Why a men's movement?
By Raj Kumar Singh
Is there something that feminists find similarly scary about men standing up for themselves? What do feminists think they have to lose? Precisely what do feminists believe the men's movement threatens to take from them that was truly theirs to begin with?
Do men have a monopoly on power?
1995 Renton, Wash. - As a men's issues activist, the question I'm most often asked by women is "Why a men's movement?" A female union shop-steward once said to me that "when business leaders try to form a union we call that a monopoly of power; we outlawed that sorta (thing) with anti-trust legislation. Maybe we should outlaw men's groups!"
And I suppose that attitude is a valid one -- if you're of the school of thought that all men are malevolent, powerful Goliaths while the women of the world are pure, weak and blessed Davids. Nowadays, it seems there's a lot of support for the idea that when men fail in life it's because of a lack of gumption; but when women don't succeed it's due to "the oppression of our evil, patriarchal society."
Some of us, however, believe that males and females have an equal propensity for the expression of both power and weakness, oppression and love, for beauty of spirit as likely as hate. And for us a men's movement is no less apropos than, say, a National Organization FOR WOMEN.
So to all those who want an answer to the question "Why a men's movement," my response is...
- ...because every hour of every day, 4 American men die of prostate cancer (compared to the 5 women who die of breast cancer), but the research funding ratio is $1 for prostate cancer research for every $6.60 for breast cancer research.
- ...because fewer American males than females have health insurance.
- ...because for every 1 suicide committed by a female in this country, 4 are committed by males.
- ...because feminists only march for abortion rights - they never protest the lack of an oral contraceptive for men.
- ...because I've lived a lifetime listening to women demanding equal rights, but I've never seen women carrying placards demand EQUAL RESPONSIBILITIES.
- ...because, contrary to the ranting of many feminists, testosterone isn't a poison - neither is estrogen an ambrosia.
- ...because Gloria Steinem smiles when she speaks of male gendercide, the fact that men die an average of seven years younger than women. She takes pleasure in the notion that "as the baby boom generation ages, women will enjoy phenomenal clout in the voting booth."
- ...because when a woman stays out of the world of paid labor and takes care of the children, people applaud her for being a good mother. But when a man works extra hard to earn the money to support his family, people say that he's "too career oriented." (Why is it that the one who provides the food is marginalized, while the one who merely serves it is honored? If men all over this country suddenly decided to stay at home and just serve the food, would they, too, be called nurturers?)
- ...because in 93 percent of contested child custody cases the female wins custody.
- ...because male doctors regularly marry female nurses, but a female doctor wouldn't be caught dead dating a hospital security guard.
- ...because feminists claim that women are mindless automatons who can be easily cowed by men into remaining in violent relationships, but yet are equal to men in strength of will and character.
- ...because only men are forced to register for the draft.
- ...because of the old cliché', "Women and children first" - it's actually the women who come first, the children come second, and the men don't even get honorable mention.
- ...because when Bosnian men are being killed or getting their limbs blown off nobody cares; but when Bosnian women are being forced to have sex, the world is enraged.
- ...because a movement called Feminism isn't about equal rights between men and women anymore than a movement called Masculism would be.
- ...and because women don't call their political action committee the National Organization for Gender Equality; they said that it was just FOR WOMEN - and I, for one, believe them.
Why not a men's movement?
And now I have some questions: Why not a men's movement? When a workhorse rears up on its hind legs it's a frightening sight to behold. Is there something that women find similarly scary about men standing up for themselves? What do women think they have to lose? Precisely what do women believe the men's movement threatens to take from them that was truly theirs to begin with?
Raj Kumar Singh practices law in Fredonia, Wisconsin.