Category Archives: Masculism

Why the Men’s Rights Movement?

mockup-fe0f3200Today marks International Men’s Day, a day for societal introspection regarding the current state of the welfare of men and boys. Needless to say, there are a lot of pressing concerns, from high rates of suicide among men to lower lifespans in general to a growing gender gap in academic performance. But as to be expected, plenty of screeching can be found about how in order to tackle these problems, the “patriarchy” must be dismantled first.

As I’ve noted before, feminists have trouble recognizing when double standards hurt men more than women. Perhaps the narrative with which they’re familiar causes them to see things through such a distorted lens. All differences in which the genders are treated by life society are due to a vast patriarchy designed to oppress women; any evidence of men having it worse off is due to unintended consequences of the patriarchy’s actions.

For those of you fortunate enough never to have heard of a blog called “Shakesville,” here is a rather revealing piece about an ugly incident. A man was murdered by another man who was recently hit by a woman. His assailant refused to strike a woman, even the one who struck him first, so he vowed to attack the next man he saw instead. The column is titled “Today in Misogyny.”

A woman hits a man. Said man does not retaliate against her, as he was raised never to hit a woman. A man is attacked, and killed, in her stead. According to Shakesville, this serves as an example of sexism… against women. And this is the same site that has mocked the idea of a men’s rights movement. How exactly can one’s personal mindset become so hideously warped?

Their insistence that a men’s rights movement is unnecessary seems to be this: The goal of feminism is gender equality. If the goal of the MRAs were really gender equality as well, they would simply become feminists. Their refusal to do so is proof that their goal is not gender equality at all, and must be something else — presumably a patriarchal society.

So what sort of campaigns for equality can masculists look forward to by being welcomed into the folds of feminism? How about something such as the incredibly high rate of incarceration of men when compared to women? Surely the feminists are up in arms over such a gender gap?

Not really. I’ve never heard of any self-professed feminist declare that the discrepancy in male and female incarceration rates are a problem.

Well, perhaps that’s understandable. Surely it’s self-evident that men are different than women in ways that mean they are more likely to break the law. Men take bigger risks, are more prone to violent behavior. So it’s understandable that their greater rate of imprisonment is due to natural differences in gender rather than any issue that can be solved with a change of policy, right?

So let’s look at something that does raise the ire of the mainstream feminist movement: The gender gap in regards to salary. Conventional wisdom holds that for every dollar a man earns, his female counterpart only earns about 75 to 80 cents.

Well, “counterpart” may not be the right word. The statistic doesn’t take into account the fact that women and men tend to work different jobs. Men work more hours in higher-paying jobs, and women tend to favor careers that are less demanding with a salary that reflects that.

Not that feminists are assuaged by such an explanation, however. Why are men and women drawn to different careers in the first place? One theory holds that the omnipresent patriarchy has instilled a set of gender roles in people. Women are not as ambitious in seeking high-paid jobs because they’ve been conditioned to think of themselves as the homemakers and men as the breadwinners. Therefore, say the feminists, the gender pay gap is a problem, even if it doesn’t take such factors as different career paths among the genders into account.

And so, one of the main current goals of the feminist movement is to force companies to hire women through mandatory quotas. As a majority male board of executives in a company must be an indicator of sexist hiring practices rather than a majority of men seeking and qualifying for such positions, the only fair thing to do is to force the companies to hire more women.

(It’s interesting to note, however, that when feminists speak of hiring quotas, they’re always referring to quotas for positions in boardrooms, rather than, say, sewers or oil rigs. They seem to lack any interest in changing the workplace fatality gap, which is far more glaring than the pay gap. But I digress…)

But… Wait.

There seems to be a conflict in this line of thinking. We’ve already dismissed the incarceration gap as rooted in biological differences between men and women. So why can’t sexual dimorphism explain the pay gap as well? What if whatever drives men to commit more crime also drives them to earn more money? Why is the feminist movement demanding that laws be passed to force the closing of one gap but not the other?

(It’s worth noting, though, that even aside from men committing more crime, women still receive more lenient sentences when committing the same crime as men. Unlike the pay gap, the imprisonment gap doesn’t significantly diminish when accounting for other variables… And the pay gap is still regarded as a more pressing problem. But again, I digress…)

It would seem that the feminist movement isn’t as steadfastly determined to fight for men’s rights as those insisting that MRAs should be feminists would have us believe.

But I am reasonable. I am perfectly willing to accept this modern feminism as legitimate. All I ask is that feminists do at least one of the following:

• Lead a campaign to instill quotas for the percentage of female prisoners, urging stricter sentences for female offenders and even demanding that male prisoners be released if necessary;

• Abandon their calls for gender quotas and efforts to close the “gender pay gap,” instead letting the chips fall where they may in terms of who is hired for which job and how much salary they receive, and give equal attention to the issues facing men;

• Cease all claims that their brand of feminism is also beneficial to men, and allow separate men’s rights movements to continue unabated with no further hindrance on their part;

• Provide a logically sound, highly compelling explanation as to why they will not do any of the above.

I think that’s more than fair. Until that happens, I will proudly call myself a men’s rights advocate and refuse to apologize for being one.

Election 2016: Double Standards on Parade

I remember when I was a boy of about ten years. Multiple women at least thrice my age called me “cute” or “handsome.” Two women kissed me without my consent, with one going so far as to grab me and force me towards her. My parents even claimed that one of my female teachers had “a crush” on me. And I was a very shy child — I have no idea how women would see fit to treat me if I was more outgoing. Nor, for that matter, do I have any idea how people would react if I was a ten-year-old girl and a man I barely knew forcefully pulled me towards him and kissed me.

Women discuss groping men without their consent all the the time. Sometimes, they even go through with it, possibly because they realize how unlikely it is that they’ll face repercussions. A woman molested a sports star in public, and no one seemed to care.

Now it’s been revealed that Donald Trump has been acting in much the same way those women have, and he’s facing serious scrutiny. I’d be lying if I said I was shocked.

A gift of insight into the mind of a gender feminist

In lieu of any material goods, I thought I’d give my readers something that’s priceless in its own way: A glimpse into the mind of a modern feminist. And not just any feminist either, but victim extraordinaire Anita Sarkeesian. Here she is discussing the five “creepiest” Christmas songs.

Naturally, any list of creepy Christmas songs includes such songs as “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” whose titular character earns the supposed “love” of his peers by proving his worth, which is the result of a physical feature he’s had since birth rather than achieved.

I’m kidding, of course — perhaps any such list except for this one, which apparently defines “creepy” as “having an undertone that the female population would consider creepy, by virtue of their gender.” So, of course, there’s the likes of “Baby, it’s Cold Outside,” as well as “All I Want for Christmas is You,” in which the singer expresses no desire for any gifts other than a mate.

But wait. As Sarkeesian herself notes, that song can be performed by both men and women. So perhaps I was wrong, and she really is viewing this from the perspective of both genders…

…Never mind. Here’s her reasoning of why it’s still creepy when a man sings it:

[I]t’s not any less creepy when a man sings it because the lyrics could be interpreted as bordering on “Stalker Territory.”

Get that? When sung by a woman, this song is sexist against women, because it implies that a woman’s goal is first and foremost the acquisition of a significant other. When sung by a man, this song is sexist… against women, because it makes the man out to be the stalker, like so many men really are.

Such is the logic of the gender feminist mindset. Is it any wonder that they find it so difficult to consider that perhaps gender inequality is rooted in something more complex than some vast “Patriarchy,” and that double standards in society oppress men just as much as (if not more than) women?

So-Called Social Justice and Free Expression Don’t Mix: My thoughts on the latest threat to the artistic integrity of video games

I suppose I should preface this by acknowledging I haven’t been diligently keeping tabs on the “GamerGate” movement. I am not a heavy reader of gaming journalism, as I am not too avid a gamer — I complete perhaps three or four feature-length games a year. But I still appreciate the artistry behind the games I play, and it is that artistic integrity at stake, in the long run. That’s why I find the current, censorious movement in gaming to be so troubling.

Efforts to censor video games are, of course, nothing new. One canard that refuses to die is that violent video games lead to violent behavior in those who play them, and game developers and consumers have had to fight the resultant efforts to censor content (even though repeated studies have refuted this theory). Now, the industry faces another charge against its work: It’s sexist. According to victim extraordinaire Anita Sarkeesian, popular video games are rife with misogyny and pandering to the male demographic, even though there are now just as many female gamers in the market.

Of course, what Sarkeesian fails to consider is that female gamers seem inclined towards simple puzzle-based games, the kind that can easily be played on a smartphone or tablet; the audience of more time-consuming, plot-heavy games remain mostly male. And when your target audience is overwhelmingly male, it pays to feature male protagonists as muscular warriors and female protagonists as improbably shapely and scantily-clad. The results can be silly, no question, but how often has it been demanded that romance novels feature at least some pudgy, balding men on their covers? Every artistic movement is granted some suspension of disbelief so that it may appeal more to its audience. Why should games be any different?

But the people who now stand opposed to free expression in gaming aren’t just against the skimpiest of “armor” and the amplest of bosoms. The current movement consists largely of those known as “social justice warriors,” whose philosophy on free speech was best summarized as, “Your rights end where my feelings begin.” Known as the driving force behind “trigger warnings,” people of their ilk have gained notoriety by “debating” those who disagree with them by stealing and vandalizing their protest signs, and pulling the fire alarm* when they are slated to speak.

These are the people who have nominated themselves as the judges of what is and is not appropriate content for video games.

For an example of the threat SJWs pose to artistic integrity, let’s look at my favorite game franchise of all time: Fallout, a series that canonically spans four role-playing games and a combat-focused spinoff set in a United States after a nuclear apocalypse. Boasting an incredibly rich mythos and atmosphere, it chronicles humanity’s efforts to rebuild civilization from the ground up in an environment that has allowed the darkest elements of humanity to thrive.

A common enemy seen in all Fallout games are bands of violent bandits, known as raiders, who routinely pillage the more civilized communities in the wasteland. As feminists themselves would probably guess, those raiders count some rapists amongst their ranks. This has become an issue for some, as chronicled in this series of exchanges between a social justice warrior and one of the series’ designers.

Exerpt from the discussion

One of Fallout‘s strengths is its uncompromising look at what the worst of humanity has to offer, and all art must be uncompromising to maintain its integrity. But here is someone who wants the narrative to be softened, defanged, for no other purpose than to avoid making a small fraction of the games’ audience uncomfortable. What sort of artists would permit this?

Some artists, of course, may be easily swayed by the appeal to supposed equality and fairness. (Legendary designer Tim Schafer, for example, appears to have been suckered in already.) But the main threat comes from ill-advised investors on new game projects. The most highly developed and promoted “AAA” games require budgets rivaling those of Hollywood blockbusters. And the higher a game’s budget, the more willingness to sacrifice artistic expression in order to avoid potential controversy. (Yes, it might seem hypocritical to denounce self-censorship of art while condoning pandering to the audience, as I’ve defended above. But the key difference is that pandering is the choice of the artist, while altering content to appease the social justice warriors is yielding to the power of the censor.) And there have already been movements to pressure games to contort themselves into SJW-approved content:

Special thanks to @SabrinaLianne for the screenshot, and alerting me to this.

But the question arises: What if there’s a dearth of female gamers because they’re put off by male-centric games, and there are no games that cater to them because they don’t appear to be a significant demographic of the gaming audience? What would it take to break the cycle?

The answer is not, as the SJWs have proposed, to browbeat existing games into submission and deny them free expression. It is to put more effort into attracting women to the games industry, allowing them to design games that appeal to female audiences. In other words, to expand the industry and make more games, not to cut content from existing games.

And why hasn’t anyone taken the initiative to bring women into the industry already? Actually, they have. You can be forgiven for being ignorant about this, of course, as the SJWs don’t seem to care much for it. They seem dead set on cursing the darkness, with cratefuls of candles and matchbooks laying at their feet.

What drives the social justice warrior in this matter? Is it really to help the gaming industry reach different, untapped markets and providing underrepresented demographics with games they would enjoy? Or might this be yet another misguided attempt to make the world fair by forcing those perceived to be unfair to play by their rules?

In the end, I just care about the games, and developers’ right to portray what they want in them. If there is disagreeable content in a game, it should be regarded as controversial artwork, not a defective product. If video games are art, they should be entitled to the same rights of free expression as any other medium.

If you’d like to read more on GamerGate, some well-written and -spoken pieces on it can be found by Allum Bokhari, Christina Hoff Sommers, and Cathy Young. For more in-depth coverage, you can check out some resources put together by hardcore GamerGaters here and here. I haven’t exactly perused these myself, so this is not an official endorsement of them, but they should provide some counterpoints to the movement as it’s been portrayed by shamelessly biased media in the mainstream.

* Edit: It has been noted that I had brought this up while disregarding the violent actions of those opposed to Ms. Sarkeesian in order to silence her, such as sending her death threats. After some consideration, I must admit that it was rather hypocritical of me to imply that the false fire alarms were exemplary behavior of SJWs as a whole, while presumably dismissing the actions of those behind the death threats as those of a few bad apples within the GamerGate movement. Please grant me a bit of space for some hyperbole in the name of rhetoric, and take my words with a grain of salt. Thank you.

Two editorials from this week

The first from Jezebel on how to be a man in the age when we now pretend understand that gender is a social construct. Rule One: You can engage in activities considered feminine by society, and you’re still a man, provided you identify as one.

The second from Salon on how the NFL’s ban on purses in stadiums is sexist.

The feminists establish that it’s perfectly normal for a man to carry a purse. The NFL issues a rule that nobody, regardless of gender, may have a purse in their stadiums that hides their belongings. This rule is declared sexist against women.

Say what you will about the men who whine about ‘Ladies’ Night’ in bars and whatnot. At least their complaints are legitimate in that those policies are genuinely descriminatory. When feminists declare that genders should ideally be treated as equals, they can’t complain when rules that de jure treat genders equally de facto impact them more harshly.