An Open Letter to Robert Brannon of NOMAS

To: Robert Brannon, Professor Emeritus, Brooklyn College, Co founder- NOMAS

Dear Dr. Brannon,

I just received a notification that your organization, the National Organization of Men Against Sexism (NOMAS), has announced it’s 35th National Conference on Men and Masculinity in partnership with the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV).

I share an active interest in the same issues as your organization, namely, as stated in your principles, “enhancing men’s lives.” In that light, I wish to pose some concerns to you regarding your conference and other aspects of your organization.

In answering these concerns, hopefully you can clarify precisely how your activities are designed to achieve our common goal.

First, I did an exhaustive search of your website looking for policy positions or other information related to matters that affect men and boys adversely in modern culture, especially as pertains to the following:

Men are nearly 80% of all suicides.

Men are over 80% of all homeless.

Men are 93% of all workplace deaths.

Male college enrollment has dropped to 42% and continues to decline.

In the recent, protracted recession, nearly 80% of all job losses have been those held by men.

Men die almost six years younger than women (in 1920 the variance was 1 year) and are victims of nearly all fatal disease more than their female counterparts. But the lions share of gender specific medical research is done to benefit women. Also, there has been a National Office on Women’s Health since 1991, and there is no such office for men.

In an egregious violation of basic civil rights, men are routinely severed from their children, their homes, their assets and future income by state functionaries, on the basis of unsubstantiated allegations in family courts.

Additionally, there remains a blatant bias against men in matters of child custody in divorce cases.

False allegations against men of rape, sexual abuse, spousal abuse and sexual harassment have become epidemic.

The anti-male sentencing disparity in criminal courts exceeds that of racial discrimination.

Though volumes of reviews and analyses, scholarly investigations and empirical studies prove that women are as likely or more likely than men to commit intimate partner violence, we continue to operate on the false assumption that domestic abuse is a “boys club” problem, denying services to male victims and refusing to acknowledge and treat female perpetrators seriously, often leaving men and children at the mercy of systemically enabled abusers.

And lastly, a prevailing culture of misandry -sexism that fosters the hatred of, or contempt for, men and boys- now flourishes in the media, politics, academia and the culture at large.

Unfortunately, Dr. Brannon, after a thorough search of your website, including a look at your past conferences, I didn’t see any attention at all paid to these serious and overarching problems in the lives of men and boys. It is as if these problems, according to NOMAS, do not exist.

Furthermore, what I did see was a wholesale promotion of the very stereotypes of men and disinformation about their character that often precipitate and aggravate the problems I cited.

And I was most disheartened to see that in 2005 that NOMAS successfully joined an amicus brief to help shut male victims of domestic violence in California out of state funded services, keeping them “women only.”

So, with all respect, your response to this query will help me, and I am sure many others, determine if NOMAS is fighting sexism, or simply practicing and promoting it.

I respectfully await your response, and in the meantime, I invite you to consider sponsoring another sterling effort toward enhancing the lives of men.

On April 7, 2010, the On Step Institute is bringing together a collection of esteemed academicians for a symposium on male studies at Wagner College in Staten Island, New York. The purpose of this conference is to promote the furtherance of male studies initiatives at the university level which will pursue a more enlightened understanding of men and boys with, as stated by On Step founder Edward Stephens, M.D., “global implications.”

Your active endorsement and vocal support of this vitally important initiative will go a long way in both achieving your stated goals, and in demonstrating your true concern for the condition of men and boys in modern culture.

Kind regards,

Paul Elam

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