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May 15 2013

We don’t call this sexism, we call it, err…

SERIES: FROM THE HETPAT ARCHIVES

[Note: I was unsure which archive piece to reanimate next. This piece closely echoes some of the discussions in the comments under the two pieces on misandry, so I figured it made sense to bring it out now and we can officially declare this Misandry Week on Heteronormative Patriarchy for Men and get it all over with at once. I assure new readers, I really do talk about a lot of other things too, honestly, and we will move onto those shortly. In the meantime...]

First published July 25th 2012

 

We live in a viciously gendered world. Roles for both men and women are socialised into us from the day we are born and heavily reinforced from all quarters until the day we die. Men are raised to perform certain roles, just as women are. The masculine gender identity is built upon the  repression of many, perhaps most, emotions. We have self-preservation instincts trained out of us, with narratives around courage, heroism and self-sacrifice. Violence is integral – we are taught to tolerate and expect it from others and to inflict it upon others in response to attack, challenge or insult. And then we wonder why some boys grow to be violent men.

The result is a model of adult masculinity which must be directly implicated in mental and physical ill-health, suicide and criminality. It is exploited, and indeed encouraged, by systems of governance which turn boys and men into cannon-fodder. It largely explains why men make up 92% of workplace deaths and about 95% of prison places. It’s why male babies in England and Wales are 27% more likely to be murdered than girls before the age of one, 40% more likely before the age of 5 and 45% more likely to be murdered before the age of 16. It is partly why more males than females die among every age cohort, of pretty much every cause. It’s also why men are seen to be, and often feel emasculated by caring and parenting roles or working with children. It’s why male domestic violence victimisation is commonly mocked and usually unreported, like male rape and other sexual abuse.

It is often assumed that aggression, risk taking and violence are inherent to maleness, a product of testosterone or neurology. This seems unlikely. If it were true, why would boys need to have all of these traits literally beaten into us by parents, teachers and (above all) our peers? Why would we need such extensive social shaming and so many conformity triggers to make them stick? Perhaps there is a nugget of truth to some generalised assumptions about gender differences, but even if so, they are magnified many fold by social intervention.

And none of it, literally none of it, is a privilege. One salutory exercise, I think, is to pick up a war book like All Quiet on the Western Front or The Naked and the Dead or Michael Herr’s Dispatches, and read it through the lens of gender politics. What do we see? Young men, often still in their teens, dragged by legal and social obligation into visions of hell from Goya’s nightmares. They weren’t selected by suitability for the role by personality or physicality, they were sent to be killed, tortured, maimed and traumatised, and indeed to kill, torture, maim and traumatise others, on one characteristic alone: their gender.

I did recently pick up Norman Mailer’s book again and skimmed a few random chapters. When I first read it more than 20 years ago, I was shocked by the shameless misogyny. Only now could I recognise that the characters’ attitudes to women (and I suspect Mailer’s too) were forged in a furnace of dehumanisation and brutalisation. It must be hard to feel compassion for your wife at home or the prostitute on the corner when you’ve spent the day slaughtering other men. Mailer would later write that “Masculinity is not something given to you, but something you gain. And you gain it by winning small battles with honour.” Such as the honour, perhaps, of desperately trying to shove your best mate’s intestines back in through the gaping hole in his stomach.

Lest you think these atrocities now live only in history books and novels, bear in mind that there is still male-only compulsory military conscription in about 80 countries, or more than one third of the nations on Earth. Somewhere between 500,000 and a million conscripts are believed to have died in the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s. Had they survived, most would be younger than I am. This is not history. This is now.

Of course civilians, often women, die in huge numbers in modern warfare, in no less horrific circumstances. But they are not chosen to die because of their gender. And we should need no reminders of mass rape campaigns and other colossal war crimes against women and girls that so often accompany conflicts. The difference is that these are (rightly) identified as gender crimes and major international bodies are dedicated to campaigning against them, combating them and prosecuting the perpetrators. It is not uncommon for an army to conquer a territory, separate the women and girls to be raped, and the men and boys to be murdered. But only one of those is usually considered a gender crime.

The standard liberal feminist or egalitarian stance here is that it is patriarchy that genders war. Sexism decrees that women are too weak, too delicate for the battlefield so it must be left to the bigger, stronger, braver men. The solution, they argue, is for equal combat roles, equal conscription, equal numbers of women and men doing the killing and dying. I find that obscene. In what moral universe is it a better to have as many women slaughtered on the front line as men? As a culture we have always tended towards casual indifference to the deaths of ordinary men, and been comparatively sensitive to the loss of ‘innocent’ women and children. It’s the first value that needs changing, not the second.

Another feminist response is to say that, horrific though it may be, this is not sexism. Sexism is the systematic oppression of one gender by another. I don’t agree with that definition, but never mind. So this is not the oppression of one gender by another, it is the oppression of one gender by the values of the ruling class. What do we call that then?

I do not pretend I have a magic wand to hand. We are talking thousands of years of cultural habits that need to be challenged here, and quite literally all the powerful vested interests in the world. But then we said the same about feminism once. What I do know is that before you can solve any problem you have to recognise that it exists and identify it for what it is.

If you don’t want to call this sexism, then fine, call it what you like. By any other name, it smells just as foul.

——————–

CREDIT WHERE DUE: Much of the inspiration and booklearnin’ for this post, though not the conclusion, came from David Benatar’s recent book The Second Sexism, which I wrote about here.

69 comments

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  1. 1
    Jacob Schmidt

    The solution, they argue, is for equal combat roles, equal conscription, equal numbers of women and men doing the killing and dying. I find that obscene. In what moral universe is it a better to have as many women slaughtered on the front line as men? As a culture we have always tended towards casual indifference to the deaths of ordinary men, and been comparatively sensitive to the loss of ‘innocent’ women and children. It’s the first value that needs changing, not the second.

    I literally have no idea how the bloody hell you came to that interpretation of what feminist are saying. From what I can tell, they aren’t saying, “Women should be devalued like men,” they are saying, “Men should not be devalued for the purpose of war,” as well as, “Women are equally capable as men.” War being an unfortunate reality, it follows that we should stop placing the burden of war primarily on men. It absolutely does not require devaluing women.

    Another feminist response is to say that, horrific though it may be, this is not sexism. Sexism is the systematic oppression of one gender by another. I don’t agree with that definition, but never mind. So this is not the oppression of one gender by another, it is the oppression of one gender by the values of the ruling class. What do we call that then?

    I would argue that the proper definition would be “systemic oppression based on gender”. Feminists have been saying for years that sending only men off to war is sexist, both because it places a massive burden solely on men, and because it’s based, in part, on the assumption that women are weak. I can’t say all feminists argue this, but you seem to be cherry picking your definitions. That, or you’re only addressing one group of feminists within the larger group.

  2. 2
    Pierce R. Butler

    The difference is that … major international bodies are dedicated to campaigning against them…

    “Major international bodies”, including the United Nations, are nominally dedicated to campaigning against war itself, as a crime in itself.

    These bodies are (also) losing.

  3. 3
    composer99

    Indeed, the primary purpose of the UN, as of its founding in the aftermath of the Second World War, was to make warfare between sovereign states an impossibility, or at least warfare of the sort that occurred in the World Wars.

  4. 4
    SallyStrange

    The standard liberal feminist or egalitarian stance here is that it is patriarchy that genders war. Sexism decrees that women are too weak, too delicate for the battlefield so it must be left to the bigger, stronger, braver men. The solution, they argue, is for equal combat roles, equal conscription, equal numbers of women and men doing the killing and dying. I find that obscene. In what moral universe is it a better to have as many women slaughtered on the front line as men?

    In this moral universe, the one where doing away with war is viewed as a naively idealistic impossibility.

    I’d prefer zero wars. I’d prefer no militaries.

    But if we’re going to have wars, and people serving in the military, then neither conscription nor military service should be gendered.

    So, if I focus on gaining equality in military conscription and service, because I recognize that wars and militaries are not going away anytime soon, does it follow that I approve of war and its horrors? That I don’t care about the people who are currently being harmed by the unfair gender distribution of the burdens of military service? That’s what you appear to be saying, and it seems an unfair characterization.

    Similarly, our current economic system is inherently unjust and exploitative. I suppose you could say that failing to focus exclusively on doing away with capitalism and instituting a more egalitarian, cooperative economic system, and instead agitating for equal pay for equal work and trying to pass things like the Fairness for Pregnant Workers Act means that feminists don’t care about the millions of workers who are disenfranchised and exploited by the current system, using the logic you’re displaying here. Do you agree?

  5. 5
    Patrick Brown

    Jacob Schmidt:

    Feminists have been saying for years that sending only men off to war is sexist, both because it places a massive burden solely on men,

    No they haven’t.

    Pierce R. Butler:

    “Major international bodies”, including the United Nations, are nominally dedicated to campaigning against war itself, as a crime in itself.

    That’ll be the same UN that, in 1995, disarmed the defenders of Srebrenica, then escorted the women and children out and abandoned the city to the Serbs, leaving the men and teenage boys behind to be massacred.

  6. 6
    Pierce R. Butler

    Patrick Brown @ # 5: … the same UN that, in 1995, disarmed the defenders of Srebrenica…

    And the same (though much younger) UN that handed Korean civilians over to the mercy of US troops at No Gun Ri.

    One of the main reasons the UN has been losing in its stated mission is sabotage from within.

  7. 7
    Ally Fogg

    So, if I focus on gaining equality in military conscription and service, because I recognize that wars and militaries are not going away anytime soon, does it follow that I approve of war and its horrors? That I don’t care about the people who are currently being harmed by the unfair gender distribution of the burdens of military service? That’s what you appear to be saying, and it seems an unfair characterization.

    No, but if you call for equal military service and provision without actively campaigning against militarism and war, then yes it follows that you approve of war and its horrors. If that description doesn’t apply to you, then stand down, you’re not one of the feminists I am talking about.

    Similarly, our current economic system is inherently unjust and exploitative. I suppose you could say that failing to focus exclusively on doing away with capitalism and instituting a more egalitarian, cooperative economic system, and instead agitating for equal pay for equal work and trying to pass things like the Fairness for Pregnant Workers Act means that feminists don’t care about the millions of workers who are disenfranchised and exploited by the current system, using the logic you’re displaying here. Do you agree?

    Actually to a certain extent, yes. I personally believe that any feminist (or men’s activist) who campaigns against gender discrimination without acknowledging the role that capitalism plays in patriarchy and constrictive gender roles (and vice versa) is pursuing an ultimately self-defeating brand of politics.

    But that’s not really a very good analogy. In this particular instance, it would be equivalent to campaigners for equal pay demanding that men’s wages be reduced to the levels of women’s, rather than women’s being increased to the levels of men’s. And I can’t think of any who do, can you?

  8. 8
    Schala

    Yeah, he’s only addressing mainstream feminism, of the non-radical variety, the one that has a voice, the one that setup Finally Feminism 101, the one that setup NOW, the one that says sexism against men cannot exist by definition, because women are not the ones doing it systemically.

  9. 9
    grahamjones

    You are presenting relative rates for present day men and women in the UK, and linking these to big numbers in other places and times. That is misleading.

    There are about 200 workplace deaths per year in the UK. About 100 per year more for military fatalities (my guesstimate). About ten times that number die on the roads. We have made it so safe to work here that it is about as dangerous to cycle for 2 hours as to work in the construction industry for 40 hours.

    Over the last five years the average number of homicides per year for children aged under one year were: England and Wales: 18, Northern Ireland: 1, Scotland: 1, United Kingdom total = 20.

    You’re worried that “… male babies in England and Wales are 27% more likely to be murdered than girls before the age of one”. What’s that based on? 56 male baby deaths and 44 female baby deaths in 5 years?
    Now go and google infanticide figures for India.

    What I want is a word for the hatred felt by statisticians for journalists. ;-)

    _http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/fatals.htm

    _http://www.nspcc.org.uk/inform/research/statistics/child_homicide_statistics_wda48747.html

  10. 10
    Schala

    By your logic, we shouldn’t ever complain about something happening in the US or Canada or the UK, there’s worse elsewhere, let’s go fix everything else first.

  11. 11
    SallyStrange

    So basically, feminists are hypocrites unless they’re also socialists and pacifists. I am pretty much on board with the idea that feminism is and should be an ideology of universal liberation and radical transformation that should combat capitalism and militarism since gender equality will not be possible until those things are defeated.

    I think this post is not addressed to “feminists” but to upper-class white capitalist feminists who are merely campaigning to get their hands on a bigger slice of the oppression pie.

    More clarity would be useful.

  12. 12
    SallyStrange

    the one that says sexism against men cannot exist by definition, because women are not the ones doing it systemically.

    The word “sexism” includes “systemic” in its definition.

  13. 13
    Ginkgo

    Sally, I wish this site had an upvote button or something. I agree with every word you said.

    “In this moral universe, the one where doing away with war is viewed as a naively idealistic impossibility.”

    Hear, hear. We do not get to choose our reality, we have to deal with the one we have. On a planet with this many humans in competetion for a finite pool of resources, there is always going to eb war. It’s amazing hwo little we have, a major achievement.

    “No, but if you call for equal military service and provision without actively campaigning against militarism and war, then yes it follows that you approve of war and its horrors”

    No, Ally, that does not follow. What Sally is saying that you can have no choice but to deal with a reality without necesarily approving of that reality.

    “it would be equivalent to campaigners for equal pay demanding that men’s wages be reduced to the levels of women’s, rather than women’s being increased to the levels of men’s.”

    It can be a valid tactical ploy. Have you noticed how rapes of men have only recently been paid the slightest attention and only after feminists managed to 1) get rapes of women handled with even a little respect and 2) forced a redefinition of rape that centers on consent.? MRAs say a problem isn’t a problem until it happens to women, well, here’s great example of that. And the converse it true too sometimes. It was the original men’s movement, the labor movement, the one the Great Mother beat to death in the 80s, that first raied the issue of decent pay for anyone.

  14. 14
    Ginkgo

    The UN was snakebit at birth by Cold War rivalries and neo-colonialist cronyism.

  15. 15
    Ginkgo

    “I think this post is not addressed to “feminists” but to upper-class white capitalist feminists who are merely campaigning to get their hands on a bigger slice of the oppression pie.”

    And you just keep on giving, Sally. This is essentially the womanist position on this Feminism TM. To [some] feminists’ credit there has never really been a time when some feminists haven’t been pushing back on this process of sisterhood turning into a sorority that only cares about the issues affecting privilelged young white women and ignoring the issues of disprivileged young white and every other kind of women.

  16. 16
    Schala

    The word “sexism” includes “systemic” in its definition.

    And sexism against men is systemic too. It’s just not done primarily by women – it’s done primarily by the 1%, the government. And then attitudes and stereotypes which are widespread (cultural majority).

  17. 17
    Ginkgo

    It must be hard to feel compassion for your wife at home or the prostitute on the corner when you’ve spent the day slaughtering other men. ”

    People accomodate. People adjust their cultures ot accomodate the realities they face. One such cutlural accomodation is the acceptance of male disposability, in fact the institutionalization of it as in the Real Man narrative, but to do this and still retain some degree of humanity, you have to over-value someone else with the value you should be spreading evenly. This is the whole John Wayne “Little lady” meme – the big strong male protector, who clings to that role because that’s all he is going to eegt for his blood sweat, tears and maiming. This is where pedestalization of women comes in, as a psychological balancing mechanism.

    2nd Wavers denounced female pdestalization as sexist, (though they failed to reject it and their methods of advocacy show this) and their reasons were valid, just incomplete. They never saw through to the way pedestalization of women rests on the disposability of men. Some did sense this though, saying the liberation of women would liberate men.

  18. 18
    Ally Fogg

    I think this post is not addressed to “feminists” but to upper-class white capitalist feminists who are merely campaigning to get their hands on a bigger slice of the oppression pie.

    To be perfectly honest, this post isn’t really addressed to feminists at all.

    As with all my blogs, it was primarily about men, addressing men and (of course) written by a man, although admittedly it does reference a couple of common feminist claims.

    And as with all my blogs I would expect a fair few feminists to agree with it and a fair few feminists to disagree with it. Same goes for men’s activists and passing lay readers.

    That’s fine by me.

  19. 19
    mythbri

    @Schala

    Male military conscription is a systemic gender-based oppression that has effects that reach further than men of the lower classes (see Ally’s mention of the use of rape as a weapon of war, the inherent designation of women as the sex class in conflict zones, etc.). I’ll call it sexism, because it is gender-based, but only using a definition of sexism that removes the “systemic oppression of gender by another gender”, because it is not a mythical historically-prevalent bias of women against men that has made men disposable cannon fodder.

    I don’t know any feminists who are in favor of parity in male and female casualties of war – the goal of feminists is to end discrimination based on gender. Male conscription and barring female soldiers from combat are two examples of gender-based discrimination, both of which feminists are working against. It’s not a pro-war stance. It’s not a pro-death stance. It’s a pro-equality stance. The military, with all of its problems, is an employer. It’s a workplace in which women face discrimination and men face de-humanization and dismissal of their victimization. That’s my perspective on it. My perspectives on war are very distantly related.

  20. 20
    Ally Fogg

    Hear, hear. We do not get to choose our reality, we have to deal with the one we have. On a planet with this many humans in competetion for a finite pool of resources, there is always going to eb war. It’s amazing hwo little we have, a major achievement.

    Ah, you see I profoundly disagree.

    If I were running for parliament, or for that matter if I was doing my day job writing for the Guardian, then I would be constrained by practical considerations of what is pragmatic, what is possible, what is immediately achievable.

    When I’m writing here, I feel free to say what I really think and believe. This blog is not about shuffling the deckchairs on the Titanic, but building a whole new ocean liner. Even if it’s just a one-man ship of my own!

    In the context of this specific post, I agree I am being quite ambitious. My position is that if society showed the same squeamishness and horror at men’s deaths that we do towards women’s and children’s deaths, there would be no war.

    Consider the reaction whenever a female combatant is killed or captured in war. Typically the media/public response is “goodness, this is awful, how can this be allowed to happen? What can we do to prevent this ever happening again?”

    I would like to see that reaction to every single combat death, irrespective of gender.

    As the Situationists used to say: “Be realistic. Demand the impossible.”

  21. 21
    mythbri

    @Ally Fog

    The standard liberal feminist or egalitarian stance here is that it is patriarchy that genders war. Sexism decrees that women are too weak, too delicate for the battlefield so it must be left to the bigger, stronger, braver men. The solution, they argue, is for equal combat roles, equal conscription, equal numbers of women and men doing the killing and dying. I find that obscene. In what moral universe is it a better to have as many women slaughtered on the front line as men?

    You say “the solution” here. The solution to what? The fact that wars and military are gendered?

    Yes, eliminating male conscription or requiring female conscription, allowing women to work in combat situations, those are both steps to solving the problem of a gendered military.

    If you mean “the solution to people being seen as disposable and fighting and dying in wars”, that’s another issue, and the measures that I mentioned above are not intended to solve that. It’s a separate issue, although it IS intersectional and it IS a serious problem. But it seems to me that you’re saying that feminists are trying to prevent bug bites by applying sunscreen, when in fact they are applying sunscreen to prevent sunburn.

  22. 22
    Ally Fogg

    @grahamjones

    Over the last five years the average number of homicides per year for children aged under one year were: England and Wales: 18, Northern Ireland: 1, Scotland: 1, United Kingdom total = 20.

    You’re worried that “… male babies in England and Wales are 27% more likely to be murdered than girls before the age of one”. What’s that based on? 56 male baby deaths and 44 female baby deaths in 5 years?
    Now go and google infanticide figures for India.

    I think you’re completely missing the point I was making in that section. I’m not saying it is some great tragedy that more boys than girls are murdered – every child death is a horrific tragedy, irrespective of gender. I am saying that the reasons why more boys than girls die – from violence, from illness, from neglect etc, is because from day one boys are expected to be tougher, to tolerate more pain and suffering, to be subject to more violence etc. Why? Because we are preparing them for a life according to the gender roles laid down by our patriarchal / hegemonic culture. It is why among older children, boys are less likely than girls to seek medical help themselves or be taken to doctors by their parents, why older boys are less likely to seek help with bullying, with abuse, with depression, and be less likely to be offered help for those things. It’s all part of the “toughen up”, “man up”, “make a man of him” culture.

    the infanticide of girls in India and China is an appalling problem, a human rights atrocity, but it happens for very different reasons (albeit again, reasons contained within the logic of patriarchy).

  23. 23
    Ally Fogg

    @Jacob Schmidt

    That, or you’re only addressing one group of feminists within the larger group.

    Yep, that’s the one.

  24. 24
    Schala

    I’ll call it sexism, because it is gender-based, but only using a definition of sexism that removes the “systemic oppression of gender by another gender”, because it is not a mythical historically-prevalent bias of women against men that has made men disposable cannon fodder.

    The fashion industry is primarily ruled by women (and a small sample of gay men, and an even smaller sample of straight men), it oppresses women. Does it not count because it’s “women doing it to themselves”?

    I don’t think a definition that says “must come from outside the group” is necessary. Systemic discrimination and/or prejudice based on sex. Full stop. No need to be by the other sex.

  25. 25
    Ginkgo

    “Ah, you see I profoundly disagree. ”

    You can always tell the ones from wet climates. Are you familiar with the California expression “water politics”?

    We can do our utmost to shape our reality – build dykes, dig canals, pacify neighbors – and there is no excuse for giving up before we try – but ultimately we come up against natural constraints – finite water resources, oceans that will not forever be held at bay, our human neighbors’ requirements for the same resources we need to live. We are getting a lot better on all fronts, but we cannot take this progress as natural or permanent. And we cannot afford to ignore how much enforcement it all takes.

    Not to speak for her, but I think that’s the point Sally and I are making.

  26. 26
    Jacob Schmidt

    Ally Fogg

    Yep, that’s the one.

    Ah, fair enough. Might I suggest that you make that clearer next time? I seems to me that far too many people like to draw similarities between specific subsets and the larger group. I find this particularly true with feminism. I haven’t read anything by Andrea Dworkin, but apparently all feminists worship her. Go figure.

  27. 27
    Ginkgo

    “the infanticide of girls in India and China is an appalling problem, a human rights atrocity, but it happens for very different reasons (albeit again, reasons contained within the logic of patriarchy).”

    That’s a very good example. Actually it happens for exactly the same reason, just with the genders flipped. It happens because of female disposability in those cultures.

    Girls are disposable in those cultures because they are family based and daughters who marry out, and often take sizable dowries with them, diminish rather than enrich the family. The do not build up the famliy because their children will not belong to it but to someone else’s. This is indeed the logic of patriarchy. They are never anything but an economic drai. and often that’s how they are valued and treated.

    As these cultures transition to a heavier emphasis on the indivdual as an orgamnizing principle, this whole rationale will fade and we may see some improvement.

  28. 28
    JasonMacker

    Your general argument is flawed for several reasons:

    Men are largely required to conform to their social roles (with respect to gender) by other men. Meanwhile, women are largely required to conform to their social roles (with respect to gender) not by women, but by men. You see, the common denominator here is men, because it is men who are in positions of power.

    A real-life analogy is when a white person faces prejudice for desiring to marry a black person. In the United States, it used to be illegal for a white person to marry a black person. Now, beyond this legal restriction, there were also social costs such as being ostracized from your neighbors, friends, etc. for being a deviant and marrying someone that does not share your racial category. And it’s true that some black people disapproved of interracial marriage at the time. However, these black people were not the ones that were in the positions of power that decided to enforce, using the legal system, anti-miscegenation laws. A white person who is ostracized by society for marrying a black person, does face discrimination. But remember that writing in the passive tense, something you have been doing a lot in your blog posts, leaves out what is usually a very important piece of information… the subject that is actually carrying out the verb. And if rewrite your sentences to include the subjects, what we see is a very clear picture:

    Men tell men that they should have participate in military service. Men tell men that being weak or effeminate is deviant behavior. Men tell men that expressing emotions is deviant behavior. So in other words, an in-group is controlling the behavior of an in-group.

    This is a qualitatively different situation than when an in-group is controlling the behavior of an out-group, such as when Men tell women that they are not allowed to participate in military service. Men tell women that being strong or masculine is deviant behavior. Men tell women that being stoic is deviant behavior.

    This is exactly analogous to how whites tell whites that that they should be masters and not slaves. Whites tell whites that being a “nigger-lover” is deviant behavior, immoral, and treacherous. Whites tell whites that if they listen to jazz they are embracing an inferior culture.

    When social systems are set up in a particular way, ignoring who set them up has the disastrous result of losing sight of the real roots of the problem.

    If a man is considered a deviant for exhibiting a behavior that men consider effeminate, then the root of the problem is that there are men that consider it effeminate.

    If a woman is considered a deviant for exhibiting a behavior that men consider masculine, then the root of the problem is that there are men that consider it masculine.

    *********************

    Your arguments for pacifism and opposition to war are for the most part nonsense, as George Orwell explains, Pacifism is objectively pro-fascist:

    http://orwell.ru/library/articles/pacifism/english/e_patw

    And the reason why men and boys are separated to be “murdered” is precisely because the society that they were fighting against does not consider women to be combatants. If there was a modern war where one nation had an entirely gender-egalitarian view of military service, trust me, a rational antagonist nation would not separate men from women in a war against the gender-egalitarian nation… they would kill them all because leaving women alone means leaving nearly 50% of enemy forces intact!

    You ask “In what moral universe is it a better to have as many women slaughtered on the front line as men?” You say this as though it is the fault of the British government that British soldiers were being slaughtered. Last time I checked, it was the Wehrmacht that was killing British soldiers, not Churchill. And the way the allies behaved, where they only let men participate in active combat, only prolonged the war unnecessarily. If we had allowed able-bodied women to participate more actively in the frontlines, that would have doubled our combat effectiveness and the war would have ended much sooner. The same is true of the Americans who were reluctant to allow blacks to serve on the frontline as well. Both racism and sexism prolonged the war unnecessarily.

    And even beyond all of this, you’re greatly over-inflating how bad military service is. The absolute safest place in Europe for a person to be in world war two was in an organization wearing a uniform that had the letters U.S. on it. I would not choose to be in any other place in Europe.

    And the same is true right now in Afghanistan. The absolute safest place in Afghanistan is on an American military base, as an American.

    War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth a war, is much worse. When a people are used as mere human instruments for firing cannon or thrusting bayonets, in the service and for the selfish purposes of a master, such war degrades a people. A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice; a war to give victory to their own ideas of right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an honest purpose by their free choice, — is often the means of their regeneration. A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever-renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other. – John Stuart Mill

  29. 29
    JasonMacker

    It’s liberals like you that pretend we live in a fantasy world where everyone has their own problems and that everyone’s problems are of the same magnitude and nobody has it easier than others, therefore it’s wrong to focus on particular issues that some particular group faces because hey, other groups have problems too that are just as bad.

    This is known as the “just world fallacy”, many liberals are guilty of it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just-world_hypothesis

    No, the reality is that misandry is not of the same magnitude as misogyny. Heterophobia is not of the same magnitude as homophobia. Prejudice directed towards whites is not of the same magnitude as prejudice directed towards people of color.

  30. 30
    Ginkgo

    “Men are largely required to conform to their social roles (with respect to gender) by other men. Meanwhile, women are largely required to conform to their social roles (with respect to gender) not by women, but by men.”

    Do you have any basis for this claim? It certainly doesn’t conform to what i have observed. For one thing, women are socialized mostly by women, obviously – as are men for that matter. The hand that rocks the cradle, etc.

    Even if you resort to saying that men comnrol to formal levers of power there are importanat examples where women pulled those levers. Prohibtion in the US was almost completely a women’s movement, with the men in it secondary to the women, and the Prohibtion Movement achieved all its political aims at a time when women did not even have the vote.

    “However, these black people were not the ones that were in the positions of power that decided to enforce, ”

    False analogy. Really repugnantly false analogy. White women in the US have wielded significantly more power than black people of whatever gender. The false equation of women’s and black people’s position is one of white feminism’s most odious appropriations.

    Your arguments for pacifism and opposition to war are for the most part nonsense, ”

    I don’t have any. I think pacifism is nonsense. Who are you responding to?

    “The absolute safest place in Europe for a person to be in world war two was in an organization wearing a uniform that had the letters U.S. on it.”

    Well that was the European Theater after all. It wasn’t the same level of ferocity or carnage as in the Pacific Theater. You didn’t even have civilians commiting suicide rather than surrender or Rape of Nanjing style atrocities. Not the same level of ferocity in the fighting at all. European soldiers would surrender, and often in droves.

  31. 31
    Edward Gemmer

    This is known as the “just world fallacy”, many liberals are guilty of it.

    Everyone is guilty of it. There are clear problems facing men – mostly poor men, given the large percentage of men in prison in the United States. Suggesting that these people don’t face problems as large as anyone else’s problems is silly.

  32. 32
    Ian Weaver

    He’s not claiming equivalence, he’s bemoaning the way these problems aren’t even discussed. There’s recently been a meme doing the rounds “misandry isn’t a thing” implying to quote Ally that these issues aren’t even worth a name. This is particularly stupid as the brutalisation of men may be the reason for their violence.

    As to your idea that Patriarchy is only enforced by men, I think Ally has addressed this by demonstrating it happens from birth. Women are often primary carers so they are socialising boys in this manner as well as the rest of culture. Personally I’ve lost count of the number of fights I’ve seen where the proceedings were egged on by women.

    Your implication that if it is men doing these things then it isn’t an issue. If men are being violent to men then that’s OK. We used to have the same attitude to violence in the black community. That was an ugly thought, so is yours.

  33. 33
    Schala

    No, the reality is that misandry is not of the same magnitude as misogyny.

    The reality is that misandry is overt, obvious and condoned by the majority.

    Misogyny is covert, more subtle and not condoned by the majority.

    For sure the problem that a majority think is horrible will get more bad press and thus more people talking about what to do to stop it. While misandry is like water to a fish – invisible so much its present.

    It’s in assumptions about who will do babysitting (hint: not a male person, unless close family – and even then). It’s in assumptions about who is a fool, incompetent, intentionally stupid (not just an airhead, but a Jackass-level of stupid). It’s in assumptions about who is mature and responsible (hint: not a man). It’s in assumptions we make about majority-male hobbies (like comics and videogames). And it’s how we make assumptions of men in the street as violent predatory monsters who are way more likely to attack or be hostile, because penis.

  34. 34
    Ani J. Sharmin

    I agree with your points about it being wrong that men are considered disposable in military combat, but I also share many of the disagreements already expressed above. I’m against increased militarization, and I think many of the actions committed during wars (both in the past and recently) have been horrible. At the same time, I support allowing military service regardless of gender (though I’m against the draft) because there are certain circumstances when a war may be necessary. And I have to point out that the squeamishness at women’s deaths is often used, not as lesson to be squeamish about war violence in general (as you suggest should be the case, and I agree), but used as a springboard for advocating discrimination against women in military service.

    Another thing I often notice is that when feminists say something similar to what you’re saying, we’re accused of “feminizing” men. And then, feminists get accused of not caring about the way men are encouraged to be violent … even after they did criticize it and were accused of wanting to destroy traditional society, destroy the family, feminize men, etc.

    Re: The definition of sexism.
    I’ve long been split on this. I think anyone can face discrimination, even if they are in a more powerful group. But, when all else (such as race and economic class) is held equal, men have often been given the role of being the head of the household and been over-represented in government bodies. There is a significant issue of women only being able to do certain things (like go to school) if their male family members approve.

    The difference is that these are (rightly) identified as gender crimes and major international bodies are dedicated to campaigning against them, combating them and prosecuting the perpetrators.

    And yet, we have a world where too many people will excuse gender crimes against women based on it being in a different culture, and so on. There are major bodies that focus on war crimes in general. Yes, the crimes that affect men disproportionately are often not identified as gender crimes, but they are not ignored by those bodies.

    @Schala:

    The reality is that misandry is overt, obvious and condoned by the majority.

    Misogyny is covert, more subtle and not condoned by the majority.

    There are (large and powerful, not fringe) religions and political parties with belief systems and political stances that contain outright misogyny. People get support by advocating an inferior role for women. You’re saying it’s subtle, but one of the reasons it seems “subtle” is because it’s supported; people can say something outright misogynistic and be supported for it, because it’s not identified as being misogynistic; it’s seen as *just how things are and should remain*.

    @Gingko:

    False analogy. Really repugnantly false analogy. White women in the US have wielded significantly more power than black people of whatever gender. The false equation of women’s and black people’s position is one of white feminism’s most odious appropriations.

    And those of us who are non-white women? This is one of the tactics I find extremely frustrating: Comparing the small percentage of women who are white and well-off financially to men in general, to make it seem like feminism (and various other equal rights movements) are wrong to draw any comparison between themselves and the movement for racial equality. Discrimination against different groups isn’t going to be identical, and one has to be specific in analogies, but that doesn’t mean an analogy can’t be made.

  35. 35
    Schala

    There are (large and powerful, not fringe) religions and political parties with belief systems and political stances that contain outright misogyny.

    Be happy that it’s not ALL religions and political parties, unlike misandry.

    Male sacrifice for society’s sake is in the left’s feminism, and the right’s traditionalists. It’s in atheism, it’s in geek stuff, it’s in religion.

    It’s unavoidable.

  36. 36
    Ani J. Sharmin

    @Schala: As I already wrote above, when feminists do talk about discrimination against men, we get accused of ruining society. I used religion and political parties as examples, but misogyny is found in all these places as well. It’s also unavoidable. Your argument is the exact reason why people dismiss legitimate arguments about the ways society is unfair to men: because, all too often, it’s based on claiming that misogyny isn’t a big deal, that everyone cares so much about women, and that men have it worse—despite men having more power relative to women in many parts of society when all else is held equal.

  37. 37
    Andrew G.

    The result is a model of adult masculinity which must be directly implicated in mental and physical ill-health, suicide and criminality. It is exploited, and indeed encouraged, by systems of governance which turn boys and men into cannon-fodder. It largely explains why men make up 92% of workplace deaths

    No, really, it doesn’t.

    Workplace deaths are a very small subset of workplace accidents which in turn are a small subset of workplace health issues. When you look at the larger categories, the gender bias vanishes or reverses – women are much more likely than men, for example, to be victims of a serious workplace-induced chronic health condition.

    Workplace fatalities are heavily concentrated in certain industry areas (such as agriculture and fishery, mining, construction) and within those areas they are concentrated in specific job roles. These industries and jobs are dominated by men not because men are seen as expendable but because:

    – they are jobs which are now, or traditionally have been, dependent on physical factors such as size and upper body strength in which men and women legitimately do differ

    – they are jobs which are seen as areas of male competence and therefore perceived (correctly or not) as safer for men to do than for women; i.e. it’s not a matter of “it’s ok if a man dies working this machine because he’s just cannon-fodder”, it’s a matter of “men are better at operating machines than women, so having a man do it is less likely to result in anyone dying”

    Where these factors did not apply, such as child labour in mines and factories in the early 1800s, we find that whether people were treated as expendable did not depend on sex (rather on availability and social class).

    Trying to make workplace fatality rates into a gender issue is neither historically grounded nor a rational strategy in the modern world. Even in an environment of perfect gender equality we will still have more male workplace fatalities than female because of the size and upper body strength issue. Furthermore, by singling out fatalities and accidents from the more general issue of workplace health, you open yourself to a charge of selecting data to support a position rather than trying to address a real problem.

  38. 38
    VeganAtheistWeirdo

    @Schala
    (@JasonMacker)

    No, the reality is that misandry is not of the same magnitude as misogyny.

    The reality is that misandry is overt, obvious and condoned by the majority.

    The reality is that you are using two very different definitions of misandry, which I am guessing is indicative of your relative philosophies. I’m reluctant to label all the male-directed violence, aggression and pressure as misandry, because of the huge role history plays in its perpetuation. I don’t mean that it isn’t specifically targeted to men; I agree that it is, but I don’t think it is (necessarily) a conscious discrimination on the part of the individuals involved. I would say it’s sexism, just as most of the issues feminists target are sexism rather than misogyny.

    And it’s how we make assumptions of men in the street as violent predatory monsters who are way more likely to attack or be hostile, because penis.

    Violent, predatory monsters, not by default, no. But way more likely to attack or be hostile? Yes. Not because penis, but because television movies internet newspaper everything. I do not know what the statistics are nationally, but I do know that everything I hear/read/see leads me to believe that men are more likely to be violent. Again, it’s less a conscious discrimination than a response based on preconceptions built over time. Whether those preconceptions or the data they are built upon are fair or accurate would depend on the facts.

  39. 39
    Schala

    I agree that it is, but I don’t think it is (necessarily) a conscious discrimination on the part of the individuals involved

    Intent isn’t magic though.

    People who are misogynist might think they do it to protect women from horrible stuff. Like the outside world, work, and horrible other men. So wear a burqa and never go out alone. Still misogyny.

  40. 40
    Schala

    Your argument is the exact reason why people dismiss legitimate arguments about the ways society is unfair to men: because, all too often, it’s based on claiming that misogyny isn’t a big deal

    1) Feminism claims misogyny is horrible, patriarchy was created by men, for men, and with the express purpose of oppressing women.

    2) Then claims patriarchy hurts men too, as a way to dismiss hurts done to men as a side-effect of oppressing women (and thus not worth addressing, since, the theory says once patriarchy is toppled, men won’t be oppressing women, and thus won’t be having those side-effects – faulty theory, never questioned).

    3) Feminism claims, when people but mostly men say “Hey, these horrible things happen to men and they are systemic!” that it’s not, because it’s not done by women (as if it needs a source outside of men), and that feminism is already busy.

    4) MRAs organize to solve their issues on their own, disillusioned that feminism will ever even attempt to do so, too busy with ONLY women’s problems (passing VAWA, female DV shelters only, rape crisis centers only for women).

    5) MRAs are told they’re right-wing reactionaries who want back to the 1950s gender roles of something Beaver, where men were just as oppressed, but women less liberated. Which is totally false. Most MRAs are not traditionalists, by far. They’re opposed on a structural basis (trads want men to sacrifice, MRAs want an end to it).

    6) Feminists protest MRA talks, claiming MRAs are a hate group.

    Now tell me it’s those horrible men “making you” dismiss their claims of oppression.

    They don’t want to be listened MORE than feminism, they want to be listened to AT ALL. And claims that “the whole world is there for them” is patently false – the whole world is there to oppress and use them further, it won’t even want to hear their grievances, let alone solve them.

  41. 41
    Von Kalifornen

    I will take a last stand here as the defender of war and militarism. That is all.

  42. 42
    Nathanael

    SallyStrange: nope. Simply wrong.

    The definition of sexism, as given by Caroline Bird, who was the first to use the term in print (in “On Being Born Female”, 1968):

    “Sexism is judging people by their sex when sex doesn’t matter.

    Sexism is intended to rhyme with racism. Both have used to keep the powers that be in power. Women are sexists as often as men.”

    That’s it. Sexism is judging people by their sex when sex doesn’t matter. That is the definition of sexism. Period. End of story. It doesn’t have “systemic” in the definition, you’ll notice.

    The thing which has “systemic” in its definition is “institutional sexism” or “patriarchy”.

    I don’t know why Caroline Bird could get it right in the first widespread use of the word, and yet now so many people who think they are feminists get it wrong. I want to attribute it to a right-wing plot to confuse feminists… but that may be too conspiracy-minded.

  43. 43
    Ani J. Sharmin

    @Schala: Your comment is an example of why people claim MRAs are a hate group or reactionaries that want to go back to the 1950s. Because feminists get blamed for problems that are caused by sexism, because feminists get blamed for problems that they do try to address and are falsely accused of not caring about, because strides in equality for women are interpreted as being anti-men. There’s more focus on blaming feminism for not solving every gender equality issue than there is on the sexism that caused the problems in the first place.

    While I would not say that men being hurt is a “side effect” there is often a link, where there are two sets of gender expectations, one for men and one for women. And in almost every case, the woman is assumed to be weaker and subservient, with male family members being in charge. This doesn’t mean, of course, that harm against men should be ignored; it’s just as important as harm done against women. And the original post gives some important examples of how men are hurt.

    There are efforts, supported by feminists, to raise awareness that people can be affected by domestic violence, rape, etc. regardless of gender. Feminists were among those, for example, who supported the legal redefinition of rape, because the old definition was too narrow and didn’t include any type of rape committed against men. I can’t answer for every single feminist you’ve spoken to, and everything they’ve said, but to say that feminists don’t care about this is false. Yes, I agree there should be more resources available to men (such as rape crisis centers, shelters, etc.).

    Now tell me it’s those horrible men “making you” dismiss their claims of oppression.

    They don’t want to be listened MORE than feminism, they want to be listened to AT ALL. And claims that “the whole world is there for them” is patently false – the whole world is there to oppress and use them further, it won’t even want to hear their grievances, let alone solve them.

    Everything I wrote above about blaming feminism instead of sexism. I say “making” because dismissing and blaming feminism, which actually has made improvements in gender equality, makes people sound disingenuous and anti-women when they claim to care about gender issues that hurt men.

    No, the whole world is not there for *all* men. But there are more men in positions of power. The claim that ‘the whole world is there for them’ (and other similar claims) is stated, I think, because women’s issue are considered special interest issues, because of gender. For example, learning about women in history, or addressing health issues that affect women, are considered a special, separate category, rather than just being included in regular history or regular healthcare discussions; they’re considered optional, rather than a regular thing. Yes, there are lots of grievances about issues that affect men. Yet again, it’s not because of feminism that these aren’t being heard; often, there’re not being heard by the same people who also ignore feminism, the people who want to maintain the traditional gender roles of the past.

    I don’t want to take up any more space in another person’s blog comments section, and I’ll probably repeat myself even more if I continue to comment, so I’ll leave it there.

  44. 44
    Jason Macker

    Sorry, I didn’t mean to address you specifically, my reply was directed at the blogpost, not you.

  45. 45
    John Morales

    Ally:

    What I do know is that before you can solve any problem you have to recognise that it exists and identify it for what it is.

    That’s only true if you refer to a deliberate solution, since it’s not impossible that problems may be solved inadvertently.

  46. 46
    Schala

    @Schala: Your comment is an example of why people claim MRAs are a hate group or reactionaries that want to go back to the 1950s. Because feminists get blamed for problems that are caused by sexism, because feminists get blamed for problems that they do try to address and are falsely accused of not caring about, because strides in equality for women are interpreted as being anti-men. There’s more focus on blaming feminism for not solving every gender equality issue than there is on the sexism that caused the problems in the first place.</blockquote<

    I'm not a MRA, first.

    I'll be called one because I disagree with certain feminist concepts, like unidirectional privilege on the gender axis, or that rape culture primarily/only affects women, that male victims of DV are near 40-50% (and not 0-15% as claimed by shelters – although they offer 0% help).

    Defining rape as a crime in which men "put women in their place" was not necessary. Just saying it was a mean of abusing power to humiliate victims, ungendered, would be enough – and would not polarize the issue unnecessarily, while reinforcing gendered attitudes that say men and boys are never victims and women and girls are especially at risk (if not the only ones at risk).

    Defining DV as a crime done by men to women as part of patriarchal violence was also unnecessary. It could simply be said that it's often a result of mental issues unresolved producing helplessness that can often end up in violence and heavy conflict which can be one-sided or not, but often relies on power differentials and manipulation.

    We'd have shelters for rape, and shelters for DV, maybe still not coed, but the problem would be fixed unilaterally, not just for women, while claiming you're doing everything you can on the issues of DV and rape. Ignoring half the victims and reinforcing narratives which plainly say "man up, it wasn't so bad" is NOT dismantling the master's house, it's building an attic on top of the house.

    Victims who are ignored, regardless of reasons, will often lose empathy, but they will definitely lose the drive to be empathetic (the motivation if you prefer), because why would people left to rot in the ditch even consider the feelings of those who do nothing to help them – heck maybe even support their tormenters or those who facilitate them.

    Just see how people who want funding for men's DV shelters have to fight not only the government, who is reluctant to even consider males as victims, but feminist groups (who have some of that funding) who think it's a zero-sum game and that THEY would lose some, and "screw the men, we need it more".

  47. 47
    Schala

    Feminists were among those, for example, who supported the legal redefinition of rape, because the old definition was too narrow and didn’t include any type of rape committed against men.

    Thank you, now that definition includes male on male rape.

    But still not female on male rape, which doesn’t (the vast majority of the time) involve him being penetrated.

  48. 48
    Schala

    Yes, there are lots of grievances about issues that affect men. Yet again, it’s not because of feminism that these aren’t being heard; often, there’re not being heard by the same people who also ignore feminism, the people who want to maintain the traditional gender roles of the past.

    You’d think the people who claim to have a Grand Unification Theory of Gender would want to dismantle all of it, not half of it and call it “done”.

    You’d think people in general would expect more from a leftist ideology that calls itself feminism and proclaims to want to reach equality – yet doesn’t react much better than traditionalists to the idea that maybe men need to not be judged as sexual predators in caregiving occupations, or airplanes, or schools, or their own homes, or when they babysit. Doesn’t reach much better to the idea that maybe men need DV shelters and rape crisis centers too. Doesn’t react much better to the idea that male homelessness is mostly ignored. Doesn’t react much better to the ideas of men’s expendability (in work as well as war, they are replaceable, no one’s essential) and men’s success as measured by professional and economical success on par with women’s success as measured by appearance and social success.

  49. 49
    Schala

    No, the whole world is not there for *all* men. But there are more men in positions of power.

    Tell that to Bob the homeless, or Joe the miner, I’m sure they’ll be happy to know they share a penis with the person in power.

    Did Obama do something for Bob or Joe? Did Bush Sr and Jr do anything for them? Which presidents and/or other men in power have done something, concretely, specifically for men, because they are men? None? You’d be right.

  50. 50
    Schala

    I don’t want to take up any more space in another person’s blog comments section, and I’ll probably repeat myself even more if I continue to comment, so I’ll leave it there.

    I’m sure Ally doesn’t mind, though I can’t really speak for him. We’re far from Pharyngula’s 2000 comment threads about Donglegate devolving into a shouting match about who’s more of a troll than who.

  51. 51
    Ally Fogg

    @JasonMacker

    “Men are largely required to conform to their social roles (with respect to gender) by other men. Meanwhile, women are largely required to conform to their social roles (with respect to gender) not by women, but by men. You see, the common denominator here is men, because it is men who are in positions of power.”

    As I see it though, it doesn’t begin with men at the top. It begins with the interests of the economic system at the top. The interests of the economic system invest people with limited degrees of power according to who they are and where they sit in the scheme of things, and yes, part of that is investing slightly more men with slightly more power than women (and over women) at every layer of the tree.

    However I think it is a mistake to imagine that men behave as they do out of self-interest. They do what is expected and demanded of them by the system.

    Yes, the individual choices and behaviours of men do make a difference, but those choices are made from a very, very narrow palette of options.

  52. 52
    Ally Fogg

    Another thing I often notice is that when feminists say something similar to what you’re saying, we’re accused of “feminizing” men. And then, feminists get accused of not caring about the way men are encouraged to be violent … even after they did criticize it and were accused of wanting to destroy traditional society, destroy the family, feminize men, etc.

    Yes I see that too, and I despise it. It’s a problem.

  53. 53
    Ally Fogg

    “Workplace deaths are a very small subset of workplace accidents which in turn are a small subset of workplace health issues. When you look at the larger categories, the gender bias vanishes or reverses – women are much more likely than men, for example, to be victims of a serious workplace-induced chronic health condition.”

    I’d like to see your source for that, because in the UK, men outnumber women on every type of work-related injury and illness with the exception of stress/ anxiety /depression, where women are far more numerous.

    But crucial to me point, I must reiterate that I’m not arguing that men suffer worse than women in our society. I’m not saying that men’s problems are greater than women’s problems. I’m saying that society needs a proportion of the population to do dangerous, physically damaging work, and that sociocultural gender roles have evolved to fulfill specific purposes, and in men, one of those purposes is to toughen them up for the possibility of suffering physical hardship, injury and death in the service of the system.

    So in that context, most of the most common work-related illnesses (back pain, stress, depression etc) really aren’t relevant to the point I’m making.

  54. 54
    VeganAtheistWeirdo

    @Schala

    You’d think the people who claim to have a Grand Unification Theory of Gender would want to dismantle all of it, not half of it and call it “done”.

    This is that thing again where feminism is bad because it has a specific focus on the female side of issues. I don’t know who these feminists are who think their battle is the only one (I don’t doubt they exist) but they aren’t the ones I read here or in the general mainstream blogosphere. If, as you have said before, feminist lobbying groups have actively fought against measures for men’s DV or rape shelters, I agree that’s despicable. While they may have a motive for it, the motive doesn’t excuse the harm of the result. But I still think men need to be the ones behind a men’s movement. We just need to work on educating others why legitimate men’s measures don’t in any way diminish the positive changes made for women. Too many people on both sides seem to see it as an us-vs.-them thing.

    I was going to comment further, but I have to get to work.

  55. 55
    Norman Hadley

    One of the things that make this issue so difficult is that even the most well-meaning intervention may subtly reinforce the problem. Take the heavily-trailed speech by Diane Abbot MP today (which I broadly welcome)

    The male role of the past as provider and earner has come under pressure from consumerism, she will say, leaving Britain’s boys growing up in a culture of “hyper-masculinity”, which is fuelling misogyny and homophobia.

    This is a classic example of where I wish someone had stopped mid-sentence and left it there. What do those last six words say? We’re invited to take this problem seriously not because these are our sons and we love them and want them to be happy for their own sake…. but because… they might do or say something unpleasant to those Establishment-approved victims, women and gay people.

    I’m not saying Abbott is factually wrong. The stereotype probably contains some truth that an alienated male can and will do more damage to others whereas a disaffected female would typically turn in on herself. But there’s a pungent whiff of self-fulfilling prophecy here.

    What’s needed, I’d suggest, is a restatement of basic humanist principles. A person’s pain should be considered in their terms, not just how it could affect others. By principle of reciprocity, it would be invidious to suggest that female cystitis is a serious problem because the sufferers’ menfolk get less sex…

  56. 56
    Schala

    This is that thing again where feminism is bad because it has a specific focus on the female side of issues.

    No, it’s not the lack of focus on male issues that’s the problem.

    It’s them actively fighting against the recognition of male issues as male issues, of misandry as misadnry, of sexism against men as sexism against men, and basically, consciously, making “gender issues” synonymous with “women’s issues”, claiming that men’s issues are solved whenever something global (like worker’s rights) is worked on, that they don’t need worked on specific male-only issues, they already have MORE rights than women. That they don’t need specific spaces to discuss male issues (like a male center), because “the entire world” is there to hear their grievances. Maybe the entire world never really cared about male issues as much as it cared about making more money. And men complaining is less money.

  57. 57
    Andrew G.

    HSE research report RR953 at your link:

    During the period 2002 to 2009, the average rate of work related ill-health for those people in mployment is estimated to be 3,148 per 100,000 workers, or approximately 3.2%. If we consider all types of illness, the rates for women (3.3%) are slightly higher than those for men (3.1%). However, taking into account the distinction between musculoskeletal disorders and stress, depression and anxiety conditions it is apparent that whilst rates of musculoskeletal disorders are higher among men (1.5%) than women (1.3%), women exhibit higher rates of stress, depression and anxiety (1.3%) than men (0.9%).

    And later in the report:

    3.6 WORK RELATED ILL-HEALTH AMONG THE IN-WORK POPULATION

    The main results from the multivariate analysis are presented in Figures 3.1 to 3.5. In terms of the influence of personal characteristics (Figure 3.1) we estimate that:

    · Males are approximately 16% less likely to suffer from work related ill-health to females (ref).

    But the data table for 2011/12 shows a rate for musculoskeletal disorders with men fractionally lower than women: men 1450 women 1460 per 100k. The rates for all reported illness were men 3220 women 3940 per 100k.

    So that’s the official figures. Scratch a little deeper and you find that many areas of concern are under-reported or under-investigated.

    But crucial to me point, I must reiterate that I’m not arguing that men suffer worse than women in our society. I’m not saying that men’s problems are greater than women’s problems. I’m saying that society needs a proportion of the population to do dangerous, physically damaging work, and that sociocultural gender roles have evolved to fulfill specific purposes, and in men, one of those purposes is to toughen them up for the possibility of suffering physical hardship, injury and death in the service of the system.

    You may not be arguing that “men suffer worse than women in our society” but this workplace fatality canard is a common MRA talking point, if you hadn’t noticed.

    A more significant problem is when you say “society needs …”. Which society? In the modern UK we have reduced “dangerous work” to the point that there are no civilian jobs with significant absolute risk of fatal injury (someone who commutes 30 miles round-trip per day is as likely to be killed on the road as a construction worker is to be killed at work). Go back a couple of hundred years and you don’t have children being killed in factories because anyone wanted anyone “toughened up”, but simply because they were available and served a role (and had no better life available). Attitudes to workplace safety simply do not seem to fit into your theory.

  58. 58
    Schala

    Attitudes to workplace safety simply do not seem to fit into your theory.

    I bet you that if a job that can cut limbs or otherwise kill you in one-shot is unsafe, a woman working there is more likely to make things change than a man working there. Because lots of people will be compassionate about her possibly being maimed or killed, in a way they wouldn’t for the men.

    That’s probably a reason employers in such sectors prefer men too – it costs them less i security, because no one cares.

  59. 59
    Ginkgo

    “, but I do know that everything I hear/read/see leads me to believe that men are more likely to be violent.”

    VAW, African American groups complain about this exact same dynamic. In the news there is a steady drumbeat of reports about young black men, always named, always identified as black, day after day. The same crimes committed by white men omit the race of the perpetrators, as much out of assuming white is the norm as anything lese, but the racial stereotyping effect on publc perceptions is the issue; and the same crimes committed by women women almsiot never appear in the news. So yes, everything I hear/read/see should lead me to think that young black men are far more likely to commit violent crimes than anyone else.

    The reason I don’t fall for that is that I know that jouranlism is a business and the news organizations make money by telling thier customers what they wanat to hear. If that means they like to be challenged, well and good, if that means they like to have their prejudices confirmed, well, you get this kind of thing. Which attitude do yoyu think is more common in the public? That’s why I know enough to hear/read/see with a big salt shaker in hand.

  60. 60
    Ginkgo

    “when feminists say something similar to what you’re saying, we’re accused of “feminizing” men. And then, feminists get accused of not caring about the way men are encouraged to be violent”

    This presupposes the “feminiizing” someone will make them less violent. What basis do you have for that? Might it not make them more violent?

    But blaming “feminization” on feminists is just uninformed. This moaning about feminization goes back more than a hundred years and is in response to a general trend in the culture towards prissiness, starting even earlier. It’s really a repsonse to the cultural influence of privielged white women to censor men in the roel fo Moral Guardian, that we saw in the Prohibition movement mst nakedly but in a thousand other smaller ways. it was always presented as a civilizing influence, which is of course laughable, but anyway that was its MO.

    I suppose there is a connection, since it was all the same demographic that was involved in Prohibition and feminism.

    Meanawhile the culture was a llowing women to “masculinize”. A thousand thngs women take for granetd these days were striclty off-limits a hundred years ago as a matter of gender policing, and mostly around defining femininity to conform to what are called “middle class” norms in the UK.

  61. 61
    Ginkgo

    “This is a classic example of where I wish someone had stopped mid-sentence and left it there. What do those last six words say? We’re invited to take this problem seriously not because these are our sons and we love them and want them to be happy for their own sake…. but because… they might do or say something unpleasant to those Establishment-approved victims, women and gay people.”

    The same old objectifying instrumentalization that is at the root of male disposability.

  62. 62
    VeganAtheistWeirdo

    @Schala

    I bet you that if a job that can cut limbs or otherwise kill you in one-shot is unsafe, a woman working there is more likely to make things change than a man working there. Because lots of people will be compassionate about her possibly being maimed or killed, in a way they wouldn’t for the men.

    It’s equally as probable that one or more women in said position would be more likely to point out the danger of the task and suggest ways to make it safer. Men would be less likely to do so, for fear of being considered less manly if they point out a risk of injury. You are hung up on your perception of pervasive misandry and female privilege and your arguments are suffering. There’s enough real sexism (and misandry, but I don’t see it being anywhere near as omnipresent as you do) to deal with; hyperbole and hypothetical injustices aren’t going to help anyone get closer to equality.

  63. 63
    iamcuriousblue

    “Whites tell whites that if they listen to jazz they are embracing an inferior culture.”

    What century are we talking about, now?

  64. 64
    VeganAtheistWeirdo

    @Ginkgo

    VAW, African American groups complain about this exact same dynamic. In the news there is a steady drumbeat of reports about young black men, always named, always identified as black, day after day.

    I don’t think I’ve ever noticed much of a racial reporting bias (but I’ve certainly not been keeping score, so it is possible it happens here too). The bias seems to be all in the legal process where more PoC are convicted and incarcerated for various reasons. Are you claiming that women who commit violent crimes are less likely to end up in the news than men? Citation, please.

    We can get as philosophical as we want and discuss the reasons behind it, but the fact is that men on average are more likely to act out with violence. We need to change the system that causes the problem, not complain when people point out the consequences.

    Which attitude do yoyu think is more common in the public? That’s why I know enough to hear/read/see with a big salt shaker in hand.

    I think the public in general will tell you that they don’t believe everything they hear/read/see. But if they hear/read/see enough of it, they will be influenced by it. That goes for everyone, including me, including you.

  65. 65
    Ginkgo

    “but the fact is that men on average are more likely to act out with violence. ”

    Citation, please. Just kidding; this is the kind of thing where no one can do a study to site on data that isn’t being collected in the fiorst place. In the same way, there is probably no study to cite on gendered news reporting either.

    “I think the public in general will tell you that they don’t believe everything they hear/read/see. But if they hear/read/see enough of it, they will be influenced by it. That goes for everyone, including me, including you.”

    The steady drip-drip-drip method of propaganda.

  66. 66
    WithinThisMind

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/hetpat/2013/05/15/we-dont-call-this-sexism-we-call-it-err/#comment-810
    “The fashion industry is primarily ruled by women (and a small sample of gay men, and an even smaller sample of straight men), it oppresses women. Does it not count because it’s “women doing it to themselves”?”

    Citation needed

  67. 67
    WithinThisMind

    “No they haven’t.”

    Citation needed.

    Hi. I’m a feminist. Been saying that for years.

  68. 68
    WithinThisMind

    “It’s in assumptions about who is a fool, incompetent, intentionally stupid (not just an airhead, but a Jackass-level of stupid).”

    Ah, the popular media portrayal. Tell me, how many of these shows are written and directed by women? How many commercials showing such portrayals are written by and directed by women, and advertising for companies owned by/lead by women?

  69. 69
    WithinThisMind

    I used to work construction. When we had a particular general contractor on site, we had a lot of workplace accidents. The guys were doing things like calling safety precautions ‘sissy’ and other displays of ‘machoism’. Scars were something to brag about, and often there was blood being flung about as the guys ‘shook it off’ rather than act like ‘wimps’ and seek medical attention.

    Sexual harassment was also commonplace, and we often got complaints from those neighboring the jobs sites regarding the behavior of the workers.

    We fired that general contractor, and pulled in one considerably less toxic. While still a male general contractor, he didn’t have anything to ‘prove’ about his masculinity, and thus was less tolerant of behavior the previous general excused with ‘boys will be boys’.

    Workplace accidents went down considerably. So did the ‘on purposes’ like, oh, slapping the female employee on the ass when she was trying to work, hard enough to actually leave a bruise.

    I totally see how workplace accidents have everything to do with ‘female privilege’.

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