By Rod Van Mechelen
An estimated 100 million people worldwide were homeless in 2005. In western countries the large majority of homeless are men (75-80%), with single males particularly overrepresented. -- Homelessness, From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Victim Status: For women...mostly
1992 Bellevue, Wash. - Victim-status is an important component of pop-feminism. The more they can claim women are victimized, the more political clout they can get, ostensibly for the purpose of protecting women.
To this end, they have labored diligently for decades to produce persuasive arguments and statistics supporting women's victim-status. Among the better known of these is that police rape statistics, which indicate few women are ever raped, are wrong. Instead, they assert, most women are raped, the act of copulation itself, even when the woman consents, can be rape, and all or most men are rapists.
That official statistics don't support their contention is of no concern. They produce surveys of their own that tell a different story, defending these studies against naysayers with the self-righteous retort that their surveys assume women tell the truth. A very effective tactic that disarms proponents of rationality by falsely pitting them against all women everywhere without ever voicing pop-feminism's underlying assumption that all men are liars.
The "Me-Too!" Victims of AIDS
Another tactic they use with telling effect is the "me-too" argument. Where ever men comprise the majority of victims, pop-feminists often claim women are the fastest-growing segment of that victim-population.
AIDS is a good example of this. Years ago, Bhagwan Rajnish and his religious followers warned that women are more vulnerable to HIV than men. Pop-feminists jeered. Rajnish, they said, was just one more man trying to use religion to oppress the free expression of liberated female sexuality. But when gay activists began getting serious public attention, help and funding to alleviate the suffering of men with AIDS, pop-feminists strutted into the spotlight to complain about the medical sexism against women demonstrated by the blatant disregard for the fact women are most at risk, that they are being infected at a faster rate than men, and that, despite that at the time of this writing, almost 90 percent of the people in America infected with AIDS were men, (CNN report on AIDS, March 1992) women deserve the lion's share of the help because "Women Get AIDS Too!"
Almost overnight, the spread of AIDS went from being a gay-issue to being a women's issue, and the public dialogue turned to helping and protecting women.
Are women the biggest victims of homelessness?
Similarly, despite that men comprised 81 percent of the homeless in 1987, (1988 Urban Institute study, cited by the Homeless Info Exchange in Washington, D.C.) and despite that homeless "women and the elderly are more likely to receive (entitlement) benefits than nonelderly men," (Address Unknown: The Homeless in America, James D. Wright, p 127) pop-feminists have again demanded center-stage for women by making it part of the "feminization of poverty" issue, and loudly complaining the number of homeless women is increasing faster than the number of homeless men, and men are to blame:
"(M)en are displaying an irresponsibility about their children that is equivalent in self-hatred to terrorist murder -- for are not our children expressions of ourselves? Women and children are the new poor, and a growing class." -- Beyond Power On Women, Men and Morals, Marilyn French, p22
The strength of this strategy lies in its reliance on a kernel of truth. Women are more vulnerable to HIV than men, and the number of homeless women is increasing. What their "me-too" tactic ignores, however, is how women's welfare is linked to men's (and vice versa). Solving these problems for women leaves men out in the cold. But, in a society where men take care of women (as in previous decades) or simply care for women, solving them for men simultaneously solves them for women.
Perhaps pop-feminists are aware of this, and ignore it for the purpose of supporting their long-term goal of female supremacy. Either way, what is very clear is that they are less concerned with resolving the issues than with gaining social, political, and economic power over men. One way they have pursued this goal has been through encouraging women to specialize in Human Resource Management.
The Ascent of Women
In 1980 and '81, while I was attending the University of Washington, the female director of the Center for Career Services there actively encouraged female students to major in Human Resource Management. She said they could best serve the goals of the women's movement by working where they could facilitate female employment goals and opportunities. This campaign worked: From 1983 to 1989, the number of women in Personnel and Labor Relations management increased by 45 percent, and women now dominate the field. In 1983, they accounted for 43.9 percent of the Personnel and Labor Relations managers. By 1989, their numbers increased to 52.6 percent, and they also account for more than 90 percent of the Personnel staff. (Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1991, 111th edition, page 395, table 652)
This is not a conspiracy theory. There never was a conspiracy, but a campaign conducted openly with public approval. Nor is there anything wrong with it: Americans admire teamwork and cooperation almost as much as they enjoy competition. What we failed to foresee, however, were the consequences of having a cadre of professional women marching to the beat of the pop-feminist drum.
Networks create informal lines of communication. Communication leads to cooperation. And when more than half of a profession informally agrees to a gender-linked political agenda, the consequences can be enormous. What are the consequences of a politically motivated force of women in Human Resource Management? As it becomes easier for women to obtain access to job opportunities, is it becoming more difficult for men? If their goal was to pave the way for women, have they erected roadblocks for men?
Men, Employment and the Homeless
Is there a connection between the female domination of Human Resource Management and the increased number of homeless men today? (Is the increase in the number of homeless women somehow linked to the increasing number of homeless men?) Is their informal agreement to facilitate female careers marginalizing men to the point that more and more men are under-employed, unemployed, and homeless? Not entirely, according to James D. Wright. Many things cause homelessness:
In point of fact, the problem of homelessness is a complex array of many problems: it is, simultaneously, a housing problem, an employment problem, a demographic problem, a problem of social disaffiliation, a mental health problem, a substance abuse problem, a criminal justice problem, a family violence problem, a problem created by cutbacks in social welfare spending, a problem resulting from the decay of the traditional nuclear family, and a problem intimately connected to the recent increase in the number of persons living below the poverty level. -- Address Unknown: The Homeless in America, James D. Wright, p 32
Web-like, however, many of these relate to employment issues. Fully trained men employed fully seldom need low-income housing, so the employment problem makes the housing problem worse. Social disaffiliation can also hinder a man's ability to get or keep a job. Wright also notes that ex-convicts, most of whom are men, often find it nearly impossible to find work any time soon after their release from jail, and so they are often homeless, too.
As unemployed and under-employed men, and the women whom they do not support, fill the ranks of "persons living below the poverty level," male employability becomes a significant factor leading to homelessness. Female domination of Human Resource and Labor Relation management may exacerbate this problem.
Men who, for one reason or another, find themselves black-listed by the informal network of women in Human Resource Management, are candidates for homelessness. Men whose opinions and political affiliations are not politically correct are candidates for homelessness. Men seeking entry-level work may find women receiving preferential treatment; thus unable to find more than marginal work, these men are candidates for homelessness. Under-employed men, lacking the upward mobility afforded women by the female cadre in Personnel, are also candidates for homelessness, as they are vulnerable to lay-offs, retaliatory terminations, and a cost of living that increases faster than their paycheck.
Pop-feminists will almost certainly reject such speculation as unsupported by the facts. In fact, they have studies and statistics proving the opposite. But statistical trends suggest otherwise: Prior to 1981, the male unemployment rate was lower than the rate for women. As men have generally been, and generally remain, the primary breadwinners, this was, for the vast majority, not a problem. But things have changed.
A significant employment trend began at the same time women came to dominate Human Resource Management. (Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1991, 111th edition, page 385, table 634) Despite that women comprised less than 45 percent of the paid labor force, as women dominated Personnel, the female unemployment rate dropped relative to men's, averaging 12 percent less than the male unemployment rate. (Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1991, 111th edition, page 403, table 661)
Of itself, this does not prove a connection. Nor would I want to imply there are no other causes of male-homelessness -- as has already been noted, there are many causes. On the basis of these facts, however, it is valid to ask the question: has female domination of Human Resources contributed to homelessness in general, and female-homelessness in particular?
Do homeless men lead to homeless women?
As mentioned above, pop-feminists have tried, with great success, to persuade society female homelessness is a more important problem than male homelessness. The fact most of the homeless are men notwithstanding, the problem with this is that male homelessness is more likely to increase female homelessness than female homelessness is to increase male homelessness.
Men often subsidize unemployed, under-employed, and marginally employed women through marriage. Conversely, few women subsidize unemployed, under-employed, and marginally employed men. Hence, male-homelessness may increase female-homelessness, but female-homelessness is unlikely to cause more male-homelessness. If this is true, then the answer to both male and female-homelessness is to increase the number of job opportunities for men. Giving male-employment top priority will put men to work who will then support wives and families.
Reducing male-homelessness, however, will not alleviate female-homelessness so long as government agencies empower women to trade dependence on men for dependence on the government.
In Men and Marriage, George Gilder observes the devastating impact this can have on low-income men: "If his wife is restive, he sees welfare as a positive invitation from the state for her to dissolve the marriage." (Men and Marriage, George Gilder, p 88) The sources of the problem, as he sees it, are the "perverse" influences of welfare and anti-family tax incentives. (Men and Marriage, George Gilder, p 97) But he assumes biology is destiny, that men should always be the nest-providers, and women, the nest-keepers.
For thousands of years, this division of labor worked. Technological progress changed all that, providing more options for all. But pop-feminists have unfortunately equated this progress with a mandate to reject human biology. They are unlikely, therefore, to like Gilder's solution, preferring to make the government women's unacknowledged surrogate husband.
The question we need to answer is, are we willing to continue to subsidize this surrogation, or will we allow women and men to form their relationships free from government interference, and focus instead on relieving the conditions that cause homelessness?
Rod Van Mechelen
Rod Van Mechelen is the author of What Everyone Should Know about Feminist Issues: The Male-Positive Perspective (the page now includes several articles by other authors), and the publisher of The Backlash! @ Backlash.com. He is a member of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe and served for 9-1/2 years on the Cowlitz Indian Tribal Council.