Those of us who are intent on meeting a mate, pair-bonding with a partner, or marrying the love of our lives will face numerous obstacles in our efforts to find happiness in this way.
For one thing, many of us will be forced to abandon hope of having an equal relationship, particularly in a time when, as Gloria Steinem noted, “society…encourages women to be victims every way.”[i] Notions like this, including descriptions of women as chattel, are actively promoted by the media and on college campuses, strongly influenced by women’s and gender studies programs that characterize our primordial patriarchy as an institutionalized and socially acceptable framework for male domination over women.[ii] Men are, in essence, encouraged to debase women with objectification, power, and authority.
Under the circumstances, it is not hard to see why many women develop anger, resentment and contempt towards men, which can provoke desires and fantasies—as well as acts–of revenge. The relationship between the sexes has become a power play, where interactions are viewed in a harsh, zero-sum light. If women beat men by a wide margin on the playing field, the response is not “great job!” Instead, there are hostile taunts, such as “girls rule and boys drool!” Female empowerment has metamorphosed into an ugly vision of females overpowering males. Talk of “girl power” simply means pushing back against male authority.
To be sure, people have butted heads with those in positions of authority throughout history. Indeed, author J.K. Rowling once remarked, “authority figures attract trouble,”[iii] while businessman Vivek Wadhwa noted that a “key ingredient to innovation is the ability to challenge authority and break rules.”[iv] Not surprisingly, the assertion that men are patriarchal overlords has nourished thoughts of retaliation among women, fostering a mentality where males and females are combatants rather than comrades. Scarier still, it has inspired violent imagery of women dominating their men. For many of us, the playing field of love and marriage has been transformed into a cage match of gendered adversaries, where equality is rare.
Hell Hath No Fury
Admittedly, there are some who believe that patriarchy is an illusion; others, meanwhile, have no doubt that the widespread oppression of women is evidence of its existence. The fact that those on the very upper reaches of the economic ladder own or control the vast majority of the world’s assets, businesses and employees suggests there is no place or part in society that is not subordinate in some way to this particular structure—aside from a few matriarchal villages in Africa, perhaps, everything is patriarchy.
Whether accurate or not, something has clearly played havoc with the relationship between the sexes. While some women have embraced our differences and are incredible mates, others have established fulcrums of male antipathy, moving them freely along a continuum that begins with caution and distrust, passes through resentment, and ends at hatred. Indeed, those of us who are in love can easily find ourselves in danger; we must develop a gendered lens so we can objectively evaluate current and future companions. We must also be careful about our own actions. If we are controlling, aggressive or violent toward women, we must find ways to calm down and understand the source of our anger.
Still, even if we manage to keep matters in check, the question of whether this will result in a win-win situation remains open. The truth is, the patriarchal system–or, perhaps, the belief in it–has likely damaged many prospective partners, who may view us, consciously or subconsciously, with distrust, disgust or begrudging hate. Hopefully, we notice the signs of a problematic partner early on: she crosses her arms over her chest and prevents us from gaining the conversational upper hand; she demands the last word in an argument; or she waves our ideas away, spins around in a huff, and stomps up the stairs.
If such behavior occurs, that doesn’t mean we should respond in kind. While choosing the wrong partner–or at the least, someone who is unwilling to alter their destructive behavior–can destroy our lives and futures, it is worth bearing in mind that there are alternatives to simply lashing out. By acknowledging the role that primordial patriarchy may have played in fostering resentment and antipathy within our significant other, we are in the driver’s seat: we decide whether and how to deal with her wrath.
Men Have Options
Among the paths we might choose are:
A negotiated relationship. Even though divorce rates are sky-high at 40-50%,[v] and four out of every ten couples who stay married say they are unhappy,[vi] there are some who manage to work through their gender-power issues. Premarital counseling can be a perfect solution for those who are serious about and intent on having a wonderful future together.
The wealth solution. The resources that billionaires have at their disposal can keep wives comfortably ensconced in a life of luxury while business, social and other demands can mean that the two partners don’t see enough of each other to wage endless conflict. Sadly, this option is not available to most of us.
Succumb to her will: If we breach one of the thousands of bulwarks against male oppression that have built up inside of her, we will receive an angry tongue-lashing–or worse. Some of us willingly give in, never fighting back as we try hard to be respectful, considerate, and responsive to her every need. We accept endless bickering and nagging. We walk on eggshells, allowing her to continually test our love. We ensure that we tell her she is pretty, has beautiful hair, is not fat and smells good. Unfortunately, studies show that suppressing our needs and wants and sustaining years of such negativity can cause mental and physical health illnesses.[vii]
Stand up for ourselves. Every time we talk over her or otherwise try to gain the upper hand, her sliding scale of mistrust moves closer to hatred. Like many women, she may actively count the times we wounded her and, at some point, retaliate. Soon, we will find ourselves destined for vengeance that only a woman can unleash. The divorce will likely be a living hell—one that has led to depression and suicide in no small number of men.[viii]
Go our own way. Perhaps the only real answer is to join an ever-growing movement that believes the modern world can and will be incredible for us men. A hurricane of men’s liberation awareness–MGTOW, Red Pill and Herbivore Men–is circling the planet, and it is unleashing freedom and empowering us to define and follow our own unique, and uniquely masculine, paths.
The Modern Men’s Liberation Movement
It is a new day for men: knowledge and freedom are at our fingertips. We now have the opportunity to design the kind of passionate life that we might once have only dreamed about. The first step, of course, is to move beyond patriarchal expectations regarding relationships and marriage and forge a life of purpose designed with ourselves, our community and those we love most in mind. When we go our own way, we will discover who we truly are and wish to be, and realize the satisfying life that we were destined for.