[dropcap]I[/dropcap] am currently attempting to identify, classify, and define the issues men face in today’s society. The Compendium of Men’s Issues will be the result. It currently defines and classifies more than 60 issues into 9 major categories. At this point it is not all-inclusive, nor is it ever likely to be. It is a work in progress and will be edited and expanded over time. Eventually, it should explore each issue in considerable depth.
I will be posting each section as I complete them. They will be updated and edited along the way. Once the initial outline is completed, I will be posting it as a permanent page at The Damned Olde Man. Comments and suggestions are not only welcome, but encouraged. I know that I have not thought of everything. In addition to further issues and categories, I am looking for references to cite as sources of information. These can be scientific studies, government statistics, or news articles. If you know of any good sources or have any ideas worthy of inclusion, please leave them in the comments section and include links if possible.
Compendium of Men’s Issues
This catalog is an attempt to identify, classify, and define the issues men face in today’s society. It is intended as a guide to assist those interested in addressing men’s issues and rights. It should assist in clarifying issues and guiding debate and discussion. It currently defines and classifies more than 60 issues into 9 major categories. At this point it is not all-inclusive, nor is it ever likely to be. It is a work in progress and will be edited and expanded over time. Eventually, it should explore each issue in considerable depth.
Marriage & Divorce
Due to the increased ease and availability of divorce, marriage has become a high-risk proposition for a man. Lifetime alimony, loss of custody of children, child support, community property, and the likelihood of false accusations of domestic violence or child abuse mean that most men stand to lose nearly everything they’ve ever worked for and much of that they will work for in the future.
In the United States, mothers are awarded custody of children in contested cases about 84% of the time. This means that in many cases where custody is not contested, men accept conditions they find deplorable because they know they are highly likely to lose should they contest. Contesting custody frequently leads to false allegations of domestic violence or child abuse made by the mother. Judges are loathe to award custody to a father accused of violence or abuse even when those allegations cannot be substantiated. Contesting custody can be a long, expensive ordeal and most men cannot afford it, especially when they are under the burden of child support and alimony payments.
Alimony can be appropriate in some cases where one partner has traded career for child care and is thus unable to support herself/himself post-divorce. In such cases alimony should be viewed as a time-limited, stop-gap, measure until that partner can establish a career and income. It should not be viewed as life-time financial support or as a means of maintaining a high standard of living.
Child support may be necessary in cases where one partner has greater custody of the children than the other. However, all too often these payments create considerable financial burden upon the payer. It is more difficult for the payer to request a decrease in support payments than for the recipient to request an increase. This is true even when a payer has lost income or employment. Payments continue to accumulate and debt continues to mount while a payer is awaiting a hearing. This debt cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. Those who fail to pay, even when unable, may be subject to loss of driver’s license, professional licenses, and/or imprisonment all of which may further affect the ability to pay.
Back child support can accumulate even when the father has no knowledge of a child’s existence. A mother can wait until a child becomes a teenager before filing for support and be awarded back payments dating to the time the child was born. As a result a father can find himself paying support to the mother well after the child reaches adulthood.
Visitation and Enforcement
Fathers rarely obtain custody of their children. Therefore visitation becomes paramount in maintaining the father-child relationship. A typical court order for visitation is every other weekend plus one evening per week. This relegates father to the role of visitor in their child’s life and has resulted in the term “Disneyland parent.” The father is rarely involved in making any of the important decisions for the child and is often resented by the mother who may view the father as undermining of her authority. She fears the child views her as the “bad guy” because she must be responsible for discipline while the father is the grantor of special privileges and is more fun. This arrangement can easily result in creating more conflict and tension between the parents.
Despite the decreased role of the father in the child’s life and his limited time with the child, mothers frequently deny visitation in violation of court orders. It is nearly impossible for fathers to get courts to enforce their own orders. It can also be quite expensive to continue to return to court to request enforcement especially when there is little prospect of the court taking action.
Parental alienation results when a parent continually attempts to interfere and disrupt the relationship of a child with the other parent. It most frequently occurs in cases where the parents are separated or divorced. The result of these attempts can cause a child to refuse contact with the other parent and/or to dislike or hate the other parent. This can result in detrimental effects upon the child and the alienated parent including loss of relationship and psychological or emotional disorders. It might even strain the relationship with the alienating parent in addition to the alienated parent. It must be noted that the alienation is not justified or explained by the actions of the alienated parent. If a child is alienated because of actual abuse or other legitimate circumstances it does not qualify as parental alienation as the child would be justified in his or her feelings toward that parent.
Parental alienation can occur whether or not a child has “Parental Alienation Syndrome.” PAS is currently being considered for inclusion in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition. Inclusion would help to define the disorder and its symptoms, legitimize its diagnosis, provide payment for its treatment, and spur further research. Opponents believe that it would allow abusive parents (mostly fathers) to obtain custody or increased contact with their children, placing those children at risk of abuse. Proponents believe that PAS is synonymous with child abuse and inclusion would allow courts to implement solutions to interference with visitation, order counseling, and arrive at more equitable custody and visitation decisions.
While research shows that fathers are just as likely to attempt to alienate a child from its mother as a mother is to attempt to alienate a child from its father, this is a men’s issue because mothers have far more opportunity to attempt alienation due to the frequency they are awarded custody.
While women have a wide variety of acceptable options that carry little to no risk and have very side effects and/or effects on the pleasure derived from sexual activity, men have none. The three most effective means of birth control available to men are abstinence, condoms, and vasectomy. While abstinence may be legitimately practiced for religious, moral, ethical, or cultural reasons, it is not desirable for many men, married men in particular. Condoms, while effective, especially when used when spermicides, reduce sensation and therefore pleasure. It may be advisable to use them as preventive measures in the transmission of STDs and HIV, however, in a long term, monogamous relationship this is generally not necessary. The reduction in sensation makes them undesirable for many men. Vasectomy is not 100% effective, nor is it reversible. While in some instances a vasectomy may be reversed, the longer one waits and the older one gets, the less likely the chances for success. Reversing a vasectomy can also be expensive. Given the drawbacks and limitations of these three methods, more research and development must be done to develop more desirable and effective means for men to control reproduction. (See also Paternity Fraud).
Putative Father Registries
Putative father registries exist in nearly 30 states for the purpose of providing legal recognition that a particular man is the biological father of a child. These registries purportedly guarantee that a man will receive notification if the child’s mother places the child for adoption. they do not guarantee that he will be permitted to contest the adoption, only that he will be notified and have the right to appear. Typically a man must register within a specified period of time before or after the child is born or lose his rights altogether. Many states require the putative father to register any time he believes a woman may be pregnant, thus if a man wishes to protect what limited rights these registries provide, he must disclose to the state each and every time he has sex and with whom.
Obviously there are problems. First these registries are a violation of privacy. Requiring a man to surrender to the state the details of his sex life is a gross violation of privacy. Second, the registries do very little to protect a man’s right to his children since they typically provide no guarantee that he can contest adoption or obtain custody, or even visitation with his child. Third, although they do little to protect a man’s rights, they can be used to establish paternity for purposes of child support. Fourth, they are rarely publicized. Most men know nothing about them. Therefore, rather than serving the purpose of protecting a man’s rights, the actual purpose is to get around men’s rights in order to allow adoptions to proceed unhindered by a putative father. By requiring a man to register and failing to publicize this requirement, states can claim that the father is unknown and need not be notified.
Putative father registries need to be abolished. Men should not be forced to take extraordinary measures to preserve their rights to their children. If states truly wish to look after the best interest of the children and/or expedite adoptions they would require mothers to disclose the names of all potential fathers prior to permitting an adoption to proceed. Further, if a man is considered the putative father, he should have rights to contest adoption proceedings and to obtain custody or visitation. He should not be forced to disclose the details of his sex life to the state in order to protect his rights to his children.
There are many reasons why men may oppose abortion. There are also good reasons to support a woman’s right to choose. Regardless of which side of the issues a man takes, there is currently no equivalent right for men. Few would argue that a man should have the right to decide or force a woman to either carry a fetus to term or to have an abortion. Still there are those who would argue that a man should be informed and/or consulted prior to a woman making her decision.
Choice for Men
As stated above, there is no equivalent right to choose for a man. This, however, does not mean that options cannot exist. Feminists argue that a woman should have the right to control her body to justify the argument for choice. The same could be argued for men. Current law requires men to pay child support to their mother(s) of their children without granting men any choice in the matter. Thus a woman’s decision can have lasting impact on a man’s life. It could impact his ability to support himself, continue his education, career choice, ability to support the family he desires and may already have obligations and commitment towards. Clearly, if a woman becomes pregnant, her choice has considerable effect on his body and life. This is a situation that could be corrected. In much the same manner as abortion permits a women to control her body, choice for men would permit a man to control his.
The basic concept is to allow the man to “opt out” of fatherhood. It would be a decision akin to a woman deciding to surrender a baby for adoption. The father would be notified by the mother of paternity. He would then have a period of time to exercise his option to become a father or to opt out. His decision would be final in the same manner adoption is final.
Harsher Sentences for Men
Excuses Female Criminal Behavior
Psychological Diagnoses for Women
Shorter Sentences for Women
“Abuse” Defense for Women
Violence Against Men
Domestic Violence Industry
Lack of Services
Health Care and Concerns
The insurance industry has justified charging men higher rates for various types of insurance including auto and life based on increased risk simply for being born male. If sex is in fact a legitimate indicator of risk then this practice would not be gender based and not discriminatory. However, recent changes to health care coverage have eliminated higher rates for women based on higher risk. to maintain higher rates for men while eliminating them for women is a discriminatory practice.
Further, there is evidence that risk is not based on sex when it comes to auto and life insurance. A recent study has indicated that women are just as likely as men to be involved in auto accidents. this study contradicts insurance industry claims and may be indicative of the a discriminatory practice. In 1920, women outlived men on average by about a year. Today, women outlive men on average by 6-7 years. This would indicate that sex is not a factor in determining lifespan and that there are other factors involved, one of which may be discriminatory practices in health care practice and research. Another such factor may be male dominated labor requiring harder, heavier, and higher risk work that exposes men to greater health risks and wearing out their bodies faster than women. While society has encouraged women to enter male dominated careers, these have been predominantly white collar, government, or academic and not those requiring physical labor and high risk. It does not appear to be the natural state of the human condition that women outlive men by any significant amount and therefore life insurance premiums should not be based on sex.
Funding for research into predominantly female health care concerns tends to outstrip funding to predominantly male health care concerns. The health care system has developed specialized practice for women (ob/gyn), but not for men. Breast cancer receives several times as much funding as prostate cancer, but rates of occurrence for these cancers are about equal.
In 1920, women outlived men on average by about a year. Today, women outlive men on average by 6-7 years. This would indicate that sex is not a factor in determining lifespan and that there are other factors involved, one of which may be discriminatory practices in health care practice and research. Another such factor may be male dominated labor requiring harder, heavier, and higher risk work that exposes men to greater health risks and wearing out their bodies faster than women. while society has encouraged women to enter male dominated careers, these have been predominantly white collar, government, or academic and not those requiring physical labor and high risk.
Substance Abuse & Treatment
Sexual Assault & Harassment
Rape Laws & Definitions
Media Portrayal & Negative Stereotypes
Deadbeat, Dorky, Incompetent Dads
Testicular Attacks as Humorous
News Media Identifies Men
Workers, miners, soldiers, etc. when harmed or threatened
Armed men, gunmen, men, etc. when performing bad acts
Over-diagnosis of ADHD
Under-representation & Declining Enrollments
Portrayed as Rapists
“She Fears You” Indoctrinations
Denial of Constitutional Rights
Dear Colleagues Letter from DOE
Women’s and Gender Studies Departments
Patriarchy is a term that literally means the rule of the father. It is an organizational system in which society is structured around male lineage and ownership. It placed the responsibility for the female squarely on the shoulders of the male and provided for an orderly structure for society in which all would be cared for, including the female.
Modern feminists have redefined the word to mean male dominance of the female, focusing on just one aspect of the original concept.men are viewed as oppressors (see below) and women as their victims. Marriage is attacked as the means through which men establish dominance and sex is often equated with rape, some feminists going as far as to declare that all sex is rape, or all sex not initiated by a woman is rape, or even stating that women as an oppressed class are incapable of consenting to sex. The concept of “male privilege” extends from this version of patriarchy. To defend the position, feminists point to the fact that societal structures are dominated by men which is indicative of a patriarchal society. However, they ignore that in a patriarchy, men are responsible for the care and protection of women and that as a result, women hold considerable power and privilege.
Chivalry stems from the notion that in a patriarchal society men have a responsibility to provide for and to protect women and children. Originally, the term was applied to a code of honor held by knights in medieval Europe. Later it was applied to gentlemen, and even later to all men. Chivalry requires sacrifice. This sacrifice can be as small as offering a lady one’s coat, pulling out a chair for her to sit, or merely standing as she enters a room. It might also mean offering up one’s life in defense of a lady’s honor. It is the practice of female worship or pedestalizing the female by placing a greater value on her life than that of any male.
In a patriarchal society where men hold authority, a system of chivalry is a natural result and would be instituted to ensure men held to the responsibility that comes with the authority. But in a more egalitarian society, it places men at a disadvantage relative to women. In such a society, men no longer hold that authority, but remain bound to the responsibility. Which at once creates a subservience of men to women, while simultaneously infantalizing women as being helpless and in need of assistance. No society can be truly egalitarian and chivalric. To achieve a society where men and women have equal rights, equal opportuniteis, and equal protection under the law, they must also have equal responsibilities to that society and to each other. To achieve this, chivalry must be abolished.
In sociology, “privilege” refers to a power structure that exists in society that provides members of a particular class or group advantage over non-group members. In every society there are a variety of power structures in existence at any given time. “Male privilege” refers to one of these structures. “Female privilege” would refer to another. Both exist.
In a patriarchal society male privilege carries tremendous responsibility. In many instances, men are expected to give their lives in exchange for the privilege. Men are also expected to defer to women according to the rules of chivalry. Female privilege, in a patriarchal society, could be seen as the enjoyment of the benefits of male sacrifice without the corresponding responsibility. Thus in a patriarchal society, male privilege carries responsibility to society, female privilege does not. However, the female does have a responsibility to the individual male in exchange for her privilege and exemption from responsibility to society. This is typically to marry, bear children, and keep and maintain the home. But the male pays for this privilege as well. He must provide for and protect the female (his spouse) and the children they share.
In a more egalitarian society, men and women would have equal privilege and equal responsibility to society and each other. Men in today’s society have lost most of their male privilege. But have retained the responsibility. Women have gained privilege in society and in the home, but have not taken on increased responsibility, neither in society, nor in the home. A woman can divorce her spouse, ending her responsibility to him, but may retain custody and control over the children and be paid child support and/or alimony. Thus the man remains obligated to the woman. Women do not register for the selective service and cannot be conscripted onto military service and are not obligated to any civilian equivalent. On the cultural level, men continue to be expected to work and lose social status if they opt out of paid work to become househusbands. Women continue to have the option of being a housewife without loss of social status, but have gained the privilege of entering into a career as well.
The decrease in privilege for men and the increase in privilege for women without a corresponding decrease in responsibility for men and increase for women has created a social imbalance where men have become second class citizens in many respects relative to women (Family Law, reproductive rights, education, etc.).