I had to sit and read the above comment about a dozen times. It seemed beyond incredible to me. It still does. Even now I am having a hard time wrapping my head around it.
The online men’s movement I drifted into several years ago was a much different environment. It was mostly, predominately, white, male, protectively heterosexual, traditionalist, pro marriage (between one man and one woman, of course), politically right wing (in the neocon sense), and highly polemic in the political sense.
And it was as stagnant as ditchwater.
Even back in 2008 when I was Editor-in-Chief for mensnewsdaily.com, the erstwhile flagship for the men’s movement, the publication was generally inhabited by shills looking to sell disaffected men on Republicans being the Great White Hope for the MRM. And they were buying it while getting nowhere except straight into a brick wall.
Then the crazy fuckers dusted themselves off and bought it again.
But MND did have patently pro male sympathies, and an opportunity, thanks to publisher Mike LaSalle, to put some real men’s rights literature into public view, so I served with equal measures of disgust, hope and appreciation.
I always knew though, that if the men’s movement was ever going to gain traction it would depend greatly on the voices of women to do it. What’s that I hear now? Is that the sound of beer bottles exploding into shards as they hit the chicken wire screen I am standing behind on this stage?
Actually, I don’t hear that now, but I would have in 2008 because back then most MRAs were still looking to figure out how to keep men on their white horses and wanted women to look up at them adoringly for it. OK, well maybe I hear a couple of bottles breaking, but not many.
Yes, the MRM has changed drastically in that time. And AVfM has been a very big part of it happening. That is something I will take to my grave with more pride than I can ever articulate. I don’t pretend that the credit belongs to me, and that is fine. There are dozens of people now behind the scenes of this website, and while we don’t rest on the same page on all issues, each one of us carries the understanding that claiming to be a human rights movement and not including everyone is a deadly hypocrisy that can only lead to a reversal of our recent fortunes.
And failing to recognize the value of women in particular is not only hypocritical, it is also foolish.
I could spell out the litany of political reasons why women should be here, and in great numbers, but I really have another part of this on my mind at the moment.
After getting over a little bit of the shock of witnessing the initial rush of female donors that kicked off our donation drive, it left something else on my mind. I hope I can say it without drowning you in schmaltz.
Feminism, as it has on most anything it ever touched, half-recognized a problem and then promptly screwed the entire pooch on what to do about it. Nowhere is this more evident, nor has it resulted in more destruction, than where it concerns the relationship between men and women.
There were indeed problems out of our traditional past that needed to be corrected. And it does have to do with men and women being cast into sexual roles. Those roles, necessary in an environment where moment to moment survival was never a given, robbed women of agency and piled it on men in the form of self-sacrificing obligation, often till they broke beneath the weight of it.
That was the cost of keeping humans on the planet. It sucked, but it worked. However, in a time when such drastic measures are unnecessary, those roles are as punishing as they are archaic.
Rather than see that simple and obvious reality and pursue solutions that pushed for a balance between agency and responsibility, feminists just pushed for and got more measures to infantilize women and burden men with the responsibility for it. They got there by exploiting the very sex roles they pretended to critique and deconstruct, resulting in two generations of women-children that were trained to hate and fear the men who were expected to enable their petty entitlements.
If there ever was a real problem with misogyny in our culture, this is where it was birthed. At the very least whatever misogyny was there was aggravated and amplified by sexual politics that were absolutely insane.
The men’s movement, among other important things, is a call for both sexes to return to sanity. It is a pathway for men and women to reconnect, free of the constraints of expectations based on sex and unencumbered by the vitriol and sexism that are the driving forces of modern feminism.
The men’s movement is our chance to love each other again.
For that to happen, we must not undo feminism, but simply do what they failed to do. We must see women as responsible adults worthy of earned respect, and men as something other than pack animals placed on earth for women’s convenience. Well, that would pretty much undo feminism on its own, but you get my point.
As we look at the women and men that support this movement and help it grow, I am struck by how much they are the living examples of what freedom from sexual roles portends for the future. I don’t see men puffing up their chests, vying for women’s attention. I don’t see women getting rescued from their own words, or expecting anyone to do that. I don’t see entitlement in these women, but humility. And I don’t see self-sacrifice in the men, but self-awareness.
I don’t see anyone getting special credence for their opinions because they are one sex or the other, nor do I see anyone being summarily dismissed for the same reasons. I don’t see women saying stupid shit like “As a woman, I feel….” That is because they talk as human beings, with a high degree of personal agency, not as members of an entitled class who count on their vaginas for credibility or a pass.
I see at AVfM a community of men and women who live by the same rules, who all make it here or don’t make it by their ability to articulate their ideas and support them with logical arguments; who are measured by their values and principles, not by the size of their bust or wallet.
Even though there is a glaring problem with female entitlement in this culture, we don’t tell women to “check your privilege,” before they have demonstrated that they feel entitled to any. We don’t even require them to identify as an MRA. Simply human with an affection for truth and justice does just fine.
We do all this recognizing our fundamental differences as men and women, yet we do not let those differences shape our expectations of each other and ourselves. The things that connect us and nurture our mutual respect are sexless.
Does any such thing exist in feminists circles? The question itself is laughable.
In the exact opposite of the feminist norm, we are not burning bridges between the sexes, but building them. And we are doing it together, with women carrying the lumber and driving nails right alongside men who fully value their contribution. It is the most sexually equal place on the internet, and it is starting to hit the real world ground as well.
Yep, things have come a long way since 2008. We are now actually starting to see a movement, and we are doing it in the only way that could ever happen. Together.
If we never accomplish anything else, that will do just fine.