Confessions of A "Masculist"

I am coming out of the blogista closet to declare,"I am not a feminist." But before you hate, let me explain. I do not disagree with those who are, I just would never call myself one. In fact, this post is about Masculists, and I'm not talking about what has been defined on the internet. For instance, a masculist is not an anti-feminist. On the contrary, masculinity and femininity are two sides of the Venn diagram. We all live together. My concern has to do with the overlap and it's equality. There is no real male equivalent for feminist. There are conservative groups who fight feminism, but I'm not about fighting, I'm about responding.

I do not feel like a victim. Sure shit has happened to me. Fucked up shit even and yet I would never call myself a victim. I do not blame men as a whole, either. Regardless of what has happened to me in my past, by men, by women, by whomever, I love men. I do. I respect men and wish them equal opportunity as women. I believe that my generation of men is not "liberated." I watched most of the boys in my graduating class do nothing while the women went to Law School: Lost boys. So many of them and I believe this is a NEW phenomenon. Women are empowered, strong, demanding equal opportunities, fighting for their rights!

I grew up with boys who never grew up. I have lived with men, lost... Some would call them "losers" but fuck it, if women are or were ever "victims of the times" then so are many men today. (Why is it that their sisters were a success while they looked at themselves as failures?) Perhaps this is all coincidence, a southern Californian phenomenon where the boys' goals are to surf or skateboard and deliver pizzas, and the girls see no limitations on their future. I grew up thinking I could do anything. I was in control. I had the power. It's called confidence and I had it in spades growing up but until I moved out on my own did I meet a man who had it too.

I am not afraid of men. I do not think men are the problem. I could call women cruel and vindictive creatures because I have known cruel and vindictive women and just as men have disrespected me, hurt me, fucked me up in some way or another, so have women. When I found out I was pregnant I wanted a son and I would like to have four more. And if I do, I hope I can teach them to stand tall because the more I meet men my age, men who cannot look a woman in the eye, wannabe Peter Pans with their "I will never grow up. I want to be a little boy forever!" talk, I am afraid for my son, coughing in the exhaust of the so-called feminist revolution where double standards are overlooked and women's rights seem to have less and less regard for men's.


Recently I had lunch with a friend and self-proclaimed feminist. In one breath she talked about wearing a low-cut shirt to a job interview, knowing it would help her land the job. Minutes later she spoke of the waiter looking down her blouse "What an asshole!" Equal rights for women? Totally agree. Demanding equal pay and then waiting for the man to spot the bill every night? Totally disagree. Equal means equal. There is a double standard and it's getting worse. And worse. Remember that little show Sex in the City? Funny show about "Manizers." Rich women seeking rich men to "take care of them." A modern twist on the classic tale. Old-fashioned stereotypes in a modern western-world everywhere you look.


The "Boys are Stupid, Throw Rocks at Them" phenomenon is a perfect example. If someone wrote a book, and was selling pajamas and shirts and posters that said: "Girls are Stupid, Throw Rocks at Them," shit would fly. The artist would be stoned. There would be marches and protests and rallies... It would be a serious offense. So what the fuck? Tell me how THAT is fair? How do I explain all this to my son when we pass the poster at the mall? "Well, because you are a boy, it's okay for girls to think you are stupid."

How would you explain that to your daughters?

Where does that leave men? Under a lot of pressure, threatened perhaps, not by women themselves but by the cultural changes in the climate. Global warming?

Women have always had the power, and although our voices may have been silenced, we spoke anyway, as muses, and revolutionaries. Sexual power, cultural power, financial power and suddenly men become utilitarian. "Men, who needs them?" We do. We are closing in on electing a women candidate for president. We have come a long way, people. It made sense yesterday to fight, but today? What about tomorrow?

The Lost boys of Never-Never Land are very real. Just like the strong, empowered women who raised their voices and stood tall. I am a mother of a son and like many of you with daughters I plan to raise him strong and empowered because I truly think for the first time in history the pendulum is swinging the other way.

Mary Walstonecraft Shelley had a point, in fact she had many and I adored, "A Vindication of the Rights of Women" And if we were living in the 19th Century, I would fight and bleed for women's rights but it's the Twenty-first Century now. There is a bigger picture here, one that includes men as well, and as the mother of a son, I am concerned.

GGC

49 comments:

MrsFortune | 1:44 PM

Ohh, boy, I have a feeling some feathers are gonna fly over this one! Go you. So I'm going to be the first, I guess.

I am a feminist. I am a feminist because so many women seem afraid to say they are feminists because of the backlash they'll get. Oh you're a feminist, you must be a dyke. Or whatever. I am a feminist because while the tide may be turning toward the little boys peter pan syndrome right now, it has been thousands (well, approximately 2-4 thousand) years in the making for women. Opression of women by men is a systematic, long-standing evil that will take a long, long time to overcome - if it is possible for it to be overcome at all. The whole peter pan syndrome thing seems to me more contemporary. Maybe this is short sighted of me. Time will tell. Nonetheless, when I hear people using sexist language (or racist, or heterosexist), I correct them. I let them know there are people who care.

I am about to give birth to a son. For him I will be a masculinist. But I hope he'll be a feminist, too. I used to say that I wasn't a feminist, I was a humanist. But that was until I realized that for me, denying that I was a feminist meant that I got to get out of saying what I believed in. And for me, it was about cowardice.

Longest comment EVAH! Sorry Becs. Love ya.

mo-wo | 2:08 PM

No, the lost boys are not confined to your locale. I struggle with them quite regularly, my friends, lost partners.. my [....shhhhhhh] husband...

While I would not agree with the dichotomy of the feminist/masculinist I undertstand the need for the device to draw out the commentary.

Interesting...cheers

D. | 2:11 PM

Ok, so the male perspective on this post is needed. Since I don't have a blog on which to respond...

I don't exactly consider myself a "lost boy" per se but I, like you, have seen MANY of that type. In fact, all of my male friends from High School... there's a reason I don't hang out with them anymore.

But Our "State" is consequence of more than just Southern California apathy. It has to do with the baby boom, the Women's Rights movement of the 70's, and the fight for the entrance of women into corporate America that really took off in the 80s. It has to do with targeted advertising on day time TV. It has to do with the fact that old time Male role models -- the type with women feeding them grapes as they kill the bad guy with a poison-tipped paper airplane -- became so unfashionable and politically incorrect (unless you are James Bond) that we never grew up wanting to be them. (Neil Armstrong was my hero growing up, a man who was a great role model but not a "Male" role model, if you know what I mean.)

We were raised by women. Our parents were a transitional group. Women were strong, but were stay-at-home strong. Most of the kids I knew growing up were raised by women. Even in two income households, the mother's job would allow her to be home when the kids got home from school.

We were raised by strong women and not by strong men, and many of us were never shown how to be their equal, because _competing with women was too often seen as "asserting your dominance" and was thus mysoginistic. There was no way to ever win. The girls had the power on the playground then, and they have the power in the bedroom now*.

Anyway, the thesis of this whole thing is that us boys/guys/men can't make eye contact with women because we feel we are not their equals. They hold all the cards, and yet they still make us play our hands. That's a big hump for a lot of us to get over.

Great post by the way.

*Don't get me wrong, this aspect is definitely not a bad thing, but you get the point.

GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 2:38 PM

Thanks to everyone for your insight and ideas. To D., you make great points, speaking from experience and from the man's point of view. Of course I am a woman, so I only know what I have seen and experienced through relationships with men. I appreciate your post and thank you for sharing.

Noelle | 2:43 PM

Wow. Fantastic post.

There's so much I want to say about this, if only I could figure out where to start. I used to call myself a feminist, but I got so tired of all of the "feminists" around me talking about how awful "men" are. (More often than not, these women were really talking about a man in particular who had made them feel like two cents worth of dog shit - but somehow, that was enough to make ALL men the enemy.) When and how did this happen? I'm sorry, but I don't buy that being woman-positive necessitates being man-negative! What the hell?

I have learned to ignore the "Boys are stupid" phenomenon - because it's everywhere. But I was touched by the idea that you or any mother would someday have to explain to her son that that is culturally acceptable: "Girls are allowed to think you're stupid because you're a boy." What?

I have been quietly angry about this issue for a while, but your post seems to have enraged me all over again. Thanks for posting about this!

Karen | 2:52 PM

Hmmm, my thoughts are yet unformed on this - the asparagus is almost done.


I am feminist, but not the man-hating, corporate ladder type. How could I be? I'm a work-at-home-mom who sews for a living.

However, when I think about my daughter's future versus my son's future I do relexively picture that it will be harder for her to make her way, at the very leat professionally. I think she'll be forced to fight different battles than he will be. In my demographic - East Coast child of Fortune 100 professional - I don't see so many lost boys; I see my peers grown up to be professional men and SAHMs. Remember - soggy asparagus and unformed thoughts here. More later. Good post. Definitely more later.

Awesome Mom | 3:18 PM

This is something that is very much on my mind as the mother of two boys. I have also been educating myself on how boys learn vs how girls learn. It is very interesting to see that women have taken over the majority on colleges. I an not sure what to really say other than I do not want my son to be one of those lost boys and I want them to be good husbands when they grow up.

Binky | 4:29 PM

I really enjoy these thought provoking posts! My main passion was evoked in response to these words: "We have come a long way, people. It made sense yesterday to fight, but today? What about tomorrow?" All I can think about is the fact that a woman's right to privacy and her freedom to make her own choices are more threatened now than they have been in my lifetime. We NEED to keep fighting. I agree that the semantical nuances of that fight are open to debate (feminism v. masculism v. humanism) but the fact remains that we cannot rest on our laurels. The best way to honor the legacy of all the women who fought for equality before us is to acknowledge that there is still fighting and bleeding to be done. We are not there yet. But your points are good ones that should be taken into account as we fight for equal rights in a constantly evolving context.

sweetchaos | 4:29 PM

I used to say I was a feminist. Until, I got my degree in women studies and had someone in the program actually say to me, while I was pregnant, "oh gosh, I'm so sorry you're having a boy. Now you'll have to nurse a male child." WTF?

Anyhoo - I think that children need to be raised with the expectation that they can do anything. Not just daughters, not just sons. And I include deciding to stay home and raise the babies.

Just my 2 cents.

Mom101 | 4:58 PM

Wonderfully epic post!

Like Mrs Fortune I too am a feminist. It doesn't mean I'm combative or hate men or that I want to throw rocks at boys. I hope we're past that shit soon for Archer's sake.

I think the reason they can get away those T-shirts, however (and barely--it got a ton of bad press), is the same reason blacks can make digs at white folks, the poor at the rich, or the people at the government. It's because there's an unwritten rule in our society that you don't demean the already demeaned, but you can go after those with the power. I mean can you imagine the Dave Chappelle show with the tables turned? White folks making fun of the African-American culture for an hour at a time? Chaos. Riots. The end of days.

And yes, I have to say I do believe that men still have the power. Women may have power, but not The Power. Men run the companies, the government, the schools. The businessworld (and thus the world) functions on men's terms, under their rules. Crying at work=bad. War analogies at work=good.

And don't get me wrong, I thrive in this world. I loves me some men. But it is how it is.

And while I'm the first one on the elect Hillary bandwagon (and have the cancelled checks to back it up), her gender is still considered something to be overcome.

Let's just say no one ever asked her husband on the campaign trail, "So, how does it feel to be a man running for President?"

Gina | 6:59 PM

Wow, you are a thought provoking writer! I can't help but check this site once a day to see what's on your mind. I fully appreciate every word of this post. You are right. I hope I can teach my son the principles needed for him to be a self motivated kid, teenager and adult.

I have to say I agree with "d." on how the women hold the cards. This seems to ring true in potential and long standing romantic relationships. I can't say it works like this at my house, but every other wife I know seems to have the upper hand.

GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 7:21 PM

Thanks Gina and like you, I agree with D. I can't say that I have the upper hand in my house, but... Well, on second thought. Hmmm. Yeah, most of the time I probably do.

gusmomma | 7:31 PM

damn...that was the best post ever...you took the freaking words out of my mouth!!! now watch when i tell my olympia washington living feminist come lately friend, hehe...you kick ass!!!!!

stefanierj | 7:35 PM

Can I be a feminist AND a masculist?

I agree with Mom-101 and Binky. Things are still bad on macro levels for women--it makes me think of the part of Chris Rock's routine where he talks about the difference between "rich" and "wealthy." He points out that Shaq, for instance, is rich, but that the dude that signs Shaq's paychecks is *wealthy.* I'd draw an analogy to this and say that women are rich in things like cultural capital--that is, they can get away with man-hating, making stupid t-shirts like the one you reference, etc. But men still hold the "wealth"--they control most of the important decisions and the money that makes these decisions possible. So I've decided I'm a feminist AND a masculist.

One thing I found AHHH-WESOME about Gloria Steinem when she spoke here at the U was that she said we are in an age where we are allowed to raise our girls like boys but not allowed to raise our boys like girls. I think Dar Williams's song "When I Was a Boy" speaks to this brilliantly, and I think it's sad that it's not socially okay for me to play dolls with my son and teach him how to do housework, but it's fine for me to teach a daughter to fix a car.

Sorry for the long-ass comment....

reluctant housewife | 8:07 PM

GGC,

Jawdropping, amazing post. I wish I would have written it myself.

I am a feminist and a masculist (thank you, I'd never heard the term before). I agree with you and D. I am the mother of a boy, but even before I was a mother I never bought that feminism meant I had to be a man-hater (and not all feminists are).


I've said this before elsewhere, but the fact that something was written by a man doesn't make it automatically oppressive against women.

Yes, women still have a ways to go, and we cannot rest on our laurels. But we don't have to resort to hate to achieve equality. That doesn't even make sense!

As for me, I like both my men and my women strong.

the weirdgirl | 10:58 PM

I consider myself a feminist and I love men! Always have and usually got along better with men than with some women I knew. I've always had lots of male friends. Just because I wanted to keep up with them doesn't mean I bashed them.

I'm also with Mom-101 (and Binky and Stefanierj and Mrs. Fortune). I don't think women have THE POWER. Things are better now, but it wasn't that long ago that things were MUCH worse. I have a friend who's about 15 years older than me who used to have a manager who would literally cop feels of her and all the other women who worked underneath him. And they were all afraid to say anything because they thought they would get fired. Can you imagine getting your boobs grabbed while you're working? My father-in-law had to go in front of a judge at court for my mother-in-law to be granted an abortion that the doctors said would kill her. And there was still the chance the judge could have said no. So yes, I do feel we still have to be vocal. It isn't the same "fight" it used to be, but that doesn't mean we don't have to hold on to what we have.

On another note, your description of the Lost Boys is the same description that was attributed to Generation X'ers (of which, I'm supposed to be one). I knew a lot of both young men and women who were drifting. But I also knew plenty of others like myself and my hubby who weren't drifting at all. I can't really speak to your peers but though it may seem like there is a generation of boys who don't have direction, I would wait and see. A funny thing happened with the "slacker" Gen X'ers... they ended up finding direction and many now are following their dreams.

krista | 5:20 AM

Oh dear.

At first when i started to read this post (as a feminist) I got my back up and started the arguments about the existing lack of equality between men and women- especailly around maginalized women and women of lower socio-economic status. The further I read through you post I became a little refreshed at the alternet perspective. It's always good to have balance in your thinking.

I have concerns about raising my boys. There are a few good books about raising boys that I've seen (but not yet read) that discuss managing the gap between the medias influence of boys to behave certain emotionally unhealthy ways, and the familys influece to raise thinking feeling emotionally intellegent boys. This is mostly m concern raising boy.

On a petty note, I have to take issue with your mention of Sex in The City though, because I love that show. I don't feel it was about Manizers trying to get rich men to take after them. They were strong single women who were dating men in New York City. they weren't looking for handouts. They all had jobs, and lived their own lives. The show was more about sisterhood than anything if you ask me.

Emily | 7:03 AM

AWESOME POST!

Kristen | 8:20 AM

I actually never called myself a feminist and to everyone's shock (or maybe it's just my own) I used to criticize them.

But, then I went to college and learned a little something about women's history and got pissed.

So, now I do call myself a feminist. HOWEVER, I loathe double standards and hypocrisy - the proverbial cake and eat it too (the door opening, dinner paying, etc.). I never ever expect that or desire that whatsoever. I will teach my daughter about being polite - but chivalry - bah.

As for the notion of hating boys, with oppression comes outward forms of agression - acceptable - NO? understandable, yes. I hate mentioning apartheid because that's so HUGE and EVIL - but you see it now - such acting out and hatred from people who had been so oppressed and hated themselves. How is that possible we ask? Well, that's what thousands of years of oppression does to people.

I agree that we don't have the power, and I think as women in a male-dominated society we still have blinders on. Stuff seems "harmless" and "not-such-a-big-deal" to us because we are used to it... And perhaps, if we were to question ALL the injustices against women that we truly encounter on a daily basis, it would be pretty darn depressing.

I don't disagree with you (although, like Krista, I never saw the Satc girls as manizers - but rather as women with power - not the power, but some). I think you raise excellent points - namely that the feminist movement need not aim at hating men - it's not a good place to be.

grayelephant | 10:24 AM

where to start?? you brought up a really interesting issue. i am a feminist, and before having my son, i got pretty into it... scary as it is, i will admit that i started to actually believe that women were the superior sex, the smarter sex. i was the man-hating feminist (no, i am not a lesbian)... geez, talk about hypocrisy! like so many other well-intentioned causes that have become twisted and painfully warped, so had this (feminism) for me.

today, i am still a feminist (for its original meaning of equality among the sexes), although now it has a negative connotation to it because of the extremists (ummm... i wasn't that bad, was i?!! ok, i was pretty bad!). i still do think that this is still a patriarchal society. but you have a valid concern which i am with you on.

now the most important person in my life (my son) is a male. the person i love more than life is a male. the person who brings tears to my eyes just at the thought of him is a male. having a son really changed my perspective on this particular topic. had i not had a son, would i be clothing my daughter in "Boys are Stupid" gear? scary thought!!

GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 10:34 AM

This is great! All of you are so insightful and I appreciate your ideas and perspective. Fab ladies, all of you.

Blog Antagonist | 1:15 PM

Excellent post. As the mother of two boys, I relate to and agree with everything you said. I tried to say something similar on my blog a while back but you said it much better. Kudos!

one smarmy mama | 1:23 PM

You are AWESOME.

I completely and totally agree with pretty much all of this.

In my adult life, I've always hung out and associated with the leftest of the left of folks and I've always gotten shit for saying "I'd never call myself a femenist". Recently, on livejournal, I got kicked out of a community because I openly admitted that I consider myself an equalist, and I was chastized that the term equalist was namby pamby bullshit.

Anyways.......yeah. It is a topic that frustrates me to no end sometimes.......I don't get it. But, I will never call myself a feminist.

cutemama | 1:27 PM

Hmmm, it sounds like there are many people who are both feminists and masculists, what should we call ourselves- dualists?individualists? mascufeminists?
I think you are right that boys are often neglected and exploited in our society, and people think "he's a boy, he's tough." It's not right. Just like the whole sexy woman image is bad for women it is terrible for boys too. They are pressured to be promiscious. In fact it's reached levels of psychological damage-there are thousands of porn addicts now, and big surprise, they are mostly men. Many people don't consider this as a true addiction but it absolutely is and it destroyes lives and families. On the other hand a stay at home mother who helps to raise the next generation of citizens and workers still doesn't earn Social Security credits for her work. It's considered among other things "free labor". Also, women still only make about 80cents to a mans dollar in the job market. I wholeheartedly agree that raising women up shouldn't require bringing men down.

sunshine scribe | 2:25 PM

Excellent post. I loved reading it there were times I got really angry and others I was nodding my head frantically in agreement.

Fundamentally I am a Feminist. I even work in a feminist organization that helps survivors (not victims) of domestic violence. I am a feminist who believes in equalit and not double standards. I agree with you wholeheartedly that equal means equal.

I am also a mother of a son and want all the same things for my son that you do so I guess that makes me a masculist as well. I don't think those two philosophies can't coexist.

At the core of this discussion is that there still exist so many systemic inbalances of power in our society despite the many progresses we've made. Women do not yet have the power that men hold in our culture but we've come along way and reverse sexism is never a justifiable way to make any point for women's rights. Women who think that it is and live the double standard make me crazy.

Sal Glynn | 3:25 PM

Nice going, Rebecca, on stirring up your readership with an unsolvable problem. XX and XY still play the wallflowers when they could be dancing together. For both genders laboring under a social system whose wealth depends on playing one side against another, the time is now to:

Unscrew the locks from the doors!
Unscrew the doors themselves from their jambs!
--William Blake

Mind you, this is only an opinion.

Her Bad Mother | 5:43 PM

Awesome, awesome post.

I think that the correct term, as alternative to misogyny, would be misandry. I totally agree that it gets out of hand, and it's a shame for many reasons, among which that it degrades feminism, which has done so much good. But the heartbreaking shame is that it sets up boys to fail in human relationships, in love - how to explain to them a world in which men are often freely characterized as beasts? How to raise them to love women well when they will inevitably learn that, for many, they are The Enemy, or, at least, A Threat? And (my issue) how to raise our daughters to love men well, in a world where men are often demonized?

I'm with Mom-101 that this is part of a larger phenomenon of attacking groups that are, or are perceived to be, powerful. Paulo Freire, in his Pedagogy of the Oppressed, suggested that it was very nearly inevitable (tho' combatable through appropriate education, hence the title) that oppressed groups seize any available opportunity to exercise oppression themselves - that it's too tempting to pass up, the opportunity to oppress the oppressors (or, in some unfortunate cases, a whole new oppressable group). Nietzsche (who was and is understood by many to be one of the great misogynists) was onto this much earlier (tho' he stood on the shoulders of giants), and called the whole phenomenon ressentiment, a characteristic of slave morality. Anyhoo. Blah blah philosophy blah.

End of the day, I think that being meaningfully feminist *requires* being meaningfully masculist - recognizing that we cannot fully flex (nor *enjoy*) whatever power we gain (and those gains do remain slow) without recognizing that we must share that power. That might be hard (and some would say impossible), but necessary. Our sons and daughters should aim at nothing less, because they deserve nothing less.

Angel Baby | 6:59 PM

I think you could devote an entire blog to this topic! Obviously your thoughts are timely...

Though I can't get seem to get past d's post because it made me SO ANGRY - yet so many people seemed to agree with him that I'm wondering if I'm missing the point.

He states as his "thesis", "boys/guys/men can't make eye contact with women because we feel we are not their equals. They hold all the cards, and yet they still make us play our hands. That's a big hump for a lot of us to get over."

This is so outrageous that it seems to me like it's got to be a joke. (Obviously he speaks only of American Women, right?) But WHAT women hold all the cards? The feminist movement evolved out of women's frustration with their lives- something needed to be done about a whole lot of things. We can all thank the feminist movement for making us strong enough to stop putting up with a whole lot of crap- for Title IX, for acknowledging the glass ceiling, for getting women into college, for making domestic abuse a crime, for giving us choice. Women had some pretty big humps to get over too and so we took on the challenge.

The identity of women have changed over the past sixty plus years. The identity of men doesn't seem to have changed that much. But, for crying out loud, buck up and get busy and start your own masculist movement and change what it means to be a man if you're unhappy. It's not any woman's job to do that for the men out there. I cannot feel sorry for another's apathy. Strive!

(Please note - regarding raising our sons... I think GGC is absolutely correct. Raising an empowered boy is just as important as raising a sensitive one. And I think boys can definitely grow up to be strong, thoughtful men.)

If you take a look outside of California you might find a LOT of men and women who don't fit into any of the feminist/masculist/lost boy identities that we're talking about here. There is an enormous variety in what makes up "normal" or even "feminist"... (or masculist, or gay, or metrosexual, or disabled, or {enter your convenient label here}) ...when you start catagorizing people, important characteristics and connections get lost. People are so much more than what they are called or what they call themselves. In our developing Post-Modern culture, these labels are becoming obsolete because people are able to recognize the limitations that they create. If d. feels like women are out there who are "making him play his hand" whose fault is that really?

scarbie doll | 9:37 PM

I don't know what label to give myself. I often feel like a gay man trapped in a woman's body. I mean, I LOVE men. I love Pottery Barn, and Whitney Houston house remixes, and matching your belt to your shoes. All things gay, save coke and anal sex. I am not a girly girl in personality, though I love me a full skirt and some heels. But oh how I love men. I cannot imagine a world without them.

To me equality of gender is much like equality of race. Sure there are differences, ones we should embrace. But I prefer not to live my days judging or being judged on race or sex. Not always easy to do, mind you. Plus, though I can control my end, I can't control what's "out there".

I prefer that my husband doesn't use the "man card" so that I find myself paying the bills with my hard-earned cash and then coming home to clean his house and feed his child too. Nuh-uh. That ain't equality. That's part of what gave feminism a bad name.

Men are good souls who have been abused into submission. They no longer know how to act or what their place in the world is. They no longer know what's appropriate to say, if it's appropriate to show emotion and how to be an equal parent to a child that clings to Mommy all day. It's tough. The double standard we have for men is competely irritating and dilutes the message we fought for.

As a mother of a son, I can totally relate to your concern. I don't want my son to grow up in a world that makes him feel less than what he is -- a human. We need to stand beside each other on this planet, not above or below. When someone is down, we help them up, and bring them back to equal footing. That is the way I'd like to raise my son. It's a drop of water in the ocean, but if enough of us raise our children with these ideals, maybe, just maybe, there's hope.

Andrea | 11:24 AM

OMG, you have just said EXACTLY what I've been trying to say over on Mrs. Fortune's comments for her Wednesday, April 19th post, but you said it so much more articulately than I. I will be back to read more later! Thank you for this post. So clearly written.

Jozet | 6:29 AM

I think that, depending on definition and thoughts putinto action, feminist and masculist need not be mutually exclusive.

I have two daughters. I have a son on the way. I find the "Girls Rule, Boys Drool" shirts equally offensive as the "I'm a Princess - Give me Things" shirts as equally offensive as the little boys at the pleground telling my daughters that they can't be the knight, that they have to be saved as equally offensive as groups of 7-year-old girls who are already picking on and excluding the quiet little girl with the tangly hair as offensive as the group of boys who called my friend's 6yo son "faggot" because cried during soccer practice.

There is a place for feminism and masculinism, but only as long as they both ultimately advance, advocate, and promote understanding of and for all humans, bar none.

Kristen | 2:46 PM

GGC, this was an awesome post. I haven't had a chance to read through all the comments yet so I'm sure I'm missing part of a robust discussion, but I'm actually writing this from work and should keep it brief. I just wanted to say that you expressed something I've felt for a long time, but have never gone to the trouble to write or say in public for fear of the backlash. My understanding of "feminism" though, was always EQUALITY, not empowerment to the point of it being okay to stereotype and discriminate against the OTHER sex. The pendulum is definitely swinging back; I have two sons, and am also VERY concerned. I really appreciated your words. Thanks.

Tom | 1:43 PM

hi

male 46 Texas... also, I am a reborn male. by reborn I mean, at a late age, struggled to become the traditional ideal of a masculine male.. that is "ideal" not typical. I unlike many of my sometimes jealous male friends, openly and with sincerity appreciate the traditional lady who trust me. and through that I hope to deserve her. I was raised by an angry, male-demeaning very un-feminine mom. it was pretty bad. I tried to spoil my first wife into showing love for me while she grew more demanding, less respectful, and generally unhappy with me overall with no apparent ability or desire to verbally explain any of it. after 6 years I gave up. then the second wife who was more traditional or so it seemed, while expecting me, ( because of my being male ), to be primarily the leader of the household. She was a low paid armed guard when I met her and she responded well and enthusiastically to my encouragement to improve herself. when we split, she was my equal as a senior Radiation tech, working nuclear power plant shutdowns where we both earned about 6k a month net. letters we exchanged a couple years after the split revealed a surprise for me, after becomming my financial equal, she became unhappy becasue she "found it harder to look-up to me" ( her exact words ) and she left me for a man that earned 300k a year and was a researcher of some sort. I thought that her being my equal would make her happy. She showed me an article about how women usually marry men with higher IQs than them, and how the higher the IQ of a woman, the more likely she would remain single past her child bearing years. Penny ( the 2nd )told me that she believed that the article / study was right in that a woman has to work harder to respect a man who is her inferior in some obvious or traditionally upside down way, and that a woman has to respect her man to find it natural to love him. over that summer she sent me many articles about how easily a woman disrespects the "kept-man" who is with a woman being the primary earned in the home, or the man who in some way is an inadequate provider. I re read her emails and letters to me over the next 3 single years and one day met a young pretty girl at an SCA event in Pa, who was enamored with me. We shared the loaner archery gear for the archery contest.. but, The more I ignored her the more she tried to be with me. Until one day she arranged for me to work for her father who owned a small shipping company. yes, at the time I needed a new job as the nuclear power industry gravy train had jumped the track. She was only 19 and I was 37. That was the main reason I gently pushed her away. but driving for her father, and her wanting to travel after getting out of school, she went on many trips with me. I listened to her talk for thousands of miles and I saw how she was not damaged
by half a dozen relationships that seem to cause the vast majority of american women to become hateful of an entire gender, and how amazingly old fashioned she was about traditional gender roles. Even though I was actually confused about her desire to be more of a follower than an equal or a leader, I listened to her ideas about that also. So I tried to be the leader that she fantasized about, and she has over the years contentedly settled in under my appreciative guidance. and even now, just before our 8th anniversary, I still feel the lost boy feelings that are the opposite of the rtesponsibilities she views as love.

cinnamon gurl | 2:04 PM

So thought provoking I had to write my own post in response. It's at http://writeabouthere.blogspot.com/2006/10/new-f-word.html

Anonymous | 1:34 PM

It's a frightening time to be a male in America. Our voices have been skewed or silenced and the policies and laws written by the elite few men who really control everything seem to imply that the vast majority of men are soulless tools to be used up and disposed of. Check out my own blog for some readily-researchable statistics.

I don't know where we go from here. Marriage and reproduction rates in the western world are falling catastrophically, partly due to women's choice and partly due to the fact that men are starting to realize that marriage is now a form of slavery for men (more money and more hours are never enough, plus you get to cook, clean, mow and fix stuff when you come home - and if the man ever complains, he risks being impoverished and having his life devastated by divorce, which women initiate 80% of the time). While the media and education collude to project the message that women are to be promoted, respected, venerated and adored ever more so - while boys and fathers are bumbling imbeciles to be shamed and ignored - it still seems that women feel insecure and want more.

In a world where a woman's fiat accusation can imprison a man without evidence and courts rule overwhelmingly to impoverish divorced fathers with alimony and child support for children they aren't allowed to see once they're kicked out of their homes, I'm not sure how much more there is to give. Seven extra years of higher-quality life? Oops - women already have that.

It's bewildering that feminism can exist at all now as a devotion and serious endeavor, but I think I understand why it does. It's because the tiny number of ultrawealthy white male elites who really do run the world are considered the "peer set" by feminists. Though the majority of men work menial and often dangerous jobs and can barely afford health care, they're invisible. The only men feminists concern themselves with are at the very top.

Why is that? Now that women are the dominant sex, why can't they consider being lenient - even chivalrous - toward men, as men were supposed to be toward women while they were oppressed?

Dana | 7:42 PM

"I am afraid for my son, coughing in the exhaust of the so-called feminist revolution where double standards are overlooked and women's rights seem to have less and less regard for men's."

ROCK ON. That's just awesome. I surfed into this post via another site and I just had to tell you how rockin' that statement (and post) was.

the mad momma | 5:27 AM

kloved this post.. linking up to it .... have you done anymore that are similar in content?

Alicia | 1:05 AM

I am a feminist and a mother of a son. I don't know why feminist became linked to men-hating, it has nothing to do with it. There are women that hate men, it doesn't make them feminists. Feminism is about equality, not about women superiority. You should be grateful to the feminist movement that took care of your rights to study, hold property and work, even when you proclame that you are not a feminist... And regarding men that find themselves lost because of this equality, is their problem, my husband has no problem with competing equaly with men and women, as my son won't have any problem, because they have grown up to see women as equal. The men who suffers are the ones that believe they should have been superior to women and find out they are not. Their problem.

Monika | 4:21 PM

I've been trying to put that same thought into words for years.
xD
It's amazing how hypocritical some women are, huh?
I'm very glad that we're able to vote and have good careers and can go to school, but we're just as important as men.
If all the men died, there'd be no life.
If all the women died, there'd still be no life.
So I don't get why women feel they're so much more important than men these days.
Sure, some guys are pigs, but a lot of women are total bitches too.
It doesn't make sense to me.

Allison | 12:47 PM

I realize his post was made a while ago and my comment will never be read, but are you fucking serious? Women continue to be paid less on the dollar than men for equal work, and I'm supposed to feel SORRY for a generation of "lost boys"? Do you know why women tend to do better in school (and as a result wind up in law school while men sit at home in their underwear and play video games? It is because women are socialized to SHUT THE FUCK UP AND DO AS WE ARE TOLD. So the patriarchal system has backfired in this case, and I am supposed to feel sorry that men can't keep up?

So you don't like women, whatever. It honestly just sounds like you want to validate your sophomoric complexes about women that perhaps may be better looking and/or more successful than you. I would rather call those women my friends and colleagues. Please stop trying to mask this bullshit with some pseudo-intellectual argument, because you sound like a complete tool.

JBirch22 | 12:26 PM

Well said! I agree that the feminist movement (righteous and necessary as it was at the time of its conception) has in a lot of ways taken away the roles of men and left them discouraged and goal-less (word?).

Here's a post I wrote on the subject, if you're in the mood to read it http://aspiringdomesticgoddess.blogspot.com/2009/10/my-very-lenghty-opinion-piece-on.html

While my view on the topic leans more towards the "traditional" or old school side, we share a lot of the same views on the subject.

I also love this concept of "Masculism" :)

Dan | 4:28 PM
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Dan | 4:31 PM

I'd just like to say this post is a breath of fresh air. I just stumbled upon the concept of the masculist, and while I haven't studied it much, I feel like I already know what it's about. Since none of you know me, I'll be honest with you (I'm a man after all, I have to keep my feelings bottled up). I've been depressed, confused, angry, and apathetic, all in running cyclic stages at what has become of "men." We are performing worse and worse in school, we focus on all the wrong things, and generally have lost our way. To preface, I think we, men, fucked up (I hope it's alright I use some language, seems like there was some in the original post). While you attribute it to male utilitarianism, of which we take pride, I think men became absolutely impressed with their own abilities and accomplishments. I think we lost sight of the beauty and supreme importance our women play in the world. I use the word our intentionally, and I don't mean to convey ownership in the possessive sense, but ownership as part of a team. The fact is we lost sight of the pain, the struggle, but also the beauty of childbirth, the uncanny ability of the mother to run the household (and today pursue a career) and generally shape and mold the next generation of society. We screwed this up and I don't blame women for their anger and backlash.

With that, I had started getting this feeling that most women weren't so anti-masculine after all. Perhaps that's why I stumbled onto this blog. The more women I dated and became friends with, the more it reinforced the perception that women still enjoyed men that act like men, but that one's that never swayed from the ultimate respect for women. I think we lost that for a great while. And it became self-perpetuating, for the greatest thing a father can do is to show respect for a child's mother, of course the opposite is valid as well. That's no more true than today.

So maybe we can usher in a golden age of men. I've felt so lost and fearful when pursuing a relationship. After all, I've been told I'm nothing but an adulterous, whorish beast who can't control his sexual inclinations. Maybe it's not true (I know it's not). I think if women and men can be partners in shaping this new landscape, we can be much more productive than as enemies as some have portrayed.

Dan | 4:32 PM

To let you know where I come from, I have to be honest, and read it all before you react. I do not want women fighting in the infantry or any job that guarantees them personal harm. I would never be able to stand the sight of a woman suffering, I believe that's my instinct, and I don't believe it's wrong. But it got to a point where I would get mad at women's advocacy groups; I gained the sense that they were there to demonize all men as dangerous and one's that should be considered suspect. I felt despair at this feeling, for who should feel a more ardent advocate for women than real, strong men? But then I saw, there are evil men and they do terrible things. But there are great men, too, and I think they are vital in helping to reduce, if not prevent, the physical and mental harm of women.

So, yes I am against women fighting in war. Not because they are not capable, but because I don't want them to have to. I want my future wife to be at home raising my children, not because I don't want her to work, but because my children will need their mother (I bet they'll need their father too; also this concept is why my mother became a teacher, for as she said "I get to work and still be home when you are") I bet there are some women that will read this and believe it's all hogwash, and if you disagree with me that is great, but please never question the foundations of my motives as anything less than pure and good. No real, strong man wants a weak, submissive woman as their partner, there's no excitement in it and she can never challenge you to be a better person. But I bet no real, strong woman wants a weak man.

Anonymous | 4:20 AM

Dan, I find your comments insulting, so men need to be "strong" in terms of the traditional aggressive take it like a man very insulting, to both men and women , for the man who takes and does hazardous occupations any concern about health would be dismissed but not women.


The reason your comment in an insult although it may not be an intention is that you view as being extremely vulnerable to emotional harm and being less of a mother or not being as qualified which I bet that a woman who's children are in danger unlike a man who plays aggressive would more likely pull the trigger immediately.

Women should be in combat, many woman are police officers, nurses, etc and are strong and professional and serious and may criticize fellow woman for being lazy. Israeli woman are in combat and are drafted in the military.

Dan | 5:38 PM

I'm having trouble comprehending exactly what you're getting at, but let's try...

I really hate having this debate, but I'll bite. First of all, Israeli women were permitted to serve in combat roles in the 1990's and was identified to be a failure. Israeli women committed more war crimes than men and men acted differently with women around. There was a moratorium placed on combat status, which was then lifted. At the present, women may serve in infantry roles, but are limited with minor exception to defensive status, just as many of our own women do. Furthermore, Israel would be a prime example of a nation where women "may" need to serve in those roles considering their geopolitical situation. These are facts and supported by first hand conservation with an Israeli Officer. It's all a moot point as far as I'm concerned, but since you went there...

I'm not really following your thought process in paragraph two so it's really hard to respond. To claim my words would be insulting to men is a bit ridiculous. Traditional roles weren't constructed out of thin air, they have evolved over millions of years of human and primate development. What I would agree with is that there has been a polarization of those roles and certainly this is worthy to explore. But men and women, as a norm, think different due to fascinating differences in hormones and neurotransmitters. That may pain you but it merely highlights the beauty and resiliency of nature. But when it comes down to women in combat, every single higher order species has gender role where one is designed to protect those that give life. We are no different.

So I suppose I can find it insulting how you so easily minimize the concept of combat as some gross fascination in your quest for woman's equality. I suppose I can find insult in that as I've seen friends and Soldiers of mine die, seen the carnage, and believe that in the end somehow I protect those that I love, both men and women. I suppose I can find insult in the fact that I tell you a woman has been gifted with the most important role on the planet, one that I literally can't do, and that I feel I am merely there to aid in the process and, in turn, that insults you, as somehow that view has become sexist. But in the end, I don't get insulted very easily, instead would rather pursue intelligent debates to arrive at a conclusion, regardless how opposed the counter-party's ideas may run. So I would implore you instead to stop finding a reason to be insulted and tell me your thoughts without invocation of emotion and it's a much better process for understanding.

As for the need for men to be "strong," it is well documented that we need to encourage men to drop the macho act and find a healthy dynamic between resilience and emotional processing. I think you are misconstruing my concept of "strength."

As always, I respect your position and views. To continuously adapt one's views to others perspectives is the mark of a true thinker and I will ponder your argument. Thank you for your response.

Anonymous | 1:36 AM

Marry me!

Sender | 1:59 PM

Am I a "Lost Boy" because I find nothing virtuous or worthwhile in success on the terms of our society? We are told that whoever is not working harder to earn more for himself, is not being productive or responsible. I disagree. My needs are few, and I have structured my life so that they remain as few as possible.

Perhaps I am "lost" when compared with a historical economy where I might have been, by virtue of institutional education, recruited into some fulfilling profession? Such an expectation was never reasonable for most men. So I see no sense mourning it, though others do. I'd rather just appreciate my life for what it is.

Perhaps I am "lost" because I forgo raising a family? I choose not to see it that way. I am a good artist; I am not a good caretaker. Fulfilling either role is time and money intensive. I have only so much of either, so I focus on my strength and leave others' to them.

I'm glad (white, privileged) women are able to have glittering careers, if that's what they want. But I'm looking forward to the day they get sick of the bargain, too.

Anonymous | 7:04 AM

Recently, my girlfriend labeled me asexual. Scary at first. But, she still has much love for me.
I describe myself: gentle man.
That said, I'm not scared anymore. I'm a happy asexual,gentle man.