A recent Doonesbury cartoon has a few frames of conversation between a young woman who is pregnant, and her parents, to whom she is breaking the news. The strip ends with the mother asking “so what’s on board?” and the young woman saying “a pair of dudes, God help me.” A good friend of mine calls each of these seemingly innocuous put-downs about males “just another little cut — one of thousands…”
Should I write an irate editorial to the newspaper? I have written such letters, on many an occasion, and thereby ran the risk of being accused of making a mountain out of a molehill. I have been accused of being a crank who is “tilting at windmills,” attacking imaginary enemies. Beyond ignoring me, which is the most common response, with this type of dismissive comment, many people hope I will be discredited and shut-up. I have not been silenced, nor should you the incensed reader be silenced. These objections to the systematic and culturally-endorsed maligning of males are legitimate and they deserve more attention.
Beyond the minor off-hand remark appearing in this comic strip, consider the gigantic number of put-downs about males appearing in the mass media, and how these can contribute to the serious and dramatic erosion of male self-esteem. I am particularly concerned about boys and young men, those who don’t yet know who they are, those who don’t know that they are valuable and worthy in their own right. It is these particularly susceptible males that I believe are most influenced, and perhaps even brainwashed, by the relentless stream of male put-downs. It is this latter topic, the larger view of the intended impact of all these put-downs, that is worth talking about more, not just within the men’s rights movement, but with a wider audience as well.
There is now a pervasive US government policy of supporting — if not institutionally encouraging — the put-down of men. Consider the legal definition of hate speech, which succinctly could be summed up as the denigration, humiliation and attack of protected groups (women, racial minorities, ethnic groups, non-heterosexuals, etc.). Note that men do not qualify as one of the protected groups. In addition, the US government does not prosecute radical feminist ideologues like Andrea Dworkin, who spew malicious anti-male hate speech, such as statements asserting all heterosexual intercourse is rape. In fact the media widely circulates and celebrates such bizarre anti-male hate speech. At the same time, major media outlets such as The New York Times have policies that block or severely curtail the publication of terrorist manifestos (such as that of the Unibomber) lest such publications amount to collaboration of some sort. This author fails to see the difference — they both involve hate speech. Radical feminism is not yet seen for what it really is: a hate and a terrorist movement. It has instead been adopted, co-opted, and exploited by the US government for its own purposes, notably the subordination and subjugation of rank-and-file men.
I try to objectively view these matters, so as to reach a place with new perspectives, but no doubt this author’s biases and blind spots have influenced this article. I am hoping that in numbers, those of us in the men’s rights movement can collectively converge on the truth, arriving at an understanding of exactly why such a war of words is being waged against males. I’m not sure why there is such a deluge of anti-male put-downs appearing in movies, TV, newspapers, web pages, and so many other locations including comic strips. I have three specific theories, which I will define below. I invite those who contribute to the comment stream to reveal other explanations of the intentions behind the massive onslaught of anti-male propaganda that seems to have become institutionalized in today’s mass media.
The first of my three theories involves brainwashing (perhaps it could even be called psychological warfare) making a certain segment of the population more readily and more easily manipulated. Through these little cuts, men are made to feel bad about themselves, and are encouraged to adopt an attitude of low self-esteem. People with low self-esteem, especially when that low self-esteem is validated by many different sources, and reinforced on a perpetual basis, are much more easily manipulated, cowed, subdued, and enslaved. The process is cumulative and by the time that most males are of adult age, they put up very little resistance to female and government domination and control. It is important to subdue, control, and manipulate males because rebellions and revolts are inevitably sourced by, staffed by, and fought by males (consider the recent Egyptian uprising where the work was done almost exclusively by men). This type of psychological warfare against men is working well, and that fact is revealed by the surprisingly large number of men who now submit to the most bizarre feminist dictates. For example, consider the men who publicly walk in high-heels to show their support for the end of violence against women. Of course men don’t support violence against women, but there is no need for public displays of male humiliation and subjugation.
People with very low self-esteem are also more likely to try and assuage those feelings by buying unnecessary products and services. For example, so many of the advertisements about cars directed at men contain messages like “buy this car, and you will be a hit with the ladies,” or “buy this car, and feel powerful,” or other patently nonsensical cause-and-effect relationships that fall apart completely if examined logically and dispassionately. The problem is that desperate and low self-esteem people don’t often engage in much logical and dispassionate thinking. They want to feel better, and they will do almost anything (including becoming alcoholics) to achieve that sought-after state. Unnecessary products and services can be offered-up to these people as quick fixes, and if the last quick fix didn’t really work, or didn’t work for long, well, they tell us to try another. So male low self-esteem could be good for keeping the consumer economy afloat, could be a good way to get men to buy products and services that they don’t really need.
While this first theory seems plausible, it does not explain why only men are habitually, and apparently according to policy, put down in the media. Why is it that women can do no wrong, but men are consistently shown to be undesirables such as naïve boy-men, buffoons, idiots, inept oafs, petty criminals, child molesters, and the like? Perhaps there is also an intention to justify the unfair allocation of preferences and resources in our society, to make it look like the favoritism extended toward women is in fact justified? If indeed women were wonderful, in all respects, as the media seems us to want us to believe, then we men should have no objections to special governmental programs like domestic violence safe houses being extended only to women and children (not men). If women really were in all ways wonderful, then we men should have no reason to object to the grossly unfair treatment that we encounter in family court. This justification of gender-based inequity appears to be more of a side effect of the campaign to put down men, in itself desirable to those in power, rather than a primary objective of the campaign.
The second of the three theories offered here involves pushing men into permanent relationships with women. With low self-esteem, and a host of bizarre societal attitudes such as “a man needs the civilizing influence of a woman,” this put-down campaign urges every man to soon take-up some serious committed relationship with a woman, as though this is going to be in some way be a solution to problems of low self-esteem. (Those of us who have been married know that marriage is often a good way to further erode low self-esteem.) Anyway, through the publicity surrounding Valentine’s Day and related romance myths, each of these low-self esteem men is led to believe that if they get the love of a certain special woman, then they will feel better about themselves. And indeed if one is in love, the world does seem to be a very special and magical place. But unfortunately that experience of being in love is fleeting, temporary, and often dangerously out-of-synch with the real world. However, what does stick around afterwards are the obligations (child support, alimony, etc.) from which men cannot distance themselves. But, alas, at that point it is too late, for the men are already financially enslaved.
By urging men to get into serious relationships with women, in the form of marriage and kids notably, the men become domesticated (I used the word “enslaved” in a prior article). What I mean by this is that they become financially obligated to support the wife and family, and that makes them good workers, workers who are much less likely to quit their demanding, dangerous, miserable and boring jobs, because these men know that their wives (and maybe children too) are depending on them, and that they would in many cases be financially ruined if they were to get a divorce and have to split the assets, pay child support, and perhaps pay alimony as well. Guilt and obligation morality is also commonly used to get these men to submit the saddle of being a financial provider.
So the low self-esteem hypnotism provided by the media encourages men try to make themselves heroic, notable, and lovable in the eyes of women. This is helpful for the military, which needs recruits seeking to be heroes. It is also notably useful to corporations, who want men who will put in great amounts of overtime, travel to far away places for their job, take dangerous jobs, and in other ways go above and beyond those things that women are willing to do. To statistically substantiate these assertions, see Warren Farrell’s excellent and incredibly-well-researched book entitled “Why Men Earn More.” If men are legally locked into a family unit, and on the hook to provide money for that family unit, then all sorts of things can be required of them, things that wouldn’t be required of women (such as working underground in a coal mine).
The third of my three theories involves the notion that men who know they are enslaved are considerably less likely to complain. A steady stream of messages claiming that “women are angels and men are pigs,” or related anti-male venom, discourages men from complaining about obvious injustices such as VAWA, the law that protects women against violence rather than men. Men can forget about the equal protection clause of the Constitution. And repeated put-downs coming from many different sources furthermore helps reinforce the erroneous notion that currently enslaved men must remain enslaved, as if that were the natural course of things. A steady barrage of anti-male communications also acts like a confirmation of men’s lowly position in the current social structure, thus discouraging men from even thinking about, let alone attempting, to free themselves.
This suppression of complaints, as is illustrated by in the early childhood teaching that “good boys don’t cry,” is fully consistent with Dalrock’s formulation of “The Feminine Imperative.” To paraphrase Dalrock, this doctrine holds that it is the tendency of women to define social roles and morality to meet strictly female needs. The male role of financial “provider” has, for example, been defined by women, and then supported and institutionalized by “manginas” (men who have sold their fellow men down the river, men with no self-esteem, men who kiss the asses of women in the hopes that they will have favorable terms of future access to these women’s bodies). The social structure, for instance divorce courts, then goes on to enforce these female-dictated roles and moral expectations against men, but not against women. For example, there is a large and draconian legal apparatus for child support payment enforcement, but there is no apparatus whatsoever to enforce paternal visitation rights.
There is additionally a vicious circle going on with respect to the many male put-downs, and the extent to which men stab each other in the back, and then go on to institutionalize social roles that are disadvantageous towards men. These manginas engage in this ultimately self-betraying behavior because they consciously or unconsciously believe that they will thereby gain some personal future advantages with women. The more the males-putting-males-down cycle is perpetuated, the more men feel as though they have to somehow distinguish themselves from the masses of unworthy men. So many of them will then become manginas, putting other men down, kissing the asses of women, groveling for female approval, acting in some way as heroes and saviors of the oh-so-poor and allegedly-discriminated-against female class. Unfortunately they become part of the problem and make it progressively worse. We must break out of this destructive vicious cycle … or perhaps the collapse of American “civilization” will do it for us.
What’s the best response for an enlightened man to all of this? This author suggests a subversive act involving thinking well of yourself (assuming you the reader are a man), and of other men too. This author suggests that we men confront and call-out all hate speech directed at men, that we confront those involved and that we publicly lodge strong protests. This author suggests that we dare to consider that there is a widespread conspiracy to put-down males so as to be able to use men as though they were simply beasts of burden, existing simply to support others.
At the same time, this author suggests that we men honor other men. Give them the benefit of the doubt, and appreciate the things that they do, as well as the things for which they so infrequently get thanks. Honor the positive and valuable attributes of men, such as self-sacrifice, honor, and fairness. Consider that men are just as worthy and valuable as women. Dare to live your life that way.
In conclusion, note that repeated put-downs are widely recognized as a telltale sign of emotional abuse in the domain of domestic partner abuse. But when these put-downs are directed at a class of individuals, in this case males, they are not only totally acceptable, but also normal and expected, as well as amplified by the mass media. Why would that be? What’s the deeper motivation for this? What’s your view?