Is it time to embrace men as equals?
By Rod Van Mechelen
Again night shadows darkened the sky, dark as his thoughts, deep as his gloom. Aimlessly he wandered the streets in despair, no goal to claim, none he could name.
The Equal Rights Amendment
Overhead, the wind blew through skyscraper passages, ascending glass and steel towers to cascade around and down the angular escarpments and puff the foggy blanket muffling the streets. City streets, quiet and still; street-lamp halos illuminating smoky bubbles of the dark with nascent light.
Out of the dark, the clang-grind of a garbage disposal truck braced the quiescence, then trundled off, rumbling into the sleepy embrace of distance. A city asleep, a city at rest.
Above the mists, she sat at a paper cluttered desk, caffeine-jittery energy making the spark of creativity somewhat less elusive than a scolding squirrel darting from branch to limb, tree to tree.
Pausing from her work, she stood, stretched, then walked to look out the window at the darkening city, where she spied a solitary fog-enshrouded figure far below. Was he alone like her, she wondered, reaching out with a sigh to touch the pane.
1998 Bellevue, Wash. - A good friend who adamantly rejects any public association with The Backlash! is deeply involved in the continuing effort to pass an Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). When it passed Congress in 1972, and during the ten year effort to win through state ratification, he was there. As he still is today, more than 25 years later. But always on the fringe, because men are not allowed to play a key role in the effort.
Is this why it has failed? Because the women behind the ERA don't practice what they preach? It's their show, and men play a subordinate role. Ironic, as so many feminists still assert feminism is about liberating both sexes:
The liberated society - with men, women, and children living as whole human beings, not halves divided by sex roles - depends on the steadfast search for new solutions to just such apparently trivial problems, on new answers to tired old questions. - Jane O'Reilly, Ms. magazine, September/October 1997
The elitist attitude dominates in women's organizations. Men are outsiders, and while sometimes, as in the case of Warren Farrell, a man may be briefly accepted among the higher ranks, only those who are willing to smile and nod at every misandristic diatribe are welcome. Meanwhile, many of these same women demand admission into men's organizations; once in, they demand fundamental changes. Any man who would dare do likewise in a pop feminist organization would be jeered, if not expelled, because pop feminism is less about women than men.
It's about changing men. But real equality requires both women and men to change their attitudes and actions, values and choices. The only attitude adjustment women's organizations encourage in women is self entitlement. The core value of their revolution is selfishness. Not rational self-interest, but a Princess paradigm of privilege without obligation which requires men, but not women, to evolve.
Evolution is a process of change from within; revolution changes conditions, and pop feminists see changing men as key to changing women's conditions:
(W)e need men to join us in taking pressure off kids and putting it on the workplace. - Arlie Russell Hochschild, Ms. magazine, September/October 1997
They expect our help, but won't help us, not even to help themselves, then wonder what it will take to revitalize the movement:
(T)here was another, more radical side to the movement, which had to do with the promise feminism held out to women of a life not just with more justice but also with more freedom, more self-respect, more choices, and more pleasure. Feminism promised that one could become more conscious of the social forces limiting one's life, and that from this new awareness political change could come. This is what the much-maligned slogan "The personal is political" meant." ... It was a do-it-yourself, direct-action social movement. - Katha Pollitt, Atlantic Monthly, November 1997
Maybe it's time for the women's liberation movement to give itself an enema. Flush out all the androphobic attitudes, and embrace men as equals. Even Gloria Steinem herself has finally admitted as much:
Let's face it: until men are fully equal inside the home, women will never be really equal outside it. - Gloria Steinem, Ms. magazine, September/October 1997
Decades ago, my friend was a very active supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment, but the women involved would not allow him to participate as an equal in the effort, and their effort did not succeed. Until they accept and treat men as their equals, it never will.
David Ault was his name, and he died several years ago of congestive heart failure. No feminists acknowledged his effort, and likely they never will. For feminism is a hate movement, and no men, no matter how supportive, warrant their respect.
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.