A lot of things have happened recently. They may all end up a blip. I hope they’re the clatter of stones heralding a landslide, that we will look back and see 2014 as a hinge-year, when things truly turned. The MHRM has claimed a space. 2014 was the year of the first International Conference on Men’s Issues, Gamergate, “Shirtstorm,” widespread refutations of the alleged wage gap, Women Against Feminism, the rise of the Honey Badgers, your cheap hack op-eds and lifestyle pieces getting torn apart in the comments sections, the Male Students in Peril Conference, greater recognition of men’s issues and the general growth of AVfM and what we represent into the culture at large… yeah, we’ve had a good year.
As our message spreads, and its truth and power spark in people’s minds, you feminists will have a lot to deal with. To steal from Winston Churchill—you know, the Dead White Male who as much as almost anyone in history could legitimately claim to have saved Western civilization?—you are seeing the end of our beginning, and perhaps the beginning of your end. Like it or not, our movement is out of its infancy and challenging yours, which, by the way, had such a…dignified and important 2014. (Congratulations, and keep up the good work!)
Quick caveat: I’m not writing an apology for this, nor endlessly clarifying that “not all feminists are like this,” nor that I’m speaking to and about male and female feminists and not women. What I think of women in general is irrelevant. You don’t need to know about my personal life, how often I have sex, whether I have a neck-beard, wear a fedora, how much I weigh or how much I love my mother. I don’t really care if you hate me after reading this because I know who I am, and it’s not dependent on your goodwill. I’ll stroll out on this limb and assume you’re intelligent and open-minded enough to get my point. To hear my truth, using your vernacular.
In other words, I’m treating you like an equal. Sometimes that stings, just like the truth. Get used to it.
In the wake of this year, you now have to acknowledge that men face unique problems, or else you risk looking monstrously out of touch, further damaging your credibility.
You’ve always privately known we’re not born with a silver cock-shaped key that unlocks life’s Easy Mode. You’ve known that we are, in fact, profoundly in crisis in a host of ways that other more talented and knowledgeable writers and scholars have examined. You just have to admit it now.
One more thing: you also know that feminism, far from being the cure, has always been a cause and facilitator of this state of crisis.
Soon you’ll have to admit that, too.
But some things won’t change and that question, often shouted (“What are you doing about it?”), is not going anywhere. You could continue to assert that our issues don’t exist or don’t matter, sneer that they’re our own/the Patriarchy’s fault, or that we’re doing nothing, as you have so often before. The clock’s pretty much ticked its last on that line of BS, though. As more people challenge your narrative with facts, you can’t ignore us with impunity anymore; now that you admit some of our issues may kinda sorta exist, this question will probably seem like a better move to you.
So I predict that from 2015 onward feminists will ask in ever louder voices, “What are you doing about it?”
It’s a question we already hear a lot. It’s also fair, despite its prosecutorial nature. But after years of observing you, feminists, I doubt you actually want an answer.
What you desperately want is a new conversation-killing, thought-terminating gotcha. You don’t want answers, because you fear competition. You don’t want to confront any truth that contradicts yours, or where will your funding go? As a bonus, if we don’t have an undeniable, in-your-face answer, you can complacently dismiss us as whiny, bitter, misogynists whose activism is limited to being Keyboard Kommandos–when you aren’t accusing us of history-spanning rape, species-wide battery, and Patriarchal mind-crime, naturally. No, what you’re really asking is “What are you gonna do about it?”
Just like bullies do.
Because regardless of past attempts at evading this issue, you really wouldn’t care if your precious ‘Patriarchy’ hurt men, too, would you? From what I see, you want us to just shut up, go away and let you spoon-feed the public whatever new conspiracy theory, bullshit statistic, or thought-policing “social justice” hashtag you come up with. (Speaking of Keyboard Kommandos…)
You want us to know our place, where it’s always been: silently doing dirty jobs, making things work, through scorn, abuse, broken hearts and broken backs. To carry on doing our duty catering to your whims. To function and be useful.
To be used.
You ask that question to make us look like idiots, hypocrites, or—horror!—misogynists. So you can, with that one word, thrash our reputations, block attempts to solve our problems, even expel us from society, forever relishing the irony of a society that falls for this tactic. To you, anything that feels pro-male is automatically anti-female, because to you life is a zero-sum game. And never mind that “feminism” doesn’t equal “female.”
At some level, you recognize that you’ve won the important stuff, and should just go home. Your time and relevance have passed long since. You’ve become an institutional cancer. When you’re making global headlines and screaming on international news because a man who just accomplished something historic wore a shirt–a fucking shirt–you don’t like, you’ve become just another First World Problems meme.
As you worry about your irrelevance and ever-worsening public image (and being the masters of projection that you are) you’ll switch from ignoring and shaming us to a slightly different type of mockery for speaking about men’s issues: “What are you doing about it?”
You’ll point to the money you raised, to laws you got passed—most from and by men, incidentally—and ask: where’s ours? (Though you don’t want us to have any.) If men are hurting, why aren’t we speaking up? (Though you silence and shame us, call us whiners and losers and say we can’t get laid.) If men are battered, where are our shelters? (Though you shut ours down and close your shelters’ doors to us.)
…actually, you’re all living in one of our shelters; it’s that civilization thing I mentioned, and it’s a joint creation of the human species. Believe me, if the alternatives obtained, you wouldn’t have time for feminism because all of us would be too busy trying not to starve to death, and dying young, ignorant, and in pain.
But I digress. If men are disadvantaged, you’ll ask, where are our advocacy groups? (Right here, and you hate us.) If our issues are so valid, you’ll ask, why aren’t we flooded with help? Like you were? Like you are? Like you always will be, if you have your way?
We answer: exactly. Your questions aren’t trump cards, they’re symptoms—and the dearth of answers doubly so. That’s what we’re doing, that’s what we’re fighting to change. Despite our recent growth, we’re still small, with a tiny fraction of the resources and institutional clout you take for granted–again, mostly given by men. (We’re such monsters!)
So you’ll ask us: “What are you doing about it?”
A piece of common sense/decency for you: if you ask the question, listen to the answer, even if you don’t like what you hear. Everyone deserves that basic respect, to have their views assessed on merit, or at least be listened to…as you’ve been listened to basically every time you’ve spoken up in the last 150 years.
When women, even a small group, speak up, when they cry out, it’s a cultural klaxon. People scurry to raise money and pass laws to soothe those cries.
When men cry out, even a vast mass of us, we’re told to pipe down and man up. This same society that rushes to women’s aid turns a cold, indifferent gaze on the vast majority of men. We are the vast majority of suicides, the vast majority of the homeless, the imprisoned, the involuntary unemployed, the maimed and damaged veterans. We are the majority of victims of violence, including sexual, of addicts, of the enslaved and trafficked, of the unnecessarily ill and the preventable dead, yet simply because we’ve got genitals that hang rather than fold, no one comes to our rescue. (Do you have any idea how many thousands of men and boys Boko Haram slaughtered, while letting women and girls go, before they kidnapped “our girls?”)
This crisis is everyone’s problem, because we also happen to be the vast majority of people doing the jobs that make this civilization work—the engineers, the builders, the scientists, the police, firefighters, soldiers, garbage men, programmers, drivers, pilots, plumbers. And sure, the CEOs and politicians, if that’s a cause for pride these days. (Most of the electorate is female.)
Function does matter, of course. We are most of the solution-oriented minds and broad backs that give you the space, time, resources and comfort to afford to…ban “bossy,” rail against “like a girl,” have kids scream obscenities, or any of the other heroic projects 21st-century mainstream Western feminism has undertaken. Unimportant things like male suicides, veteran’s health, prostate cancer and the staggering flight of men from college just gotta shut up and wait until you get around to them.
Your actions have spoken, shrilly and constantly. Our lives are less important than your comfort. Sadly, our culture-at-large generally agree, unless the guy is rich and famous, and even then… Half the human race is in, or headed for, second-class status, and we who battle that are labeled extremists. Do you think these issues cannot ever affect the men you care about? (Assuming there are any.)
We’re more than just our function, our job, that single facet of us. What are we, besides your fathers, sons, brothers, friends, husbands, and lovers?
We are human beings, just like you. Yet when we point out our crisis–even our mutual humanity–we’re told to check our privilege. Or man up. Or have our masculinity derided. (…feminism is about freedom from sex roles, eh?)
That’s the point that makes your question moot. Do you understand that when we ask for help fixing something in our lives, when we personally or collectively need it most, most people don’t give a shit? They don’t listen to our problems. They sneer at us for asking for help. They deny the facts. They look away. They don’t know. They don’t want to know. They don’t help us. Unlike women. Unlike you.
People can’t fix a problem unless they recognize it. You have told us that men have no problems worth mentioning, because we are born privileged. Unlike you.
At heart I believe it is one problem, one syndrome, though I can’t tell you what it is, exactly, or what causes it, exactly, because guess what? Not enough funding goes to studies to find out why men commit suicide, drop out of university, fail, burn out or simply give up. Not enough people talk about the problems men face, not even men. Not enough people answer with anything besides “man up” when we do dare to talk about our problems or ask for help.
Here’s the irony: not enough people truly do ask themselves, “What am I doing about it?”
We ask. The outstanding voices at AVfM ask constantly. It’s something I formally resolve to ask myself more, starting now. So what will I do about this problem? For a start, I’m arguing with you. I’m reaching out to the silent majority, as they start shaking off your opiating falsehoods, your indefensible moral bias, your exclusionary ideology. I’m urging them to learn the facts, and think for themselves. I’m urging them to challenge your assertions and listen to evidence, even—no, especially—if it goes against what they believe, or want to be true.
Or does raising consciousness not count unless you’re doing it?
The things I’m not doing are also important. I’m not using violence, nor tolerating it, nor any advocacy of it. By anyone, against anyone. I’m not advocating for women going back to the kitchen, or whatever other reactionary beliefs you insist we hold, nor tolerating genuine misogyny. Unlike you. (Women Against Feminism ring a bell?)
Another thing I’m not doing: trying to shut you up. We all deserve free speech. We all deserve rights, and for those rights to be recognized by others. But I’m also not tolerating your falsehoods and attempts to shut me up. I want equal rights and equal responsibilities. For all of us. Period. Either without the other has terrible consequences.
The irony is that in a way, your insinuation is correct: talk is pretty cheap. Just speaking up is not enough, not anymore. Never has been, really, since we truly want to fix human problems, instead of growing fat off them—unlike you. We want to reduce suicide, homelessness, educational failures. We want to heal the hurt, ease their suffering, and help them to rebuild shattered minds and lives. We want our movement to succeed so well it makes itself obsolete. Unlike you, who insinuate your ideology into as many places as possible to keep it going after it’s remotely justifiable. Your ends have become hostage to your means, I’m afraid.
So I’ve got to do more. I’ve got to take more steps, speak more words and louder, start giving of my time, money, and talents. And not just me; there are a lot of people who feel the same way, but don’t know quite what to do. Perhaps they fear the consequences for coming out as an MHRA.
And yes, it is a kind of coming out. Thanks to you, being an MHRA or MGTOW is, as homosexuality was until a few decades ago, considered a weakness, a sickness, a social evil, a degeneracy. (Or are we suddenly not the fedora-wearing, basement-dwelling, micro-peened, neck-bearded losers you like to call us?)
Which, by the way, is another thing we aim to change. So should you; if there was a Patriarchy, if feminism really was its dictionary definition, we would have at least some goals in common. Being an MHRA should be uncontroversial.
Even though that’s not the case, even though we clearly disagree, are you really that against people having social space in which to gather, the freedom to say whatever’s on their minds? To believe they are equal human beings, entitled to all the rights and liberties you have? To call for equality, as you claim to do?
Do you really not see the hypocrisy in condemning us? Because, you see, most people actually agree with most of what we believe in. They believe in the dictionary definition of feminism you cite over and over: equality. (Too bad your actions have poisoned the Feminist brand beyond hope of recovery.) Most people believe in equality under the law, and the equal application thereof. They believe, fundamentally, in fairness. They’ve just been conditioned by your social manipulation to think that MHRA’s are all angry, divorced, straight, middle-aged, Right-wing white males, bitter about losing some mythical power that 99.9% of us never actually had.
Even if that was who we are, would it matter as long as we spoke truth? Should it?
The truth is that we are diverse, and we don’t really care about the gender or race or sexuality of those who speak the truth. Politics and religion also take a backseat to the facts with us. Unlike you.
The truth is that we, unlike you, care about facts and try to speak the truth.
Above all, unlike you, when this fight is done, we will simply get back to being what we are: human beings, living our lives, free to make our own choices and be who we are in peace. Distant though that day may be, I believe it will come. At least, it will come close enough that we may pare back our efforts, remaining only as watchful as needed, and not forever re-fighting battles won long ago, or creating new enemies to justify the expansion of our empire.