As Men’s Rights Activists, we attempt to help men using “macro activism”. We try to change the entire culture we live in through law and advocacy. A lot of men are suffering social, financial, political, and legal injustices. This is something that we usually attempt to fix — like most activists. However, we have to start shifting some of our attention to “micro activism”.
The leading problem that men seem to have is that no one supports them. Boys grow up feeling alienated by their environment. They need someone to connect with. They need an accurate representation of their masculinity. Men who fail to be represented by society go down dangerous paths. Eventually they become gang members, school shooters, terrorists, and so forth. It’s time for us to save our boys and rehabilitate our men. This is where MRAs come into the mix.
As MRAs, we must give “micro activism” as much attention as “macro activism”. It’s great to change laws and, eventually, the entire culture we live in. It’s also great to provide comfort and compassion to the men in our lives.
The Genius of Alison Tieman
On Sunday (August 18 to be exact) I attended the International Conference On Men’s Issues (2019). Throughout the conference, I sat through engaging speeches about men’s issues. I even engaged with MRA panelists about men’s issues. It was incredibly intriguing. However, I was wondering if anything would capture me, emotionally. Well, you ask questions and you get answers.
The appearance of Allison Tieman (via projection screen) is what tugged on my heart strings. Allison couldn’t make it to the event-she had been banned from the US for a limited time. Fortunately for us, we talked to her via video chat. We connected a computer to a projector and displayed her on the projection screen. Before she had even uttered a word, we were all cheerful. Everyone assumed that they were going to hear something memorable-and they were right. As Allison presented us with a PowerPoint, she spoke about the horrific reality men are living in. We were given examples of how gynocentrism had played a powerful role in society for centuries. The rhetoric of today was shown to have striking similarities to the rhetoric of yesterday. It was all very eye opening.
Throughout the entire speech, her assertion of “helping an individual man” is what really stood out to me. As MRAs, we have focused a lot on the big picture. We’ve been trying to change an entire gynocentric culture-and for good reason. However, as Alison alluded, providing support for the individual male is just as effective. If you can help one male at a time, then you’re making a difference. She wanted us to shift our focus to making changes on a micro level. This was a brilliant idea.
“Micro level” activism provides boys with a “social support system,” if you will, to help them express themselves. Micro activists give special attention to the individual who is suffering as opposed to lumping all men together as a disenfranchised group. Instead of changing the culture, you focus more on changing the life of the individual.
Our boys need to be able to express themselves freely. Society puts them into a box from a young age. They are burdened with high levels of responsibility. They have to take care of families, perform dirty jobs, sign up for the military, and rescue citizens in the face of danger. This can be very stressful to learn, even as an adult. Boys have to prepare themselves for this task at a young age. They spend their days placed into a box, begging for freedom and companionship. Our social support system would free men from that box and enable them to express their identity in healthier ways. This will lead them down a more virtuous path.
MRAs choose to be represented by their advocacy, their platforms, and their legal/financial resources. It’s time to add “social support” to that list of benefits. We need to be that shoulder that for other men to lean on. Society is always demonizing the male gender. Well, it’s time we start praising the male gender. Men become overwhelmed by all of the responsibilities. They need to know that they’re not alone. No one should have to do it alone. We’ll be here to help them.
Ideas: What Would A Social Support System Look Like?
Support Groups: We need more social support groups and activities. If you aren’t creating any, you can always join existing groups. I joined the Mankind Project recently. I spoke extensively about the men’s rights movements. Most of the members weren’t even aware of the MRM’s existence. After informing them about the movement, they were elated to know that there was a movement out there fighting for them.
Male Bonding: Men aren’t exactly a fan of knitting circles. They spend their time in places like bars and sporting events. We have the opportunity to connect with men on a level that they’re used to. Men are constantly told that they have to embrace womanhood to be given support. This implies that the welfare of men are some sort of negotiable contract. This is dangerous thinking. Men should be given support because they’re human beings, not because they start to express traditionally feminine characteristics. MRAs should be connecting with men in places such as these. Take them out for a drink. Go to a comedy club. Get tickets to a sporting event. Play some video games with them. These are great ways to unify with men.
Commend Men: A lot of MRAs are on Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit. Spend a little time out of your day to praise men for doing their role in society. Praise the men who work dangerous jobs. Post stories about the average Joe who steps up to protect other civilians in the face of danger. If you have free time, ask men what it’s like to do these dirty jobs. “What is it like to be a construction worker?” “Can you give me a visual of how firefighters extinguish flaming buildings?” “Have you-or a fellow officer- gotten shot on duty?” Today, men feel like the work that they do is taken for granted. When someone feels undervalued for doing their duty, they’ll be inclined to stop doing it. Complimenting them for their work reminds them that you appreciate their service.
Give Men Advice: A lot of boys are suffering. Society pretends as if they don’t care about them. They have no idea how to handle the situation. This leads to negative side effects on their mental health. They need someone to guide them through their childhood. Someone has to be there to counsel them. Men, in this hostile environment, need someone to show them the way to a better life.
Listening & Understanding: It’s great to give men advice on how to better their lives. But, what’s even more effective is listening to what men have to say. That’s a large issue for men in modern day society. People are telling them what to say, how to feel, where to go, etc. Treating them as if they can’t think for themselves. They want to be heard and understood. This keeps them feeling isolated. They feel like the only man on earth despite being half the population. The simple act of letting them vent their frustrations, will release a lot of the pressure and tension
This article isn’t just for MRAs. Anyone who has any interest in helping men, should take this as a form of reference. There are MRAs out there who already participate in this Social Support System-most notably through men’s conferences. However, I would like to see this strategy get a lot more attention. I want to see it get the same level of recognition as macro activism gets.
As we start to see with this ‘toxic masculinity” rhetoric, vulnerable men are being taken advantage of. There are men who are hurting and need someone to reach out to. Charlatans will feed these vulnerable men misinformation about their life. They will be lead to believe that their own masculinity is the problem and blame themselves for all of the struggles they face. This only causes more confusion and leads to a more destructive path.
MRAs can’t let these charlatans take over the narrative on men’s issues. MRAs worked hard to get this narrative to where it is. We helped give men’s issues a platform. Men have benefited from our legal support. Now they need our social support. Let’s introduce the male sex to our Social Support System.