ICMI 15: Building Bridges Between Men and Women in the 21st Century

For fifty years we have struggled with the promise of a more fair and equitable world for men and women; a world in which men and women would stand on equal ground without the burden of archaic and limiting expectations based on sex.

By undertaking a meaningful examination of gender and power, we have also attempted to remove the limitations of those expectations from the backs of our children.  Such is our effort to provide them a future of fairness and equal opportunity.

Fifty years later we have only realized the precise opposite of those ideals and the reasons for this are clear.

Our quest to understand gender roles and the limitations they impose on human beings has been narrowed to a select, very limited part of the overall human experience. The goals of understanding sex-based power and powerlessness in both sexes has devolved into a rigid, ideological agenda that focuses only on disadvantages faced by women and privilege enjoyed by men. We have become a society obsessed with the struggles of one sex and indifferent, even hostile to the struggles of the other.

The result of that ill-fated path is evident.

Rather than creating a more egalitarian and principled social climate; rather than unite the sexes as legal and social equals, we have instead twisted our ambitions into a growing chasm of dysfunction, mistrust, animosity and ignorance. Rather than building new and better bridges between men and women, we have simply contented ourselves with burning the old ones down.

It‘s time to extinguish the flames, lay out the blueprints and start building again with a renewed commitment to addressing the issues of both sexes without bias or ideological corruption. We do this with the understanding that no one is exempt from the hardships or the rewards of such an effort.

This is the theme of A Voice for Men’s Second International Conference on Men’s Issues: Building Bridges Between Men and Women in the 21st Century.

On October 30 and 31, 2015 in Houston, Texas we will start corrective measures in earnest by initiating a more complete and honest dialogue; one that includes key factors that have literally been elbowed out of the way for half a century. That is male disposability and female sexual power. More succinctly, we are talking about gynocentrism — the powerful human drive to protect and provide for women, to put them first at all times and at all costs, even when doing so is detrimental to both sexes.

It is a vital conversation. We cannot limp forward as a society on concerns for only one sex, just as we cannot advance as two equal sexes by continuing to address the problems of only one of them. To row ahead instead of going in circles we must have both oars in the water.

This exploration is tough ground because it requires us to examine how gynocentrism has impacted and derailed the discussion on sex and power; how it has, in fact, done nothing more than paint a new face directly on the problems we set out to fix.

We will have to examine the clear constitutional violation of male-only selective service, male-only socially and legally sanctioned genital mutilation, the criminal sentencing disparity, male exclusion from reproductive rights and a host of other issues at which we find gynocentrism squarely at the core. In doing so, we will face the reality that equality when convenient, chivalry when not, is a glaring hypocrisy that has unhinged our efforts toward meaningful change.

We must correct where we have failed when we allowed ideology with a financial agenda to corrupt our understanding of men and women and contaminate our connection to each other.

We will have to do all this as men and women unified by the idea that all human beings deserve equal rights and equal treatment under the law, as well as the fact that all those who have those rights share equally in the price of paying for them.

A Voice for Men will bring you an opportunity to be an important part of that discussion this October in Houston. We invite you, men and women, straight or gay, of any color, nationality, religious or nonreligious, to join us.  Hear provocative, fascinating speakers and enjoy shared meals and social festivities with the idea in mind that we can put society back on track to move forward instead of just continuing to set bridges ablaze.

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