Open Letter to a “Feminist man”

An Open Letter to a “Feminist Man”

[whose actual name is not Bruce]

(c) 2011, Davd

Introduction:

If you think you’re a Feminist man, you’ve come to the right place—here are some issues you need to deal with in your own mind and life.  If you have a friend who thinks he’s a Feminist, and are looking for ways to articulate what’s wrong with that, maybe this letter will help—show it to him, adding what you may wish to be specific to his situation—it’s an “Open” letter.  (If you have improvements to offer, register as a site user and make a  productive comment.)

This won’t give much new knowledge to men who’ve been harmed by laws enacted in acceptance of Feminist lobbying, or to men who’ve been reading men’s-interest websites for a while.  It might help men who know the “dark side of  Feminism” but haven’t been satisfied with how they articulate disagreements to Feminists, to make a few improvements the next time they have to confront a Feminist—and especially, to confront a “Feminist man”.

Just looking at those walking talking oxymorons who call themselves “Feminist men”, and saying “You’re an oxymoron”,  doesn’t seem to work—though if they had to read this letter first, maybe some of them would get the message.

Pass it on where it will do good.  Maybe in a year or two we can call the few remaining “Feminist men”, you oxymoron, and they’ll know what we mean. Maybe some of them will decide that calling themselves “Feminist” is too foolish to continue.

Can the truth set even “Feminist men” free?

September 8, 2011  

“Dear Bruce”,

This is going to be an “open letter”, addressed to you, written about things you have advocated to me (especially about “Feminism”), but written in a less personal style and using some details and examples which you may not need to read, so that it can also be published for the benefit of other men i know, other men you know, and men neither of us know. The main focus is “why i don’t believe men should be—or call themselves—Feminists.”

Feminism is a huge, diverse “social movement”, comparable in political visibility and numbers involved, to Islam and Christianity and today, arguably significantly larger than the Marxism from which it arose in the third quarter of the 20th Century.  To use a term we often hear and read about religions and occasionally about philosophies and political movements, it has many sects, some more friendly toward us men than others, some more hostile than others.  Elaine Morgan, author of The Descent of Woman, pretty clearly likes men;  Valerie Solanas, author of The SCUM Manifesto, pretty clearly hated us.  A tour of men’s-interest websites will find you hundreds of references to dozens of works by dozens of different Feminist authors, which make damning and usually false statements about what men are like—and on balance, it does seem pretty clear that Feminism is much more in conflict with men and men’s well-being than in support.  (Dederer, 2004, names several “major Feminists” who hailed The SCUM Manifesto as valuable and important, and substantially concurred.  She herself writes “Solanas’s crazed rage doesn’t look so crazed anymore”. )

That’s one good reason for men not to be Feminist: We’d be supporting our foes.  (I didn’t say “enemies”, but some Feminists are our enemies while a few are our friends and many are simply glad enough to take all the advantages they can get in cross-gender competitions and conflicts.)  Just for instance, there are still programs to help girls succeed in school, over a decade into a 21st Century when Canadian , “American”, and most European schoolgirls are already scoring better than boys on-average.

The only way such programs would make sense, would be if it were clear that girls are actually much smarter than boys are, and their performance were not as far above ours as their intelligence.  Well, in fact, there are two main conclusions on that subject: One states that boys average smarter; the other, that the genders average equally smart but the variance among boys is significantly higher than among girls.  Neither of these two competing theses on gender and intelligence could possibly justify favouring girls when they are already getting higher grades on average.

So why do girls get higher grades if boys are at least equally smart?  Intelligence, obviously, is not all there is to getting high grades. What else is involved?

Schools are sit-down, sit-still, be-nice environments.  Boys prefer to stand up, move around, and be raucous.  Boys are less well adapted to standard schoolrooms than girls are.  (One study even found that boys learn better when they are moving around and humming.)  The schoolroom setting puts boys at a gender-based disadvantage.

Grades are assigned by teachers.  Most teachers are women.  It makes common-sense that women will find girls more amenable, more like them, in personality.  To the extent that the two genders write with different styles—for instance,  women and girls writing with more focus on feelings and boys and men, with more focus on facts and on cause-and-effect—women teachers will tend to favour the styles used by girls over those used by boys.  On that basis, which is distinct from the quality of thinking of each pupil and the knowledge held by each, girls will tend to “out-perform” boys.

A seriously Feminist man—you told me once you were one—would say the women teachers are right and the boys ought to act more like girls.  I disagree.

That last sentence was written confrontationally to introduce a definition of Feminism: Feminism is an intellectual, political, and social movement promoting and favouring the attitudes, interests, outlooks, perceptions, and values of women vis-a-vis those of other human beings.

So why would a man promote and favour the attitudes, interests, outlooks, perceptions, and values of women vis-a-vis those of other human beings? Why would he prefer women’s ways to those of our own gender? to those of children?  The easy and natural thing for men to do is to favour our own attitudes, interests, outlooks, perceptions, and values.  If women favour theirs, many of them might become some kind of Feminist—it’s in their self-interest to do so.  If we favour ours, we will naturally provide a critique of the flawed and selfish aspects of Feminism, which seems like good service to the general human interest.

(Jesus Christ took a very interesting stand on this very subject: He said that we should be childlike! {Mat 18:3-4, 19:14; Mark 10: 14-15; Luke 18: 16-17}.  So as a Christian, i should be promoting the attitudes, perceptions, and outlooks—of children!—rather than of women, if i choose to depart from what is natural to me as a grown man.)

That isn’t to say that Feminism has always been good for women.  It does seem to have given some gains to the women who lobbied and demonstrated for changes in laws and economic practises in the last third of the 20th Century—but they are one generation of Euro-American and European women, not the condition of women “over all”.

Feminism has “got it wrong” on at least two major issues: Abortion and marriage.  In the case of abortion, the interests and even vital needs of unborn children are held to be of no value and the interests of women are given preference over those of men and present-day children.

A young woman criminal-lawyer pointed out to me one baleful consequence of that devaluation of foetuses and embryos.  If a pregnant woman chooses to abuse her “drug[s] of choice”, be the drug alcohol, amphetamine, cocaine, “or whatever”, the damage this does to her unborn child cannot be used as a reason to require her to stop the damage—because the unborn have no standing in law.  This is neither morally humane nor socially efficient—but it does favour the short-term selfish interests of women who like to do drugs for fun.

Favouring the likes of selfish women who don’t think very far ahead and do drugs for fun, isn’t exactly making Feminism—or easy abortion—look good.

Many selfish, short-sighted women have “capitalized on easy divorce and presumptive custody” to exploit men who (in a classic example of “social inertia” which i experienced myself) trusted that marriage vows would be kept as spoken after the laws that enforced those vows were changed to make divorce cheap and easy.  It often seems that many of these women “did not give a damn” about the suffering of the men they exploited, nor the suffering of children who loved their fathers—some of them even seem to have relished the suffering of the men (cf. Homans, 1961)1.   Their daughters will suffer for their greed—and so to some extent will the daughters of women who kept their vows.  One wonders if the women who exploited will feel any shame for bringing suffering on later generations of women.

Quite possibly, women who mature in this century, will suffer more than men of the same age: Younger generations of men, having learned not to trust women and marriage, will suffer less on average than mine did.  Women in this century, like women throughout human experience, will want babies (Morgan, 1973).  Those who are able to organize male help will enjoy their babies more than those who must care for them alone—if indeed, when the implications of our ecological and social predicament are “worked through”, women will even be allowed to rear children alone.  There are better, less costly ways for children to grow up.

Men, i would forecast, will find that their willingness to be fathers is highly valued by the end of this decade—and since they will understandably be wary of marriage after the experience of men in 1970-2000, i will also forecast that fewer men will be available as husbands-and-fathers, than the number of women who want them in those roles.

Boys and young men aren’t marrying and supporting families like their grandfathers did.  Canadian laws as altered during 1970-2000 have put men who follow that pattern, at a huge disadvantage.  Many men in my generation were exploited for acting as we were taught to act by our parents and teachers in the 1950s, when the laws were changed, adultery condoned, and lifetime marriage promises set at naught.  Young men and boys have seen the reality of easy divorce and the falsity of the old teachings: I don’t know what they hear in school these days, but what they see teaches them to be wary of marriage.  The easy-divorce trick worked for the generation of women now retiring but i don’t see the generation of men now entering adult life, falling for it.

I wrote to my youngest son not long ago, “You haven’t seen me nagging you to get married, have you?”

From a Christian, that’s a fairly strong condemnation of present-day secular “family law.”  If he or his next older brother were to come to me saying he’s thinking of marriage and what’s my advice?, i would reply that he should keep in mind the great difference between Christian marriage and civil marriage, plus recent trends and averages in divorce rates and custody decisions, and:

  • Get married in church, with explicit commitment to lifetime vows; and in civil terms have a contract instead of simply accepting “civil marriage”.  Civil marriage can be changed any time, by a legislature; and one friend and colleague was driven to suicide around 1980, after a legislature changed Ontario marriage law and his wife exploited the change.

  • Structure the property holdings involving him and his wife, so that marriage is not a material factor in ownership—for instance, live in a co-operatively owned dwelling rather than own one himself.  (If his wife has the higher income, and owns the dwelling, that’s better for young men in this century, than having the husband be the owner of record.)  Family tenure might be preferable for a man, especially if it is a home built and owned by his family—and co-operative incorporation seems especially suitable.

  • Structure his work so that his wife earns more money than he does and he has more time at home.

  • See to it that the witnesses to the marriage affirm the vows and pledge to support them.

  • Keep up links between his children and his friends,

  • Live in a large household where she and he are not the only “grownups”, and where the other adults will support him at least equally readily as her.

Don’t be like Dagwood Bumstead in the cartoon, in other words—be like Farmer Stan, whose work is right at home and whose parents live across the creek.  Be like Farmer John in Saskatchewan, whose wife is a lawyer—not just a “house husband”, but the home-maker in a more diverse and productive sense.  Be the man who is the cornerstone of the family’s subsistence as distinct from its cash flow.

Don’t fall for the commuter-job scheme—indeed, feel free to pronounce it “scam”.  Be one of the meek who inherit the earth—and if anyone reading this is thinking of raiding a farm, i should add that farmers are meek about attacking others, but no more timid when their children’s home and the children themselves are in danger, than father wolves2.   One reason the rural “meek” will inherit the earth is that they will raise many children and raise them well.

If you’re a girl or a woman reading this “open letter”, you should be seeing [perhaps not for the first time] the fact that greed-Feminism and greedy “Feminists” have served themselves better than women in general.

Women of good character should by now, be asking some searching and critical questions of greedy “Feminists” who took unfair advantage of the men of the late 20th Century.  Trust and goodwill are not marketable, and they are worth more than most things which are—perhaps all.  Wrecking men’s trust and goodwill was and is a categorical thing: Character is not like height or weight, which can be seen (and it does not help either, that women learned to manipulate many anatomical attributes, from hair colour and curl to height and leg length, with garments and cosmetics).  To some extent the concomitants of good character can be faked.  Men once wary will be slow to take reassurance—from any woman they don’t know long and well.

If you’re a girl who wants to be a mother, look at the boys of suitable age who you know now, and conduct yourself so that in ten years, you will be one of the young women they can trust in spite of the wrongs done to men since 1975.  Boys who don’t know you now will be less likely to dare to marry you ten years from now.  (The mate-selection function of university education in 1950-65 has become a slow-motion orgy function in this century, and that way leads not to trust nor to lifelong marriage.)   Examine the faith in which you were reared, if you were reared in a faith; if you like it, keep active in it.  If you don’t like it, seek out a faith that fits with who you are.  A good faith will restrict you somewhat—and especially will restrict you from behaving in ways that destroy trust.

(As a Christian, i oppose in general, the taking of vengeance; but i just might look the other way if some women of good character, who had kept their marriage vows and treated men, husbands and others, fairly and with a friendly spirit, were to do violence to one of those “gold-diggers”.  I think i might even hide behind the laws that make it easy for women to attack men with violence and punish men for fighting back [even as distinct from starting a fight], and say “You’re being beat-up by women, and we men just don’t have women’s privileges when it comes to violence: The law won’t let me protect you …”  Mercy is morally above poetic-justice, but i would hesitate to offer mercy “at cost”, to someone who had done wrong and had not shown repeatedly, the fruits of repentance.)

But selfish women who have any notions about attacking a woman of good character, should not forget those wolves. By my Faith, women of good character are my sisters.

So why am i not a Feminist, Bruce? First, because i’m male and Feminism is about favouring the attitudes, interests, outlooks, perceptions, and values of women vis-a-vis mine.  I can understand women favouring their gender-qualities and they ought to understand me favouring mine.

Second, because politically, Feminism went beyond equality to exploitation and often shamelessly… i was one of the exploited.  To honour the exploiters above me and men like me, would be going into the degradation i congratulated  Afro-America for walking peacefully out of.  I don’t mind women thinking they’re better than we are as long as it’s absolutely clear that we men are equally welcome to think we’re better than they are—that equal opportunity and equal civil rights are the foundation of gender law, and that we’re equally entitled to honour for the good qualities we carry.

Third, because i value good character and Feminism hasn’t rewarded it—rather has done the reverse.

(and if a fourth reason were called-for, i could add, “because women of good character have good reason to do vehement battle with much of Feminism, and the women i mean to side with, are those of good character.”  In a way, though, that’s a corollary of the third reason.)

I don’t know if i ever used this two-liner in conversation with you:

If you want to find a Feminist man, where’s the best place to look?

                               — Behind the 8-ball.

Why behind the 8-ball, {that pool-hall metaphor for a place from which you can’t make any useful “shots”}? Because Feminism is about their interests having priority over ours.  Sign on to women’s interests having priority over men’s and children’s, and you’ve scant reason for disputing anything a woman says or wants.  Your own interests and perceptions have lower standing than hers; and she has your prior endorsement that her perceptions of her interests are more valid than yours.

’bout all a “Feminist man” gets to do when a woman says her piece, is say “Yes, Ma’am”.  And if she can’t hear you from where you are behind the 8-ball, it doesn’t matter.

I choose to choose among the words and actions of women, as i do among the words and actions of men—and to favour those which have better effects on the human condition, than “Feminism” has had in the past 40-50 years.

References:

Anonymous, 2010. Comments on the difficulty of keeping pregnant girls and young women from damaging their unborn babies.  Anonymous is a criminal lawyer and a mother.

Dederer, Claire, 2004. “Cutting Remarks”. The Nation, June 14.

“Futurist”, 2010. “The Misandry Bubble”.

The Gospels of Sts. Matthew, Mark, and Luke

Homans, George C. 1961. Social Behavior: its Elementary Forms. NY: Harcourt, Brace and World.

Morgan, Elaine 1973 The Descent of Woman. NY: Bantam.

New York Times, April 19, 1912 (re sinking of the Titanic. As one of the suffragettes put the case, by natural law women and children should be saved first, the children because childhood is sacred, and the women because they are so necessary to the race that they cannot be spared. Another said: “It must be admitted that the lives of women are more useful to the race than the lives of men.”)

Solanas, Valerie, 1968. The SCUM Manifesto. New York: Olympia Press. Frequently reprinted

Notes:

1. Homans, George C. 1961. Social Behavior: its Elementary Forms. NY: Harcourt, Brace and World. Homans wrote that when people perceived that “distributive justice” was not being served, to their disadvantage, they would become angry, as defined by “In anger, the [suffering of the cause or beneficiary of the injustice] is rewarding”.  Homans was attempting to derive social psychology from operant conditioning theory; and the parallel between his defining anger by “suffering .. is rewarding”, and vengeance, should be apparent.

Feminist ideological writing did often treat women as superior to men [and to children]; and to the extent women believed in their own superiority, enjoying the suffering of men who treated them as mere equals might well parallel Homans.  At least two Feminists in Thunder Bay, Ontario, between 1975 and 1990 stated to me that women deserved to take revenge for thousands of years of oppression.  Of course, it is difficult to take revenge on dead men, so living men were chosen to suffer for their forefathers as well as for their own actions.  Reporting on the sinking of the Titanic, the New York Times quoted Feminists of that time as asserting that women deserved privilege because they are more valuable than men.

2. Wolves are naturally and faithfully monogamous, by the way, and their packs often include brothers and sisters of the parent pair and the current “litter” of pups.

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About Davd

Davd Martin (Ph.D., 1966, Sociology) has been a professor, a single parent on a low income from a small commercial herb garden, and editor of _Ecoforestry_. His men's-interest essays and blogs have appeared on "The Spearhead" "A Voice for Men", and "False Rape Society", as well as this site.
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