I thought I’d start off with this blog explaining why I don’t trust Feminism in its current state to resolve, consider or even acknowledge the issues that men face in our society.
It becomes extremely frustrating to only ever hear one side of the gender debate; particularly when I don’t believe it should be split into “sides”. There are two aspects to this – gendering issues that affect all equally and ignoring or downplaying issues that predominantly affect men. Sure there are some issues that impact one gender more or less than the other but neither has exclusivity on gender specific privilege or concerns and for the most part I feel that most issues we each face can be addressed without excluding many of those affected simply based on their gender.
Recently in a discussion on White Ribbon Day 2016 I was assured (by a feminist) that gynocentrism does not exist. At the same time I am seeing an increase in the number or articles reporting and addressing the high suicide rates among men in the UK, and western countries in general. It is the manner in which feminists have broached these issues that has lead me to break down how I see them respond to any concerns raised in support of male victims.
Femsplaining – telling men what their issues really are.
If you’ve followed feminism at all you must have heard by now of mansplaining. The act of explaining something in a patronising and condescending manner. An act that is often perpetrated by men toward women. However this is far from the only circumstance that someone arrogantly over explains a subject. The use of the term however implies that not only are men the only ones prone to use a pretentious tone but also it is exclusively when addressing women. Because you know, women have never been patronising toward anyone or dismissive of their perspective.
The confrontational term is often used to dismiss any issues raised by men, particularly those on the topic of feminism or gender bias. Yes it occurs; I have often seen men telling women what they “really want” or are “actually feeling”. Even simply addressing women in a condescending way because they are assumed to be less knowledgeable or rational. However, this has been extended to dismissing facts and evidence that men cite when debunking specific claims. If you point out that women in the UK earn just as much per hour as men, then you’re “mansplaining”. If you show that the rate of violence against men is far higher than that against women, again you’re “mansplaining”.
You know you've won the argument when the only counter argument they can find is that you are white or male or old.
— Richard Dawkins (@RichardDawkins) July 31, 2015
That’s frustrating enough but then feminism doubles down on this by telling men exactly what they consider the real issues men face. That usually being that according to feminists men’s greatest issue, the concern that weighs on them most heavily, is masculinity. They also have a tendency to claim they know the real intent and beliefs of those challenging feminism, especially if that person identifies as an MRA. In fact it is common to label anyone questioning the narrative of feminism as an MRA. In their eyes (and that of much of society) this the new form of social McCarthyism when in fact MRA is fundamentally feminism for men.
Of course if, as a man, you disagree with your allocated issues, causes and solutions as prescribed by feminism you are again accused of mansplaining.
Victim blaming – If men do have issues, they only have themselves to blame and they need to change.
You must have come across this. Again it is something that does occur all too often; where the victim of some act is said to have “deserved” it, or at least “shouldn’t be surprised”. It is usually a total lack of empathy toward the victim. However, and as with the previous point, this definition is being watered down by being applied to any situation where potential victims are given tactics or tools to reduce their risks. For some any suggestion that we could take actions to lower our risk is to burden us with the responsibility for the actions taken against us. This of course only applies when applied to women.
"Society teaches 'Don't get raped' rather than 'Don't rape'". – Hilary Beaumont. This mentality needs to change. pic.twitter.com/TvA9OuGy
— SlutWalk (@SlutWalkTO) March 31, 2012
No, you’re not to blame for being attacked, but to suggest ways to be safer or provide tools or services that reduce your exposure to risk are not the mark of a “rape apologist” and it does not perpetuate “rape culture”. Much as teaching kids to look both ways before crossing the road does not encourage drivers to run down children.
However, when applied to men’s issues, such as the high suicide rate, court bias against separated fathers attempting to get access to their kids, higher levels of homelessness amongst men, failing education results of boys etc, these are all blamed directly on the men and on male influence in society (patriarchy). This is done by feminists with no hint of self awareness. The suggested ways recommended to men to fix these issues (if they are even acknowledged) is that the men and boys need to change to be more like women, or often that it’s the fault of this alleged patriarchy so men need to address that (by supporting feminism that perpetuates the “male privilege” narrative).
Specifically regarding the issue of male suicide, the message is clear – men need to learn to to express themselves. Men are too macho to seek help and that’s the fault of the patriarchy. Not only is this victim blaming, it’s also not true. However, it has been propagated so much by feminists through our culture of “dare not challenge the feminist narrative” that is is simply accepted as fact even when those who deal with the issue directly are saying the exact opposite. Men do ask for help if there is someone to listen. I won’t even go into hte feminist campaigns to close down any and all support structures for men.
When boys were performing better than girls at school it was deemed a flaw in the education system that needed to be fixed. Education practices were changed taking into account how girls learned differently to boys and the girls’ results improved. The changes were seen as a positive step so more were implemented. The girls’ results stopped improving, but the boys’ results started to suffer. At this point it was deemed a flaw in the boys and that the boys needed to be fixed.
Monopolising the discussion – Taking issues that affect both genders then starting campaigns to fix these, but only for women.
How often have we seen articles in the media stating that we need to stop violence against women and girls, female genital mutilation or that girls are missing out on education? With the prevalence of such stories you’d think that these issues only affected women, or at the very least they made up the majority of those impacted by it. They feed into the flawed narrative that women have it so much harder than men; that women are victims and men the oppressors. Would you be surprised then to hear that violence against boys and men is far more common, male genital mutilation is actually legal and often encouraged in western society or that outside of Sub-Saharan Africa, it’s more often the boys that miss the education than girls? This being the case why do we flock to support girls in these scenarios ahead of the boys?
Put simply it’s a combination of the pervasive influence of feminism and our innate tendency to protect girls and women ahead of (and in many cases to the detriment of) men and boys. Yet with all of this we’re still being told that women have it worse and that even correcting the false assertions is misogyny. You are hit with the ironic cry of “why do you always try to make it about men?” when it was they who brought gender into the issue in the first place, and they who have the sympathy of the media, the politicians and society in every instance.
Just try raising men’s issues as a British politician one time and see how much respect your issues are given (just beware the hate train send in your direction)
I mean, look at those disgusting woman-hating concerns listed on that whiteboard. You don’t have to like the guy, but can you honestly say that raising these issues makes him a misogynist?
Hypocrisy and disingenuity
The cry from feminists is that “we do care about men’s issues (now can we get back to the important issue of manspreading)”, but this only ever seems to be on their terms. They get to decide what the real issues are and how supporting feminism and blaming men is the way to address these select issues.
A recent example of this is the depressingly high rate of suicide among men.
As you can see, this is not a new issue. Why is it that when this has been raised over the years that the standard response from feminists has most often been been along the lines of:
- But women attempt it more
- This proves men need feminism
- Men are the problem (either because “patriarchy” or because men are too masculine) and need to be more like women.
The first of these is dismissive, and may not even be true. The only reference I can find for this is a survey, not actual incidents.
Considering the vague and nebulous use of “more often” and how it ranges from “more,” to “much more” and in some cases using specific claims like “3 times more often”, it is strange that the survey only claims women attempting suicide at a 60% higher rate, not 200% higher:
As they admit in section 4.4, successful suicides (more common among men) would not be counted in this survey so it is biased by design. This alone could account for the discrepancy in numbers of attempts. A disproportionate number of male attempts won’t be counted because they are no longer here to fill in the questionnaire.
So who came up with that figure of “3 times”? Do they not consider that if they need to make up a figure out of ignorance, or even dishonestly and knowingly exaggerate claims, that maybe their case doesn’t actually stand up?
But then it gets worse. Under feminism men are basically told that it’s masculinity and patriarchy that are causing these issues, and that they simply need to throw off the toxic gender roles and be more open, emotional and talk about their feelings. When they do, they are told to shut up about their problems, handed a “Male Tears” mug and shamed for their “fragile male ego”. Even the “formal invitation” that was extended to men was only on the feminists terms. All of men’s issues were distilled down to masculinity being toxic, and gender roles being our greatest challenge and the reason for the high suicide rates. It’s definitely nothing to do with having their kids taken away, having no support for male victims of abuse, being obliged to support cheating partners, being accused of abuse (of women/kids) and automatically assumed guilty, having your masculinity labelled “toxic” or being demonised by society in general and feminists in particular.
The rest of the invitation was to sit down, shut up and support women’s rights because, you know, equality…
It’s also interesting that of all the problems facing men this is the one that feminists have chosen. One of the few issues men face where a solution would not challenge any female privilege. Could it be that they want to appear more caring toward men to avoid accusations that their ideologies are part of the cause? In fact, were I more cynical I would suggest that reducing the suicide rate in men, which rises dramatically after divorce (a trend not shown in women) would actually benefit women and their continued alimony payments.
With all of that said, these headlines about the need to tackle male suicide because it’s “the leading cause of death in men under the age of xx” (headlines vary) are also misleading. It is also the leading cause of death in young women. Where is that being shouted? The numbers may be lower overall but it’s still causing more deaths in young women and any other cause. Each gender may have different needs and require different approaches but it’s yet another example of why the divisive genderisation of issues that affect us all leads to us completely forgetting about the gender that is less represented. Usually that is men, but in this case the male suicide bandwagon has run over the many female suffers and people are forgetting that focusing exclusively on one gender is rarely the answer.