Grading Obama On Men’s and Boys’ Issues

The deplorable sexism of the Obama administration is one of the many reasons I will be shuddering as I reluctantly vote for Obama this year. This report card explains my reluctance very well:

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As disheartening as that is, however, there is no reason to believe that anything will be different under a theoretical Romney Administration. Sexist laws on domestic violence and sexual violence based on the man-hating, woman-infantalizing, and just plain wrong notion that violence and sexual assault are things men to do women, rather than something people do to each other, probably cause the most suffering. But there’s also:

    * The lack of reproductive freedom for men and boys

    * The debtor’s prisons now swelling with men who can’t (I didn’t say wouldn’t, I said can’t) pay their alimony and child support and can’t get it modified to something humane

    * Our widespread cultural acceptance of genital mutilation (warning: Not Safe For Work, but subscribe to Typhonblue’s channel here, she’s funny and thoughtful and incredibly well-informed)

    * Our lack of action by the law against that insidious form of child abuse called parental alienation (which, like most forms of child abuse, is more frequently committed by women than men)

    * The unconscionable arrest, prosecution, and sentencing discount for women at the expense of men in criminal matters

…and more. It is all driven by our widespread cultural tendency to treat women as perpetual victims (and, often, as perpetual children not responsible for their own choices). Programs and set-asides and special protections for women abound, all while underplaying, ignoring, or outright ridiculing the plight of males who are sick, poverty stricken, undereducated, unemployed, homeless, imprisoned, and the victims of violence–even though males are in the majority in all those areas of need and suffering in our nation. But it is our culture, where females are privileged over males in countless measurable and unmeasurable ways people will rarely acknowledge, that most needs changing. It starts with asking women, particularly white women, to learn how to check their privilege and modify their behavior accordingly.

It often appears as of women in America, especially middle class white women, are totally blind to their privileged status. This gynocentrism favoring white women in particular is what appears to be at the root of much of it, so neither Democrats nor Republicans are likely to change it. Change has to begin at the grass roots, by changing people’s attitudes, and by local action.

Those of us who advocate for men and boys have our work cut out for us in both the Republican and Democratic parties. Fortunately, we are a growing movement, and despite all the hate-based lies that we are racist, hate women, hate gay people, are violent, or are surly straight middle aged straight guys who are just “angry” because we’ve lost our cookies, the reality is that what we come in all races creeds colors nationalities sexes and sexual orientations, and what we care about most is marginalized and ignored men and boys, period. The claims to the contrary are rooted in ignorance, and ignorance is the root of all bigotry. So the fight for equal rights and equal responsibilities shall continue, through advocacy, political action, and refusing to be shamed into silence.

It starts, I think, with recognizing both the historical and modern-day reality of Female Privilege. Here’s my friend Karen, writing to a young man who, after arguing with man-hating bigots who claimed to be “feminists” on what she thinks the real lowdown is:

Letter to a young man on privilege-blindness.

She even better lays out some (hardly all) of the historical realities of Female Privilege here.

She simply states the truth, and the truth hurts for a lot of people: in this society, today, it is not men who are the privileged class. It is women. And in reality, females have been privileged in multiple ways for thousands of years; the feminism of the 1970s, whatever righteous claims it had, still started out with a flawed premise: that men as a class oppress women as a class, and have for thousands of years. Which is a hateful thing to say: hateful toward men, and demeaning toward women. And it’s also just plain not true. It was always a balance between privilege and responsibilities, perks and burdens, that both sexes always had to live with, and that we should no longer have to.

In recognizing this reality, and rejecting the false theory that we live in a “PatriarchY” (and the grossly insulting “Patriarchy hurts men too” thinking that goes with it), we can begin to hope for change, and hope to see men’s and boys’ issues receive greater prominence in the next election cycle, no matter who wins the election today.

In brighter news, we have November 19 to look forward to!

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So guys, and those of you who care about guys, get out there and vote. Obama is no friend to men and boys, but neither is Romney. Make your choice, and otherwise, keep working to make this a better world.

  • Ruth H

    Anyone who goes shopping in any department store, shoe store, or any other store in which ornaments for humans are purchased must be struck by the over abundance of articles for women and girls. It is a fact. I am thankful I do not live in a third world country but I am often appalled at the accoutrements for sale for females. That is just one major indication of the female centric skew of our culture. And it is not just OUR culture, it is worldwide in any but the poorest cultures, where just getting by is the norm.

  • http://www.deanesmay.com Dean Esmay

    Yep. Women control a majority of disposable income in the US and receive a majority of government benefits as well. AND they’re a solid majority of voters. Yet still, they are portrayed “minorities,” as in “women and minorities,” which is a ridiculous little shell game. Feminism as a funded, organized, academia-entrenched ideology (as opposed to just a sort of vague feeling about “equality”) is a movement of privileged middle and upper class women, mostly white, and always has been; your average NOW convention looks like the average Republican National Convention, minus as many men.

    This is not something that can go on forever, and, as Eric Rall so well observed long ago here, if a thing can’t go on forever then it won’t. The status of men and boys is dire in this country, and getting worse, and the only way they can get away with this shell game of pretending women here are “oppressed” is by getting angry and claiming Michigan politicians hate the word “vagina” (a gross lie, a member got censured for saying “I appreciate your interest in my vagina” to the men on the floor; what a rude bitch); fulminating that the Catholic Church doesn’t want to pay for their birth control, or pointing to ridiculous irrelevancies like the sex of most politicians and super-wealthy elites–super wealthy elites whose wives often spend most of their family income anyway, or divorce them and take half their shit, and ignoring the fact that most politicians are elected by an overwhelmingly female electorate.

    Change is going to come. The new generation of young men and women coming into their own, the Gen-X and Gen-Y kids coming into their prime, they see what the hell’s going on and they know the score and the way their sons and brothers and fathers are getting screwed by an entire system that kicks them around and then calls them “privileged.” They can’t be shamed into silence like the older generations still caught up in the stupidity of chivalry.

    Men are either self-actualized human beings deserving the same consideration and compassion as women, and women are self-actualizing human beings who deserve the same responsibilities as men, or any claims to want “equality” are a joke, as in “some are a little equal-er than others.”

    The next ten years I expect there to be big changes. I hope so anyway.

  • Ruth H

    Dean,
    Don’t kid yourself, I am following this post and the prediction post. Women gave the presidency back to Obama so he would “take care of them.” In one part of the exit polls that is explained as the good job he did of the storm. Tell that to the storm victims still freezing in the dark, and realize you are being used in the same way. Taking care, I don’t think so, photo op, definitely. He is so pandering to women, I don’t think he is going to go in your direction at all. Remember the Vaginas were out campaigning for him. It frightens me to see women being so militant against everyone. Think about it.

  • http://www.deanesmay.com Dean Esmay

    Ruth: I absolutely agree. The gynocentrism of the Democrats was off-putting in the extreme.

    The way they shamelessly and repeatedly quoted Republicans grossly out of context on “women’s issues,” the absurd and totally fictional “War On Women” meme they concocted, and the way they talked endlessly about “empowering women” in a culture wherein women are already arguably the single most empowered people (yes, I said people) in history… it was sickening.

    Meanwhile men still make up the majority of high school and college dropouts, the majority of suicides, the majority of the homeless, the majority of the unemployed, the majority of those in prison, the majority of those who have no real reproductive freedom, live shorter lives, are far more likely to be the victims of violence, are often jailed by false accusers who don’t even face repercussions for their false accusations, are often subjected to financial hardship and outright financial abuse, and lose contact with their children by vengeful mothers who use the kids as weapons, wherein they are ignored or marginalized when they’re sexually assaulted by women OR men… it goes on and on.

    Watching the post-election coverage with these Democrat women gloating about all the ways they’d “empowered women” in this election, as if women in this culture aren’t already extraordinarily powerful… It was just sickeningly self-serving and narcissistic on their part. Do they have any self-awareness at all?

    Here’s a clue: being equal does not mean everything is about you and your vagina, cupcake.

    I’m also quite certain some self-described “feminist” (a word which has no fixed meaning, have you ever noticed that?) will read what I just wrote as suggesting women should somehow “get back in the kitchen” or whatever. Which is outright nonsense. I’m saying flat out that I’m sick of powerful, pampered, privileged middle class white women co-opting every agenda to make it about their vaginas, while there are men and boys suffering everywhere you look.

    Ladies, here’s a big surprise: I have no interest in your vagina. None. Vaginas are very nice things, but the only one I’m interested in is my wife’s. Thank you for asking. I am, on the other hand, rather concerned with the men some of you have forced into fatherhood against their will, because your “my body my choice” rhetoric does not extend to “and therefore also my responsibility.” I personally know men who’ve been financially and emotionally destroyed by this shit, and listening to you scoff and sniff and dismiss does not make you look any better in my eyes.

    Privileged middle class white women cheering for “girl power” and comparing themselves, today, to what black people went through 50-100 years ago, to what gay men went through 50-100 years ago? When girls are already ahead of boys in almost every area you can measure? And talking like you’re oppressed, and their struggle is the same as your struggle to get the Catholic Church to fund your sex life? How much more self-centered can you possibly get?

    I have sons. Do you? Do they matter, or do they just deserve whatever happens to them no matter what, because they’re men and therefore “privileged” while you’re just a weak hypoagent with no power, even though you control our elections, you control most of the nation’s disposable income, and you have more rights and protections than anyone on Earth?

    Yeah. I did not enjoy that election. What I hope to see is changes in the Democratic Party, as well as in the Republican Party, to start talking some damned sense on these issues. Because right now, in Republican eyes women are weak and helpless and in need of special protection and consideration. Whereas in Democratic eyes, women are… uhm… weak and helpless and in need of special protection and consideration. Whatever.

  • Ruth H

    Dean,
    When I was your age I was a Democrat. Never again. I have also never bothered to register as anything since then. No party worth it. I just hope we aren’t a totally Muslim, socialist country when I get around to dying. Remember I am 76 not much time to see change for the better here. I hope to see another election while I am still able to make it to the voting booth but I swear I’m not sure America doesn’t deserve what it is getting. Do you realize that man would have aborted your autistic child if DNA could have told him in advance? He believes in killing babies who survive abortion. And he believes in giving pills instead of therapy to the elderly like me. I cannot believe what our country has become. A nation of takers, users and usurpers.
    Sorry for the rant. I am upset. I am truly grieving.

  • Thom Emery

    We’re not going to be a Muslim country, Ruth, the batty right-wingers who want to tell you so are ultimately getting information from professional fearmongers who make good incomes by profiting from your fear.

    As for “socialist”: what does that word even mean? Is your Social Security and your Medicare “socialist?” Are your schools “socialist?” Socialism is supposed to mean abolishing most private property and turning all means of production over to the workers. I don’t see any of that happening any time soon.

    Believe in America. Also, I hope you’re here in 20 years so we can talk about those crazy wild days back in the 2010s, and ruminate on how crazy we all got over that election.

  • Ruth H

    Thom, in 20 years I may be drooling, not talking, if I am still around.
    No matter what age I always plan another 15 to go.
    About socialism, I have a niece who married a Scotsman, they moved to the US so their children would not be raised in a socialist country so I will take their word for it. His mother has been refused her alzheimer pills and other medications because because is old, yet she is younger than I.

  • queenofallevil

    Dean,

    You are not going to see changes in the Democratic Party – you just empowered them. I still fail to see how you did so, KNOWING, that they don’t care about men at all. They will stop pandering to the militant feminists around the same time that they tell the unions to eff off. The Democrats believe one thing – social and financial equality for everyone without equal effort or output. The few will always be expected to provide for the many. As the “rich” will always be the villains that “owe” society (i.e. the special classes) for their success; men will always be seen as the financial breadbasket for women. That is called empowerment by the Dems and YOU voted for it.

    Kudos!

  • http://www.deanesmay.com Dean Esmay

    Queenie: So what exactly was Romney proposing to change any of this? I listened hard. Didn’t hear a chirp.

    You know how I think about politics: if you hitch your wagon on one of the two major parties, then, your fate rises and falls with that party’s fate. That’s why I support people like the Log Cabin Republicans–if you rely on one party, you’re stuck with that party.

    Ruth: Speaking of Scotsmen, here’s a thoughtful fella who still lives in Scotland!

    I’m sure he’d think me foolish to say so, but I find that accent delicious!

  • Ruth H

    Dean, I can’t spare the bandwidth to hear it all, but thank goodness my nephew speaks so I can understand him after 5 years of living in Texas. When we went to Scotland to visit them we had a hard time following directions. They take umbrage if anyone calls it an English or Irish accent but in Northern Scotland many of the street signs are in English and Celtic. And while I have complained that we are divided I find it extremely interesting that the Scots put so much emphasis on battles that happened hundreds of years ago.

  • Scott

    Thom Emery,

    Socialism is supposed to mean abolishing most private property and turning all means of production over to the workers. I don’t see any of that happening any time soon.

    I don’t know why people on the left or people who favor more net socialism like Dean keep arguing this logical fallacy. To them, it’s binary, either a society has abolished private property and has turned all “means of production over to the worker” and hence it’s socialist or it hasn’t and it isn’t socialist. Well, there’s many problems with that logical fallacy.

    First, that’s Communism you describe and not even the only form of Communism: it’s Marxist-Leninist-Stalinist Communism you describe. There are many forms of Communism (ones based around an industrial base, ones based around an agricultural base like the Khmer Rouge) and there are many forms of Socialism. Heck, even some socialism may be good for a society (like SS, Medicare, Medicaid, etc) just so long as those socialist parts of a society remain a small part of the GDP and remains a safety net that very few people use.

    When it starts becoming too much a percentage of GDP or too many people are on it it becomes the “socialism” we all dread. Where it is not merely a safety-net but instead a “Bread and Circuses” situation where politicians use the the public treasury to buy the votes and consent of the masses for them and their cronies to further rob the public treasury.

    That’s Socialism for you, in practice if not in theory. It has always been thus and will always be thus.