By Rod Van Mechelen
I wrote this in 1991 when I naively hoped that we could put an end to the cycle of sexism. But to paraphrase Martin Armstrong, cycles exist because of human nature. All we can do is to understand, observe, survive and sometimes profit from them.
The Feminine Mystique
1991 Bellevue, Wash. - In 1963, The Feminine Mystique changed forever our perception of gender roles and women's rights. We read about the alleged silent suffering of the cloistered urban concubines, and their long march to adult autonomy began anew as women everywhere demanded rights equal to and the same as men's.
In the years since, however, there has been the sound of another silence whispering within: the sound of withering masculinity. But we were too busy listening to the ladies' laments to hear the murmuring discontent of men suffering from another problem with no name. We would do well, however, to heed Catharine MacKinnon when she wrote that "The unnamed should not be mistaken for the nonexistent. Silence often speaks of pain and degradation so thorough that the situation cannot be conceived as other than it is."
In the early 70s, George Gilder, a tradcon, wrote about this. He wrote 2 books addressing the issue of men's rights: Sexual Suicide and Naked Nomads: Unmarried Men in America. Few copies were sold, men didn't listen to him, and women were just too busy listening to their own pundits.
A few years later, Roy Schenk, a socialist, wrote The Other Side of the Coin: Causes and Consequences of Men's Oppression. Again, ... Few copies were sold, men didn't listen to him, and women were just too busy listening to their own pundits. And why not? Men already had all the rights, so why bother?
The Masculine Mystique
But like the "problem with no name" Betty Friedan called The Feminine Mystique (today we call it clinical depression), men had problems with no name, too, and they suffered. Mostly in silence.
A silence that would persist until men learned how to listen. We had to learn how to listen to ourselves, and we had to learn how to listen to each other, or perish.
For this, and many other reasons, the MythoPoetic Men's movement was briefly necessary. It taught men to listen to men. Listen, they did. What did they hear?
There are men crying out for their children. Men doomed to a life of solitary servitude to laws that define fatherhood only in terms of fertilization and financial support.
Can you hear them?
There are men weeping for wives in a world where a simple compliment may lead to charges of sexual harassment.
Can you hear them?
We must hear them, and we're learning how to listen. Yet for this, we are under attack!
A few years ago, two female psychiatrists proposed adding masculinity to the list of emotional disorders. More recently, June Stephenson, the second wave feminist author of a book titled Men Are Not Cost-Effective: Male Crime in America," proposed a special Testosterone Tax -- taxing men for being male -- because men commit most of the violence. Correction, because men commit most of the reported violence.
In the US and Canada, misandrists (those who hate men) are working hard to make it easy to convict men of rape if they have sex with women who are under the influence of alcohol, women who experience post-coital regret, or with women who were reluctant to have sex. Let's look at this.
If a woman can get a rape conviction on the grounds that she had sex while she was drunk, then why can't a man do the same thing? Shere Hite says it's because women suffer greater social costs than men do.
Whatever happened to the idea of equal rights?
Years ago, when I was in college, my buddies used to speak of a secret fear. The fear that they would go to a bar one Friday night, get drunk, and then wake up the next morning in the arms of some female-equivalent of a "dirty old man." I had friends this happened to, and they felt pretty bad about it. Like these women had taken advantage of them. Were they raped? No. College boys can't be raped because only women will be protected by law.
Whatever happened to the idea of equal rights?
According to Time magazine, the feminist professors and students working to establish a statistical basis for the idea of reluctant sex as rape found that more of the men surveyed, than women, said they had had sex when they really didn't want to. This is ignored!
Do women have all the rights they should? I don't know. Probably not. But men don't, either! By the time most fathers have time to spend with their children, their kids are out the door. By the time most men can truly appreciate their wives as more than mere sex objects, they're divorced. By the time they realize there's more to life than career-success, they're dead!
These have been the limitations upon men a long time. There are biological reasons why, survival imperatives that had to be satisfied. But society at that time helped. Grandparents, elderly relatives ... the community ... cared for the kids, rituals brought and bound parents and their children together in ceremonies -- some sacred, others just for fun. And customs instructed our behaviors.
Not anymore! Most of our institutions are gone, stripped away by our own explosive and somewhat self-directed evolution, or by the egregious intentions of misandristic pop-feminist political activists.
Now, we must reinstate those institutions, develop new ones, or self-destruct.
For promising some remedies to this sad state of affairs, the MythoPoetic Movement came under attack! This reminds me of something Robert Heinlein once said: "Shoot pacifists and anarchists on sight; but beware anarchists -- they shoot back." Evidently, pop-feminists equate the MythoPoetic Men's movement to pacifism, and believe they can attack it with impunity. They don't realize, as perhaps many here have not yet realized, the profoundly fundamental connection between Men's Rights and the MythoPoetic.
Men, whether they are involved in the rights movement or the MythoPoetic movement, have a shared goal: creating safe spaces wherein we may work to preserve, protect and continue the evolution of appropriate, needed institutions that, together with the women's movement, will lead us all to a finer state of being. Consequently, every man who is involved in the MythoPoetic men's movement has a vested interest in the men's rights movement.
Do you want equal opportunity to have and raise your children? Shared custody is a men's rights issue.
Where abortion is a consideration, do men have as much interest in the final decision as women? This is a men's rights issue.
Do you suspect husband-battering may be a bigger issue than pop-feminists and the media would have you believe? This is a men's rights issue.
According to extensive surveys most American women will have, have, or have had children; many men never will. Reproductive inequality is a men's rights issue.
In 1992, Gloria Steinem admitted to Time magazine that women have more social power than men. It is a feminist axiom that the "personal is political." Thus, this inequality is a men's rights issue, too.
What Can Men Do?
Whatever your area of concern -- whether domestic violence, equal wages for equal work, pornography and the objectification of men, rape, sexual harassment, just plain sexism or the ERA -- it's a men's rights issue, and you need to get involved.
First, support your local men's organizations. They are essential to your survival, and the survival of your community.
Next, find out what the issues are: Read The Backlash. Attend men's rights forums, and meetings that focus on men's issues. There are many groups to help you: Dad's Against Discrimination, The Family Preservation Alliance, Parents Opposed to Punitive Support, and the Men's Rights Inc. -- ERA project, to name only a few. You can find them listed in The Backlash!.
Read books! Sam Keen, Warren Farrell, Mic Hunter, George Gilder, Aaron Kipnis, Roy Schenk. Find out what's been happening while you were appropriately involved in your personal journey. You may be surprised to find the landscape of gender issues strewn with the corpses of women and men in equal numbers.
Ultimately -- and this is important -- ultimately, this is not about your sex, but about your humanity and your rights as a human being. The rights everybody, regardless of gender, should expect and deserves.
Our silence is ended. Rights are for people, and we can afford to be silent no longer. Now that we've learned to listen, it's time for us to be heard, and to tell the world that men's rights can no longer be ignored, because men are people, too.
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.