What does this cultural narrative of shaming men that my friend Typhon describes above, especially toward men who speak on their own behalf or on behalf of men in general, look like? Here’s a handy guide. Amazingly, every single one of these have been leveled at me throughout my entire life, and in the last year especially I think I’ve gotten every single one in some form or other.
An interesting thing happens when you cease to respond emotionally to any of these common shaming tactics, and decide you just don’t care if people say those things about you anymore. I suppose you could call this “I don’t care what they think” attitude somewhat sociopathic, but it’s remarkably freeing. I get “code blue,” “code green,” and “code lavender” most often from conservative traditionalists. Liberal/leftists, on the other hand, appear particularly fond of “code orange,” “code purple,” “code brown,” and “code black.” Self-described feminists also often seem particularly fond of “code tan,” while “code pink” appears wildly popular with everybody. Every time I get one of these I just smirk, make note of it as confirming that the person has no rational arguments against what I’m saying, and move on with a chuckle.
The only thing I find myself wondering is this: what is the origin of all this shaming of any male who advocates for men and boys without feeling the need to bend to females’ delicate sensibilities, or bend to the dominant mentality of “but we should acknowledge women have always had it worse or at least just as bad” narrative? Is it something innately biological that can’t really be overcome? Or is it mostly cultural, and something that can be overcome by rationality and reason, by making people stop changing the subject and focus for once in their damn lives on boys and men in a positive way, period?
One thing I note: the below brilliant TEDx presentation by Glen Poole disappeared into obscurity very quickly:
…which seems to be what happens to everyone who is kind, thoughtful, and rational about these things. Ignore it, let it disappear into obscurity, possibly slander the person, and otherwise move on to the pressing challenges we face to make the world a better safer place for women and girls. And of course, more shaming of men if we bother bringing them up again.
Every one of the statistics Poole gives in his presentation above are essentially identical in the United States, except the suicide rate for American men is even higher (and it goes to about 10:1 in the wake of divorce by the way). There’s also the 93% of all workplace deaths, the much higher number of male domestic violence victims than most people want to acknowledge, the higher rate of long-term male unemployment, or the much higher male victims of sexual assault than people generally want to acknowledge. Indeed, if you include prison rape, not even counting the other areas where men are all but obliterated from the discussion of sexual victimization, men are raped more often than women–which is the subject of widespread culture humor rather than the gross human rights travesty it is. Leading many of us to conclude that there simply is no point in being nice anymore: not being nice to feminists, not being nice to conservative traditionalists, not being nice to anyone who won’t stand up and start taking these things seriously, and especially refusing to be nice to people who attempt to marginalize, equalize, or change the subject back to women and their problems yet again.
The next time you read yet another article on how young men need to “man up” by some conservative bloviating like a douchebag, a feminist shill talking about the inherent inferiority of males, or just another generalized handwringing wail of bewilderment at the declining state of males, you might want to start to ask yourself, “is there any possibility, perhaps, that we have a cultural attitude that when girls need help we need to bend over backwards to give them everything they need and even everything they want, but that treats struggling, suffering, and in-trouble men and boys like an afterthought or even a nuisance?
I am often told that A Voice for Men, which I am Managing Editor of, is much too harsh in tone and language and that’s why we get so much grief. Because we’re rude and we’re unapologetic about being rude. But I long ago came to the conclusion that if an “eff you” attitude is the only thing that works to get through to the gender ideologues and the powers that be, then, by God, I’m happy to help eff their shit up. And by the way, it does appear to work, since A Voice for Men passed up the #2 feminist web site in the world in early January of this year and looks set to crack the top 50,000 web sites worldwide before the end of the year, despite all the pathetic attempts to paint the site as a “hate site” and even to attempts to censor it by Symantec/Norton and even more pathetic attempts to ban it from University campuses.
Something really seems to get people upset when men and boys openly advocate for themselves without apology, and when people of all sexes and orientations call out misandrist bigots who treat boys and men like garbage, regardless of whether those bigots are male or female, straight or queer, black or what, feminist or anti-feminist.
I have two sons, and they’re growing up in a world that is ever more hostile to them. I’m not taking that lying down. And if you have sons you love, or brothers or boyfriends or fathers or uncles or even just male friends you give a damn about, stop pretending like they’re a auto-privileged class and start looking at them like human beings for God’s sake.
Men’s Human Rights Activism: the radical notion that men are human beings.