights movement? If so, I’d really like to encourage you to either a) solicit http://www.reddit.com/r/MensRights for questions and issues that you and your readers would find interesting but that could certainly use a journalistic/skeptical examination or exposure or b) ask me at the included email address

    I consider myself mostly interested in father’s rights activism, not men’s rights activism, in large part because of what you write of the men’s rights movement’s leaders unerring instinct to comically shoot themselves in the foot which keeps me from sending links to AVFM or even the Spearhead around to my facebook friends and relatives.

    I have many questions about both the men’s rights movement whose answers I believe an audience would like to know, or need to know more about because the questions are raised either as attacks by feminists, or seem to constitute extraordinary claims by the mrm.

    Finally 3) As I said, I think this piece is as important as your original piece, why is it here, and not published at the Daily Beast?Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly says:


      First: Thanks!

      Second: I may well write more about the men’s rights movement; I definitely will be writing more about the men’s issued I discovered covering the men’s rights movement. As to why the blue pill? A longer post is probably required to answer that fully, but as a placeholder let me simply say that researching this piece made me a believer in the cause and a doubter in the movement.

      Third: If I do do another piece on that is more MRM related, it might well be on my journey through it over the summer. A lot of great stories that surrounded the actual research.

      Last: As to why this is here and not part of the Daily Beast article, that has a lot to do with volume.

      The Beast normally publishes feature articles that are in the 1000-2000 word range. If it looks like they left stuff out for my piece, consider that they allowed about 6000 words. They really went above and beyond, in my opinion, to try and encapsulate the whole story I wanted to tell. (I don’t know that mine is the longest feature they’ve ever done at the Beast, but if it turned out to be the case it wouldn’t surprise me. I don’t think I’ve ever even seen 3k word piece there. Like I said, they went above and beyond.)

      There’s a problem with this story, though, which is not the Beast’s fault: There’s really a book’s worth of material here. There isn’t a single facet of this story that can be told in 6k, let alone everything. You could do a compelling look at just the movement itself in 60k, and you probably need at *least* 10k apiece to look at various causes such as male victims of sexual assault, domestic abuse, family court issues, death/suicide rates, etc. And once you were done with all of that, you’d still need space to talk about what I personally think are the most compelling questions of all: What does all of this tell us about men’s evolving role in society – or women’s, for that matter?

      Too much good stuff, too little column space.Report

  41. Avatar Chris says:

    According to the latest numbers I’ve found, the President, Vice President, 82% of Congress (80% Senate, 82% House), 70% of state governors, 76% of state legislators, and 82% of mayors in cities with more than 30,000 residents (including 88% of the 100 largest cities) are men. More than 96% of the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies were men as of last year. Women remain seriously underrepresented in film and television shows (and gender stereotypes about things like profession are even more blatant there). Basically, men dominate the politics, the economy, and the culture/media.

    I bring this up because the Men’s Rights movement seems to believe that these things are not true, that the tables have turned and women, or at the very least men whose strings are pulled by women, are running the show. As their focus on feminism shows, this inevitably leads them to look in the wrong places for the sources of the genuine problems facing men in our society. A movement genuinely determined to work toward fixing those problems would recognize this, and adjust its behavior accordingly.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

      “I bring this up because the Men’s Rights movement seems to believe that these things are not true, that the tables have turned and women, or at the very least men whose strings are pulled by women, are running the show.”

      Not quite. They tend to argue that while it may be men in charge of the government and corporations, it is women who largely vote-vote or wallet-vote on gender based issues in a way that men do not, and thus public and corporate policy is written largely in their favor.

      I neither support nor challenge this position by bringing it up here; merely a point of clarification.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        Huh? If public and corporate policy was written in women’s favour, Chris’ statistics would be very different. League is not a sheltered workshop wherein every silly and long-disproved position merits our charity.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        I’d add a couple things to this, based on my observations and communications with MRAs (far less extensive than yours, so correct me if I’m wrong):

        1) Men in positions of power are outliers. Yes, positions of power fall heavily towards men. But only a select few men. The MRM is more concerned about the type of men who will never be president, never be in congress, and such. And they believe that these men are getting a raw deal in comparison to their female counterparts, because…

        2) Those outlier men at the top of the food chain have no particular loyalty to malehood. They have a greater percentage (in part because of the things you refer to) in catering to women than in catering to men. Women are more organized and more active. They’re more educated, they have larger purchasing power. Supporting them explicitly and formally grants greater capital than supporting men in such a manner.

        I don’t ascribe to these arguments. I think they are often false. But I don’t think it’s crazy-talk and I think that there is some truth to it. It’s just that there are also a lot of things that this narrative is completely missing. Namely, that it does, in fact, matter to the average man that men generally hold the reins of power.Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        Will- I agree with you regarding how MRA’s often see things. But they have become attached to gender as the issue when it is more often class. There is a parallel to the claims of some on the right that liberals control the media or have far more influence in the media/tv/movies. But very few liberals work in media or tv so we have no influence on what is broadcast or how it is presented. The problem is ascribing a power to an entire group of people when only a very small number of that group actual has any of that power. Which also leaves aside other things like if a big business caters to women because women buy their stuff, that is the free market in action which most of us are happy with. MRA’s strongly trend towards being conservative so their complaints about business catering to their customers are weak.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Greg, that’s an interesting point.

        But very few liberals work in media or tv so we have no influence on what is broadcast or how it is presented.

        It comes down to a question of whether you think these outliers are using their positions to advantage their tribe. Which is critical to the claim that it matters that men are in a position of power. Are men in a position of power actively seeking to advantage men in the workplace? MRM’s believe no, others believe yes. Do liberals in media use their position in media to advance their worldview? Liberals believe no, critics believe yes.

        (My own belief of these things is somewhat consistent, which is to say that sometimes the answer is yes and sometimes the answer is no. But I think it’s impossible in either case for them to separate their identity from their jobs, even if they are actually trying to.)

        I’d argue that a whole lot of these people tend to be a lot less fans of free market than one might think. And not in ways they are oblivious to. I think it’s a mistake to see it as a MRM=conservative=freemarketeer line. I’d say they are more like cultural conservatives whose relationship with markets is actually rather uneasy.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Tod, thank you for the clarification.

        To reiterate my view, I think some of the issues they’re interested in are, in fact, real issues for men. However, like Greg, I think some of them are class issues, and others are a result less of politicians catering to women than social changes that come with increasing (though still in progress) equality for women, particularly in law, politics, and the economy, interacting with relatively recalcitrant representations of gender and gender roles. This isn’t the fault of men or women, as a group, but of the fact that in some ways society is changing (for the better, I’d argue), faster than the culture, and it’s created some problems — for both men and women — that are best addressed by working to catch the culture up with the societal (by which I mean legal, institutional, etc.; no fault divorce would be an obvious example) changes, while possibly also tweaking some of those social changes so that everyone is getting a fair shake without undermining the progress that women have made.Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        Yeah although i think there is real problem with seeing everything through the lens of the tribe as opposed to what makes us money or prevent us from being sued or even is just deemed respectful.Report

      • Avatar Reggie says:

        @greginak ” But they have become attached to gender as the issue when it is more often class. ”
        Check out ‘The XX Factor’ by Alison Wolf. She discusses much the same thing. We have an elite class (of which my wife and I are part). In the elite class, both sexes are 100% equal in all ways except for certain double standards that I feel only apply to men. The oft debunked pay gap is explained by hours worked and employment chosen i.e. If you want to have a safe job close to home, you cannot expect extra (hazzard pay).

        The underclass are the ones that each is battling about. Men in the underclass have higher incidents of death and injury while the Women are doing traditional “Women’s” work but they are doing it outside the home and usually for an elite couple.

        We have to steer away from the Apex fallacy where we compare a CEO to a sweatshop worker in terms of sex. Likewise, we have to stop looking at lower class Women and comparing their lot to the “plight” of the Female University Professor.

        The sexes are almost 100% equal and the only equality left to achieve is class differences because this cohort of elite Women has hijacked a noble cause and increased class differences. Dead Beat Dads are almost non-existent in the elite class whereas laws to go after them only hinder and make the underclass more poor for their efforts.Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        Reggie- I’d say Dead Beat Dads ( or moms) are rare in upper middle class/rich families because they have lots and lots of money. They can’t get away with pretending to be poor or hiding money quite as well as others. Not paying child support is primarily due to not having enough money or bitterness over having to pay. If you don’t have the money then obviously you can’t pay. If you are angry at having to pay, then people will find ways to avoid paying or just not pay, which almost always bites them in the butt. The sad fact is there are many people who avoid paying child support out of anger at their former spouse.

        In feminist circles there has been plenty of push back against upper class women monopolizing the dialogue and issues. There is a focus on trying to deal with the often far more serious issues poor women deal with compared to rich women.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        We have an elite class (of which my wife and I are part). In the elite class, both sexes are 100% equal in all ways except for certain double standards that I feel only apply to men. The oft debunked pay gap is explained by hours worked and employment chosen i.e. If you want to have a safe job close to home, you cannot expect extra (hazzard pay).

        The underclass are the ones that each is battling about. Men in the underclass have higher incidents of death and injury while the Women are doing traditional “Women’s” work but they are doing it outside the home and usually for an elite couple.

        I’m sure this elides much, but as it is it seems like a really odd way to divide the world. Of course, the notion that men and women are equal in the upper classes is demonstrably false, but what really strikes me as odd is the idea that once you get beneath that level, men and women are competing against each other for social/cultural/economic dominance, on gender grounds, and that the women of that level are doing “women’s work” only outside of the home.Report

      • Avatar Reggie says:

        Your point being? I pointed out that Men and Women of the Underclass have traditionally gendered roles. There are exceptions but don’t let them cloud your view.

        It is not demonstrably false that men and women are 100% equal in the elites. When a woman is willing to put in 80-100 hours per week into her CEO track, she makes it there just like the men who do it. Your beef is not with me (or a CEO), but with the women who CHOOSE to be with their children rather than pursue that career path. I personally chose to come home and have dinner at the table with my children every day. BTW, I am not a CEO or even management. I just make a lot of money doing what I do and I CHOSE to come home to my children. I also CHOSE to not run for a government position that I may or may not have been elected to by the predominantly female constituency. My wife now makes more than I do because of the very fact that she had somebody at home to pick up the kids and attend “Meet the Teacher Night”. I’d rather teach my children Karate and spear fishing than be CEO.

        Giving women a place on the board will never compensate for the 80-100 hours/week that they should have spent getting there. I am not bitter that I’m not there nor should anyone else who didn’t put in the effort to get there. Just get yourself a low class woman (hired) or an equal spouse to take care of your kids and the housework and you too can be a CEO.

        Or you can choose to have cats in stead/Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        From where I’m sitting, you’re defining Elites as being merely the bourgeoisie, the new rich.
        The old rich has perfect equality between the sexes.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        @reggie : I run my own shop. Have for many years now. My mother out-earned my father about 5:1. I cooked and cleaned for my mother. Raised my children while my wife went to school. Raised two daughters.

        There is no Elite Cabal of Women scheming to Hijack anything. Freud’s conclusions about women were mostly idiotic because all he ever saw of women was a bunch of neurotic upper class women. The third wave of feminism did address the problems which really only appear in the lives of women — and men! — down at the lower income levels. But they all failed, because they continued along the old stereotypes of the Second and First Waves of Feminism.

        The same blind spot appears in the MRM. For all the remonstrance and huffing and puffing on this subject, the Third Wave of Feminism has made a point you’re only repeating, that these roles get more rigid the farther down the food chain you get. You’re not a bigot or misogynist. You don’t know much about the Upper Classes. They have prenuptial agreements. It’s like friggin’ morganatic marriages in royalty. Women haven’t gotten that far along up there in the financial stratosphere.

        Now here’s what you could be saying, and you aren’t saying. I contend it’s rather like the paradox of Affirmative Action. Let’s posit a man and a woman applying for the same job, roughly the same qualifications. It’s a close horse race but the woman has slightly better credentials. The woman gets hired.

        Now put yourself in the shoes of that woman. “Did I get hired because I’m actually better, or just because I’m a woman?” How do you answer that woman, from the MRM perspective? Are you going to say “Oh, don’t worry too much about it, your credentials are slightly better than his.” Or are you going to torment her and say “Honey, you got the job mostly because you’re a woman.”

        Now which will it be?Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:


        But isn’t choice a bit of an illusion when you look at the myriad of social factors that influence our freedom of choice?

        My wife and I recently had a baby. She returned to work after 3 months. At least one of her colleagues, on a near-daily basis, has said something to her about how she ought to be home with the baby. As she describes it, he never says it in a way that seems explicitly or deliberately offensive; it is often framed as either, “Babies need their moms,” or “You know you don’t have to come to work; don’t listen to people telling you to chase a career.” (I will ignore just how ass backwards that latter one is given the brunt of his own message.)

        I took two weeks off after the birth. You know how many of my colleagues have expressed similar sentiment? Zero. Zip. Nada. Zilch. So, yes, my wife can choose to stay home or choose to go to work, but those choices carry with them different consequences for her than they do for me, and for wholly unnatural reasons.

        Now, there are similar pressures on men to get out of the home, to work, to provide. I felt these when I was home over the summer with my son (I am a teacher). Many others here have spoken about the way in which gender norms and expectations make men similarly feel as if their choices are limited.

        So, yes, choice exists, but only insofar as the consequences of choice are appropriately distributed. They are not when it comes to men and women choosing between work and home.Report

      • Avatar Reggie says:

        @kazzy It’s still a legal choice is it not?Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:


        Indeed it is a legal choice. Which is part of why this is complicated.

        But much of what you discuss isn’t necessarily coded into law but, rather, the result of social norms.

        You are free to correct me if I’m wrong, but I’ve never seen a law that says mothers get preference in custody matters. That just tends to be how it goes. And that is wrong. But the men, technically, still enter into that courtroom with a legal right to custody.

        So if we want to discuss rights, there are probably complaints you are going to have to walk back. If we want to discuss social norms, there is no shortage of grist for the mill. But if you want to discuss rights vis a vis women but social norms vis a vis men, I will not agree to those terms of the conversation.Report

  42. Avatar HeatherN says:

    I liked both of your articles…but your statement that if a man is a victim of sexual assault and “looking for a political white knight,” the MRM is the only option isn’t quite true. For one thing, a lot of feminist groups are starting to better incorporate a lot of men’s issues into their platforms…particularly regarding sexual assault and domestic violence. And some of the issues the MRM has latched onto have been feminist issues from way back…like the selective service, which NOW tried to do away with back in the 1990s.

    But there are also groups focused quite specifically on male victims that aren’t connected to the MRM at all, like 1in6.com. So it isn’t that the MRM is the only game in town…it’s just the loudest and perhaps the most obvious.Report

    • Avatar Doug Spoonwood says:

      “For one thing, a lot of feminist groups are starting to better incorporate a lot of men’s issues into their platforms…particularly regarding sexual assault and domestic violence.”

      I don’t believe this. What feminist groups advocate for setting up domestic violence shelters for men? What feminist groups acknowledge that domestic violence happens at near parity rates among the sexes? What feminist groups advocate for talking about rape in terms of penile envelopment as well as penetration? What feminist groups do you know of spreading around posters with a *man* lying on a couch unconscious with a message that says “Just because *he* can’t speak that doesn’t mean he’s saying yes. Don’t be that girl.”?

      “And some of the issues the MRM has latched onto have been feminist issues from way back…like the selective service, which NOW tried to do away with back in the 1990s.”

      Though probably the largest group, NOW consists of just one feminist group. They came out with a resolution in 1980:

      “BE IT RESOLVED, that NOW opposes the reinstatement of registration and draft for both men and women. NOW’s primary focus on this issue is on opposition to registration and draft. However, if we cannot stop the return to registration and draft, we also cannot choose between sisters and brothers. We oppose any registration or draft that excludes women as an unconstitutional denial of rights to both young men and women. And we continue to oppose all sex discrimination by the volunteer armed services.”


      I do NOT believe that they did anything in the 1990s to try and do away with it beyond this resolution.

      I DO know that this past spring a few months after women had gotten allowed into combat roles, it wasn’t the National Organization for Women that sued the Selective Service System.

      It was the National Coalition for Men that filed the lawsuit. http://ncfm.org/2013/04/action/ncfm-sues-selective-service-for-requiring-only-men-to-register-for-the-draft/Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        To be fair to feminist groups, unlike men’s groups, they’ve had some pretty big things to focus on, like pervasive sexism, constant attacks on reproductive freedom, a legal system that still facilitates violence against women, etc.

        While ending selective service, or gender discrimination in selective service is, I’m sure, something almost all feminists would support, in an age without a draft, I’m sure they’d rather be spending their to,e and money on more pressing issues.Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

        I’m pretty selective about how I spend my toes, too. I mean, you only get ten, and I’m down to seven.Report

  43. Avatar orion says:

    I think there are a few things that are missing.

    The MRM, whether they like it or not, are part of the, for lack of a better term “Manosphere”.

    They are not connected by much, only by a deep, deep hatred for feminism, because we are the backlash they always feared.

    Anyhow, as for the need for more moderate voices:

    Men produce 3/4 of the GDP in pretty much any industrialized nation, which means that along with social programms the whole welfare state is nothing but a giant redistribution scheme from men towards women.

    This means that women do get the provisioning they historically got, they just do not have to take individual mens wishes and priorities into account any longer.

    Men these days are more or less in the position of Boxer of Animal Farm fame.

    We have to do nothing that you would register , we dont have to beg, we dont have to persuade you, we only have to stop pulling your plow.

    As MGTOWs are doing, as the Herbivores in Japan are doing, hey, google “Zeugungstreik” for German birth rates or the lack thereof.

    Its not even that we have to reach a critical mass, we have already done that, you just have not noticed.

    There will be no moderate begging to be heard, there will be a triumphant howl when the ship sinks, as it must.

    Good riddance, you had your chance.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

      “Its not even that we have to reach a critical mass, we have already done that, you just have not noticed… Good riddance, you had your chance.”

      Space awesome.

      If I do another MRM post here anytime soon, it may have to be a comparison of the MRM and Tea Party.Report

      • Avatar orion says:

        Thank you for your article it was, by and large, fair.

        I wrote nothing you cannot fact check, Japan is imploding demographically, the 3/4 of the GDP is true, so is the German birth rate of 1.35 per woman.

        The MRM are just the tip of the iceberg though.

        There are PUA sites, and MGTOW sites and Game sites that link observable female behaviors when it comes to pickup to phenomena that have repercussions for a whole society.

        With all due respect to Paul Elam and others they are the moderate front and whether they want to be a part of it or not, it is all one whole.Report

      • Avatar Jolly McFats says:

        “If I do another MRM post here anytime soon, it may have to be a comparison of the MRM and Tea Party.”

        Oof. There are probably fair comparisons there, but as someone in the MRM that despises the tea party, I’d just point out that those guys bluster loudly, whereas the rhetoric of the less extreme tends to be more reserved and easily ignored. At one point there was a lot of divisiveness in the MRM over whether the MRM should be religious or atheist. Thankfully that passed, but right now there’s a lot of bluster over conservatism vs liberalism vs statism vs whatever ism the speaker endorses. I’m hoping that passes soon too.

        I think another interesting thing to examine would be the technological landscape in which this particular civil rights movement is occurring. It’s hard to compare pre-internet civil rights movements to post-internet civil rights movements, because on the internet “the mic is always on”.

        Finally, just to broaden the representation of things in the “manosphere” (god I hate that term), readers might want to google femdelusion’s blog, or quiet riot girl’s blog, or genderattic. All of those present a pretty different side of the MRM than that which is predominantly featured in your articles.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        @jolly-mcfats – I have been poking around Quiet Riot Girl’s blog (what can I say, I’m a sucker for punny names).

        I’d say anyone “out to smash the gender binary” (paraphrasing her words) seems to be on a different end of the MRM (if in fact she considers herself part of it, which I’m not quite clear if she does; or more just considers herself anti-feminist; viewing feminism, at least in its current mainstream incarnation, as reinforcing of said gender binary).

        She seems like an interesting character, thanks for the reading recommendation.Report

      • Avatar Jolly McFats says:

        @Glyph glad you liked it. She’s definitely a prominent voice in the MRM- in fact, you can find some of her writing at avoiceformen. You might really be interested at the stuff on femdelusion’s blog too, particularly the series where he discusses adapting a capabilities approach to more fully address gender issues.Report

    • Avatar Ahunt says:

      Yeah. Back in the nested days, it occasionally annoyed me that my 24/7/365 labor never figured into the GDP. (What is the old saying? “If a man marries his paid housekeeper, the GDP goes down?”)

      But the world is changing and particularly given the attitudes of folks like Orion, I certainly couldn’t blame modern young women for eschewing the valueless endeavors of motherhood and homemaking for a paycheck, a pension, vacation time, etc.Report

      • Avatar truthbeauty says:

        “I certainly couldn’t blame modern young women for eschewing the valueless endeavors of motherhood and homemaking for a paycheck, a pension, vacation time, etc.”

        I certainly could and I certainly would. Motherhood is not valueless. This is the most ridiculous of ideas. That if you take both parents out of the equation and have the state raise the children, that somehow this will produce successful offspring. Selfishly, women have chosen money over family. Rather than fight to be valued at home, they have exited the home, much to the detriment of the children. I find a paycheck, a pension and vacation time to be far less noble than being a good mother.
        And if you are eluding to women opting out of becoming mothers altogether, that is fine, but to sacrifice that just to work as some brick in the wall for some company is pathetic. Men have dreamed of leaving the rat race to pursue their passions, yet women are flocking to the rat race as if that is freedom. Research has shown that women are more depressed now than in past generations, but pride is a tough one. It’s pretty hard to say ‘yeah, we got it wrong’. Much easier to blame shift and put more expectations on the man then to take ownership.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        You like being a mom so much? you do it.

        “I find a paycheck, a pension and vacation time to be far less noble than being a good mother.”

        Yeah, well, I saved a million dollars this week, and half a hundred lives. You gonna tell me that’s less noble than being a good mother???

        There’s this thing about nobility: nobility’s dirt poor.Report

  44. Avatar orion says:

    @ Ahunt.

    All I would say to such a woman is “you go girl !”

    And again giant redistribution from men towards women.

    If the next generation of Boxers is not even born, it all comes tumbling down, no matter who does not sire or birth them for whatever reason.

    I agree, no woman should have kids with men like me, ever.

    The sheer chance of meeting a man like me should put her off matrimony altogether.Report

  45. Avatar Ahunt says:

    Yeah…Catch 22?Report

  46. Avatar Joel says:

    “As it turns out, most the MRM’s opponents actually agree that there are a lot of cracks in the system where men (especially low-income men) are at risk at having their civil rights and safety violated. However, no one aside from the MRM seems willing to actually run with any of these balls.”

    Tod, aren’t you curious as to why that is? Why is it so difficult for men’s concerns to be addressed or even seen by society? Don’t you get a sense that perhaps the picture we have of gender is incomplete? You can see it even in the comments on this blog:

    “About 20% of American men are assholes and abusers.”

    One of your comments says. No one says a thing to rebut it. Flip the genders, put it on an MRM site and its an example of hate speech. Why do we see it that way?

    “To be fair to feminist groups,UNLIKE MEN’s GROUPS, they’ve had some pretty big things to focus on, like pervasive sexism, constant attacks on reproductive freedom, a legal system that still facilitates violence against women, etc.”

    So even in the comments section of an article outlining some of the real issues men face, men’s activists don’t have “pretty big things to focus on”?

    Doesn’t that seem a little bit odd to you? What if as a species we perceive the risks to different genders differently?” What if encoded within us is the urge to prioritize the welfare of women over that of men? That’s why taking the red pill isn’t about being made aware of statistics. You can be shown all the statistics in the world and they won’t make a dent in your framing of reality, especially if you are deeply invested in seeing the world a certain way.

    Have you really questioned your perceptions? You cited the “whats” but haven’t asked the “whys”. Karen Straughan, who in my opinion is the real superstar of the MRM, did a youtube vid called “Feminism and the Disposable Male” that gets into the foundational ideas of movement. If you do a follow up, speak to her. It will be well worth it.Report

    • Avatar Chris says:

      “About 20% of American men are assholes and abusers.”

      One of your comments says. No one says a thing to rebut it.

      First, that’s Kim. No one expects her to say things that make sense.

      “To be fair to feminist groups,UNLIKE MEN’s GROUPS, they’ve had some pretty big things to focus on, like pervasive sexism, constant attacks on reproductive freedom, a legal system that still facilitates violence against women, etc.”

      I was, admittedly, being flippant here, mostly because selective service in a draftless age is not a particularly pressing issue to me, and I have a son approaching that age. That said, I was being somewhat serious as well. I don’t think men’s issues are the result of pervasive sexism built into the very structure of our culture and society. So I don’t think MRAs are dealing with issues of the same scope as those dealt with by feminists. I’m sure you disagree, but to date, the only argument I’ve seen for that requires that we believe that men run pretty much everything in politics, the economy, the media, etc., but women are secretly controlling them from behind the scenes (because women vote?).

      To be honest, as it is painfully apparent to me that MRAs are at best wholly ineffective, and at worst counterproductive and anti-women, I don’t feel all that compelled to take you seriously. I will take the issues seriously, but I don’t need y’all to do so.Report

      • Avatar Joel says:

        “I’m sure you disagree, but to date, the only argument I’ve seen for that requires that we believe that men run pretty much everything in politics, the economy, the media, etc., but women are secretly controlling them from behind the scenes (because women vote?).”

        That’s precisely why I think its important to understand the ideas of the movement. We are essentially dealing with not only a feminist paradigm but also thousands of years of evolved behavior. I don’t want to get accused again of doing missionary work but if you are interested in some of their ideas check out the aforementioned Karen Straughan or warren farrell’s “The Myth of Male Power” vids on youtube. Farrell is the ultimate “moderate” and someone who’s theories have had an enormous influence on the MRM.

        “To be honest, as it is painfully apparent to me that MRAs are at best wholly ineffective, and at worst counterproductive and anti-women, I don’t feel all that compelled to take you seriously. I will take the issues seriously, but I don’t need y’all to do so.”

        You are very wrong about that. Things are changing – dramatically and rapidly. But thanks for taking the issues seriously.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Joel, the evolutionary arguments I’ve seen are empirically suspect at best, based on the most pseudo-scientifically speculative breeds of Evolutionary Psychology. The arguments that feminism are the causes of these issues make no sense whatsoever to me. Feminism isn’t the cause of the benevolent sexism* of family courts, nor is it the cause of a lack of attention to male victims of sexual violence. It could be argued that the changes that feminism has helped create, changes that allow women to have a larger role in the economy and politics, clash with our traditional perceptions of gender (I’ve suggested so a few times in this thread), but that’s not the fault of feminism. To argue that it is the fault of feminism is essentially to argue that women should not seek political, social, and economic equality.

        Could you point to some changes wrought by MRAs?

        *This is actually a term used in the social sciences, lest someone accuse me of making stuff up.Report

      • Avatar Ahunt says:

        I don’t feel all that compelled to take you seriously. I will take the issues seriously, but I don’t need y’all to do so.


        Spent the last coupla days (and nights) pouring over Tod’s essays, following links, and reading as much as I could stomach.

        One issue at the top of this feminist’s list is men’s health, and I didn’t see nearly as much as I would have liked on the subject.

        Over the last 35+ years, getting the BH into the doctor’s office has been one long NAG. He’s getting better about it, and to be fair, our three boys are marginally more likely to get…say…that torn rotator cuff checked out in a relatively timely manner. (Nagging DILs)

        But wifely/sisterly/motherly/significant-otherly harping is not going to change this masculine “indifference” (need a better word) towards men’s physical well-being. This really is an area where the guys do have to take lead.Report

      • Avatar Reggie says:

        @Chris “Feminism isn’t the cause of the benevolent sexism”

        You seem to ignore the fact that this benevolent sexism is the only reason that Feminism can exist. This is the entire argument. Men Protect Women. Period, Full Stop. It’s evolutionarily hard wired into us. If it weren’t for Benevolent Sexism, there’d be reserves for uppity second class citizens.

        As far as the draft goes, this is the main argument against the female vote. If you don’t have skin in the game, how can you play fair? Women can actually vote in a war monger with no fear of having to die.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Reggie, can you show me the data showing that men have an innate need/desire/motivation to protect women? I’d love to see that.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        men do have instinctual desires to protect their daughters.
        they also have instinctual desires to have sex with their daughters.

        That’s the thing about instincts… we get a lot of ’em, half of them
        work at cross-purposes, and a good deal of them are just massively
        fucked up.

        It’s a good thing we aren’t defined by our instincts, eh?Report

      • Avatar Reggie says:

        @Kim “they also have instinctual desires to have sex with their daughters”

        ^ THIS kind of bullshit invalidates all of Feminism. Your views are dysfunctional and you need therapy. I will not address your statement further.Report

      • Avatar zic says:


        As far as the draft goes, this is the main argument against the female vote. If you don’t have skin in the game, how can you play fair? Women can actually vote in a war monger with no fear of having to die.

        Infuckingcredible. I cannot believe you wrote that.

        First we no longer have a draft, though we do have a requirement for selective-service registration that is sexist. I, a woman, 100% agree on that count.

        After that, you drift off into a lalaland that had absolutely noting to do with reality. Whatsoever.

        1. Women serve in combat. In fact, it was a big deal recently when the US armed forces finally decided to recognize that fact. Because combat means higher pay, so women on the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan were being paid less then the men they served with.

        2. Women do not vote for war. Men do not vote for war, either, if they’re ordinary citizens. They only get to vote for their Congressional representatives who are vested with the power to declare war.

        3. Anyone, man or woman, who sends a loved one off to war has a lot vested in that war. To suggest that women don’t fight wars, so they don’t have skin in the game is silly beyond mentioning. First, as I said above, they do fight. Second, they’re children fight; and if there’s one big thing about women, it’s their desire to protect their children. Third, when you look at civilian casualties, you’re not counting soldiers, you’re counting women and children and men and old men; and they should always be a consideration in going to war.

        So your argument (and I’m not certain if you’re making it or putting it fourth as a representative of a segment of men) is thin gruel. It’s totally rooted in a selfish view that men are asked to sacrifice all and women nothing. And that is not the case; it’s never been the case.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        @reggie : You’re trying my patience. Women make good soldiers. I’ve served with women in the US Army. They’re dying in our wars. You’re just tap dancing on my last little patient nerve, jackass.Report

      • Avatar Reggie says:


        1) Selective Service IS THE DRAFT. Just because there is no draft now, does not invalidate that fact. And just because women are allowed to play war does not mean that Brittany Spears (vs. Elvis Preley/William Jan Berry) would be required to show up to the draft.

        2) Look up the white feather campaign. Women got the vote predicated on men going to war.

        3) “Anyone, man or woman, who sends a loved one off to war has a lot vested in that war.” Nobody has more vested in that war than the people who are required (BY LAW) to give their lives. Lots of luv to you Hillary followers who think that mothers suffer more than the boy who sees his friends killed in front of him and then suffers a slow horrible death. Oh, NO! That poor MOM! You know who suffers more? They boy with his legs blown off who had no choice. You’re another one of those feminists who invalidate the entire ideology.
        Much kudos given to the volunteers, but they have a choice.Report

      • Avatar zic says:


        I have numbers of friends who were drafted into the Vietnam and Korean wars.

        I have sons that registered for selective service when they were 18.

        I spent a good decade reporting on the US military; and one of the areas I focused on was personnel. So don’t give me that bullshit. Registering for selective service only means that you are registering if a draft is called. Not that you are drafted. Being drafted means that you are conscripted into the armed services wether you like it or not. We have not had a draft in this country since the 1970’s. And I doubt we will. The military doesn’t really need a bunch of boots on the ground for cannon fodder anymore; and in Vietnam, they learned that unwilling soldiers are often crappy soldiers.

        So go try feeding that crap to someone who doesn’t know about these things. But you say it here, and I’m gonna call you on bullshit.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        Reggie, I’m giving you the opportunity to acknowledge women have skin in the game. Not just skin. Feet. Legs, too.

        One opportunity. I am getting really sick of your shit.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:


        “They boy with his legs blown off who had no choice.”

        How many people alive today does that apply to? I realize that doesn’t invalidate your point, but I think it might put it in perspective.

        In the hopes of playing a bit of peacemaker, while I do not agree with what I understand to be Reggie’s broader worldview, I will say that many share in his belief that a lack-of-draft allows people to support wars they might not otherwise if they were more directly impacted by its effects. This is a rather common trope on the left: Of course the pols vote for war; they and their children aren’t the ones going to fight it. Even further back, you had the idea of a “Rich man’s war and a poor man’s fight.”

        And while you right reject this logic in its entirely, it has support far beyond the MRM.Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        This argument about women in combat and the draft is interesting. Women have been pushing for more ability to serve in more combat related jobs and have seen combat due to the nature of the wars we have fought. The people that have been against women moving into more combat roles have generally been men in the military. I would agree women should have to register for SS at 18 but otherwise things are moving in the direction many men here and women want. More women doing more things related to combat. But there is only grievance and complaints, at least by many of the men here. It has been feminists pushing for more roles for women and they are getting it, yet the MRA’s don’t seem happy about that nor are that seeing the progress that they should want.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        The people that have been against women moving into more combat roles have generally been men in the military.

        Not from what I saw when women began to enter the US Army. The regs against combat MOSes for women came out of Congress, not the military. The Army started in with combined basic training platoons, first one I saw was in 1979 at Ft. Sill.

        In those days, everyone was still looking at it experimentally. Two physical exercises turned out to be different: push-ups and pull-ups. Upper body strength. So those exercises were adapted. The Army didn’t care. They wanted trigger pullers and were pleased to find women were, as I have already said, better shots. There was a push on to identify superior shooters and put them into sniper training. Pushback from SecDef on that issue, but the Army did try.

        Men in the military had faced female opponents. The Vietcong had used women.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        webb apparently made some … rather adolescent comments.
        Might be what folks are thinking of.

        Glad to see the folks who weren’t green had a rather different opinion.Report

      • @reggie Yeah, you probably shouldn’t worry about responding to Kim.

        As far as bullshit that invalidates arguments goes, writing the words, “this is the main argument against the female vote,” is pretty high on the list.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        @kazzy, I agree.

        And while I don’t much feel need of a peacemaker, I’d rather have it be you.

        I have some big issues with this whole thing because we had a serious back-door draft problem; and it had nothing to do with selective service. It had to do with poverty, though. With gaining funds to go to college. Also with lack of funds for legal representation; too many young men went to war in Iraq and Afghanistan because they’d gotten in trouble and were offered a choice by a judge: enlist or go to jail. We had one such young man in my community. He came home in a coffin; and that was something that helped end the practice; those same young men were often as out of control in combat as they were at home.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        The military always resented the prospect of trying to turn Junior Hoodlum into a soldier. Mostly they washed out of basic training. Insubordination, mostly. A few were half-decent soldiers. I knew one who got caught up in an arson for profit and made a superior soldier.

        There’s a continuing problem with gangs in the military. Lots of skinheads whose juvenile records were sealed, we uncovered them, too. Black gangs appeared, too. CID kept a very close watch on that phenomenon, too.

        These days it’s much harder to enlist with a criminal record.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:


        I have similar issues with how folks end up in the military and what this means for our policy decisions. I don’t agree with Reggie. But I don’t think his argument is necessarily a sexist one, though his unique focus on sex/gender draws that into question.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        His unique focus on sex/gender is sexist, @kazzy. He thinks women are trying to keep men quiet because women have the audacity to demand equal treatment, that this encroaches on male privilege, on male civil rights.

        That’s 100% bonafide sexism.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        I offer you no resistance there, Zic. My only point is that there are really two conversations going on:
        1.) Does the likelihood of people from a given demographic ending up in the military impact how members of that demographic respond to foreign policy? I think this is a fair question to ask.
        2.) Should women, uniquely and specifically, sacrifice their right to vote or otherwise participate in aspects of the political process because they are not required to register for SS? Absent a whole host of other questions, I think that question is offensive on its face.

        It was not wholly clear to me which of those Reggie wanted to pursue. I read his comment as having some kernels of legitimacy amidst some sexist rhetoric.

        To the substance of the matter, my first question would be this: Why are women exempted from SS? Is it at the behest of women? Or of men? My understanding is it is because of men. Which means women/feminists should not be the target of Reggie’s outrage.Report

      • Avatar Reggie says:

        @Jonathan McLeod This is not the case. The judge let her off with two years served because there was no history of abuse. If there were a history she may have gotten reparations.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

        Selective Service IS THE DRAFT.

        Well thank god the military bureaucracy is so incompetent then. I’ve been registered for 30 years and they’ve never got around to calling me up!Report

      • @reggie You’re right, I mis-read the article. I’d have to go back and look at the old case.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        Why are women exempted from SS? Is it at the behest of women? Or of men? My understanding is it is because of men.

        It was at the behest of the anti-feminist Phyllis Schlafly and her Conservative Coalition, back in the days of the push for ERA. I would point to a link showing just how the MRM has treated this issue, but I don’t want to give them a link.Report

      • @jonathan-mcleod The case to which Reggie is referring is here: http://scc.lexum.org/decisia-scc-csc/scc-csc/scc-csc/en/item/599/index.do

        The critical question was not whether merely claiming abuse could constitute an adequate defense, but instead whether expert testimony as to the effects of that abuse on her state of mind would be permissible. It’s the famous “battered woman” defense case.

        This text from the decision shows it to be clearly the case to which Reggie is referring:

        In the early hours of August 31 after most of the guests had departed the appellant and Rust had an argument in the upstairs bedroom which was used by the appellant. Rust was killed by a single shot in the back of the head from a .303 calibre rifle fired by the appellant as he was leaving the room.

        Importantly, though, there was no question that there was a long history of the husband abusing the defendant physically on numerous occasions, and there was strong evidence that he had physically abused her on this particular occasion as well.

        From the opinion:

        The relationship between the appellant and Rust was volatile and punctuated by frequent arguments and violence. They would apparently fight for two or three days at a time or several times a week. Considerable evidence was led at trial indicating that the appellant was frequently a victim of physical abuse at the hands of Rust. Between 1983 and 1986 the appellant made several trips to hospital for injuries including severe bruises, a fractured nose, multiple contusions and a black eye. One of the attending physicians, Dr. Dirks, testified that he disbelieved the appellant’s explanation on one such occasion that she had sustained her injuries by falling from a horse.
        A friend of the deceased, Robert Ezako, testified that he had witnessed several fights between the appellant and the deceased and that he had seen the appellant point a gun at the deceased twice and threaten to kill him if he ever touched her again. Under cross-examination Ezako admitted to seeing or hearing the deceased beat up the appellant on several occasions and, during the preliminary inquiry, described her screaming during one such incident like “a pig being butchered”. He also saw the appellant with a black eye on one occasion and doubted that it was the result of an accident as she and the deceased stated at the time. Another acquaintance of the couple recalled seeing the appellant with a split lip.

        At one point on the night of his death Rust chased the appellant outside the house and a mutual friend, Norman Kolish, testified that the appellant pleaded with Rust to “leave me alone” and sought Kolish’s protection by trying to hide behind him. A neighbour overheard Rust and the appellant arguing and described the tone of the former as “argumentative” and the latter as “scared”. Later, between the first and second gunshot, he testified that he could hear that “somebody was beating up somebody” and the screams were female. Another neighbour testified to hearing noises like gunshots and then a woman’s voice sounding upset saying “Fuck. He punched me in the face. He punched me in the face.” He looked out the window and saw a woman matching the description of the appellant.

        Three witnesses who attended the party testified to hearing sounds of yelling, pushing, shoving and thumping coming from upstairs prior to the gunshots. It is not disputed that two shots were fired by the appellant. The first one went through a window screen. It is not clear where Rust was at the time. The appellant in her statement says that he was upstairs, while another witness places him in the basement. The second shot was the fatal one. After the second shot was fired the appellant was seen visibly shaken and upset and was heard to say “Rooster [the deceased] was beating me so I shot him,” and “You know how he treated me, you’ve got to help me.” The arresting officer testified that en route to the police station the appellant made various comments in the police car, including “He said if I didn’t kill him first he would kill me. I hope he lives. I really love him,” and “He told me he was gonna kill me when everyone left.”

        The police officer who took the appellant’s statement testified to seeing a red mark on her arm where she said the deceased had grabbed her. When the coroner who performed an autopsy on the deceased was shown pictures of the appellant (who had various bruises), he testified that it was “entirely possible” that bruises on the deceased’s left hand were occasioned by an assault on the appellant. Another doctor noted an injury to the appellant’s pinkie finger consistent with those sustained by the adoption of a defensive stance.

        This man was no martyr.

        The question before the court was whether expert testimony to support her claim that she was a “battered woman” who thus reasonably believed her life was in danger under these circumstances would be admissible.Report

      • That’s exactly right, @mark-thompson (I just reviewed the case and was about to comment – so thanks for saving me the time).

        Another aspect of the case is that it did not set a precedent that an abused wife could just shoot her husband, no matter what; it put such questions in the hands of juries to determine self defense. It did, however, take out the word “imminent” (in regards to the threat) in deciding if self defense was applicable. And “imminent” had never been in the statute to begin with; it had been inserted by judicial precedent.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      I’m calling a mulligan on the stats on women. I’d probably say they’re roughly equivalent, though.
      Not trying to say that women are better on the subject. They’re human too.

      And I’d say you guys have done a remarkable job of listing some things that we, as a society need to work on.

      My only beef wif ya is that feminists are your natural allies. They care about this sort of stuff, and are intimately familiar with some of the problems (who better to listen to “this is what it feels like when you can’t speak and be heard?”)Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        I was saying that specifically to rebut claims that all men are abusers.
        (also, that abuse/violence? Can be directed towards anyone. Wives/children make awful easy targets for petty dictators, though).Report

      • Avatar Joel says:

        Kim, for all I know the stat could be true. I didn’t take any offence to it. I was just pointing out how perception colors how we perceive these things. Last year on a show called “The Talk” they highlighted a story where a woman cut off her hsubands penis and threw it down the garbage disposal, to which Sharon Osborne said “I think that’s just marvelous!” The audience erupted in applause. And this wasn’t in the seedy underbelly of the Internet, this was network TV.

        A skilled quote miner could take what you wrote and plaster it about as part of the “hateful, anti-man rhetoric” populating the Internet. I don’t think you are hateful or anti-man. And I know John and Paul Elam are not hateful and anti-woman.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        Oh, my god… that makes me cringe.Report

      • Avatar Reggie says:

        @Kim “Wives/children make awful easy targets for petty dictators, though”

        Men have very little recourse when it comes to petty dictators. If you think that women do not abuse their PRIVILEGE by abusing men who will not report them or shoot them in the head with a shotgun (legal precedent in Canada) then you are part of the problem.

        “Twenty years ago, the Supreme Court acquitted a woman who shot and killed her violent husband as he walked away after a heated argument. Feminists and observers of Canadian criminal law welcomed that case as pathbreaking and positive. But did it really improve the lives of women endangered by spousal abuse?”

        What if we could shoot our wives in the back of the head and claim abuse? Would that be equality?Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        I’m not saying women don’t do the same thing. I am saying that it is far easier to hurt someone who is littler and smaller than you are. (and yes, some people are just psychotic. Amy Poehler makes a living playing psycho, but for some people, that’s real life.).

        Yes, it would be equality if an abused man could shoot his wife in the back of the head. I’d applaud it. Because abuse sucks! Like, totally sucks, man!

        But you’re right, there are better ways to deal with problems.Report

      • @reggie In the case you cite, the phrasing that the woman shot her husband “in the back of the head and claim[ed] abuse” is incredibly misleading, as if her claims were merely after the fact. The woman reported – repeatedly – the abuse of her husband. She called 911 – repeatedly – and the cops wouldn’t do anything. Finally, after having absolutely no legal protection, she took care of her own safety.

        This is not an argument in favour of the MRM. This is an argument in favour of feminism. Society was so fucked up that the cops didn’t care that husbands beat up their wives. If the MRM cares so much about domestic violence (as so many claim), they would have a lot of sympathy for that wife.Report

    • Avatar Chris says:

      Kim, do men have an “instinctual” (how are we defining that?) desire to protect their sons? I assume that if they have such a desire to protect their daughters, and it is instinctual, they have a similar one with sons from the same source, right?Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        Well, the one I was specifically referencing was one that involves
        protecting young girls from boys, in terms of sexual contact.
        [Notable example: Dad catches tween daughter “playing doctor,”
        tosses the boy out, gives the girl hell, and then rapes her (insert
        justification here).]

        There is undoubtedly a different set of instincts on protecting
        children, and I’d say that one is probably unsexspecific.

        Instinctual is defined as “not culturally specific” (though certainly
        capable of being overridden by culture), and relatively hardwired.

        [I’ll also note that the instinct for incest tends to only express itself
        when a man is “hard up”… but that we have extensive experience
        crossculturally in the writing of taboos about it. We don’t write
        taboos for things that aren’t deeply ingrained in us.]Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        Kim, just what planet do you live on? A lot of dads did and do get upset when their daughters were “playing doctor” and doing other things with boys. The number of them that subsequently raped them are probably vanishingly small?

        You are taking Freduian view of the incest taboo but Freud was ultimately projecting his troubled mental life onto the entire human race. Westermarck proved the incest taboo was natural and inherent to humans. Maybe thats your schtick, like Freud you are projecting your own mental life onto every human.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        taboos are social constructs.
        They’re designed to suppress instincts.

        That the taboo is universal implies that the instinct is as well.

        Incest (as a general thing, and not just father/daughter) is FAR
        more prevalent than you’d expect.

        You really don’t expect folks committing incest to be in a reasonably
        happy relationship, do you? You don’t expect it to be the daughter’s
        choice that the relationship continue (despite there being ample
        ways that she could choose not to have it continue).

        [NOTE: sorry anyone. Incest is a horrible thing and ought to
        be extinguished in as many ways as possible. That said,
        please forgive my example above, it’s reality for someone I met.]Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        Where ever you live Kim, its a lot scarier than this planet and this planet can be a very fearful place at times.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        According to the National Center for Victims of Crime a large proportion of rape committed in the United States is perpetrated by a family member:

        Research indicates that 46% of children who are raped are victims of family members (Langan and Harlow, 1994). The majority of American rape victims (61%) are raped before the age of 18; furthermore, 29% of all rapes occurred when the victim was less than 11 years old. 11% of rape victims are raped by their fathers or step-fathers, and another 16% are raped by other relatives

        Yay, I’m citing wikipedia. go me. (you find a better stat, i’m all ears).Report

  47. Avatar zic says:

    Now here’s a real man, prepared to fight for his rights to do what he wants to do — knit teddy bears.

    I love this story.Report

  48. Avatar Joel says:


    Gender theories are precisely that – theories. That includes Patriarchy Theory. Certain things, especially relating to human and social behavior, we can only theorise on at present. I find the argument that men and women have certain biological drives that influence our behaviors and that these, along with our external realities, have shaped gender relations – to be more compelling than men fashioned society for their sole benefit.

    But I’m not asking you to agree with them or me. What I wanted you to see is that the basis of these ideas has NOTHING to do with the hatred of women.

    As to the relationship with feminism – and this is a major omission in Tod’s article. Apart from a subset of “defeat the left” rightwing MRA’s, the MRM does not blame feminism for how men are viewed. Traditional gender perceptions are shared by all of society and they were created because at one point they were necessary for the survival of the species. They are unnecessary now and many of us actually applaud the aspects of feminism that focused on dismantling traditional expectations placed upon women. What we don’t like is that not only did feminism ignore the traditional expectations placed upon men, it denies their existence and continues to fight for them to be denied.

    Ideological feminists know this. You asked what the MRM has done? It’s motivated a new generation of young men to try and open men’s issues groups on campuses in the US and Canada. And what has been the response? Feminists do everything in their power to block them. Not because they are “hate” groups. These are moderates, many of them are being formed by women. But because they recognise that above all this is a war of ideas. And the most threatening thing about the MRM is that it contradicts the supremacy of their ideology.Report

    • Avatar Chris says:

      I would suggest that you examine why feminists have “tried to stop them.”

      And opening groups on campus isn’t really a solution, is it? I don’t see any change in family court, for example, or in sexual assault rates. Do you?

      Also, I don’t think anyone, even feminists, believes that “men fashioned society for their sole benefit.” Instead, they recognize an empirical fact: men have had their hands on the reins for most of human history, and the result has been, among other things, the treatment of women as second class citizens (even as property). That has largely changed now in most of the Western world, but its effects linger even here.Report

      • Avatar Joel says:

        ‘I would suggest that you examine why feminists have “tried to stop them.”’

        I have. Don’t take my word for it, look for yourself at what happened at Ryerson. Look at what happens when CAFE tries to host events at the University of Toronto – all with “moderate” speakers. Feminism is gender orthodoxy now and they don’t want it challenged.

        “And opening groups on campus isn’t really a solution, is it? I don’t see any change in family court, for example, or in sexual assault rates. Do you?”

        As Tod has been pointed out, people have been trying for decades to get these things done and nothing is happening. People just don’t take men’s issues seriously. I would suggest that one of the first things that has to happen is a new awareness of men’s issues, new ideas, new thought, new paradigms. That is what is happening now. And it is happening in a big way.

        An overclass of men have always had the power you speak of. But aren’t they only a tiny sliver of men? What about the footsoldiers? The coal miners? The blue collar workers? What about the men who weren’t strong, smart or connected enough to have any power? Why do you define men by a sliver of the gender? Is that really an accurate description of how power works and who it works for?Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Joel, I agree that labor issues are important. But are they just men’s issues? Do many of the problems that they suffer from result from class differences, rather than gender differences?

        And why do you think feminists have been opposed to MRAs? “Gender orthodoxy” isn’t really an explanation.Report

      • Avatar j r says:

        And why do you think feminists have been opposed to MRAs? “Gender orthodoxy” isn’t really an explanation.

        There’s lots of reasons why feminsits don’t like MRAs, but one of them is as simple as old-fashioned turf. Here is Amanda Marcotte on the topic:

        They’re so wrong about everything, they’re wrong even when they’re right. Some of their observations of the world correspond with reality, but when they attempt to analyze it through the “blame feminism” lens, they get all turned around. Usually what annoys them stems not from feminism, but from sexism, especially when it comes to inflexible gender roles. Ironically, then, the solution to the problems they manage to correctly identify is … more feminism.

        Feminists want to own the franchise on gender and MRAs threaten that.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        jr, that’s not what that quote says. That’s you psychoanalyzing Marcotte, without any real connection to that quote.Report

      • Avatar j r says:

        Analyzing yes, but I claim not special insight into Marcott’e mind. I am simply looking at her words. Here she is again, as quoted in an Atlantic article on MRAs:

        There is already a movement for people of both genders who want to end stifling gender roles: It’s called feminism.

        If that’s not a statement about turf, then I don’t know what is.Report

      • Avatar Jim Heffman says:

        “What about the footsoldiers? The coal miners? The blue collar workers? What about the men who weren’t strong, smart or connected enough to have any power?”

        People have the same conversations about racism. “How can you say I’m benefiting from White Privilege when I’m a divorced high-school dropout and they just repossessed my car?” “Well, you’ve surely benefited in ways you don’t know about, and there’s things you *might* benefit from that nonwhite people wouldn’t, and even beyond that the average white person benefits from white privilege, so I feel perfectly justified in saying that you’re speaking from a privileged viewpoint and so you’re racist and wrong.”Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        Yes, dangnabit, they do claim to own it.
        Do you want allies or enemies?

        I’d think we could peaceably come up with a better term
        for “end all the bloody sexism” than feminism,
        but you do need to sit down at the table first.

        They’re going to claim to own it, until you
        have a big enough crew that you can shout ’em down…
        or until you can bend your ego enough to sit at the table
        and make some friends.Report

      • Avatar zic says:


        I say the same thing: men need to be feminist. They would benefit from being feminist. I say it here, often.

        But I believe that being feminist is recognizing that we hold people back in all sorts of ways, and embracing feminism means embracing individual civil liberties. It doesn’t mean putting women first all the time, that’s just more sexism.

        Marcotte thinks pretty deeply on these things. I admire her greatly. And if you would let go of the feeling that she’s attacking men in general instead of sexism in particularly, you might be able to get to a place where you could ask her about things like ‘forced penetration,’ and find that she’s as eager to say that’s wrong as rape. Because feminism is about recognizing those wrongs, for all people.

        Are their radicals who would totally suppress men, as you seem to be suggesting? Probably. There are certainly male radicals who would totally suppress women.

        But I wonder if that’s not really radical, because it’s still normal in many places. I can’t think of a place where boys run the risk of being murdered because they go to school, or risk being on the receiving end of an honor killing if they’re ‘forced to penetrate’ against their will, etc. Can you?Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        There is already a movement for people of both genders who want to end stifling gender roles: It’s called feminism.

        It’s not a statement about turf. It’s a statement that there is, in fact, a group addressing gender issues. The turf part is at best interpolation.Report

      • Avatar j r says:

        I say the same thing: men need to be feminist. They would benefit from being feminist. I say it here, often.

        But I believe that being feminist is recognizing that we hold people back in all sorts of ways, and embracing feminism means embracing individual civil liberties. It doesn’t mean putting women first all the time, that’s just more sexism.

        This is where it gets a little complicated and where I have two choices. I can say that I believe in full legal, political and social equality for women and have a robust conception of individual rights that dictates that people should be free to pursue the life they want without prior constraints based on arbitrary demographic characteristics; therefore, I am a feminist.

        I could do that, but I’m not going to do that. Instead, I’m going to refrain from trying to construct my own ideal version of feminism and instead simply use the version of feminism that exists in the real world as professes and asserted by actual feminists. And the reality of feminism is that it is a decidedly progressive ideology; that is to say, it is preoccupied with inserting itself into people’s political/social/cultural.economic/etc. lives and asserting a particular mode of gender relations and punishing anyone who refuses to conform to that mode. That is the reality of feminism as it exists today.

        Everywhere that I today see feminism being pursued, it is decidedly anti-civil liberties. Feminism would enact stronger prohibitions against expression characterized as offensive or hateful, which is anti-free speech. Feminism would make it much easier to prosecute men accused of domestic violence and sexual assault, which contravenes due process. Feminism would enforce norms against men gathering together in male-only spaces, which calls into the question the right to freely associate.

        Now, if you believe in all of those things, if you are a progressive, that’s fine. I don’t have any strong desire to change your mind. I do, however, assert that I don’t have to be progressive and that I don’t have to be a feminist. I am decidedly anti-feminist (and anti-MRA for the exact same reasons) and yet I have a happy marriage to a woman with a great career that I have supported at every turn; I have lots of female friends with whom I get along great; I have recruiting duties at work and I’ve recommended and brought more women into the organization than men. I could go on with this, but you get my point. What am I missing by not being a feminist?Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        Oh goody, @j-r. Let’s dissect this philosophy.

        . . . instead simply use the version of feminism that exists in the real world as professes and asserted by actual feminists. And the reality of feminism is that it is a decidedly progressive ideology; that is to say, it is preoccupied with inserting itself into people’s political/social/cultural.economic/etc. lives and asserting a particular mode of gender relations and punishing anyone who refuses to conform to that mode. That is the reality of feminism as it exists today.

        Since I consider myself a feminist, and since I spend a great deal of time thinking about not just my rights as a woman, but of people’s rights in general, I think it rather idiotic to attribute the extreme to me. I don’t go around punishing people, and I don’t think most women who consider themselves feminist do, either. But I also have freedom of speech, which includes the right to challenge sloppy thinking. And limiting my speech is what this next quote seems to be all about:

        Everywhere that I today see feminism being pursued, it is decidedly anti-civil liberties. Feminism would enact stronger prohibitions against expression characterized as offensive or hateful, which is anti-free speech.

        Feminism would make it much easier to prosecute men accused of domestic violence and sexual assault, which contravenes due process.

        Now there’s another side to this coin, too. I have spent a good deal of time helping victims of domestic abuse; and I’ve aided both men and women. I’ve opened my home to total strangers I’ve met in courtrooms when I sensed the day’s proceedings put their lives in danger. Sadly, some of those same people have since been murdered. (Strange thing that the dead are all women.) But the sad and sorry truth is that its very difficult for women who are abused to get help from the justice system. That has changed some in some places. But due process works two ways; the victim has a right to seek protection. And while his or her abuser may be innocent until proven guilty, that presumption does not remove the onus on society to protect people who may be victims of violence in their home.

        Feminism would enforce norms against men gathering together in male-only spaces, which calls into the question the right to freely associate.

        As far as I know, this would cut the other way; you’re welcome to go to female-only spaces, too. Except the rest room and locker room.

        So I don’t really see what you’re whining about. As a feminist, I object to the fact that my sons had to register for selective service. As a feminist, I object stridently to the fact that our discussions about domestic violence often fail to recognize that men are victims. I’ve been commenting here a long time now, and I think you’ll find that my commenting history backs those claims up.

        But I also think men create their own limitations; this narrowing of their options to things that are ‘masculine,’ and in so doing, fail to value things womanly. That’s also sexist. If a man wants to knit socks because it relaxes him, so what? If a woman want’s to serve in a combat role, so what? If each has the skill and ability, isn’t that what matters?

        But if you’re beaten by some other folk some night on your way home from the local tavern, should your trial include deciding if it was your fault because you were drunk and dressed in a hoodie that looks like a gang color? If your wife takes a fry-pan up to the side of your head and threatens to kill you, do you think you should be sent into the next room to negotiate child custody alone with her? Do you think she should be paid 20% more for the same work? Should you be charged more for the same dry-cleaning services?Report

      • Avatar j r says:


        I think that you’ve misunderstood my comment. If you find feminism to be a true and useful ideology, then so be it. I have no desire to argue you out of your position.

        The statement that everyone needs to be a feminist is rather like the statement that everyone needs to be a Christian. It’s possible to make that statement and mean that everyone ought to have the Christian virtues of faith and mercy and compassion and the like. No one needs to be a feminist anymore than they need to be a Christian or a Jew or a Democrat or a Republican or a Cowboys fan or a stamp collector. All of those are perfectly reasonable things to be, but none of them can really claim a higher epistemological status than their relative alternatives.Report

  49. Avatar Reggie says:

    One thing Tod. Did you look into the reason the U.N. is advocating for circumcision in Africa? It’s to combat AIDS! Tell me how circumcision can help with the AIDS epidemic. Is it because of a study of circumcised males in a certain region who had lower rates of AIDS? Yes!

    Now although they are not explicitly telling people to not use condoms, what does the above message tell an uninformed and uneducated person about circumcision? You’re either using semantics or are voluntarily ignorant to debunk the claim that the message the UN is sending to the Africans is that circumcision thwarts AIDS. It’s a good thing they didn’t say that those having sex with 9 month old girls have a lower incidence of AIDS. Wait, that was the other charlatans!. Witch Doctors abound!Report

    • Avatar Reggie says:

      And for what it’s worth, AIDS is up in these regions and I bet it can be attributed to this campaign.Report

    • Avatar Chris says:

      The recent studies showing that circumcision reduces the vulnerability to HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases has not, as far as I know, been debunked. In fact, the amount of data arguing that this is the case is growing.

      The condoms thing is just reaching.Report

      • Avatar Reggie says:

        Really? So when you tell an uneducated person that getting circumcised decreases their susceptibility to AIDS, you are completely absolved if they think that means they don’t need to use a condom. It is rife with malpractice.Report

      • Avatar Reggie says:

        Furthermore, why hasn’t anybody done studies on the spread of AIDS among the female circumcised? That’s the big question. Nobody questions if it is reasonable/sanitary/acceptable/moral.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        Haven’t read yet, but people do studies all the time.
        Go surf pubmed. it’s informative.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Reggie, what if you tell them both?

        You’re not reasoning here, you’re projecting.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Also, male circumcision and female circumcision are two very different animals, physically, as I’m sure you know. It would take a lot of benefit to justify the latter. The former, while it is disfigurement, remains relatively harmless, with few if any long-term consequences.Report

  50. Avatar Ahunt says:

    You seem to ignore the fact that this benevolent sexism is the only reason that Feminism can exist.


    As far as the draft goes, this is the main argument against the female vote.

    See, it is these kinds of remarks that cause the eye rolling. Particularly the idiotic “draft”=”enfranchisement rights.”

    Boiled down, and among other things, this silly argument appears to assert that anyone who is not physically, psychologically or mentally able to serve in the armed forces should be stripped of voting rights.Report

    • Avatar Reggie says:

      How about anybody who is not required? Infirm people can be drafted for other jobs just like women can. It’s just not required of women. YOU should be insulted that so little is required of you for your rights.

      [Editors note: Moderators, if you believe comments are out of bounds on this post, please consult with one of the editors before changing/deleting. Thanks. -tk]

      • Avatar Kim says:

        For noobs, the person crossing this out and writing things under Reggie’s name is BlaiseP.
        (blaise, ought you not to make mention of who you are when you’re editing?)Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        That’s correct. It’s me making the edit. I will not tolerate anyone saying women don’t have skin in the game of soldiering. I’ve seen women soldiers. Reggie isn’t fit to polish their boots.Report

      • Avatar Reggie says:

        I apologize for saying that anybody who does not meet the fitness requirements that I would have to meet to be in the infantry should not be allowed. Everybody should be allowed in the infantry. We all know that the most PC infantry wins wars.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        In my Army, MY GODDAMN ARMY, there is no black or white or male or female or Democrats or Republicans or any old goddamn identity beyond what is sewn onto their BDU blouses. They are all soldiers. They are all green and they are all equally disgusting until they have mastered the craft of learning to put their identities in their civilian foot locker and learning soldiers do not fight for a cause but for each other.

        Women make fine soldiers. There is no Political Correctness in the US Army. There are no politics, period.Report

      • Uhh… I think Reggie’s comment was perfectly valid (if clumsily written) and shouldn’t have been edited.

        Don’t get me wrong, I don’t agree with his argument, but I think it’s within the commenting policy (both what’s written and what’s practiced).Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Editing comments that don’t contain direct personal insults or over-the-top vulgarity is a really, really bad habit to get into.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:


        Years ago, my town had a height requirement for police officers. One gentleman in particular, who long aspired to be a police officer, was kept off the ranks because he was too short. At some point, the requirement was either abandoned or lowered (I’m not sure which) because there were too few (perhaps no) women on the force. A consequence of this was that this short guy was able to not only join the department, but quickly work his way up. Clearly, height was not an impediment to quality police work. There have also been a number of women who have made their mark on the force at various levels, many of whom would have been prevented (just like the short gentlemen) from joining had the restriction not been lowered. All-in-all, the quality of the force was raised by expanding the pool of potential officers, though at the behest of a rule aimed specifically at gender disparities. The policy would likely fall under the umbrella of “feminism”.

        I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on this matter.

        Please note that while I will concede that the possibility exists that such initiatives can lead to less qualified people in roles they ought not be in, I have no reason to believe this was the case here. My knowledge comes from my father, stepfather, and mother, all of whom had intimate familiarity with the situation*. The folks, mostly women but some men, who made the force after relaxing the height requirement were qualified individuals but for their height.

        * Father was a firefighter in the town; stepfather was a onetime mayor; mother grew up with the short cop.Report

      • Avatar Reggie says:

        @BlaiseP “Women make fine soldiers. There is no Political Correctness in the US Army. There are no politics, period”

        I never really said they didnt’t (If they meet the required physical exams). What I stated is that if they are not required under penalty of law to do so, they have no skin in the game (as a whole). These beautiful and courageous women who served in combat deserve all the recognition they get but it was their choice and it will be their choice in a draft. They were not required by their gender to sign up for it.Report

    • Avatar Reggie says:

      @Kazzy I love that standard. Now if they lowered the hight requirement for women only, I would question how a short woman can do what a short man can not. Equality requires equal requirements.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        We’re very much on the same page there. Can you give me an example of a situation wherein the standards are different?

        And do you think that “equality requires equal requirements” is an absolute rule? The example I would give to challenge that would be bathrooms. A strict application of that rule would dictate urinals in both bathrooms or neither. Clearly, both of those are suboptimal. Equal treatment, in terms of giving both groups equal access to a bathroom that meets their needs, demands unequal treatment. This is because the needs (in this case) are unequal.Report

      • Avatar Reggie says:

        A quick google search:

        Also in regards to lowering standards for women only in firefighting:
        “There have been occasional charges of some departments lowering standards so that they could hire more women. In 2005, Laura Chick (the LA City Controller) stated in a report that Fire Chief Bamattre rolled back physical requirements and ordered that women be passed even if they failed their tests.[31]”

        I have no issues with lowering requirements, but I’d like them lowered for everyone so I could be a firefighter. I am not near fit enough for this task at the moment.Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        Separate training doesn’t’ really imply all that much. If it works better and achieves the goal of training soldiers than that seems to be what is important.

        The question with standards is whether the person can do the job. Keeping standards that don’t allow people who can do the job out of jobs is unfair and wrong. If standards are lowered but the person can still do the job than where is the issue? Pointing out that a standard has been lowered doesn’t prove the point that either people who can’t do the job they are hired for or that it is unfair.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        @greginak says what I would have: a focusing of requirements does not presume admission of unqualified applicants. The police department in my town realized, one way or another, that height was of little consequence to police officers. There are a number of requirements that particular jobs have that are completely unrelated to the task at hand. Whenever possible, these should be avoided. Particularly if it is the government doing the hiring.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

      Particularly the idiotic “draft”=”enfranchisement rights.”.

      Are you claiming that Robert Heinlein isn’t always right about everything?Report

      • Avatar Ahunt says:

        Not grokking, Mike. Was it Starship Troopers?Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        IIRC, in Starship Troopers, anyone who was willing to do two years of federal service gained franchise. Federal service was setup such that there was potentially a job for anyone who volunteered, as long as they had the mental capacity to do the work. Physical limitations would be worked around if at all possible.

        At least, that’s how I remember it (been over a decade since I read it last).Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        Yes, exactly. No federal service (the only example of which we ever see is military), no franchise.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        The books mentions other areas of federal service that are non-military, we just don’t see it explicitly because the book is Starship Troopers, not Starship Bureaucratic Corps.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        IIRC, the book implies that there are other areas of federal service, and Heinlein fans insist that these are the majority of instances rather than rare exceptions in order to deny that a better title would be “Starship Fascists”.Report

  51. Avatar Joel says:


    There are feminists who genuinely believe the MRM is a hate movement and seek to block it on that grounds. But the reason I mentioned the students groups is because many of them don’t even identify as MRAs and none of them have the kind of rhetoric you get at AVFM. Yet they have been blocked – and most importantly – not only by self-identified feminist groups but by groups comprising the universities’ student executive.

    At Ryerson, the student union blocked a group trying to form a men’s center. One of the reasons they gave was:

    “We want to acknowledge that the additions that we added here are regarding the ideas of misandry and reverse-sexism, both of which are oppressive concepts that aim to delegitimize the equity work that women’s movements work to do.” Marwa Hamad, vice-president equity at the RSU, said the policy will preserve space for discussing misogyny and institutionalized gender imbalances.

    How can concepts be oppressive? Also, notice she said “preserve space”, what she means is control space and prevent new ideas from entering that space.


    JR is right, it is very much about controlling turf, “idea turf”. And this is how it’s always been.

    Erin Pizzey, the woman who opened the first domestic violence center in the UK very quickly came to the conclusion that the aggression was reciprocal and many of the women at the center were as or more violent than their male partners. She was forced to flee England from all the threats of violence from feminists.

    Murray Straus, who has done considerable research on DV points to a systematic drive from feminists to distort information that varies from the “patriarchal terrorist” model of DV:

    “Although there are many causes of the persistence of the patriarchal dominance focus, I believe that the predominant cause has been the efforts of feminists to conceal, deny, and distort the evidence. Moreover, these efforts include intimidation and threats, and have been carried out not only by feminist advocates and service providers, but also by feminist researchers who have let their ideological commitments overrule their scientific commitments.”Report

    • Avatar Chris says:

      I’d still like to see an analysis of their behavior that gets to causal mechanisms. The “idea turf” explanation seems like speculation. I’d also like to know more about the specific cases, and the groups involved.

      As for Strauss, he’s not acting like a social scientist when he talks about that. I’d love to see more systematic study of these dynamics. I know of extensive research on sexism, and I can imagine some of the mechanisms that might be involved, but I’m having trouble putting together a causal story that doesn’t also include sexism towards women inherent in some of these groups.Report

  52. Avatar Joel says:


    Jim, I’m black and I can tell you that one of my personal problems with feminism is how it sought/seeks to show some equivalence with the brutal treatment of black people in this country. On the Titanic men of all social classes gave up their lives for women of all social classes. Men are overwhelmingly the people who go and fight and die for their country. What slaveowner or segregationist would give up anything for the subjugated class? Would give up their lives to protect a black person? Would work to provide for a black person? It’s particularly ironic because some of the suffragist icons expressed some pretty racist viewpoints.

    But having said all that, I actually agree with the argument that white people today are not culpable for what happened in the past. You can argue that the nation benefitted and that as a collective the nation is responsible for some redress but this whole idea of inherent biological privilege/responsibility I disagree with.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      I’m liking the concept that “the nation is responsible for some redress” personally.

      I’m not one of those women who wants men to hold doors for her (unless I’m in
      high heels, in which case I’m a danger to everyone around, and best steer clear,
      or I’m carrying a heavy box, in which case — you hold the door not because of my
      gender, but because it’s common decency).

      I’d actually advocate against what happened on the Titanic. And I’d like to see
      us explore ways in which we can use womens’ strengths in combat.
      (If we MUST say that an infantryman must be able to carry another out of combat,
      well, then put the women on artillery).Report

      • Avatar Reggie says:

        Maybe children and long straw drawers first?Report

      • Avatar Reggie says:


        Perhaps she is allowed to say that women should not be in the infantry. Why is that?Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        to be clear, I’m not making that argument.

        I’m cool with it being everyone pulls straws (or takes exams).

        I’m just well familiar with the sexist asshole who comes up
        with the “but, women can’t be getting hurt on the front lines!”Report

      • Avatar Reggie says:

        I care if they get hurt on the front lines (along with the men) and I’m surely not saying that some women are not able to do that job. My point is that they are not expected to do it. So many rights are granted to but so little is expected of women. Equal rights = equal responsibility.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        Every soldier in the US Army and US Marine Corps begins as an infantryman. The laws restricting women from combat MOSes has been repealed. It was always a stupid restriction.

        And may I add, those restrictions were kept in place by the anti-feminists, Phyllis Schlafly and the rest of those chumps who hung “Don’t Draft Me” signs around the necks of little girls, back in the day. Strikes me strange, that the very feminism you despise is the movement which has now, after all these years, finally opened the combat arms MOSes to women — is now being used as a Straw Woman for another group of equally-deluded chumps with some funny ideas about women and their potential as soldiers.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        you won’t find a feminist on this board who wants more rights than responsibilities.
        Not here at least.
        (and I know you weren’t being the idiotic asshole ;- ) ).Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        Reggie, you need to STFU. The anti-feminists have kept the military from integrating women into combat MOSes for all these years, against the express wishes of US ARMY TRADOC and everyone else who’s ever faced this problem.

        So what’s your major malfucktion, little guy?Report

      • Avatar zic says:


        I care if they get hurt on the front lines (along with the men) and I’m surely not saying that some women are not able to do that job. My point is that they are not expected to do it. So many rights are granted to but so little is expected of women. Equal rights = equal responsibility.

        Men are not expected to do it, either. But both men and women volunteer to do it. My cousin served three tours in Iraq; translator. On the front lines. And she did not qualify for combat pay.Report

  53. Avatar Ahunt says:

    Titanic Chivalry…ymmv.


    The exception is the sinking of the RMS Titanic, in which the survival rate of women and children was three times higher than men’s. In that instance, the captain ordered a women-and- children-first evacuation, and officers reportedly shot men who disobeyed, according to the study.

    I did not know this.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy says:

      What is interesting to note is that this was a rule made by a man and enforced by men. Given the time period, I doubt it was done at the behest of women. It might have been done by well-intentioned men who thought they had women’s best intentions at heart. But… that does not make it a feminist policy or make women culpable in the acts.

      It seems to me that many of the things that the MRM rail against are things done by men. Why women/feminism remain their sole target is puzzling.Report

      • Avatar Joel says:

        “It seems to me that many of the things that the MRM rail against are things done by men. Why women/feminism remain their sole target is puzzling.”

        They aren’t the sole target. In responding to Chris awhile back I said:

        “Apart from a subset of “defeat the left” rightwing MRA’s, the MRM does not blame feminism for how men are viewed. Traditional gender perceptions are shared by all of society and they were created because at one point they were necessary for the survival of the species. They are unnecessary now and many of us actually applaud the aspects of feminism that focused on dismantling traditional expectations placed upon women. What we don’t like is that not only did feminism ignore the traditional expectations placed upon men, it denies their existence and continues to fight for them to be denied.”

        How do you deny them? You equate traditional gender roles with black slavery/segregation. What slave master dies for his slaves or worse yet, his neighbors slaves?Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:


        Perhaps I have unfairly pigeon-holed all members of the MRM because of the loudest and/or most brazen among them. I should have been clearer in my statement.

        However, you have now done the same to me. Where have I “equate[d] traditional gender roles with black slavery/segregation”?Report

      • Avatar Ahunt says:

        Kaz…on a slightly related note…at least on the far Pacific shores…more women die in natural catastrophes not just because they are slower on their feet, and possess lesser muscle mass. They die attempting to round up the children.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        @ahunt, there’s a similar thing in domestic violence.

        Most women in living with an abusive spouse will, when sensing an outburst of rage coming, do something to trigger it, up to and including outright provoking the abuser, to make sure it’s vented away from the children.

        I’ve heard this over and over from women; I’ve only once heard a man saying this; that he provoked his abusive wife to protect their children from her rage.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        plenty did in the civil war.
        Women have been considered property, so too were slaves.

        You’ve heard of folks running back into burning buildings to save pets?
        Well, slaves/women are worth a lot more than pets to some people.Report

  54. Avatar Joel says:


    Click the link. The paper is entitled:

    “Processes Explaining the Concealment and Distortion of Evidence on Gender Symmetry in Partner Violence”

    It deals specifically with it in excruciating detail.Report

  55. Avatar Ahunt says:

    How about anybody who is not required? Infirm people can be drafted for other jobs just like women can. It’s just not required of women. YOU should be insulted that so little is required of you for your rights.

    Not to be rude, but you have clearly never served and know little about life in the military. There is no “make-work” in the armed forces, period. Moreover, no one who has registered for the draft in the last 40 years has actually been called to service. In short, you think the franchise should be restricted to men for doing nothing at all.

    And frankly, I could, and with just as much validity, insist that no one who has not pushed out a potential soldier or two should be able to vote. It is just that silly, Reggie, and you need to drop it.Report

    • Avatar Reggie says:

      That’s a deflection. They are required to register. Women are not. Full Stop. If a war happened tomorrow with a draft, people not registered would have to volunteer to serve and those registered would be required under penalty of law to serve.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        You have no idea how a draft operates.

        At no time in US history have all eligible males been drafted into service; not even during the Civil War.

        Since the end of WWII, men who were required to serve have had their names entered into a lottery of some sort, and were actually drafted if they were chosen through that lottery. Registering got you entered into the lottery; but it did not equal actually being drafted.

        But in modern times, things are a bit different. If you want to complain about actual drafts since 2002, when we invaded Afghanistan, let’s consider the real involuntary conscriptions that were happening. First, anyone who was serving in the National Guard. Second, anybody in the Reserves. Third, anyone who’s tour was contractually up, but who was not allowed to leave active duty; particularly a problem for officers. Fourth, anyone in ROTC to go to college, which means they were also in the Guard. Fifth, anyone who was facing felony charges and was offered a deal of enlist and the charges get dropped or face the consequences in a trial; this fell particularly on young men unable to afford competent legal representation. And from my sources in the military, this proved to be a problem; unwilling soldiers are not good soldiers.

        Now I’ve a lot of family in the military. They want and need good, competent people to serve with, not fuckups who endanger their lives.

        But more importantly, every single person who is accepted into the military is a big investment of time and resources. And since the mid 1970’s, it’s been pretty clear that draftees end up being a waste of that time and resource. An all volunteer army is preferable. I think it more likely that more combat roles would be opened to women in service then that there would be a draft, in all honesty. But hey, what do I know? I’ve only talked to the top brass about these things repeatedly. I’ve written about these things for military magazines. And we all know the brass and The Officer don’t know anything.

        By my sights, you’re so worried about a fantasy of males being drafted that you’ve totally missed the very real abuses that actually happened between 2002 and 2006.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

        First, anyone who was serving in the National Guard. Second, anybody in the Reserves. Third, anyone who’s tour was contractually up, but who was not allowed to leave active duty

        Zic, if I may add emphasis? This includes many women. So no man was drafted off the selective service list, but many women and men were drafted in the way you mention. Pretty gender-neutral, it seems to me.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        Yes, @jm3z-aitch. I watched a several friends, weekend-warriors in the guard go off to war on repeat rotation, forced to leave their children at home with their husbands. I watched my cousin pretty much not be allowed to leave the service because she was good with language when she enlisted in 2000; wanted to go to college.

        She was assigned to learn Farsi, and pretty much not allowed to leave the service for five years, the bulk of that spent in Iraq. She used to have to go out on house-to-house searches to talk to the women. Don’t ever try tell me she wasn’t serving on the front lines in a combat position, and her service was pretty darn close to involuntary conscription.Report

      • Avatar Ahunt says:

        Nonsense. You merely registered. I pushed out and with the excellent help of the BH, raised three potential “draftees.” Clearly, I have done more in the service of my country than you, and therefore…you should not have the vote.

        Just knock it off, Reggie.Report

      • Avatar Damon says:


        That’s a good alternative word for it. Really, anyone in the right mind should never sign a “contract” given all the power to one party (the gov’t). And it’s quite distressing to me to see military service “sold” to people as a way to get ahead with all the negative downside minimized.Report

    • Avatar Murali says:

      Not to be rude, but you have clearly never served and know little about life in the military. There is no “make-work” in the armed forces, period

      Are you kidding? Officers ask you to do useless bureaucratic shit all the feakin time. I’d say about 1/4 of the stuff that you are asked to do by your sergeant, CSM or RSM is stupid make work. e.g.
      1. map out the telephone lines in the camp. The map was subsequently never used.
      2. Clear out a 4 inch border of grass the edge of the pavement using your entrenching tool. 3. Draw your rifle and clean it even when you are not going to use it.

      Officers, especially the “keen” ones do not like to see idle hands. So they give you shitty work that does not really need to be done.Report

  56. Avatar Ahunt says:

    Also Reggie, if I am not mistaken, the age limit for conscription is 35. By your lights, no man over that age should be eligible to vote.Report

    • Avatar HeatherN says:

      I love how in the same conversation in which we have people lamenting women who don’t choose to be mothers…we have people talking about how women “have no skin in the game” of war and the draft. Not to mention the fact that the vast majority of women are heterosexual and thus married (or otherwise romantically partnered) with a potential draftee.

      Women have no “skin in the game” of war & the draft? I know quite a few military wives who’d skin Reggie alive for suggesting such a thing.Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        Just to add on Heather. Plenty of military men would scream at the thought their wives didn’t have skin in the game. Its the wives who stay at home raising the children while men are fighting. I’ve seen plenty of families in that situation. The women are up to their necks in it.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        @greginak, +1 on that. Having a spouse, man or woman, called to active duty in a war zone is particularly hard on National Guard and Reserve Officer spouses, for they don’t live on base and don’t have the support network.

        Very difficult, in particular, for the children, who often have a parent at war in isolation from their class mates.Report

      • Avatar Ahunt says:

        Thank you, Heather. Military brat here, the last of five. Didn’t finish out a grade in the same school until I was 15. Who managed it all… the raising, the instant homemaking in new digs, the actual moving? That would be Mom, whose fine business skills also allowed her to secure temp employment at each new posting.

        Reggie is so far out of line, so contemptuous of military families, so ignorant of the realities of military life, and so oblivious to the contributions of military spouses.

        zic, Heather…appreciate the reality check.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        The toll of deployment on military marriages is appalling. Used to be all the guys got was Dear John letters. Now it’s a lot trickier. Communication is a lot better. Now you know your marriage is dying — and when it’s dead. Lots of people end up staying married though the marriage is as dead as a mackerel. They can’t get divorced until they get back into CONUS anyway.

        The unit commander gets to deal with the fallout. It’s hell getting compassionate leave for any of this stuff. Everyone’s family is blowing up. It’s par for the course. Men get back home and their kids only know them from Skype. Dad finally gets around to saying “No” to something they’ve done and it’s like “Who are you, trying to act like my parent?”Report

    • Avatar zic says:

      @ahunt and @heathern, I hope you’ll both stick around.


  57. Avatar truthbeauty says:

    Watch one of manwomanmyth’s videos on youtube entitled :Female Soldiers: Asset or Liability?
    You may be enlightened.Report

    • Avatar zic says:

      You think so?

      I might see propaganda, too. I’m open to both possibilities. If I do end of wasting my time watching propaganda, I’ll definitely call you on it.

      Because you gotta remember: I spent the Iraq war talking to people on active duty as a reporter. And I’ve got a method to my interviews. After they officially ended, and I’d turned the tape recorder off, I always asked if there was anything they wanted to say off the record. And you know what, they always wanted to talk off record.

      Still want me to watch?Report

    • Avatar zic says:

      You didn’t tell me it was comedy.

      Did Jon Stewart produce this?

      Maybe it’s from the ghost of Douglass Adams?

      I’m quite amused with how it’s unclear which army is even being discussed, stock photos of women with the American flags on their uniform while some British dude complains the ‘army’ paid for breast implants and flashes a page of the Guardian. And the re-enactments are worse then real-crime drama re-enactments.

      First scene is a pathetic and limp wristed woman, unable to make it over a (very short) wall that even I, a woman with disabilities in my mid ’50’s could climb.

      What did ring true were the many headlines flashed of women claiming sexual harassment while on active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

      But like I said, I spent the war listening to these people’s stories. Men and women. My official work, and then whatever they wanted to tell me.

      Let me tell you something: I know women who fly combat helicopters who’d make you piss your pants just with a glare. And if you thought to take things a bit further, god help you, but you’d better well hope there was a medic around.

      So I’m calling it: propaganda. Complete woman-hating trash made by ignorant, frightened little men who don’t have the balls to do what they women they’re insulting do every day as part of their jobs.Report

      • Avatar truthbeauty says:

        Well hey, like Morpheus said,’nobody can be shown the Matrix, they have to see it for themselves’. I am not surprised by your response.

        The video showed real testimony of guys who know that the entry standards of women in the military are lowered. Women ‘push-ups’ are proof enough.

        “I know women who fly combat helicopters who’d make you piss your pants just with a glare.”
        That is hilarious. I’d be stoked not intimidated. She’d be able to fly me to surf spots unable to be reached by car. Can you ask one for me? I’m sure there are islands in Polynesia with great surf spots and a helicopter would be perfect. It doesn’t mean they are dumped in the front line with all the men, just because they fly helicopters.

        “So I’m calling it: propaganda. Complete woman-hating trash made by ignorant, frightened little men who don’t have the balls to do what they women they’re insulting do every day as part of their jobs.”

        Doesn’t matter what you call it. You watched it with your opinion set anyway, so watching it was probably a waste of time. Thank you for watching anyway.

        And the man who made these videos is bold enough to advocate for the underdog in this misandric and gynocentric society. Most sheeple just follow the crowd.

        As this man states:
        ‘I have no doubt that the distortions of the truth by the radical feminists of our time will, someday, be seen as having been the greatest intellectual crime of the second half of the 20th century. Meanwhile, we still live under the aegis of that crime and to call attention to it is an act of great moral courage.’

        Professor Howard S Schwartz, Oakland University, Michigan

        So who are the frightened ones?Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        You are.

        You’re afraid of me.

        It’s hilarious.

        I don’t base my life philosophy on a fictional story written by a dead acid head with a long history of failed marriages and books that reek of his misogyny. (I own all of them, most in the original paper back editions.) It doesn’t surprise me that this movement takes it’s cues from the pen of Philip K. Dick, creator of Morpheus.

        And fyi, military pilots are not going to ferry you around to your favorite waves. They get charged with military crimes for doing stuff like that. Even the chicks.Report

      • Avatar Cascadian says:

        truthbeauty That was hilarious. I’ll bite. Let’s not make any exceptions for women that can’t make the requirements to the military and not make any exceptions for males that can’t make the requirement in education. No excusing Johnny because he doesn’t know how to use a chair.

        Kid’s coach is a 3 times X-games champion that could take me out in half a second. You need Private Benjamin for that dream.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        And just to be clear, @truthbeauty, did you see what I did there? I’m afraid my irony might be beyond you.

        It’s what that video does, too. Put someone else down (in my case, Philip K. Dick, who’s writing I adore, as I said, I own all his books) to make myself seem bigger and better than I really am.

        Little men, afraid women might be better then they are, afraid to serve in combat themselves, needing to prove they’re bigger and stronger. It really is funny, and it’s not ‘enlightening.’ It’s pathetic.

        Do you actually know anything about military leadership training? Being able to do 50 pushups and slog through eight miles of desert with an 80 lb. pack are not how they winnow people with leadership skills. And at least the US military is not interested in career soldiers who don’t have good leadership abilities. Physical strength does matter, but mental strength matters a whole lot more.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        @zic – granted that Matrix is pretty PKD-influenced, but in what way did PKD create Morpheus? AFAIK he is not credited on the film; do you just mean that symbolically?Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        You are correct, @glyph; inspired by, but not created.

        (Actually, that’s sort of a relief, in a weird and twisted way; I had been having some trouble reconciling the jesus themes of the Matrix with Dick’s writing; and had it in my head that it was a short story I’d originally not finished.)

        But it does kindle a desire to go move his books from the shelves to the bedside for re-reading. You were probably in elementary and middle school the last time I went through them. Luckily, my sweetie and kids have been reading them, so they’ve not been too neglected in my absence.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        Oh, I think you may find some Jesus themes (at least, Gnostic themes) in PKD all right….Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        According to Wikipedia, Morpheus was modeled on Dream from the Sandman series.Report

  58. Avatar Ahunt says:

    Thanks Guys…I’ve been here before briefly, and been received kindly. Dunno how much I will have to offer…rural, associates degree. But I lurk a lot…just because I learn so much here. Every now and then, I know enough to speak up.

    Is there any way to correct an error in a previous post?Report

    • Avatar zic says:

      Nope; though you might be able to convince one of the magicians with editing powers to correct it for you.

      As a life-long dyslexic with atrocious spelling, I just let it be. Or correct it with a follow-on comment.Report

  59. Avatar Joel says:


    Kazzy, wasn’t referring to you. It was a follow-on from a comment from Jim that lead me to bring up the Titanic incident in the first place. The “you” was a general “you”, wasn’t specific to you (Kazzy).Report

  60. Avatar Joel says:

    It’s funny but this comment section is a microcosm of what the MRM has to deal with all time. I very patiently and rationality laid out a bunch of info, I ignored the commentator with the hostile tone, I provided numerous links, I did the moderate MRM thing that Tod supposes will sway people. Not a dent. Another MRM comes on and makes an inaccurate statement and he’s pounced on in a torrent of ecstatic, righteous rage. The truth is, he gave you the story you wanted – MRM’s are hapless sexist lunatics, no better than Stormfront (according to one poster). And that is why things are the way they are, and its only just begun.Report

    • Avatar greginak says:

      Please Joel…really. You engaged in a conversation with people who have different views and yet somehow haven’t all been converted to your beliefs. Now you are torqued off because we haven’t magically seen the light. Every person who has been here for a while has sum strong views on some issues. We come here to talk. But if you are under the impression that will lead to everybody agreeing with you then you are sadly mistaken. I haven’t’ turned everybody liberal, Jason hasn’t turned everybody Libertarian, Tim hasn’t turned everybody socon, etc, etc. Deal with it or your life is going to be one long struggle against the world never meeting your expectations.Report

      • Avatar Joel says:

        That’s a bit of a strawman. I’m not expecting anybody to be converted. And the few people who have engaged me – even in disagreement – I appreciate it. But the truth is people who have an inherent bias against something would much rather gravitate towards the low hanging fruit that confirms their bias. Or are much more reactive to someone who makes sensationalist claims. That’s why in the ocean of writing on AVFM its detractors will navigate right past all its strong content to find some satire or snark that meets either their expectations or thirst for sensationalism.

        I could explain the historic link between suffrage and voting rights and maybe get a response or two. But what people want is an example of the woman-haters who want women not to vote. That’s the dynamic at work.Report

    • Avatar Ahunt says:

      I’m sorry, Joel…but you lost me with this:

      What we don’t like is that not only did feminism ignore the traditional expectations placed upon men, it denies their existence and continues to fight for them to be denied.”

      What does this mean….precisely?Report

    • Avatar Chris says:

      Joel, speaking of links, that Strauss commentary you linked isn’t really a data-based research paper. It’s an opinion piece with anecdotes and examples. It doesn’t provide anything like an explanation, and doesn’t even present entire stories. It’s not social science, so I’m back to what I said leading up to your linking of it.Report

      • Avatar Joel says:

        True, some of this evidence is anecdotal, but that doesn’t automatically invalidate it. If anything it allows for a hypothesis to be created and explored. Straus has no reason to lie. He’s non-ideological, and in fact identifies as a feminist. And this is a follow on to his comprehensive, evidence-based examination of gender symmetry in domestic violence. Is your standard of proof this high for everything? Are you this exacting when it comes to feminist claims?Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Joel, I am.

        I think it’s quite clear that some people have handled the various MRA groups poorly. I don’t think it has anything to do with turf wars, though. I think it has to do with a perception, which many MRAs do nothing to alleviate (and in fact often confirm), that they are anti-women, and in particular seek to reverse progress that women have made over the last century or so, and to impede further progress.

        Take domestic violence as an example. I am willing to stipulate, for the moment, that the incidence of domestic violence is roughly equal (though there’s a lot of data arguing against this as well, a fact that MRAs seem to be equally dismissive of). Now let’s ask how many men have died as a result of domestic violence compared to the number of women who have died. Seriously injured? One of the main focuses of feminism, with respect to male-female romantic partnerships, has been preventing serious injury and death by making it easier for women to get out of those relationships, either through no fault divorce or shelters or increased police focus on domestic violence, including actually sending men to prison for it.

        Now there are a couple ways one could go about arguing that we should spend some time and energy looking at domestic violence towards men: 1.) we could argue that the two are exactly the same, and we should not focus on women and on making it easier for women to get out of abusive relationships in particular, because men are victims too, or 2.) we could suggest that we keep the progress we’ve made in protecting women, and continue to progress in that regard, and in addition we talk about the male victims of domestic violence as well. Which tactic have MRAs, by and large, taken? So far, I’ve only seen examples of (1), and I suspect that many feminists, and even non-feminists who are concerned about domestic abuse of women, have seen the same thing I have. How would you expect them to react to that?

        If there are examples of (2), where domestic violence is discussed as a real problem for both men and women, one from which women suffer disproportionately in terms of injury and death, but which, in addressing it, we should also come up with ways to help male victims, then I’d be really interested in seeing them.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      this is the internet. we’re familiar with the fact that all movements have trolls.
      Sometimes it’s fun to respond to them.

      Keep posting, we haven’t gotten you confused with the trolls — and we won’t.Report

  61. Avatar truthbeauty says:

    “And fyi, military pilots are not going to ferry you around to your favorite waves. They get charged with military crimes for doing stuff like that. Even the chicks.”
    What? That sucks. I mean they have this amazing skill and it’s squandered on some war. Mate I’d be willing to pay at least 3 cartons of Coronas for a return trip to Fiji.

    “Do you actually know anything about military leadership training? Being able to do 50 pushups and slog through eight miles of desert with an 80 lb. pack are not how they winnow people with leadership skills. And at least the US military is not interested in career soldiers who don’t have good leadership abilities. Physical strength does matter, but mental strength matters a whole lot more.”
    Well that’s not my point. My point is that there are differing standards for men and women. And if those standards are dropped to suit women, then isn’t that making our armies weaker and more vulnerable as a result?
    Hey, I know there are plenty of women more fit than I am. And man, all these fit lady helicopter pilots is giving me a rush, but lets be real. Male soldiers are physically better than female soldiers. It’s not sexist or misogyny. it’s reality.
    What you say about mental strength doesn’t check out. Although women can be quite cold and emotionless during divorce, so maybe are mentally suited.

    “I’m afraid my irony might be beyond you. ”
    Many things are beyond me, but although I may be dumb, I can lift heavy things.

    Manwomanmyth was purposely showing those movie clips to prove a point. But where you should take extra note is where he conducted interviews with real people and collected excerpts from real soldiers who all agree that the standards for women soldiers are lower.

    “Kid’s coach is a 3 times X-games champion that could take me out in half a second. You need Private Benjamin for that dream.”
    Not to misinterpreted, I know that there are amazing fit and insanely brave women. The chick on Nacho Circus has no fear at all and even in my town I know of a lady who does crossfit who is just about as fit as the other guys she trains with. But men at the top of their game are better physically than women who are at the top of their game.
    For example, men’s and women’s tennis. I am sure no one would disagree that that the men are far better player’s physically. Women are better to watch though, you know, cause of the heartfelt way they play the game.Report

    • Avatar greginak says:

      TB- So your point clearly explains why our military, and the Israelis for that matter, have been repeatedly defeated and we are welcoming our new ( fill in the blank) masters.

      The other obvious retort is that while physical strength is certainly important for many jobs in the military is there any reason the average women would be to weak to operate a radar or computer, be a mechanic or drive a truck? Many mil jobs do not need great physical strength.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        More importantly, using women on a lot of tasks can save us money.
        Women are smaller, and can operate in smaller confines
        (so don’t build everything to fit the 6foot man).

        Supply lines are strengthened, we make our army a better army
        by letting the women drive.Report

    • Avatar Cascadian says:

      @truthbeauty One of the things I found most funny in the video is the guys are out of shape. Here they are spouting dung looking like they just finished a long stint on the couch.

      Tests are crazy things. I read an article a few years ago, in Outside magazine I believe, on how the military was trying to recruit extreme sport athletes. It was suggested that the military had a bunch of linebacker types that couldn’t carry their own physical weight for the extreme situations they were finding themselves in.

      I’m not a tennis fan. I prefer to watch female climbers; they have better technique and are less likely to treat the rock like a pull-up bar. I also prefer female skiers, pretty much the same reason. Most don’t try to rely on brute physical strength and subsequently display better form.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      ” Women are better to watch though, you know, cause of the heartfelt way they play the game”
      … this is raising my hackles.
      /And/ I don’t believe you.
      I’m convinced most men like to watch women in skimpy outfits… regardless of if they’re playing the game or not.Report

      • Avatar Damon says:

        That would be my vote. Why do you think I used to watch women’s figure skating during the Olympics with my wife? It wasn’t because it was a competitive sport. It was, but frankly, the gals looked nice in those little outfits. :pReport

      • Avatar truthbeauty says:

        It was a joke…and yes you are right.Report

    • Avatar Just Me says:

      @truthbeauty you do not speak the truth on this subject, maybe because you just don’t know any better. Physical strength is not the determining factor as to whether our military is strong. That you value brute strength over wit and strategic thinking says more about your misunderstanding of the military than anything. Have you ever heard of doing things leaner and smarter? Do you know what most jobs in the military are? Do you think that the military standards have stayed the same as they were since the inception of a military? Do you think that being able to do a push up the same way someone else does is what makes our military strong. In some branches of the military you don’t do another push up after you leave basic training. I am very glad that our leaders do not have the same misconceptions as you do about what makes a soldier, sailor, airman or leatherneck. We would have a very craptastic military if they did.

      As to your point. No, having different standards does not weaken our military. What is done in basic training is done to break the individual down and then reshape them into someone who can follow orders and integrate into a team. It’s not just about the physical activities, it is about a whole lot more than that. Part of integrating into a team is the understanding that not all members have the same strengths and weakness’, therefore how do you best help each other meet the goals and graduate. You recognize the individual strengths and weakness’ and build those into a kick ass team.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        Really nicely put @just-me.

        It’s an amazing process, for those with the grit to make it through.

        When I began reporting on small businesses doing business with the military, I had a string of interviews with people who had just separated from the military over a couple of months. I was amazed by one thing: how they could ‘disagree,’ and do so with confidence and respect.

        This stems from my interview style; I’d always ask someone, “Is this what you mean,” and say it back in my own words. It’s a really good technique to get make sure you understand what someone’s trying to say. If I’d misunderstood, typically, people hem and haw and are uncomfortable saying, they don’t want to tell you you’re wrong, but they don’t know how. But to a person, the former-military were very comfortable and respectful, “No, ma’am, this is not quite right; would you like me to explain it again?”

        That comfort with clear, concise communication impressed the hell out of me. I wanted to know more. So I took every opportunity I could to write about the people serving in the armed forces.

        You know that I’m a liberal, and I’d guess you’s suss out that I’m pretty anti-war. But I am, after talking to so many people who’ve served, amazed at the skills, confidence, and authority people learn as members of the armed forces.

        That reshaping isn’t for everybody. I’m 100% sure I wouldn’t survive it. But for those who do, the transformation is incredible.Report

      • Avatar Jim Heffman says:

        “That you value brute strength over wit and strategic thinking says more about your misunderstanding of the military than anything.”

        Wit and strategic thinking will not carry an eighty-pound pack plus rifle and magazines along a twenty-mile hike with no water breaks in a single day.

        Wit and strategic thinking will not hoist a forty-pound rocket launcher, run around a corner, aim at a specific location instead of just “center of mass”, and get the rocket away before the TC trains his machine gun around and nails you.

        There are military roles that don’t require physical prowess. But saying “the physical requirements for these roles should be relaxed to allow women to perform them” does not result in an organization better at performing its task. And saying “okay, well then women should be considered first in line for non-physical roles” is as sex-discriminative as the attitude you’re supposed to be fighting, in which case what are you trying to achieve?Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        Were you in the military, Heffman?Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        “Wit and strategic thinking will not carry an eighty-pound pack plus rifle and magazines along a twenty-mile hike with no water breaks in a single day.”

        No sane soldier would do such a thing. You’ve obviously never set foot in a heavy boot, let alone lifted an eightypound pack.Report

      • Avatar Cascadian says:

        @kim I think it’s clear that an extreme level of fitness is not required for most military positions. However, twenty miles isn’t really all that. I don’t imagine the example is that far off.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        Yeah, I’ve done 20 miles in a day. Not flat, hiking.
        But 20 miles
        … without water
        … with an 80 lb pack?

        Different story man.
        It’s called idioticReport

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        One of the scariest Marines I ever knew was a woman. Gunnery Sargent, about 5 foot nothing (probably right at the bottom of the height requirement), would chew re-bar & spit bullets. Her men respected the hell out of her, because she could do her job.

        Could she haul an M-60 around all day? Probably not, but she didn’t need to, that is what she had big, strapping young Marines for (she could lift one, swing it around, deploy the bi-pod, and lay down a withering hail of covering fire).

        What she could do was was snipe your a$$ from half a mile, asses a tactical situation with disturbing clarity & issue orders to account for it, and carry her own kit on a all day hump while still having enough energy & presence of mind to keep the troops in line.

        The military is not “everyone must be able to do everything”, it’s more along the lines of, “everyone must master basic skills, then we specialize to individual strengths”. Everyone in the Navy is a firefighter, we all know how to be part of a hose team & do basic damage control. Beyond that, we know our jobs.

        Everyone in the Army & Corps is an infantryman, but that doesn’t mean you have the small woman carry the M-60 or the rocket launcher. Maybe she’s a combat engineer/sapper, or a sniper/marksman, or a spotter on a mortar team, or a tank driver, or a pilot.Report

      • Avatar Patrick says:

        My understanding is that the graduation rate for sapper school among women is higher than men.Report

      • Avatar truthbeauty says:

        You misunderstand and no I am not being untrue.
        I am not saying that physical strength is the determining factor. I am saying that the physical standards for men and women are different, and that this is not right. If equality be equality, then there should not be a set of standards for men, and then different standards for women.

        “No, having different standards does not weaken our military”
        Partly correct and partly untrue. If the standards are lower and higher, then yes it does weaken. If the standards are different, yet at the same level, then no it doesn’t weaken.

        The commenters who continue to say that physical strength is not the main factor in entering the military are missing the point. Should there not be a uniform standard for entering the military? If Danielle wants to be in the army, should she not be subject to the same entry standards as Daniel? No girly push ups allowed?Report

      • Avatar Just Me says:

        @truthbeauty Maybe we should first clarify what we mean by entry standards. Do you mean entry to the military branch? Do you mean entry into a MOS or job? If you mean entry to a particular branch pushups are not part of the entry process. No physical component is past height and weight. It is not until basic training that pushups enter the picture.Report

      • Avatar Patrick says:

        I am saying that the physical standards for men and women are different, and that this is not right.

        Actually, that’s completely correct, what you’re suggesting is incorrect.

        Men have greater total physical strength than women, pound for pound, assuming the same muscle/fat ratio.

        If we take a man of height X and weight Y and he can dead-lift 150 lbs, that tells us something about his both his individual strength (which we don’t really care all that much about, since we don’t use troops as pack mules and guns aren’t battleaxes) and his overall fitness (which we care quite a bit about, as it tells us about his abilities to withstand disease, injury, endurance, etc.).

        If we take a woman of the same height and weight and she can dead-lift 150 lbs, it’s very likely that she’s considerably *more* fit, from an overall perspective, than that man, even though she is only comparably *strong*.

        We expect “overall fitness” numbers for a woman to have lower weights and/or reps than a man.Report

      • Avatar LKA says:

        While this is indeed true that everyone shouldn’t do every thing but at least there should be some variety in who are fulfilling those MOS or jobs.
        We can’t just reserve certain positions of one sex or the other as it well create unequal and unfair expectations on those who join. The notion that women should be various vehicle operators, marksmen, engineers, forward observers, etc leaves the more labor intensive and comparatively dangerous tasks to men.

        The women get to sit in the safety of their 61 ton, composite death machine, hang back a few hundred meters and pick off the causal bad guy, point out targets for artillery, build bridges, or deal with explosives.
        All the while, their battle brothers will be the ones put in the most danger shouldering the task of dealing with the majority of the enemies forces during an attack all for the sake of efficiency.
        Maybe the “small” woman wont be carrying the machine gun but might be because she happens to be on the lower height spectrum for women. The average sized women will be carrying assault rifles, machine guns and grenade launchers along side their male counterparts, supporting them and watching their backs as the men on the lower end of the height spectrum would be expected to do the same.Report

      • Avatar Murali says:

        The pack is a rather standard requirement. Water is usually provided as a safety measure.Report

  62. Avatar truthbeauty says:

    Of course there are jobs in the military that do not require incredible physical strength. But that wasn’t the point of the original comment I was replying to. It was in respect to the front line in combat zones.
    “So your point clearly explains why our military, and the Israelis for that matter, have been repeatedly defeated and we are welcoming our new ( fill in the blank) masters.”
    This is getting away from the point. Here in Australia we have not been invaded yet. Doesn’t mean we have the strongest army though. I repeat, the discrepancy is the fact that there are different standards for women and men entering into the army, which is obviously not equality.

    The guys are not out of shape. Unless of course you are talking about the ones that aren’t even in the army, in which case is totally irrelevant. Doesn’t matter anyway. Gavyn (the commando) got in through the strictest standards, standards higher than that for women. Tennis fan or not, does this not shine the spotlight on the fact that there are different physical standards for entry into sport and certain physical jobs. Why is this the case? If women are equal to men physically, should they not play 5 sets of tennis for the same money, or should they not play against men in general? What about running, or firefighting, UFC or as already mentioned, the army?

    If Gavyn the Royal Marine Commando got into his line of work through tough standards, would it not be unfair if the standards were dropped just to let women in?Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      Depends on why we have the standards, actually.
      I don’t think they drop the “required pack” for women soldiers,
      and that weighs about 50lbs. (I’m sure Blaise’ll chime in if
      I’m wrong). Regardless, that pack is just for show, they could
      make it 20lbs lighter if they wanted to — but the Army believes
      in body strength, and uses basic training to get you in shape.

      The entrance requirements are just the start of army training.
      If you want to have people who have a general aptitude for
      “getting in shape”, then you want people at the X percentile.Report

  63. Avatar Joel says:

    Anyway, it was interesting talking to you folks. One last thing before I go, just wanted to respond to @blaisep.

    You into thought experiments. I am. You repeatedly referred to MRM “whining”. So let’s begin with the proposition that “whining” is a wholly subjective term and one person’s whining is another’s “righteous rant.” In that case:

    A. You gave a righteous rant about MRM whining.
    B. You whined about the MRM’s righteous rants.
    C. You are whining about whining.
    D. You said nothing of any value at all.Report