Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I am part of the MRM

Y'know this is going to be an unpopular post, if for no other reason than the majority of America is unprepared to admit that in addition to the historical problems of race, class, and gender, we've got a whole new slew of these issues in different variations cropping up like weeds that are all the more insidious due to the ignorance in which they breed.

To wit: men today face far more gender discrimination than ever before. Not those men who are in power, not the Forbes 500, and not the Military-Industrial-Complex, but the little guys, the small fries doing "the right thing" and getting screwed by a system that sees in hasty-generalizations, not reality.

1. Rape is an exclusively male phenomenon.

There are very few cases of women raping women, but plenty of cases where men rape men, and yes, women rape men. In all cases a man is involved, whether as victim or perpetrator.

Feminists love to talk about "rape culture" and promote a legal system that encourages rape victims to report, yet they neglect (as all specialized identity groups do) the other gender. That is, they denigrate cases of men being raped -- especially by women -- and forget altogether the extreme amount of rape that occurs between men.

When presenting statistics of rape, we never talk about prison rape. We never talk about male students molested by their teachers. And we never, ever talk about false rape claims.

Our laws protect rape victims, but they don't protect false rape victims (who should rightly be called rape victims too, only of a different sort). The legal tenet of "innocent till proven guilty" is forgotten amidst outcry and fervor that ignores facts for the purposes of a political dialectic. Men's lives are destroyed by allegations which lose them their job, family, friends, and reputation -- FOREVER -- then they often go to jail to be beaten and raped themselves! These are tangible and psychological damages which rape-activists are hesitant to admit or discuss when they occur, often for fear of discouraging their platform that rape only happens to women (or, at least, only bad rape happens to women), but also often because they just don't see it as a real issue.

And when a man IS raped, what do the laws do to protect him? Virtually nothing. Especially if the rapist is a woman. By and large, female rapists are given sentences far more lenient than male rapists. A man who rapes a girl is given 25 to life, whereas a woman who rapes a boy is given 3 months psychiatric evaluation, and then paroled!

These are not isolated instances. They happen everyday, in all parts of the country as well as the world. Blogs like [False Rape Society] and [Toy Soldiers] are brimming with documentation of myriad examples. Yet nobody notices, nobody cares.

2. Divorce is a form of institutionalized extortion.

When a married couple goes to court, we expect that the judge will be like King Solomon and divide the assets, custody, and everything else equally. But does he? What is equality when a man who technically owns half of everything is forced to move into a shitty hotel because his wife cheated on him. What is equality when women frequently work as often or more than men, making similar pay-grades, and sometimes even higher than their husbands, yet demanding child-support payments. What is equality when custody is awarded to mothers by default, even if she's a documentably terrible parent.

Why do mothers treat their babies like a paycheck? Why do wives treat their husbands like ATM-machines? Why is it that women get the house, the kids, the car, and all sorts of material goods, just because she's a female?

Why is a man expected to bounce back from economic downfall following a divorce, but we have to coddle a woman? Is she not capable of making her own money? Obviously she could go to work, since most households -- even those who can't afford it -- use childcare. And when does a husband get child-support payments to raise the kids? When do fathers get entitled to default custody?

Cougars and divorcees frequently seem glamorous in Hollywood dramas, but in reality they're whores extorting their ex-husbands like a high-class prostitute. Divorce-court seems entertaining on television, but then the man has to go back to work, poor, brokenhearted and estranged from his kids because his marriage didn't work out.

3. Abortion is also a man's choice.

Yes, I understand that a woman has to carry the child to term, has to deal with the effects of pregnancy, tests, birth, and so on. I understand that for the duration of her pregnancy, women basically have this huge belly with a baby inside, stealing their food, kicking their stomach, and generally causing a ruckus to an otherwise beautiful body.

But I also understand that without a man's sperm that child would not -- could not exist. I understand that men have a right to their children, equivalent to their biological participation in the creation of the child.

I also understand what company this puts me in -- the likes of religious fundamentalists, Republicans, and other ignorant assholes.

However, my conscience compels me, especially when I remember all the men who are held legally responsible for any children they have with a woman, but have no say in whether their child is conceived or not.

This means if a woman decides to get an abortion, a man has to stand by and watch as a child of his is terminated, and there's nothing he can do about it. This also means that if a man does not want to be a father, whether because he's financially unstable, emotionally unable, or just "not ready" and the woman decides to keep the baby, he's stuck with it, and called a deadbeat father (among other things). Whereas if the woman chooses to abort, she's given sympathy and support, called pro-choice and applauded for her courage.

Can ya'll see the double-standard emerging here? Can you comprehend the inequality existing between conception and birth? The law protects the right's of women in regards to unborn children, but not for men. Yet, he's still responsible for said fetus, even if he doesn't want to be. This creates a situation ripe for strife and resentment.

For men who want to be fathers, the law takes away the right to their children. For men who don't want to be fathers, the law forces them to be. In either case, men are caught between a rock & a hard place, and the worst part is that there's little to no sympathy that both situations are reprehensible, legally, morally -- and personally.

4. Abuse happens to men too.

According to the Justice Department, there are around 840,000 male victims of domestic violence. But the numbers are probably higher.

Why? Because there's a stigma attached to men who suffer abuse and violence at the hands of their partner.  It's seen as a loss of manhood, and if they can't control the woman in their life, somehow they deserve it. It's for this and other reasons that men don't often report being victims of domestic violence.

What other reasons you ask? Law enforcement training that emphasizes male-guilt in all domestic violence cases. (So you can't call the cops, because they'll just arrest you on suspicion, even as your wife is hitting you... and the cops.) New laws that leave little legalistic options for male victims, and often allow abusive women to take advantage of them to escape their crimes. (So you can't go through the courts, because the burden-of-proof is weighed against you, and women can utilize their small burden-of-proof to use bruises she got from you defending yourself as evidence that you abused her.)

Read this anecdote in the comments section of [an article on DV against men]:

"Good article, Trudy, thanks. My experience was that after being attacked while asleep, i called the police to try to prevent myself from being falsely accused later. Police showed up, saw my wounds, ignored them, refused to drive me to ER so I drove myself. She got scared the ER would report her, so she called police again and reported I came back from ER and attacked her. Her wounds were obviously self-inflicted and superficial scratches, but i was arrested and charged with multiple felonies, no prior arrests so the DA asked for only 7 years in prison. Then DA says she will drop all other charges if I plead to a single misdemeanor, no jail, no fine, only probation. Hired the State's forensic pathologist to look at evidence of her injuries, he renders opinon her injuries are self-inflicted. DA lies to Court and attempts to hide report, police lie under oath, original police report is changed, all stories change multiple times to try to account for pathologist report, evidence in police custody disappears. All charges dismissed on day of trial. DA says she knew from start I was innocenct but she was not allowed to dismiss DV charges against men. Says I probably did 'something' illegal in my life.

The thing I learned from this is how corrupt the Courts, DAs and police are. Never trust the legal system"

It's stories like the one above that make me so fucking angry. On top of violence and abuse, on top of serious psychological and emotional pain, there's this shit! There's an institutionally-directed perpetuation of victimization against men who have already been victimized! It defies explanation or understanding. It can only be described as: evil.

But if you want to read something even worse, read this: [The Exoneration of Eddie Lowery]

For all of you reading this post -- especially the women -- especially the women who describe themselves as "feminist" -- think about what you're reading here. Think really hard about it. Step outside of the ideological box you've been educated in and contemplate a world where your gender is not the only gender being attacked on a daily basis. And for no other reason than that it can be! Because you're this or that or something else.

Not to say that misogyny and sexism doesn't occur. Because it does. This post is not to deny the reality of what women face, but rather this post is to promote the reality that men suffer too. And unlike women, who've had decades to make issues facing them known in the public -- known to the point of institutional and structural measures being taken to reverse them -- men's issues have not had as much advertisement or support.

We are expected to be stronger, better, more capable to overcome the assault on our bodies, our minds, and even on our very existence as men. This is a romantic ideal, but hardly represents gender egalitarianism. The sad fact is that men are human too, and to deny our suffering is to deny our humanity in the cruelest sense. As if by our admission of pain we somehow have failed, or that our stories are false and couldn't possibly happen. Both directions -- denial or dismissal -- are ultimately the greatest evidence of our suffering, and must be seen as much the cause of these issues I have related to you as much as they are its effects.

Please Support Men's Rights!


4 footnotes:

Mira said...

Wait a sec... You're actually surprised to learn about the double standard? Get real! It's everywhere.

I was a feminist when I was 14. I'm proud to say I got bored (and educated) by the time I was 16. It makes me sad to see grown up women still screaming about gender equality (while watching Sex and the City)- while not really fighting for the equality but the way to keep all the "male privileges" without any responsability. Woman, if you want to be equal, don't expect a man to support you financially, and be "nice to you".

Don't get me wrong. I hate sexists of all genders. I hate misogynists. I hate patriarchal morality. But I definitely get what you're talking about.

Still, you are a man (a white one). It's generally believed the world is shaped the way to suit your needs. What? You don't see it?

I don't know what to say, really. I don't think men and women are that much different anyway (apart from anatomy).

Zek J. Evets said...

@mira: i'm not surprised by it, because i've known for a while. (see my post entited "masculism: an introduction")

what i am is angered by it. i am very very angry about it, actually. the world is shaped to serve the needs of RICH white men, but not me. not only am i lower-middle, but i am also jewish. despite appearance, i don't fall into the traditional notions of racial patriarchal power. i am just a little skewed to it.

but yet i find myself afflicted with many of the (ironically few, at first, but now growing) disadvantages of being seen as a white man.

so my goal is to make these issues known to people who's goal is social justice, but personal politics seem to gloss over newer forms of prejudice.

hopefully my words help, but probably not, haha.

Anonymous said...

I have problems logging in with my name and url. This is Mira writing :)

The way I see it. Historically, the white culture won (at the present time) and got the chance not just to shape the destiny of others, but also to be considered "default". Same goes for males. Hence, "white male" is considered the most privileged because, let's face it, the world we know today (especially the western world) is shaped to fit white male's needs. Hence the white privilege, male privilege, heterosexual privilege, etc.

However, that doesn't mean it would suit ALL white males and that it wouldn't suit anyone who isn't white male. because there are other factors. While the world of today IS shaped to fir white males better than, say, non-white females, being white male doesn't mean you wouldn't have to worry about anything. Like you said, you are Jewish. I have no idea if antisemitism is strong in the US, but I guess it does make you at least a bit different than the "average" (anglo) white male. Also, like you said, you are not rich- and the world isn't shaped to fit non-rich people (or at least upper middle class people). I sometimes get the feeling that being poor is considered a form of moral failure in America (correct me if I'm wrong).

However, as far as I can tell, you are not talking about not being an average white male- but about disantvantages of BEING a white male? This is interesting. I guess I understand what you're talking about- you don't think you have many privileges, but you are treated like you do have all the privilege and the alleged privileged position in society becomes a disadvantage to the point that you become discriminated. Am I getting this right? And the problem I see, is that you, unlike any other group, can't complain about your problems, because it's not PC to do it- your group is an accessible target (white males).

What can I say? I think the problem is that you live in a transitional period. Minority groups (non-whites, women, gays etc) are still discriminated- let's not pretend they aren't. On the other hand, there's the ugly thing called political correctness that also makes the "ruling" group (white males) in a less than great position. I can completely see the discrimination going on here, all at the same time while other groups are still being discriminated.

What's the solution? Ditch political correctness (which cares only about the things outside) and
really make change in society. Um... It's not as easy as it sounds, I know.

As for appearance... I know nothing about it (I mean, I can't tell someone's race especially for American people- American views of race are sometimes confusing). What I'm saying is, if that's your photo, you don't look "clearly white" to me (hope this doesn't sound offensive). No, wait, that's wrong. You do look white to me, but I've learned that any at least a bit "darkish" people are sometimes not seen as "clearly white" in America, so I don't know what to think. But if you say you are seen as clearly white, then I believe you. (once again, hope this didn't sound offensive)

I'll check out "masculism: an introduction". I sounds interesting (and possibly related to my latest post).

Zek J. Evets said...

@mira-anonymous: i understanding the historical disparities, and can see how we are moving into this "transitional period."

but despite our attempts to promote a modern egalitarianism -- and i stress this -- we have found a whole host of NEW problems that are neither products of history, nor reactionary against the changes in the status quo. they are altogether entirely different issues which need to be addressed.

for me, i am often perceived as part of "The Man" here in america (white, anglo-saxon protestant) even though i'm actually jewish, not rich, and most certainly alternative to the mainstream, almost post-modern even.

and i know many people who are like this/similar to this who are somewhat oppressed for their resemblance to a power which is slowly -- but surely -- shrinking. they are not the ones in control, making the decisions which keep women from earning equal pay for equal work, or from preventing minorities from having equal representation in all fields of academia/business/government comparative to their population. these guys are just plain folks, often ignorant to be true, but not bad people. they don't know any better, and they don't really want to. they want to go about their lives in quiet, without really confronting the various evils of the worlds, because honestly, the problems are just too big. they feel incapable, impotent, and unequipped to even BEGIN to understand/combat these issues.

and in their ostrich-like tactics, they find others taking up that cup and filling it with something that often is to their detriment. they find rape shield laws which make them automatically guilty, pop culture attitudes which demonize their gender and their lifestyle. they find a government that is beyond their understanding, and that the problems they are suddenly confronted with as barely deigned to exist, if even acknowledged at all.

sorry. ranting here... the goal of my posts in regards to MRAs is to educate people to these issues, much the same as feminists or civil rights did the same in the 60's.

good comments btw!