A blog for Christian men "going their own way."

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Lifeboat Feminism

Elusive Wapiti has a post on "lifeboat feminism" that's worth reading, and I'm sure some of you have already seen it. I've got my own two cents to add to this story. When a woman says she is "not a feminist," I suspect she means something along the lines of the following ...

* she shaves her armpits
* she likes to wear make-up and high heels
* she is not a lesbian
* she's not adverse to getting married and having sex with men
* she likes the idea of the man taking initiative in many ways
* she's not angry at men as a whole
* she might go to church
* she probably doesn't support various leftist causes
* (maybe ...) she doesn't like the welfare state
* she doesn't want a unisex society
* she opposes abortion

But that's largely where the rejection of feminism ends. In many other ways, I say most women in our society today embrace "lifeboat feminism" to some degree or another. I think a large percentage of men do, too (if not a majority of them). Lifeboat feminism is the predominant paradigm for gender relations, just as statism is the predominant political philosophy. Both the cultural left and the cultural right have their own particular permutations of lifeboat feminism, just as they do with respect to statism. Among the religious, I daresay lifeboat feminism represents the largest group of believers. The second largest group are the patriarchalists, a group that wants women home-schooled, married through courtship, confined to the house, and pregnant. Then there is the last group that just wants the hypocrisy to end, that is, a handful of pugnacious male bloggers that will go unnamed. Anyway, both lifeboat feminism and statism result in the same thing: innocent people getting the shaft.

Later, folks.

50 comments:

TMink said...

So is there a difference between lifeboat feminism and sacrificial love when it is practiced by men? I would die defending my wife and children, I love them. It is not because I am less worthy or they more so, it is because I love them.

My wife would do the same.

I would tell my wife and kids to get in the lifeboat first, because I love them. Sacrificing for them is part of what makes me a good husband and father, but I take this attitude because of my Christian world view.

Trey

Amir Larijani said...

TMink: I'd say there is a substantial difference between your scenario--putting it all on the line for your help meet and your legacy--versus the Church's embracing of what Murrow calls the Titanic approach to ministry: "women and children first"

(The latter is basically what EW is referring to when he cites "Lifeboat Feminism").

The latter is not a new phenomenon; even Murrow points out that this approach arguably started when the Catholics began placing undue veneration on Mary, and introducing bizarre doctrines that moved a Faith--that was more Patriarchal than most wish to admit--down the path of Matriarchy.

In Protestantism, we ended up with the "gentle Jesus meek and Mild" heresy. In Catholicism, we have parishioners beseeching Mary.

Both models are miles apart from Biblical reality.

Gary said...

EW's post simply highlights the importance that Biblical preaching and teaching should have in the church, as "Lifeboat Feminism" cannnot be supported from scripture.

TMink said...

Thanks Amir, that cleared up my confusion entirely. I lacked the history to catch the distinction.

I am blessed to attend a congregation with a strong and vibrant men's ministry. Their women's groups are also happening, as are the programs for the kids.

Your comment about Mary veneration makes perfect sense to me. That is an aspect of Catholicism that frankly confuses me. But then I am a Protestant and a Reformed Protestant at that.

Trey

slwerner said...

TMink - "I would die defending my wife and children, I love them."

Trey,

I'm with you on that. But, for us, it IS and expression of love, borne of our freewill.

It is something vastly different than the state forcing you or I to give up our lives for some random woman simply because we are men.

Yet, that IS what the underlying assumptions of feminists, both the radical gender feminists and the softer Christian feminists in churches.

It's an extension of the idea that men are in excess, men are of less value than women, individual men are easily replaces, and thus, men are expendable.

Our host here hit on what I believe was a key issue a few posts ago when he outlined his reason that cultural conservatives and the religious establishment do not care about men.

The ranks of (what's left of) the conservative movement, the Christian church, and conservative Christian women ought to be working together to form a bulwark against the influence of feminism. Instead, all too often, especially the latter group engages in what novaseeker has very aptly described as a “cafeteria approach” to feminism, embracing the aspects that suit them, while maintaining the illusion of being anti-feminist by rejecting other aspects that they disagree with.

For instance, most Christian women indirectly support the efforts to destroy families via their embrace of feminists “gains” won for all women in the (anti-)family courts; yet, most will also reject the feminist push for abortion on demand, at any time, for any reason.

Even faithful, happily married women tend to side with any other women going through a divorce (regardless of who might be a greater fault) and (as I have seen myself) take a twisted delight in seeing a man fully screwed over in a divorce settlement/child custody. I suppose it gives them a sense of “empowerment” to see what a woman with the backing of the state can do to a man – it might just help keep her own man “in line”. So, they gladly accept that “gift” from feminists, while they can still say that they are not feminists.

Yet, because they do support imbalances between the genders, they are, in fact, feminists. The term Christian Feminists is a good fit for them, differentiating them for what are termed “Equity Feminists” who argue for such balance. Sadly, the vast majority of Equity Feminists seem to be agnostics. And, as is so often seen in forums such as this, Christian Feminists won’t stand fro having their views inspected or challenged.

The mere suggestion that our more enlightened “sisters” may not be as angelic as they like to think of themselves is, after all, hate speech from closed-minded MRA’s:)

slwerner said...

TMink - & "Sacrificing for them is part of what makes me a good husband and father, but I take this attitude because of my Christian world view."Still, this is no different that the willful self-sacrifice that men do on behalf of their families in many non-Christian societies (throughout history).

And, across virtually all societies, it's considered perhaps the most noble act of a man to be willing to sacrifice him self for his family, his friends, or even his country or his people.

I’m not meaning to “knock” Christianity here, but clearly, it is not a unique Christian act.

It is something men traded for the good of all, to help ensure their safety or a better future. But, in modern times, many women no longer honor men’s sacrifices, giving them the dignity they are due. Instead, in their entitled “women are better” attitude, they simply EXPECT that men will sacrifice themselves for the good of a woman.

That’s why we so often see, in cases of severe injustices visited upon a man, that women (especially conservative Christian Feminists) will not empathize with the man, but rather tell him to “man up”. For them, a man’s loss or sacrifice is of far less importance than is consideration of a woman comfort and well being.

In my view, this is also part of the underlying reason that most self-described conservative and Christian women will not engage in any dialogue wrt the injustices suffered by men. They’ve come to a place in their thinking that it’s only natural and expected for men to bear the brunt of injustice (on behalf of women) so to even acknowledge that it is occurring, much less suggest that it is fundamentally wrong, goes against their view of the “natural, God-given order” of things.

TMink said...

SLW, good points as always.

I knew it was time to leave my old denomination when the higher ups began coining feminine terms for the trinity. "Compassionate Mother, Beloved Child and Life-giving Womb,” were the three that let me know to make an exit.

It is not that I bristle at the feminine aspects of God, in Scripture God is referred to as like a mother hen sheltering her chics.

It is the amazing hubris of those people seeking to improve on or add to God's Holy Word.

The weird thing is, I did a search to get the correct phrases, typing in "Holy Womb." I was AMAZED at the number of hits I got. What I thought was an obscure phrase was anything but.

Now clearly, Mary was set apart, and in that way holy. But the cult of Mary is just not Biblical, it is a distraction and heresey, and a part of the problem we are speaking against.

I think it was Francis Schaeffer who wrote that we are all feminine in our relationship with God. He wants to penetrate us with his Holiness and love. While the metaphor makes me a little uncomfortable, burly guy that I am (lol) I see the point.

Trey

TMink said...

SLW, "man up" is an interesting phrase. It is one I tell to myself, and have used in reference to others as well.

For me, it is not about denying my pain or feelings, but facing my fears and meeting my responsibilities. I beleive that my use of it offended you over at Dr. Helen's, and I appologize for that. I think I was missing the cultural baggage associated with the phrase.

For me it means to act grown up, to face my fears, to act in a righteous manner. I use it when I get timid or avoidant. For me, it is not really associated with putting others first per se, but in courageously acting out my beliefs.

I know of the usages you speak of, and I do not support those. It seems that I need a better phrase.

Trey

slwerner said...

TMink - "I think it was Francis Schaeffer who wrote that we are all feminine in our relationship with God. He wants to penetrate us with his Holiness and love. While the metaphor makes me a little uncomfortable, burly guy that I am (lol) I see the point."I'd suggest that it is fundamentally important in your relationship with God that you step outside your comfort-zone.

How meaningful would it be if it demanded nothing of you?

For men, a walk with God requires that they submit their "masculine" and self-reliant natures; for women, it means an acceptance of and acquiescence to what is inherently Patriarchal.

What you describe happening in you old denomination is, to me, simply a demonstration by the women they are no longer willing to have to submit anything to come to God as HE is - rather, they are expecting God to come to them, as they are.

TMink said...

SLW, that was moving and beautiful.

It touched me deeply. Honest.

Trey

slwerner said...

TMink - "I beleive that my use of it offended you over at Dr. Helen's, and I appologize for that. I think I was missing the cultural baggage associated with the phrase."Trey,

I was not the one who was offended.

And, frankly, an individual man admonishing another individual man to "man up" is actually very, very different that when women cast the phrase about broadly and randomly, in any and all circumstances.

When one man say it to another, it is understood that that one saying it is fully able to empathize with the man he is saying it to, and that he is meaning is that that man needs to "buck -up" because he needs to get on with life. It is not a hand-waving dismissal of his deeper problems, but an encouragement to work through them.

On the other hand, when it comes from a woman, it is clearly most often an attempt to shame a man (typically, some random man who they do not even know) into shutting up about his problems because the complaints of men make them uncomfortable, and all they are really interested in focusing on is how a woman is being affected.

For instance, in case of a man finding he has been the victim of a long-running paternity fraud, and being handed the multiplying injustice of being told that he must continue to pay child-alimony of the child, when some women is telling him to “man up”, she is clearly not willing to understand the pay and indignity of that man, she is thinking only of the financial standing of the woman who has cuckolded him.

A male friend of his telling him he needs to “man up” conveys the sense that while his pain in understood, and his injustice is not being disregarded, the concern is for his long-term well being.

That simple phrase can mean such vastly different things, simply depending on who it is coming from, and under what circumstances.

Women need to understand that men simply do not accept it coming in random and obviously dismissive ways from them.

Again, I wasn't offend by your use of the term - but I am deeply annoyed when women cast it about.

TMink said...

SLW, gotcha.

I also get the distinction.

Trey

Anonymous said...

Been lurking here for some time. Got married to a sweet Christian gal in 2001, the daughter of a pastor. Six years later, she decided she was "gay", and left me. Didn't believe it could happen to me, yet it did. Married and very active in our church, and she takes off with another young woman from church. Both very normal and feminine appearing. Very difficult to understand how this could happen, but in the church I attend divorce is quite common, and while feminism is never discussed from the pulpit per se, in spite of being fundamentalist, the women congregate together like a witches' coven. Maybe that's too strong, but something just isn't quite right.

Still Disillusioned

Anonymous said...

After re-reading the other comments, I realize my comments might not be germane to the issue at hand, but I just felt the need to share with Christian brothers today. Even though my divorce wasn't quite my fault as I see it, I have found little to no support at church because I'm "that divorcee", or so it would seem. There is the unspoken notion that if a man just pleases his wife, she will never stray. I never even suspected Christian MEN would prey on my wife, much less Christian WOMEN. Oh, well. I suppose all things happen for a reason.

Again, sorry if I sound whiny. Needed to vent today.

Still Disillusioned

slwerner said...

Still Disillusioned - "... and while feminism is never discussed from the pulpit per se, in spite of being fundamentalist, the women congregate together like a witches' coven."Don't be worried about drifting off topic, forums like this are an accepted place for people to vent about something that the main topic brings to their minds.

For myself, I well understand the observation of how women in churches tend to act closely together, often in the most un-Christian of ways.

Many years ago, a friend of my wife’s invited us to become a part of her church – also very fundamentalist. Long-story-short, it turns out that this friend of her’s was part of what was a de facto cheating church-wives club.

Unfortunately, I‘ve come to realize, through the examples provided by many other s (like yourself), that far too many churches are basically dens of iniquity themselves.

It would do my heart good to be able to see “Real Man” Jesus charging in to those churches to whip the Feminist-inspired, Gaia-worshipping money/sex/drug changers and chuck their sorry butts out the doors.

TMink said...

Anon, what a sad story. I cannot imagine how much the whole thing hurts. Hang tough, I believe you can make it through the pain, but I can only imagine how deep it must be.

Trey

slwerner said...

TMink - "Hang tough, I believe you can make it through the pain, but I can only imagine how deep it must be."Trey,

I'm proud of you for avoiding that "man up" phrase.

You're get the hang of it:)

Anonymous said...

Amir:

Church's embracing of what Murrow calls the Titanic approach to ministry: "women and children first"

(The latter is basically what EW is referring to when he cites "Lifeboat Feminism").



EW is referring to something completely different than what Murrow is referring to.

Under Anakin's definition, Murrow, who only seems concerned with styles of worship, could also be considered a "lifeboat feminist".

Anonymous said...

"The second largest group are the patriarchalists, a group that wants women home-schooled, married through courtship, confined to the house, and pregnant."

Therein lies your true nemesis. Under this system it's the weak that get the shaft, not the innocent. Same thing under anti-statism. The strong will survive.

Elusive Wapiti said...

Anankin, thanks for the link.

Anon 3:38: I think you are correct that Murrow and I are addressing two different phenomena, albeit related ones. I haven't read enough Murrow to divine whether or not he is a lifeboat feminist or not.

catwoman said...

One more for the "Mink Man"!...

Hi Trey,

I was just going ask you if you agree with what slwerner says, that "the underlying assumptions of feminists, both the radical gender feminists and the softer Christian feminists in churches" is that men "give up our lives for some random woman simply because we are men", which is "an extension of the idea that men are in excess, men are of less value than women, individual men are easily replaces, and thus, men are expendable."

Or that it's typical for "faithful, happily married women tend to side with any other women going through a divorce (regardless of who might be a greater fault) and...take a twisted delight in seeing a man fully screwed over in a divorce settlement/child custody."

I was just wondering what you thought of those sentiments, if you agreed or not.

Amir Larijani said...

Anon:

Given that Murrow is a PCUSA elder, he may very well be a "lifeboat feminist".

That being said, he does not focus merely on worship styles. In fact, the fundamental premise of his book--Why Men Hate Going to Church--is that the bulk of church ministry is structured around women and children.

That, in a nutshell, is "lifeboat feminism".

Now granted, from a societal perspective, that can manifest itself in other areas--such as the devotion to women's medical issues to the exclusion of men's; the devotion to sexual abuse and its effect on women to the exclusion of men; the granting of legal protections and rights to women that men do not enjoy; child custody judgments that favor women to the exclusion of men, etc.

Still, within the Church, "lifeboat feminism" is exactly what Murrow addresses. He even categorizes many men's ministry efforts as "women's ministry for men".

TMink said...

slw, I have some new friends who have my back. 8)

Trey

TMink said...

Anon wrote: "a group that wants women home-schooled, married through courtship, confined to the house, and pregnant."

Where are these people? I do not know any or of them.

Trey

TMink said...

Hey catwoman! The TMink comes from when I had enough time to make some income from photogrpahy. It is my initials followed by ink. Get it? I know, corny!

"I was just going ask you if you agree with what slwerner says (snip for brevity.)

I am not well enough versed in the underlying and early writers of feminism to agree or disagree really. But I do see these beliefs in contemporary and recent feminist thought. "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle" is a pretty blatant example of the same.

I certainly agree that men in our culture are treated as easily replaced and/or un-necessary, especially in terms of family court and the(I hope unintended) result of AFDIC programs and the like. Men are subsidized out of families by those programs.

And the other question, about women taking another woman's side automatically in a divorce, I do see that some. I think it is the result of the ugly gender polarization that has been at least a byproduct of feminism, if not at the heart of it.

There are male counterparts to much of the problems that slw lists in my book. For every "take the bastard for every cent he is worth" there is a "bitch went nuts." So I tend to take a view that both men and women are injured in our culture which has rejected Biblical and Godly morality.

I do not think I am mis-stating when I say that perhaps slw has more of a focus on the woman's part in the equation and perhaps I have take a more egalitarian approach, but I hesitate to say that with much confidence. My heart goes to how we injure each other when we fail to honor how God has created us differently but in a complimentary manner.

I have this other, perhaps crazy idea, that is not widely accepted, that as men become more Godly it encourages and even pressures women to do the same. And vice versa of course.

What I can say with confidence is that when he wrote: "I'd suggest that it is fundamentally important in your relationship with God that you step outside your comfort-zone. How meaningful would it be if it demanded nothing of you? For men, a walk with God requires that they submit their "masculine" and self-reliant natures;" I was deeply touched and the words rang true to my soul.

In terms of Biblical counsel regarding men and women, my focus in on those regarding men, cause I am one and that is where my call to obedience is found. Once I get that down pat, I will feel more confortable telling women what to do. 8)

What do you think about what he said? I would like your opinion.

Nice to see you back!

Trey

catwoman said...

What do I think? Gross generalizations. A smear of modern Christian women.

I don't know why anyone would assume that "most Christian women indirectly support the efforts to destroy families via their embrace of feminists “gains” won for all women in the (anti-)family courts". Where is the evidence that Christian women generally oppose automatic joint custody in cases of divorce?

As for expecting men to act as heroes for "random women", count the last remaining radical gender feminists out, since they'd have the military, fire and rescue be 50/50 if they had it their way. As for Christian women expecting men to act as heroes to random women, how much does this actually come up in real life? How many modern men have the opportunity to go through anything for a woman with as much danger and fortitude as their own mothers did in giving birth to them? And that's another reason why the idea that men are expendible to women is offensive, as if we do not all see every man as someone's son, brother, father, etc.

Like a lot women, I agree that there's room for improvement on a lot of things that impact men. Everything on Amir's list could be rectified if men banded together as a group and lobbied -- without getting sidetracked by fighting the feminist phantom. Convincing and/or conquering women isn't the problem here - it's convincing men, who may not see the urgency of a problem unless it directly affects them.

And that I think is the biggest obstacle facing men's issues in general. It's not the feminists standing in the way saying "you suck" to the MRA provocateurs (although I don't think that helps), it's guys saying "it's not my problem". The advancement of men's issues requires the building of a critical mass of concerned men, especially those who have credibility with other men. And that is not achieved by knocking women or anyone else, because men who have credibility don't pass the buck and they assume those who do are coming from a place of sour grapes. David Murrow doesn't do it, and that should tell you something.

TMink said...

"Where is the evidence that Christian women generally oppose automatic joint custody in cases of divorce?"

In my work as a psychologist I see this on a weekly basis. I cannot speak with authority as to the spirituality of the women, but as a general statement concerning women it holds up in my experience. Of course it does not refer to everyone, thank God, but I have been fired by many mothers when I have talked to them about the importance of children having free and unfettered access to their father.

"How many modern men have the opportunity to go through anything for a woman with as much danger and fortitude as their own mothers did in giving birth to them?"

I think that the advances in modern medicine are quite balanced with the advances in physical security.

And I cannot agree with your assessment of the feminist movement being a phantom oppressor. I have read too many perverse, assaultive, and hateful statements made against men that were written by feminists to find your statement is accurate. It may be easier for us to register because the statements are made against us.

"The advancement of men's issues requires the building of a critical mass of concerned men, especially those who have credibility with other men."

You speak to a right headed political solution. I just do not see politics or laws as the answer. To me, the answer is in recharging our spirituality with love and obedience to God and His calling. That to me is primary, the political and legal changes will come or they won't, but revival in the body of Christ will change us and our families and OUR culture for the better, and that change will have eternal consequences.

But I do not think I am in the majority with this approach.

Thanks for your thoughts!

Trey

TMink said...

PLease allow me to hijicak this thread for a moment to ask for your prayers for a patient of mine and a little brother of ours.

He is 20, he was the youngest heart transplant in Tennessee at one time, he has survived horribly sadistic abuse, his kidneys have shut down, his heart is 90% blocked and he appears to be dying.

This guy in one of the toughest people I have ever met. He loves Jesus, and it looks like it is time for him to go home. Please pray for him, his family, and those of us who he touched.

Thank you so much.

Trey

slwerner said...

TMink - "PLease allow me to hijicak this thread for a moment to ask for your prayers for a patient of mine and a little brother of ours."Trey,

So sorry to hear of this. Truly a sad situation.

slwerner said...

Catwoman - ”What do I think? Gross generalizations. A smear of modern Christian women.”
Admittedly, I’ve engaged in some sweeping generalizations. Not all Christian woman act the same way as all others. But generalities are indicative of trends that are occurring. And I see no need to “soft-peddle” the message so as to not offend the sensibilities of the gentler sex.

For the majority of Christian woman today, their silence IS their approval of the gains/goals of feminism.

Do we see Christian women speaking out about such issues as the imbalances that are driving the decline in marriage, and the destruction of family units? If they do not, is it not fair to assume that they are not against those trends in law and society.

Christian woman seem quite willing to speak their minds on issues that they do care about – like abortion. So, I doubt if it just a matter of Christian women being too timid to speak.

Again, where are the voices of Christian women on specific issues impacting men and men’s rights? I’m hearing plenty of Christian men who are concerned about the growing influence of Islam – specifically the mistreatment of and denial of the right s of women under Sharia Law.

You ask, “Where is the evidence that Christian women generally oppose automatic joint custody in cases of divorce?”

I’d ask, “where’s the evidence they support it?”

It seems to me that unless they’re specifically stating their support, they must be content to sit back and let the gender feminist have their way on the issue. Again, silence is telling.

Also, you wrote:

”As for expecting men to act as heroes for "random women"
Now, you am I both know that I wrote no such thing.

What I did write was, “Instead, in their entitled “women are better” attitude, they simply EXPECT that men will sacrifice themselves for the good of a woman.”I was not limiting my remarks to “heroics”, but rather including the myriad of ways modern women (including Christian woman) have changed in the way they respond to the many forms of sacrifice men do make.

Under Chivalry, for their sacrifices/deference to women, men were afforded a place of honor by women. Women openly showed their appreciation for a man acting in a way to benefit them. Now, women no longer rely on the good will of men making sacrifices on their behalf – the state has taken to acting as their agent/enforcer, so they come to loose their appreciation of those sacrifices men make for them.

The examples run for minor little matters, to much more serious ones. Where once a woman was grateful to a man for paying for a date, now, even if she makes more than the man, women still expect the man to pay.

Woman once appreciated the risks police and firemen made. Now, they demand that entrance criteria be lowered so that they can gain a targeted proportion of those jobs.

Once, a man could expect his wife’ honor and appreciation for his hard efforts to provide for her and his family. Now, he’s likely to be seen as not sufficiently attentive to his wife’s wants and needs – a notion bolstered by her friends. Is this why we see so many Christian women serving as female infidelity apologists – “He wasn’t meeting her needs, it’s his fault she had to look elsewhere for what she needed”

As a woman, you may not be inclined to see that woman are noticeable less appreciative of what they receive form men, often at the expense of those men; but that is what I was trying to get at.

It goes to the very idea encapsulated in “Lifeboat Feminism” – all the freedoms, rights and choices demanded for women by feminists; while preserving the “women and children first” chivalry and the protective sacrifices of men. And, no requirement to thank, let alone honor men, for any of it – it’s now their God-given right to all of if.

Jesse said...

Amen SLW. Silence = complicit agreement. Can't add or take away anything from your comment. Thankfully there are women, in the blogosphere at least, that are wholeheartedly defending men among other women and pointing out the glaring inequalities (that should be obvious, but anyway). I have utmost respect for these women; it's one thing to agree with a bunch of men but another thing entirely to adamantly defend men in discussions with women on women's blogs. (Yes, I'll admit to reading those every now and then.) But they're few and far between.

And that is not achieved by knocking women or anyone else, because men who have credibility don't pass the buck and they assume those who do are coming from a place of sour grapes.
.
I don't see any belittling of women going on, just some pointing out of hypocrisy and inequity. I'm assuming we all agree that calling a spade a spade doesn't equate to knocking anyone. That statement seems completely out of left field to me, at least in the context of this thread.

Novaseeker said...

I think that what catwoman has written is indicative of what SLW and others are saying really.

We all know that the inequities men face were created by feminism, which is a movement dominated by women. Yes, the feminists had male helpers, but it's a women's movement. And it's hardly a phantom menace.

But in any case -- what are we to do about the problems created by feminism? Simple -- men need to fix them. This is the typical attitude. Women created these problems for men, yet bear no responsibility for fixing them. If that isn't an attitude of indifference, I don't know what is.

Men will never band together on these issues anyway -- not to any "critical mass" degree. It does not have to do with a lack of credibility among MRAs. It has to do with the fact that, unlike women, when men are confronted with male/female issues, most men reflexively side with the women. This is due to many factors, including social programming to the effect that women are better people than men are and are more deserving of support and respect, chivalry/gallantry, and the intra-male competition for female approval. Simply put: most men crave female approval far more than they care about any issue impacting another man. If another man falls off the bus, that's one less competitor for that approval. And what better way to garner female approval than to run to the side of a female in the context of her dispute with another male?

So, actually many of us have come to the conclusion that there is no political solution to the kinds of problems men face. Someone like Trey and many of the others here take a spiritual approach. Other men follow other pathways. But the idea that men will gather together around men's issues to any significant degree is a non-starter. The vast majority of men would rather chase female approval (note -- I do not mean sex, simply approval).

Just taking the example of shared custody, since it has been raised in this thread. Every time this topic is raised in a state legislature, the local chapter of NOW and other women's groups mobilize to defeat it. "Organized" female-hood is most certainly dead set against shared custody. But men do not complain. Most men don't care, unless they're one of the ones who have been through the system and seen it themselves. And if these men speak up they are accused -- by men and women alike -- as having "sour grapes", as catwoman just did in this thread. So the only men who will speak out are discredited for doing so, and the other men ignore the problem because it doesn't impact them personally. Such is the situation. It will not change soon.

This is why, when feminism "won" the cultural revolution of the 60s and 70s, it was a permanent victory. At least as permanent as this civilization continues to exist. There are other historical precedents for female liberation to certain degrees (late Rome, late Babylon, Sparta). In not one case did men ever "band together" to change things. In all of these cases, however, the rise of women's rights preceded, relatively quickly (not overnight, but quickly in the context of the histories of these societies), the decline and fall of these civilizations and their replacement with something else. I do not have a crystal ball more than anyone else, but the lack of historical precedents for our path to be a successful one is quite troubling.

catwoman said...

"But generalities are indicative of trends that are occurring."

And the trend is toward "rebuttable presumption of joint custody", that seems to be passing, state by state, whatever secular feminist opposition be damned.

"For the majority of Christian woman today, their silence IS their approval of the gains/goals of feminism...Do we see Christian women speaking out about such issues as the imbalances that are driving the decline in marriage, and the destruction of family units? If they do not, is it not fair to assume that they are not against those trends in law and society."

Wow. You really think the worst of us, don't you? Could there not be other reasons why you're not hearing many "voices of Christian women on specific issues impacting men and men’s rights"? Abortion and gay marriage usurping the religious right platform with both sexes, perhaps? Actually, I think timidity around speaking for men is a concern. Despite your unwillingness to grant any grace or hope for us, this I will say: When men in the church take the lead in raising the profile of their issues, women support them. Just ask David Murrow who's buying his books and showing up at his appearances. Unfortunately, what your cause is missing is a credible leader in the church. The sooner you drop the lifeboat feminism screed, the sooner you'll find one.


"As for expecting men to act as heroes for "random women"
Now, you am I both know that I wrote no such thing."

Actually, this is what you wrote: "the state forcing you or I to give up our lives for some random woman simply because we are men...Yet, that IS what the underlying assumptions of feminists, both the radical gender feminists and the softer Christian feminists in churches...It's an extension of the idea that men are in excess, men are of less value than women, individual men are easily replaces, and thus, men are expendable."

I've heard the "expendable" man argument before from Warren Farrell (who otherwise makes a lot of very good points), and wondered why he would build a case on something so transparently obsolete. Again, women do not want their sons, or anyone's son to be disposed of.

"virtually all societies, it's considered perhaps the most noble act of a man to be willing to sacrifice him self for his family, his friends, or even his country or his people."

Women also make sacrifices. Miminizing, disparaging or overlooking them does not help any MRA cause.

"Under Chivalry, for their sacrifices/deference to women, men were afforded a place of honor by women. Women openly showed their appreciation for a man acting in a way to benefit them."

I think women still do express appreciation, commensurate to the sacrifice made. Thing is that modernity has made all our lives softer, diminishing the scale of sacrifice by each sex, and thus the honor and glory -- but not entirely.

"Now, women no longer rely on the good will of men making sacrifices on their behalf – the state has taken to acting as their agent/enforcer, so they come to loose their appreciation of those sacrifices men make for them."

Wait a second: most women rely on themselves -- not the state. You seem to forget that most women do not divorce, and even if most who do are the ones to initiate it - only a fraction cut the kind of golddigger sweetheart deal you complain of. Their standard of living almost always drops, lose/lose is the norm.

"The examples run for minor little matters, to much more serious ones. Where once a woman was grateful to a man for paying for a date, now, even if she makes more than the man, women still expect the man to pay."

For the first few dates, perhaps. Looks like you took for granted the cost of her clothes, shoes, hair, make-up for such occasions. Men also expect that women co-operate with this process -- to insisting on paying your own way undermines the guy's intention to make it a date. Don't men have a role here, as far as opting to enjoy the largesse of whatever token acts of chivalry still remains? Just a man enjoys buying his friends a round? Or a woman treating a friend to lunch?

"Woman once appreciated the risks police and firemen made."

I agree that lowering entrance criteria for those jobs for women is lame. But how many women actually bother to go for those jobs? Not enough to damage the respect either sex has for those professions.

"Once, a man could expect his wife’ honor and appreciation for his hard efforts to provide for her and his family. Now, he’s likely to be seen as not sufficiently attentive to his wife’s wants and needs – a notion bolstered by her friends."

Hardly. You're talking about a problem that well pre-dates feminism (Proverbs 19:13, 21:9, 19, 27:15-16, 1 Timothy 5:13)...similar verses exist about men.

As you admit your examples "run for minor little matters", but here we see the more serious ones few and far between these days. Not that I'm complaining or disparaging men here. I just think that you're making the double mistake of overlooking the strengths and virtues of many good women and painting them with the same brush as the entitlement princesses minority. This you do -- and then complain that we're not listening??

You don't have to do much to get women to empathize with you. We know there are golddiggers and skanks out there -- and we can't stand them either!! But we also can't stand male pre-occupation with worst case scenarios - it absolutely does not help when you're preaching to the choir. You fail to acknowledge that religious women do go out on a limb and challenge those behaviors and often get branded as prudish, meddlesome or catty (often by men) for doing so. Truth be told, women love a cause! Especially when it involves helping men, and garnering their approval and appreciation.

So if you are finding that most self-described conservative and Christian women will not engage in any dialogue wrt the injustices suffered by men, then maybe it your approach. Either than, or the angryharrys of your MRA movement are giving certain causes a PR problem.

Jesse said...

I do not have a crystal ball...
.
I do. One word: demographics. And feminism is largely to blame for that, so we'll be in line with the historical examples you pointed out.

catwoman said...

"Where is the evidence that Christian women generally oppose automatic joint custody in cases of divorce?" In my work as a psychologist I see this on a weekly basis."

That's interesting, Trey. I work in a similar field and I see the exact opposite -- women who want their estranged partners more involved in their kid's lives. And when they have reason to restrict contact due to problem behaviors, they want the guy to get help so they can fulfill their roles. Except when the guy's a maniac -- and there are maniacs of both sexes.

"I think that the advances in modern medicine are quite balanced with the advances in physical security."

Not quite. Modern medicine has lowered infant and maternal mortality, and created options for pain control. But it still is (and always will be) a fact that labor and childbirth is always painful. This is something the overwhelming women will experience in their lifetimes, usually more than once. There is no equivalent painful experience that most modern men go through in their lifetimes. I don't say this boastfully, but as a reminder that men's sacrifices and risks should not be discussed as if women's lives don't also entail sacrifice and risk.


"And I cannot agree with your assessment of the feminist movement being a phantom oppressor. I have read too many perverse, assaultive, and hateful statements made against men that were written by feminists to find your statement is accurate."

I do not dispute the negative effects of feminism on the world today (although I must say that I can't remember when I last heard anyone say "a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle"). What I dispute is the idea that feminism is a significant obstacle to achieving results wrt the men's issues discussed on this thread.

There may be some feminist groups that have lobbied against rebuttable presumption of joint custody more successfully in some states than others. But for the most part, men's groups have made headway faster on this issue than many of the early feminists made on theirs -- and with a fraction of the lobby! And good on them! The only thing slowing men down on these issues is their own apathy and a bit of a PR problem (which was also what reduced the feminist movement to a shadow of its former self).

"You speak to a right headed political solution. I just do not see politics or laws as the answer. To me, the answer is in recharging our spirituality with love and obedience to God and His calling."

Agreed. WWJD wrt men's issues?

Novaseeker said...

The presumption of joint custody which prevails in some states is a red herring.

Almost all of the statutes in question state that the family court, if it determines joint custody to not be in the best interests of the child, can award sole custody. This is not very different from the states where the presumption does not apply, in that ultimately the court makes a determination about what is in the best interest of the child, and overwhelmingly that leads to mother custody. So to be quite honest, the presence of these statutes as they are written is a trojan horse, and is more of a victory for feminism than it is anything beneficial for men or children.

As for the recommendation that men lobby -- that's not going to happen. As I said, men do not join together on these kinds of issues, simply stated. It's not apathy, per se, it's deeper seated and has to do with the need for female approval felt by most men. There never will be a large lobbying movement on behalf of men's issues -- that's just the reality of the situation. The cause is not "bad PR" -- it's simply the case that men do not band together like that to confront women -- as simple as that.

slwerner said...

Catwoman - "So if you are finding that most self-described conservative and Christian women will not engage in any dialogue wrt the injustices suffered by men, then maybe it your approach. Either than, or the angryharrys of your MRA movement are giving certain causes a PR problem."Catwoman,

Unfortunately I don't have time to give your post the time it deserves.

But, I will quickly comment that, although you clearly feel that I'm too over-the-top in my approach, it's actually a product of my concern about both the decline of marriage, and the decline of male interest/attendance in church.

Others have already addressed the importance of marriage to society fat better than I could have - on e prime example is Novaseeker (See his comment here: http://novaseeker.blogspot.com/2009/05/female-infidelity-explained.html @ May 15, 2009 8:19 AM).

My "problem" with (especially) Christian women is that they ought to care about the issue, not seem to only ever be of a mind that it's somehow all men's fault for not being mature enough, and thus, they basically refuse to discuss it further.

The elimination of marriage portends ruination upon our society, yet it too is passed off as a man's issue to be given a nod of acknowledgment, but otherwise ignored.

Likewise, churches have been foundational cornerstones in the channeling of human endeavors towards meaningful and valuable ends. You may think that it just a few of us "nut cases" who are ranting about nothing wrt to men be driven from Christian churches.

But, I can assure you, I'm hardly alone. Men intuitively recognize that they are no longer valued by their churches. It's not some Jedi Mind trick that I can mention to almost any man who is a regular attendee some of the more obvious ways he is being belittled and degraded - and have him agree whole-heartedly as he realize that he's not the only one either.

And, on this issue, I feel the women ought to care - but, again, there's little evidence that they can be bothered to do so.

I don't know enough about you to make an inform decision regarding where you stand as to either issue - or if you truly believe that they are issues worthy of consideration; but, I'm beginning to get the impression that the latter describes your position.

Admittedly, I'm hardly the best possible spokesperson for my position - one that is held by an increasing large number of men, but rather than simply "snark" at my inability to effectively articulate the enormity of the issues at hand, why not take the time to present your own views on these?

As Novaseeker points out so well, men tend to seek the approval of woman. Men will not "rise up " to lead churches in matters pertinent to men if they do not expressed "backing" of women.

This is why I wish to spur on women to speak (even if my tactics aren't particularly effective).

Learner said...

"Do we see Christian women speaking out about such issues as the imbalances that are driving the decline in marriage, and the destruction of family units? If they do not, is it not fair to assume that they are not against those trends in law and society."

For myself, and for many Christian (and non-Christian for that matter) women that I speak to, many women are not conscious of many of these issues. For example, many women just do not know that women initiate 70 some percent of divorces, or that women are the instigators in DV as often as men etc. I am not offering that as an excuse, because we should be aware of what effects men. I am just saying that often women are not aware.

When made aware some women will deny or minimize the issues, but some will listen, not all, but some.

Does the way in which a message is delivered effect how it is received? Yes, it does, for both women and for men. Does over-generalization make it harder for people to hear the truth? Yes, it does. However, it does not excuse not listening with an open mind.

Novaseeker said...

"When made aware some women will deny or minimize the issues, but some will listen, not all, but some.

Does the way in which a message is delivered effect how it is received? Yes, it does, for both women and for men. Does over-generalization make it harder for people to hear the truth? Yes, it does. However, it does not excuse not listening with an open mind."


These are good points.

We *do* need to craft a better pitch to women in churches, I think. The message matters as much as the substance. And I do think we have some women who are not aware, and who are not hostile. We have some here on this blog in fact.

Good words, Learner. Thanks for them.

Amir Larijani said...

Catwoman, TMink, SLWerner, Novaseeker: Here's the deal...

:::inserting tongue in cheek:::

When men band together and fight for something, it's typically going to be something orders of magnitude more significant than changes in family law. Most men would agree that the inequities exist, but few of them are going to put life, liberty, or property on the line over it either.

Historically, men have not really been the activist types. On the mass scale, they are not into carrying picket signs or running voter drives. It takes quite a bit to get men moving as a group.

That is because when men get moving as a group, it's not about demonstrations; it's about revolutions, and either involves mortal combat and/or facing down some sort of mortal threat.

Historical examples abound...like many revolutions, a Reformation, any number of military coups, armed insurrections, rescue missions, things that involved decisive finishes wherein "peace negotiations" were the product of successful combat.

At the end of the day, men will band together and fight for their causes.

What the feminists don't get is that when men do this, they will be carrying rifles and not picket signs. It will be for matters that transcend "men's rights" or equity in family law, although I'd wager no small amount of money that such a fight would include those matters.

The latter are nuisances, but will not--in and of themselves--move men to take up arms.

But when men choose such decisive action, it will be decisive and not pretty. And while they will be happy to negotiate, they will do so after the victory.

Not a threat, just an observation from history...

Oh, and when that happens, the feminists will be powerless to stop it. In fact, once they see the level of sexual gratification that awaits them after the men win the victory, the women will wonder why they ever supported such a stupid, self-defeating concept as feminism...

:::removing tongue from cheek:::

TMink said...

Catwoman wrote: "I work in a similar field and I see the exact opposite -- women who want their estranged partners more involved in their kid's lives."

I see that too. I wonder if our gender pulls for seeing more of the one than the other? I also wonder if the demonizing occurs more during the divorce and the loss occurs more after the dust is cleared.

"WWJD wrt men's issues?"

Wow, that is sure the question, isn't it? I need to think on that one for a long while!

I struggle with being politically active. Not in getting active, but in wondering if I am wasting my time in the political arena. Times that would be better spent in more spiritual or service oreinted pursuits. And your question puts a fine point on it. WWJD indeed.

Great question.

Trey

TMink said...

Amir, there was a LOT of truth to that, no matter where your tongue was. Where exactly was the jest?

Trey

catwoman said...

"We all know that the inequities men face were created by feminism, which is a movement dominated by women. Yes, the feminists had male helpers, but it's a women's movement..But in any case -- what are we to do about the problems created by feminism? Simple -- men need to fix them. This is the typical attitude. Women created these problems for men, yet bear no responsibility for fixing them. If that isn't an attitude of indifference, I don't know what is...Most men don't care, unless they're one of the ones who have been through the system and seen it themselves. And if these men speak up they are accused -- by men and women alike -- as having "sour grapes", as catwoman just did in this thread.


You totally misunderstand where I'm coming from, which is exactly what happens when you think the worst of people. I'm not minimizing the impact of feminism on the problems mentioned here on this thread. What I'm object to is blaming feminism to the exclusion of all else, along side the over application of the term to apply to just about any woman born after 1946. And as for "Women created these problems for men, yet bear no responsibility for fixing them.", basically you're blaming the younger generation of women for not having an immediate solution at hand for the problems created by their older sisters.

It just seems a bit impatient, as does the frustration with expectation that modern innovations solve problems now, even things that pre-date feminism:

Was sole custody to the mother in cases of divorce not the norm before second wave feminism? Did paternity fraud not exist before feminism? Indeed feminism and the sexual revolution exacerbated those problems -- as well as many other aspects of modernity. I don't mean to take the pollyanna tack here, but modernity is also creating unprecedented tools to deal with those problems as well -- shared custody is as least more of an option that it was before no fault divorce, and would mandatory DNA testing even be an issue, if it hadn't been invented? But now that that it does exist, if it isn't mandatory testing at birth isn't legislated RIGHT NOW, well, that oppressive to men, right? I do support any man who has suspicions to get his child tested at birth, but if wholeheartedly said that on Roissy's blog with an reticience around it being a mandatory thing, well that would get me called a "c---", wouldn't it?

Nowhere do I declare the substance of these issues as "sour grapes", only the style and volume of their expression.

And I'm sorry, but blaming men's lack of action their desire for female approval is a clear example of that. As if there aren't other more salient reasons, like other ones you allude to, that I have also mentioned: that if a problem doesn't affect a man directly, it's not a problem to him. Add the competition factor that you've also mentioned and you've got a recipe for apathy.

I do, however, agree with your point that there's a "need to craft a better pitch to women in churches". But that's your plan, you might want to keep the links to Roissy's blog on the down low, since church women don't take to kindly to being called the c-word.

catwoman said...

"although you clearly feel that I'm too over-the-top in my approach, it's actually a product of my concern about both the decline of marriage, and the decline of male interest/attendance in church...Others have already addressed the importance of marriage to society fat better than I could have - on e prime example is Novaseeker (See his comment here: http://novaseeker.blogspot.com/2009/05/female-infidelity-explained.html @ May 15, 2009 8:19 AM)."

slwerner, I get that you're concerned about the decline of marriage and men in the church -- I know about those issues -- and am I not supporting your concerns? Did I not express my support for joint custody? Did I not sing the praises of David Murrow? And I'm not sure why you think I have to be convince that women are capable of being frivolously unfaithful -- where did I doubt that?

Actually the link doesn't help with much, but to reinforce the notion that the whole MRA thing is just a big woman bash. That Roissy guy is a freak, so is "Doug1" -- WTH! If you want Christian women to "care about the issue", you gotta keep the creep factor to a minimum!

"My "problem" with (especially) Christian women is that they ought to care about the issue, not seem to only ever be of a mind that it's somehow all men's fault for not being mature enough, and thus, they basically refuse to discuss it further."

Yes, sometimes women will complain about men. Just as you're doing here about women. Both sides have valid points, both sides indulge in the odd blame game. And sometimes both sides blame themselves.

"You may think that it just a few of us "nut cases" who are ranting about nothing wrt to men be driven from Christian churches...But, I can assure you, I'm hardly alone. Men intuitively recognize that they are no longer valued by their churches."

The fact is that men have been drifting away from church for centuries, as Amir pointed out, repelled by the "gentle Jesus meek and mild" thing, which has fostered effeminate male leadership and in some cases, female leadership. So when men leave, what are you left with? A bunch of women, and a feminine climate! It's one thing to say that the modern church doesn't fit men very well, and quite another to suggest that hyper-critical women are driving them away. What is the dominant reason? Again, David Murrow is finding out that women are mostly accepting of his recommendations, so I guess it's a matter of time in seeing how effective they are. As I was saying, it doesn't take much to rally women to a man's cause.

Amir Larijani said...

TMink: My barb about the feminists was the jest part. But still, there may be some truth even to that. LOL

catwoman said...

WOW. You guys...I've been at my computer all night long reading the articles on Novaseeker's blog and MAN HAS HE GOT SOME GREAT STUFF THERE!! It's 4:00 am on the coast and I just can't pull myself away!

He has two articles on the whole alpha/beta "pick up artist" thing that explains why it doesn't work on all women and why. Basically, he's saying that most women don't fall into that category, that it applies to a minority of "hot" looking women who haunt the bar scene. It pretty much hits home what I've been saying about the folly of men being preoccupied with worry about "worst case scenario" women. It's quite affirming and reassuring for "beta" men and women alike.

Also he has another great post on Men's Rights Movement "Mind Traps" that make a lot of sense. A voice of reason that gives hope that some of the better ideas of the men's movement could be mainstreamed after all.

catwoman said...

Here's a few thoughts that came to mind after reflecting on some recent conversations in the blogosphere:

So much could be accomplished in the MRM if there could be some prioritizing of issues. Too many guys try to take it all on, as if they've got to dismantle feminism before they can accomplish anything. Instead, choose your battles.

Reforming joint custody laws and correcting the misinformation around that should be right at the top of the list -- that could be a no-brainer, if there could be some kind of distancing from the woman hating MRA maniacs that make the FRA cause look bad. If this could be done, divorces would drop and there would be less women filing.

On the other hand, I would drop the crusade against no-fault divorce, at least for now. Even if that's where much of the trouble started, the fact is that no one, liberal or conservative, really wants to get rid of it. Even if their spouse has wronged them in some significant way, very few people really want to go through the mudraking process of finding fault. Talk about bankrupting yourself to making your lawyer richer! Besides, amending the joint custody laws would do quite a bit to reduce the divorce rate and the proportion of women who file.

Similar modest gains could be made in the paternity fraud area. But I've been up all night reading this fabulous stuff and I'm too tired to pull my thoughts together. Anyways guys, don't give up!

Learner said...

"I do, however, agree with your point that there's a "need to craft a better pitch to women in churches". But that's your plan, you might want to keep the links to Roissy's blog on the down low, since church women don't take to kindly to being called the c-word".

Well, I don't think many women, believer or non believer, take kindly to being called the "c-word" (hello!). Catwoman, you are brave. I wouldn't read Roissy's blog if you paid me regardless of any accuracy about representing the behavior of some women. However, I wonder if you read some of the truly more radical fringes of the MRA if you would not be so antagonistic toward men like Anakin and Amir etc. I think it was Anakin who once said something along the lines of "Ladies, the Chaldeans are coming and they won't be so nice"

Catwoman, one other point to keep in mind is that the ideology behind feminism predates "first wave" feminism and is far more insidious and far reaching than the movements described as "first wave", "second wave" and "third wave" feminism etc. This is why even though many women do not identify themselves as "feminist", they are still greatly influenced by the ideology behind it. A great book on the subject, written by a Christian woman, is "The Feminist Mistake" by Mary Kassian. Also the book from which Dave Morrow references a ton in his book "Why Men Hate Coming to Church", titled "The Church Impotent" gives a great historical background of feminist ideology.

Novaseeker said...

Catwoman --

Thanks for your thoughts on my blog. Feel free to comment there if you like.

As you can tell, I have a critical eye towards people like Roissy -- I certainly do not agree with his lifestyle and approach, as you can see from my blog. But, Roissy does share a view in some respects as to what is wrong with the current picture.

"Reforming joint custody laws and correcting the misinformation around that should be right at the top of the list -- that could be a no-brainer, if there could be some kind of distancing from the woman hating MRA maniacs that make the FRA cause look bad. If this could be done, divorces would drop and there would be less women filing."

It's true -- if women were not virtually guaranteed sole custody of the children, many would be less inclined to divorce. It may be a lower hanging fruit approach, in some ways.

==================

"On the other hand, I would drop the crusade against no-fault divorce, at least for now. Even if that's where much of the trouble started, the fact is that no one, liberal or conservative, really wants to get rid of it. ... Besides, amending the joint custody laws would do quite a bit to reduce the divorce rate and the proportion of women who file."

I know it's very popular with everyone. I still think it's the core thing wrong with marriage today, but I agree that trying to reform this at this stage would be next to impossible. I think you're right that moving towards joint custody would be a good first step and would likely reduce the incentives for women to divorce as well as the cost of divorce for men. But eventually we'll need to address the no-fault aspect of it, because that's at the core of what marriage was supposed to be (enforceable commitment), but it's probably not the best place to start.

=================

"Similar modest gains could be made in the paternity fraud area."


This I think will be our first victory. It's a fairly straightforward argument, will have broad support among men, and can easily be folded into the battery of tests that we do for infants shortly after birth in a very invisible way. And while some women are threatened by it, I think most are not. I think this is our easiest battle right now.

catwoman said...

"However, I wonder if you read some of the truly more radical fringes of the MRA if you would not be so antagonistic toward men like Anakin and Amir etc."

LOL! That sounds like some of the folks I've worked with who party themselves broke every weekend but don't think they have a problem because they've got friends who get high EVERY day.

As far as being "antagonistic", men's rights per se has never been a problem for me. It's the whiny victimhood of gender politics painting the opposite sex with such a wide brush that evokes my contempt. Especially when it's coming from evangelical conservatives picking through the bible going "wah-women-won't-submit".

As for the Chaldeans coming, well, they won't be moving very fast if they keep shooting themselves in the foot.

Anyways, I'm blowing this popsicle stand and heading over to Novaseeker's for some sensible conversation. Buh-BYE Rexellas!