From Women’s Liberation to Cultural Misandry
ReHonoring Masculinity & Achieving Gender Justice
What is now known as the Feminist Movement is recognized to have gone through three periods or “waves”.
First-wave feminism was a period of activity during the nineteenth century and early twentieth century. In the UK and US, it focused on the promotion of equal contract, marriage, parenting, and property rights for women. By the end of the nineteenth century, activism focused primarily on gaining political power, particularly the right of women’s suffrage.
In the US, notable leaders of this movement included Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Susan B. Anthony, each of whom campaigned for the abolition of slavery prior to championing women’s right to vote. These women were influenced by the Quaker theology of spiritual equality, which asserts that men and women are equal under God.
In the US, first-wave feminism is considered to have ended with the passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution (1919), granting women the right to vote in all states. The term “first wave” was coined retroactively to categorize these movements after the term “second-wave feminism” began to be used to describe a feminist movement that focused as much on fighting social and cultural inequalities as political inequalities.
Second-wave feminism began in the early 1960s and is largely concerned with combating what is perceived as social and legal discrimination, based on a fundamental cultural sexism that has its roots in what is called Patriarchy, which is considered to not only protect male power but also confer unequal and exclusive privilege on men.
In the early 1990s in the US, third-wave feminism began as a response to perceived failures and (white, middle class) exclusiveness of the second wave, and promoted cultural and sexual diversity within the movement. Both second and third wave, however, are built upon the theoretical foundation of Patriarchy and cultural anti-female sexism and misogyny.
But the Feminist Movement, which began based on spiritual principles of gender equality and aimed at legal and political inclusion, morphed (as do all initially progressive movements over time) into a self-serving and in some ways culturally regressive almost cult-like movement with unquestioning allegiance to a theoretical dogma that is more invention than truth and which has reversed social and legal inequalities to the detriment of men as a class.
In fact, the women’s movement in the US is largely built on carefully-crafted and self-serving myth. What is now universally recognized as the birthplace of feminism in America, the Seneca Falls convention of 1848, was simply one of many small, local gatherings preceding the first National Woman’s Rights Convention in Worcester MA in 1850, at which Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony were not present. Susan B. Anthony was not even present at Seneca Falls, which Stanton organized with Lucretia Mott.
Stanton and Anthony’s four-volume History of Woman Suffrage created a fictional history of the movement as “the achievement of suffrage by middle-class reformers” (according to The Myth of Seneca Falls: Memory and the Women’s Suffrage Movement, 1848-1898 by Lisa Tetrault, 2014), while downplaying the roles of other prominent movement leaders who did not share their one-dimensional focus and with whom there were bitter internecine struggles. Their “official” history turned the Seneca Falls “Declaration of Sentiments”, signed by only a third of the convention participants, into a gospel of the women’s movement. Mimicking the language of the Declaration of Independence, it denounced the “tyranny” of men over women, yet Susan B. Anthony fought hard for a hierarchical and highly centralized suffrage organization in which she had absolute control – contradicting the leaderless, egalitarian values that are often associated with feminism.
While their History calls the ratification of the 19th Amendment a “complete victory,” it glosses over the fact that most southern black women would wait several more decades to gain the vote. The monument to three middle-class white women, Stanton, Anthony and Mott, that was delivered to the US Capitol in 1920, prompted an objection by the National Congress of Black Women when it was moved to the Capitol rotunda in 1997. And it was not until 2009, with the first black president in the White House, that it was supplemented with a statue of Sojourner Truth.
Diverging even further from ostensible feminist values, significant parts of second-wave feminism were built on an overt antipathy toward men and masculinity, with prominent movement leaders, such as Robin Morgan, publicly declaring “Sure, we hate men”.
1974 Iowa State University keynote speaker, feminist icon Robin Morgan, says feminists hate men and that the movement wasn’t about equality but about women attaining power.
Since the early 1960s, Robin Morgan was a leader of the radical feminist movement, in the US and internationally. Her 1970 anthology Sisterhood Is Powerful has been widely credited with helping to start the second wave feminist movement in the US, and was cited by the New York Public Library as “one of the 100 most influential Books of the 20th Century”, along with those of Sigmund Freud and Karl Marx. She was also the editor of Ms. Magazine.
This was the phase of the feminist movement which viewed Patriarchy as the oldest and most universal form of domination, and dramatically altered the cultural and legal landscape of the United States, rendering it profoundly misandrist (male-hating), gynocentric (focused on women’s issues, typically at the expense of men’s issues), and systemically biased against men in the legal arena.
“I feel that man-hating is an honorable and viable political act, that the oppressed have a right to class-hatred against the class that is oppressing them.” – Robin Morgan, Going Too Far: The Personal Chronicle of a Feminist (1978)
Among the works excerpted in Morgan’s Sisterhood is Powerful anthology, was Valerie Solanas’ 1967 SCUM (Society for Cutting up Men) Manifesto, that argues that men have ruined the world and that women should overthrow society and eliminate the male sex. In the text, the word “SCUM” refers to empowered (and narcissistic or even megalomaniacal) women: “dominant, secure, self-confident, nasty, violent, selfish, independent, proud, thrill-seeking, free-wheeling, arrogant females, who consider themselves fit to rule the universe…”
Solanas presents a theory of the male as an “incomplete female” who is genetically deficient, which causes the male to be emotionally limited, egocentric, incapable of mental passion or genuine interaction, lacking empathy and unable to relate to anything other than his own physical sensations.
The Manifesto was little-known until Solanas attempted, in 1968, to kill Andy Warhol. She missed on the first two shots and injured him on the last, and would have shot his manager if her gun hadn’t jammed. She was charged with attempted murder, assault, and illegal possession of a gun, was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and served a three-year prison sentence, including psychiatric hospital time.
Solanas had a relationship with Warhol and had asked him to produce her play Up Your Ass, about a young man-hating prostitute hustler who ends up killing a man (Solanas had supported herself in NYC as a hooker and panhandler). Warhol, who was famous for explicit productions, thought the script was so pornographic that he proceeded to “lose it”, and Solanas believed he was trying to steal her creative work.
Yet, according to Janet Lyon (Transforming Manifestoes: A Second-Wave Problematic, in The Yale Journal of Criticism, 1991), the Manifesto is “notorious and influential” and was “one of the earliest … one of the most radical” tracts produced by “various strands of the American women’s liberation movement”. Lyon said that “by 1969 it had become a kind of bible” for the vanguard separatist feminist Cell 16 in Boston. According to a 2012 article by Arthur Goldwag on the Southern Poverty Law Center Hatewatch blog, “Solanas continues to be much-read and quoted in some feminist circles.”
Radical lesbian feminist and theologian Mary Daly argued that sexual equality between men and women was not possible and that women, due to their superior capacities, should rule men. In an interview, Daly argued “If life is to survive on this planet, there must be a decontamination of the Earth. I think this will be accompanied by an evolutionary process that will result in a drastic reduction of the population of males.”
[Both this “theology” and Solanas’ Manifesto eerily foreshadowed, in reverse, Elliot Rodger‘s philosophy of eliminating most women to advance the evolution of the human race. While Elliot Rodger, the 2014 Isla Vista rampage killer, was almost universally condemned as misogynistic and insane, Daly was lauded as the leading feminist theologian – though she was forced to retire from the Jesuit Boston University in 1999 for refusing to allow men into her classes.]
The Men’s Rights Movement
The Men’s Rights Movement, almost universally misrepresented and maligned by feminist dogmatists as a reactionary response to feminism, was a contemporaneous movement for men’s legal equality and justice, which began in the US in the 1920s with the widely-reported case of Samuel Reed, also known as “Alimony Sam”.
On July 27, 1925, World War I veteran Samuel Reid was put in jail in Willow, California. His crime was not paying alimony (at that time alimony meant both spousal and child support). Reid had not failed to pay alimony to his ex-wife; he had openly refused to do so. He loved his little daughter, Zada May, he said, and told the court he did not approve of the custodial circumstances decided by the court and wished his views to be considered, and that he would be glad to pay child support monies in excess of the stipulated amount if only his wishes might be considered.
Reid’s bold pronouncements resonated with men across the nation – and even across the seas:
“I refuse to pay while my child remains in surroundings and environment I consider unfit for her upbringing. Change that environment. Otherwise, I shall never pay even though I remain in jail the rest of my life.”
“I shall never pay. It’s not the money; it’s the principle. What if I am here for life? I’m the first martyr to a great cause.”
“I have the money and I can pay, but I still refuse to do so. My case alone is not at stake. The whole alimony system is wrong and I propose to do what I can to right it.”
“Blackmail, that’s what it amounts to. I’m willing to sacrifice my life if need be to draw attention to the plight of victims of an iniquitous industry which has the sanction of the courts.”
Reid stayed in jail nearly three years and became an internationally known figure – often under the nicknames “Alimony Sam” and “Alimony Martyr” – and was an inspiration for the creation of a number of anti-alimony organizations (a trend which began in 1927 and has continued without cease to this day) throughout the United States. The first such group was started by a woman, Mrs. Bessie Cooley, the long-suffering wife of an alimony slave. The movement was outlined in October of 1929 by the popular psychology expert of the day, Professor William M. Marston, in an article titled “Why Men Are Organizing To Fight Female Dominance”.
Once Reid got out of jail in October 1928 – through the advocacy and assistance of his old army buddies – he decided to set up a popcorn concession at a newly constructed supermarket in Oakland. He told reporters he chose this line of business out of his love for children. Zada, the little daughter he had fought to protect, stayed with her mother and her new husband and died of influenza and scarlet fever at age seven, less than three years after her father’s release from jail.
Another target of the early Men’s Rights Movement was the “chivalrous” behavior of all-male juries which habitually acquitted women who had killed husbands or lovers, an issue taken up by many prominent women in the early 20th century, such as Judge Rhea M. Whitehead and Judge Florence E. Allen, who sought equal treatment for male litigants and equal circumspection toward female defendants and litigants.
The Twelve “Female-Only” Defenses (The Myth of Male Power, Warren Farrell, p.254):
• Each violates the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection to both sexes under the law.
- The “Women are Always Innocent Defense”
- The “PMS Defense” (paves the way for the “TP Defense” –”Testosterone Poisoning Defense”)
- The “Husband’s Guilt Defense” (if the husband deserved it, she must be aquitted)
- The “Battered Woman Syndrome Defense” (pre-meditated murder is now self-defense – but only if a woman is accused and only if a man is murdered)
- The “Depressed Mother Defense” (baby blues and terrible twos)
- The “Mothers Don’t Kill Defense”
- The “Children Need Their Mother Defense”
- The “Blame the Father, Understand the Mother Defense”
- The “My Child – My Right to Abuse It Defense” (a million crack-addicted children have been born since 1987; only 60 of the mothers have faced criminal charges)
- The “Plea Bargain Defense” (women are seen as more innocent, their testimony more valued, leading prosecutors to offer them the plea bargain in crimes committed jointly by a woman and a man)
- The “Svengali Defense” (men have always exercised malevolent influence over women, and women seem to be soft touches for it)
- The “Contract Killing Defense” (contract killings never get recorded as a woman killing a man, even if she put out the contract)
Another target was the courts’ non-enforcement of father-child access stipulations, as well as overt parental kidnapping by mothers (as well as harsh treatment of fathers who kidnap their children from their mothers). Later, the phenomenon of false child sexual abuse and domestic violence accusations against men had to be combated as feminist misinformation and bias was broadly accepted by academic and legal circles (including the now scientifically-discredited “recovered memory” phenomenon).
In 1970, with the inception of Baltimore’s Fathers United for Equal Rights and the associated Second Wives Committee, Men’s Rights groups came into existence which specifically defined themselves as “Father’s Rights” organizations.
Feminist Mythology Disguised as Science
Second and Third Wave Feminism were built on the foundation of the myth of Patriarchy and Misogyny, and used ideologically biased or cherry-picked research to support their thesis. There was little research into men’s disadvantages in modern American culture for the same reason that men don’t report domestic abuse by women against them – men are biologically and culturally conditioned to “suck it up” and “take it like a man” and don’t generally perceive themselves as victims or complain about victimization when it does occur.
What data was available to contradict the feminist dogma was well hidden, until the most prominent male feminist began to research “the other side of the story”.
Dr. Warren Farrell is a professor who has taught in the fields of psychology, women’s studies, sociology, political science, and gender and parenting issues. He is the author of seven books on men’s and women’s issues, The Myth of Male Power, Women Can’t Hear What Men Don’t Say, Why Men Earn More, Father and Child Reunion, Why Men Are the Way they Are, and The Liberated Man.
When the second wave of the women’s movement evolved in the late 1960s, Farrell’s support of it led the National Organization for Women’s New York City chapter to ask him to form a men’s group. The response to that group led to his ultimately forming some 300 additional men’s and women’s groups and becoming the only man to be elected three times to the Board of Directors of the National Organization for Women in NYC (1971–74). In 1974, Farrell left NOW and his teaching position at Rutgers when his wife became a White House Fellow and he moved with her to DC (thereby putting his wife’s career ahead of his own).
His women’s and men’s groups, one of which had been joined by John Lennon, inspired his 1974 book The Liberated Man, written from a feminist perspective and introducing alternative family and work arrangements that could better accommodate working women and encourage care-giving men. The Liberated Man was the beginning of Farrell’s development of parallels for men to the female experience: for example, to women’s experience as “sex objects”, Farrell labeled men’s parallel experience as “success objects”. As a speaker, Farrell was known for creating audience participation role-reversal experiences to get both sexes “to walk a mile in the other’s moccasins”.
By the early 1990s, Farrell was writing that he felt the misunderstandings about men had deepened and become dangerous to the survival of families and love. He had spent five years re-examining everything he thought he knew about the sexes. The result was the seminal book The Myth of Male Power.
In The Myth of Male Power, Farrell offered his first in-depth outline of the thesis he would weave through his subsequent books: that for men and women to make an evolutionary shift from a focus on survival to a focus on a balance between survival and fulfillment, what was ultimately necessary was neither a women’s movement nor a men’s movement, but a “gender transition movement”.
The Myth of Male Power challenged the belief that men had the power – in part by challenging the definition of power. Farrell defined power as “control over one’s life”. He wrote that, “In the past, neither sex had power; both sexes had roles: women’s role was to raise children; men’s role was to raise money.”
Farrell documented how, cross-culturally, men’s experience of powerlessness involved being socialized, even as boys, to become “the disposable sex”. He argued that virtually every society that survived did so by training a cadre of its sons to be disposable – in war, and in work. Farrell concurs that men earn more money, and money is one form of power, but adds that “men often feel obligated to earn money someone else spends while they die sooner – and feeling obligated is not power.”
Perhaps Farrell’s most controversial contribution to gender politics is The Myth of Male Power‘s confrontation of the belief that patriarchal societies make rules to benefit men at the expense of women. Farrell feels this misses many realities – such as the registration of only our 18-year-old boys for the draft, or men constituting more than 90% of workplace deaths.
In Why Men Earn More: The Startling Truth Behind the Pay Gap – and What Women Can Do About It, he documents 25 differences in men’s and women’s work-life choices. Common to each of men’s choices was earning more money, while each of women’s choices prioritized having a more-balanced life. This was confirmed in a 2009 report, “An Analysis of Reasons for the Disparity in Wages Between Men and Women” by the US Department of Labor, Employment Standards Administration, which concluded that:
“There are observable differences in the attributes of men and women that account for most of the wage gap. Statistical analysis that includes those variables has produced results that collectively account for between 65.1% and 76.4% of a raw gender wage gap of 20.4%, and thereby leave an adjusted gender wage gap that is between 4.8% and 7.1%. Some of the factors are consequences of differences in decisions made by women and men in balancing their work, personal, and family lives. These factors include their human capital development, their work experience, the occupations and industries in which they work, and interruptions in their careers.”
Farrell’s most recent book, Does Feminism Discriminate Against Men?, published by Oxford University Press in 2008, is a debate book with feminist co-author James Sterba. Farrell felt gender studies in universities rarely incorporated the masculine gender except to demonize it. Farrell praises feminism for opening options for women but criticizes it for demonizing men, distorting data, and undervaluing the family.
Some of the statistics that Farrell used to support his thesis of male disempowerment include [see more complete list in Addendum]:
- 94% of people killed in the workplace are men.
- The street homeless are approximately 90% men.
- Approximately 92% of all prisoners are men.
- Gender contributes to a longer sentence for men than race or any other factor.
- Over 99% of the executed are men.
- Both sexes kill men more than they do women.
- Twelve distinct female-only defenses allow a woman who commits premeditated murder to have her charges dropped or significantly reduced; no man has successfully used any of these defenses in similar circumstances.
- In 1920, men died on average only one year sooner than women; in the 1990s, men died seven to eight years sooner.
- When non-whites have about 80% of the chance of whites to reach age 85, we blame it on the powerlessness engendered by racism; when a boy infant has only half the chance of a girl infant of reaching age 85, we call it the price of privilege.
- Blacks die earlier than whites from twelve of the fifteen leading causes of death; men die earlier than women from all fifteen of the leading causes of death.
- Males are the primary victims of all violent crimes except rape (but perhaps including rape if prison rapes are included).
- Pre-adolescent boys commit suicide at a rate slightly less than girls of the same age; but as their sex roles become apparent – the roles of performer, pursuer, and payer – the rate becomes 4 times as great as their female peers.
- Men commit suicide 5 times as often as women.
- In the two years after a marriage failure, men commit suicide at 10 times the rate that women do.
- 37% of all sexual abuse happens to boys, usually perpetrated by a woman.
- A study, published in the Journal of Sex Research, indicated that by the time young adults were in college, 63% of the men and 46% of the women had unwanted sexual intercourse (defined as rape when it happens to a woman but not when it happens to a man).
Gray (and False) Rape
One of the most pernicious areas of feminist dogma and dysinformation is the allegation that rape is an epidemic cultural assault on women that is not taken sufficiently seriously by police, the courts and the media. The truth is nearly the opposite.
While forcible and violent rape is among the greatest of depredations against a person (whether female or male, adult or child), what constitutes rape has been going through a dramatic evolution. The last item in the list above is emblematic of this one-eyed perspective on unwanted sex.
The first element of this false narrative is that the rape of women is both underreported and under-litigated. In fact, research has consistently shown that as much as 50% of rape accusations are demonstrably false and exploited by women for personal advantage.
In “Believe Her! The Woman Never Lies Myth” by Frank S. Zepezauer, Institute for Psychological Therapies Journal, 1994, “the research on accusations of rape, sexual harassment, incest, and child sexual abuse indicates that false accusations have become a serious problem. The motivations involved in making a false report are widely varied and include confusion, outside influence from therapists and others, habitual lying, advantages in custody disputes, financial gain, and the political ideology of radical feminism.”
There was a focused study of the false rape allegation question undertaken by a team headed by Charles P McDowell (McDowell & Hibler, 1985) of the U.S. Air Force Special Studies Division. Its significance derives not only from its scholarly credentials but also its time of origin, 1984/85, a period during which rape had emerged as a major issue, but before its definition included almost any form of non-consensual sex.
The McDowell team studied 556 rape allegations. Of that total, 256 could not be conclusively verified as rape. That left 300 authenticated cases of which 220 were judged to be truthful and 80, or 27%, were judged as false. To be considered false, one or more of the following criteria had to be met: the victim unequivocally admitted to false allegation, indicated deception in a polygraph test, and provided a plausible recantation. Even by these strict standards, slightly more than one out of four rape charges were judged to be false.
The McDowell team, in follow-up studies, recruited independent reviewers who were given 25 criteria derived from the profiles of the women who openly admitted making a false allegation. If all three reviewers agreed that a rape allegation was false, it was then listed by that description. The result: 60% of the accusations were identified as false. McDowell also took his study outside the military by examining police files from a major Midwestern and a Southwestern city. He found that the finding of 60% held.
McDowell’s data have received qualified confirmation from other investigators. A survey of seven Washington, DC area jurisdictions in the 1991/92 period, for example, revealed that an average of 24% of rape charges were unfounded (Buckley, 1992). A study of a small Midwestern city was reported by Eugene J. Kanin (1994) of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Purdue University. Kanin concluded that “false rape allegations constitute 41% of the total forcible rape cases reported during this period”.
Equally revealing were addenda following Kanin’s basic report. They reported studies in two large Midwestern state universities which covered a three-year period ending in 1988. The finding of the combined studies was that among a total of 64 reported rapes exactly 50% were false. Kanin found these results significant because the women in the main report tended to gather in the lower socioeconomic levels, thus raising questions about correlations of false allegation with income and educational status. After checking figures gathered from university police departments, he reported that “quite unexpectedly then, we find that these university women, when filing a rape complaint, were as likely to file a false as a valid charge”. In addition, Kanin cited still another source (Jay, 1991) which supported findings of high frequency false allegations in the universities.
In the study of false rape allegations in the Midwestern town and state universities, more than half of the accusers fabricated the rape to serve as a “cover story” or alibi, following consensual sex with an acquaintance that led to some sort of problem for the accuser, such as contracting a sexually transmitted disease or becoming pregnant. The next most common reason was revenge, rage, or retribution (27% of the non-student and 44% of the student accusers). The Air Force study also found that spite or revenge and the need to compensate for a sense of personal failure were the primary motives for false rape reports.
In the 1994 book, The Morning After: Fear, Sex and Feminism, author Katie Roiphe asserted, “There is a gray area in which one person’s rape may be another’s bad night.”
Laura Sessions Stepp, Washington Post journalist and author of Unhooked: How Young Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love and Lose at Both, wrote a 2007 article on “gray rape”. In the course of her reporting, Ms. Stepp said she came across descriptions of “sexual encounters where usually both parties were very drunk and really didn’t know what they had said to each other the next morning”. In such cases, consent by either party is uncertain.
There is a higher rate of false reporting for acquaintance rape than for most other crimes.
The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that 1 in 5 college women will be raped at some point during a five-year college career; that about 9 out of 10 times, the victim will know her assailant; and that half of all victims will not call what happened rape (because consent was ambiguous).
An article about college students published in the Journal of Sex Research Vol. 31, No. 2 (1994), noted that Muehlenhard* and Cook (1988) found that 46% of women and 63% of men had acquiesced to unwanted sexual intercourse, while Muehlenhard and Long (1988) also found that more men (49%) than women (40%) had engaged in unwanted sex. Muehlenhard and Rodgers (1993) found that 34% of women reported having engaged in token resistance to sex, in which they said “no” when they really desired to have sex. U.S. women acknowledge a 55% rate of consent to unwanted sex, which is consistent with the findings of 50% false rape allegations in university studies.
* [Charlene L. Muehlenhard, PhD, Professor of Psychology and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Fellow in Three Divisions of the American Psychological Association (Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, Society for the Psychology of Women, Society for the Psychological Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues), Fellow in Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality]
“Do Women Sometimes Say No When They Mean Yes? The Prevalence and Correlates of Women’s Token Resistance to Sex”, Muehlenhard & Hollabaugh, Journal of Personality & Social Psychology (1988):
“A questionnaire administered to 610 undergraduate women asked whether they had ever engaged in token resistance and, if so, asked them to rate the importance of 26 possible reasons. We found that 39.3% of the women had engaged in token resistance at least once. Their reasons fell into three categories: practical, inhibition-related, and manipulative reasons… We argue that, given society’s sexual double standard, token resistance may be a rational behavior. It could, however, have negative consequences, including discouraging honest communication, perpetuating restrictive gender stereotypes, and – if men learn to disregard women’s refusals – increasing the incidence of rape.”
“Women’s ‘Token Resistant’ and Compliant Sexual Behaviors are Related to Uncertain Sexual Intentions and Rape”, R. Lance Shotland, & Barbara A. Hunter, Pennsylvania State University:
“… 83% of token resistant women had more than one sexual intention during the token resistant episode. They said they resisted or were uncertain before they said “no” and meant yes. The authors conclude that most token resistant behavior is a change of intention that is poorly recalled because of memory consolidation. Women’s compliant sexual behavior (agreeing to unwanted sex) occurs for relationship maintenance reasons.”
Myth: Women are Victims and Men are Victimizers
Camille Paglia is professor of humanities at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and best-selling author most recently of Vamps and Tramps. Christina Sommers, is an associate professor of philosophy at Clark University. In her recent book, Who Stole Feminism, she accuses activist women of betraying the women’s movement. She wrote the book, she says, because she is a feminist who does not like what feminism has become. The two were interviewed on PBS in 1995. Both women consider themselves “equity feminists”, as distinguished from “gender feminists”. Following are excerpts of their conversation.
Ms. Sommers: The orthodox feminists are so carried away with victimology, with a rhetoric of male-bashing that it’s full of female chauvinists, if you will. Also, women are quite eager to censor, to silence. And what concerns me most as a philosopher is it’s become very anti-intellectual, and I think it poses a serious risk to young women in the universities. Women’s studies classes are increasingly a kind of initiation into the most radical wing, the most intolerant wing, of the feminist movement.
Ms. Paglia: Now, I think that what we need to do now is to get rid of the totalitarians, get rid of the Kremlin mentality. We’ve got to get back to a pro-art, pro-beauty, pro-men kind of feminism.
Ms. Sommers: I think she’s right to call it a kind of totalitarianism. Many young women on campuses combine two very dangerous things: moral fervor and misinformation. On the campuses they’re fed a kind of catechism of oppression. They’re taught “one in four of you have been victims of rape or attempted rape; you’re earning 59 cents on the dollar; you’re suffering a massive loss of self-esteem; that you’re battered especially on Super Bowl Sunday”. All of these things are myths, grotesque exaggerations.
Ms. Paglia: Well, one of the things that got me pilloried from coast to coast was when I wrote a piece on date rape for Newsday in January of 1991. It got picked up by the wire services, and the torrent of abuse that poured in. I want women to fend for themselves. That essay that I wrote on rape begins with the line “Rape is an outrage that cannot be tolerated in civilized society.” I absolutely abhor this broadening of the idea of rape, which is an atrocity, to those things that go wrong on a date – acquaintances, little things, miscommunications – on pampered elite college campuses.
Ms. Paglia: I believe, for example, in moderate sexual harassment guidelines. I lobbied for their adoption at my university in 1986. But I put into my proposal a strict penalty for false accusation. I don’t like the situation where the word of any woman is weighed above the testimony of any man.
Ms. Paglia: NOW does not speak for American women. It does not speak even for all feminists. The National Organization for Women, which Betty Friedan founded, but which soon expelled even her. They’ve been taken over by a certain kind of ideology. I’m in constant war with them as a dissident feminist.
Ms. Sommers: I think we have to save young women from the feminists. That’s at the top of my agenda. And I say that as a very committed feminist philosopher… The other more traditional feminist issue is probably the double-shift. As women, we’re doing a lot of things men traditionally did; they’re not doing what we traditionally did. And so women do bear more responsibility at home. But if we’re going to solve that problem, I think we have to approach men as friends in a spirit of respect instead of calling them proto-rapists and harassers.
Ms. Paglia: The time for hostility to men is past. There was that moment. I was part of it. As an open lesbian, I have expressed my anger to men directly. I don’t get in a group and whine about men. So, oddly, I give men a break and admit the greatness of male achievements and so on. What we have to do now is get over that anger toward men, and we have to bring the sexes back together. Reconciliation between the sexes is the first order of business.
“Sexism, Misandry, and Male-Bashing” by Redstocking (Cassandra Woolf, DOB 1945), Jul 11, 2012:
“I attended Fordham University as a sophomore the year they admitted women as freshmen and was often the only woman in my classes… Misandry, hatred and disdain for men in general, is probably the most underused word in progressive political debate. Although a lifelong feminist, I have always loathed knee-jerk male-bashing and defended men against stereotyping… Both men and women can be sexists; both men and women can be the victim of sexism.”
“All of us are crippled by such sexist attitudes. Preschools and elementary schools are a better match for most girls. Boys too often wind up on medication so they can conform to classroom rules and expectations. The idea that every man is a potential rapist or sexual predator is hideously sexist.”
“Since I began blogging in 2003, I recognized that we need a nonviolent revolution to create a family-friendly America. It needs to be even more sweeping than the civil rights movement. My brothers, sons-in-law, and nephews have the same difficulty combining work and family as my father did, as my children’s father did. Fathers and mothers need to work together so families have some of what they need.”
Feminism & Misandry
Misandry is the hatred or dislike of men or boys. Though the concept is ancient, the word did not appear in most dictionaries until the second half of the 20th century. Yet it was translated from French to German in 1803 and first appeared in English language print in 1871.
“In the past quarter century, we exposed biases against other races and called it racism, and we exposed biases against women and called it sexism. Biases against men we call humor.” – Warren Farrell, Women Can’t Hear What Men Don’t Say
Religious Studies professors Paul Nathanson and Katherine Young, in their 2001 three-book series Beyond the Fall of Man, agree with Farrell that misandry as a form of prejudice and discrimination has become institutionalized in North American society.
Nathanson and Young argued that “ideological feminism” has imposed misandry on culture. Their 2001 book, Spreading Misandry, analyzed “pop cultural artifacts and productions from the 1990s”, from movies to greeting cards, for what they considered to be pervasive messages of hatred toward men. Legalizing Misandry (2006), the second in the series, gave similar attention to laws in North America.
“Misogyny has been studied and taken seriously for decades. Misandry, on the other hand, has been either ignored or trivialized for decades. Also, political pressure has eliminated (or at least hidden) a great deal of misogyny. Not only has no political pressure been used to eliminate (or hide) misandry but some of the political pressure used against misogyny has directly or indirectly exacerbated misandry. As a result, we suggest, the worldview of our society has become increasingly both gynocentric (focused on the needs and problems of women) and misandric (focused on the evils and inadequacies of men)…We argue that ideological feminists have played an important role in creating the gynocentric worldview and disseminating it”
– Katherine K. Young and Paul Nathanson, Spreading Misandry: The Teaching of Contempt for Men in Popular Culture (2001).
[Katherine K. Young is James McGill Professor of religious studies at McGill University; Paul Nathanson is a researcher in religious studies at McGill University. Their research, which fills three volumes, is the result of 15 years of discussions between them about gender and its complex role in society and inter-sexual relations.]
In the third book of the trilogy, Sanctifying Misandry: Goddess Ideology and the Fall of Man (2010), Young and Nathanson challenge an influential version of modern goddess religion, one that undermines sexual equality and promotes hatred in the form of misandry. The authors discuss two massively popular books – Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code and Riane Eisler’s The Chalice and the Blade – both of which rely on a feminist conspiracy theory of history. They then show how some goddess feminists and their academic supporters have turned what Christians know as the Fall of Man into the fall of men. In the beginning, according to three ‘documentary’ films, our ancestors lived in an egalitarian paradise under the aegis of a benevolent great goddess. But men either rebelled or invaded, replacing the goddess with gods and establishing patriarchies that have oppressed women ever since.
Anthropologist Helen Fisher, member of the Center for Human Evolutionary Studies in the Department of Anthropology, Rutgers University, with a PhD in Physical Anthropology: Human Evolution, Primatology, Human Sexual Behavior, and Reproductive Strategies, points out that there is no anthropological evidence for the utopian matriarchy pointed to by some feminists.
In 2002, Charlotte Hays (senior editor of The Women’s Quarterly), wrote “that the anti-male philosophy of radical feminism has filtered into the culture at large is incontestable; indeed, this attitude has become so pervasive that we hardly notice it any longer”.
Feminist author bell hooks (Gloria Jean Watkins) has criticized separatist strands of feminism as “reactionary” for promoting the notion that men are inherently immoral and inferior. In Feminism is For Everybody, she argues that the anti-male strand of feminism led to an unnecessary rift between the men’s movement and the women’s movement.
Naomi Wolf in Fire With Fire contrasted “power feminism” with “victim feminism”, arguing that the latter promotes the “angelization” of women as victims that speak with a pure voice and inversely demonizes men as inherently amoral. Wolf’s analysis of victim feminism echos the criticism that Betty Friedan made of female chauvinism which she defined as “the assumption that women have any moral or spiritual superiority as a class”.
Sociologist Anthony Synnott argues that the reality of misandry is undeniable when one looks to cultural, academic, and media depictions of men. He states that “misandry is everywhere, culturally acceptable, even normative, largely invisible, taught directly and indirectly by men and women, blind to reality, very damaging and dangerous to men and women in different ways and de-humanizing”. He also criticizes modern scholarship on men as “dehumanizing” and lacking in awareness of statistical reality (“Why Some People Have Issues With Men: Misandry”, Psychology Today, October 6, 2010).
Wendy McElroy, an individualist feminist, wrote in 2001 that “a hot anger toward men seems to have turned into a cold hatred”. She argued it was a misandrist position to consider men, as a class, to be irreformable or rapists. McElroy stated “a new ideology has come to the forefront… radical or gender feminism”, one that has “joined hands with the political correctness movement that condemns the panorama of western civilization as sexist and racist: the product of dead white males” (Sexual Correctness: The Gender-Feminist Attack on Women, 2001).
In 2001, novelist Doris Lessing delivered a speech at the Edinburgh Books Festival criticizing a “lazy and insidious” culture that had taken hold within feminism that reveled in flailing men. Lessing stated “I find myself increasingly shocked at the unthinking and automatic rubbishing of men which is now so part of our culture that it is hardly even noticed”.
Barbara Kay, a Canadian Journalist, has been critical of feminist Mary Koss’s discussion of rape culture, describing the notion that “rape represents an extreme behavior but one that is on a continuum with normal male behavior within the culture” as “remarkably misandric”.
Ideology and Its Discontents: Transcending Feminism – ReHonoring Masuculinity
In 1997, when I was working as a wilderness guide and experiential educator, a midwife for men and others in ritual initiation and personal/social transformation, leading Mythic Warrior training for men, Vision Quests, and Boys-2-Men Quests, I wrote Ideology and Its Discontents: Transcending Feminism – ReHonoring Masuculinity, which was published in Everyman: A Men’s Journal, Ottawa, Ontario later that year.
Here is my experience with ideological feminism and its transcendence into a truly progressive gender-justice movement:
Years ago, I lived with three nuns and a priest in the Maine woods, engaged in volunteer service to the impoverished, neglected, and marginalized people of Washington County. I respected the personal strength and moral independence of those women, particularly Sister Lucy who had chosen to ignore the hierarchy of her order and the Catholic Church in order to do God’s work.
The reclusive Oblate priest would join us every morning to celebrate the mystery of faith, transliterating the communion readings as they were recited to eliminate gender-specific language. That year was a wonderful immersion for me into the power and beauty of the feminine principle of life. My fellow-travelers were celibate but fecund women and men giving birth to a culture of caring that placed people and place above power and privilege.
On one of my mile-long walks into our community, in the midst of a conversation about sexism, I was admonished by a recently-arrived political feminist never (as a man) to attempt to define women’s oppression. I still remember the fierceness in her voice and the daggers in her eyes as she expressed that.
I’ve struggled these fifteen years since to hear the pain behind that stern warning. But I have had difficulty at times in hearing the story of women’s oppression, and witnessing the revision of our history, language, culture, and politics by a feminism which has grown ideological.
While many, if not most, of my brothers and sisters in the movement for non-violent social change freely adopted the perspectives and values of feminism, I could never call myself a feminist though I supported much of the struggle for women’s rights. Well before my conversation in Maine, I stood in defense of clients outside a besieged Feminist Health Center even when I had mixed feelings about the ethics of abortion and the right of women to make child-bearing decisions independently of the men with whom they co-conceived.
I honor women’s attempts to help society understand and acknowledge the pain and devaluation that they have felt as women. But I cannot accept, any more than that woman in Maine when the roles were reversed, the right of women to define and label men’s reality. I part company when the rhetoric of feminism not only denies men’s experience of devaluation and disempowerment but makes us into enemies of women.
Feminism as a movement which expresses women’s hopes, desires, and demands for respect and equality of opportunity is courageous and progressive. Feminism as an ideology which defines not personal experience but TRUTH – for both men and women – is oppressive and regressive.
Just as Sister Lucy knew that to live by her faith she had to deny the orthodoxy which degraded its living essence, all those who hope to usher in a new age must be wary of allowing liberating ideas to congeal into restrictive, self-serving, and oppositional ideology.
Among feminists, the name for the all-pervading evil of our culture is “patriarchy”. Caring men, still trying to please and protect women, have accepted the accusation which the new political consciousness imposes on men and masculinity. The acquiescence of the media and politicians to prevailing dogma further supports the demonizing of men as a class for attempting to fulfill society’s impossible demands.
Vietnam vets, who took on the most dehumanizing of male roles that our society requires, are still suffering from the experience of returning from the hell of combat to the contempt and condemnation of the very people for whom they sacrificed their humanity. We have named the syndrome of denial, extreme anxiety, misplaced rage, survivor guilt, paranoia, alienation from feelings, self-destructive behavior, and inability to love or trust as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. And we have recognized it as the normal human response to serious unresolved trauma compounded by lack of recognition for, or appreciation of, the sacrifice made for others.
And yet, in lesser degree, these are the very symptoms that women have recognized and criticized in men as a class. Historically, men have stoically accepted the role of protector and provider, sacrificing their own psychological and physical welfare for the sake of home, wife and children. Particularly in the last century, men have been drafted into the unrecognized and unappreciated status of civilian soldier in a constant and increasingly demanding low-level economic warfare. It is no wonder that men exhibit the signs of traumatization. Addiction and domestic violence – both forms of pathological narcissism – are the fallout.
In the 1960s and 70s, many of us, in the name of progressive ideology (and ironically, in the name of peace), made the grave error of blaming the foot soldiers for the violence and oppression of the system they were caught up in. Let us not, in the 90s, make the equally grave error of blaming men, individually or as a class, for fulfilling the roles which all of us – men and women alike – demanded of them.
The historical period we are now beginning to grow beyond was oppressive in many ways to all of us – or is recognized now as oppressive as we begin to understand the vital human needs that weren’t served by that culture of fixed roles and expectations.
As men begin to explore other ways of being men in a post-modern world; as men begin the long-overdue process of reclaiming their lost and repressed feelings, owning their pain and shame and guilt, recognizing the beast that lies within their aching breasts, joining hands in supportive and positive brotherhood, and celebrating their masculinity; as men are discharged from the socially-required roles of protector and provider – it is imperative that they be welcomed home and supported in their transition to a new civility.
Women do not serve their own liberation by pointing accusing fingers, or directing their pent up anger, at these returning veterans of a no-longer-functional masculinity. It is true that men must help men, as women helped women, to re-examine and redefine men’s experience and possibilities; but gender liberation will not be achieved until we all undertake a rite of passage through our own inner darkness. This passage, as all transformational journeys, requires that whatever demons we encounter on the way be acknowledged as our own projections and be transformed by recognizing them as divine beings calling for attention.
We now recognize our personal developmental responses to dysfunctional families as unfortunate but necessary to our ego-survival and viability. We must also acknowledge outworn and dysfunctional social constructs as unfortunate but necessary stages of our cultural evolution. In neither case is blaming self or other helpful or healing. Understanding, forgiving, and letting go are.
Vietnam vets deserve to be recognized as heroes for their sacrifice, though they may have engaged in reprehensible behavior while trying to survive in the inferno of a guerilla war. And men must be acknowledged as heroic for their civilian soldiering, though many unforgivable acts might have been perpetrated in the process of ego-survival in the daily hell of a competitive and materialist society which demanded that men kill themselves for the comfort and security of their wives and children.
One of the lessons with which the feminist movement has blessed us is that language has the power to define and limit our experience of life. Having learned that lesson, let us now refuse to label a culture which is understood in retrospect as oppressive and unfulfilling – a culture in which we were all in some way enslaved and disempowered to be fully human – in a way which defines one class as villain and another as victim. Division and dissension are tools of oppression, not of liberation.
The term “patriarchy” has been used, not just descriptively, but as a moral judgement and a weapon of accusation. By equating patriarchy with evil, all those who wield it point it menacingly at men and masculinity, even to the point of dishonoring the male principle of action and manifestation which lies within us all and without which there would be no human edifice of culture.
If we are to move together into a new millennium of cooperative coexistence on the Earth, we must abandon the narrowness inherent in any ideology, embrace the infinite openness of possibility, and honor the harmony of complementary sexual principles that make us whole, individually and collectively.
It is certainly true that the cultural denial of our essential connection to the Earth Mother created an unhealthy distortion of both the feminine and the masculine principles. A more accurate and less loaded term to describe that historical period might be Umbriarchy – the rule of the shadow.
Now that we are all beginning to leave the cold comfort of the cave of ignorance and isolation, men must not be afraid of wielding their warrior power in a new and conscious way which serves the God/dess in us all. It is by defending the sanctity of masculinity, that we will slay the dragons of defensiveness and denial that have too long obscured with their sulfurous fumes the true beauty and power of men.
If men and women wish to be rainbow warriors of the new millennium, they must turn their swords from one another and stand together to face the demons we have co-created. As soon as we do, those demons will bow down to us in respect and begin to serve us in creating a new world, for they are only our unacknowledged shadows crying out to be loved.
There is probably no more important figure in the modern feminist movement than Karen DeCrow (born 1937). She is an American feminist attorney, author, and activist who graduated from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism in 1959, and went on to Syracuse University where she attended the Graduate Program in Communications and then received her JD from the College of Law (1972). As a lawyer, she has specialized in Constitutional law, gender and age discrimination, and civil liberties.
DeCrow became involved with the National Organization for Women (NOW) in 1967, serving as a National Board Member from 1968-74 and National President from 1974-77. She received the Service to Society Award from Northwestern in 2002. She was inducted into the Medill Hall of Achievement in April, 2007, and into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in October, 2009. In July, 2009, Syracuse University honored her with the George Arents Award in recognition of her lifetime achievement, and in December, 2009, she received the SUNY-Oswego President’s Medal.
In 1969, DeCrow ran for Mayor of the city of Syracuse, New York, becoming the first female mayoral candidate in the history of New York.
During her tenure as president of NOW, DeCrow led campaigns to ensure that collegiate sports would be included under the scope of Title IX, oversaw the opening of a new NOW Action Center in Washington DC and the establishment of NOW’s National Task Force on Battered Women/Household Violence, and participated in a tour of over 80 public debates with antifeminist activist Phyllis Schlafly over the Equal Rights Amendment.
She is the author of several books, including The Young Woman’s Guide to Liberation (1971) and Sexist Justice – How Legal Sexism Affects You (1975).
DeCrow describes her ultimate goal as “a world in which the gender of a baby will have little to no relevance in future pursuits and pleasures – personal, political, economic, social and professional.”
Her commitment to authentic equality and justice between men and women, and her consolidation of the goals of both the Women’s and Men’s Rights movements are evidenced in these quotations:
“If women have the right to choose if they become parents, men [should] have that right too. There is a connection between legalizing abortion for women and ending of paternity suits for men. Giving men their own choices would not deny choices to women. It would only eliminate their expectation of having those choices financed by men.”
“Justice therefore dictates that if a woman makes a unilateral decision to bring pregnancy to term, and the biological father does not, and cannot, share in this decision, he should not be liable for 21 years of support. Or, put another way, autonomous women making independent decisions about their lives should not expect men to finance their choice.”
Catherine “Kate” Bush, (born 1958) is an English singer-songwriter. Her eclectic musical style and idiosyncratic vocal style have made her one of the United Kingdom’s most successful solo female performers of the past 35 years.
Addendum – Key Statistical Indicators of Systemic Discrimination against Men in the US
Wealth: Women hold 65% of the country’s wealth [Fortune Magazine]
Income: Men constitute 60% of workplace hours, work longer hours, work harder, and are more qualified, rarely file sexual discrimination or harassment lawsuits or take pregnancy leave, yet earn only 42% more than women [Deptartment of Labor]. Most of the raw wage gap is caused by women’s choices, not workplace discrimination. “There are observable differences in the attributes of men and women that account for most of the wage gap. Statistical analysis that includes those variables has produced results that collectively account for between 65.1 and 76.4 percent of a raw gender wage gap of 20.4 percent, and thereby leave an adjusted gender wage gap that is between 4.8 and 7.1 percent.” [An Analysis of Reasons for the Disparity in Wages Between Men and Women, US Department of Labor, Employment Standards Administration, 2009].
Buying Power: Earning money is not a measure of social or political power, but controlling it is. While men make more money than women on average, women control and spend two-thirds of the nation’s disposable income ($6 trillion). Women make 88% of all U.S. retail purchases. Women handle 75% of family finances. 43% of those with assets over $500,000 are women. Women own or co-own close to half of all businesses in America.
Crime Victimization & Homelessness: Males are the primary victims of all violent crimes except rape (but perhaps including rape if prison rapes are included). The street homeless are approximately 90% men. 50% of homeless youth reported being sexually abused by a female.
Rape: Male rape has been called “The most closely guarded secret of American prisons.” [Weiss and Friar, 1974]. There are estimated to be more than 200,000 male rapes per year in American prisons and jails (in addition to nearly 20% of the 200,000 rapes outside of prison with male victims).
Sexual Abuse of the Incarcerated: 94% of sexually abused youth in correctional facilities reported being abused by female staff. [Sexual Victimization in Juvenile Facilities, 2008-09, Department of Justice]. Among inmates reporting staff sexual misconduct, 65% reported a female aggressor [Sexual Victimization in Prisons and Jails Reported by Inmates, 2008-09, DOJ].
Murder: Men are murdered at a rate almost 5 times that of women [Department of Health & Human Services]. Men are 76% of homicide victims [Department of Justice].
Workplace Fatalities: Men account for 93% of workplace fatalities [National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health].
Suicide: Pre-adolescent boys commit suicide at a rate slightly less than girls of the same age; but as their sex roles become apparent – the roles of performer, pursuer, and payer – the rate becomes 4 times as great as their female peers. Men’s suicide rate is 4.6 times higher than women’s [Department of Health & Human Services]. In the two years after a marriage failure, men commit suicide at 10 times the rate that women do and three times the rate of married fathers. Men are 80% of suicide victims [Center for Disease Control]. Suicide is the eighth leading cause of death for US men [Anderson and Smith, 2003].
Life Expectancy & Health Care: Men’s life expectancy is 7 years shorter than women’s [National Center for Health Statistics – males 72.3 yrs vs females 79 yrs], yet they receive only 35% of government expenditures for health care and medical costs. In 1920, men died on average only one year sooner than women; in the 1990s, men died seven to eight years sooner. When non-whites have about 80% of the chance of whites to reach age 85, we blame it on the powerlessness engendered by racism; when a boy infant has only half the chance of a girl infant of reaching age 85, we call it the price of privilege [Farrell]. Blacks die earlier than whites from twelve of the fifteen leading causes of death; men die earlier than women from all fifteen of the leading causes of death [Farrell]. The death rates for prostate and breast cancer are similar, and yet there are numerous federal offices on women’s health, and not a single one for men. Also, the lion’s share of gender specific medical research is done on behalf of women.
War: 99.999% of American combat deaths and casualties (historically) and 97%+ since the 1st Gulf War [Department of Defense]. Despite their history of voluntary military service, women living in the U.S. have never been required to register for the draft. All eligible men, meanwhile, must register upon reaching the age of 18 (or before age 26 if taking up residence in the U.S. when already older than 18). Failure to register can result in fines of up to $250,000, as well as disqualification from many federal programs such as college grants and loans.
Jury Bias: Women are acquitted of spousal murder at a rate 9 times that of men [Bureau Justice Statistics – 1.4% of men vs 12.9% of women]. Twelve distinct female-only defenses allow a woman who commits premeditated murder to have her charges dropped or significantly reduced; no man has successfully used any of these defenses in similar circumstances [Farrell, The Myth of Male Power].
Sentencing Bias: Men are sentenced 2.8 times longer than women for spousal murder [bureau justice statistics – men at 17 years vs women at 6 years]. Gender contributes to a longer sentence for men than race or any other factor. Average sentences for crime by gender: Female – 18.51 months; Male – 51.52 months. Over 99% of the executed are men, even though both sexes kill men more than they do women. Since the death penalty was reinstated in the US in 1976, there have been over 1,200 executions in the United States. Eleven of them, or less than 1%, were women. This stands in stark contrast to DOJ estimates that women perpetrate 10% of all murders, are involved in 35% of all domestic homicides (are involved often means they get other people to kill for them) and commit nearly 30% of murders where the victim was another family member.
False Rape & False Imprisonment: 205 (and growing) wrongly convicted people have been exonerated by DNA evidence since the beginning of the Innocence Project. 204 of the wrongly convicted were men, most of who were falsely imprisoned for rape. False accusers are rarely prosecuted and when they are it is only as a misdemeanor, while rape itself is vigorously prosecuted as a felony. One attorney speaking at premiere for the movie, After Innocence, estimates that there are between 20,000 and 100,000 wrongly convicted still in prison. Research puts the estimated false rape reporting rate at 41% [Kanin, Archives of Sexual Behavior, Feb 1994].
Justice System Bias: Though the amount of the average “child support payment” due from women is half the amount due from men, and even though women are twice as likely as men to default on those payments, fathers are 97% of “child support” collections prosecutions [Census Bureau].
Welfare: Though men are the recipients of less than 10% of all welfare disbursements, men are required to refund welfare payments made to women.
Paternity: 10%-30% of those named as fathers who test for paternity find they are not the biological father.
Child Custody: Women receive custody of 92% of the children of divorce and illegitimacy, and men only 4% [Department of Health & Human Services].
Parental Visitation: A national study indicated that 40% of custodial mothers admitted that they had refused to allow fathers to exercise visitation as a retributive measure, while 20% believed that fathers should be totally cut out of the lives of their children and sought to achieve such an end. Rarely did courts intervene to enforce visitation.
Effects of Fatherlessness: 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes – 5 times the average [US Dept. Of Health/Census]. 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes – 32 times the average. 85% of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average [Center for Disease Control]. 80% of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes –14 times the average [Justice & Behavior, Vol 14, p. 403-26]. 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes – 9 times the average [National Principals Association Report]. 75% of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes – 10 times the average [Rainbows for All God’s Children]. 70% of youths in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes – 9 times the average [U.S. Dept. of Justice, Sept. 1988]. 85% of all youths in prison come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average [Fulton Co. Georgia, Texas Dept. of Correction].
Spousal Abuse: 96% of physical altercations resulting in injury to a spouse occur after the date of separation. Spousal abuse laws discriminate against husbands when we know that only a very small percent of domestic violence is associated with them [Chadwick and Heaton, “Statistical Handbook of the American Family”].
Domestic Violence: The CDC reports that in cases of non-reciprocal intimate partner violence (one directional) that women are more than twice as likely to be the aggressor. The report cites that women comprise 70% of perpetrators, men 29%. In the largest collection of studies on intimate partner violence, Martin Fiebert of the California State University, Longbeach concludes: “This bibliography examines 286 scholarly investigations: 221 empirical studies and 65 reviews and/or analyses, which demonstrate that women are as physically aggressive, or more aggressive, than men in their relationships with their spouses or male partners. The aggregate sample size in the reviewed studies exceeds 371,600.”
Adultery, False Rape & Incarceration: Though 1.4 million American brides commit adultery, and though women file more than 90,000 false allegations of rape every year, only 99,000 (5.5%) of the 1.8 million Americans behind bars are women. A study, published in the Journal of Sex Research in 1994 [Muehlenhard and Cook], indicated that by the time young adults were in college, 63% of the men and 46% of the women had unwanted sexual intercourse (defined as rape when it happens to a woman but not when it happens to a man).
Violence Against Children: Though mothers commit 55% of child murders and biological fathers commit 6%, and though mother-only households are 3 times more fatal to children than father-only households, children are systematically removed from the natural fathers who are their most effective protectors and men are imprisoned at rate 20 times that of women. 37% of all sexual abuse happens to boys, usually perpetrated by a woman.
Family Breakdown: The US surgeon general notes that divorce is more harmful to a man’s health than smoking tobacco, yet as much as $1.3 trillion of federal expenditures accomplish little else than undermine family stability.
Voting Rights: While all women born in the 20th century have a legal right to vote, four of the twelve Iwo Jimo flag raisers died for their country in WWII (and thousands more) without their country ever allowing them the right to vote.
Higher Education: There are more than 200 all-female colleges for women and now not one single all-male college for men. 5.8% fewer men than women are enrolled in 4 year colleges, even though two thirds of those who score higher than 550 in sat math are males. In 1993 only 44.5% of college enrollment were men, and that figure has declined since then. Only 45.8% of of bachelor’s degrees were conferred to men in 1992, though 98.2% of the top fiftieth percentile of the GRE are men, and 0% of American high school girls correctly answered 28 out of 67 TIMSS advanced math questions. Only 38.4% of private 4 year college students were men as of 1990, and this figure has declined since then.
Academia: There are over 700 Women’s Studies programs on colleges and universities throughout the United States teaching thousands or tens of thousands of classes from the gender feminist perspective, but not one program or class, teaching men’s studies from the masculist perspective.
Gender-Specific Programs: In America there are over 270 women’s commissions, but only one for men in New Hampshire. Men are fully half of the victims of domestic violence (26% of intimate partner homicides), yet are denied service at most tax payer funded domestic violence shelters. Only one shelter in Lancaster, CA accepts men and it has been extensively harassed for doing so.
Male Genital Mutilation: Newborn male circumcision is the most common surgical procedure in the US (often without anesthesia); approximately 80% of US men are circumcised, and yet this is never discussed as an issue of genital mutilation on a population unable to consent.
Women Pilots: Though women pilots have an accident rate four times that of men pilots, federal laws require that airlines risk the safety of passengers and hire women pilots anyway.
Women Drivers: Though the crash rate of women drivers is twice that of men drivers, and even though drinking alcohol increases the crash rate of men by only 5%, the majority of those imprisoned under dui laws are men, and women are almost never imprisoned for their much higher number of non-alcohol-related crashes.
In Summary: Men experience systematic discrimination in parenting, domestic violence policies, education, criminal sentencing, paternity, forced labor, military conscription, public health policies, genital integrity, false accusations, reproductive rights, portrayal by the media and in the coverage of their issues by the news media.
by Robert Riversong: may be reproduced only with attribution for non-commercial purposes
For a summary of the myth of female-only victimization by domestic and sexual violence, see: Male Victims of Sexual Violence.