Pages

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Strange Bedfellows


As Willy The Shake said, "Alas, the storm is come again! My best way is to creep under his gaberdine; there is no other shelter hereabout: misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows."

And like Trinculo coming upon the deformed shape of Caliban, seeing at first a fish then a man, I see first ideological comrades become then my greatest opponents in the pursuit of happyness.

Being pro-choice I get put in the same pot with late-term abortionists. Being anti-war/anti-military, Libertarians are suddenly shaking my hands while attempting to dismantle free education and healthcare. Being a supporter of Darwinian evolutionary theory, sociobiologists and HBDers make essentialist claims like I actually agree with the racist homophobic bigotry they're talking about. Being a critic of Feminism and a Male Right's Advocate, I become chained to misogynists and Christian Fundamentalists. Being convinced by the validity of quantum mechanics, I find myself surrounded by pseudo-scientists studying remote-viewing to do archaeological research and faith-healing as a cure for cancer. Being for a government with a progressive tax, less foreign intervention, more worker's rights, less corporate domination, better social services to the citizenry, a friendlier immigration policy, and environmentally sustainable energy policies puts me in the seat right next to Anarchists, Communists, and Fascists!

Maybe my ideas need to find new friends, because some days I just don't understand other people at all.

12 footnotes:

Natasha W said...

"Being a critic of Feminism and a Male Right's Advocate"

Oh? Would you like to expound upon this?

Zek J Evets said...

sure! basically i feel Feminism isn't a very coherent or representative movement considering the differences between women as a group, that properly it should be called "Feminisms". i also disagree with the current & historical actions of racism, classism, homophobia/transgendered discrimination, religious intolerance (on BOTH sides of the fanatical spectrum), and America's over-dominance of Feminist discourse.

Feminism has a loooong history of discriminating/ignoring women of color in their struggle to secure the rights/privileges of middle-to-upper class white women. the lack of perspective on the challenges facing women who don't fit the socio-economic standard that most Feminist discourse was based around not only makes it a nonviable solution to gender problems -- it ends up becoming part of the problem.

as a man, i take personal issue with the disconnect of Feminism stating that they "care about men too", and advocate for gender equality when their real issues are women's rights, women's problems -- in short: they care about women. (note: i don't see anything inherently wrong with that. only with the denial of an obvious truth.) for instance, i have seen Feminist publications talk about the concept of "patriarchy" and how "it hurts men too", yet rarely do i see Feminist groups advocating for a repeal of selective service, or the high percentage of inmates who suffer prison rate (which is actually higher than many projected stats on rape across the country -- i say "many projected" because there aren't any actual hard data to support how prevalent rape is in America, or even on college campuses).

Zek J Evets said...

but again, i want to stress that i see no problem with Feminism not working to fix those issues. why? because they are a movement dedicated to the advancement of women, and that's how it should be i think.

i just don't like being told (by professors, individual feminists, feminist groups, feminist literature, etc) that they do when they don't.

and as an MRA, i agree with many others that concepts of masculinity/maleness/manhood have been ridiculed, rejected, and outright dismissed -- often when portrayed in juxtaposition to feminist issues. examples in pop culture abound (sitcoms with lame dumbass husbands, and beautiful intelligent wives) but the most harmful examples come when these essentialist ideas are used to demonize an entire gender. like in the Hofstra case, like in the duke lacrosse case.

another problem i have is abortion. on the one-hand i believe in a woman's right to decide what she can or cannot do with her body, but on the other... i personally would not want my girlfriend to get an abortion should she become pregnant, even if it was accidental, and even if it was a really bad time. no matter the circumstances i think taking personal responsibility is better for me than avoiding it. but then again, what if a woman was raped and became pregnant? i wouldn't expect her to carry that child to term. or if there was too great a physical risk to her life.

but as an MRA, the issue comes down to rights of the father. in this country, if a father wants to keep the child he has NO say in this matter, and is expected to honor whatever decision the woman makes. this can be a painful tragedy for many men who were actually happy to be having a child, or who had thought they were... on the flipside, if a man doesn't want a child, but the woman decides to keep it, then he is financially & legally obligated to care for her AND the child over the course of their lives, again without any thought to his consent or wishes. the problem is that in the course of granting bodily rights to women, we've put extortion-like responsibilities upon men for that expense. there needs to be a more equal manner to dealing with these issues than giving men no say in their children's futre/abortion.

anyhoo! whew... sorry /end rant. i've written about this issue a fair few times, so if you want more/need clarification, you can always use the search bar on my blog to google "masculism", MRA, or other things i wrote about. there are a few posts at least dealing with them.

Mira said...

I guess that's just how it goes. I think you know you're doing something right when all of the extreme parties and groups hate you and see you as their enemy. Trust me, it's a good sign.

On the other hand, you must realize it's virtually impossible to explain these people what you think; in their mind, if you say one word that don't fit their beliefs, you are labeled an enemy. There's nothing you can do about it, I'm afraid.

But there are also many people who can think for themselves and appreciate if others do the same.

PS- The problem with feminism is its elitism. It's too much focused on certain groups of women, but not the others (women of colour, for example, but not only them). Most feminists really focus on privileged middle class western women, and even if they don't they treat other women as either completely identical to themselves (even though these don't share their experience) OR with heavy patronizing.

Still, woman rights is an important subject and should be talked about.

Mira said...

As for sitcoms, I think it's more about who is considered an accessible target and who isn't. Political correctness is going strong in the US, I think, so the only lame dumbass characters can be white males. Which, I think, it's quite limiting for the creativity of the writers, and actually is a proof of racism and sexism. Because if there were more black characters of all kinds, or female characters of all kinds, AND if these groups were getting a fair treatment in real life, then lame dumbass female or non-white character would not be a problem. (Not that lame dumbass people make good sitcom characters, but you get the idea).

As for real life issues... I hear you. The pregnancy thing is also true. Father legally has no say about whether he wants a child or not, but he is obligated to support the child if a woman decides to keep the baby.

However, you must take one thing into account: it's not like the guys opinion doesn't matter at all. Often, it's THE deciding factor. There are many women who want to keep the baby but decide to have an abortion because the guy made clear he didn't want the child or that he had no particular interest in raising the baby.

This issue is particularly evident in my country (abortion rate is high, but so is the percentage of pregnant brides), but from what I can tell, it's not non-existent in the US.

PS- What is MRA?

Zek J Evets said...

@mira: MRA = male right's advocate.

good point about male opinion being an important factor in whether women keep their babies. i suppose for me it is the lack of legal support for this, and that it's only an informal cultural practice, which is very risky for guys.

as for my strange bedfellows, it is nice to have a king of notoriety -- fun too -- but can be rather distressing when seeking support on the issues you believe in.

nonetheless, i'll take it as a good sign as you said =)

Jasmin said...

Mira,

I don't know about pregnant brides, but I do know some young (mid-late 20s women) for whom the deciding factor as to whether to keep the baby or not was what the guy wanted. I think those women felt a pregnancy would be a "test" as to whether the guy was serious or not, and when he didn't jump at the idea of putting a ring on it, they were disappointed.

Mira said...

Jasmin,

I don't know about pregnant brides, but I do know some young (mid-late 20s women) for whom the deciding factor as to whether to keep the baby or not was what the guy wanted.

Indeed. That's why I think we should differentiate between formal and "informal" power. Men don't have formal power when it comes to this issue; he has to live with woman's decision and support the child if she decides to keep the baby. However, men do have power and they do have a say in this issue. I think we should never forget about it.

On the other hand, the opposite is true too: women often don't/didn't have much, if any formal power. But that didn't mean they were completely powerless, as some authors insist. Women had a strong role in shaping historical events, in leading states, or just within domestic context. The man was a formal ruler/person with power, but there were always many things going on behind the closed doors, so to speak.

I think those women felt a pregnancy would be a "test" as to whether the guy was serious or not, and when he didn't jump at the idea of putting a ring on it, they were disappointed.

I know about this. But it's a really, really bad strategy. No matter what one's personal beliefs about abortion are, this sort of behaviour is not the best. You are playing with some really serious things. But yes, I do know girls/women who play "I am pregnant" card. There's even an urban legend about small town girls studying in the capital who date only guys from the capital and then damage condoms so they can get pregnant, marry and get away from their small town forever.

Zek,

as for my strange bedfellows, it is nice to have a king of notoriety -- fun too -- but can be rather distressing when seeking support on the issues you believe in.

I hear you. But that's just how it goes, I guess. There will always be more people who don't understand you than those who do. That's why we should all stick to those who DO understand. :)

Zek J Evets said...

@mira: indeed! and that's what i plan on trying to do =)

Natasha W said...

zek, thanks for the response.

I agree with you re: the treatment of various groups of women in feminism.

"in this country, if a father wants to keep the child he has NO say in this matter, and is expected to honor whatever decision the woman makes. this can be a painful tragedy for many men who were actually happy to be having a child, or who had thought they were..."

Good point. I agree this is something that might need to be changed.

As for depictions of men in sitcoms, I've actually heard some men use these as great examples. But only to prove that a loser guy can get a "good" woman, but not the other way around -- in other words, women lose.

Natasha W said...

Mira,

But yes, I do know girls/women who play "I am pregnant" card.

This made me LOL for some reason.

But this idea seems to work against the woman more than it does the man since she will most likely be the one raising the child and raising them alone too, probably.

Zek J Evets said...

@natasha: that's true too about the depictions of men in sitcoms as being generally degrading to both men AND women. it's unfortunate that these characters get stereotyped into our culture, becoming models for people to follow instead of to laugh at.