The Patriarchy Goes Down Ugly

If you’re keeping up with current events / pop culture in America[1] you’ll know there’s a men’s rights movement that has been started in counter-point to feminism. Now, insofar as all people of good will would agree that everyone should be treated with equal respect in the eyes of the law, the idea of treating males as no better or worse than females in legal and governmental proceedings is a fair and just one.

Civil and criminal cases should be decided on the basis of facts, not stereotypes that help or hinder anyone.

That, of course, is what feminism is all about -- the recognition that everyone is equal under the law regardless of gender or orientation -- and so one would think a separate rights movement for males would be somewhat superfluous.

Not to tar everyone associated with the men’s rights movement with the same brush, but there are an awful lot of people who flock to that banner under false pretenses.

They have no desire to be treated equally under the law, but are seeking excuses for bad behavior that they enjoy at the expense of others -- particularly women.

They have, in fact, bought into the same-old / same-old that got us here in the first place, and their attempts at a counter rights movement is just the frustration of the privileged as they realize that privilege is slipping from them.

Would that they were conscious of this.

What makes their torment so frustrating to them and others outside their circle is that they fail to acknowledge the position of privilege they enjoy not because they lack the intellectual capacity or curiosity to uncover such a truth, but that they are culturally incapable of recognizing the truth even when it smacks them repeatedly between the eyes.

Any questioning of the status quo is interpreted as a deliberate personal attack on them as males and as individuals.

And at the same time, they present themselves as helpless victims persecuted by a changing culture.

You can’t have it both ways, guys.

You can’t be a Gulliver tied down by Lilliputians while at the same time bemoaning the awful spell females have cast on you.

jean-goerges-vibert-gulliver-and-the-lilliputians-1340879204_b

 "Gulliver & The Lilliputians" by Jean Goerges Vibert

As with most movements, there is no one single leader at the head but rather a vast undulating can of worms with each separate thread or movement within the movement briefly enjoying its heyday at the top of the can before slithering down again.

However, it would be fair to say that few if any have been more instrumental to the men’s rights movement than Warren Farrell.

Farrell is best known for his books The Myth Of Male Power and Why Men Earn More.

Farrell is not without insight and a brief perusal of his books indicates some creative thinking about the various conundrums facing all genders in today’s society.[2]

The fatal flaw in his logic, indeed the vein of poison running through not only the bulk of the men’s rights movement but also the hearts of far too many critics of the masculine gender as well, is that males have a built in “boys will be boys / get out of jail FREE” card when it comes to their interactions with the opposite sex.

The cover of a recent edition of The Myth Of Male Power is an attractive feminine posterior in semi-silhouette.

Farrell could more accurately refer to it as The Myth About The Myth Of Male Power because:

"’I felt that it was a tasteful message that had not been communicated effectively to women about how powerless men feel around the beautiful woman's body,’ Farrell told me. Cupping a hand over his crotch, he added, 'Our upper brains stop working and the lower brain starts working.’"

That’s a pretty pathetic excuse for anyone to make, that somebody else is just so gosh darn alluring that they magically sway one from acting with common sense or common decency.

It’s the excuse used to justify all sorts of denigrating behavior towards females and males outside the preferred alpha group.

The magic of the feminine mystique (to allude to another book on the dynamics of male-female relationships within our culture) overpowers all real males, according to this philosophy, and as such excuses them for bad behavior on their part.

“I couldn’t help myself, she made me do it” is the excuse of the bully, the rapist, the abuser, the old school patriarch.

It dismisses bad behavior because “boys will be boys”[3] and as such are blameless for their reactions to alluring females.

I worked briefly as a pornographer back in the 1990s, but it was long enough to recognize the stereotypical straight male response to highly sexualized surroundings was a fiction deliberately crafted to assuage weak willed males as we picked their pockets.

When you deal with sexualized images on a daily basis, they lose their allure PDQ.[4]

It doesn’t matter what a woman looks like, how she is dressed, or whatever physical activity she is engaged in: If you cannot put aside any visceral sexual reaction to deal with her as an individual in an asexual context, you are surrendering control of your life not to her feminine charms but to your own desire to maintain your status at the expense of others.[5]

For all the good the men’s rights movement does in pointing out inequality under the law that should be addressed, they cause far more harm.

Like all protectors of privilege, they attempt to deny they enjoy such privilege by disguising it as victimhood.

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[1] And if you’re not, WTF is wrong with you?!?!? WAKE UP!!!

[2] One could argue he perhaps doesn’t go far enough to linking the various frustrations most people feel regardless of gender or orientation to the overpowering consumer culture we inhabit, but that’s another book for another day, I guess…

[3] Yes, there are certain general trends commonly -- but not exclusively -- found in one gender or the other in our culture. While there is doubtlessly a biological root to much of it, it is also shaped by the very culture we inhabit, which for its own utilitarian purposes seeks to have us fit easily codified roles so as to be more easily exploited.

[4] To that subset of the patriarchy found among conservative Christian denominations, the ones that are obsessed with pornography and view it as a terrible addiction that is as bad as actual adultery and as such a destroyer of marriages, I say if you want to keep your young teenage sons from fantasizing about naked women, get them a job with any purveyor of porn for straight males. Like repeating the same word over and over and over until the syllables lose all meaning, so does prolonged exposure to stylized depictions of sexuality. It’s the same reason candy shops encourage new employees to eat their fill on the first day; you soon get sick of it then settle down to the business of moving product.

[5] Not having a same sex orientation, I don’t know if this applies to gays and lesbians in similar situations; I suspect it does but can’t speak authoritatively on that.

 

The Internet Is For Porn

Fictoid: one day at the pawn shop