Every Person An End Unto Themselves
By Rod Van Mechelen
1995 Bellevue, WA- It's taken as axiomatic in some circles (those being the
academic scribblers who gather Ďround to poke, prod, study, mumble and nod at
the behaviors of we lesser mortals) that men affiliate upward, and women,
Need proof? Watch children on a playground -- while the girls play inclusionary
games that draw in playmates of every strata, boys play exclusionary games that
weed out the weak and elevate the strong.
Critics of the notion this behavior generalizes to all other spheres point out that in
the bed, men affiliate down (mating with lower status women), while women
affiliate up (mating with higher status men), and so in the sack, at least, this
"axiom" of human behavior is not...axiomatic.
Does that really matter? Well, to lower status men, it can matter a great deal. So
what? Who cares what the millions of lower status men feel? Certainly not
feminists. Not women. And never higher status men.
Or do they?
Take a look at a male leader. Any one of the presidential candidates, for instance.
(Okay, they may not really be leaders, any one of them, but we treat them like they
are, or at least, like we wish they were.) What do you see? Lower status men
affiliating upward? Yes. Now take a closer look. What are the leaders doing?
Leaders affiliate in all directions. Up, down, side to side (what our academic
scribblers might call vertical and lateral associations), because thatís what it takes
to lead. And hereís the thing -- from boys on a baseball team to men at the helm of
the largest corporations, they all do this, because you need teams to get things
done, and as every leader knows, thatís what it takes to create and lead teams. Or,
at least, teams of men.
If our academic scribblers were to take the perspective of a leader, they would
begin to see lots and lots of high status men affiliating with lower status men,
because, with the exception of moneyed moguls like publisher Steve Forbes, men
can't elevate their status without the consent, support and active cooperation of
other men. Men of both higher and lower status.
Okay, so the feminist complaint that men are brutes who don't care much for, and
who eschew lower status folk, is baloney. Big deal. Now tell me why I should
It has to do with networks. Whom you work with, how, and how women can take
your job away, and justify impoverishing you in the name of feminism. Or if not
actually sending you to the poorhouse, then stonewalling your career-advancement
through the "good olí girls" network.
Most of us know about good ol' boys. Feminists do, and they have spent years
creating "good ol' girl" networks -- women who work to promote one anotherís
"What? You a sexist, or something, going to tell us thereís something wrong with
No, not at all! Networking is, in and of itself, neither good nor bad. It all depends
on what you do with it. Hitler's network of good ol' boys killed lots of people.
That was bad. The TV networks brought us Donahue, Oprah, and so on. That
was bad. (Oops, sorry, wrong kind of network. Couldnít resist.)
But workplace networks have also brought us informal lines of communication that
ignore hierarchical and departmental boundaries. These are mostly good. Without
them, companies quickly rigidify into stagnation.
Men have been networking like that for millennia. We have traditions, myths and
mores that instruct our participation. Moreover, unlike feminists, we even have a
tradition of networking with our enemies. When Lee Marvin needed to storm the
gates of Nazi hell, he formed alliances with lesser scum -- the "dirty dozen" -- and
triumphed over otherwise superior forces. When Hitler needed to erect the gates
of Nazi hell for our hero to storm, he embraced his own enemies, making them
generals and lieutenants in his organization, and in the process revitalized his nation
in a way that, in another milieu, would have been called a marvel, but in our own
more enlightened age, became the German sorrow.
When men need to move mountains, they surround themselves with friends and
foes alike. After Abraham Lincoln became president of the United States, the first
thing he did was to appoint his adversaries to cabinet posts. When promoting
our best interests is in the best interests of our foes, they become our allies,
if not friends. We work together, and we rise or fall together.
Those who ignore or attempt to sweep aside their lesser adversaries not only miss
the opportunity to gain new allies, but also risk turning otherwise minor opponents
into all-out enemies. That is precisely what many feminists are doing with
their good olí girl networks -- turning otherwise sympathetic women and
men into enemies.
Not that they arenít pragmatic about forming alliances. Take Senator Bob
Packwood. A finer example of everything feminists say they despise could hardly
be found, yet during the past several years feminist organizations supported him
because he was a powerful man who was willing to sell his integrity to get what
they offered -- their political support and a ticket to stick his tongue where it ought
not to be.
Feminatics flocked to cuddle in his embrace no matter how much they despised
him, his behaviors or politics. But they have opposed to the point of oppression
any man of lesser status -- even those who, by word or deed, have supported equal
rights -- for no greater crime than giving them less than full support.
Are they mad, merely stupid, or have they really become so powerful as to no
longer need the support of the individually insignificant males?
Carol Gilligan, author of In A Different Voice might argue that this is just
the way women network. That they don't ally themselves with adversaries,
because the small "inclusive" female cliques are based not on goals or getting
things done, but are an end in and of themselves. Thus, the female corporate
director who surrounds herself with members of her clique is not doing so for the
sake of promoting the general welfare of that organization, but, rather, is director
of that organization for the sake of creating and expanding her clique.
In other words, it's process- rather than goal-oriented.
In The Female Advantage: Women's Ways of Leadership, Sally Helgesen
essentially puts forth the argument that this actually does promote the goals of the
organization because if you take care of the process, the goals will more or less
take care of themselves.
Breed race horses, train and drive them hard to win races, and you may have
yourself a winner, but one that may not last very long, and also lots of losers.
Take that same horse, so the reasoning might go, put it to pasture with a herd of
others, don't push any of them to excel, and even if you don't have number one, all
of them may still consistently earn you money in place or show, or plodding in
harness pulling a plow.
But what of the studs who are ready to race? Slaughter them for dog food, while
the goal-oriented companies keep their studs in saddle and race ahead for as long
as their own feminist warlordettes let them before turning them into dog food, too?
Is that all most men are to feminists? And most women? Dog food?
For you feminist types who have managed to read this far without reaching for the
Yellow Pages to find your nearest Mafia hit guy to arrange for my already
imperfect parts to be rearranged into even less perfect parts, prepare to breath, no
matter how slight, a sigh of relief -- as you know, women also have their
long-standing traditions, myths and mores that instruct their participation in good
olí girl networks that were and remain essential to human survival.
Indeed, my paternal grandmother used to tell us how, during the Great Depression,
she and her fellow "housewives" (which had a very different meaning then than it
has today) used these networks to keep entire communities together.
These networks had a different focus than men's, but in today's modern
corporations they can be just as effective, productive, and are equally important.
No, the problem is not women in general, but feminist fanatics. Those who hate
men, believe women are superior to men, or who merely see feminism as a means
to power and donít care whom they trample or how so long as they can get away
Either way itís a problem for corporations, of course, because in the long run these
types of "good ol' girl networks" are undermining morale, and may even be a
factor in the lower than expected rates of productivity gains the US economy has
had since the 1970s (which coincides with the rise in power of the victim
Feminists will scoff at this as they do at all criticism, and our academic scribblers
will squint, scratch and blink in bemusement, but regardless of what impact they
may or may not have had on productivity, they are a threat to most men, and a
problem in progress for most women, because women are going to be -- indeed,
are already being -- stereotyped by their egregious behaviors.
When the dynamics of social revolution eventually reverse -- as they ultimately
will -- the fanatics of that coming day will use this against women. For this
reason, if no other, women need to oppose and expose them before itís too late.
Corporate executives who are equalitarian feminists need to stop catering to the
whining of the victim feminists, stop worrying about offending the easily offended,
and assertively expect their employees to act like adults instead of petulant
children. The politics of the playground have no place in the workplace.
Women who work with victim feminist whiners need to stop tolerating the whining
right now, chide their whiney coworkers into more adult behaviors, and otherwise
refuse to participate in making victimization a cause celeb at work.
Thanks to feminism, the workplace is changing. Some of these changes are
appropriate, but for some oddball reason everyone seems to assume that if it's
someone who calls herself a feminist advocating it, then the change, whatever it
may be, must automatically be good. That would be laughable but for the very
serious harm some of these changes inflict on most men and many women.
All change is not good. All that is old is not necessarily good, either. As the old
saying goes: "There are two types of fools, the one who says this is old and
therefore good, and the other who says this is new and therefore better." Some
feminists have some very interesting and worthwhile things to contribute, and some
do not. The trick is to sort out the superlative from the stupid.
"Thanks for pointing out the obvious, goofball."
Will somebody tell that guy to shut up. I was about to say that years ago, one of
my managers at United Parcel Service (where I worked to pay my way through
college) taught me a very important lesson about work. "Get it done but make it
fun," he said. Whatever our job may be, getting our work done is what work is all
about. But that doesn't mean it needs to be unpleasant or hard.
In The Principles of Scientific Management, Frederick Taylor wrote that
"in the past, the man has been first; in the future, the system must be first."
Companies that practiced what he preached laid the industrial foundation upon
which the wealth of our nation was produced, but it dehumanized the workplace.
Thanks to feminism, that is changing. Work is becoming more pleasant, even fun,
and that is good.
In Loyalty, George Fletcher cautions us to "never treat anyone merely as a
means, but always as an end in himself or herself." This is sound advice feminists
will recognize from their own writings. Advice the warlordettes and their
entourage would do well to remember, whole.
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.