Take back the light

One day I may write a novel about the personal events leading me to the moment I first realized men were incarcerated in a world of misandry —a story about my struggle to free myself from the shackles of a toxic feminism that vilifies masculinity.

I can even now hear the voices in my head—the voices of the characters I may create for my novel. There are times when my wife is asleep, that I go for walks at night and wait for the shadows to release their whispers so I could eavesdrop on their conversations as they spiral into substantiation—becoming real, becoming men, having personalities for my story.

While wandering beneath the stars, I’d listen to whispers modulated by the sound of the moon’s light slicing through pines, rebounding off the river’s surface, illuminating the weeping willows from beneath—beckoning them to lighten up. Their voices, a symphony—the wind, their melody; the river, their rhythm; the wildlife, their chorus—while fireflies and stars dissolve the earth’s mass setting me adrift in a sea of tranquility.

I can walk fearlessly at night, and it distresses me that few women can do this. Women can take defense classes, walk with a friend or carry a weapon, but they would always hold awareness they were walking with a friend or carrying a weapon and never lose themselves in the night, waiting for their thoughts to emerge, the way a man can. I know this; I have been told this; I heard their anguish. This is one of civilization’s disgraces: I get it. Yes, I get the “Take back the night rallies,” and support them; but I can’t hear them anymore against their incoherent rage which drowns out the voice of reason and compassion.

Their rallies—and you know by “they,” it’s not them; it’s their ism—sweep men into a dustbin of ridicule, demanding—without compassion, shaming without invitation—that men perform for them like knights on white horses while we dodge misinformation on wage gaps, exaggerated interpretations about campus sexual assaults, shaming about slut-shaming, tribunals about internet trolling, whining about video games, screeching about cold temperatures in office buildings, concocted movies about cat calls, the swish of their ambition sailing smoothly through a fictitious glass ceiling leading toward their invective crescendo, rising octave over octave over octave, accompanied by mean-spirited allegations of manspreading, mansplaining, manologuing, manslamming, manterruption (are they done, yet?); all this hysterical unfocused rage screaming “Finally! After two hundred and forty years, yes finally a potential female president!”—a scream that drowns out the weeping from caskets drifting in darkness six feet under Arlington, whispering under the willows “Finally? Yes, but only after computers sterilize war, lowering the physical standards a foot further beneath us—do you not realize why it took that long? Do you not see what we did for you? It was men freezing on the Delaware with Washington. Do you not see your fathers buried here?”; drowning out the sobs of our sons failing in schools that expel testosterone as aggressive—“But it was just a water gun!”—and that boy, they drug; suffocating the screams of a baby boy as another penis is mutilated in a ritualistic barbarity that no one bothers to outlaw out of fear of the ism—but that boy, they don’t because “it’s much worse for women,” ism  justifies, as if you can put a finger on a baby’s screams. For this is the other disgrace of contemporary western civilization: that from cradle to grave, our bodies are brutalized and we die younger, with more job fatalities, more homeless, more impoverished, more suicidal, more alcoholic, more severely sentenced for the same crime, with less health care, as they judge masculinity by the alphas they construct in their romance porn while they wrap our porn in cellophane, while insisting there’s a patriarchy that eases all his stories—a seething and bitter insistence, smothering the voices of men locked below a concrete basement, which demands we fight in a war on women for them (“A War on Women?” Are they serious?) as they mindlessly intone “the challenges facing intersectional masculinity can be alleviated by deconstructing masculinity.”

Boys try to be like George, and this was once good.  Today, boys are derided for wanting to be like George—because ism doesn’t like it. Boys are told to curtail their goals—because ism doesn’t like it. Boys are told to step aside—because ism doesn’t like it. Boys are told to stop talking—because ism doesn’t like it. Boys are told to cross their legs—because ism doesn’t like it; while male feminists, self-emasculated a long, long time ago pretend to agree for money, for audiences, for fame—becoming not the Alpha, but the Omega.

Such is the neurosis disguised as an ism that can only respect men when they remake men in their image; and this is why we need a voice for men: to put an end to the relentless drumbeat of ism’s mocking stereotypes as we, as men and the women we love, learn, collectively and in support of Brotherhood, to dismount the white steed, knock over the pedestal and take back the light.

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